Remember the Low Beat
Written by Rob Smittix on October 24, 2020
Many of us local musicians and fans as well, felt as if a part of us has died when we got news that The Low Beat was closing. The scene will never be the same and we at RadioRadioX.com and Xperience Monthly needed to address this with a proper send-off. Today I took some time to talk with former owner Howard Glassman.
RRX: I did not receive word that our beloved Low Beat was going to be no more until… September 11th of this year; I saw a social media post simply stating “The Great Low Beat sell-off has begun. Stop in and get your piece of memorabilia/history/crap!! Bring a screwdriver, boxes and CASH MONEY!” I was saddened by the news of course but I understand. I assume in today’s state of things we will be losing more music venues. Although I hope not. What was the breaking point for you?
HG: Breaking point? How many pages do you have to spend on this? Honestly the breaking point was back in March when COVID hit and the federal government (that was aware of this coming sh** show as far back as…November?) did everything it could to down play this virus and the devastating effects that it was about to have on everyone both physically, mentally and monetarily. Sorry to get political in an entertainment piece. As much as we New Yorkers have had issues with the governor over the years, I lay none of this at his feet. You could see that the bar/live music business wasn’t coming back anytime soon with or without food service. Just wasn’t happening. I broke. Couldn’t sustain taking out any more loans and took the first offer I received for the building.
RRX: So for those who don’t know the legendary Valentines was the predecessor to The Low Beat. Obviously with Valentines the hospital took over the block but The Low Beat brought back a similar vibe for music fans and musicians alike. Do you think The Low Beat will be the predecessor for another music venue?
HG: Predecessor? Right now, at this time, I don’t know. The Hollow still seems to be in business serving food, so when and if music is allowed again inside, they will probably still be there. Upstate Concert Hall moving down into the old Cap Rep will fill a void in Albany, The Hangar in Troy will most likely have music again. As far as myself opening another joint, that’s the last thing on my mind right now.
RRX: So many memories for show-goers and bands but you must have more than a few great memories yourself. Care to share any highlights with us?
HG: Best memories were Wussy showing up close to midnight on a school night because they got popped outside of Cincinnati with weed in the van and the folks still waiting for them all pitched in, loaded their gear and got em onstage.
Garth Hudson sitting in with The Deadbeats….at 3:30am midweek. Steve Wynn solo storytelling about how The Bangles wrote “Hero Takes a Fall” about him. Any and every Hamell On Trial happy hour event. Any and every Figgs show. I’ve honestly forgotten more than I’d like to admit.
RRX: Saw some great shows at The Low Beat and played a few myself. Personally the Two Cow Garage and American Pinup was one of my favorites. Who were some of your favorite bands that you’ve booked at the Low Beat?
HG: The shows listed above and of course Two Cow Garage, The Regrettes, Howling Hex, One Eleven Heavy, Dan Stuart of Green on Red, Shonen Knife and the annual Burnt Hills first Friday in December shows. A lot of people didn’t see any of those shows.
RRX: No Pepper was painted below the stage and previously No Pepper Games beneath the Valentines stage. So as far as memorabilia, I’m sure this was #1 on most people’s lists. Being a huge Mets fan that you are, I am under the assumption this was a baseball term. What does it mean to you?
HG: No Pepper was originally painted on the Bogies stage back in ‘91. Took it with me to Valentines and naturally to The Low Beat. Pepper is a baseball warm up game of repetition where a player with a fungo bat (a broken bat that is heavily taped) will lightly hit a ball to three, four, five players all lined up. The main gist of it is the players field the ball cleanly and toss it back for the player with the back to repeat the process. In the early days of the game it was played near the walls between the dugout and home plate where fans would watch. One bad hop on a sharp ball and it could take a fan out. Hence the spray painting on the walls of No Pepper Games. More than you probably cared to know.
RRX: So what’s next for Coal Palace Kings, KranePool Records and Nighthawks?
HG: Coal Palace Kings hasn’t been in the same room since late February. You know why. If there’s ever a vaccine, we will convene again but probably not in time for the Black Friday show. KranePool Records throws a great Memorial Day party every year, but not this year. Hopefully in 2021.
Nighthawks (Troy NY) is open Wednesday through Friday noon-10pm, Saturday and Sunday brunch is from 10am-3pm and burgers, dinner and drinks until 10pm. Take out, delivery and socially distanced indoor dining. Wear a mask when moving about. True farm-to-table goodness like you’ve never experienced. Trust me.
Nighthawks is located at 461 Broadway in Troy and more can be found here.