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.

S: Which country has the best-looking girls?
Herman: The States.
S: Aw, yer just saying that. Herman: No, it's true, because you live there, you don't notice it. S: But aren't there a lot of beautiful women in Germany? Herman: Ooo, boy! They're everywhere, let's face it.

S: Will there be 24 more years of the Scorpions?
Herman: Hey. I don't know. As long as we're healthy and we feel good, why not? If people get tired of us, we'll stop playing.

Record and Play: What with the Dead coming to town, I thought it might be appropriate to mention this interesting little publication: Taper's Quarterly, "The Magazine of Live Music and Concert Taping," a unique rag out of San Francisco that's published four times per year. And it's devoted to, well, the name says it.

Other than predictable stuff like tape reviews (audio and video), Quarterly offers informative, readable interviews with a broad range of artists: Todd Rundgren, Ohio Players, G.C. Cameron, and the Posies in issue No. 4. Now, before you start screaming at me for promoting a practice that takes money out of artists' pockets, be aware that Quarterly is based on the credo that "the trading of unauthorized material is condoned so long as there is no form of compensation," and goes so far as to say: "Don't buy bootlegs!"

Ironically, there is this statement written on the mag's masthead: "Taper's Quarterly MAY NOT be reproduced, in whole or part, without written permission of the publisher." Send $10 for four issues to 1726 Sacramento Street, San Francisco, CA 94109-3643. Go See: Wild horses couldn't keep me from catching the Mavericks Friday at Toolies Country. I'm going even if I have to pay to get in, dammit. Call 272-3100. If you feel like driving to Tucson, Jawbox should make it worth your while. The band plays Thursday at the Downtown Performance Center. Call 1-602-628-1650. Go Hear: The fabulous Meat Puppets will be guests on the Studio Zone with Mary McCann Monday at 10 p.m. That's on KZON-FM 101.5. And here's a snatch of poop on the show: The Pups are gonna do a Marty Robbins tune, "Big Iron." Go Look: Local folks Beats the Hell Out of Me are signed to Metal Blade Records, which you may know. The band also has the best promotional band photo I've ever seen. Which you may not know.

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