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from Jean-Claude Piquant - Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Having always been one to accept everything as long as it left me my space to be me, I was in awe of the scene.....The sexuality, the energy, the magic that I witnessed was the beginning of what would soon become my passion. I was at the Garage on Fridays and would continue my weekly trek at the Loft on Saturday, sometimes the two just merging into one long, exciting block of time ending on Sunday. I continued this until left for the service in 1979. But I never forgot, what it meant to be in on the underground scene, and I proudly told whomever would listen that no one parties like we do in N.Y.C. and no one in N.Y.C. partied like we did in the Garage.
Now when I hear what is promoted as house music today, I laugh because we were the innovators of what HOUSE is really about. It's not just one sound but a collections of sounds and words that transcend the body and pierces the mind, causing one to move and do things that just regular music could never do. And maybe the high was a big part of it to, but none the less, LONG LIVE House. I still feel that "Love is the Message," is the true anthem for all dancers at least for me.
I recently bought a collection of house jams from Rhino records. When they arrived, I was talking to a neighbor of mine, and I was so excited by the prospect of hearing Eddie Kendricks, it caused me to start dancing at 10am, just like the old days. My neighbor freaked and asked if i was ok, and I knew that there are a select few in the world who realizes what a good record can do to you and for you, as I went on to having an excellent day.
By the way, I highly recommend that 3 cd set, it is all that and more. Speaking of music, if anyone is selling tapes or cd's of the music, I am interested in purchasing the mixes, email me and I will respond.
My favorite experience was one of intimacy and romance behind one of the speakers. I know that it happened a lot, but at the time I was in love and the love was everywhere, and there was no other place in the universe that I wanted to be at that time.
Well, I am older and wiser, but yet I long few a dose of excitment and only wish that the Garage was there to provide it. Thanks for the site.
from ? - Email: email@example.com
My life as a member and then a staff member at the Garage. I first went to the Garage with a dj convention back in 1976. That's when i first met Mel, Tom and Jerry at WestEnd Records. I was picking up the latest that westend had to offer that day. Mel ask me what kind of crowd do i like to play for, i told him all kinds, and guess who walks in, the legend himself and he gives me about 30 invites to the paradise garage. i'll never forget what they looked like, they were 5x7 red postcards with two guys & flames on them.
Needless to say, I went back to my block in Spanish Harlem 112st.& Madison, Taft projects to be exact. I gave all my close friends an invite. We all loved the place so dam much that we all became members.I was a member for the first two years then I became a staff member until it closed and trust me, I was always there, private party or not, I was there!
I remember when madonna performed , it was a straight crowd that night. The straight crowd was acting up. She started by singing Everbody, then Starlight , people were booing her so bad, I felt sorry for her. Then I looked at Larry, Larry looked at Michael Brody then Michael told Larry for the first time ever to shut the music off...Larry did.
Mike took the microphone and told the friday crowd that if they keep that kind of behavior up, he was going to do away with the friday members for good. Everyone was quiet. You didn't have to tell them twice. They were waiting for Madonna to sing Holiday so Mike said this better never happen again on a Friday. And you know what...it never did!
So, Madonna came back out from backstage and said, "This is for you Mother Fuckers" then everyone clapped and stomped their feet so hard she started singing the long awaited "Holiday".
Anyway, thats just one of the many memories at this God given place. So to Larry, Michael, Noel, Lynn, Bobby, and Mongo, may you all rest in peace and walk with God till we meet again. To all my staff friends, Joey, Louie, Juan, Wally, Mickey, Carlos, Ralph, Peter, Kenny, Reno, David and all the members of the Paradise Garage, hope to see you all at Larry's birthday party on June 20, 2000.
Always remember, music is the answer and love is the message.
a must read;
posted May 16, 2000:
from Angel Moraes, Email: Jebuke@aol.com
Back in 1979 I was barely 14 years old, I had quite a few friends that were older than me and were already making the rounds to clubs throughout NYC. As for me I was just starting to get the taste of what it was like to listen to a song surrounded by a few thousand people.
As I lived three blocks away from Park Circle Roller Disco aka Fort Hamilton and me and my cousins practically lived there so we became very close with the owner. Just then my mother decided to move us to Puerto Rico. Now needless to say this fucked me up because I knew that I wasn't going to hear the same music over there that we had here. But I got through it and a few years later in the fall of 1982 I managed to make my way back to New York with a huge itch for what was going on in dance music.
So I started hanging out with my cousins again and they used to frequent Bonds International, but for some reason I never made it there, I was addicted to the Funhouse because usually after five in the morning Jellybean used to play some really good music that you couldn't hear on the radio and it was my only chance to hear such music. Meanwhile I was dating a girl that I met through my cousin and we used to hang out at her place and listen to these tapes that i used to record late at night. Now the first time I played one of the tapes, to my surprise she jumped up and started dancing, so I asked if she knew this music because I thought I was on a planet by myself and she said yes she heard it at the Garage. So I asked what was the Garage and she proceeded to tell me and to try to convince me that I had to go but I wasn't about to sacrifice one of my Saturday nights at the Funhouse.
So a few months went by and one day hanging out at her house I'm playing "Somehow, someway" by Visual on my radio, and playing it loud. So Edwin, a gay friend of hers walked in, and I can't begin to tell you how this man started jumping up and down and screaming his head off. So I asked him if he knew this music and his response was 'are you kidding me, this is total Garage'. And I asked him if he knew where I could go to listen to this type of music and he said 'be here Saturday night and I'm going to take you to a very special place.' So I told him please don't fuck with my saturdays its the only chance I get to hear a couple hours of this music. So he says 'trust me' and manages to convince me to wait for him the following Saturday.
Now I'm not going to sit here and tell you what happened next, because we've all gone through it: the walk up the ramp, the pounding of the base while you walked up the ramp, the crystal room, the lounge, the theater, the rooftop and of course the main room, it just doesn't get any more perfect than that. And I think it was because they payed attention to detail.
Anyway, I never went anywhere else, after that night I was trully loyal to what the Garage was. It inspired me in every way, and today I'm proud to say that I have an incredible career as a producer/DJ and I think it's safe to say that the Garage and everything it represented creatively played a role in who I am today. And it also inspired me to create a club (Stereo in Montreal, Canada) that in my opinion pays respect to what that place was.
So to Edwin Laureano (who introduced me to the Garage), Larry Levan, Michael Brody, the entire Paradise Garage staff and you my brothers and sisters, I send my deepest and most sincere thanks. You have inspired me to pursue and achieve a life that most people can only dream of!!!
PS: PS I almost forgot to tell you guys that recently I experienced one of the highlights in my career, which was remixing Taana Gardner's "Work That Body" for West End Records, which I'm happy to see has restarted! I'm very proud to say that I'm the only other person to touch that record besides Larry, and this was thanks to Andyman, Kenton Nix and Mel Cheren. I can't begin to tell you guys how much of an honor that was for me. Try to imagine!!!
memories - posted May 16, 2000:
from Gerri, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
OMG - I can't believe that I'm sitting here asking Jeeves about House Music and out pops the question: What was the Paradise Garage and why is it so important? I sat there, rubbing my eyes and clicked ---- OMG LOOK AT THIS!!!!
So many people from my life at that time have passed on and the only thing that gives me comfort is they're in heaven with Larry spinning some fierce mix and everyone dancing.
Thank you so much for this website - I've bookmarked it and will come back to relive a time that changed my life forever. The kids today just don't understand what a real club is and whenever I try to explain it, it goes right over their heads. We didn't have to through metal detectors, get patted down, or get pratically stripped searched to get into the club. It was the 1st club to dress down to party and there was MUCH RESPECT to all who came to The Garage, it was an unwritten rule, a philosophy, a commandment, that EVERYONE shared and believed in.
I'm a 36 yr. old woman who was "baptized" when I was a Junior in H.S.(1980)and stayed a member until 1987. A guy I was seeing took me there for the 1st time on his Fri nite membership. That ramp - feeling the base PUMPING! The lights looking like a landing strip and the neon sign with the palm tree.
I remember he said that this is a "dance" club, not like the Funhouse or Gotham's West (anyone remember them?) and your ass better dance, otherwise you're gonna get tossed. He said bring a towel and get ready to sweat your ass OFF! I remember he was wearing "wueblo" pants (green army pants that were baggy as hell), a straw hat, and a ripped t-shirt. I was wearing a black halter top and wueblo pants and "yeah wueblo" was the shit, along with "hey buddy-buddy". I walked in and felt that base pumping in my chest, through my heart, in the center of my soul ("Living on the Front Line" by Eddie Grant was pumping - I STILL REMEMBER THAT!) and at that moment I knew I WAS HOME. My God - I'm tearing up right now.
I never felt so free, so alive and so close to God as when I was dancing at the Garage. The music flowed through me and moved me and lifted me and became a part of me, and still is to this day. And what I was most in awe of is that every person in that club, black, white, latin, straight or gay, was experiencing and feeling the exact same thing in some way. Larry brought all of us together as spiritual human beings that transcended gender and race - music was answer and love was the message. Larry - God I miss you and your talent.
Ok - here's some of my memories:
Dancing with Mick Jagger and Diana Ross to "Walking on Sunshine" and actually hearing Larry move it from speaker to speaker around my head. I actually stopped dancing so I could focus in on it. It just kept going around and around - there will NEVAH be another Larry Levan.
Watching "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" in the movie room high as a kite and giggling my ass off. Mesc would do that to you. Years later I rented it and nearly puked.
The lifeguard chair - How many people fell off that sucker?
The mist of water at the exact moment when you needed it most(and the confetti!). The punch bowl, bananas, oranges, and dipsy doodles, and then resting my head right on the speaker and not suffering permanent hearing loss.
Several Grace Jones' coming out on stage, and then the real one coming out later - My Jamacian Guy. Wasn't one of them her twin brother?
Chaka falling off the stage - funny thing is years and years later I was at another club in JC and she did the same thing!
NYC Peech Boys - "Don't Make me wait another night" I have the original 12" with the Paradise Garage label on it. I will NEVAH part with it - it's coming with me to my grave along with my T-shirt and sweatshirt.
To all of us that were blessed enough to have been part of The Garage, I send all my love. Music is the answer - Love is the message.
From: Keith West - Email: email@example.com
Can you believe just hours before this posting I pulled out a crate of some old garage music-as we termed it back in Harlem, NY. And I sat and listened to Liz Torres, the Colonel himself, E2U4, Time Marches On, and the list goes on. After hours of jumping up and down, something just told me to get on the net to try and look at a music catalog, and by the grace and spirit of the prophet Larry himself I was blessed to have stumbled on this website.
Even though you can say that I and a few guys from uptown #2 line were late bloomers in the Paradise Garage legacy, two years (85-87) was truly some of the greatest years of my life. How good could it get for a young brotha in college partying from 12 mid to breakfast. DAMNN LIFE WAS GOOD. As I now reside in Maryland, it is hard to explain to people down here about the Garage.
You had to walk that RAMP yourself and turn the corner and listen to the bass caught your first eye of the floor. It was PARADISE. Dancing, Dancing, Dancing-that's what a club was for. No profiling, no fighting-just letting yourself be free with whatever dance you felt like doing. What happened!? What ever happened?! Good things don't last forever, but the memories are alive!!!
I remember my first night at the garage-I couldn't afford a membership-but my beggin ass got in and I was thirty dollars poorer thanks to a guy on line who helped us get in. Enough of listening to Tony Humphries, my ass was getting into the Garage to see and listen to the real shit! As I walked in, on the stage was Liz Torres-legs wide open and I said to myself this is heaven. If the Garage were church, shit I'd be here every day of the week I thought. And that's what it felt like, church. The spirit of music was alive. I felt in great company with my Harlem brethren-at peace dancing the night away, no pain, no worries. That was the feeling twice a month for the next two years.
And I never thought a man could cry over the closing of a club. That last night on the roof of the Garage, listening to "Going Back to My Roots" my Bend Boy brothas and I looked up to the sky and clasped hands as if we were in church. And paraded in our own little circle chanting the chorus. I cried and cried thinking this was it, the last day-our last night and minutes at the world's finest club. Every tiem period holds fast to a club that set the tide of musical culture.
The Garage was our Savoy and Renaissance Ballroom. This is the palce my dancing memories are. For now I can deal with the memories and the old vinyl and tapes, but somebody out there please document these stories. Thanks for your wonderful site. It's 2:00 in the morning, time to sign off and dream of my life's past and the Paradise Garage-remember MUSIC IS THE ANSWER!
Editor's Note: The song that came to me that Larry always used to play (one of his many 'signature' songs.. maybe this one more than most).. was Inner Life's (with Jocelyn Brown and that Larry mixed/produced the remix) "Ain't No Mountain High Enough"... But often, Larry would just play the beginning ... "Just Call My Name... I'll Be Right There" ... and so it was and so it shall be. Thank you God.. Thank you, Larry. We're still dancing to your beats.
from Frank, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
How you doing, i just wanted to let you know that your garage pages are excellent, i never thought someone would create anything on the paradise garage. Garage was my second home, where i spend the "Weekend"æ Myæ brotheræ used to be a staff memeber and he's the guyæ on the staff 10th year annual staff photo, he's in the middle row middle guy by the fold of the page.æ In fact this same invitation is the only thing i have on the paradise garage.æ
I also wanted to know , if possible, if you can create the paradise logo with the neon lights and the regular logo with a pc application where i can make it as a desk top pattern for my pc at home. it will greatly be appreciated.æ
from Gary Sullivan, New York, New Yorkgsullivan@henegan.com
Hi, I just read the article in Next Magazine about Mel Cherin, Larry and the Garage. The article mentioned web sites and I couldn‰t wait to get into the office to put in a search. Here I am!!! My heart is pounding and tears welling in my eyes as I read the many heartfelt memories and think about my summers hanging out with Larry. I was blessed to know Larry personally' what a story, what a life. I hope you all will indulge me in a little personal recollection.
I remember hearing of the Garage and its elusive membership card. I wanted to go so badly when a straight friend of mine knew someone who had a Friday membership. I went' and so began my experience in the Winter of 1981. I kept attending Fridays for about six months until I could purchase my own membership card. I was so proud to tell them I was gay to get that yellow card. As it turns out' it would be the last card I would ever have to purchase' 82/83; I still have that card and will cherish it forever (wow' that picture is something š I was sooooo dusty!!).
The Garage became a ritual' every Friday and Saturday' yes' I did go Fridays too' I couldn‰t get enough! I remember looking up to the booth like Larry was a god. Like so many before me have said' it was really a spiritual experience. I longed to be up there in the booth to watch him spin his magic web around that dance floor. The funny thing was I got my chance to watch him after I was no longer a regular.
I grew up (ha ha š Garage Heads never really grow up) and went away to college out of state. That is when my younger brother started going to the Garage. It became a family tradition. Brian met Larry and they started hanging out. I won‰t ever forget that first summer I came home for summer break and my brother brought me to the Garage with his VIP membership. He took me up to the booth to meet Larry. We became fast friends and the rest is history. We hung out every summer until I had to go back to school. Wow' those were some days. We ran around New York like mad men; going to other clubs and running the streets until the wee hours. I remember picking Larry up at his mom‰s house during a blizzard one year around Christmas time. We drove all the way to the city to go to a club called Love Light (I think)' David Morales was spinning and Larry couldn‰t help himself. He went into the booth to fix the EQ. I don‰t think David was too appreciative' but' I‰m sure he was paying attention. Nobody ever could make music sound like Larry could. To this day' I still go into clubs (including the Shelter) and wonder what the DJ is thinking about. Doesn‰t anyone do a sound check any more? You‰ve got to get out on the floor and feel the music.
Believe it or not' I remember hearing that Larry had died on the radio' all the way in Chicago. I called my brother to verify the news and flew back to NYC for the memorial service. I just couldn‰t believe a legend' the master' a friend was gone. But' Larry‰s memory will live on forever in our hearts and souls. For any of you who haven‰t made the annual birthday bash' first of all' Mel makes sure the money goes to Larry‰s mom' Minnie. Secondly' come out and party and recapture some of your youth. Believe me' no matter who is on the tables' Larry plays for us all. We feel his presence through that rhythmic base' through the old lyrics we know so well' through the memories. It is great to see all the old faces' even when we don‰t remember the names. It is good to see some of us have survived the drugs and diseases. We will all always have a spiritual kinship because we have been touched by an angel.
Larry, I love you
Thanks so much for this website. I just found it today ( 3-22-00 ). What an incredible afternoon I have just had wiping the tears from eyes so I could read EVERY WORD of "Remembrances from Garage Patrons." I went to the Garage from 1979 to the end. It was a huge influence on my life. It still is. Now I am a dj at a small club in Atlanta -- the Metro -- and I still play Love Sensation and Let No Man Put Asunder and Heartbeat and I Know You, I Live You. And what about Brutal House and Do it Properly and Padlock?! The list goes on and on.
And how much of today's music comes directly from those classics?! If the kids today only knew! I was thrilled to read everyone's messages. So many common memories shared by people scattered around the world. The ramp, the rooftop, the movie room, the punch bowls, the performances, the people, the music, and most importantly, the feeling. The good times. The high. There will never be anything quite like it again, but thank God it still lives on in our minds, our hearts, and our souls. It's like, ya see, it's not over
From Charles M. Smith, Maryland -- email: PGarage@aol.com
Larry Levan was an artist, not a DJ and the Garage was his canva s. PLAY THAT SHIT LLLLAAAARRRY!!! We use to scream his name out in love and creative differences, but all in all Larry delivered every Saturday. Mu ch respect to Mr. Depino and Joey as well. The reason why I love(present ten se, cause to me the club is still alive) the Garage so much is because the Garage never compromised itself despite the so called club competition in NY. Consistency, Consistency! I Know You, I Love You, I Miss You, Par adise Garage!
Core Member 84-87P.S. Whenever I'm dr iving down 7th Avenue when I get to King St I blow my horn for about a block in memory of the G.
from: Troy --email: email@example.com
Thank you very much for the Paradise Garage website. I enjoy it immensely.
It was my 26 year old nephew in college in Richmond, VA who phoned be last night and told me about it during our conversation. He is a dj of house music now, having caught the fire from me, his uncle. I lived the Garage experience up close and am still recovering from a nervous breakdown I had after loosing so many friends from that time in my life.
Although, my intial entree into the Garage began in the ''79-'80. However, my best friend Sammy Nunez became a close member of the family and brought me closer as well. They are all gone now but I have so much that I have learned and remember so many intimate conversations between Michael Brody, Jamie De La Cruz and Sammy.
I was extremely quiet back then, still very much intrenched in the Pentacostal Church. But, I know where my spirit took off and it continues to soar, as I remain yours.
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