By Ray Stern
By Ray Stern
By New Times
By Amy Silverman
By Stephen Lemons
By Stephen Lemons
By Monica Alonzo
By Chris Parker
"Happy '06, Kreme," squeals the Jettster into my earpiece. "I want you to be the first to know that I've sworn off lesbian love for my New Year's resolution. Women are just too much drama. From here on out, I'm all about the pole waggers. They're so easy by comparison."
"Gee, thanks for sharing," I snark. "I'll alert the local TV news that your Petri dish privates are back on the het market."
"Not that I won't do a lil' same-sex flirtin' now and then," explains the J-unit. "Or entertain the possibility of a ménage. But you can tell the public I'm at least 80 percent straight, er, most of the time."
"Anything else?" I ask, annoyed. "You just interrupted an intense round of toenail clipping."
"I thought you wanted to hit the TeeRoy and Donkey show tonight at the Palo Verde," she responds. "It should be poppin' by 11 p.m., and I'm ready to check me out some hot boys."
Yep, believe it or else, the J-dawg is as right as a Republican wing-nut when the moon's full. The Palo Verde Lounge, the legendary Tempe dive bar at 1015 West Broadway Road that's as funky as Allen Iverson's dirty socks after a week of fermentation, has suddenly become the next Rogue. That is, as the Rogue flipped the script on Saturday nights and went from punk pool hall to the stompin' ground of William Fucking Reed and star-tender Katie Rose with Shake!, so the PV is doing something similar by bringing a chill vibe to hump night with the TeeRoy and Donkey show -- TeeRoy being the local fashionista whose work and personality have a hard-core following among the twentysomethings, and "Donkey" being his roommate Jared Donkersley.
Seems sexpot rocker Rose, formerly of the pop-tart posse Hell on Heels and now with a band called The Nightshift, gets credit for the concept. Rose slings drinks at the PV on Wednesdays with her pals, bartenders Dave and Eric, and her idea was to bring in someone with charisma, though not a professional needle-dropper. TeeRoy was tapped, and though he'd never spun wax before, he was soon turning on his extensive network of pals, fans and party peoples to the no-cover, cheap-drink appeal of the PV. Three months later, the PV is the place to be on a Wednesday eve for the crowd of coolios who elbow their way in there to shoot pool, get faded and listen to TeeRoy and Donkersley's mix of classic and underground rock.
"I do a lot of traveling, and I take note of what's goin' on in SF and NYC," the red-headed Rose told us in the wee hours of Thursday morn, after everyone had cleared out. "Like, go to SF on a Wednesday and there are about five or more spots that are bangin'. I just want things to be fun in Phoenix, too, so that's when I started talking to Dave about doing something here.
"We didn't want to hire someone who was Mr. DJ About Town," she continues. "We wanted someone who we believed in, who'd help build the night with us. Someone who had good taste in music, but didn't have a big ego. That's why we thought of TeeRoy, who's a local designer and is pretty popular."
It probably didn't hurt that there've been a few changes since the last time the Jettster and I wallowed up to the PV's well back in '04 ("Motley Crew," August 26, 2004). There are plenty of characters swilling PBRs and shooting the shit, still, but the rowdy skinhead faction has looong been banished back to their trailer-trash hideouts. And last year, after 24 years of ownership, David Eng sold the business to former bouncer/bartender Chuck Marthaler, who has vowed to keep this inebriation station open and out of the greedy hands of developers who'd love to pave PV paradise and put up a parking lot.
This night, I'm the first on the scene as usual, with the newly man-happy Jett taking her sweet freakin' time to arrive. An hour before midnight, and the joint's jumpin', though it's more of a hang than a dance situation. Everyone's very convivial, and as I order up a Crown 'n' Coke, my current libation of choice, I strike up a confab with this huge dood named Rikki X, who's prolly a few ounces shy of my poundage and is busy crackin' open cans of suds as fast as Dave 'n' Eric can serve 'em up.
"What's your story, señor?" I inquire of Rikki-Tikki-Tavi.
"I play guitar for this band The Poor Sinners," he sloshes between sips. "Picture a cross of Motörhead, AC/DC and the New York Dolls."
"Nutty," I say. "Actually, I'm picturing you in high heels and makeup à la David Johansen, and it ain't pretty. Where do you guys play?"
"Hollywood Alley in March," he tells me. "After that, the world!"
"Maybe you'll be the Meat Loaf of the new millennium!" I say, slapping him on the back.
"Yeah, I love alcohol, girls, long hair . . . and coca leaf. I like coca leaf," he relates, apropos of nothing.
"Hell, we must be related, bub," I state, grabbing my C 'n' C, and chugging it down. Speaking of hair, next to me is this fella with long, black curly locks who looks like he should be playing bass for The Darkness. Says his name is Krikor, or something like that.
"I'll bet you're in a band," I observe. "You've got the hair for it."
"Ah, I used to be, but I'm not anymore," he responds.
"So what do you like about the PV?" I ask.
"Well, this night is all right," he admits. "But other than this, nothing. Ordinarily there's too much dick around. But this is the night if you want a better ratio of chicks to dudes."
As if on cue, it's like someone turns on the spigot and more squalies start to roll in, including Katie Rose, who takes up her position behind the bar. As if to welcome her, barkeep Dave fills his mouth with Bacardi 151, Rose holds a match in front of his mouth, and he spits out a huge flame, alcohol spraying over most of his customers, me included.
I spy my old bud, that nearly ubiquitous and ever-garrulous gadfly Gatsby, the Don Juan of the Roller Derby set, chatting up some brunette cutie in a corner. TeeRoy and Donkey are switching off on the wheels of steel, dropping the Rolling Stones, Jefferson Airplane, '70s punk band Television, some metalcore, '80s bands like Real Life, and even a little John Denver, for Chrissakes! The Jettster finally blows in, too, demanding that I buy her a vodka-tonic, and handing me her coat like she's rock royalty and I'm her valet, Jeeves. When she's not looking, I dump her jacket on the floor and cadge someone else's drink.
"No vodka; this is all they had," I tell her.
"Eww, what is it?" she grimaces.
"Roofies and Red Bull," I spit. "How the hell do I know? Drink up and get to work. It'll be last call before you know it."
Nearby is this little number named Nicole, who's got Bettie Page bangs and seems a bit blotto. She's friendly enough, though, and wants to show us some flesh, specifically her tattooed arm and back.
"What's that on your arm?" asks Jett as Nicole shows off her left shoulder.
"That's Kali," she tells us.
"Short for California?" queries Jett.
"No, doofus, she means the Indian warrior-goddess Kali Ma," I state, annoyed.
"Check out my back," she urges, pulling up her shirt and turning around so that we can see the huge piece that covers her from her shoulder blades to her waist. "See, it's a divided face symbolizing the good and bad in all of us. The duality of man. The yin and the yang."
"You know, Kreme," whispers Jett. "I don't want to insult her, but that thing doesn't look anything like the Ying Yang Twins."
I roll my eyes: "Will you just take this chick's photograph?" I growl.
"Well, you don't have to be such a jerk about it," she protests, then turns to Nicole. "Come on, honey, let's go to the patio out back where we can have a little more room."
Though there are plenty of booful breezies around, time is short, and I see that TeeRoy has turned the decks over to Donkey Kong and is paying more attention to Katie Rose at the bar. Seems they're an item these days. I figure this is my time to jawbone, so I ask him about his new role as a wax-master.
"We don't call ourselves DJs, we just play records," says TeeRoy, looking chill in a vintage Jackson 5 tee and an olive green jacket sporting David Bowie, Blondie, and John Lennon buttons. "It's sort of snowballed into what it is right now. When we started off, we just had two stereo speakers and our home stereo turntables. I'd play a song and fade my volume out, and he'd play a song and fade his volume in. It was so ghetto. Now after three months, we've got all this equipment that real DJs use, our skills have improved, and all these people come out to get drunk with us on a Wednesday night. That's what really blows me away."