Those were the frickin¹ days
Please note: This article is published as an archive copy from Philadelphia City Paper. My City Paper is not affiliated with Philadelphia City Paper. Philadelphia City Paper was an alternative weekly newspaper in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The last edition was published on October 8, 2015.
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cover story

Those were the frickin¹ days

Rolling stone¹s david fricke remembers the main point

An editor and columnist for Rolling Stone since 1985 -- and a New Yorker since ’78 -- David Fricke used to be a Philly guy. When he was a young music editor for The Drummer newspaper, he hung out at The Main Point quite a bit, and from the fall of ’74 through spring of ’76, he handled publicity for the club and found himself there all the time. The mid-’70s were interesting times for the little club; financial difficulties always threatened to close it down and big-time performers would come to its rescue with benefit shows and endorsements. It also was an era when up-and-coming performers like Patti Smith and Tom Waits would take the little stage and start to make a name for themselves.

City Paper: What were your duties as publicist?

David Fricke: I pummeled posters up and down Bryn Mawr, delivered the ads and the press releases, in some cases by hand to Jack White over at the Inky, my friend Matt Dansker at The Bulletin and Jonathan Takiff.... To really make a concerted effort to let people know what was going on at the club, because particularly at that juncture, we were competing pretty heavily with the Electric Factory operation and our big drawback, at least in a business sense, was that we didn't serve liquor. So it was all soda and coffee and brownies and things like that. Which was fabulous and I think people really enjoyed that, but... you really had to make sure you had the tickets because you didn't have the liquor markup that, say, the Bijou Café had.

CP: When people recall The Main Point, they always mention the homey, family feel of the place. Was it a suburban thing?

DF: That was sort of an accidental pleasure that it happened to be out there, away from sort of the inner city hustle, but the club... had been around since the early '60s, during the folk boom, so I think the location became a pleasure rather than the location being the cause of it. There really wasn't a rock or club scene [in Philadelphia] when the club started. That developed really once the Electric Factory started [in '68].

CP: So what set the tone besides the music?

DF: Bill Scarborough, Larry Ahearn and Jeannette Campbell -- that whole mob -- they were just fantastic because they were at it for all the right reasons. And were doing it in spite of the fact that the club was in financial straits, which was why Springsteen played a benefit, Jackson Browne did a week [of benefits].

It was great training for me because wanting to be a writer, I also saw the other side of it. And got to interface with artists sitting down in the basement, watching Tom Waits play pool with a big hole in his shoe.

CP: What are some of your favorite moments?

DF: I remember driving Allen Ginsberg from his motel out on the Main Line to a performance at the club in '75, and him just telling me a lot of Rolling Thunder stories because he'd just been out with Dylan, and just being a really friendly, warm, funny guy. And then him walking on stage and singing his songs and reciting William Blake poems while pumping the harmonium.

CP: Any physical mementos?

DF: I saved some of the old fliers -- I don't know where the hell they are, but -- as evidence of when I was there. You look back at those now and it's just extraordinary who was there and who was playing with who. It's like, you can't imagine that now. It was an amazing place.

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