Hi folks. My name is Erik. Most of you probably know me as Spicoli. Unfortunately, that isn't my real name. My parents didn't name me after a character from Fast Times, as awesome as that probably would have been. For the last eight years I've been serving you PBR's, kicking you out for stage diving, and most likely bitching if you didn't show up for load-in, among other things. So here we are. The Mohawk is closing. Locking the doors. Serving its last PBR. Having its last band play the stage.
Fourteen years ago, 19 year old me took a job at Media Play working in the music dept. I started that day thinking I "knew" about music. I mean hell, I owned Pearl Jam records and liked The Get Up Kids. I was cutting edge. I met a person there, now a great friend, that would change the way my life played out forever -- my buddy Brad. The Sollyman, if you are in the know, is this crazy-hyper dude who reads from the Bible of Brian Wilson. He talked of the real "boss," taught me that yeah, there really was a band called The Band. That "The 'Mats" doesn't mean place mats, and that the only band that matters is The Clash. One random night, I couldn't recall to you the actual time of year (that stuff all blends in after decades of booze and loud tunes), he took me to Mohawk. I was nineteen, and at that time it was 21 plus. I figured for sure I wasn't getting in. If you saw me when I was nineteen, you probably wouldn't let me on the Viper. But there I was, wedged between Brad and a future band mate of mine, Sean. I walked up, no ID in hand. Just my crappy semi-beard (which is still shitty) and a hope. I think it was one of those Girlpope/Bobo shows that are stuff of legend round these parts, but I cant be sure. I was greeted at the door by this grey haired, mustached gentleman. I don't need to say his name. You know who he is, and he carries a presence around that place that can still be felt today. I got in. Come to find out it's not that legendary to get in that young, and I did. Game over. From the pool table in the back, to the smoky haze, to the cool as fuck bartenders, the place was instantly legendary.
I can't recall the bands that night. I remember a few beers, a few smokes, and that is basically it. It was enough though, to keep coming and coming back. Slowly but surely I gained the balls to order a beer. Then to sit at the corner in hopes I could butt-in to some conversation I had no business being in. Eventually Brad started a band, Semi-tough, named after the movie. I came to meet Donny (now owner of the Town Ballroom and an all-around good dude) through that band. It's a tad hazy, but I'm pretty sure I met him for the first time during a Left of the Dial DJ night. He will probably say I'm wrong, but at this point, who cares. On one of those fateful nights my life was changed forever. Another lifelong friendship was beginning, and a band that means more to me than the world was playing -- Grand Champeen. You probably don't know them, and that's fine. Not many in the end do, but that's the beauty of Mohawk. Having some random band from Austin, TX tell me to break my records and quit is still one of the best life lessons I've ever had.
Years started to go by. Many great shows seen, many great friends made. Hell, even Jimmer. Beers were drank and then "Hey Spicoli, wanna bartend?" happened. I didn't know shit about bar tending. Most of who I work with now call me the worst bartender in Buffalo. I took it of course, cause who is that fucking stupid? It's Mohawk. It's bartending. It's free shows. Even better, it's free booze. So here I am, years later (eight to be exact, and 14 if you count the years I've been "hanging" there), and now I have to say goodbye. So thank you, all of you. From my door guy/right hand man Nick O'Brien, who really likes GBV (fucker needs more tunes on his iPod), to Renee, the longest reigning sound tech this club has had. To Neal who made that room sound as world class as a place with dicks drawn everywhere could sound, to you. Yes, you. When the doors close and the lights burn out, it was you that made that place special. It's always been more than a building; the people are the ones who supplied the memories. So in the end, when it's all gone, that's what we have, memories from people that are now OUR best friends and music from OUR favorite bands. So to the 19 year old me out there, I wish you the same 14 years I had: filled with best friends, legendary shows, new favorite bands, and rough mornings. You deserve it, and hopefully you'll find it.
P.S. I probably always thought your band sucked.