Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Mother's Father

I'm back--hopefully on a far more prolific basis than I was throughout 2006. Sorry, my head was just in a whole 'nother place, so the best I could manage were various little updates here and there. Thanks to all the fine folks who left comments, corrections, and encouragements--your input is most appreciated.

A while back, and I'm ashamed to say it was well over a year ago, Peter Crowley--former booker for Mother's and Max's Kansas City and manager of W/Jayne County--stumbled upon my sketchy entry on Mother's and contacted me about it. Deeming it "pretty accurate but incomplete," he kindly offered some further background details on the joint, which I shall henceforth paraphrase.

Crowley's association with Mother's began in 1974. He had been attempting to get Wayne County and the Back Street Boys a gig at CBGB to no avail, and asked a friend named Mike Umbers if he knew of any other bars where he could put on shows. Umbers recommended Mother's, a gay bar that was struggling to make a go of things. The management were amenable to Crowley's ideas and allowed him to turn the place into a rock & roll club.

Mother's occupied two narrow storefronts on 23rd. They shared a common disused kitchen area at the back, which served as a makeshift dressing room. Entry to the club was through the right-hand/eastern storefront, where the bar and jukebox were located. At the rear by the end of the bar you'd find the entrance to the "back room," or the left-hand storefront, where the shows would take place; admission, usually 3 bucks or so, was collected at this doorway. There had been a tiny stage by the blacked-out front window when Crowley arrived, but he enlarged it to accommodate bands.

During the first week Wayne County and the Backstreet Boys played two shows a night, with rotating support from the Fast and the Outkids--and the response was so good punters sometimes had to be turned away. Crowley stayed on at Mother's until a point in 1975 when he was hired to be the music and art director of Max's Kansas City. Some Mother's regulars took the place over and changed its name to ZEPPS. They continued to book bands there for a couple of years afterwards, but I have been unable to locate any reference to this incarnation of the club.

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