My memories of my first nightclub experience are still as vivid as if it were just yesterday. I remember I was 11 years old, it was 1987 and there was a club in South Beach, at that time known as the Art Deco District, called '1235' (currently Club Mansion) which my older sister used to frequent on teen nights. It was a Friday night and I was at home playing with my Transformers when my mother says to me "I gotta go pick-up your sister at this nightclub 1235, I'll be back". I asked if I can tag along, even if it was close to midnight, I really wanted to go since my sister used to brag about how cool this club was and the music and blah, blah, blah. I wanted to see this place she continuously spoke about. So mother says "let's go" and I throw on my Nike's, get in the Mercedes and we are on our way. When we get there to pick her up, of course she's not outside like she should be so we waited (and waited) and still, no sign of sis. Finally, my mothers impatient cuban side goes off like a rocket. "We gotta go inside and look for her! We've been waiting 10 mins and she's not here like she's supposed to" so she asks the valet guy to watch the car and asked the door man if she can search for her daughter. The door man said "quickly" and since it was an all ages night, he let us into the sea of music & lights to search for my sibling. What I saw when I went through those velvet ropes was unbelievable! I remember the song "Weekends" by Debbie Deb was blasting through the bass bins with green lazer's streaming throughout the club and thousands of Miami teens having the time of their lives. The venue was huge and the bass was letting off an unexplainable vibration inside of me as the beat went 'BOOOOOM'!
Quick, look, there's my mother freaking out, scoping out everyone, getting more & more frustrated, meanwhile there I am running off closer to the sounds of the speakers, claiming "I'll look for sis in this general area", mommy was like "you stay right here next to me" thinking I would probably get lost in the abyss which is what I truly wanted. Finally my sister appears through the masses all red faced and looking totally embarrassed saying "mami, why are you in here? And why did you bring HIM!?!" I guess having your mother and little brother pick you up at the club isn't the coolest thing but she looked as if she wanted to die right then and there. Meanwhile I'm trying to ignore my sister and her grief as I stare at the moving bodies on the dance floor and watch the DJ spin his records as the music flows perfectly in sync with the massive light system. It was all new to me and I remember thinking how badly I couldn't wait till I was old enough to go to these places or better yet, how much fun it would be to be that DJ in the booth making all these people move.
Two years later I'm 13 yrs old and finally old enough to hit the teen nights. 1235 was now defunct and now the same venue has changed owners, revamped the sound & lights and switched up the theme. I didn't know this at the time but the new promotional/marketing team would be the same people from the legendary Studio 54 as my good friend/promoter Michael Alig pointed out much later in life. Anyway, the venue was now called 'Decos' and they specialized in Freestyle and Bass music, my two favorite genres during that time. I started going to teen nights every Friday. I still remember though how depressed I got when I went to Decos for my first time and not being able to get in since it was at full capacity. I think I went home and cried. But sure enough, the next Friday, and every Friday after that it was on! I remember seeing acts like Stevie B, Paris by Air, TKA, Lizette Melendez, Coro, etc. What a time! I used to go to 163rd street mall to get the Decos flyers so I can get in $5 buxx cheaper, I was hooked! One night I found this VIP card and only used it once since right after I found it the club was closing as it was sold again, how sad. I was thinking I'm hooked up for life!
At first, my mother used to drop my sister and I off at the club along with our friends and of course my sister would tell me "just stay away from me" as to not be seen clubbin' with her little brother. I still remember bumping into her and her friends on the dance floor and her totally ignoring me...too funny indeed. My older sister was always the cooler one in the family, but once I got into the whole scene and started hanging out with my own little crew, I was like "I'm cool too! I go to clubs!". All in all it was so much fun!
Well, there you have it. My humble beginnings as a clubster. As most of you know I would continue my nightlife endeavors for many years following those glorious days that paved the way. Starting with the freestyle scene to the much darker gothic/nu-wave scene then to the happy happy, joy joy rave scene, most angles of debauchery have been attained throughout the years. And I forgot to mention my times of DJing clubs like Mass, The Church, Kitchen Club, Culture, Revolver, etc. Of course, the new breed of club kids came about and being 30 yrs old & married at the club wasn't ideal anymore. Now, we gotta hit lounges or pubs to be accepted. It's true! I remember seeing cats over 30 at raves and thinking what a total loser! Either way, I had my fun and luckily managed to make it out alive, to some degree!