My Father’s Place in Roslyn, Long Island, NY, was one of the most influential spots in the country for breaking new acts in the ’70s and ’80s. Dave Mason, Bruce Springsteen, Todd Rundgren, Hall & Oates, The Police, Rick Derringer, The Runaways, Bob Marley, U2 and many, many more, all played there early in their rise to fame and fortune.
My Father’s Place was to the Island, what The Bottom Line was to New York City– an opportunity, for a reasonable price, to see new, developing artists.
Launched in 1971 and closed in 1987, My Father’s Place marked the end of an era in music that doesn’t even remotely exist anymore.
One thing to know straight away, the music industry was a very, very different beast back then. Record companies had departments devoted to artist development that spent large sums to break new acts. But digital downloading and changing economics forced an end to the practice.
The original club closed down for a number of reasons not worth getting into, but the fact that record companies stopped supporting original acts was a big factor.
Michael “Eppy” Epstein (who lorded over the club back in the day) wanted to re-open it almost as soon as it closed, and he got his wish Friday night. My Father’s Place reopened at The Roslyn Hotel.
My Father’s Place is a “supper club” now and food will be served whenever there’s a show in the 200-seat venue, the larger of the hotel’s two ballrooms. Later this summer, the smaller ballroom will be transformed into a 100-seat fine-dining restaurant, according to Newsday.
Head chef Kobayashi is creating an eclectic New-American menu.
Kobayashi is a native of Japan who has worked at such celebrated Manhattan restaurants as Lespinasse, Alain Ducasse at the Essex House and Gabriel Kreuther’s Atelier in the Ritz Carlton. He’s also worked all over Long Island.
For the record, I worked at My Father’s Place during its first run, seeing acts from Springsteen on. The experience left me with great memories. I had spoken to Eppy numerous times over the years, and I liked him from the get-go.
He truly appreciated the music and the artists playing there. In fact, you could not find a bigger supporter; his drive and enthusiasm are still terrifically infectious.
About a year ago, the idea was hatched to re-open the club in the former banquet room at the Roslyn Hotel. I didn’t see it in person, but the initial photos showed there was a lot to be done.
I went Friday night with a feeling of excitement; would Eppy really be able to make this a go? Clubs today are more-or-less supper clubs; where the money made on the bar and food carry forward towards booking the acts.
The acts are more expensive than ever and a myriad of booking agents are in the mix. Last night’s act, Buster Poindexter (aka David Johansen) was a true opening night marquee name.
The entrance to the club i separate from the hotel on the parking level. Once inside, the anticipation was palpable.
The bar and merch table were brand new, and the actual ballroom was quite sumptuously decked out.
A soft opening the previous night somewhat prepared everyone for th grand opening. Once seated we met our server Sean, who finally admitted this was his first night. The service was somewhat sketchy, but that’s pretty common on first-nighters.
The demo of the crowd was 50-plus for sure. I looked around and really didn’t see too many people I recognized. One, Steve Rosenfield, who used to be the official “unofficial” photographer for the club was there and introduced to me to his wife. He met her at the first Poindexter show at MFP eons ago.
Of course, back then the admittance was almost nothing, the ticket price for this show was $75.00 per person, with a cover at the table. My how times have changed!
A much-more subdued Poindexter took the stage and put on an impressive show with his four piece band. I hadn’t seen his act in years and it was much more dialed back; but, still sensational.
Adorned in a hot pink jacket and light-blue slacks, he was gracious, funny and in tip-top voice. It’s ironic that when David Jo launched this persona, songs from the great American-songbook were not much in vogue. Today, however, from Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga on down, it’s totally reversed.
His four piece been excelled. He was really great. The sound was excellent and the sight-lines perfect. There really is not a bad seat in the house.
I thought about the evening on the way back to Manhattan and feel that it was a terrific night. Someone from the stage asked how many people had gone to see MFP in its heyday and almost every hand (including mine) was raised.
It was, to quote my friend, a happening. One thing’s for sure, if anyone could pull this off, it’s Eppy.
Interestingly enough, when Eppy took the stage to massive applause, even he seemed taken-aback. I applaud him and his efforts and will support the new MFP all the way.
Check out the club online at MyFathersPlace.com for a great lineup of upcoming acts.