"I might live a long time, but I won't live very long as a writer."
I first met Matty at the Ear Inn, in the afternoon, two years before Bobby Fuller's "I Beat the Law and the Law Won" came crashing through the north wall of my 2nd-floor loft. The same year the Ear opened for biz as the Ear. Matty was sitting at the bar by himself drinking whatever it was he drank, seems like he sipped his drink through a straw he drank so fast. But Matty was fast, he was speed personified. He was speed on speed.
We got along fine at first meeting--it was short; Matty finished his drinks usually and, ZOOM, he was out the door and gone--but then he might suddenly ZOOM back in and order another drink and suck it down full speed in the blinking of an eye.
Our meeting was finer the second time and then, after I settled down in the Ear, we became same-style buddies; and I was in the Ear every day and every night, not sleeping much, you see--I only needed three hours max sleep a night and that's usually about all I got--most of my awaking hours being in the Ear at my end of the bar in my corner on my stool, which was always saved for me by the staff--the main bartender was my best friend, a leather craftsman who was starving to death as a leather craftsman but brilliantly rewarded as a bartender. Once I was there every day and Matty came in every day we became Ear Inn brothers under the skin--we did things on the exact same schedules as most of the creatures who started homing in on the Ear; especially the scuzzy sort of artists--painters, trash artists, performance artists, con artists, hipsters, new-age maniacs, biofeedbackers, classically trained musicians who'd strayed into free-form everything including lifestyle and musics, or young white would-be blues musicians--I remember the day local blues legend Bill Dicey wondered into the eerie confines of the Ear and ask to see the music booker and we all started laughing at his ass, including Matty, who was there that day, too, and later had quite an explosive damaging effect on old Bill; in fact, Bill moved his operations to Baltimore after his incident with Matty. There were also far-out jazz dudes who called the Ear home, Perry Robinson was in there a lot, and like I said, Carla Bley was in there quite a bit--and the whacko Columbia U music school rebels made it their official headquarters-R.I.P Heyman and Charlie Morrow and those dudes literally owned the Ear Inn, though my crowd came to dominate it, much to the delight and chargrin of especially R.I.P. Heyman--who we called "Hatrack," not my invention but that of my friend from Brooklyn, with whom I formed 3 different bands over the years, and it wasn't very polite either, meaning old R.I.P. was a good place to hang your hat, but it was done with great respect--we loved Hatrack--but, god-damn we were an irreverent bunch and that's what made us exciting and funny, too; we were terribly funny and some of the weirdest most far-out happenings I ever attended just happened spontaneously at the Ear, like out-of-nowhere events that just happened, dig? Like the night a German performance artist who crucified sheep on beaches as his tribute to Jesus or somesuch nonsense brought his whole troup of performance artistes to the Ear where they were entertained upstairs while down in the bar, my crowd and I were in full blossom, our Yippee priest, Piggie Man, having popped in with a papersack full of schrooms--psychedelic mushrooms grown hydroponically by the Yippees in secret East Side hideouts--and the head of the Yippees, I can't remember his name, Dean something maybe, was my best friend the Ear Inn bartender's friend, and the Yippee headquarters had just been bombed and Piggie Man was passing out the schrooms plus he had a bag of quaaludes and LSD tabs, the drugs of the day in those days, and he took those and passed 'em out among the Germans upstairs and soon the Germans were downstairs and a wondrous mafficking began with my crowd and the Germans mixing and soon there was even fucking going on on the splintery Ear Inn floor--what a party! None like it since. I mean an absolute orgy happened. I ended up protecting the pilot Willow from a German's teutonic advances--"I vill haff you!" I had to slap his bootheel-clicking ass down three times then I simply picked up a barstool and crowned his ass; knocked him flat out on the floor with his girlfriend screaming "You'ff kilt heem; you'ff kilt heem," and she'd just been banged on the dirty floor by The Fragger, the Ear Inn's Vietnam-vet hallucinating madman whose favorite tune was "Death on the Highway," which he especially loved playing at full volume when he was driving his Jew-canoe Lincoln Continental up Greenwich Street at about 70 miles an hour only to suddenly take a hard left turn without reducing his speed. One time I swore I was a gonner ridin' with The Fragger. He said, "Jesus, Wolfie, I thought you had more confidence in me than that, you quivering piece of cowardly shit; I saved your ass from a commie takeover in Vietnam, you disrespectful son of a bitch--and I love ya, too, you sorry great son of a bitch."
The party ended up with a truck driver, whose 18-wheeler sleeper cab behemoth Mack was parked directly across from the Ear, he'd just driven some fruit up from Florida, breaking down and confessing to Willow the Lady Pilot that he was gay as a three dollar bill. Hell, Willow had the solution, Gay Roberto from the Ear Inn kitchen. "Hell, he may cut your throat after you suck his dick, but what the hell, if he likes you, he may just nick you a little bit. It's the chance you take." He took it. I suppose he and Gay Roberto spent a lovely night together in that Mack sleepercab. The truck was gone the next morning when Piggy Man dropped me off wide-eyed and surprisingly intellectual in front of the shut-tight Ear about 5 in the am and I was too TCP'd out to even find my way back to my loft so I simply went to sleep in the Ear Inn garbage. The morning bartender, a big chick from California, hetero, but bull-dyke tough, found me and rescued me and soon was pumping medicinal Murphy's Irish Whiskey down my craw. God bless that woman; she saved my ass. This is the same woman who one night I saw literally pick up The Fragger full body, lift his bony ass over her head, and truck him out to the curb and there deposit his ass in the gutter. He said, as she turned and went back into the Ear, "Thank you, I needed that." For that she forgave him, allowed him back into the bar and actually bought him drinks the rest of the night. One night, The Fragger came into the Ear looking for me in particular. "Wolfie," he screamed, "you gotta come with me, man, I'm fucking a chick with three nipples--you gotta see it, man, come on."
Did I go? That's a rhetorical question.
Matty Quick is in the above photo; can you guess which one he is?
Still to be continued as is always continued.
for The Daily Growler