The recently opened Gibson's in Tempe has a decent sound system, plenty of space and a very bizarre policy at the bar, apparently. Fade to last week: There I was, sitting with a friend at aforementioned establishment, quietly drinking beer and tipping accordingly. We were there to see Dead Hot Workshop and catch an alleged appearance by INXS that never happened. By 10:15, there was a decent crowd in the joint but nothing overwhelming (and hardly anybody around us), when all of a sudden we were approached by a well-groomed, brown-shirted member of Gibson's security youth.
"You're going to have to get up. The owner wants the stools moved," he said.
Of course, I thought we needed the stools perhaps a bit more than the owner did at that moment, but when I questioned the brown-shirt's suggestion, he said, "We've got to clear the bar so people can get in and buy drinks." Boy, up til that moment, I thought I could have qualified not only as a person, but as one buying drinks.
We kept our mouths shut, let the guy take the stools (he walked over and gave them to two girls) and proceeded to stand there while all those previously deprived of booze rushed at the bar like the drowning swim for a lifeboat. All those people--all none of em.
We hung out in the same spot for the next hour and still had plenty of elbow room. A few days later, I got a call from Brian Blush, Gibson's public relations guy, apologizing profusely for the slight. This was very considerate, but, of course, you rarely get these kinds of calls unless you write a weekly blab column. I asked him what was up with stool policy.
"It's a fire code violation to have chairs up against the bar after 8 at night; they have to be up against the drink rails," he said. Oddly enough, every other barstool stayed right where it was--right up against the bar--for the rest of the night, occupied by the buttocks of happily toasting patrons. Now here's the good part. I called Tempe Fire Marshal Mark Scott and related the fire code according to Gibson's. "He told you that?" chuckled Scott. "What a bunch of horse crap!"
So there you have it. The lesson here is, demand your rights as a paying drinker at Gibson's and don't let em swipe your stools. Or, if you're a pretty girl, find the right bouncer and get a seat whenever you want.
Mein Tour: There might be a rider in One Foot in the Grave's contract providing a fifth of Geritol (rather than Jack Daniel's) for each performance, but you can't say the Sun City quintet is letting the years get the better of it. The band, whose members have a combined age of somewhere around 270, is about to embark on a three-week European tour beginning April 14 in Stuttgart, Germany, and hitting Frankfurt and Ulm, Germany, and Salzburg and Vienna, Austria, among other towns.
OFITG does its own version of punk rock--tunes like "Menopause" and "I've Fallen and I Can't Get Up"--and while this may not be standard-issue, Sex Pistols-level stuff, let it be said that, for a bunch of old codgers, they've got a lot of moxie. Well, actually a recently added guitarist is a mere 22, says the group's 50-ish lead singer and sexual selling point, JoDina.
"He's our token grandchild. I beat him with a cane and a whip onstage." The Germans should love that. OFITG will be doing at least 16 dates in 21 days, a travel schedule that is something of a stretch for the band. "We toured Texas for a couple of days with Mojo Nixon last summer," JoDina admits, "but other than that, we've never toured before."
Though a punk band it may be, one thing this group doesn't lack is maturity. JoDina doesn't anticipate any road-induced bickering or whining star fits. "We get along really well, so we're not going to have any problems with each other," she offers. "But the thing that upsets me is, I woke up this morning and thought, 'Oh, my God, I'll be in a different bed every night for three weeks.' If it was with a guy, it would be different!" The social security combo won't be heading overseas completely unknown; there have been OFITG articles in publications no less impressive than the German version of Elle, a performance on Japanese television, even fan mail from Russia. "The neatest letter I ever received was from a lady in Moscow, she was about 72 at the time," explains the leather-voiced grandma. "She addressed it to 'Jodena, One Foot in the Grave, Sun City, USA.' I don't even live in Sun City, but the postal employees called my drummer and said, 'Aren't you in that band?' That's how famous we've become." It certainly takes guts for an up-and-coming band of any age bracket to try to win over the tough, discerning audiences of der Vaterland; after all, this is the country that gave us two World Wars and the Scorpions. But JoDina is not worrying about One Foot's reception. "I'm petrified to fly, and I'm so afraid of war, but other than that it should be exciting," she gushes. "I just know deep down in my bones they're going to love us."
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Do You Promise Not to Tell?: Music Voice Magazine is hosting its third installment of Arizona's Best-Kept Secrets, an offering of local talent for labels, agents, managers and folks like you and me. Last month's gathering had reps from Warner Bros., MCA and Metal Blade in attendance, so you never know. Saturday, April 16, at Boston's. Call 921-7343.
Go See: A weird helping of what passes, in La Jolla, California, for heavy-avant-gag-rock swings into town on Saturday, at the Art Cage. Oh yeah, it's called Creedle. Look For: A seven-inch called Too Precious to Be Disposable, a new release on the local Social Retardance label. It includes four songs by Ernie's Rubber Duckie, Alan's Fear, Generiks and Horace Pinker, proving that punk is alive and doing its best to stay pissed off in Phoenix, Arizona. R.I.P.: Sad to announce that Michael Venell, 23, guitarist and founding member of the Phoenix band Zig Zag Black, died at home in his sleep last Thursday, apparently as a result of a heart attack. According to Randy Rocker, the band's publicist, Venell had been "complaining of chest pains off and on for the past few weeks. He went to the doctor, and was told there was no problem. Apparently, there was more of a problem than the doctor realized." The band had just come home from a tour and was on a short break before returning to the road. At press time, the medical examiner had not yet come to an official decision on the cause of Venell's death. Letters may be sent to P.O. Box 34994, Phoenix, AZ 85067-4994.
By now, you all know that Nirvana's Kurt Cobain is sitting in with the choir invisible. The guy wrote some great music; beyond that, I don't know what to tell you. As his mother said: "Now he's gone and joined that stupid club.