Music Mix #3: Teen Goth Nite.

I’m not sure if this was just a late ’80s/early ’90s thing or if gloomy kids are still spending their free time like I did, but when I was a teenager growing up in a small town in upstate New York, there existed a phenomena known as Teen Goth Nite. On Friday and Saturday nights, nightclubs would shut down alcohol service and open their doors to underage darklings in need of a dance party.

This seems totally weird to me now, but at the time, it was a real thing. It wasn’t just one place, either—there was The Boardwalk in Brewster, Images in…geez, where was Images?, and, if you had enough cash for the train (and sufficient parental permission), there was the best place of all—The Bank in New York City. Out came the fishnets, the black lipstick, the crushed velvet, the hairspray, the 10-hole Docs and the sullen attitude, and we’d hit the road in search of others like us. And then we’d dance. And fret when our makeup ran from sweat.

EDIT: Ward 6!! That was the name of the other club I was trying to think of. Phew. I feel better now…

This mix is dedicated with every ounce of bloody love in my cold, dark heart to Nicole. May we always find a ride.

You can find and follow me on 8tracks as doorsixteen. Previous Mixes:
+ Summertime Jams
+ Friendship Bracelets

46 comments
  1. JenSep 6, 20114:28 pm

    Aaaahhh! We would have been pals!! Though we used the term “Batcavers”, not “Goth”. Is that a regional difference? I dunno.

    The club we had in Seattle, “The Monastery”, got shut down because of all the LSD and alleged child prostitution. (Not that I was old enough to get in! I had fake I.D. that said I was 18. Ha!) Then another one opened up for a little while until some backwards teen dance hall ordinance shut it all down. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Teen_Dance_Ordinance I was lucky to work in an all ages rock club later when I was 17. Seattle was such a BS place to be a teenager in the late 80s and 90s! I don’t think it’s much better now, unfortunately.

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    Anna @ D16 /

    You know, I don’t think we ever actually CALLED ourselves “Goth”. That would have been a label, and we were TOO MUCH FOR MERE LABELS, man. (“Spider farmers”, perhaps?)

    LSD! Child prostitution! Footloose-like subplots! So much more excitement on the western side of the country, I see.

    Jen /

    So much more OPPRESSION! I really believe that’s why so many kids in the Pacific NW got hooked on smack. So many ODs all of the time. Kids were BORED. I had fun though–I was in love with the music, art and the boys. So many cute boys with one eye covered with hair. Sigh.

  2. Kim @ HousetoHomesteadSep 6, 20114:28 pm

    Wow, this brings back so many memories. We never called it “Teenage Goth Nite” (and I wasn’t really very goth), but my best friend and I used to go dancing at “The Amazon” when we were in high school and it sounds pretty much the same as what you describe. And I love the music!

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    Jennifer /

    Are you referring to “The Amazon” in the Sacramento area? That’s where I used to go dancing too! Every Saturday and sometimes Friday (the unofficial Goth night). Now I live a few miles from it with my husband and two kids and every time I drive by I smile. My mom started letting me go when I was 14. That was pretty cool of her. I’m going to thank her next time I talk to her.

  3. nicoleSep 6, 20114:34 pm

    some of those memories are so immediately and vividly retrievable for me. for so many reasons, just seeing those photos of you send my head and heart spinning in so many different directions. nostalgic swoon.

    this will undoubtedly result in an entire evening of listening to this fabulous aural time machine while digging through my old photo albums. i may very well need to pull out an old dress (i actually still have one or two from that era), paint my lips the perfect shade of blood red, stack a couple dog collars on my neck, brush my hair over my face, and dance slowly in the corner of my living room. i can’t tell yet if i’m serious about that.

    sorry i didn’t get back to you sooner with suggestions, but you nailed it just fine on your own.

    by the way, that photo of us was the only documentation of my hair ever being blonde. still shocking.

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  4. PLMSep 6, 20114:35 pm

    Images was the previous name/incarnation of the Boardwalk in Brewster,NY. I grew up in Putnam County,NY and fondly remember times spent at Images!!

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    Anna @ D16 /

    Oh gosh, thank you!!! That totally makes sense—and explains why I couldn’t think of a third location, ha ha.

  5. GabrielleSep 6, 20114:49 pm

    OMG I went to Images too! Traveled over from Ridgefield, CT. So happy to have found a place that we weren’t considered freaks.

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  6. lauSep 6, 20114:57 pm

    AWESOME. i actually made one of these too! it was one of my first 8tracks. http://8tracks.com/lau/goth-night

    GOFF 4 EVA

    [Reply]

    lau /

    also, that picture of you is so cute. the goth look suits you!

  7. DusaSep 6, 20115:38 pm

    I love your 8tracks! That is all. :)

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  8. YvonneSep 6, 20115:46 pm

    I spent many a Friday night going to Images and then the Boardwalk…I think we were using the phrase “alternative” also… I was coming from Newtown, CT. Good times!!!!

    [Reply]

    Anna @ D16 /

    Yes, the years when “alternative” meant Dave Kendall, not Matt Pinfield. ;)

    denkiva /

    Wow… That comment sums it all up perfectly!

  9. belindaSep 6, 20115:49 pm

    oh my goodness. this takes me back.

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  10. JulesSep 6, 20116:44 pm

    Holy cow, Blue Monday just catapulted me into the past.

    My first boyfriend in high school wore 14 holes and made me a Black Flag tape. Memories! I found a lock box full of love letters from him a few weeks ago. I still talk to him, so we shared a good laugh over some of his more impassioned letters. Everything is more when you’re 15, you know?

    [Reply]

  11. ChrisSep 6, 20117:49 pm

    Thanks for the mix. Made my afternoon.

    [Reply]

  12. JennSep 6, 20118:27 pm

    I haven’t listened to some of these in years yet I still somehow know all the words? Love it!

    [Reply]

    Anna @ D16 /

    Timeless classics! :)

  13. hallieSep 6, 201111:34 pm

    OMG! This playlist is KILLING me. Teh funniest part is that I loved all but one of these bands (the virgin prunes?) and I was insistent that I was NOT A GOTH YOU GUYS. Sorry for all the yelling in this comment. it’s just that I was a total punk (who looked way more like a goth, and let’s be real, loved herself a serious goth playlist. Wishing I had pictures readily available to post as evidence.
    ps: they definitely didn’t have anything as cool as a teen goth dance party where I grew up (wouldn’t TGDP be an awesome band name?) but I encourage you to throw one soon.

    [Reply]

    Anna @ D16 /

    Yeah, I’m thinking I need to hunt down Dave Kendall and force him to DJ a party in my basement. ;)

    I HATED the “goth” label back then. NO LABELS, MAN. Now I just think it’s hilarious.

    (And the Virgin Prunes were great!!! That’s where Gavin Friday came from. Definitely check them out.)

  14. EllaSep 7, 20113:55 am

    Hahaha, this makes me so happy. My inner teen goth shivers. Where I come from, one of the suburbs furthest away from Stockholm, there was nothing like this. The funniest thing that happened was hanging outside a gas station (which I never did) or a school dance with like Julian Lennon and Snap.

    We’d actually call ourselves goths or – which is much more ugly and stupid, and so more to our liking – gothare, because there was this stupid, old nationwide division – are you rock or synth, and synth somehow included goth.

    These days, DJing obscure 80s synth tracks and singing in a synth band, I’m nurturing my inner goth. Some things will never change, I’m sure. And OMG there’s so much more music to discover, more and more…

    [Reply]

  15. Rachel KaySep 7, 20119:12 am

    I love the photo of you in the graveyard. How morbid!
    When I was a teen I could only dream of hanging out in graveyards :)
    I was a solo goth, my friends were all into to pop. Try as I might, I was never able to convert them. Now as a dj I am still trying to convert people to my taste in music :)

    [Reply]

    Anna @ D16 /

    Graveyard photo shoots were a staple of my youth! My friend Nicole and I actually relived the experience a few years ago:
    http://www.doorsixteen.com/2008/10/07/old-school/

  16. Lisa-MarieSep 7, 201111:10 am

    In Scotland, this is called ‘Unders’, short for Under-18s night. Most clubs do it, but the rock ones are the most frequent.

    [Reply]

  17. sulu-designSep 7, 20112:54 pm

    Wow. The Bank. I haven’t thought about that place in a LONG time. Not since the phase I went through when I spelled Suzy (the way my parents intended my name to be spelled) as “Siouxsie.” Going to listed to the mix now…

    [Reply]

  18. Lori E.Sep 7, 20115:40 pm

    This brings back my memories of road tripping to Fairmount, Indiana to see James Dean’s grave, slathering on red lipstick and kissing the headstone. And, of course, taking a picture… :) My dad still refers to that phase in my life as “the time when all you would wear was black”. And then sort of shudders. I know I spent a lot of time trying to look different (and since I went to a school in the county/country it wasn’t hard. Not wearing cowboy boots or tennis shoes with jeans and a sweatshirt was considered pretty radical) to end up looking just like my friends. :) It was so much fun to get dressed back then. *sigh* My punk phase has morphed into a “get-my-teeth-brushed-hair-combed-no-spit-up-on-clothes” phase. Such is life. :)

    [Reply]

    Anna @ D16 /

    I don’t know whether you’re a Morrissey fan, but just in case you’re not, you should see this video:

    :)

    Lori E. /

    Um, I missed this how? I can’t believe this was shot so close to my hometown and I didn’t even know about it. Way cool video. Thanks.

  19. MelissaSep 7, 20118:47 pm

    Thanks for this post and the music mix! I’m listening to it now as I’m working and the memories come back to me – our ‘goth’ place was called The Proscenium. I first went there when I was 15 (snuck past the security) and was just entranced by this *magical* world. Gorgeously dressed girls, boys with Robert Smith hair. It became my world and was such a great time.

    [Reply]

  20. BethanySep 7, 20119:20 pm

    I know they do this same thing in my town now…and I’m in Ohio! It even takes place on Friday. My clothing didn’t fit with the vibe when I happened upon it but I had a damn good time dancing. If black, leather, fishnet and top hats (I saw a couple) gets people to dance (not just grind) then I’m for it.

    [Reply]

  21. katrinaSep 7, 201110:27 pm

    oh hell yes. i loved new order, sisters of mercy, ministry, and the cure in HS. in fact, i still listen to my cds frequently and i never did outgrow them.

    thanks for the mix!

    [Reply]

  22. denkivaSep 7, 201111:05 pm

    Not sure if anyone is from this part of the woods, but our underage “Goth Night” was Ground Zero in Central Square Cambridge… Sadly it is no more… but it was great while it lasted… Thankfully they didn’t enforce the 18+ policy too strictly :-)

    [Reply]

  23. Bob TiltonSep 7, 201111:23 pm

    We had a club called Drug 6 out here in San Francisco. Great times!

    [Reply]

  24. VioletSep 8, 20115:25 am

    In Los Angeles it was Marilyn’s. :)

    It’s true these seem to be more prevalent with Goth kids of that time than. I’ve never really heard of anything else like it. I guess because it’s such a “scene.”

    [Reply]

  25. shannon raeSep 8, 20119:19 am

    sweet. i am following you on 8tracks. looking forward to listening to your mixes!
    <3, shannon rae

    [Reply]

  26. Mamma BiscuitSep 8, 201111:58 pm

    Anna, I love everything about this post, from those incredible photos (my favorite being the one where you seem to have visited your own tombstone, NICE) to the soundtrack!! Most of all, what I love about your Goth memories is that story that takes place at the Funhouse on 8th street, you know which one I am talking about! Everytime you tell it I get so giddy and can’t control myself! As far as I’m concerned, I was never a Goth kid in my youth although surprisingly, I would shop at Trash and Vaudville and Religious Sex…well, religiously! ;-)

    [Reply]

  27. MackenziSep 9, 20114:16 pm

    I’m madly in love with this. All of it. I grew up in the industrial clubs in Milwaukee in the 90′s and this music was my everything! I even had my mother custom make my prom dress- head to toe black lace and combat boots to match.

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  28. GraceSep 21, 20111:55 pm

    Hi Anna!

    I think I must have listened to this mix at least a 5x in the past couple of days. :) I was a tad too young to go out and dance in the early 90′s, but I remember thinking how cool I was in my black and white striped tights under baggy cut off jean shorts dancing in my room as only an angst-filled eleven yr old could do. Then I found the Gap…..

    But wonderful inspirational (ha! that sounds weird! but very true!) music to listen to while doing some art (now, that sounds about right!)

    Thanks!
    Grace

    [Reply]

  29. judySep 22, 20115:07 pm

    Love this! In Columbus Ohio it was Flamingo Isle. Friday night was “punk rock/progressive night”. This was mid to late 80′s so I guess just before the goth term became popular. Your photos are killer… “I wear black on the outside, cause black is how I feel on the inside”…The Smiths. Hahaha! Oooh the teenage angst!

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  30. AngelinaSep 27, 20111:58 pm

    I lived in LA (The Valley) in early 90s and we had Marilyn’s in Pasadena. But those of us who had good fake IDs or ample cleavage (I had both) went to Helter Skelter. So I went to Marilyn’s on Friday, Helter on Saturdays and Sinematic on Sundays. I went during the school year too. I was pretty committed. My mom still calls us “the commune” cause we rolled like 10 deep everywhere we went. They turned Marilyn’s into a Panda Express a decade or more ago. So weird.

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  31. AngelinaSep 27, 20111:59 pm

    Oops! I meant Velvet on Sundays. It was held at Peanuts 7696 Santa Monica Blvd, just like Sinematic, but Sin was on Saturdays!

    [Reply]

  32. HelenDec 5, 201110:30 pm

    Holy blast from the past. This feels like it was yesterday. Thanks for taking me back!

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  33. SeamasJul 12, 20131:42 pm

    My friends and I used to call Images, The Barn since it was in the Barn Mall. I loved that when it rained, it would leak onto the dance floor.

    Good times

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  34. Anna HartzogMar 12, 20144:36 pm

    Wow – fantastic! I loved The Bank so much! I was there all the time in ’97 – ’98 when I was attending FIT. They also had good goth nights at Pyramid and Coney Island High. I was originally from Seattle and went to the Catwalk club in Pioneer square but the NY scene was my favorite. St. Marks place was amazing back then – not the same now. If you have photos from The Bank you should join and share them here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/5698824453/

    [Reply]

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