The days of going to After Hours joints are long past for me, so I have no idea if or where they still exist. But my feeling is they are not as prevalent as they used to be. (By after hours, I mean TRUE after hours -- places that didn't open until 2 or 3 am and would close at noon or later). When I was growing up and hanging out on the LES, the main after hours was called Save the Robots. It was on Avenue B between 2nd and 3rd Streets, which back then was a much more shady area. Roger, the singer from the punk band Nausea, would work the door and go around and let us in the back way. Save the Robots was a real 80s club. It had different themed rooms -- the downstairs had a beach theme and the floor was covered in sand. The drinks were pricey and the music fell more into the dance/techno category. Still it was some place to go at 4am (which when you are 18 in NYC is important). I believe the club reopened again in the last few years with the same name, but of course, nothing close to the original.
The other infamous places were Brownie's and Frankie's. Brownie's I didn't go too as often. You needed a password and people needed to know you, and I didn't have the connections, so I only went with other people. Frankie's was my hang out. It was on 2nd Street just off 1st Avenue. The front was totally innocuous -- a boarded up store front painted black which you would walk right by if you didn't know that it was there. Once you opened the door you would be in a liviing room/bar. It was cluttered with all sorts of memorobilia and had a ratty pool table that was impossible to play on. The pool table was ripped up and the room was so narrow that you couldn't properly line up a shot because the cue wouldn't fit between the wall and the table.
In the back was a bar which served 10 dollar beers. This was the after hours for nightclub employees who liked to do a lot of drugs. There was a bathroom out in the hallway where everyone would discreetly go to do their intake. The hallway was actually the downstairs of a residential building and I can only imagine what they thought of this club that ran every night underneath their apartments. The owner of the place, Frankie, must have been in his 60s or 70s and would give cocaine to all the pretty girls (while trying to cop a feel). There was a backyard where we would hang out as well. I remember a lot of drug-fueled arguments happening back there. There were no windows in the bar, which often led to people staying there until noon or 1pm. Cocaine messes with time -- you are so speeded out that you have no idea what time it is.
Frankie would take pictures of everyone. The next time you came in he would whip out a little box which had envelopes with people's names on them and hand you an envelope of pictures of yourself from the last time you were there so you could have a memento of your last trashed bender at Frankie's.
Guns n Roses Parties
Guns n Roses lived a life of excess and threw lavish parties after every single concert on their tours. Over the years I went to a few of them. They often had a theme: Toga party (complete with bartenders etc. in togas and a roasted pig on a spit being carried through the party), Game night, Casino, etc. One particular time comes to mind as one of the more ridiculous parties I attended: They came to NYC with Metallica and Faith No More to play the Meadowlands. My friend Betty, who had been in the Cycle Sluts, and Jerry, who worked at the Scrap Bar, decided we wanted to go. Back then it was pretty common for us to just decide to go to a concert without tickets and talk our way in. We knew enough people that somebody would usually vouch for you.
We got to the Meadowlands after having taken a drunken bus ride out there and found our way back to the stage door gates. I don't remember exactly how we got in. I think Jerry may have talked us in, or Stuart, Axl's brother, whom I had dated for about 10 seconds, shooed us in, but we ended up tooling around backstage for a while and then grabbing seats right next to the stage during Metallica's set. Afterwards we went backstage and hung out with those guys -- Betty used to date James Hetfield. There was a really big feud between Metallica and GnR then, and I remember James (and Lars in other occasions around this same period), railing against how they were idiots to spend so much money on these parties and how Axl was a lunatic who didn't take care of his voice.
The party was the usual antics: It was a speakeasy theme. They had fake Guns n Roses money that you could use to play any number of casino games they had set up. Whoever won the most fake money would win some crazy prize, like a stereo system or something. They had a huge spread: steak, sushi, etc. There was a magician wandering around, and free video games, and pool. Me and James played pool and I talked to the Faith No More dudes for a while. I also did about 12 shots of Jack Daniels. At some point somebody pointed out that there was a hot tub in the corner in this curtained off area. Me and Betty had about 10 gallons of liquor each in us and decided it would be a GREAT idea to get in....completely naked. So we did. We figured no one would know. Well within seconds it seemed the entire party was peering in to that corner throught the curtains to see which crazy groupies were being decadent and stupid enough to jump into a hot tub naked in the middle of a crowded party. Axl came in and chatted with us, guys were leering. Me and Betty laughed it off, but we didn't have a choice...finally someone came and brought us towels so we could get out. Stuart was pretty annoyed at me I think.
The only other thing I remember about that party was that Axl Rose was dating Stephanie Seymour and she dragged me into the DJ booth proclaiming that the music sucked and that we should DJ for a while, which we proceeded to do. The rest of the night is a haze. I vaugely remember getting a ride to the city and going to some bar and then crawling home and sleeping for two days.
You wouldn't know it to look at me, wouldya?