Eric's Club

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Coordinates: 53°24′23″N 2°59′16″W / 53.4063°N 2.9877°W / 53.4063; -2.9877

An Eric's club gig flyer from 1979

Eric's Club was a music club in Liverpool, England. It opened on October 1, 1976 in a building basement on Mathew Street opposite The Cavern Club where The Beatles and other bands of the 1960s played, and became notable for hosting early performances by many punk and post-punk bands.[1]

The club was started by Roger Eagle and Ken Testi (manager of cult Liverpool band Deaf School) and joined later by Pete Fulwell (owner of a small record label "Inevitable" and later to become manager of Liverpool bands It's Immaterial and The Christians). The club was given the name 'Eric's' by Ken Testi as an antidote to disco clubs with names such as 'Tiffany's' and 'Samantha's'

Music[edit]

The club played host to many local, national and international bands primarily within the music sub-cultures of the time, such as Elvis Costello, Buzzcocks, The Clash, Joy Division, Ramones, Sex Pistols, Siouxsie and the Banshees, The Slits, The Stranglers, Ultravox, Wire, XTC, X-Ray Spex and early gigs by U2, New Order, Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark and Mick Hucknall (pre Simply Red).

The club acted as a catalyst for local musicians (often also from the Runcorn, Southport, Skelmersdale, Wirral areas) and saw many local artists later become successful acts, including Dead or Alive, Echo & the Bunnymen, Julian Cope, The Teardrop Explodes, Ellery Bop and Wah! Heat.[2]

A copy of a membership card.

Eric's was a membership only venue whereby members had to buy a yearly membership to enter the club. One of the more beneficial ideas was to provide membership for 'under 18's', which allowed younger music fans to see both local and national bands during a 'matinee' show they would more often than not have had a chance to see. It could be argued that this was merely a marketing ploy or revenue generating exercise, but this encouraged more prominent national bands and artists to visit Liverpool and helped provide a social networking venue for some of the city's future musical artists.

Closing[edit]

The club lasted until March 1980 when the club was raided by police for drug offences. The final acts that night where The Psychedelic Furs supported by Wah! Heat. Wah! Heat's performance was recorded for a John Peel session, and the poem "The Last Night of Erics (A small opera in the making)" was penned by Rob Jones. Later the club reopened as Bradys, to last some 12 months before closing.

Current status[edit]

The original venue building was until mid-2011 (see below) part of the local 'trendy' orientated bar/club culture playing contemporary pop/dance music and is still on Mathew Street, which has an annual festival to promote Liverpool music. The club's main members entrance was situated below (though slightly to the right) of the Beatles Mural sculpture on Mathew Street, which is featured on the wall, opposite the current Cavern club.

In October 2011, a new venue called ‘Erics Live’ was opened by a local Liverpool business person. Although occupying the same location, the new owner and venue have no connection with the original club. The venture, and use of the name and logo, has been condemned by a founding owner and many members of the original club, and has since closed.[3][4]

Eric's The Musical[edit]

A musical written by Mark Davies Markham (Liverpool born author of West End hit Taboo) and directed by Jamie Lloyd which ran at The Liverpool Everyman Theatre in September 2008.
Although the show was well received and loved by Liverpool audiences and fans of the Eric's club, some reviewers felt 'you probably had to be there'[5]

Cast Included
Graham Bickley as Joe
Peter Caulfield as Holly Johnson, Ian McCulloch and Joe Strummer.
Rosalie Craig as Sally
Katy Dean as Karen
Sam Donovan as Pete Wylie
Stuart Ellis as Pete Burns
Stephen Fletcher as Joey
Oliver Jackson as Julian Cope
Ciaran Kellgren as Colin
Dean Kelly as Dr Fisher
Mark Moraghan as Reg/Will Sergeant
Lesley Nicol as Eileen/Hilary the Punk Milkmaid
James Rigby as Boxhead
Iris Roberts as Jayne Casey.

Choreography: Ann Yee
Music Director: Alan Williams
Designer: Soutra Gilmour
Sound Designer: Chris Full
Lighting Designer: Jon Clark.

Eric's the Photographs[edit]

Italian born rock photographer Francesco Mellina photographed the music scene in Liverpool from 1978 to 1982. He was a regular contributor to music magazines such as NME, the Face and Smash Hits during this period. He temporally stopped taking photographs professionally when he became the manager of Nightmares in Wax who later became Dead or Alive and to set up Black Eye Records. His collection has remained unseen for 30 years when in July 2008 he agreed to publish his work. His work was used in the publicity for Eric's The Musical. A major exhibition of his work took place from May to August at the National Conservation Centre in Liverpool.

Eric's The Book : All The Best Clubs Are Downstairs, Everyone Knows That[edit]

A book consisting of extensive interviews and research of the club and its history, was published in April 2009. The book was researched and written by Paul Whelan and Jaki Florek and contains many interviews with the people involved in the club and a large amount of previously unpublished material from the time. It is published by Feeedback.[6]

References[edit]

External links[edit]