December 14, 2009
LOCAL SPOTLIGHT NYC
We all know it takes more than just good bands to make a local music scene thrive. The people on the periphery of the stage can often give us a whole different set of insights. During his thirty-year career within both the local bar scene – and its constituent counterpart the rock venue – New York native Rob Sacher has been around to see a lot of changes. From his beginnings in the bar business upstate to the ownership and management of such esteemed clubs as The Mission and Luna Lounge in the East Village, to owning indie music label Luna Sea Records and running Indie Pop Radio, Rob has easily shifted with the ebb and flow of the fickle world of nightlife. JezebelMusic.com’s Gordon Sharp sat down with Rob to talk about his many experiences within both the music industry and the bar scene and where business is headed today.
JM.com: Tell me about where you’re from and how you got your start in the bar business.
Rob: I was born and raised in New York in southeast Flatbush. I had gone up to New Paltz, which is about an hour and 45 minutes up the Hudson River, to go to college. I was a Communications Major in radio and TV and also studied music and history. Before I had been playing in a band locally but once I got to college I found myself working in a new bar. The year was 1980 and the bar was called Sanctuary. I started there doing a night DJing punk music – before they had played only disco – and by the time I took over as owner it was the only bar in the Hudson Valley playing punk and new wave music. In the meantime I ran a music magazine down in the city called “Concert” and Sanctuary also lead to the Sanctuary Music Hour program on WDST in Woodstock.
JM.com: After getting your start in New Paltz, when did you end up coming back home to New York?
Rob: Well, after the drinking age went back up to 21, I moved back to New York and started a bar called The Mission on Fifth St. between Avenues A and B. This was in ’88 and it was a goth and industrial bar and a dance club painted all black with only black lights used for illumination. Jesus and Mary Chain, Depeche Mode, Psychedelic Furs, the Sugarcubs all hung out there, and I have a lot of stories connected to that bar. I eventually sold it to my two DJs. The one DJ still owns it, and it’s now called Ace Bar, a staple in the East Village. The other DJ now owns a new bar up in Greenpoint on Meeker Ave. called Boulevard Tavern.
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