Music venues in Williamsburg these days are an endangered species. This year, we’ve already had to bid farewell to Glasslands, Death by Audio, and 285 Kent. In September, the Brooklyn Rod & Gun Club, a haven for bluegrass, folk, jazz, and country bands as well as a community hangout, announced that it would close on New Year’s Eve. Now, the club is running a Kickstarter campaign in an effort produce a book, film, and double album to document the last 90 days of the venue.
“I feel like the chances of finding a new place for the club are slim,” said the club’s founder Chris Raymond. “To get a space that will suffer us, let us operate like we have been and do what we do at an affordable rent? As much as I like neighborhoods such as Red Hook, Bed Stuy, we have been about local community, local music, local groups, local people, family and organizations and I don’t want that to change. And even if we are lucky and find a place, a new home will have a life of it’s own and the club will organically change in some way or another and be something new and different than what it is now. So, although the Kickstarter won’t save the club, it will save the memories and capture what the experience is for us at 59 Kent.”
Through the book, album, and film, Raymond hopes to capture some of what made the space such a vibrant environment for musicians, collecting stories from people who passed through the Rod & Gun club. They’re hoping to raise $10,000 by November 22 to help fund the project. (Rewards for funders include a guided canoe tour of Newtown Creek and an evening on a Plymouth Bay oyster float.) “No one is in it for the money, we don’t make anything; it’s just cover our expenses. We are all just into it,” Raymond said. “It’s been an extension of my life and home for so long now. My kids have grown up there. New friends have been made, old friendships solidified. I am going to miss most just saying ‘see you at the club.'”