…So we piped the horseshoe bar down to Ghuznee Street and then Fraser put a big shout on at the old Malthouse and we had wonderful night – met Sally the new bar manager. The next day I helped him and big Al in the demolition of what had been a large Chinese restaurant – Sukhita and I took down all the mirrors.
Over the next few weeks they transformed the place – a proper stage and jarrah floor, a big sound system and the same vibe, only amplified. He got the best staff and began the whole thing over again and as regulars, we all came with him and became even closer as a loose group.
I was doing a solo album at the time and didn’t have a band as such, so my first gigs there were on my own but then the Spines re-emerged though that and we wound up playing some massive shows there over the next decade in our various incarnations. In the same way that the 90s Spines started at the old bar – the band as it is today began life at the new Bodge.
Fraser, at a certain point, had had enough and felt that he had to sell the bar. By this stage we had established a great after-work drinking group not unlike Cheers – we had big Bob, Al and Simon, all the Daves, Crunch. Andie, Caro, J.P. and Kent. We all gravitated around Sva who was still the heart of the place really and it was hard to tear yourself away from there on a Friday night.
When Mo took over, the transition went pretty smoothly – we all helped and were behind him one hundred percent and the place took off again in a different way. He brought a new energy and focus and we got to see some amazing international acts. He became a good friend too and though him we played some incredible gigs – like the Buzzcocks support or my 50th birthday bash.
Since Sva passed on we have mostly drifted away from Bodega as a regular haunt but the bar goes from strength to strength in other ways. For me it was a haven in its prime – after a day of torture on the Hobbit or just painting someone’s house I’d just turn up there and get plastered with one or several of my totally eccentric mates and the night would unfold and I will get around to telling those stories too.
Kent took these photos – bless him.
We played there again just this last year supporting The Fall and that stage felt like magic under my feet again – a big audience and Mo looked after us, just like the old days.
The Bodega will turn 25 this year and the Spines turn 35 so we will have to tee something up. I reckon we have played as many, if not more, gigs at the Bodge in all its forms than any other band.
In all its forms.
(For part one, The Old Bodge, click here).