March 7, 2010

The East End Cafe, RIP

Last week we said goodbye to a great part of our rock n roll childhood. Newark Delaware's East End Cafe, the first bar to ever allow the spinto band on stage, closed its doors forever. As you can read about over at Ryan's Pulp Culture, the final hurrah of the bar became quite the send off for a Main Street staple for everyone that has spent more than 8 semesters worth of time in the U of D town. We all loved those early East End days, and it all came rushing back when we spent one last night and had one last round of drinks. We were able to collect on the stage for one last photo before all mayhem broke out. When I got home that night, I wrote Scott Birney (of the Sin City Band) ... I figured I could paste in those words with some photos Tom had as our own little ode to the East End:

Hey Scott- just wanted to write as I stumble onto a computer tonite. The East End holds a great spot in my mind. I shed a few tears on the way home as I thought about those good old days. I remember getting all caught up in how high I should turn up my guitar just in case people caught me messing up...

back in the 7 man spinto band I used to struggle with another thought of whether or not to have a beer to help get rid of the butterflies in my stomach. Would the beer effect my shitty playing? probably... I better hold off.

The East End Cafe for me was an entrance to some sort of realm of adulthood. I don't know if that's an accurate statement, but it seems to speak the truth. The Spinto Band always had the East End. We played shows there before we knew how to play shows and its all thanks to you. You ushered us on stage and the whole audience knew they better not be too harsh as those were Scotto's boys on stage and that meant a lot.

We may never have stepped on stage in a bar if it weren't for the east end. After all the bars in all the lands, that statement seems preposterous, but I think its true. Everyone was perfectly content just hanging in the basement with the four track. In those early days, we had no desire to play live. But then those packed east end shows took place and all Jeff and Joe's friends were shaking their newly developed bodies all over and, upon that stage, we all became men.

I put that last sentence in as a chanelling of Albert Birney. Him and Moses always pull the "This used to be a hell of a country" Card and I think it stands true in the parking lot of the East End Cafe on closing night.

Here we are- a great monument of so much falls in newark, undoubtedly to be replaced by some sort of intolerable cement block and all I can think about is how you trusted a bunch of teenagers atop that stage and helped build our confidence in what has eventually shaped into a career. That stage is the most memorable part of everything for me being in the spinto band.

Thanks for giving us that opportunity. It really became something more than I imagined tonite. While I regret not hanging out at the east end cafe more during the last few years, I can undoubtedly say that the fondest of memories bellowed from its floorboards and resonated within its walls tonite. When I was in a time where hanging out in bars seemed like the coolest thing a dude could do, it was playing at a bar that set me straight and helped make me whatever the heck I am today.

So whether it is the era or the bar or just the whole process of growing up, I think we all owe one or two to that dingy bar.

The Pictures below were taken on the final night of the East End Cafe. March 1st 2010:

We were able to share the stage one last time with Sin City.

the marquee

the last time the spinto band took the stage at the east end cafe.


Katie L. Thompson said...

This is super sad; I know the feeling, though. Most of the places where I grew up seeing shows are long gone. Trax in Charlottesville was where I first figured out the magic of live music and it was bulldozed in 2002 or so. I think there's a post office where it used to be. Somewhere I have a copy of a letter I wrote to the newspaper in protest of the bulldozing. They actually published it, too.

Ryan said...

I love those early photos, and also that they didn't put your name on the sign. They put your name up there in 2000, but now half-price burgers are really what people want!