Hip Scorgie's is Back in the Live Music Scene
By KAREN KRENIS, Times-Union, Rochester, N.Y, Thursday, March 22, 1990
Anyone who cared about live rock'n'roll in the early '80s cared about Scorgie's, Rochester's hippest, most daring venue for new music. Long before most listeners had tuned in to the Bangles, 10,000 Maniacs, the Go-Gos and the Ramones, those bands were storming the stage at Scorgie's. And even though slam-dancing was only allowed once, the rowdy club at 150 Andrews St. is always remembered fondly as Rochester's post-punk musical outpost.
The venue finally closed in 1985, a victim of the new drinking age that drove younger music fans indoors. A comedy club - Yuk-Yuk's - moved into Scorgie's' downstairs area, and the upstairs bar/restaurant remained a busy spot for lunch and dinner.
Well, the music ain't over yet. Partly because he misses the action and partly because live music seems to be on the upswing in Rochester, proprietor Don Scorgie has gotten back in the ring. And while punk and new-wave won't necessarily be on the bill, blues and straight-up rock - musical styles the old Scorgie's promoted but isn't remembered for - will be.
And like before, Scorgie's has opened its doors to local bands and musicians who are eager for somewhere to play.
"I just enjoy it," Scorgie says of his return to music. "It keeps the blood flowing, you know? And there's a certain amount of pride to it; I used to tell everyone I was the oldest punk rocker in the city and I loved it."
Yuk-Yuk's will go on with business as usual, as will the restaurant, but on as many as four nights a week (Tuesday through Friday) various bands will appear. On most nights, a package will be available: Anyone who attends the comedy show at Yuk-Yuk's will be able to see the live music show for free.
DON SCORGIE NEVER meant to open a live music venue back in 1979 - it just sort of happened.
"We had a DJ (disc jockey) situation down in the basement, and that sort of evolved into booking live music - jazz, blues and rock'n'roll. Then, when we lost our parking lot (the Andrews Street bridge was redesigned), we knew we had to do something no one else was doing to bring the crowds in. We had to do some- thing unique."
What they did was bring in hip, experimental bands that most people may not have heard but had heard about. Local bands like Personal Effects staked their claim as opening acts, and the place was packed most weekends. But despite its image, Scorgie says most people were misled.
"Even though the club had a reputation as a punk and new wave place, it was serving lunches and bringing in all sorts of different kinds of music," Scorgie says. "Also, it was well-controlled - we never had problems with the so-called punk crowd. If we had problems, they were from people coming to make fun of the punk crowd."
This time around, that won't be a problem. Scorgie may not know exactly what types of bands he'll hire, but it probably won't be rap or heavy metal, the more controversial music styles today. No, he'll probably stick to the basics: rock, jazz and the blues.
Scorgie is also looking forward to getting back in touch with local musicians; he says that since the word went out that he's looking for talent, several acts have responded.
"I've gotten eight tapes in the last few days from local bands anxious to play - there obviously aren't enough clubs in town," he says.
With his return to music, Scorgie is excited about adding his name to that too-short list.
"A place that's stagnant is out of business," he says. "And change is what generates business. There's no limit to what we can offer here."
For more information about upcoming live music at Scorgie's, call 232-7593