I know I said that I never liked The Palladium but that's not really true. I didn't like the "trying to pretend it's Studio 54" thing that permiated the first year or so. The Steve & Ian "VIP room to nowhere" sort of thing. (If it wasn't for Haoui Montaug running the door it would have been a TOTAL nightmare) but...
I DJ'd there for many years and have to say there were some brilliant things about the place too. The tech for instance -lights, video, staging etc. was the best
I've ever expirenced in any club -anywhere -ever! And it was just as good when it closed as when it opened. Some amazingly talented people (like Night Porter).
But my favorite Palladium story was what I"ll call "Lambada Con". I don't know how many of you remember the Lambada Dance craze in the eighties.
The word lambada refers both to the rhythm - a fusion of carimbÃ³ and merengue - and to the dance, which incorporates elements of forrÃ³, samba, merengue and maxixe (the 19th century Brazilian dance which was a tremendous success in Europe). The dance is sexy, yes, but it is danced by all kinds of people, of all ages and sexes, without the "dirty" connotations given to it by very bad Hollywood movies. It's very graceful, fast-paced, and believe me, when you have to move your feet and body that fast on the dance floor without tripping all over yourself and falling on the dance floor, the LAST thing on your mind is sex...Anyway, the rhythm originated in the Amazon, was later adopted by Bahians, who proceeded to create the steps...and the rest is history!
Anyway, the whole thing was made up. Just a big con. "the rhythm originated in the Amazon -later adopted by Bahians" bla bla bla... BULLSHIT! It was thought up by a French gnat who recorded a couple of "Lambada records" and had a hit. To make a long story short...
The Palladium got caught up in this ruse and became "The Home of Lambada". Every (I think) Thursday night they would have Lambada bands, Lambada dancers and ME playing Lambada music all night. The only problem was the whole thing was bullshit! It was the same band every week. They just put different names in the ads and had them wear different costumes. And the dancers (billed as Brazillian Lambada dancers) were about as Brazillian as the Puerto Rican girls at the check-out counter. The guys and girls would just get different costumes every week. (In the beginning anyway) And as far as playing Lambada music all night... THERE WERE ONLY 2 RECORDS!!!!!
I played each cut 3 or 4 times (as did the band) and then mixed in obscure Merengue songs and some Samba hoping that no one would notice. Also, at some point in the night, the dancers would give Lambada lessons. (read: Lap Dance) That would eat up alot of time.
IT WAS BRILLIANT!!!!!!!!!
And it became a big hit for months.
Eventually more Lambada records were made and people really did
learn "The Forbidden Dance". And after a while somehow
it became real -it went on MTV etc. But I'll never forget those heady first few months of the "Lambada Con".
As you can imagine, back stage at that time was the hottest place in New York. The Puerto Rican girl dancers and their hot Latino stud partners running up and down the back stairs half naked, changing costumes. And the band (and Chi Chi & Alba) smoking joints in the dressing room... Everyone wanted to be there.
That's when I had the idea to promote a party backstage
at The Palladium. We used the back door and opened a bar in one of the dressing rooms. Everyone just hung out on the stairs and in the DJ booth lounge. It was hysterical. It only lasted for a few months but it was really hot. I think we called it "Backdoor Lambada" or something stupid like that.
And now that I think of it... in a way, that is really how Jackie 60 started. With those same people who use to hang out backstage with us.
Actually, I think alot of you were also the first people on The Motherboards.
Some things never change.
"The Forbidden Dance"