Tag Archives: 1998

Nyabinghi 1998-2006

Opened in 1998 by Greg Barratt, who had owned another bar by the same name in Morgantown, West Virginia, the Nyabinghi at 1229 Salt Springs Road served as a haven for heavier stoner rock and metal as well as many other sorts of music in its brief existence. Plenty of acts who were big names or on their way to becoming big names played there such as the White Stripes, Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, Clutch and the Melvins. Hell, even former child actor Corey Feldman played their once with his terrible band. It was an eclectic place with a killer jukebox and beer selection that made a name for itself on the national music scene with the Emissions From The Monolith music festival.

In 2006, Barratt put it up for sale on eBay, but a a potential buyer with the means to meet the $150,000 bid for the building and equipment never emerged. Nyabinghi’s last night was on New Year’s Eve 2006. The building fell into foreclosure and later housed a bar called Pope’s Pub for a short time. A deliberately set fire in Jan. 2009 caused $5,000 damage to the stage area. Sometime in the last two years, the building was razed.

Tagged , , , , , , , ,

Day after day, I get angry

Since I keep seeing these Hewlett Packard commercials featuring a mash-up of “Blister in the Sun”, I have to wonder if Violent Femmes’ founder Gordon Gano is having a bit of a rough go of it. I also can’t help but remember back on October 4, 1998 when the band played Beeghly Center. Kings of the “folk punk” or whatever you want to call it in the ’80s and early ’90s, the Femmes were in the beginning stages of a decade long dissolution process in 1998. Dropped from Interscope Records earlier in the year, the band was out on the road doing some fine tuning for a series of live recording dates in Wisconsin from October 25-31. Those recordings would become the Viva Wisconsin! album. Freak Magnet, the album the band recorded for Interscope before being dropped, would not see the light of day for another two years even though they were playing songs from that album on this tour. So miffed by the commercial failure of Freak Magnet, the band never wrote or recorded any original music again.

The then 34-year-old Gordon Gano who greeted patrons at the Beeghly Center was surly, dismissive and at times agitated. It’s not to say the performance wasn’t good. Bass player Brian Ritchie and drummer Guy Hoffman did their best to keep the energy positive. It’s likely that was something that became a pattern for those two as the band played sporadic gigs for the next decade before calling it a day in 2009. As for the cause of the break-up, it had a lot to do with the rampant licensing of songs for commercial use by Gano.

WHAT THE SHOW SOUNDED LIKE: I recorded some of it on a cheap tape recorder. Here is a link to an interesting exchange between Gano and the audience regarding the death of Gene Autry which happened a few days earlier. Of course, if you want a good sounding recording representative of what was played that night, pick up the Viva Wisconsin! album.

Tagged , , , , , ,