It was with a heavy sigh that Waide Luciak told the Straight he’s giving up management of the Yale Hotel.
“It tears me apart because I just love that whole scene and I love the people that were involved in it, but what can I do?” he said in a telephone interview. “The reality is, the live music business is just not what it used to be.”
Luciak has owned and operated the Yale since 1987. The famous blues club closed for renovations in November 2012, but recently switched on its old neon sign, and looked to be preparing for a reopening in the near future. Luciak, however, said he’s decided to let the pub go. He added that he’d ideally like to maintain ownership and lease the space, but will consider selling if that’s an option that draws interest.
“It was never our intention to sell the Yale,” he explained. “Things are just really different, and not positive different. We try really hard to put great music acts out there, but audiences just don’t show up the way they used to, and they don’t drink the way they used to.”
The newly renovated building at 1300 Granville Street originally took the name “The Yale” in the mid-1880s. It carved out a niche for itself as a regular stop for travelling blues musicians beginning in the late-1980s, and went on to host hundreds of notable acts including the likes of John Lee Hooker, Johnny Winter, and Jimmy Page.
Luciak said that he’s going to continuing working with FanClub, another live music venue located down the street. But he acknowledged the hit that his decision will likely deliver to Vancouver’s whimpering blues circuit.
“I just had my 60th birthday and I’ve been involved in the music scene for almost three decades, and given it my all,” he said. “But it really is too much to do two, at least for me.”