Going Out With The Big Kids

I'm not sure about the rest of the world, but the best thing about New York City is that you can go to clubs even if you aren't 21 years old. In fact, here, if you can prove that you are of drinking age, you get a special tag or hand stamp, if  you are under 21 yo, most rock clubs will just stamp your hands with the words, "LOSER" so that the bartenders know not to serve you liquor. (Well, that doesn't stop someone from buying you drinks, but you get the point.)

Nettie, Peter & his niece Nancy 1967

I remember the first time Peter told me he could get me in to see his band CARNIVORE at L'Amours. I was about 14 yo. I was told to be ready by 9pm, because he was going to come back for me after sound check so that I could go with him through the "musicians" door.

I was so excited. I remember picking out an off the shoulder black top with zippers all over it, tight leggings, big platform leopard boots with fringe down the back, and all sorts of crazy jewelry that only a teen would think makes her look older -- maybe old enough not to get proofed.

I teased my hair up high and big, grabbed my mom's leopard bag and walked down the street to Nettie's house to meet cousin Nancy and wait for Peter to pick us up. When I got there, Nettie had a couple of big silver rings to add to my outfit and then we waited for Pete. I remember he looked at me, commented on my "HO" (whore) clothing choice and told me he had to approve any idiot I met at the show. When we got to L'Amour, there was a huge line that went along the street and around the corner. It was so cool driving there in the car, waiting for Pete to park the car while I stood outside looking at the line of neaderthals waiting to get in. Nancy had met her friends outside so all the East 15th Street people were there and a couple of the guys commented on how much older I looked all dressed up.

Then, I saw Peter walking towards us, as people on the line were shaking his hands and telling him how much they were looking forward to partying that night. He did a cursory Squiggy "hello" to his neighborhood friends and instructed me to follow him closely through the door.

I remember this giant tattooed guy standing there. Pete and he shook hands and Pete motioned that I was with him for the night, but I was going to be in the audience. I did my best flirting smile and walked through with Pete. Inside were the other guys and the roadies. Before showing me to the door into the main club area I was given a set of rules from Peter:

* No accepting drinks from anyone
* No leaving the club with anyone except him or Nancy
* No giving out my phone number to anyone unless Peter approved
* Don't get into fights with the bitches in the club
* And, no matter what I see that goes on, I wasn't allowed to tell Nettie or Pete Sr. or I was never getting invited out again.

He promised he'd check in with me before he went on stage and then immediately after the show I was to report at the door to the dressing area. If he had to come looking for me, there was going to be a problem. He handed me $20 and told me to find Nancy and have fun.

Back then, $20 bought a lot of drinks. But, it didn't matter because one of the bartenders was a friend of the band and the bouncer seemed to know exactly who I was too. I was protected. But I danced and jumped up and down and screamed on the top of my lungs. I had a great time.



  1. Once again I love how Peter included his family. Alot of people would have thought a 14 year old as an annoying tag along but Peter didn't. How exciting for you at that age, not only were you going to a club but you were with the band! Its so cool that Nettie added to your outfit, many parents/family wouldn't do that and would tell you that you looked stupid. The fashion of the 80's platform leopard boots with fringing, it was a crazy time of anything goes! What a great family to be apart of. So did Peter have to approve all your boyfriends?

  2. Mmmh, just thought about a girl with spiked, violet hair!!???

  3. Nah screw that, if Peter told me I couldn't date you I would've told him to fuck off, but of course I would've been on the other side of the club when I said it! Oh, when you described your outfit Flock of Seagulls popped into my head, lmao. (-)

  4. He cared so much for everyone. What a wonderful guy xxx

  5. Wonderful story. Nice memories. As always, thank very much for sharing them with us.

    Abrazos desde la krypta. Hugs from the krypt.


  6. Peter the protector.... Such a wonderful man! He wanted you to have fun but he wanted to make sure you were safe... that's awesome. Gotta love the rules...lol You had a great time and you got to see peter perform that's all that matters. A memory you will never forget...Thank you for sharing this great story :)

  7. I woke up thinking of this song today, it's a traditional Irish folk song and the words always come to me when I am thinking of someone who is gone from this mortal plane. It makes me think they are looking down on me and wishing me happiness. The words seem to fit Pete to a T, he never had a "want of wit" to be sure. I hope the words mean as much to you as they always have to me. I know we would all wish Pete one more day to stay.-

    The parting Glass-

    Of all the money e'er I had,
    I spent it in good company.
    And all the harm I've ever done,
    Alas! it was to none but me.
    And all I've done for want of wit
    To mem'ry now I can't recall
    So fill to me the parting glass
    Good night and joy be with you all.

    If I had money enough to spend,
    And leisure time to sit awhile,
    There is a fair maid in this town,
    That sorely has my heart beguiled.
    Her rosy cheeks and ruby lips,
    I own she has my heart in thrall,
    Then fill to me the parting glass,
    Good night and joy be with you all.

    Oh, all the comrades e'er I had,
    They're sorry for my going away,
    And all the sweethearts e'er I had,
    They'd wish me one more day to stay,
    But since it falls unto my lot,
    That I should rise and you should not,
    I gently rise and softly call,
    Good night and joy be with you all.

    The High Kings do a good job with this song in my opinion-

  8. Rose from NY in CALIF now8:00 PM, August 02, 2011

    we all feel the sting of this loss, Peter larger than life man. Reading these messages in response to the stories, we all share in the appreciation of this magnificent man. Peter a true original, a true star...burning bright in the heavens now. His talent.....wow. It almost is hard to find the words to describe how much we miss him. I just got laid off my job I've had for 20 yrs Friday. Change happens, life takes all kinds of turns we didn't expect. But I'm strong, I will survive. Peter would be the first to say something encouraging to me. I hear ya Peter, I will make it. Thank you for your music, I'm playing your songs daily to get me thru this life. Thank you again for sharing these sweet stories about this amazing man.

  9. You probably didnt know the song lyrics to sing along? But the funny visual I have with this story is you 14 years old dressed the way you were jumping up and down having a great time screaming out Carnivore song lyrics!

  10. Nettie looks so regal in that great photo and Peter and Nancy look so cute! What a cool story of going to a show with Peter and being on the inside. It is still hard to believe that someone like Peter who was so influential to so many is really gone. He had such a strong presence and life energy! When I broke up with my boyfriend in college Type O Negative helped both of us relax, have a good time and realize how much we meant to each other and we got back together and are happily married to this day. Some of those shows at L'Amour were the best times we have had! Thanks for sharing with us Ratajczyks! Miss you so much Peter!---Love Jessica (Black Number 1)

  11. It's very cool that Pete accepted your need to be seen as older and attractive and didn't judge you or stop you from 'ho'-ing up a little. He instead acknowledged the possibility that he would be put in the position of protecting you from unwelcome attention and trusted you with reasonable guidelines.
    The photo shows Nettie in a sweet, loving moment with Peter & Nancy. *awww!* Looks like they both inherited those beautiful eyebrows & cheekbones from mother.

  12. Snort! Why is it that teens think if they wear MORE they look older? It's such a dead giveaway! LOL, fantastic story.