Wetlands Founder Larry Bloch, 1953-2012
Bloch with John Popper
Peter Shapiro, who purchased the club from Bloch in 1996—and has gone on to open Brooklyn Bowl and The Capitol Theatre along with his role as the publisher of Relix—offers, “Larry Bloch’s life had a direct and positive impact on the lives of tens of thousands of people. Wetlands was a wholly unique place, there was nothing like it when it first opened and there still is nothing like it today. It was Larry who single handedly brought Wetlands to life and caused it to flourish. There were others that played important roles at Wetlands, but it was Larry who was both Wetlands’ mother and father. Just given the amount of married people that I have met over the years that say they first met at Wetlands (in the basement, of course), it is not an overstatement to say that Wetlands caused the world to be a better place.”
John Dwork, longtime supporter of the club and former publisher of Deadzine Dupree’s Diamond News once stated rather evocatively, “I will remember Wetlands Preserve as a beautiful flower growing in a crack of concrete.”
Dean Budnick, founder of Jambands.com, executive editor of Relix and the director of Wetlands Preserved, adds, “I don’t think it’s hyperbole to suggest that there would not have been a Jambands.com, a Jammys or even a present-day Relix without the effort and inspiration of Larry Bloch. He created a gathering space for both sacred and profane communion with an enduring legacy.”
Shortly after learning of Bloch’s death, moe., posted a message on their homepage which reads, “Today at 5:30pm, we lost a mentor to many. Larry Bloch was a great man who brought a great vision to life. Those who frequented the Wetlands in New York City got a chance to see someone build a scene like no other and understood the significance; they got to witness and be part of the vision. Nobody has been able to duplicate what Larry did. In a way, moe. lost their Bill Graham today.”
John Popper, whose band Blues Traveler, was Bloch’s favorite from the early days of the club, contributed his sentiments via Facebook, “So sorry to hear about Larry Bloch,founder of Wetlands… He fought his cancer really hard&lived 8months longer than predicted in pretty good health&went peacefully by all accounts… We all love him&wish him well on the next phase of his journey…”
After selling the club Bloch moved up to Brattleboro, Vermont where he became deeply involved in local affairs. He maintained his focus on activism by opening the store/gathering space Save The Corporations From themselves. He also co-founded Brattleboro Community Radio and remained focused both on local initiatives and such national campaigns, such as the effort to legalize hemp. Earlier this month, Building a Better Brattleboro honored Bloch as the recipient of the Larry Cooke Memorial Service Award, which is “presented annually to an individual whose committed and tireless volunteer work has helped to make downtown Brattleboro a more vibrant place.”
In speaking about the legacy of Wetlands, Bloch once emphasized, “That’s how I view the world now, as a better place as a result of Wetlands. I put my attention on how it has fueled me for the work I’m doing now. And I hope the same transfer of energy can occur for people who were touched by Wetlands instead of focusing their energy on the absence of Wetlands.”
No doubt Larry Bloch would hope for the same from his family friends and anyone who seeks to honor his memory. For those who knew him or simply knew of him, it will be much harder and the hole considerably larger.
Beth Hart shares the opening track from her latest album, Bang Bang Boom Boom, live at Relix.
Jamie Lidell sets up in the Relix boiler room and delivers a tune from his 2005 album Multiply
Duane Trucks is happy to announce his new project, King Lincoln. Watch them perform “Coffee” live and acoustic at Relix’s Online-Video Coordinator’s loft in Williamsburg.
Here’s another song from Crystal Bowersox’s new record All That For This, live at Relix.
WYATT share a song in the famed Relix boiler room.
Goodnight, Texas share a song from their latest studio album, A Long Life of Living, live at Relix.
Warren Haynes performs a solo, acoustic version of “Railroad Boy” and explains how he adapted the traditional Celtic song for Gov’t Mule, backstage at the Hangout Music Festival.
Australia’s Alpine recently made their NYC debut at the Relix office with this song from their new album A is for Alpine.
In honor of Umphrey’s McGee’s return to Summer Camp this weekend, we present the group’s Brendan Bayliss and Jake Cinninger performing this version of “The Pequod” from UM’s Anchor Drops.
Dame shares a song from her new EP Preventions of Heartbreak.
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