TONY'S IS GASPING; A SCORPION SPEAKS

SCREED

Things are not looking good for Tony's New Yorker Club. The Tempe nightspot has been on the critical list since last December, when owner Stuart Woltz filed for Chapter 11. "The ironic thing is, some of the things we've been doing in the last few months--like going to two stages--really seemed to be working, but maybe it's a little too late," says Woltz. The club is still operating, but there's no telling how long that will last. Woltz is "working on bringing in a partner or an investor, but short of that, even if I do great in the next few weeks, I don't know how long we can hold on." The weird thing is, I've been to Tony's more than a few times, and the place has always been packed. But I'm not the only one scratching his head, says the boss: "A lot of people might be really surprised we're having trouble, because the perception is that business is rising." Tony's began its life as a church, then was defrocked and turned into a successful nightclub in the Eighties. After the original owners moved on, subsequent managers "ran business into the ground," claims Woltz. He took over the lease on New Year's Eve, 1992, and says business has "been pretty consistently going up over the course of the year. It just didn't go up fast enough."

All I can say is, if you have a bunch of cash, go invest it and keep the place afloat. If you're just a normal person, then go see bands at Tony's and buy lots of drinks while you still can. It's important.

How Sweet It Was: Well, I blew it. I raved about the upcoming Sweet show two columns ago, and then stayed home reading Spit Take: The Loves of Shemp Howard. By the time I wrenched myself away, it was way past last call. However, a person named Michele called up not only to admonish me, but to taunt me with what I (and from the sound of it, a lot of you) missed: "People were really into it. It was, like, biker central, full of chicks with high heels and big hair. It was only about 50 people, but everybody was way into it. It was really cool. And there was a tiny little banner in the back that said 'Sweet.' It was, like, two feet by half a foot."

Don't tell me you don't like the Scorpions. I know you do. Come on, the boys from Germany are responsible for one of the all-time greatest pop-metal choruses, in "Rock You Like a Hurricane." (Although perhaps a more accurate lyrical statement would have been "Blow You Like a Hurricane." But what the heck; for these guys, English is a second language.)

But this band is about more than just raised fists and heads that bang; the Scorps have recorded an anti-Nazi song, "Unholy Alliance," and was the first major metal act to play Russia, in 1988. And now, the living, breathing, ass-kicking, 24-year-old greatest-band-ever-to-come-out-of-Hanover is coming to Veterans' Memorial Coliseum on Friday at 8 p.m., with King's X. Here're a few pearls from drummer Herman Rarebell, phoning in from Bangkok, where it's midnight and the fun never stops:

Screed: Have you ever seen This Is Spinal Tap?
Herman: Hey. We live it. But not as bad as they do.
S: Does Bangkok really swing or what?

Herman: Well, it's a wild town. The best time to go out here is 2 in the morning, or 3. Maybe you go to a disco or to a pub and then you leave, because it's 24 hours happening here. Crazy place, man.

S: Is the Nazi thing on the rise in Germany?
Herman: I think the press pushes this thing up. It's a very low percentage of skinheads who make this move popular. I think you have just as many Nazis in America, but Germany has this really bad past, so anybody, of course, pushes their finger first there. You know what I'm saying?

S: Have you ever seen Beavis and Butt-head?
Herman: Yes, of course. S: I saw a video of you guys on it. Herman: Yeah? Which tape was that? That would be interesting to find out. Was it "Rock You Like a Hurricane"?

S: I think it was.
Herman: Funny. I like that show. If that's the way the kids talk nowadays, I'll have to get used to it.

S: Your album art has been criticized for being sexist. [For example: The Lovedrive album features a wad of gum being pulled from a woman's naked breast.] Herman: Hey. Did you ever see those women who lead those feminist clubs? Why do you think they do that--and why are all the good-looking girls not in there?

S: Uh, I don't know. Herman: Hey. If you're a good-looking woman, you like to be seen, that's what they do. They want to be on the cover, they want to be in a movie, they want to be in a video; it's part of life. And I'm a man, I like to see good-looking girls. There's nothing wrong with that.

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