This line should be green. The Club was located in an old theatre and TV studio. In 1927, when the building was just built it was the home of the "San Carlo Opera Company". It was then followed by theatres like "the New Yorker", "Casino the Paris", "Federal Music Theatre" to finally in 1943 become a TV studio of Columbia Broadcasting Co. (CBS). CBS used the place as a soundstage for radio and television and from this studio successful shows like the Johnny Carson show, Beat the clock and $64000 question were broadcasted. The CBS people called the place Studio 52, since it was their 52'nd studio (and it was not called Studio 53 as stated by many sources'). Because of the premises former use as a TV studio the name for the new club was first meant to be just the Studio, but since it was used to be called Studio 52 by CBS and it was located in W. 54'th Street someone came up with the name Studio 54. The choice wasn't hard - this WAS the name!!! CBS Studio 52 ticket Steve Rubell and Ian Schrager Many people had been interested in turning the old theatre into a nightclub. But it wasn't until the two (to become) owners, Steve Rubell and Ian Schrager, saw the place something really happened. They loved the place at once and only a week after they first saw it they had signed the lease. Both Steve and Ian had been working in the nightclub business before they managed to hit it off big time with "the Studio". They had also been in the restaurant business for a long time and they currently owned a club in Queens, called the Enchanted Garden. In the Enchanted Garden Steve and Ian had a very talented DJ playing, a guy who is the pioneer DJ - Nicky Siano. Nicky started playing at Steve and Ian's club in 1976 and about two weeks before they opened up Studio 54 they hired Nicky as one of the new clubs two resident DJ's. The other resident DJ was a guy called Richie Kaczor. Steve and Ian also had a third partner, Jack Dushey, who was a professional retailer and in real estate. He was the new club's financial backer. Ian and Steve had first met Jack in early 1976 when he held his kids Bar Mitzvah in their club - Enchanted Garden. The guys had started talking and they told Jack they wanted to open up a club in Manhattan. Jack, as the real estate man he was, said he was interested in being part of that. When Rubell and Schrager had found the location they approached Dushey again and he gave the guys a couple of hundred thousand dollars and said; "Take the money and I'll get 50% of the net profit." Demolition and construction work took about a year and by the time Studio 54 opened, some $600'000 - $700'000 had been spent to get the place ready to party. For the Premier night of the Studio 54 the guys hired this girl and party promoter named Carmen D'Alessio to invite the "right" people for the grand opening. Steve and Ian had met her at their former partner Maurice Brahms' club Infinity. Carmen got the job as the new clubs PR manager and she had also been working with Steve and Ian earlier at the Enchanted Garden. Time went closer and closer to the opening night, some 5000 invitations were out and people were working day and night to get the place ready in time... Then in April 26, 1977 - THE day was there. People were still working in the club when some of the invited people started gathering outside the club. And about half an hour late the club opened up its doors for the first time. There weren't much people entering at this "early" hour, but within a couple of hours the place was crowded and outside the doors it was chaos. Even people with invitations couldn't get in! Studio 54 - Dance floor Studio 54 - Dance floor The club was huge, about 100 meters long and 80 meters wide, but it still had its theatrical feel, not only by the spectacular people who went there, but also because of the balcony and stage was still there. In the balcony there were sitting areas with tables and beneath the balcony was the huge parquet dance floor with all its strobe-lit columns that descended from the ceiling and its pumping music. Around the dance floor there were silver banquettes and the mirrored diamond-shaped main bar was located under the balconies, close to the dance floor. Studio 54 - the Rubber Room At the top of the club, in the 3rd floor, overlooking both the balcony and the huge dance floor was the infamous Rubber room. The room had a High-Tec bar and was designed with thick rubber on the walls to be easily washed down with water and soap after all the sex and drugs going on up there. Some people used to refer to the Rubber room as "Upstairs", but there were actually more secret places above the Rubber room were more private sex took place. Those areas were the real "Upstairs" to the initiated. In the ceiling above the dance floor there were cat walks for the maintenance of the lightning. It's said that the owners used to spend a great deal of time up there doing drugs and having sex above the heads of the hundreds of dancing people beneath. In the basement was the room not anyone could enter - the VIP room. I [Discoguy] got a chance to talk to Paolo Miranda, who started working as Busboy and later Head Busboy in the club in July of 1977 and was there for 2 years. Paolo, or Paul-Michael as he was called back then, fills me in on the VIP lounge... "I wouldn't really call it a VIP lounge, it was the basement. There were wire chain link fences all around with all the supplies for special decorations behind them. There was an Elton John pinball machine down there and a few white plastic lawn chairs. But I was down there all the time. Also there was the 2-year anniversary party down there, full of lots of celebrities." Studio 54 DJ - Richie Kaczor Richie Kaczor was the DJ playing this opening night and the first song he played was "Devil's gun" by C.J. & Co.. Richie was also the DJ playing in the weekends and Nicky Siano played the second night and in the weeknights. Nicky couldn't play weekends at "the Studio" since he owned his own popular New York club - the Gallery and was playing there in the weekends. It was also Nicky who played the night of the famous Bianca Jagger birthday bash in May 1977, in which she rode into the club on a white horse led by a naked body-painted guy. What's surprising is that while a DJ like Larry Levan was well-known among the crowd of the Paradise Garage, not many people knew the names of the resident DJ's of Studio 54. Paolo adds about the DJ's: "Richie Kaczor was THE DJ during the time I worked there. He was truly amazing. He would blend a song for a good 10 minutes. It was seamless. You would never know the song changed. Now a days, they blend for about 10 to 30 seconds and not very good. I got really spoiled at 54." Nicky worked at Studio 54 for about half a year, then he actually got fired because he preferred to spend hours in the bathroom getting high on drugs instead of getting high on playing records in the DJ booth. This Nicky told me himself when I got the chance to speak to him, but for the record I also wanna tell that he stopped taking drugs many many years ago. Nicky also had so many memories from the Studio that it would take a whole book to tell it all, but when he played the famous Birthday bash for Bianca Jagger was probably his most precious memory. That night was really a blast, he told me. He also told me a little about the owners of Studio 54, Steve and Ian. "Steve was straight when I met him...? Ian was always the level headed business man, and he was straight, all the time... I love them both, Steve and Ian were really good to me, and I will always consider them great supporters and friends." He thinks a little more and continues; "Yes, there was also this celebrity lounge at 54 that made Sodom and Gomorra look like kindergarten!" (the VIP lounge!) People hoping to get into Studio 54 The Studio also had it own door policy, they wanted to get a perfect mix of people which actually meant that even celebrities was stopped at the door and didn't get in. This young guy, Marc Benecke ruled the door and was instructed by Steve to mix a perfect salad every night. That way it didn't really matter if you were famous or not - you just had to fit it at this time. The doorman Marc even became more famous to the guests of the 54 than Ian Schrager. Steve was also often in the entrance selecting people to let in and it's said that Steve once didn't like the shirt a guy was wearing. He told the guy he wouldn't get in with that shirt on, the guy asked if he could get in if he took it off. Steve said yes and the guy took it off and was allowed to enter the club, bare-chested. So it was basically just a question of matching what Steve and Marc were looking for to add to their salad for the night. Some people tried desperately to get in and there's actually another true story about this guy who got stuck in the air duct in his attempt to enter the club - one way or another... I asked Paolo about the 'salad' door policy and as he says; "It's what made the club so popular. Working there meant I had no worries, and it made me feel special at the time." Not matching the 'salad of the day' was what happened to Nile Rodgers and Bernard Edwards of Chic, when the guys were contacted by Grace Jones who wanted to work with them for her next album... Grace invited them as her guests to her gig down at the Studio 54. It was New Years Eve in 1977, the guys were all dressed up and it was snowing and freezing cold... When Nile and Bernard got to the club the doormen couldn't find their names on the guest list. Nile and Bernard explained that they "were" Chic and that Grace was expecting them. But the doormen just wouldn't let them in... In anger they went back home to Nile and in just 25-30 minutes they wrote a whole song they called "Fuck off". It went like this... "aaahh Fuck off". They just know this was a hit song and they (of course) had to change the title to be able to release it. So they changed the text and that line to "aaahh Freak out" and their biggest hit was a fact - "Le Freak". The song topped the US charts for 6 weeks and "Le Freak" became Atlantic Records biggest selling single ever. It also became the 3'rd biggest single in the music history. It's still the most sold record ever in Canada and the single sold over 6 million copies only in the US. But after 6 million copies sold of the single, Nile and Bernard choose to stop the single to not have it cut down the album sales. Who knows how big it would have become if they hadn't stopped it!? But Nile and Bernard got their revenge... About one year later to this episode at Studio 54, everything related to the club and its name was a big industry and at this time Ian & Steve were credited as Executive Producers of this Casablanca Records double LP called A night at Studio 54. The top tune and first song out of this album was no less than - "Le Freak". Ian & Steve thanked their guests like this in the album; "To all our guests at Studio 54, whose energy made this record possible... Our sincere Thanks!" Beside the great Chic track the album included other great Disco songs regularly played in the club like; "I Love the Nightlife (Disco round)" (Alicia Bridges), "Let's All Chant" (Michael Zager Band), "Y.M.C.A" (Village People), "Last Dance" (Donna Summer), "I Love America" (Patrick Juvet), "Instant Replay" (Dan Hartman) and "(Push, push) In the Bush" (Musique). One fun detail to know about the Patrick Adams act Musique (with Jocelyn Brown on lead vocals) was that they shot their video for "(Push, Push) In the Bush", in the club. Paolo remembers the music played: "It's still the best dance music around; 'Last Dance', 'I love the Nightlife', 'Born to be Alive', 'Push, Push in the Bush', I could go on and on... What made the music so special was the light show that went with it. As the music became more alive, so did the light show." Now everybody can get into Studio 54 - Jeans Now everybody can get into Studio 54 - Jeans Another fun detail is that besides "Le Freak" which originally was a hate song of Studio 54, there were also many other songs mentioning or referring to this "Disco Mecca"... In Dennis Parker's "New York by night" he sings; "At Studio 54, they're waiting at the door, can't get in - just can't win... This is N.Y. by night, this is N.Y. by night so get ready for the time of your life...". Amanda Lear got famous for her song "Fashion Pack" in which she sings; "Hustling at the door to get into Studio 54... Liza dancing on the floor and Bianca walking through the door". Mick Jackson, writer of "Blame it on the boogie", wrote the song "54th Street" in which he sings about a club in Manhattan, USA where they are dancing in a Studio on 54th Street... As said before, everything related to the club and the Studio 54 name was a big industry. You could even buy yourself a pair of Studio 54 Jeans. The stitching on the back pockets, which every brand try to find its own unique one, even said 54 in the studio's logo style. Studio 54 logo by Gilbert Lesser Man in the moon with his silver spoon The name and the special Studio 54 logo became well-known in no time all over the world. The brilliant logo was designed by a guy named Gilbert Lesser. Almost as famous at the logo was this sign of the "Man in the Moon" inhaling cocaine (???) from his silver spoon that was hanging on the wall in the club. Unfortunately inhaling coke and using other drugs was quite common in the club, but this wasn't something special for Studio 54. At this time drug abuse was kind of common in all clubs. Drug use was like a lifestyle back then. Probably all the money and all the clubs famous and regular guests attracted people selling them. Some of the regular guests at Studio 54 were people like Andy Warhol, the designer Halston, Diana Ross, Liza Minelli and lots and lots of others. Other people seen at the club were; Elizabeth Taylor, Michael Jackson, Brooke Shields, Warren Beatty, Calvin Klein, Bianca & Mick Jagger, Salvador Dali, Madonna and Elton John. Not all of these famous people had to try to get in through the main entrance. No, there was actually a VIP entrance on the back side of the club, from 53'rd street. This was the entrance where the staff and the true VIP's got in. Studio 54 VIP ticket As so many Celeb's frequented the club, I had to ask Paolo, who actually had met most of them, if he had any comments on some of them. Paolo; "Every celebrity was extremely nice. All except Sylvester Stallone. He was on some sort of ego trip. He had body guards all around his banquet wearing bell bottom jeans with 'Rocky' embroidered on their ass. He didn't want to be bothered by anyone. Not even me, who was his busboy. He didn't want me in 'his' area cleaning up. Robin Williams was a hoot. I danced with Valerie Harper for half an hour, a sweet lady. Margaux Hemmingway gave me her plastic heart on Valentine's Day. She was there before the club opened and I got there late that night and there weren't any left. They were part of our costume that night so I had to have one, so she game me hers'. I saw a political daughter (I won't name names, but her family is mostly not around any more) wearing a white t-shirt and baseball cap, snorting cocaine. And I thought, if I had a camera right now, I'd make a million dollars selling the picture." Have you got any other special memories of some Celeb's? Paolo in 1979 "Elton John was there one Saturday night and tried to pick up Patrick Taylor, another busboy - who was straight, and I guess I was the next best thing. He asked me to go to his hotel with him, I said thank you as it was a Saturday night and only around 1am and told him I had to work all evening. About 5 minutes later, Michael Overington came over to me, tapped me on my shoulder and told me to go get my things because I was leaving with Elton John. I did and had a wonderful time. That's all I'll say about that evening. Liza Minelli cornered me in the employee dressing room and told me that one time she was in a limo going to do a concert at Madison Square Garden. She was drinking some champagne, and all of a sudden a disco version of 'Somewhere Over the Rainbow' came on the radio. She said it made her furious and threw the glass of champagne against the window between the front and back of the limo. She then said she realized how much the public loved her mother to contemporize the song, she burst into tears and cried all the way to the concert." Many celeb's kept coming back to '54' and in an interview, August Darnell, cofounder of Dr. Buzzard's Original Savannah Band and leader of Kid Creole and the Coconuts remembers: "We used to hang out at Studio 54 so much that we should have been paying rent. In England, now, they have all these rave parties, but when people say there's nothing like a rave, I say I saw all this in 1977 at Studio 54. I'd have to say my favorite club was Studio 54, it was so decadent and so exciting in that period to be part of something you knew was a world movement. The good thing was it gave people a reason to say 'Let's get dressed up and go out!'" Studio 54 DJ-booth Beside all the famous guests of the Studio 54, the club also managed to get all the best DJ's to play there as well. All of the famous DJ's like; John "Jellybean" Benitez, John Ceglia, Tony Humphries, Sharon White, Kenny Carpenter, Robbie Leslie, Tony Carrasco and many others, moved the crowd from the clubs legendary horseshoe shaped DJ-booth.
One guy everyone think DJ'ed there, but who was actually never a DJ at all, but who's mixes were always played in the club, was the legendary remixer Tom Moulton. Studio 54 - Dancefloor from the DJ booth The club had a superb sound system, built and designed by some of the best people in the business - RLA [Richard Long & Associates]. Richard was also the one who was responsible for the sound system at the Paradise Garage, a system that still today is said to have been the best system ever in the world. Studio 54 DJ-console The equipment at Studio 54 were comprised of 6 3-way "Waldorf" horn loaded/bass reflex main bass boxes, 6 "Bertha/Levan" bass horns, 4 "Z" tweeter arrays & 2 "Ultima" 3-way full range boxes. This system also included the now famous RLA X-3000 DJ crossover. This sound system was the reason for this and many other clubs during this era's success. Richard is unfortunately no longer with us today, but some of the RLA designs, electronics and speaker boxes are available from the New York based company GSA [Gary Stewart Audio]. GSA can help you if you're interested in building a sound system similar to the one in '54'. Also, in the GSA shop they still have a bunch of things from the original Studio 54. By the way, the original "Man in the Moon" sign is told to be installed in the existing Studio 54 club in the MGM Grand in Las Vegas these days. Paolo (Paul-Michael) was hired as a Busboy by the clubs manager - Michael Overington. Here Paolo shares his memories from his years as an employee of Studio 54... What did you think of the club itself? "I thought it was amazing. Other than having my son, it was probably the most fun I had in life." Have you got any memories of club's owners? "Stevie was sweet and always had a Michelob in his hand. He always seemed a little bit drunk or Quaaluded out. Ian was the silent partner, not around much but I knew who he was. Jack Dushey, the financial backer, I had never heard of at the time. Another thing... When I started working there I went up to Stevie every night for two weeks and asked him if he knew my name. It took him two weeks to get it right. Then he thought that I would sleep with him because he remembered. I didn't." How many people were working in the bar? "I would say there were 4 bartenders at the main bar, a few bar-backs, 1 bartender up at the bar in the lounge. There were probably 5 to 6 busboys on a busy night. Less when it wasn't as crowded. There were 2 busgirls upstairs in the balcony when I started and they were there for a while. After a while they put in another bar on the right side of the dance floor, so there was 1 bartender there as well." Do you recall how many people were working the club at a busy night, all areas? "Yes, there were lots more employees. 2 coat check girls, 1 light man, 1 to 2 people working the pulleys at the back of the dance floor. The front half of the dance floor lights were electronic, in the back, such as the moon and the spoon, light poles, etc., were moved up and down on pulley's by 1 to 2 guys. Mark B and Stevie were up front at the door as well as probably 4 to 6 bouncers." Paolo dancing with a Lady in Red How many guests were there in a crowded night? "I could only guess on the number of people in the club on a busy night... I'd say around 500, this is only a guess, could be more, could be less. On a Friday and Saturday night there were probably also around 500 people outside trying to get in. I do know that if you didn't get picked by the time you walked up to the ropes you probably did not get it. I would see people walking up to the ropes and when Stevie and/or Mark looked away, they would stop and walk in place until they looked over again and then continue up to the ropes in the hope of getting in." Were most of the employees gay, as you told earlier that Elton tried to pick up a straight busboy? "Most of the employees were gay. There were a few straight boys mixed in." So, were there many people trying to pick you up? "Yes, all the time. The busboys were looked upon as like 'playboy bunnies'. Everyone was always trying to bed us." The Balcony has become legendary through the '54' movie, any comments on what went on in the balcony? "Not much went on it the balcony that I was aware of, some making out and a bit more but it was nothing like the movie." You must have lots of other memories and stories from the club, anything else you can tell about? "Well one morning as I was leaving the club, Saturday morning after a Friday night, and as I left through the back door I opened it and Ian was coming from the right with a 3-ring binder under his arm, and from the left were 2 men in suits and trench coats. I let them in, closed the door and went home. Ian had a lot of cocaine and drugs for that Saturday night, he put the binder down on the speaker near the back door thinking that both the FBI agents would follow him upstairs to look at the books. Only one went with him. The other stayed down stairs and sat on one of the banquettes at the back of the dance floor. The guy got bored and started flipping through the binder and found the drugs... And the rest is history." Have you got any contact with any of your former colleagues at '54'? "I found a website where Sandt Litchfield was listed with some friends, and I tried to contact him but never heard back. Mark Beneke seems to be Ian's eyes and years at the Clift Hotel here in San Francisco. I spoke to him and of course he didn't remember me. He was hot stuff back then and I was just a peon. I am also in contact with one of the busboy's Jeffrey, he's here in San Francisco as well." Download the FREE basic RealPlayer... CLICK to hear some Studio 54 classics... 54th Street Mick Jackson Bad girls Donna Summer the Boss Diana Ross Dance, dance, dance Chic Disco night (Rock freak) G.Q. Don't leave me this way Thelma Houston Everybody dance Chic Fly Robin Fly Silver Convention Good times Chic Haven't stopped dancing yet Gonzalez He's the greatest dancer Sister Sledge Heart of glass Blondie Hot stuff Donna Summer I got my mind made up Instant Funk I love America Patrick Juvet I love the nightlife (Disco Round) Alicia Bridges I will survive Gloria Gaynor I'm coming out Diana Ross If you could read my mind Viola Wills (Push push) In the bush Musique Instant replay Dan Hartman Keep on dancin' Gary's Gang Keep on jumpin' Musique Knock on wood Amii Stewart Last dance Donna Summer Le Freak Chic Let's all chant Michael Zager Band Move on up Destination Native New Yorker Odyssey New York by night Dennis Parker Que sera mi vida Gibson Brothers Relight my fire Dan Hartman Spank Jimmy "Bo" Horne Take your time (Do it right) S.O.S Band Turn the beat around Vicki Sue Robinson Upside down Diana Ross Vertigo Dan Hartman We are family Sister Sledge Y.M.C.A Village People You make me feel (Mighty real) Sylvester 54 - Soundtrack Volume 1 Volume 1 Click to buy from BUY the 54 Soundtrack CD 1 from the US BUY the 54 Soundtrack CD 1 from Europe 54 - Soundtrack Volume 2 Volume 2 Click to buy from BUY the 54 Soundtrack CD 2 from the US BUY the 54 Soundtrack CD 2 from Europe Volume 1 Studio 54 - The 54 Allstars Keep on dancin' - Gary's Gang the Boss - Diana Ross Dance dance dance "Yowsah yowsah yowsah" - Chic Vertigo / Relight my fire - Dan Hartman You make me feel "Mighty real" - Sylvester Move on up - Destination Love machine (Pt.2) - the Miracles Contact - Edwin Starr Knock on wood - Mary Griffin Let's start the dance - Bohannon I got my mind made up - Instant Funk Young hearts run free - Candi Staton Native New Yorker - Odyssey Que sera mi vida - Gibson Brothers Wishing on a star - Rose Royce Volume 2 If you could read my mind - Stars on 54: Ultra Naté, Amber & Jocelyn Enriquez Haven't stopped dancing yet - Gonzalez Heaven must have sent you - Bonnie Pointer Loving is really my game - Brainstorm Disco nights "Rock-freak" - GQ Found a cure - Ashford & Simpson Don't leave me this way - Thelma Houston Come to me - France Joli Take your time "Do it right" - S.O.S Band Please don't let me be misunderstood - Santa Esmeralda Spank - Jimmy "Bo" Horne Galaxy - War I need a man - Grace Jones Heart of glass - Blondie Cherchez la femme / Se si bon - Dr. Buzzard's Original Savannah Band Fly Robin fly - Silver Convention Last Days of Disco soundtrack Click to buy from BUY the Last Days of Disco soundtrack from the US BUY the Last Days of Disco soundtrack from Europe I love the nightlife (Disco 'round) - Alicia Bridges I'm coming out - Diana Ross Got to be real - Cherel Lynn Good times - Chic He's the greatest dancer - Sister Sledge I don't know it it's right - Evelyn "Champagne" King More, more, more (Pt.1) - Andrea True Connection Doctor's orders - Carol Douglas Everybody dance - Chic The love I lost - Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes Let's all chant - Michael Zager Band Got to have loving - Don Ray Shame - Evelyn "Champagne" King Knock on wood - Amii Stewart The oogum boogum song - Brenton Wood Love train - O'Jays I love the nightlife (Disco 'round) - India & NuYorican Soul Studio 54, the Legend Click to buy from BUY Studio 54, the Legend from the US BUY Studio 54, the Legend from Europe Studio 54: the Legend - Written by Anthony Haden-Guest, Niels Kummer and Domitilla Sartogo BUY - Fabulous - A photographic diary of Studio 54 by Bobby Miller Click cover to buy Fabulous! A Photographic diary of Studio54 - Photos and writing by Bobby Miller - Signed copy $190 + shipping 54 - the Movie Click to buy from BUY 54 - the Movie from the US BUY 54 - the Movie from Europe 54 - the Movie - the Movie about this legendary club on DVD - with Mike Myers, Neve Campbell, Ryan Phillippe and Salma Hayek Later I got in touch with Miestorm, who was also working along with Paolo and others at Studio 54. Miestorm tells me; Miestorm aka Lenny 54 "I worked, but mostly played at Studio (as everyone who went there called it), from 1977-1982 and I was known as Lenny 54. Stevie didn't like the name Miestorm because he said it sounded too foreign and we already had Weego and Miranda. I was originally hired as a busboy and bartender, but, I was an entertainer and was instructed by Steve Rubell to wear as little as possible plus flirt and be as sexy as possible with everyone. The movie '54' was a Disney movie compared to the real Studio, the place was so decadent that my grandfather (who spoke only Italian) thought I was working in Satans palace. During my first few years of working there, Stevie would instruct the security to watch me carfully and report to him on what drug I was seen taking, if I drank booze and if I was seen having sex with anyone or leaving with whoever. He wanted to know my every move, so, I would be as bad as possible and he loved it!" Miestorm also sent me some of his own personal >> photo's from inside Studio 54
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Michael Jackson DEAD! R.I.P. [1 of 35 MRJYN JACKO OBITUVIDEO MEMORIAL TO KING OF POP!] Studio 54 Interview [Molly Meldrum (1...
michael jackson: studio 54: interview: molly meldrum (1977) Nieuws & Media Door: Mrjyn Duur: 02:09 Upload: 09-11-2007 Views: 800
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