Eric Emerson Builds a Stage

Eric Emerson Builds a Stage

Just as Eric Emerson had helped kick-start the scene at the Mercer Arts Center by offering his carpentry skills to fix up the venue, he did much the same for Kristal back when it was Hilly’s (Kristal didn’t change the name to CBGB until late 1973). Emerson frequented the Hells Angels clubhouse and spent time in the area, and around 1972 he convinced Kristal to let him and his Magic Tramps bandmate Sesu Coleman build a small stage there. “I saw the Magic Tramps at CBGB before I saw them at Mercer’s,” said Chris Stein, “though it might not have been called CBGB at that point, maybe it was still called Hilly’s on the Bowery. I just randomly walked into the bar and saw them play.” Between 1972 and 1973, Suicide, the Magic Tramps, Wayne County’s Queen Elizabeth, and a variety of other downtown musicians performed on that stage.

From Chapter 30 of The Downtown Pop Underground — order online, or from a local independent bookstore


Hells Angels Headquarters
77 E 3rd St, New York, NY 10003