Donald Mulvihill, better known to rockers and ravers as Don Hill, died yesterday at the age of 66, according to tweets from nightlife types like Justine D (who remembers him as “one of the nicest men in NY nightlife”), Murray Hill (who calls him a “NYC nightlife legend”), and Moby, who says it’s the “end of an era.” Brooklyn Vegan confirmed with his namesake club that an impromptu memorial was held there last night, and Michael Musto of the Voice calls the man “one of the legendary club owners of New York — a man who cared about rock and roll, his performers, and his audiences. Don never wanted to be complacent or boring, but he did all that with a decency and low-key niceness that made business dealings with him very palatable.”
As a Post profile tells it, Hill was born in Jersey and got his first gig at Kenny’s Castaways, where he booked a young Bruce Springsteen for $200 a week. In 1985, he went on to manage the legendary Cat Club, where everyone from David Bowie to Poison to Soundgarden performed. He opened Don Hill’s in 1993 — in addition to hosting an eclectic array of local acts and the occasional up-and-comers like the Strokes, the dive was home to popular weekly parties like the Misshapes, Tiswas, BeavHer, SqueezeBox, and of course 80s Night. Hill was known as an amiable, hands-on host (even stamping hands at the door), and he kept the dream alive during a time when nightlife was marred by bottle-service BS and “quality of life” crackdowns, until Nur Kahn and Paul Sevigny recently joined him. Other clubs, such as Santos, are paying respects, and there will no doubt be memorials around town.