I just wrote a Scorgies recollection with homage to Personal Effects on my own blog. I must say that the many nights that I spent at Scorgies were quite unique and will never be forgotten, even if they are hazy memories.
I hope that it is ok that I cross-post it here. If not, that’s cool, I will cease and desist!
Scorgies was the best room in the city for live bands. They had no chairs in the place. The drinking age was still 18 so the crowd was alive. Mark Nuj had the best sound system in place down there. You could stand right in front of the band or watch from three sides.
Click photo to advance. (from The Refrigerator.)
From September of 1981 to the very last day in February 1986, I lived in Rochester, NY and I loved every minute of it. It was a crazy time in my life.
When other contemporaries of mine were busy settling down, focusing on careers, procuring advanced degrees, getting married and starting families, nothing was further from my mind than any of that.
I wanted to live and to live very loudly. And so I did.
At that time I had no idea of the depths of my sad past, but I knew I wanted to be happy. Frankly, I wasn’t happy, but one must think of how the water cuts through the rock to form the canyon or how the sea pounds the rocks to create the sand. I was happy in process I suppose.
So while others were doing some of the aforementioned life living, I spent my free time slinking around all manner of unsavory nightspots, drinking, dancing and whiling the nights away. It was not unheard of for me in those days to be out until 2am, fall into bed in my tiny studio apartment on trendy Park Avenue and be up at and work by 8am the next morning. Oh to be 25!
One of my number one hangouts was this total dive of a bar and with a great music scene. It was called Scorgies. (I particularly liked this recollection from another Scorgies blog.)
This place was a scene unto itself and was also the venue for many a great band both local and national, international. Eventually it became my number one night spot.
This meant sauntering in and trying to look cool. I can’t imagine I ever pulled this off, but I did my best. One had big hair and wore lots of black, I think that was key. That and looking almost bored, as if you just happened to walk in unexpectedly.
I would usually be with my friend MG. My friend MG and I are no longer friends and I must say that of all my lost friendships, I mourn this one most profoundly. MG was the single funniest person I have ever known in my life. We were friends from December of 1982 until early in 2002 and I do not think the wound of loss will ever fully close.
Anyway, M and I would get into my one of our cars and head off to see what the night held for us. Generally from 1983-1986, that meant first stop was Scorgies.
After entering the smokey bar space, courage would be mustered to go to the bar. Why courage? The bartender never really liked us. Maybe he was that way with everyone, but total disdain was his usual response. Even when the place was empty, he’d generally ignore us until he had no choice. He was a real local character and he has left this mortal coil. He went by the name of Luke Warm and you can about him and his passing here. I hope that Luke is resting in peace.
Once some drinks were consumed and if it were a show night, one would stumble down the stairs to the very dark and even more smokey show space in the basement. Low ceiling, black walls (to my recollection) and always the spot to experience some great music.
There was a local band that played there a lot and to this day I love love love them and their music. Oh it is very dated and very 80’s, but ahhhhhh- I can never get enough. So many memories are tied around Personal effects and their music. You can read more about them right here as well as listen to some of their songs and see some videos. (I will have one for you at the end of this post – the song “Nothing Lasts Forever.” My favorite song of theirs is “So So Hard” but no vid for that one, but here is the audio.)
I recall some of the shows I went to at Scorgies but sadly many of them are faded due to what had to be too much beer and not enough sleep.
Except that I was getting older and in 1985 when I got to hear Alex Chilton in February and The Replacements in August I was 27 and nearing the bend to 28 years old. And my recollection of either show is shaky at best.
There were other nightspots – Idols opened in 1985 I think. While Scorgies was more of a punk place, Idols was definitely a true 80’s dance club, although it had its own punky edge.
I once went on a date there with a guy that I met through work, he was so knowledgeable about music! While we were there a song came on and he said “This song always makes me think of being at such and such.” The such and such indicated he was a young teen when the song came out.
I asked him, “How old are you?” and he looked at me and said “21!” WTF? “How old are you?” he asked in return? “27.” Ohhhhh…. We remained friends but that was that. (We each thought we were around 23 or 24.)
Another place that I spent a lot of time at in that last year was right across the street from Idols, it was called The Liberty and it was a very chic gay bar. My friend MG and I would traipse back and forth between the two – going from one environment to the other.
Such was my life in those days. If I wanted to live out loud was definitely doing so, but sadly in ways that were not healthy for me.
That said, I can’t imagine I would change too much. What happens in the past is what makes you who you are when you finally start to pay attention. Which is how I have come to see things as a 51 year old theology student, church secretary, stepmother and suburban resident.
Nothing lasts forever, as the song says. Enjoy.