Dave Ralph’s Stuff
Photo: MICHAEL DISKIN
by Kara Baskin
| October 17, 2011
Dave Ralph leads a
charmed life: he lives in quaint New
Hampshire with his wife and son, yet he also jets
into the city each night to oversee Royale, the Tremont Street nightclub in the old Roxy
space. Before that, he was music director at Avalon and an internationally
acclaimed DJ. At heart, though, the transplanted Liverpudlian is a simple guy
who loves Breaking Bad and treasures his British football jerseys. We caught up with him after hours for a chat.
So football jerseys aren't exactly
nocturnal garb. Yet they're your most prized items of clothing. How come? They're a link to my homeland. I grew up in Liverpool. Football - soccer - is part and parcel of my
culture. When I moved to America,
it was really difficult to recapture that part of my life. The actual jersey is
a talisman, a piece of home that I just can't let go. I wear them, and my son
wears them too.
Why did you come to America? I moved to America in 1998. I'd been coming
here since 1984, and I fell in love with it when I took a vacation here. I went
to the West Coast, and I was blown away. I always thought I wanted to live
here. I used to be a DJ all over the world; when I stepped up to an international
was on the table, and I took the opportunity. It came to the point where I was
literally playing in London
on a Saturday night and would take the first flight out on a Sunday morning to
do gigs here. That really started to wear on me, so I made a decision to move
here. I came with a suitcase full of clothing. I'm a product of the American
dream. I moved to Miami
and really worked very hard. Met my wife, got married, and moved to New England.
Miami's a lot different than Boston - to put it mildly. Why did you choose
here? I was tired, and I stopped
DJing. My wife is from New Hampshire.
My only criterion was that the airport needed to be good, so I could travel. I
also loved the guys at Avalon. I was thinking about spending more time at home.
Miami is not a
great place to raise a family.
So you decided to . . . open a nightclub?
Well, two years ago I took over
a space that used to be the Roxy. I renovated it and, along with the help of my
very good friend Brig Dauber, made it into this superclub, Royale. We took a
run-down, dilapidated venue that nobody cared about and built it into the
fabulous thing it is now.
What sets the club apart from the pack? The beauty of Royale is that it's not a new
space. It's an old theater, built in 1920, and so it has an aura about it. It
has its own unique personality that can only come with an older venue. It's
quite a nice size, with a beautiful balcony, and we're able to do things there
nobody else can. Even if it's a club show, we have aerialists and entertainers
and things you don't see in many other places. It's all about the party here:
people walk in, and anything could happen. You could see a 10-foot crocodile
walk across the room. It's just fun.
What's next for Royale? We're about to bring Royale to Providence. Over the past year, we've brought
in a lot of international talents, like [DJ] Tiësto. We wanted to establish
ourselves as a brand. That market doesn't get a chance to see some of these
bright young stars. We're going to kick that off probably in November. If
that's a success, who knows?
When you're not enjoying the nightlife,
where might we find you? This
sounds so stupid: I love watching TV, and I love walking. My wife, my son, my
dog, and I will walk trails and do stuff like that. And my favorite TV show,
without a shadow of a doubt, is Breaking Bad. For a network channel to produce a show like
that - the depth of the writing and the acting is phenomenal.
If you had to define the Boston
club scene in a few words, as compared with Miami, what would you say? We burn brightly, very shortly, then go to bed.