Disco never died—shag carpet just went out of style. The first thing Dennis (Sam) Gibson did when he opened the Albuquerque Mining Company (AMC) in 1986 was rip out the blue shag nightmare, but the disco ball remains 20 years later.
Actually, there are three.
For the past 20 years, AMC has gone through a number of changes. The walls have been torn down twice, the red room was once black, the old speakers were removed for the new, but the spirt of disco never left. Everybody coming to the club is there to party.
DJ JoJo Pineau knows. He's been in the DJ booth spinning circuit-dance grooves since AMC opened. "This bar is a very important part of the gay community," he says. "This place is home."
Midnyte has been working at AMC for the past 10 years. He says AMC is important for the community because it, like the other gay clubs in Albuquerque, provides people with a place to be themselves. "This bar is also the ‘changeover’ for a lot of people," he says. "They finally found a place where they could be themselves."
As part of this weekend's 20th anniversary celebration, RaShaan Houston will be performing at the club—at his club, the club where he grew up. Houston says he remembers climbing the fence to get into AMC as a teen. "It was our thing," he says. "It was a tradition. Everyone had to do it."
Pineau and Midnyte know about the fence jumping. They've put up barbed wire, but people still climb over. "It's the thing to do," Midnyte says. More than once, he says, they've had to help a thrill-seeking climber caught on the fence down to the safety of the ground.
Houston has never performed at AMC, and says it's exciting to play the 20th anniversary. It's like coming full circle, he says, and he plans to give a fantastic performance. "I want people to let go," he says.
And he does. Houston's gospel-inspired vocals atop garage-style house music have been played at clubs all over the world. "We're so excited to have him perform here," says Pineau. House music is more than just a beat, Houston says. It's high-energy dance music with jazz, gospel and soul inspiration with some instrumentation for flavor. He calls it the "new millennium version of disco."
See. Disco never died.