HURRAH! A new issue of Bananas, New York’s own garage punk zine, is out this Thursday, October 27th. If you’re not familiar, Bananas is a free, more-or-less quarterly print zine that covers everything that’s cool- current garage rock, punk and psych bands from New York and everywhere else, the golden age of porn (really!), good local eats for rockers, as well as coverage of foreign festivals & scenes.
I contributed a couple of articles to #4 including a piece on Don Pedro, our first feature about a venue. Jake ‘Noodles’ Winn, the once and future (current) booker of Don Pedro and mainman of WLWL, was interviewed for this issue (an interview with Mitro Valsamis, new owner of Don Pedro, will run in issue #5). Â I wasn’t able to fit everything in from our two hour wine-soaked chat, so I’ve posted some extra bits below for you to get a taste of the article. Â The first thing is Jake telling one of his favorite stories about Pedro– this is one that you’ve got to hear straight from the horse’s mouth, so I’ve posted a clip of it.
The interview covered everything from our terribly hazy recollections of the first Tim Warren-booked shows more than five years ago to 2010′s near demise of the bar… a subject that Jake has an opinion or two on:
JAKE: Things got a new attitude. Â It was a little less laissez faireâ€¦ Â the big thing for me when I started at Pedro was that the bands get the money from the door. Â And we do that today. Â And Iâ€™ve told everybody that the day we stop doing that is the day I stop working there. So that kinda slid off and there was a little less diplomacy with the bands for a little while.
Iâ€™m choosing my words carefully…
Iâ€™ll name names. Itâ€™s not a problem. Â Bree (who booked Pedro for about a year) and I get along really well. Â People think we hate each other but we get along. Â We have an antagonistic relationship but we are kinda friendsâ€¦ kinda. Â But Iâ€™ll drop up to Breeâ€™s place for a beer sometimes. Â I think we just have a different style of running things and I think there was just a lot of sudden shock when I stopped doing the booking and she started.
Obviously, Iâ€™m better at itâ€”that much is just clearâ€¦ (laughs but means it) but I will say this. Â There were three people in the bar that had been on my ass, like â€œoh if youâ€™re quitting, Iâ€™ll do the booking!â€ and she was the one who stepped up and did it. Â And she did it differently from me, and I donâ€™t agree with all the ways she did it, but I think that to her credit, she was the one who stepped up and did the work. Â Everyone else was excited about the social aspect, but not the work.
(Bree responds: “Him and I do different things. I’m working towards doing more event style booking and working with sponsors. Pedro’s was a good learning experience for me and I don’t shit on any of it. Â I have nothing but love for Jake and Pedro’s!”)
S: I canâ€™t say very specifically when, but I think at the end of 2010, it seemed like things were not going well for the bar. Â And we started hearing rumors that Med was thinking of selling the place.
JAKE: I think the neighborhood changed too. Â I really do believe that the neighborhood, they wanted to bring it up a little more than it was. So they let the crazy white kids do what they wanted for a while.
S: But that sort of made it safe for other places to open, which had other effectsâ€¦
JAKE: Yeah. Â Iâ€™ll say thisâ€”you couldnâ€™t have a Duck Duck (typical, unremarkable Williamsburg-style bar a few blocks away that opened after Pedro) without Don Pedro having been there first. Â You have to get the white kids who will pay $3 or $4 for a beer and you have to let them behave insanely until the point when you get the white kids who will pay $6 or $7 for a beer are willing to come to the neighborhood and once theyâ€™re there, thereâ€™s some sort of memo that goes out. Â We used to get away with everything at Pedro for a long time. Â By the time things were going downâ€¦ I think the breaking point was we had a bartender lead out in handcuffs by the police for serving an underage guy. Â More than anything, that was a neighborhood change.
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PS) Got any great photos from Don Pedro? Â We’re collecting the best shots for issue #5! Contact me at email@example.comGoogle+ Tags: Bananas Magazine, don pedro, gentrification, jake noodles, Lady Bree