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Monday, March 1, 2010

The Living Legend of Duff (Part I)

Jimmy Duff is the owner and founder of the top Heavy Metal bar in the world! While Duff's Brooklyn might not be the biggest one, it's definitely the realest. As soon as you step inside Duff's you feel right at home: with Heavy music blasting from the Jukebox, drinks being served by hot beautiful bartender ladies and headbangers constantly filling up the bar. You are also guaranteed great entertainment thanks to the bar's atmosphere. The decor is out of this world. Featuring lots of old school posters, memorabilia, pictures hanging from everywhere and even crosses. Oh, and there is a zombie and a casket too. If you haven't visited 168 Marcy Avenue, what are you waiting for?

Recently, I had the chance to chat with Jimmy Duff about the history of the bar and one of the stories that really stuck with me was the one about Dimebag Darell's few visits to the bar. Here is a piece of history for all the Horns Up Rocks friends to enjoy, the story told by a man who drives a Hearse!

HU: How many bars have you had so far? Tell the people out there.

Jimmy: Well, in my mind it’s the same bar but this is the third location. We started back in 1999 and due to the gentrification of New York City, we’ve had to move several times. But if we have to move 4 times, if we have to move 5 times... I am going to keep the party going as long as I can. As long as my liver holds out we are good.

HU: We have to keep that liver. If you need a new one, I am cleaning mine out to give it to you later.

Jimmy: Alright then. We’ll get that in writing, right? (Laughter).

HU: You have told me a lot of stories, and I want to let people know the story about Dimebag, because that is a very special one. Because it is Dimebag, it was at Duff’s and you were really good friends with Dimebag. And we all love Dimebag! That’s why we are here.

Jimmy: Yeah, that’s why! He was the embodiment to me of what Metal is: heavy crushing crunchy fucking music, but living the life, living life to the fullest. Having a sense of humor about it and just making a lot of people happy; just spreading the music, the love and the happiness. To me that’s what it’s all about. It’s about good times. And that’s why he will always be my number one. I can relate to him on a lot of levels. It’s what I want to see. It’s not necessarily about putting on the spikes, standing around and fucking flexing. And I do love Black Metal and Death Metal, but to me it’s about living it onstage and off stage. It’s just in your blood; it’s who you are.

HU: It’s all about the soul. You know what I mean? With Dimebag everything he did: Pantera, Damageplan, Rebel Meets Rebel. I love Rebel Meets Rebel because it’s all soul!

Jimmy: Yeah, totally. And you can tell.

HU: I was surprised when I heard Dime, Vinnie and Rex where going to do a country metal project with David Allan Coe. I am very open minded because you have to be. At the time I was wondering how is this going to sound?! But then when I heard it, it was awesome!

Jimmy: Yeah and they where working with David Allan Coe, who is a true outlaw. And… excuse me for a second. (Burps off mike).

HU: (Laughter).

Jimmy: Anything that guy did was golden to me. I am a first day buyer of course. Anything, because you know his heart was into it. You can hear it in the music. You know what I mean? And that’s what it was all about.

HU: When and how did you end up meeting Dimebag?

Jimmy: He came by the bar when Epic signed Damageplan. I was friends with the singer Patrick Lachman, I still am. He used to play guitar for Rob Halford. Those cats were in the city and they came by the bar looking for me because they heard that I was keeping Metal alive in New York City. That’s what they told the bartender. Unfortunately, the first time Dime got fucking falling down, fucking drunk and he had to be carried out of the bar. I got down there too late, but I got there in time to hang out with Vinnie Paul and Pat. We where hanging out and chilling. I mean, they just are fucking cool cats and they were digging the vibe. We were cranking old school Ozzy and having a good time. Eventually I drove them over to the Penthouse Club in my Hearse and they were very appreciative. And then I said, “Next time you guys hit town, next time you roll through on tour, we’ll hang.” That next time I think was at Roseland, they opened up for Hatebreed. So we got there early and we got fucked up! (Laughter).

HU: (Laughter). What was the night that you drank the bottle of Crown Royal that is over on that shelf?

Jimmy: I knew they where coming to town, so I bought a Crown Royal bag embroidered for Vinnie Paul “Private stock”. Because Vinnie was even more of a fucking Crown Royal fan than Dime was. He gave that up though. So Dime came back and we're hanging out, we're drinking. I tell the bartenders to leave the bottle on the bar top. We're doin' blacktooths, just knockin' them back. Having the time of our lives.

HU: (Laughter).

Jimmy: So we do a few shots and I just took the fucking bottle and whipped it right over my shoulder not knowing what’s behind me. There was a picture frame on the wall, smashed it. The bottle stayed in one piece, spilled a little bit and the porter picked it up and saved it. Dimebag started cracking up and he says: “Man, you see this big motherfucker behind me?” He was with this guy; this guy must have been 7 feet tall. I think it was Mayhem (Jeffrey Thompson) actually. I was too fucked up to remember correctly. He goes: “I bring him around with me so I don’t do fucking stupid shit like that!” And we just started cracking up, backslapping or whatever. And it was just a grand old time. The bartender I had working, who wasn’t even a metal head asks me: “Who was that guy?” I go: “That was fucking Dimebag!” She says: “I love that fucking guy!” And you know what, she just met him, didn’t really know who he was. And says to me: “He was the fucking nicest fucking guy!” And it didn’t hurt that he gave her a hundred dollar tip. But that just goes to show the generosity and heart of the guy. She was in love with him and everybody had a good time. I just wish I wasn’t as fucked up as I was because I kind of blacked out here and there. I started taking bar stools and smashing them into the ceiling.

HU: (Laughter). So it’s a good thing it’s your bar!

Jimmy: Yeah absolutely! I’d probably still be in jail otherwise. (Laughter).

HU: (Laughter).

Jimmy: It was a legendary time. And when I moved out of Bellevue, it was a funny thing because I had packed everything up. It was like the fall of Saigon, I had to get all my shit out. I was like fuck this; I am done!

HU: That is when you moved to North 3rd street, right?

Jimmy: Well, I was just packing up without knowing where I was going to end up at the time. I was just trying to keep it tight, I didn’t want to take everything with me. So I decided to take as much as I could and I found the Crown bottle. I looked at it and said to myself: “Man, that was a great fucking night, I am going to save this fucking bottle.” I packed it up and I forgot about it. We signed the lease and we starting moving into the new bar about 3 or 4 days after he was assassinated. So I'm there unpacking the stuff and I got to this one box. I unwrapped it, and I'm holding it my hands and said: “Motherfucker, here is that fucking bottle that we drank!" This thing is fucking priceless to me now. This is a symbol. I will always have it in my mind but I have something tangible in my hands. I said: “Man, I am glad I saved this because there is not going to be a next time.” It's not going to be something we can do the next time.

HU: That should have not been the last time. But we all know what happened and it's bullshit.

Jimmy: Yeah, there's nothing we can say about that, that hasn’t been said already. It’s senseless, that’s all. That is the only word.

HU: And what is your favorite Pantera record of all time?

Jimmy: Favorite? Favorite is Trendkill. I would say their best, their strongest release was Far Beyond… no, not Far Beyond Driven. Mouth For War...

HU: Vulgar Display of Power.

Jimmy: Fucking hell. (Laughter). Bang that against my head. I need another drink here!

HU: (Laughter).

Jimmy: Vulgar is their strongest and their most cohesive. My favorite is Trendkill though. It’s just moody and atmospheric, and Floods is one of the best songs ever made by any fucking band. And that solo, I mean that kills every fucking time. The outro?!

HU: Yeah, it’s perfect.

Jimmy: Come on. That’s the shit!

HU: I remember that on the last tour they ever did they where playing Floods. They brought in into the set list and it was awesome.

Jimmy: Yeah, I remember when they toured with White Zombie and I can’t remember who else. But I remember seeing them on my birthday in 96. But that’s my personal favorite. So if I had to… I mean I don’t get confused like some people. I don’t think my favorite its their best or strongest.

HU: Exactly. It’s for you. Personal.

Jimmy: Yeah. I’ll say Vulgar is their best, strongest and most cohesive. But Southern is my personal favorite. That’s the one that if I am in a desert island, that’s the one I am taking with me.

HU: What other records would you take with you to a desert island?

Jimmy: Let me see… The best of John Travolta! No. (Laughter).

HU: (Laughter).

Jimmy: That’s a tough question. How many can I take?

HU: Let’s say 10.

Jimmy: 10? Let’s see… Got to take something by Black Sabbath, maybe "Black Sabbath". Which era you know? Well, "Unleashed in the East" by Priest it’s got to be one. Man, that’s a tough question. I got to think about it, I can’t just pull that off the top of my head.

HU: Right, because you got to think about your entire music collection, since you started getting into this music.

Jimmy: Yeah, if I said to myself: “Well, I got to take one by AC/DC.” But then which one? Then Priest… which one? Then Maiden… which one? And so on. Pantera… I would have to sit down and chew on that one for a little bit. But there wouldn’t be a whole lot of surprises there. If you name the top 10 Metal bands ever… you could say it would be at least one album by each one.

HU: Right. Black Sabbath, Pantera, Slayer, Metallica, Priest…

Jimmy: Slayer, Metallica, Priest...

HU: Maiden… Yeah, I know what you mean.

Jimmy: The heavyweights. You got to go with the meat and potatoes. You don’t have to take something that you like for a minute and then whatever. It’s the classics, the ones that endure. I mean come on; it’s a desert island. I’ll be there for a long time. (Laughter).

To be continued...

Related links:
Duff's Brooklyn

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