Some on the scene believed the club received its name due to the Polish immigrant owner who’s name may have sounded like “Paycheck”. But according to noted Detroit soundman “Cool Chris” Panackia, the name came from a saying the owner, Polish immigrant named “Zbigniew Mankevich”, used to say – “All’s We Need is a Paycheck”. The club baring the name opened to live original music following the success of Bookie’s with the earliest newspaper calendar listings show April 1981. Paycheck’s was part of the Hamtramck circuit for clubs which included Lili’s, the Hamtramck Pub, and the Bowery.
Much like stories of “Jody” at Bookie’s, those who went to Paycheck’s remember “Gracie” – the doorwoman who has a less than gentle way of clearing out the bar at closing time.
After the Bookie’s era, this Hamtramck bar be one of the key clubs in Detroit for live music with touring acts from across the country and the world taking the stage as well as up and coming local bands that would go on to make an impact of their own such as The White Stripes playing at Paycheck’s. The venue was also one of the main host locations for the annual Hamtramck Blowout music festival.
Paycheck’s would go on to be the longest running live music venue in Hamtramck with the last shows at the club were in spring 2016. In 2018, the venue reopened as Sanctuary Detroit following the move of the Detroit east side DIY non-profit club into the space.
4 thoughts on “Paycheck’s”
Paycheck’s first show was August 1980. Kory Clarke convinced Paycheck to let his band The Attitudes play there. Wish I remembered more, there was a folder of flyers I used to keep in the basement, I had a copy of the flyer from the first show in there.
Used to see The Colors at Paycheck’s quite a bit in the late 80’s. I’ve also got a folder somewhere with some of their flyers.
We played here a bunch of times. Sound was never good, People were strange, and I remember Paycheck and his much, much younger and more attractive wife behind the bar, and Gracie at the door. Even when we packed the place, we heard things like “only 20 people paid.” No fun, no vibe. And you felt like you needed a delousing before you got in your car!
While attending art school at WSU, we formed a band called Burning Bridges. We’d made a demo which had a bit played on WDET late one night by Ralph and Martin. The recording was well received and we got a gig at Paycheck’s. We filled the place despite the cover (I think he was charging $5 a head)… and walked away with about $25 to split between us. Apparently, any paycheck the name referred to was not in reference to what was being paid to the folks playing the place. I guess that’s why bands have managers like Peter Grant.
Have a story or information to share about Paycheck’s? You can do that here.