It wasn’t huge but it had a lot of soul and some great bands played there – the original Bar Bodega on Willis Street. Fraser created a monster in 1991 and I was lucky enough to become a small part of it.
The larger pub venues of the 80s like the Terminus or Cricketers were dying out and here was a whole new shape to gigs. He had a lot of band contacts and energy and his own style. There was a definite “indie” vibe and an amazing array of acts passed through over the years – even the early White Stripes
Neill Duncan, Andy Craig and I were re-booting the Spines for the nineties and I was living in Holloway Road with my young family. Neill invited me to a friendly cricket match in Mt Cook and that’s where I first met Fraser – we opened the batting together and were posting a good score till he got me run out. We went back to his newly opened bar and became friends and talked about putting the Spines on there.
It was a tight, funky little bar to play in – smoky and intense with a small riser for a stage and you were right in everybody’s face. Andy always got us a great sound there with two big concert monitor speakers for his bass and my vocals and I just used to turn my guitar up loud – it was where I learned to really stretch out on the Gretsch. For us and a lot of other bands, it felt like playing at home. Fraz always looked after the musicians really well with a big green room upstairs and a meal in the restaurant out the front. Because he loved music and was always fighting the powers that be, we all loved him too and we were behind him.
I was more a coffee drinker in the 90s but I did visit there a lot – through music or because of friends that used to drink there and got to know the regulars around the horseshoe bar. They were an eclectic bunch of characters and I came to regard a lot of them as close friends.
Angus was in Panama and I was in Wigan Street when Michelle left me in 2002. I became a beer drinker again and Bodega had the best beer, the best company and was just around the corner so I entered the ranks -solace at any hour. It was at a time when the motorway was about to be diverted through the site of the building and we had to move the whole shebang further down Willis Street and to its current home opposite the Kirk.
You can see me there in the picture in third place after the piper and the Anglican Priest
Just ahead of Sva.
And Fraser had a mission.