96 Tears Raises a Glass to the Late, Beloved Punk Stalwart Howie Pyro

The time period “safe space” doesn’t often conjure up photos of a black-ceilinged bar and a classic Seeburg jukebox full of vinyl that features “Have Love Will Travel,” by the Sonics, and (*96*)“What a Way To Die,” by the Pleasure Seekers (15-year previous Suzi Quatro’s all-female household and associates band). Not to point out steep stairs presided over by collectible Ramones “Demented Dollz” and an Iggy Pop picture for patrons to ogle as they descend to the cozy Cabin Down Beneath basement bar. (*96*)

The once-sketchy “Alphabet Avenues” at the moment are populated by giggly suburban bachelorette bar crawls of puke-ready partygoers who don’t know their Goo Goo Muck (additionally a 96 Tears home cocktail) from the Goo Goo Dolls. The weekend scene belies the space’s gritty cultural bona fides.  (*96*)

However at seventh Road and Avenue A, 96 Tears is taking again the night time. Jesse Malin, the cool, type, and hardworking godfather of the LES membership scene (which he started enjoying as a younger teen along with his band Coronary heart Assault in the early ‘80s), has co-created 96 Tears in homage to his bandmate and greatest buddy, Howie Pyro, who died in Could 2022 of Covid-related pneumonia, following a lengthy battle with liver illness. (*96*)


Whether or not “96 Tears” is the first punk track could also be up for debate, however the title was tattooed on Pyro’s neck. And that O.G. aesthetic interprets into the bar.(*96*)


The November 16 opening of 96 Tears noticed a packed home of former Coney Island Excessive (Malin’s iconic ’90s St. Marks live performance/membership venue) regulars, document execs, and scene staples sampling the extremely quaffable (*96*)Jet Boy (tequila, raspberries, peppercorn syrup, and lemon) and (*96*)Sex Beat (rum-based, with pineapple, ginger, and bitters) cocktails. They’re as scrumptious as drinks as they’re as songs. The (*96*)Goo Goo Muck cocktail is a combo of tequila and inexperienced chartreuse, and true insiders will know that the Cramps’ track title was additionally Pyro’s electronic mail deal with. (*96*)

As Malin glad-hands associates previous and new, patrons take iPhone snaps of a poster touting (*96*)The Nice Rupert, the “world’s worst magician,” together with a 1971 “Babylon” live performance poster promoting a present with the Stooges, the GTOs, and the Cockettes at Hollywood Palladium. (The gig was canceled due to the first break-up of the Stooges.)(*96*)

“A lot of the places I’ve been involved in, we did it initially not as a business,” Malin explains to the (*96*)Voice(*96*). “We did it for fun and for the music that we loved. It really was always about having a place to go where you’d hear something that you didn’t hear in other clubs or on the radio. Over the years, to be honest, the weekends in Manhattan got taken over, and my friends faded into their lives and middle-aged middle class. [We’re now] playing a lot of mainstream pop in our clubs on the weekends. So 96 Tears will be a safe place where anybody can go any night of the week, even Saturday, and hear only music that’s out of Howie’s collection.”(*96*)

Whether or not “96 Tears” is the first punk track could also be up for debate, however the title was tattooed on Pyro’s neck. And that O.G. aesthetic interprets into the bar. “It’s an experience without feeling like you’re in a junk store or museum,” describes Malin. “There’s stuff where you feel Howie’s presence in there. It’s not just rock and roll. There’s Warhol. Big Daddy Roth Rat Fink stuff. There’s monster stuff, Bela Lugosi autographed things, Screamin’ Jay Hawkins. It just goes all over the map.”(*96*)

Of explicit observe for music purists is a promotional ashtray that includes a graphic of an overripe banana, with the catchphrase, “Don’t you like a banana?” Howie discovered it in an LES junkshop in the ’80s and questioned if it might have been the picture Andy Warhol appropriated for the first Velvet Underground album—fairly the artifact for students to pore over. “I mean, the man collected his whole life. So we have about 5% that we cherry-picked from his collection,” says Malin of the cornucopia of cool. (*96*)

Whereas Pyro had lived in Los Angeles for years, the place he’d initially moved to play with Danzig, the musician/DJ was a true New Yorker. He’d expressed to each Malin and 96 Tears co-owner Jonathan Toubin that one thing akin to the new bar was on his want record. (Johnny T. from Niagara/Bowery Electrical is the third companion in the venue.)(*96*)

Pyro and Malin, greatest associates and D-Technology bandmates, had been a ubiquitous duo for a very long time; Malin has already honored his buddy with profit live shows on each Coasts. Now there’s one thing extra everlasting that serves as each homage to Pyro and respite from the homogenization under 14th Road, the place gentrification has shooed away too many ghosts of hardcore glory and post-punk revelry. As a press launch for 96 Tears factors out, the new venue is wanting to seize a little bit of lighting in new bottles, noting that the space’s “tightly-knit community has long been in need of an uncompromising underground rock and roll bar worthy of its quirky neighborhood mythology; a hangout with a decor, soundtrack, and spirit that embodies the unconventional cultural history that made downtown internationally famous.”(*96*)

In different phrases, an unpretentious outlet for these outdoors the Billie Eilish technology. “Like, my friend Butch Walker was in town, and he asked me, ‘Where can we go after the gig Saturday?’ I get that a lot. I was like, ‘To tell you the truth, the Gremlins have taken over here,’” admits Malin. “So this is a place with both floors where fans can now come again. And I can actually sit there on any night and feel the music and feel Howie’s presence, like a celestial partner.”  (*96*)❖(*96*)

Katherine Turman has written for Leisure Weekly, SpinBillboard, and different publications, is the creator of Louder Than Hell: The Definitive Oral Historical past of Steel, and produces the traditional rock radio program Nights With Alice Cooper. She lives in Brooklyn.

96 Tears, 110 Avenue A, opens every day at 6 p.m. The Cabin Down Beneath is open from 6 p.m. to 4 a.m. Thursday by means of Saturday. The kitchen will probably be open till 4 a.m. on weekends, with delicacies together with choices from the Black Market Burger and Roberta’s Pizza.





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