Quiet Life

From This Might Be A Wiki
Quiet Life as seen in the 1992 music video for "The Guitar"

Quiet Life was a small club at 18 Havemeyer St in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. It was operated by Matthew Hill from the late-1980s to 1990. John Linnell lived in the same building and They Might Be Giants performed at the club.


1990 flyer of upcoming Quiet Life shows. None of the shows dated after March 25 took place.

The building was a funeral parlor before it was reorganized into an apartment building. Some rooms retained floor drains from when the site was used for embalming. Matthew Hill, a childhood friend of Linnell and Flansburgh, set up the club in 1988 or 1989. WFMU DJ Nick Hill and musician Brian Dewan were also involved in running it.[1] The club was located on the building's ground floor and could be accessed by a basement entrance. The room was arranged with rows of old wooden school chairs facing a small stage. Linnell described it in 2003: "There was highly unlicensed alcohol selling going on down there... Nice place."

They Might Be Giants presumably played a number of shows at Quiet Life. The band's only known show was a New Year's celebration on December 31 1989, where they played an acoustic set under the name Count Drinkalot. An audience member taped this show, and in 2019 the band released it to members of the Instant Fan Club. Also in 1989 John Linnell played a short solo set of his State Songs at Quiet Life, opening for the Maudlins.

Quiet Life ceased operation immediately after the Happy Land fire on March 25 1990. The incident, and the city's subsequent crackdown on unlicensed clubs, lead to the closure of many similar nightclubs in New York.

In 1992 They Might Be Giants released "The Guitar," and much of its music video was filmed in the former location of Quiet Life. On June 13 1993 Nick Hill broadcast his WFMU show "The Music Faucet" live directly from the building. The show featured performances by Brian Dewan, Laura Cantrell and Amy Rigby, among others. They Might Be Giants made a short appearance, playing three songs as a duo. Linnell wrote in 2001: "In the summer of 1993 WFMU DJ Nick Hill decided to broadcast his usual "Music Faucet" program live from his own apartment in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. By a pleasant coincidence, about half of the guests on his show were also living upstairs from him or somewhere nearby. Nick and most of the performers were out on Nick's deck, but microphones were also run up into Brian Dewan's studio and also into the bathroom Brian shared with Mr. Linnell, which is where John and John performed."

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