By LA Weekly
By Henry Rollins
By Weekly Photographers
By Shea Serrano
By Nate "Igor" Smith
By Dan Weiss
By Erica E. Phillips
By Kai Flanders
Richard Thompson has a personal connection to McCabe’s: He married Nancy Covey, concert director from 1974 to 1984. Thompson first played there in ’82. “The concept of the guitar shop in the front and a little concert hall in the back struck me as a real community idea,” says the former Fairport Convention lead guitarist. “Even in the early ’80s, it still seemed in the ’60s. There’s something amazingly stuck in the flower-power generation about the place. The staff was casual and the coffee free. I see that as a positive thing. The vibe isn’t, ‘Who the hell are you?’”
In keeping with McCabe’s family tradition, Thompson and Covey’s 16-year-old son, Jack, works there. For Covey, the best night was her going-away show in ’84. The entertainment included hubby Thompson, Jennifer Warnes, Van Dyke Parks and T-Bone Burnett. Browne, Cooder and Warren Zevon showed up to jam. “Then Elvis Costello walks on, and the audience gasped, including me, because I didn’t know he was going to come,” Covey recalls.
“The younger bands don’t know McCabe’s, and their jaws drop when they come inside,” gig director Myerson says. “One of the comments I always get is, ‘What an authentic place.’ We get solicited for photo shoots, commercials, showcases. We almost always say no. One of the biggest commodities we have is authenticity. In L.A. that’s pretty rare.”
“Buildings have vibes,” Covey adds. “I dream that I still work there.”
McCabe’s 50th Anniversary: A Living History of Music will take place on Thurs., Oct. 2, 7:30 p.m., at UCLA's Royce Hall. Scheduled performers include Jackson Browne, Richard Thompson, Odetta, Bonnie “Prince” Billy, David Lindley, Jennifer Warnes, the Savoy-Doucet Cajun Band, Ricky Jay, the Ditty Bops, Peter Rowan and Peter Case, plus surprise guests. Produced by Nancy Covey and Lincoln Myerson. Odetta will perform at McCabe’s on Fri., Oct. 3.