Ash Canned

Goodbye, Bash on Ash. Hello, Valley live music conundrum.

Drew Verbis, entertainment director for McDuffy's, adds two more obstacles: a post-September 11 squeeze on discretionary spending and hikes in insurance following the fire that killed 100 people who attended a Great White concert in West Warwick, Rhode Island, last February.

And so, Verbis says, now is the time to focus on the party people. The club will be closed for renovations for most of January, and Verbis says the hope is to open Club Bash's doors by January 31 or February 1.

"We're going to bottle it up into a club," says Verbis, formerly a booking agent for the Rhythm Room blues club in Phoenix. "That's what we're doing. We're going to use our location close to ASU to create a party atmosphere."

Going out of business: Homegrown performs as the Bash on Ash hits its home stretch.
Matt Garcia
Going out of business: Homegrown performs as the Bash on Ash hits its home stretch.


On Saturday, December 27. Doors open at 7 p.m. Tickets are $10. Call 480-966-8200 for more information.
Bash on Ash, 230 West Fifth Street in Tempe

McDuffy's opened a dance-oriented club in Peoria, dubbed McDuffy's Peoria/Wide World of Entertainment, early this year, which Adams says proved to be immediately more successful than the Bash. The difference in drinking-age patronage helped convince him the money lay in clubbing, not in staging rock 'n' roll.

"The club owners have to be able to survive," Adams offers. "If they can't pay their bills, it doesn't matter if the Beatles are playing in there."

Rod Keeling, executive director of the Downtown Tempe Community, says he fully understands. Keeling talks about the DTC's board of directors and participating businesses and neighbors as "stakeholders," and says the arts are an important part of what's at stake. That's why he says he is receptive to finding ways to use public space for concerts -- or at least to lending any resources the DTC can offer.

"If the audience is going to clubs that don't offer live music and they're choosing it over live music, then that's a problem," Keeling says. "Somehow, we have to resuscitate the product, the offering."

But Keeling qualifies his suggestion: "I'm not the guy to ask about how to do that."

The onus, he says, is on the artists and promoters, not just on the benevolence of the surrounding businesses.

"We can provide a venue. We can probably help them with sponsors," Keeling says. "Maybe we can create space on a certain night of the week. It's going to be dependent on the ownership of what we do, the artists themselves. They'll have to own it."

Daly says that shouldn't be much of a problem.

"Fuck the buildings," he says. "If people will open the doors, put on the lights and pay the bands, that's half the battle.

"You know as well as I do that when places fill up at $8 a head, somebody's making a lot of money. I'm not saying it's going to happen today or tomorrow, but it's going to happen eventually. It's a gamble. It's not really a good gamble, either, you know? Music's an incredibly crappy business to be in, probably the worst. Drug dealing has much more sensible growth. I sympathize with these club owners."

Verbis and Adams say they'd like to still be able to make that gamble, too. With the business climate the way it is now, however, Adams is betting that beats-per-minute, sweat, flesh and grinding are the real catalysts that'll bring the crowds back to the area.

"It's exciting to me because we're going to have another baby. And I'm really looking forward to it," Adams says.

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