The Mudd Club

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This article is about the club: The Mudd Club
For details of the song Mudd Club see: Mudd Club


All the way downtown
They ain't messin' around
Just turn to the left 'n look around
Because it's there somewhere
If you ain't found it, better
Hurry up
The folks down there's on auto-destruct
And so can you be too
(Fact of the matter,
it's made for you...)

Try it on a Saturday 'bout four o'clock in the mornin'
Or even a Monday at midnight
When there's just a few of them
Fabulous Poodles
Doin' the Peppermint Twist for real
In a black sack dress with nine inch heels
And then a guy with a blue mohawk comes in

In Serious Leather...

- extract from the lyrics of Mudd Club on You Are What You Is

The Mudd Club was a 'loft' niteclub, located in the TriBeCa, at 77 White Street in downtown Manhattan. Opened in October 1978 by publisher Steve Mass, art curator Diego Cortez and singer Anya Philips the club quickly became a major fixture in the city's underground music and counterculture scene.

With gender-neutral bathrooms, a rotating gallery on the fourth floor and live performances showcasing punk rock, new wave, and experimental music The Mudd Club acquired a chic, often elitist reputation and was frequented by many of Manhattan's up-and-coming cult celebrities- such as artists Basquiat and Haring and musicians like Talking Heads' David Byrne and Adrian Belew. It's popularity increased in proportion to the decline of uptown's Studio 54, a club also referred to in the above song.

On a number of occasions FZ took on the role of 'Fraudulent DJ', and air his favorite musical selections on radio stations, or in discotheques. He referred to one such nocturnal DJ residency at The Mudd Club, on a similar DJ appearance on BBC Radio 1's Star Special, as he introduced his 18th selection;

"When I was in New York I went to this, er, club, called The Mudd Club, and I was a disc jockey there for a night and I brought in a bunch of records and tried them out on the clientele at this particular establishment. One toon that got their buttocks pumping up and down in quite a frenzied manner was this next number, erm, by The Plastics. Its called “Robot”.

[FZ playlist, Track 18: "Robot" - by The Plastics, was then played]

That was, er, “Robot” by The Plastics, a Japanese ensemble. And, er, in order to truly appreciate the nuances involved in this particular production you have to imagine it being played over a really loud disco system in a room that's concrete with no decorations and, er, a guy about 6-foot-5, with a blue mohawk and a black leather jacket, dancing to it, and it suddenly comes alive in your imagination".

Zappa performed at the club on the 8th May 1980

The Mudd Club (CC)

  • The 2001 existentialist film Trouble Every Day, titled after a Zappa track, features Vincent Gallo; Also known as 'Prince Vince'. In 1979 Gallo was a musician in Basquiat's band Gray, which performed in The Mudd Club, Max's Kansas City and CBGB.
  • Basquiat and Gallo also appeared in the 1981 film "New York Beat Movie", retitled "Downtown 81", for which a multimedia CD is available that provides an insight into The Mudd Club scene, containing tracks such as "The Closet" by Lydia Lunch, "Bob The Bob" by The Lounge Lizards, "Copy" by The Plastics and "Cheree" by Suicide, along with other ditties by Chris Stein and Gray: Jean Michel Basquiat In Downtown 81, Original Soundtrack.