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A Strange Visit to the Peppermint Lounge

June 28, 2015

 

So one night Mike McKenzie, (Danny Dare) and I were in New York City waiting to catch a flight back to Bermuda the next day.  The Peppermint Twist was huge, and we were blocks from the joint, so I called over and told the guy, "I’m Donnie Dare, a disc jockey from Bermuda, and we’d like to come over and see the band tonight.”   He asked what time and I told him about 8:00, and he said that was fine and he’d put us on the list.  Well, one thing led to another, we had a big dinner and visited with folks, and suddenly it was around 11:00 in the evening.

 

Without further thought, we caught a cab to the Peppermint Lounge, where there was a long line outside.  We walked pass the line of the "little People," and I got the attention of the burly doorman; “Hey, I’m Donnie Dare from Bermuda, you’re holding  a table for us.”  The guy looks down at the list and replies that we said we’d be there at 8:00, and without hesitation I told him we’d decided to go to dinner first.  Then proceeded a scene right out of the Copa scene in 'Goodfellas,' the guy picked up a small table, led us through the crowd into the Club, where Joey Dee and the Starlighters were in action along with some heavily made up twisting dancers, and sat us down right to the front. I believe there were some real celebrities that watched us pass by:  'Who the hell is that, I don't know they must be heavies, probably Vegas.'


It was many years later that I told that story to a record guy from New York who said, ‘Jeeze you had some cojones.’
He told me that the Mob had owned that bar for years and when the Twist craze came, they  changed the name and hired Joey and the band, then paid to have the record produced.

 

After Chubby Twisted once, and then again the next summer, the dance sensation spread across the nation, as Mr. Dick Clark would say, and the gangsters found they had an unexpected financial windfall.  He guessed that because we showed up late without apology and walked in like we owned the place, we must be big dogs in Bermuda, wherever the hell that was, and probably mobbed up also. He also said that it was not uncommon that smart asses like us would end up in the alley with our asses kicked. The drinks, of course, were very expensive and I really hope that we left a tip, because we didn’t have much money.
 

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