Gene Krupa @ Metropole NYC Sep 1966

Capt Wierd

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I was born and raised in Manhattan. In 1966 I was 17 and the Metropole was between 48th & 49th St. Right around the corner from the biggest collection of music stores on one street anywhere. On week-ends the routine was that myself and two of my band-mates would haunt the stores on 48th Street checking out all the new equipment that had arrived that week. It was religiously followed by a trip to the Metropole to catch Woody Herman and his orchestra or whoever was being featured that week. We were too young to go inside because they served booze. But the front door was always wide open and there was generally a crowd out front on the sidewalk of about twenty to thirty people. We would weave our way to the front and watch some of the greatest players in the world play their asses off. Gene was one of the old-school great musicians that I got to watch from about thirty feet away. I watched his hands and feet like a hawk hunting food. That man always had a look on his face while he was playing like he had died and gone to Heaven. Gene would throw his head back sometimes and close his eyes while he wailed the tar out of those drums. It's the same look I saw many years later on a Sufi dancer who was lost in the ecstasy of deep meditation. Gene used to get that same 'far away' look as he played sometimes. It was a gas and a master class to watch him play.

I was a very lucky young drummer to have been able to see many of my drum heros up close and personal as I was growing up. See? New York isn't just a hell-hole and den of iniquity. It is and has always been, a hub of culture, music and art.

Great photos.

John
Hey John ditto on being brought up in New York, I used to visit all those shops and 48th Street and the walking over to the Metropole, I was 18 in 1966 and stood outside the Metropole watching Krupa
 

mlayton

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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.

welcome to the forum and thanks for a great first post!

mike
 

K.O.

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Those are cool photos! :notworthy:

Not sure where this was shot (probably somewhere in NYC) but here is some footage I found of Gene from around that same era.

 

GeneZ

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Those are cool photos! :notworthy:

Not sure where this was shot (probably somewhere in NYC) but here is some footage I found of Gene from around that same era.

Bingo! That was the Metropole!

Here is one of the comments below the video on YouTube.



  • Wow! Great clip. I was there that evening at the Metropole Cafe and was standing up front to Gene's left side. I was introduced to him right after this performance and in spite of the crowd and film and audio techs, he spent most of his break with a 16 year old taking drum lessons and his dad. What a class act and a perfect gentlemen besides being a father of modern drumming. Thanks for the post.

    drumminman49 7 months ago
 

K.O.

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Those are cool photos! :notworthy:

Not sure where this was shot (probably somewhere in NYC) but here is some footage I found of Gene from around that same era.

Bingo! That was the Metropole!

Here is one of the comments below the video on YouTube.



  • Wow! Great clip. I was there that evening at the Metropole Cafe and was standing up front to Gene's left side. I was introduced to him right after this performance and in spite of the crowd and film and audio techs, he spent most of his break with a 16 year old taking drum lessons and his dad. What a class act and a perfect gentlemen besides being a father of modern drumming. Thanks for the post.

    drumminman49 7 months ago
Wow I missed that comment (and it's my youtube video). Pretty cool.

Gene passed away before I had any concept of who he was but my drum teacher met him a few times and saw him perform in, among other places, the Blue Note in Chicago. He had some pictures taken of Gene by the club photographer, including the one below (circa 1957). This past summer he gave me one of the four Blue Note photo folders he had that Gene had signed for him. Quite a nice gift!
 
L

leedybdp

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My closest brush with Gene Krupa's fame was to play two nights at Krupa's Tavern on the far South Side of Chicago. The little bar was in the neighborhood where Gene grew up. The tavern was owned by his family for many years. I don't know if it's still there. Gene Krupa attended Bowen High School in Chicago. My wife attended and graduated from Bowen High in the mid 60's. She says that she sat at a desk in one class room where Krupa's name was carved in to the wood.
 

b/o 402

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Wow, great clip!

Did anybody else notice that Gene switched from traditional grip to matched at about 1:10? (just following up on some of the discussions over in General.)
 

Purdie Shuffle

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Capt. Weird wrote: Hey John ditto on being brought up in New York, I used to visit all those shops and 48th Street and the walking over to the Metropole, I was 18 in 1966 and stood outside the Metropole watching Krupa


Welcome to the forums!


We probably stood right next to each other in the crowd outside the Metropole once or twice and never knew we'd meet almost half a century later. Bill, the guy who started this thread sent me some of the little glass tiles that were once part of wall decorations at the club, along with a little piece of yellowed WMP wrap that came from Gene Krupa's bass drum. I have framed them along with Bill's letter and they hang by my computer in my office. Every once in awhile I look up at it and it takes me back immediately to those many times I stood out front as I watched and listened to some of the greatest musicians from that era. For any young musician, standing out in front of the Metropole was a Master-class.


Nice to meet a fellow traveler with shared memories/experiences. Hope to hear more from you in the future.


Welcome and regards to a fellow musician and New Yorker...


John
 

Resohead

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Having spent my formative years in Flushing, Queens, there was only one place I would go to for anything drum related. That was Manny's. In '66 I was 17, and would regularly hop on the #7 line into Manhattan, even for nothing more than a pair of sticks. It was an event, the cool stuff to look at in there, the pictures that lined the walls, and just down the block around the corner, the Metropole.
So Capt. W and John, add a third that very well may have been standing there next to you all those years ago.
 

Purdie Shuffle

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It's funny, we were all drummers of the exact same age. I wonder how many other young musicians went to 'church' at the Metropole?


Nice to meet you Reso...

John

BTW, I was born and raised in upper-west-side Manhattan. I was lucky, 48th Street was a 10 minute bus ride. I. (me and two other musician buddies) used to cut school to go to 48th St. and then to the Metropole. After hanging out by the club we'd go home and jam the rest of the afternoon away. What I consider an important part of; my wonderfully mis-spent youth! JV
 

GeneZ

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BTW, I was born and raised in upper-west-side Manhattan. I was lucky, 48th Street was a 10 minute bus ride. I. (me and two other musician buddies) used to cut school to go to 48th St. and then to the Metropole. After hanging out by the club we'd go home and jam the rest of the afternoon away. What I consider an important part of; my wonderfully mis-spent youth! JV
1949 -Jerome Ave in the Bronx. It was real nice then. "Vintage Bronx."
1950-ish - Family moved to Rockland county.
1965- Dad took me to Manny's for my first set. Ludwigs.

On another occasion it was my dad who went to the Metropole while me and some band members shopped for guitars. He caught Cab Calloway that day. Manny's is a highlight of fond memories of my youth. That whole area had a great feel about it.
 

zutty

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Another New Yorker who did the Manny's and Metropole pilgrimage. I'm also about the same age. This was when Manny's was further down the block towards 6th ave. if I'm not mistaken.
Danny at Manny's was really nice to me and steered me to the right cymbals and equipment. I'd also go around the corner to 46th st. and Henry Adler's shop as well where I got a Sonor 424 snare for $60 or so. A great drum.
 

Capt Wierd

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Even though I was born in Manhattan, my parents lived in Jackson Heights, Junction Blvd on the #7 line.

Moved to Babylon in the early 50s

Moved to Pa in 1958

Moved back to Jackson Heights in 1960

Bought my first kit in 1960, piece by piece, my first Premier kit from a music store down on Park Row, it wasn't Silver and Horland, just can't remember

Moved to Rego Park in 1964

Moved to Port Washington in 1966
 

Purdie Shuffle

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I'm so sorry for the hi-jack, but I have to ask... Do any of you guys remember the little old guy that used to put on a tuxedo and heavy stage make-up and play his snare drum for tips on B'way across the street from the Metropole? He was a real character this guy. He was old, maybe in his late 60's early 70's. Very strange looking little guy with red lipstick, painted on eyebrows like Groucho Marx and he couldn't play worth a lick! LOL Any of you ever see/hear him?

How about Moondog? Seven foot tall giant of a man that used to dress like a viking, fur skins, horned helmet, enormous shield, lance and all, and just stand there silently, staring straight ahead, on street corners in Manhattan. From time to time he used to hang out at the start of 5th Ave. near the archway in Washington Square Park in the Village.

Ghod, I loved growing up in N.Y. So many memories...

John
 

Capt Wierd

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John, oh yeah, I remember Moondog, now there is a guy who suffered no fools, blind poet, he eventually moved to some place in Europe and has since died

Anybody remember, Larry. He used to stand in front of the Brill Building aka 1619 Broadway and spit and curse at people passing by, true NY Wacko

Is Orange Julius still around, great stuff
 

zutty

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The guy with the makeup was actually quite a good drummer. He was featured in the movie Taxi Driver...He'd blurt out "Gene Krupa-1944 and then do a solo on his snare and move on down the block with his shopping cart. He was a regular for years around Broadway and 7th ave.
 

Purdie Shuffle

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Zutty - I'm going to rent Taxi Driver to check him out. I don't remember him as being that impressive as a drummer. We used to chuck quarters in his cup and listen to him for awhile. I just don't recall him being all that good. My memory is like swiss cheese however, so I'll check out Taxi Driver and give him another listen. I did love him though. A genuine, dyed in the wool New York character.

Capt. Weird - "[font="tahoma][size="2"]Is Orange Julius still around, great stuff[/size][/font]" Not the same as you remember. However, I'm glad to announce that Papaya King is still cranking out hot-dogs and Pina Coladas by the thousands on 72nd and B'way and over on 96th St. & 3rd Ave. in Germantown/east-side.


It would be nice if we could all hook up for lunch at the Papaya King for a chin-wag. Good times...

John
 

zutty

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John...I'm not sayin' he was an ace drummer, but he obviously did know some rudiments and was at one time probably a decent drummer before he went around the bend.
We used to also throw him some coins...Hey does Papaya King still have the $2 2 dog and a bev. special? grin..
 

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Nah, I don't recall either of those guys. But then I usually had on my patented NYC "I'm busy, leave me alone" face as I went about my business....lol

But I do agree with you John. I wouldn't give up my "Raised in NYC" experience for anything. It imbues one with a sense of street smarts I don't think you could find anywhere else in the country. (Great, now that I alienated everyone on the forum NOT from NY...lol) It was ALL here,first place the Beatles came, the greats were playin' at Birdland, and Bleeker, Dino Danelli lives here!
I don't know if it's the same nowadays, but in the 60's at least for me, I felt I was in the right place at the right time.

Capt.W, I wish I had a nickle for every time I passed thru Junction Blvd. on the 7. Since you were in the Jackson Hts. / Rego Park area, did you spend any time in the World's Fair?
 

Purdie Shuffle

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Zutty - '[font="tahoma][size="2"]Hey does Papaya King still have the $2 2 dog and a bev. special? grin.. '[/size][/font]
[font="tahoma] [/font][/color]
[font="tahoma][size="3"]It must be a $5.00 'special' by now! lol[/size][/font]
[font="tahoma][size="3"] [/size][/font]
[font="tahoma][size="3"]Reso - '[/size][/font][font="tahoma][size="2"]and Bleeker, Dino Danelli lives here![/size][/font][font="tahoma][size="2"]'[/size][/font]
[font="tahoma] [/font][/color]
[color="#474747"][font="tahoma][size="2"]Got a quick New York story for you:[/size][/font]

[font="tahoma] [/font][/color]
[color="#474747"][font="tahoma][size="2"]In the spring of 1967 my band was playing at a dive on 11th Street and Avenue A over on the lower east-side. An A&R man for Elan Associates (producers/mgmt for Jefferson Airplane, Hot Tuna and a ton of other 60's greats) was sitting in the audience. After our last set this suit walks over to me and the lead guitar player (the guy was accompanied by two gorgeous women, he had one hanging on each arm,) gives us each a business card and asks if we'd come to his office on Monday morning. Me and the guitar player looked at each other thinking that the guy was full of s**t and he was just trying to impress the ladies. Monday morning myself and the guitar player are at the Brill Building on 57th Street and we can't believe we're there. When we arrive at the offices we get treated like royalty and shown into the producers office. This little Jewish guy rolls in already talking sporting a white-boy afro, wearing tiny, round, hippie glasses with purple lenses and what looked like a Mambo shirt, you know, the ones with the big, puffy sleeves. As he's walking into the office babbling away, me and my buddy suddenly realized he was talking to us the whole time! He throws down two contracts in front of us explaining that we were being hired as session players for a new studio that they had built and to be part of a 'studio house band' that they wanted to put behind a singer they had signed. 1967, I'm 17 years old and I'm being contracted to play drums and get paid a whopping $400. a week pay plus more $ when we played gigs that -they- booked for us. That was four times more than my father was earning at that time. [/size][/font]

[font="tahoma] [/font][/color]
[color="#474747"][font="tahoma][size="2"]The studio was Ben-Gor Studios on Bleeker Street, near Bowery Ave. I worked there as a session drummer and with that in-house band for a year and a half. I blew it because of drugs. Heroin to be specific. Set me on a ride through Hell that lasted three years. I ended up in Phoenix House in 1969 as one of the founding core-group members. I've been happy and heroin-free since then. But man, the career in music I could have had! I was in the right place at the right time and in with the right people. I was subbing with groups like the Lovin' Spoonful and the Blues Magoos, groups that all went on to make records and tour. I wonder how many other similar stories there are. Guys that came real close to a career in music back in the 60's/70's that blew it because of drugs.[/size][/font]

[font="tahoma] [/font][/color]
[color="#474747"][font="tahoma][size="2"]New York story...[/size][/font]

[font="tahoma] [/font][/color]
[color="#474747"][font="tahoma][size="2"]John[/size][/font]

[font="tahoma][size="3"] [/size][/font]
 

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