Thursday Throwback: Last Call at The Chateau
By Greg Haymes
MARCH 31: On this date in 1984, one of Albany’s all-time great live music venues called it quits. The Chateau – located somewhere in the vicinity of what is now the footprint of the Times Union Center – was once the epicenter of Greater Nippertown’s alt-rock music scene. And the nightclub – which hosted R.E.M. and a batch of other up-and-coming bands over the years – said farewell with one final rollickin’ bash featuring an all-star line-up of Local 518 scene-makers.
In truth, I don’t remember a whole lot about the night. I do, however, remember walking out of the club in the bright daylight hours of the next morning, wearing a wig of long black curls that made me look like Kevin McKrell’s doppelgänger and swigging from a bottle of some indeterminate fruit-flavored brandy. I staggered over to make an early morning television appearance for a telethon that was being broadcast from the Albany Hilton. Thankfully, social media and surveillance cameras were not omni-present back then, despite the fact that yes, indeed, it was 1984.
Fortunately, I had just been hired as a writer at Metroland, and the Chateau’s farewell was the lead item in the debut column, “Sarge Blotto’s Rockin’ Roll Call.” Here’s what I wrote back then:
END OF A CHAPTER
The Chateau is history now. But the downtown Albany club went out with style. What a party! Closing night (March 31) featured a fine set by the revamped, revitalized Fan Club, as well as two jumpin’ shows from the Sharks, who played a bunch of new tunes, including “Too Good for Words,” a boppin’ Bob Button composition.
And, of course, there were plenty of special guests. Joining the Sharks onstage for a song or two were Mark Ernst (who runs MCE Recording Studios in Schenectady), the duo of Kevin MacKrell & Bowtie Blotto, Mark McGovern (ex DJ on the ‘old’ Q104), Lee Harvey Blotto, the duo of Rikk-n-Roll and yours truly, Rick Bedrosian (from Squareone), Carla MacKrell & Bert Sommer (who, along with Rick and Kevin, make up four-fifths of the Fabulous Newports) and even Lin Brehmer (of the ‘new’ Q104).
A good time was had by all, and the folks who ran the Chateau are hoping to open another downtown rock club soon, perhaps as early as June or July. Let’s hope so…”
Needless to say, the “other downtown rock club” never came to pass, but the Chateau still left us with some great rock & roll memories…
Was Fan Club the pre-dirty face Dom band?
Lost my job that night (actually the next morning) when the door closed.I cleaned the dump. I puked in the dumpster just before my mother picked me up at sunrise. Dennis Herbert went home with the dregs of the Midori. By the way, that last sentence would be a great song title.
Jeff Sohn and Bob Resnick were the Fan Club band leaders. I was just the apprentice.
i remember playing there with tex rubinowitz…probably played there with other bands as well.
i remember seeing the shakin’ pyramids there and seeing the bangles load out into their van.
also somebody wrote graffiti on the wall next door that said “eddie angel uber alles” i swear it wasn’t me and i’d really like to know who wrote it?!!
Don’t remember the final gig night, but I must have been there..
Worked a variety of positions, over the years… Freezing cold and crazy times at the door. Golden years.
Mr. Eck certainly has first hand knowledge of how great, and how horrible the place could be (and smell.)
Because Michael worked there, Rob Seals and I were able to record basic tracks for the Plague cassette album “Suckin’ In The Wind” at the Chateau during off hours. That project was a great success, and Michael and I would continue as musical collaborators.
Rob went on to join/break up Lumpen Proles, another fine “Chateau” band.
Everybody needs a beautiful/awful music dive for their Rock-n-Roll youth.
Wow the Chateau. Lots of stuff videotaped there. Especially remember Mission Of Burma, Fear of Strangers, Martha’s Airheart and Shack’s band. So many others. And of course Mike Eck holding it all together, cleaning, restocking the beer. That was a real dive – perfect for the times. Great Albany spot.
I was afraid someone wouldn’t mention the bathrooms. I’m not sure if the men’s even had a complete floor. I think the owner was a nice guy but I can’t remember his name.
I had to clean those bathrooms, Todd (he said with a sniffle and a memory scarred for life).
Comments are closed.