• The Club King

  • My Rise, Reign, and Fall in New York Nightlife
  • By: Peter Gatien
  • Narrated by: Braden Wright
  • Length: 8 hrs and 19 mins
  • 4.6 out of 5 stars (82 ratings)

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The Club King

By: Peter Gatien
Narrated by: Braden Wright
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Publisher's Summary

A behind-the-scenes look at the meteoric rise and stunning takedown of a nightclub empire, by the man who held the reins.

Limelight, Tunnel, Club USA, and Palladium - the cutting-edge, insanely successful, and notoriously decadent clubs that dominated New York City’s entertainment scene, their influences reverberating around the world. 

Across four decades, a single mysterious figure stood behind them all: Peter Gatien, the leading impresario of global nightlife. His clubs didn’t follow the trends - they created movements. They nurtured vanguard music acts that brought rock, house, grunge, hip-hop, industrial, and techno to the beautiful ones who showed up night after night to tear the roof off every party. 

But as Peter and his innovative team ramped up the hedonistic highs, Rudolph Giuliani was leading a major shift in the city. Under the guise of improving New York City’s “quality of life,” the club scene was targeted - and Peter Gatien’s empire became a major focus of the administration.

In this frank and gritty memoir, Peter Gatien charts the seismic changes in his personal and professional life and the targeted destruction of his nightclub empire. From Peter’s childhood in a Canadian mill town to the freedom of the 1970s, through the excesses of the 1980s and the ensuing crackdown in the 1990s, The Club King chronicles the birth and death of a cultural movement - and the life of the man who was in control of every beat.

©2020 by Joseph Jean Pierre Gatien. (P)2020 Brilliance Publishing, Inc., all rights reserved.

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Story of the Club King-Superb Narration

This book was a fascinating account of a man who created and ran several successful clubs. After detailing his Canadian small town upbringing, he decides he doesn’t want to work in the local mills or post office. After a stint in sales, he decides to open a club. It becomes successful and he works with many talented artists before they became successful. After success in Canada, he decides to try the US, a favorite place of his. His first US club in Florida becomes very successful and popular. He has a talent for what makes a club successful and popular and he works too hard, often to the detriment of his family life. He hires artists and staff and treats them well. His clubs break race and gender stereotypes and are a place for people to have fun and dance. What was interesting to me, was that despite other clubs like Studio 54, his were not drug havens. Yes, small amounts were snuck in, but they weren’t like the others, that ultimately failed. Gatien opened clubs in Atlanta, London and New York. He tried some drugs, but didn’t become an addict.
What is very sad is how he was made a scapegoat by New York law enforcement and regulators, despite the fact that much of what he was charged with never happened. He was dragged through a trial and ultimately deported after a campaign against him and his clubs fed by the press. Superb narration on the audiobook by Braden Wright really brings his story alive. Gatien brought a lot of people together and many who stared in his clubs are successful now.

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A history of Fun

I loved this book. Most people think biographical novels are boring. This was far from it!

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Great tell, great memory.

Your thoughts and tell brought me down memory lane. I was a partygoer at all your clubs. Witnessed first hand the love people had for the party, music, dancing and you. No one has been able to recreate nights like that since you departed. If I close my eyes while you describe the scene my body pulses to the music playing in my head as you recreate the moment. Thank you for your tell. Thank you for your vision.

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I now feel much respect for this man

What a story and a sad ending... at least for now. I wish Peter Gatien the best. He was given a raw deal. We can only hope that the people who put him out of business will get their "just deserts" when the current administration in the U.S. is gone.

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Completely Satisfied

Very nicely written and read. Really enjoyed hearing details of Gatien’s remarkable path from small Canadian town of most modest means, to glitz and uber-success in America and London, only to be struck down by fanatical moralists within city government.

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The right side of history.

A thrilling and inspiring tour de force documenting the amazing journey of one of the nightlife club scenes most successful club owners. With his world renowned clubs, he lit up the party scene so magnificently it would never be the same. A real hero. Highly recommended for partiers of all types from DJ's's to ravers to promoters to owners. An adventuresome joyride not to be missed. The party never ends; not now, not never...

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All hail the king

The Club King by Peter Gatien is an amazing memoir by the worlds greatest club promoter and designer. Peter Gatien dominated the nightclub scene for decades and hearing him relive those times is epic. I’ve seen documentaries about him and his clubs, but to hear the story solely from his perspective adds a lot to his journey. It’s an absolute travesty what the government did to him. I don’t believe 1% of what they tried to pin him with, it’s a damn shame. But the books great!

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Realism is a beautiful thing

Very cool tale, from a somewhat deservingly self-righteous and ego-maniacal, and expert blame-shifting, success story. Although at times I admit I wanted to yell @ the author/narrator. I spent time in NYC as a kid, with my family, and saw what parts of the city to avoid as visitors. As a rebel teen, I went in with friends and saw a gradual change. NYC had absolutely needed to be cleaned up. This viewpoint, however bitter and one-sided, was eye-opening. I never thought Giuliani—or any other politician, so theres that—was working all above-board. The NY govt’s attack here seems so ongoing and brutal, and the end result makes me wonder if there isn’t a lot more to the story than the author-or the govt- is or was telling. He does say something so dumb at one point-something like the media wasnt the representation of truth or hard news or facts -?- “that it is now”—really? So I take this story as entertainment, while hoping the author finds redemption but also gets a clue that no pols or media are anything but trash. The story is fun; I plan to read up on the details, and check out some of the sites of his clubs once the city is less-restricted, by, ironically, a crazy tyrant...

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Thanks for everything you have done, Peter.

It sickens me to learn how corrupt Rudy G has always been and the extent in which rules were bent to push you out of the US.

thanks for setting the record straight with this amazing rags to riches story. I had the opportunity to DJ at Limelight Atlanta and visited NY Limelight in 85. I hold you in high respect and am grateful for your contribution to the entertainment and hospitality business. I look forward to seeing you in Atlanta and getting you to autograph my copy of the book. I enjoyed the book very much and recommend it to anyone that ever set foot in any of the clubs you owned.

Stay strong and enjoy your time with the family. ❤️

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Profile Image for Bruce McLean
  • Bruce McLean
  • 08-20-22

The rise and fall of Peter Gatien

An absolutely fantastic story of Peters humble beginnings to the king of NY clubs and his battle with a relentless government to overthrow him .