My dear friend, amazing singer, and forever cool kid “Atomic” Nancy has a DJ set she did last month at Dublab up on their archives. As usual, she spun all 45s, many that were originally in the Atomic Cafe jukebox. Here’s a little background on why this is so awesome:
The Atomic Cafe opened in 1946 in Little Tokyo, Los Angeles by Minoru and Ito Matoba. During the late 70′s to mid 80′s their daughter, Nancy, quickly transformed the quiet neighborhood bar/ cafe in to one of L.A.’s most popular hang outs for the local punk rock scene, politicians, and the Japanese mafia. On any given night you could see the likes of Blondie, The Go-Go’s, Devo, X, Warhol, David Byrne, Bowie sitting down having a bowl of noodles in the company of old Japanese men with full body tattoos. The legendary jukebox played everything from The Germs to Mori Shinichi until 4 in the morning as crazy waitresses would be jumping on top of tables trying to serve food. The Atomic Cafe closed its doors on November 23, 1989.
Nancy was not only the boss “crazy waitress” and default bouncer (apparently there were always fights to break up) but also music supervisor–she was in charge of the jukebox, and she befriended all the local (and some soon to be famous) bands who brought in their 45s and covered the walls and ceilings with flyers. So yeah, she knows her shit. I had a lot of fun listening to her DJ set–lots of seminal punk and new wave, with a touch of film score kitch and rockabilly. And it’s nice to hear the warm crackle of an old 45 spinning around!