Mudd Club

Coordinates: 40°43′3.57″N 74°0′8.43″W / 40.7176583°N 74.0023417°W / 40.7176583; -74.0023417
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Mudd Club
Mudd Club building facade in New York City
Location77 White Street, Manhattan, New York, United States
Coordinates40°43′3.57″N 74°0′8.43″W / 40.7176583°N 74.0023417°W / 40.7176583; -74.0023417
OwnerSteve Maas, Diego Cortez, Anya Phillips
Mudd Club plaque on building at 77 White Street, New York City

The Mudd Club was a nightclub located at 77 White Street in the TriBeCa neighborhood of Lower Manhattan in New York City. It operated from 1978 to 1983 as a venue for post punk underground music and no wave counterculture events. It was opened by Steve Maas, Diego Cortez and Anya Phillips.


The Mudd Club was founded by filmmaker Steve Maas, art curator and filmmaker Diego Cortez, and downtown punk scene persona Anya Phillips in 1978.[1] Maas named the club after Samuel Alexander Mudd, the physician who treated John Wilkes Booth in the aftermath of Abraham Lincoln's assassination.[2] To secure the space for the venue, which was a loft owned by artist Ross Bleckner, Maas described the future venue as essentially an art bar cabaret, like Mickey Ruskin's One University Place, itself based on Ruskin's Max's Kansas City.[3]

Mudd Club featured a bar, gender-neutral bathrooms, and an art gallery curated by Keith Haring on the fourth floor.[4] Live performances there included new wave, experimental music, performance art, literary icons Allen Ginsberg and William Burroughs, and catwalk exhibitions for emerging fashion designers Anna Sui and Jasper Conran. Performers included New York no wave bands such as DNA, Rhys Chatham, Nona Hendryx's Zero Cool, the Contortions, Tuxedomoon and Jean-Michel Basquiat's band Gray.[5] In 1979, Talking Heads performed songs from their new album Fear of Music. Tim Page produced several concerts at the Mudd Club in 1981, in an attempt to meld contemporary art music with rock music and pop music. On the dance floor, DJs David Azarch, Anita Sarko and Johnny Dynell played a unique mixture of punk rock, funk music and curiosities.

From the start it functioned as a post-punk "amazing antidote to the uptown glitz of Studio 54 in the '70s".[6] Six months after it opened, the Mudd Club was mentioned in People: "New York's fly-by-night crowd of punks, posers and the ultra-hip has discovered new turf on which to flaunt its manic chic. It is the Mudd Club ... . For sheer kinkiness, there has been nothing like it since the cabaret scene in 1920s Berlin".[7] As it became more frequented by downtown celebrities, a door policy was established and it acquired a chic, often elitist hip reputation.

After its first few years, Studio 54 celebrities like Andy Warhol, Grace Jones, Michael Musto, and David Bowie began to show up. In 1981, the Mudd Club's Steve Maas began going to the more informal Club 57 on St. Mark's Place, and began hiring the Club 57 crowd (including Keith Haring[8]) to help draw in the younger and hipper part of the downtown art scene.[9] As a result, the Mudd Club was frequented by many of Manhattan's up-and-coming cultural celebrities. People associated with frequenting the venue included musicians Lou Reed, Johnny Thunders, David Byrne, Debbie Harry, Arto Lindsay, John Lurie, Nico, Lydia Lunch, X, the Cramps, the B-52's, the Bongos and Judas Priest[10] artist Jean-Michel Basquiat and his then-girlfriend Madonna;[11][12] Colab members; performers Klaus Nomi and John Sex; designers Betsey Johnson, Maripol and Marisol Deluna; underground filmmakers Amos Poe, Eric Mitchell, Charlie Ahearn, Vincent Gallo, James Nares, Jim Jarmusch, Vivienne Dick, Scott B and Beth B, Kathy Acker, and Glenn O'Brien; supermodel Gia Carangi; [13] and makeup artist Sandy Linter.

The Mudd Club closed in the spring of 1983.[14][2] A regular noted, "At the end, it was not much fun anymore. I mean, it had just become—kind of like the hangers-on to the hangers-on at the Mudd Club".[15]

Maas opened another Mudd Club in Berlin in 2001 (located at Grosse Hamburger Strasse 17); this Berlin club was considered an intimate venue for touring bands. In 2007, the arts organization Creative Time placed a plaque on the NYC building to commemorate the club's existence.[16]

On October 28–29, 2010, a 30-year reunion of Mudd Club artists and regulars was held at the Delancey nightclub in Manhattan. Many bands and performers from the Mudd Club and Club 57 performed, including Bush Tetras, Three Teens Kill Four, Comateens and Walter Steading. The Mudd Club reunion was also attended by two of the three original doormen, Joey Kelly (Buddy Love, Magic Tramps, Dive Bar Romeos) and Richard Boch (author and painter) but not the actor/voiceperson Colter Rule, the first doorman (Halloween, '78- June,'79 with Joey Kelly as "security), who was quoted as stating, "I dislike organized partying these days".[17][18] A memoir by Boch, The Mudd Club, based on his nearly two years working the Mudd Club door, was published by Feral House in September 2017.[19][20]

In pop culture[edit]

The club has been mentioned in various songs such as "Life During Wartime" (1979) by Talking Heads, "The Return of Jackie and Judy" (1980) by the Ramones, "New York / N.Y." (1983) by Nina Hagen, and "Off the Shelf"(1983) by Elliott Murphy. Frank Zappa included a song named after the club on his 1981 album You Are What You Is. In 2022, Judas Priest issued the CD Live at the Mudd Club ’79 as part of their box set, 50 Heavy Metal Years Of Music.[21]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Greenberg, Lori (September 18, 2017). "Exhuming the Classic Mudd Club, 'Scene of the Crime' in the Late '70s". Bowery Boogie. Archived from the original on August 16, 2022. Retrieved 2022-07-23.
  2. ^ a b Blanks, Tim (February 25, 2001). "Mudd Quake". The New York Times Magazine. Retrieved January 13, 2009.
  3. ^ Boch, Richard. The Mudd Club. Feral House. p. 33
  4. ^ Gruen, John (ed). Keith Haring: The Authorized Biography, Prentice Hall Press, 1991.
  5. ^ "Relive The Party That Launched Jean-Michel Basquiat's Art Career". GQ Middle East. March 27, 2019.
  6. ^ Musto, Michael. "Farewell, Queen of the Mudd Club", Archived 2009-07-20 at the Wayback Machine Village Voice Le Daily Musto Blog, Aug. 17 2008.
  7. ^ People, July 16, 1979.
  8. ^ Haring, Keith. Keith Haring Journals. Penguin, 1997.
  9. ^ Hager, Steve. Art After Midnight: The East Village Scene. St. Martin. 1986.
  10. ^ Boch, Richard (2017). The Mudd Club. Port Townsend, WA: Feral House. p. 269. ISBN 978-1-62731-051-2. OCLC 972429558.
  11. ^ Hager, Steve. Art After Midnight: The East Village Scene. St. Matins Press, 1986. p. 31
  12. ^ Fretz, Eric. Jean-Michel Basquiat: A Biography, Greenwood Press, 2010. Chapter 3.
  14. ^ Boch, Richard (2017-09-12). The Mudd Club. Feral House. ISBN 978-1-62731-058-1.
  15. ^ O'Brien, Glenn. "A Dialogue with Diego Cortez", Jean-Michel Basuiat 1981: The Studio of the Street, Chrata, 2007.
  16. ^ Kennedy, Randy (April 29, 2007). "Touring Warhol's Space, and 32 Other Art-History Sites". The New York Times. Retrieved May 13, 2010.
  17. ^ Mudd Club / Club 57 / New Wave Vaudeville Reunion website Archived 2010-09-15 at the Wayback Machine
  18. ^ Vincentelli, Elisabeth. "Its Name Was Mudd," New York Post, October 23, 2010.
  19. ^ Kurutz, Steven (2017-08-25). "The Doorman at the Mudd Club Tells All". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2021-09-05.
  20. ^ Boch, Richard.The Mudd Club, Feral House, 2017
  21. ^ "Judas Priest | Official Store". Retrieved 8 August 2023.