Gene Krupa @ Metropole NYC Sep 1966

Purdie Shuffle

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Hey Bill, Your comment about what images may have been reflected in the mirror tiles from the Metropole inspired me to create this little graphic. I just took a photo of some mirror tiles and got a little creative with them. Like moments in time are trapped in them. The black tile represents the closure of the club. It's dark now. The golden tile represents the memories that 'might have been' had the club stayed open. The rest are the images/memories that are frozen in time forever in those tiles.

I included the Krupa photo...

Enjoy,

John
 

hawker

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KINGTRIXON, congrats on the photos, excellent deal.

mlvbs, thanks for the update and photos from the Metropole. Kinda sad, but time passes and things always change. But what a jazz history that place had.

In 1967 at age 17 I flew to NYC from Rochester, NY just to see Gene. I had never been to the city before but I had saved up my money, watched the Gene Krupa Story a few times, listened to all my GK albums one more time, checked the Down Beat club listings just to be sure and made my reservations on Mohawk Airlines. When I got out of the cab right in front of the Metropole I was so excited I could barely count out the cab fare. I walked into the club, looked around and didn't see Gene. So, I asked the bartender, "IView attachment 69019s Gene Krupa playing here?" "Not anymore, he got sick last night" Arrrghhg. Disappointed doesn't begin to describe the feeling in the pit of my stomach. I spent the rest of the weekend looking for some jazz I could afford and the closest I got to it was Al Hirt playing at the Riverboat in the basement of the Empire State Building. Bummer.

Fast forward to 1970, I was now 20 and heard that Gene was coming out of retirement at the Plaza Hotel.
Opening night I was there once again. In the audience was Benny Goodman, Sonny Greer and others I can't remember right now. Before the show started I slipped a waiter some money and asked if there was any way I could say Hi to Gene after the show and that I had come all the way from Rochester. I think it helped that even though I was 20 I looked like I was 16. A few minutes later the waiter comes back to my table...with Gene. I do believe I wet my pants. Gene was extremely gracious and kind, asked about my playing and then out of nowhere a women with large camera shows up and snaps my picture.

I have to be honest...musically it was not very good. Dick Wellstood was on piano, Eddie Shu on tenor,clarinet and harmonica and Scotty Hot on bass. Gene was nowhere near the drummer I had grown up listening to. During his big solo, he spent a lot of time trying to get the spotlights he always used to work properly. It was distracting and disappointing at best. Interestingly I am now within months of the age that Gene was that night. So sir...I cut you lots of slack, growing old is not for the faint of heart.

If I did this correctly, here is that photo of Gene and me.
 

marko52

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hawker----great story! Better than if GK had showed for the first show. & John, nice work with the "mirror art"....marko
 

wflkurt

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Hawker that is a great story! I saw Buddy Rich in 1984 when I was 13 and that was an experience I won't forget. I so wish I could go back in time to all these old jazz clubs in NY and just soak in the music! I love the Art Blakey stuff from birdland in the 50's. I would'nt have minded if Gene was'nt what he used to be. People get old and it is a part of life.
 

pwfenton

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Are the rest of the photos in this mosaic from this performance? I would love to see them to see if I, or the girl I married a month later are in them. I was there. Contrary to some descriptions in this thread, he was not in the main bar that you walk in off the street into. That had rock music and scantily clad go-go dancers. Gene Krupa was upstairs where they had a sort of dining room with a wait staff. The curtains you see behind Mr. Krupa cover the front window, so he was playing with his back to the large window that was up above the marquee in front of the club. It was actually a pretty strange experience. Mr. Krupa seemed like he was ill. He was very shaky, and did not seem at all like the master that he was. I was still very thrilled to be seeing him that up close, but I remember feeling a little bad for him. If you look at the photo where you can see the man sitting at a table on the right... we would have been about one table or so farther away and on the other side of the room.

By the way, I found this forum today because I was searching for info about The Metropole. I was trying to find the address. I wound up going to a technical school right near there, shortly after I was married.
 

Snooter

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Thanks for posting this. Reading this thread has been great,so many stories within one big one. Gene Krupa is the reason why I practice rudiments. About a year ago I bought my first vintage kit,a 1963 WMP Slingerland Krupa kit and felt in someway I needed to hit the pad again. I have since watched many Krupa vids and listened to some tracks thus becoming quite immpressed and inspired by him. When I was younger I don't think I ever thought of the ones before me. Growing up is a good thing. Gene was one heck of a showman and drummer whos legacy will live forever.
 

EDL

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I grew up as a kid a few blocks away at 150 W 55th st. In 1966 I was 10 years old..but we were always walking by the Metropole and looking in there to see who was playing..they never let us more than peek in though..sad to see so much history gone..NYC aint what it used to be thats for sure..
 

JOE COOL

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the metropole was well known for its jazz.
but it eventually gave rock n roll a try.
in fact felix cavalieri met dino danelli there and the rest is rascal history.

for a short time dino actually lived in a room in the metropole.
he was influenced by krupa,payne,hampton,and cole among others.
forum member bob cianci wrote about it in his book,great rock drummers of the 60s.
 

Velociamator

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I had a girlfriend once who grew up next door to Gene Krupa on Ritchie Drive in Yonkers. Ah, if only it had been me instead! I did get to meet Gene in 1964 at a show in Connecticut when I was just starting to play. Most inspiring.
 

GeneZ

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It was actually a pretty strange experience. Mr. Krupa seemed like he was ill. He was very shaky, and did not seem at all like the master that he was. I was still very thrilled to be seeing him that up close, but I remember feeling a little bad for him. If you look at the photo where you can see the man sitting at a table on the right... we would have been about one table or so farther away and on the other side of the room.

Maybe some here don't know? He was very ill at that time. He had leukemia.
 

9Lb Tongue

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LOVE that RED Slingy Logo on the bass. Gene was one of the most animated drummers of his time...

those 2 pics are awesome..
 

Purdie Shuffle

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I am reviving this thread because I had to share this with you guys. Yesterday I received a letter from Bill. Here is a copy of the note and the contents. It is one of the coolest gifts anybody ever gave me. I spent a lot of Saturday afternoons as a young man (teenager) standing in front of the Metropole listening to Woody Herman's big band or whoever was being featured that week-end. To be able to hold a little piece of that club in my hands is a real thrill for me. To have even a tiny piece of wrap from the bass drum Gene Krupa played in the 40's is just beyond words. Only you guys could appreciate what these small items represent.

One man's trash is another man's TREASURE. Thanks Bill for a very cool gift!

John
 

philacav

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Cool stuff :occasion5:
Oddly, there is not much written about the Metropole's history...online or anywhere else.

The club was at 725 Seventh Avenue...the building is still there, and the marquee is heavily altered, but still used today in its current use as "Lace" gentleman's club. So the go-go dancer angle that took root in the late 60's on the ground floor kept evolving, it seems. It's still a long, thin bar. The bouncers at the door are quite aware that the club was once a great jazz club and are happy to confirm it was indeed the Metropole.

Don't forget to get a look at exterior/interior of Metropole in the first several minutes of "The Odd Couple" starring Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau from 1968. Downstairs bar, rock band, go-go dancers are all right there in full color - and interestingly, a vibraphone and upright piano sit on the stage silent as the rock band plays at right. When Lemmon goes into the club, you can make out "Lionel Hampton" on the side view of the marquee...could it have been there from his set? I'm not sure.

Maybe someday someone will revive Metropole at that location...NY hardly has much of a jazz scene...or could it be there's sadly not much of a jazz scene anywhere anymore?

Fortunately, the sounds live on in albums, and with the bands that still play.
 

madchops82

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I am reviving this thread because I had to share this with you guys. Yesterday I received a letter from Bill. Here is a copy of the note and the contents. It is one of the coolest gifts anybody ever gave me. I spent a lot of Saturday afternoons as a young man (teenager) standing in front of the Metropole listening to Woody Herman's big band or whoever was being featured that week-end. To be able to hold a little piece of that club in my hands is a real thrill for me. To have even a tiny piece of wrap from the bass drum Gene Krupa played in the 40's is just beyond words. Only you guys could appreciate what these small items represent.

One man's trash is another man's TREASURE. Thanks Bill for a very cool gift!

John

This is soooooooooooo cool. Awesome stuff guys.
 

atomicdave

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TOTAL SCORE ! I bet everyone here collects vintage drums (and) parts, ads, catalogs, but real pics...? I'd keep, copy/enhance, and when you are ready to part with them contact the Precussive Arts Society/museum so that many and later generations can see them
 


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