The Paradise Garage
I remember when the dance club DJs first started in New York City. It was in the 1970s when I hired Ray Caviano to promote my TK Disco 12″‘s. He was in charge of basically the New York office. And he got all my new music played in all the hottest New York nightclubs. Let’s call him now, he’ll give you the whole history
(Henry dials the phone)
Ray Caviano: Hello? Heeeenry Stooooneeeee!
Henry Stone: Hey, Ray Caviano, just the man I wanteda talk to! We’re gonna do a blog on the original DJs from New York….
Ray Caviano: Well some of the main guys were Jim Burgess, Roy Thode aka The Saint, Richie Kaczor from Studio 54, Richie Rivera, Larry Levan from Paradise Garage. And Bobby DJ, he was one of the originals. These were some of the main guys at the original New York dance clubs in the 1970′s.
Larry Levan was the man of the scene of the Paradise Garage. He perfected the sound. He was very responsible for breaking dance music in the city. The Paradise Garage was the most exclusive club. All the radio power players were there to see what was breaking on the dance floor. Just anybody couldn’t walk in there. It was a very private, very special place. And they didn’t serve liquor.
It was about 1977 that it opened, and it really set the trend until the early 80′s.
There was also David Mancuso, who started a club called The Loft, which was around before The Paradise Garage. David was one of the key people that started private dance parties in the New York area. He was tight with Judy Weinstein who was very important with her For The Record record pool. She serviced about 150 DJ’s, and she always got 150 copies of each new TK Disco release.
I was there.
I would do the whole circuit with all the new TK Disco records. Four or five clubs a night, just about every night of the week.
I was a VIP everywhere I went, fuhgettaboutit. Most people could never ever get in to Studio 54, but I walked right in anytime I wanted, straight to the DJ, who would always smile when they saw me cause they knew I had that new TK Disco for them to play.
We were the hottest in the game.
I first met and was recruited by Henry Stone through our mutual friend Allen Grubman. I was working on other records for him, dance records. Me and Tommy Mottola. Songs like “Turn The Beat Around” by Vicky Sue Robinson. Allen Grubman introduced me to Henry Stone and the rest is history.
Nowadays radio doesn’t play new music. Back then, clubs were the testing ground for all new potential hits in the market. Hot club songs became hot radio songs became hit records. That doesn’t exist anymore the way it did.
But for the club DJ’s, it’s the same formula: make sure everybody is dancing and having a good time. The culture of the DJ and the essence is still the same. That party energy, that excitement is the same. And people are still dancing and celebrating. The experience is the same, there’s just new technology. It’s totally different, but it’s fundamentally the same.