07 March 2008

a long goodbye

ok i know this is a little more wordy than i usually tend to post but too bad. i'm starting to realize that the field closing means more than a quiet night of sleep. that bar closing means the end of a place where i know there'll always be a friendly face and a warm hello. and in this harsh and unforgiving place that is new york city, that is priceless. and i'll miss it.

there's one more chance to sing live band karaoke, and it's next friday the 14th. but here's their goodbye letter from paul's blog - the original post is here.

Goodbye Magnetic Field

Needless to say, we are all heartbroken at the news that Magnetic Field is closing. We're looking for another regular venue but for all the guys in Bunnie England & The New Originals, the Field has been our home away from home and the staff our second family. We've been doing live band karaoke at the Field for almost 4 years now and I think all the guys in Bunnie England would agree that playing at the Field has been the most rewarding and fun experience we've had as musicians.

Here is something you may not know….Bunnie England & The New Originals would not exist if it wasn't for William Crane and Magnetic Field.

I've known William since 1999 when we both worked for Deja.com along with William's then future wife Cena Pohl and Field co-owner Stephen Freeman. Deja was one of those cool but ill-fated dot.com's that disappeared after the dot.com bubble burst around 2000. William and I remained friends after Deja went away and I was psyched when William told me that he was going to open a bar. He had very big ideas about the d├ęcor (sci-fi western?), talked about what a great music venue it was gonna be and mentioned something about a game show??? He told me that owning a bar had always been a dream of his and I was excited by his excitement.

A few months after the bar opened, I got a call from William asking me to put together a live karaoke band to play at the Field. I promptly said NO because I was already in a couple of bands and wasn't too sure about doing the "cover" thing. William was persistent and after a few phone calls in which he mentioned something about actually paying the band and the possibility of all the free beer we could drink, it seemed like a no-brainer. I asked Paul Gil, my band mate in Bastards of Melody, and Dave Noel of the late-great Mexican Elvis if they would like to join me in this endeavor and they both said yes! (I figured they would when I mentioned the thing about the free beer.) Thus, Bunnie England & The New Originals was born.

William even gave us our name….Back when William and I worked at Deja.com, we had a company band. Lot's of great musicians worked at Deja so it seemed like a cool thing to do if for no other reason than to play at the company Christmas parties. I played guitar, William played drums and Cena played bass. The other band member shall remain nameless at this time….Anyway, William was already using the name Dick Swizzle and dressing up as the old, drunk, used up, Vegas style game show host we've all come to know and love. Some of the other band members also had nicknames so I wanted one too. I came up with some really lame ones that nobody liked. Then one day, out of the blue, William walked up to me and said "you're Bunnie England." I have no idea how he came up with it or what it meant but it sounded cool so I was Bunnie England…at least for that day.

Fast forward four years - We still hadn't come up with a name when we decided to schedule our first live band karaoke show at the Field, but William went ahead and started promoting the show on the Field website as "come sing with Bunnie England." I really didn't want to be a "solo artist" but William already had the ad up on the site. What to do…I asked the guys in the band if they had a good idea for a name and Dave Noel started doing that scene from This Is Spinal Tap in an English accent…"we were the Creatures, then the Lovely Lads, then the Originals, then the New Originals..." That was it. We put the two together and viola! Bunnie England & The New Originals, the world's greatest live karaoke band.

I don't know how many shows we've played at the Field, probably close to 100. The Field opened up a lot of doors for us including a long running residence at the Cutting Room in NYC where we backed up some semi-famous TV stars such as Chris "Let Me Stand Next To Your Fire" Noth from Law & Order and Horatio Sanz from Saturday Night Live (we couldn't get him off the stage.) We were also featured on NYC's TV25 and have played tons of private parties and various and sundry clubs and bars in New York and New Jersey.

The staff at the Field always treated us like the rock stars that we thought we were. Thanks to William and co-owner Lee Greenfeld who let us use their gear, hired great soundmen and, as mentioned, kept us well "lubricated" during Bunnie England shows.

We have some great memories of the Field including the crazy, over the top, way too much fun Kentucky Derby parties hosted by Michael Boyd, Nina singing "99 Red Baloons"…in German!, the guy who nailed "I Feel Good" complete with authentic James Brown dance moves, William spraying beer all over the stage while singing "Crazy Train" and slipping and falling on his ass (this happened more times than William cares to remember) and Bunnie England host Steve Reynolds blowing us away the first time he sang "Surrender" with us.

Thanks also to all the regulars including Boyd, Ed, Jon Quinn, John Sic, Aggie, Abigail, Jessica, Billy Reno, Miguel, Joe, Cindy, Matt, Katherine, John McD, Gregor, Kathryn, Marya, Jamie, Melanie, Cassie J and YOU if we left you out…Thanks also to the staff past and present: William, Lee, Devon, Charlene, Michelle, Jonah, Matt and Kate.

Oh yeah, I guess we should thank all the great drummers we played with at the Field, if I can remember them all….Scott Treude (Grandma Death!), Troy Messina, Jeff Prosetti and Dave Noel.

We've got two more Field shows and hopefully we'll see you all again when we get settled in our new digs, wherever that may be. Bye bye Magnetic Field, thanks for birthin' us. We're gonna miss ya.

Paul Crane (Guitarist - Bunnie England & The New Originals)

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