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Mohawk Place Memorabilia

Filed under: Events, Music
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With the Mohawk Place closing this weekend, it seems like a good time to share this pic taken over 20 years ago by photographer Val Dunne. That’s me, holding up the bunny ears behind alternative rock icon Beck on the sidewalk outside the club. This would’ve been pre-Odelay. If memory serves (and that’s a big “if”), he had come by the ‘Hawk after playing a gig at the Tralf. Inside, on the tiny stage that was then tucked off by the end of the bar, Southern Culture on the Skids were throwing fried chicken at the crowd.

I remember the pretty blonde girl in the lower left hand corner of the shot was hanging with Beck, and she scolded me for being disrespectful.

What a fun joint it was!

 

Here’s an excerpt of a diary entry by Patterson Hood, of the Drive-By Truckers, describing the band’s first-ever stop in Buffalo—to play at the Mohawk, during a 1997 snowstorm:

I woke up the next morning with the dreaded stomach flu. The snow seemed to be almost knee high at the Big Boy Restaurant where we ate. I was in denial and trying to tell myself that I was just hungover so I ate one of the most terrible meals of my life. We then took off for Buffalo.

If a crow were to wake up in Lansing with a hankering for Buffalo, he’d fly straight east and be there in no time at all. For a band without proper papers (not to mention whatever we might have on board) going through Canada was not an option, so our drive became a marathon. A few miles into it (around Cleveland if I remember correctly) it began to snow and then blizzard. By Erie, Pennsylvania, the turnpike was being shut down all around us, truckers were warning us to get a room and we were trying to get in touch with the promoter to see about canceling.

The Star Room Boys van had flown past us hours earlier and we had no way to get in touch with them. (This was pre-cell phone days for both bands). I’m sitting in the backseat of the Protégé’ puking in a bag while Cooley is plowing through a mountain of snow. We stopped a couple of times trying to find a room, to no avail. Finally we got in touch with the club and they told us that the weather was better there and to come on. We kept going forward into the storm.

Sure enough, around the time we crossed into New York, the blizzard stopped and the roads were more or less clear. Between pukes, I wrote another verse of that damned song and we arrived at The Mohawk unscathed, but with no sign of the Star Room Boys’ van. A couple of hours later we got the call that Adam had driven it off the road and into the ditch but that everyone was fine and that they would be along as soon as the tow-truck pulled them out.

By the time the van arrived at the venue, my sick condition combined with my worries about everybody’s well being and I sort of lost it, screaming at the top of my lungs in the middle of the street at poor Dave Marr. I still feel sort of bad about it, but I’m sure it’s not the only time he’s ever been yelled at for no good reason.

I don’t remember much about the show that night in Buffalo, just that I was so sick I felt like I was going to collapse on stage at any second, hanging on to my oversized straight microphone stand for dear life, but fortunately never did. Immediately after the show, the beautiful wife of Buck Quigley (lead singer with Buffalo’s great band The Steam Donkeys) descended from the heavens and within minutes I was being tucked in to my sleeping bag in their warm comfortable apartment while everyone else finished the night and loaded up all the gear.

Now, what happened next might not have even happened, or at least I would have certainly written it off as a fever dream had I not compared notes later with Dave, who seemed to have the same recollections. It’s all somewhat vague now, but somehow there was some sailor from the Merchant Marines who ended up staying there also and decided sometime after Buck and his lovely wife had gone to sleep to pick a fight with Dave and I. Loud sounds awakened me from my coma and I seem to recall both of us being threatened with bodily harm. I was not raised to consider getting my ass beat by some big mean military motherfucker to be a fair fight, so I was scanning the room looking for a weapon when Dave was somehow able to lure the big piece of shit outside. Once out the door, Dave slammed it behind him, locking him out. Finally after about an hour of banging on the door and screaming obscenities at us he left or was frozen or something and I went back to sleep.

Then of course, there were those all-weekend, alt.country blowouts we used to stage out on the street and inside the club back in the day: Americanarama!

Good times, indeed…and it all comes to a close tonight and tomorrow night for those lucky enough to snag a ticket.

 


  • BufChester

    I have a sincere question, not being part of the Buffalo music scene at all – though I did see GirlPope once at Mohawk Place in the early 2000s. 

    Why is it that Mohawk Place is closing/has to close?  I haven’t seen anything about this in print, mostly just nostalgic pieces like this.

    Was the young man who bought it not a good manager?  Is he changing up the business model?  Do this sort of band not longer tour in this sort of way? Will something similar emerge somewhere else?  Is there no one to buy the club from the current owner to turn it around and make a go of it?

    I have probably missed some of this discussion, but from what I have seen there seems to be an oddly high level of acceptance for the closing.  Thanks in advance for some answers from those in the know.