1318 4th Ave. - An Aural History, Vol. 3

Welcome to the third volume of the “1318 4th Ave.” series.

While I certainly hope you’ve enjoyed the previous two editions on this site, this volume is a particularly noteworthy one, as it represents the period when Gumby’s ceased to exist and Drop Shop took up residence at 1318 4th Avenue in Huntington.

By late 1994, Gumby’s had suffered a succession of setbacks, the most prominent of which involved the physical integrity of the building itself, which would, ultimately, lead to its closure in early 1995.

As a result, the building would sit vacant for the first half of that year, until local businessman Allen Dean (of Mycroft’s) and his partners would purchase it and begin renovations that summer.

While Dean’s involvement with this undertaking may have generated some skepticism amongst the Gumby’s faithful, those concerns were soon laid to rest when it was decided that many of that venue’s staff would be retained for his new venture.

Perhaps the most important of those former Gumby’s employees to stay on with Drop Shop was Erik Raines, whom Dean would designate as booker, and would be responsible for continuing the tradition of live music that had been a staple of the previous venue.

Raines wasted no time in his new position and helped to establish Drop Shop’s intentions early on by recruiting Chum and Kent, Ohio’s Disengage to perform on the venue’s opening night in October 1995.

In his first six months alone, Raines would also be responsible for bringing bands such as Machine Head, Eyehategod and Morbid Angel (all of whom are featured on this volume) to Huntington for performances at Drop Shop.

Gumby’s holdovers such as Groovezilla and The Electric Hellfire Club would also continue to be featured at 1318 4th Ave., and new relationships would be forged with acts like Stuck Mojo, who would develop an affinity for Drop Shop and make multiple appearances at the venue over the course of the next 2 ½ years.

Although Dean and Raines initially approached hosting live music with caution during the venue’s first couple of months, by March 1996, Drop Shop was featuring bands four times per week.

(It is also worth mentioning that on a snowy February 1996 night, in a move that would foreshadow Drop Shop’s weekly Monday retro nights, Raines even brought in 80’s synth-pop act A Flock Of Seagulls for a performance at the venue.)

The decision to feature live music so frequently, and the public’s overwhelmingly positive response to it, would eventually enable Dean and Raines’ ambitious desire to feature nationally-recognized acts at larger area venues such as the Huntington Civic Center and Ritter Park Amphitheatre.

Before that would become a reality, however, Raines would first have to develop Drop Shop as a reputable live music venue, a goal he would soon begin to accomplish with some of the bands featured on this playlist.

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