It is with a heavy heart The Bitter End would like to announce the loss of our colonel, Paul Colby, who passed away Feb. 13th,2014 at the age of 96. In his 70 plus years in the business , Paul has touched the hearts of countless musicians and patrons and helped to launch many great careers in the music industry. Paul was sharp , witty and happy until the end. Paul will never be forgotten as his legacy will live on Bleecker Street. The name says it all:
He was one of the last of his kind, influencing thousands of musicians, most of them in the infancy stages of performing. He guided many that went on to huge stardom, in addition to countless others who just enjoyed playing music. Starting in the business as a singer and bass player, Kenny found early success in the 1960’s in a band called The Critters. He played this club numerous times. In the early 1970s after producing music up north, Kenny had his first run working at the Bitter End with Paul Colby. After a few years, he went on to work on the upper east side at Home. It was there, that he made numerous musical friends and met his lovely wife of 39 years, Lisa. After a few years, he went on to numerous odd jobs before coming back in the mid 1980’s to book The Bitter End, until his passing last night. Kenny’s amazing ear for music helped keep the Bitter End a musical institution. From the outpour on social media, Kenny apparently was loved by many. Many great musicians credit him with their first gig in nyc, and influencing them from the way they sounded, to the way they looked, often planting seeds that grew into successful musical careers and important life lessons. Kenny genuinely loved music . He spent his life making it, and then shaping an industry from the bottom up. Those he touched through his work and play will always remember him as one of the great ones. His love for music was only matched by his love for his wife and daughter and his close friends (you can probably throw in a few cars over the years as well). Rest in Peace my Friend.
In 1961, former adman and inveterate showman, Fred Weintraub, chipped away crumbling plaster in the small, dingy, Bleecker Street venue he had acquired to reveal a red brick wall that would become the archetypal backdrop to over half a century of music and comedy. He called his new club the Bitter End, where Fred nurtured and promoted the emerging talent of the day. Peter Paul and Mary, Judy Collins, Neil Diamond, Richie Pryor, and Joan Rivers are just a few of the young performers who went on to have legendary careers in music and comedy. Fred owned and managed the Bitter End for a decade before turning over operations and, eventually, ownership to Paul Colby in order to pursue his career as a legendary movie executive and producer (Woodstock, Enter the Dragon). Though he passed away in March of 2017, Fred’s spirit of unbridled enthusiasm and dedication to young talent still reverberates.