"The Best Art In The World"
By AMOS POE, June 2019
Amos Poe: As the legendary doorman at the Mudd Club in the late 70’s and early 80’s, how were you most like St. Peter?
Richard Boch: Everyone who was arriving or waiting outside was looking for their own version of heaven inside. My version of heaven’s pearly gates, wasn’t a velvet rope but a heavy-duty chain.
AP: If life is say, like a long-distance drive, stay with me, and the early part of life is like looking through the front windshield, the latter like looking in the rear-view mirror. What did you see through the windshield in your 20’s?
RB: When I was in my early 20’s I was looking at NYC, downtown in particular. Life seemed filled with limitless possibilities. Rents were dirt cheap, CBGB was exploding and SoHo was the center of the art world. Then the Mudd Club opened and my life was forever changed
AP: And now looking back on the same road, in the rear-view, what does it look like?
RB: I’m grateful that I had the wherewithal to keep driving. The road still has some rough patches but my skill behind the wheel has improved. Despite the distance behind me being greater than the road ahead, the sea of possibilities still runs deep.
AP: What turned you on as a teenager? What medium interested you most? What medium interests you now? How has it changed or stayed the same?
RB: As a teenager I’d have to say the Jefferson Airplane, The Rolling Stones, LSD and fantasizing about sex turned me on the most. Painting and Rock ’n’ Roll fascinated me. Today I still love music but somehow I became a writer who likes to write and scribble words on paintings.
AP: As a New Yorker, what's the biggest challenge of living in New York? What tools do you use to overcome your challenges?
RB: I’m fortunate enough that after all these years I navigate the city with relative ease. That being said, the subways can be a drag so I walk as much as I can.
AP: Has connecting on social media taken the place of club culture? Or has going out become merely a platform to Instagram oneself?
RB: Technology and Social Media have certainly put a dent in club culture. You no longer have to physically show up to find out what’s going on. The days of the club as an info hub are long gone. Regarding Instagram, everything and everything is an insta platform!
AP: Is reality linear or non-linear? Explain.
RB: Linear to me speaks to clarity. Reality is often a cloudy, muddled affair and therefore non-linear.
AP: If you could only take 10 albums on a desert island, which would they be?
RB: Surrealistic Pillow, Rubber Soul, High Tide and Green Grass, Mamas and Papas Deliver, Velvet Underground & Nico, Horses (just because), The Modern Lovers, Ramones 1976, X Los Angeles, Parallel Lines, Fear of Music. That’s eleven.
AP: What's the thing you most like about yourself? What do you dislike about yourself?
RB: Knowing when to stop and say no coupled with the inability to stop and say no.
AP: What's the thing you most like about other people? Dislike?
RB: I like cool. Drama is boring.
AP: What are the 3 top ingredients for a great party?
RB: A great mix of people, great music and a place to sit down.
AP: If you could invite 8 artists - currently deceased - to a dinner party at your home, who would they be?
RB: Andy Warhol, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Robert Rauschenberg, Max Ernst, Cy Twombly, Keith Haring, Louise Bourgeois and Frida Kahlo.
AP: What is the relationship between words and images? Are words images?
RB: Words are images and images speak.
AP: What would be the title of your next book if you were writing one?
RB: Adventure and Misadventure In Clubland and yes I’m writing it.
AP: Of the places you've never been, where would you most like to go? Why?
RB: Lake Louise in the Canadian Rockies. My parents told me it was beautiful.
AP: What was the hottest night at the Mudd Club? Why?
RB: The night Marianne Faithfull performed. The place was packed, I was working the door and like many things Mudd, it was a beautiful crash and burn. Everyone remembers being there whether they really were or not.
AP: What's the best piece of gossip you ever heard?
RB: That I made a million dollars from The Mudd Club book.
AP: What’s the last secret you thought you'd take to your grave?
RB: Where I hid the money.
AP: What would be your favorite epitaph on your tombstone?
RB: “If You’ve Been Standing Here For More Than Ten Minutes You’re Not Getting In”
AP: Glenn O'Brien once said that 'all parties are political parties' and certainly the Mudd was a form of inspired nihilism - how would you describe the current political environment? And what is your hope for the future?
RB: Remembering Glenn and TV Party references a kinder, gentler time. I find the current state of affairs beyond my wildest nightmares. I hope there is a future and we finally wake up.
Richard Boch is an artist, writer and life-long New Yorker. He is the author of The Mudd Club, a memoir and history of his time working the Mudd Club door. WM
Amos Poe is a New York based filmmaker. His films include The Blank Generation (1976), Unmade Beds (1976), The Foreigner (1978), Subway Riders (1981), Frogs and Snakes (1998) and Empire II (2007).view all articles from this author