Those who made it in found a narrow, shadowy room, a flickering strobe and a D.J. who might swing from funk to punk to junk in the space of three tracks. There was an alarming-looking cage, and sometimes the electric rolling gate at the end of the room would ease up to reveal a band (one of the first was the B-52's). Though it was Mass's $15,000 that got the Mudd Club open, it was Phillips and "curator-at-large" Diego Cortez who shaped its personality. They made Mudd an antidisco manifesto, hijacking the glittering totems of uptown exclusivity -- from velvet rope to V.I.P. room -- and dumping them in the dingy Lower East Side dive.
"New York was elegant and sleazy," he says. "Now it's a shopping mall for dot-commers. We need our crime rate back. I want my muggers and hookers back."
Read more about the club in this NYT article Mudd Quake
Architect of the Mudd Club Diego Cortez explains about the No Wave scene's exhibition New York \New Wave PS 1 in Queens, 1981
Frank Zappa's tribute to the club (1980)