Music News

It Came from Margate

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We continue north to Mother's Pub, an unassuming storefront with blacked-out windows and wood paneling slapped on the outside.

"This is totally a Margate bar," Pat laughs. "A total dive."

The rest of the establishments flanking the pub are medical supply companies or church-related. If you ever need hazardous materials or want to be saved from eternal hellfire after a few brews, this is the place to be.

As we chug south on this desolate strip of 441, Kevin goes on to tell me the story of "Cowboy," a local bum who has been MIA since he got out of rehab for the fourth time. "Cowboy used to live in the meter room behind our warehouse," he says. "He's been around for years. He'll always come by, hang out, ask for a cigarette, drink with us. He was in detox for a while, but hanging out with us isn't going to do him any good."

The guys point out the various gas stations that would sell underage beer and cigarettes, the motel where hookers are known to live, streets where they've broken bones skating -- and the restaurant where Cowboy fell on the curb, threatened to sue, and got free food every day. We drive through a neighborhood of neatly groomed lawns and square houses with identical carports. I ask where the downtown area is, and they swing me past another equally nondescript plaza with a liquor store, a pub, and an Ace Hardware. This is their downtown. Margate really is a series of plazas punctuated by gas stations and auto mechanics.

In the span of about 15 minutes, the Margate kids showed me the landscape for the adolescence of their tight-knit group; it is the impetus for them to pick up instruments and create a soundtrack they call their own. Listening to them reminisce happily puts this all in perspective. The Slants, Malt Liquor Riot, and the Shakers are not simply from Margate: They are Margate's working-class answer to rock 'n' roll.

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Audra Schroeder
Contact: Audra Schroeder