As was mentioned earlier
The Dive was quite the magical place. But, for a wet-behind-the-ears kid from Queens, oh so much more.
Having come from the cloistered
enclave of Briarwood, the idea of a music scene was a concept a few thought about out there. The original NYC downtown scene
was already producing mainstream acts by this time and, from my limited perspective, nothing else cool was really happening.
That was soon to change though once I joined the Queens College newspaper as their photo editor.
Once there I became friends with two music editors who happened to be
very aware of the Dive. In fact, once they realized they had a cohort who was curious about “new” music, they
were only too happy to point me in that direction. I remember walking through the narrow entrance on my first visit and being
completely mesmerized as the DJ, a local record collector named Bruce, played 45s of tunes I had never imagined much less
heard of. Right over his makeshift DJ booth, silent 8mm films of monster movies played while the whole place was bathed in
an constantly shifting multi-colored glow. I can’t remember the name of the band I saw that night but it was the first
of many nights that I would find myself there.
As a clumsy, and shy college kid, I was spellbound by the glamorous girls and dedicated
musicians who carved out this little niche. Creating tough, yet melodic music they deeply cared about to an otherwise disinterested
world. It was the epitome of the DIY ethos still surviving from its mid-70s heyday. Right here in this tiny little club on W.29th St.
While my punk friend and his crew tried to figure out ways to jump the
fence in the backyard, I was glad to just pay my way and go though the front. This often led to some amusing encounters where
I would not see them for hours, only to find out that they successfully had cleared the wall…only to find the door
to the club locked. Climbing out apparently was NOT as easy as climbing in.
My other college pal was less interested in breaking rules but more
in meeting new people. So he was always introducing me to this person or that, blissfully unaware that he was just making
this social phobic feel more and more uncomfortable. So between bouts of terrifying social anxiety, I would also find myself
smuggling in six-packs bought by Mr. Anarchist from a deli around the corner. My introduction to the concept of multi-tasking.
always was the music. An incredible mixture of passionate and primitive 60s garage and psychedelic sounds, played live at
full volume. Lyrics full of uncertainty, defiance and anger (as well as hope and longing.) Heck, what else would any perpetually
puzzled youngster love? This truly seemed like a world apart, where up was down and right was wrong. A fact further
emphasized when I happened to walk past a beaming John Fay exclaiming loudly‑—and proudly I might add—“She
said I was ugly!”. How could you not love this group of misfits?
Since I was a photo editor, I took photos. I this day I cannot explain
why I felt I had to document this. Maybe was just a way of holding onto this new and exciting feeling forever. This
fastidiousness also led to me keeping a meticulous gig diary for close to two years, as well as collecting flyers and newspaper
clippings for any garage punk show.
As I look back on those days, I cannot help but smile at my good fortune in having both experienced
it and shared that with others.