The Doorman at the Mudd Club Tells All

Its Competitors Make Noise, but A.P.C. Is Happy to Make Clothes
August 24, 2017
Home and Work: From a Beloved Children’s Boutique to a French Décor Store
August 29, 2017
Show all

The Doorman at the Mudd Club Tells All

This post was originally published on this site
Want create site? Find Free WordPress Themes and plugins.

In the world of Manhattan night life, the doorman occupies the role of St. Peter. Heaven awaits inside, but to join the party you must first pass through the figure standing in judgment. To be rejected by the doorman is to momentarily feel as if your whole life has been lived in error. You have been judged unworthy.

The cover of Mr. Boch’s memoir.

How almost heartening, then, to read Richard Boch’s new memoir, “The Mudd Club” (Feral House), and hear the author confess to feeling insecure and to wanting to join the cool crowd when he worked the door at the seminal punk rock club.

Mr. Boch moved from his native Long Island to New York City in 1976 to be an artist. He rented an apartment in Greenwich Village, and registered for graduate studies at New York University, but never attended. Instead, he did drugs, worked on his art and ran around with fellow artists and musicians downtown.

In the fall of 1978, he made his way to the newly opened Mudd Club for the first time. Four months later, the owner, Steve Mass, hired him as a doorman there — a job that lasted 21 months but that seems to have resonated for a lifetime. He is known to many even today as “Richard from the Mudd Club.”

“Everything about the Mudd Club washed off on me, it never really went away,” Mr. Boch said last month, in a booth at the Roxy Hotel in TriBeCa, not far from his old job site.

Located at 77 White Street, in a six-story loft building owned by the artist Ross Bleckner, the Mudd Club was a dingy gray-and-black box inside, with a bar initially made out of folding tables and a bathtub behind them to chill the beer. The club’s self-mythologizing denizens were a mix of the famous (Debbie Harry, the Talking Heads), the soon-to-be famous (Jean-Michel Basquiat, Jeff Koons, Debi Mazar) and the famous-below-14th Street (Glenn O’Brien, Chi Chi Valenti).

As Mr. Boch describes in short, vivid, diarylike entries, the clubgoers danced, drank, snorted coke, watched live rock bands and held theme parties like the Puberty Ball in an anything-goes environment that seems impossible to recreate today.

Amos Poe, a filmmaker and a regular from the beginning, said of the place: “It was a dysfunctional circus that functioned. When Ronnie Cutrone said, ‘I want to put a cage in there and put women in the cage,’ there wasn’t a question about insurance problems. Steve would say, ‘Yeah, that’s great.’”

Mr. Boch took his job as the gatekeeper to the show seriously. He described his process for assessing the crowd bunched out front on a Saturday night: “If you started saying, ‘How long do we have to wait?’ that was a strike against you. If you said, ‘Is there a line?’ that was a strike against you. If you said to me, God forbid, ‘Studio 54 lets us in,’ that was the kiss of death.”

In his book, Mr. Boch recounts how Mr. Mass told him to not let in limousine-riding hotshots like Mick Jagger and David Bowie. Rejecting the world’s most famous rock stars was a task the 25-year-old doorman was unable to do, he said, giving both men wide berth when they showed up. In atonement, he recalled how one night he turned away Meat Loaf.

Mr. Boch elevated the doorman role to a performance. He exuded a “nervous energy of authority” and deployed “acid humor,” Mr. Poe said, to critique the crowd and play social experiments. Mr. Poe recalled watching one night as Mr. Boch told a pretty young woman she could come in, but her Wall Street-looking boyfriend had to stay outside: a merciless test of her loyalties.

Interactive Feature | Of the Moment The lifestyle newsletter from the Styles, Travel and Food sections, offering the latest trends to news you can use.

In 1980, two and a half years before it closed, Mr. Boch quit the Mudd Club, partly out of self-preservation. “I was using a lot of drugs,” he said. “My next job was the Peppermint Lounge, where I lasted six months. I was fired. I was out of control.” He cleaned up and went on to work as a manager for various restaurants and clubs in the city. In 2004, he sold his loft in TriBeCa for a bundle and relocated upstate (he keeps an apartment on the Upper West Side).

Unlike some of his friends, Mr. Boch didn’t emerge from the scene a famous artist. His career got sidetracked after he became Richard from the Mudd Club. But Mr. Boch’s tenure as doorman may have been a creative endeavor itself. “Richard’s job was to collect stories,” Mr. Poe said. “He was a sponge soaking in that stuff, but eventually, you’re going to have to squeeze that sponge out.”

Mr. Boch agreed.

“When people would talk to me back then, I would always say, ‘Identify me as an artist first, who works the door of the Mudd Club.’ Because just being the Mudd Club doorman, I bristled at that,” he said. “Now I’ve written this book. Everything I’m doing, I’m identifying myself as ‘Mudd Club doorman.’ In retrospect, I’m incredibly proud of having that job.”

Did you find apk for android? You can find new Free Android Games and apps.

Comments are closed.