Michael Eppy Epstein

NEW YORK — The record studio wasn’t available that night in 1973, so the owner of music bar My Father’s Place, Michael “Eppy” Epstein, decided to broadcast his regular live weekly radio concert directly from his Long Island venue — a technological feat at the time.

The broadcast was to be the second performance at My Father’s Place for a young musician eliciting comparisons to a young Bob Dylan: Bruce Springsteen. This was two years before “Born To Run” informed the world of The Boss’ musical genius. According to Epstein, Springsteen was a bit anxious leading up to the broadcast. They smoked a joint backstage before The Boss went out for WLIR’s first live broadcast from My Father’s Place.

Springsteen looked out at the tiny crowd. “Well, here we are, on the radio,” he said to begin the broadcast. “Damn, radio’s a nervous business.”. Springsteen paused to gather himself for a moment. “We were playing at Max’s Kansas City a few weeks ago.

And some cat asked what Asbury Park [New Jersey] is really like… So I played them this song,” he said. Bruce Springsteen and Suki Lahav, on stage together in Philadelphia in this 1974 illustrative image.

(photo credit: YouTube screenshot). Springsteen opened with “Fourth of July, Asbury Park” — months before its release — for a few dozen audience members and countless others on the FM airwaves.

The nerves eased away, and Springsteen delivered an epic hour-long performance. “It was clear he was the future of rock n’ roll right there,” said Epstein. “What they were doing was so different.”.

My Father’s Place, a divey Long Island night club advertising “IRISH COFFEE,” was the unlikely venue that helped launch stars such as Springsteen, Billy Joel and The Ramones. During its heyday in the ’70s and ’80s, music fans lined up outside My Father’s Place and young part-owner Epstein was living every Jewish kid’s dream. Innovative business partnerships thought up by Epstein — such as live radio broadcasts — turned My Father’s Place into a staple of the populous suburban enclave.

In time, the venue was written into the pages of rock history for its role in exposing emerging genres such as reggae, punk and new wave before they were all over American radio waves. My Father’s Place, in Roslyn, New York.

(Steve Rosenfeld). During his lifetime of musical exploits, Epstein says he has been privileged to have his “ass straightened out” by Bob Marley on “politics, ethics and how to be a human,” and learned what the Deep South was really like from Macon, Georgia’s legendary Duane Allman.

But first, he laughs, he was just another “spoiled Jewish kid from Rockville Center.”. This June, 30 years after the original My Father’s Place closed, the 71-year-old bandana-brandishing hippie reopened his club.

He still works tooth and nail to find and promote the next big thing in music: No cover bands, no crappy music — it’s a set of principles he preaches to the next generation of promoters and performers alike. My Father’s Place, now reimagined as a supper club with world-class cuisine in a converted ballroom at The Roslyn Hotel, still hosts a lot of the musical acts and fans that frequented the old place a few blocks away.

But whether or not the venue that helped make Billy Joel and countless other household names will recapture its glory days, its first incarnation helped launch legends.

Hall and Oates at My Father’s Place. (Steve Rosenfeld). Epstein was born into a family of Jewish hustlers with a history of snubbing their noses at authorities. His great-grandmother was a peasant in the fields of Bessarabia who illegally sold “nickel bags” of tobacco. After she was caught, her husband — who also acted as her lookout — took the blame.

A rabbi, he died starving in prison after authorities refused to provide kosher food. The rest of the family fled to America. Epstein’s parents lived in Brooklyn in close proximity to a dozen other socialist Jewish families, and, as Epstein put it, “the rich ones would carry the poor ones.” But his father was a self-educated engineering genius that came up with several innovations in zipper production, and by the time Epstein was five, they were wealthy enough to move to Rockville Center in Long Island.

Epstein found himself when he went off to college in Boston in 1967. He joined Students for a Democratic Society, worked at a head shop and mopped floors at The Ark, a prominent psychedelic night club. During the Summer of Love, he was tasked with running a head shop in Cape Cod. From behind the counter, he struck up a rapport with a tall, dark-skinned customer wearing a flat jacket and beads draped around his neck.

The man turned out to be Richie Havens, a musician who would go on to Woodstock fame two years later. The wise-cracking Jew from Long Island would make the most of his relationship with the folk star from Bed-Stuy: A musician himself, Epstein became Havens’s bag man and started to meet more people in the music scene through him.

Eventually, Epstein decided to drop out of school and set up a head shop in Roslyn, a quaint village on Long Island known for its dozens of pre-Civil War buildings and picturesque duck pond.

He took a beautiful building built in the year 1830, and painted it purple and yellow. “The village was not happy about me fucking up one of their landmark buildings,” Epstein laughingly told The Times of Israel. The village cited zoning laws in preventing him from opening a small coffee shop there for folk singers to perform. Undeterred, Epstein approached the owner of a failed bowling alley nearby called My Father’s Place.

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