On the Beat

Durham's Pinhook club will survive

Two months ago, things looked pretty grim for The Pinhook, a local-music linchpin in Durham.

Due to bookkeeping errors by its previous owners, the club owed $80,000 in back taxes -- a staggering sum for any small business, but especially a rock club getting by on cover prices and beer tabs. Worse, they had just one year to come up with the money.

Improbably, however, the story has the happiest ending imaginable. As of late Thursday night, money taken in from an ongoing crowd-funding campaign and the fourth in a series of “Save The Pinhook” shows pushed its total fund-raising past $80,000 -- 10 months ahead of schedule.

By Friday afternoon, owner Kym Register was still catching her breath.

“I didn’t even really think the whole thing was real,” Register said. “That number, $80,000, was so huge that it was not real to me. I didn’t want to do (crowd-funding) in the first place, but my friends and employes were all like, ‘Do it.’ So I had no expectations beyond thinking that anything we got would be helpful, and we’d figure it out.”

Of the $80,000-plus raised, about $30,000 came from benefit shows the past two weeks. Chatham County Line, Tift Merritt, a reformed Megafaun, Sylvan Esso and other numerous other bands donated their services, playing to sold-out crowds.

“The shows were insane,” Register said. “They’re what really put us over the top. I had thought, ‘Benefit shows never really raise money, they’re just fun.’ But all these bands came to me and said, ‘Let’s put it on.’”

Register also quipped that the whole thing sounded like the plot of a heart-warming made-for-television movie, and this does have a whiff of “It’s a Wonderful Life” to it.

“I hope everybody knows how appreciative we are,” she said. “I understand the complications around it, because it’s taxes and back taxes. I don’t necessarily think we deserved all the help we got. But I hope we can repay that investment by giving back to the community.”

David Menconi: 919-829-4759, @NCDavidMenconi