Sucker Punch Sally's and Other D.O.A. Local Music Venues That Went Before Their Time
By now you've probably heard the news that Sucker Punch Sally's "temporary" summertime closure has apparently (and unfortunately) proved to be permanent, as "For Lease" signs have been posted in the establishment's front window.
Although its food really wasn't all that great, the embryonic rockabilly-style diner's kitschy hot rod décor gave it a certain vintage cool, making it one of the more unique music venues in Tempe -- as well as the Valley as a whole -- during its six months of existence. (Former U.S. Bombs drummer Chip Hanna was a regular performer at SPS, as were the retro-rockers of the Surfside IV and funky punkster DJ Johnny Volume.)
The knockout blow to Sucker Punch Sally's dredged up memories of a few other establishments that blinked out of existence after a short lifespan.
Join us as we take a trip through the graveyard of bygone local venues.
Badlands Music Venue: Conversely, this strip mall all-ages concert hall had a lot working against it, but still managed to thrive...at least for a while. Not only was it situated at the ass-end of East Mesa near Main Street and Recker Road (far, far removed from most bands), but it also seemed to us like its neighbors didn't cotton to the idea of having a concert hall in their midst. Regardless, it drew hundred of fans by hosting a slew of hard rock, hardcore, and pop punk bands, including Eyes Set to Kill, Raina-Fire and Knights of the Abyss. Local promoters K&Z Entertainment used the Badlands as their venue of choice for a few months, until dropping it in favor of the Underground earlier this year. As far as we know, the place has been dark ever since.
The Haunted Castle: The story of Kurt Havelock's short-lived south Tempe establishment was a rather tumultuous one, to say the least. Envisioned as a Halloween-themed bar/restaurant and music venue, the 30something entrepreneur opened its doors in 2007 as "The Haunted Castle" and hosted a few punk shows and DJ Manchester's "Elegant Chaos" dance night. Havelock reportedly wanted to call the place "Drunkensteins," which may have been the reason why Tempe officials put the kibosh on its liquor license. Said denial almost led to tragedy, as Havelock allegedly plotted an extremely harebrained revenge scheme in response, which involved opening fire on a crowd outside of Super Bowl XLII with his new AR-15 rifle. The dude came to his senses and turned himself in, however, sparing the Valley of what would have undoubtedly been one of the darkest days in our city's history. Needless to say, the Haunted Castle closed shortly thereafter.
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