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Life Arts    H3'ed 1/11/09

Bottom Line Blues

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The club. Can’t say that I’ve been to many to hear musicians or to even hear a comic do stand-up, but from what I’ve read, it seems clubs are where the musician (or comic) develops into the god or behemoth that Americans become fans of.


The club prepares musicians for the recording of that classic album.


If you can’t play in the club, you probably will have a shelf life of a year or two. That hit will make it on to the radio and then before you know it you are “has-been” who later will be referred to as a “never-was.”


Not many “has-beens” came through the Bottom Line Club, which currently has a superb playlist of live blues jams from the club featured at Wolfgang’s Vault.


The Bottom Line Club faced eviction and closed its doors in 2004. The club owed more than $185,000 in back rent and, according to a NY Times article, “could not agree on a new lease with N.Y.U., which was demanding a $1.5 million renovation and an initial 250 percent rent increase when negotiations broke down.”


SIRIUS radio and Bruce Springsteen attempted to save the club where music always came first. But, the club stopped booking shows in mid-January of 2004 and Allan Pepper and Stanley Snadowsky, choosing to not wait for the eviction notice from NYU, shut down weeks before its 30th anniversary.


John Hiatt, Suzanne Vega, and Dar Williams also attempted to save the Bottom Line Club with a benefit concert in December of 2003. They took turns singing, joking, and telling stories and anecdotes. At the end of the show, the 400 attendees who had braved freezing weather were asked to e-mail four elected officials (Senators Hillary Clinton and Chuck Schumer, Rep. Jerrold Nadler and Mayor Mike Bloomberg) about helping save the Bottom Line.


Many of the musicians thought NYU was determined to evict the club because the university’s management thought it simply was “not right to have a not-for-profit educational institution subsidizing a for-profit entertainment business.” The Bottom Line Club operated in an NYU building and was taking up space that NYU definitely could use.


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Kevin Gosztola is managing editor of Shadowproof Press. He also produces and co-hosts the weekly podcast, "Unauthorized Disclosure." He was an editor for OpEdNews.com
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