I've never been a fan of Texas, even though it's the stomping ground for a wide range of heavy acts.
From the Dallas Cowboys to the phrase "everything is bigger in Texas" to George Bush, everything about the state has always had a way of agitating the hell out of me. Like, nails-on-a-chalkboard agitation. Or the type of agitation you get from constant one-uppers. That's it: Texas is that annoying friend who feels the need to constantly one-up everybody on everything.
But surprisingly, a recent visit to the state has drastically changed my mind. I know; it's terrifying. It took a lot to drag me to the Lone Star state. First off, my brother moved to Austin a couple of months ago and now works for the advertising firm that created the "everything is bigger in Texas" phrase, and I have to fly there if I ever want to see my adorable, 1-year-old, blue-eyed, faux-hawked nephew. Then, my main source of sexy time moved to Dallas. So I visited, and while I was out there, I found myself at Vinnie Paul's (Pantera, Hellyeah) strip club, The Clubhouse. It, and every other strip club I stumbled across, was so . . . titillating.
So. This brings me to my Metal Mondays rant. I may be way behind the curve on this, but how did Arizona miss the scantily clad boat of heavy metal -- and BYOB -- strip clubs? We have enough rock musicians here, the kind of guys that have certainly spent their fair share of time among cheap perfume and Lucite heels. Where is our house of heavy metal and tata worship?
From the moment I booked my ticket to Dallas, I was determined to visit The Clubhouse, even though I was only in town for, like, 12 hours. Armed with a bottle of Teachers scotch (recommended to us on the premise that it was the best we could get for $20. It was), a wad of $1 bills, and a pre-game car ride featuring Hellyeah and Pantera tunes, we arrived to the enormous club. Twenty-dollar cover, $5 to self-park, and the denial of our own, already filled-to-the-brim cocktails fazed me a little. But just a little. Until the valet guy ducked his head into the car and nonchalantly told us to watch out for the pole when parking . . . which was only three feet in front of us, mind you. We all turned to look at a cement pole that had about a dozen different car paint colors scratched down the side.
So, clearly, these people like to party.
From floor to ceiling, the club's lobby walls showcased photos of Vinnie Paul with every badass musician, politician, and movie star under the sun, or so it seemed. There was also a giant photograph of Dimebag Darrell, Hellyeah, and Pantera memorabilia. Upon entry, a huge stage greets you, wrapping around the bar, with two circular, two-story stages on both sides.
Straight ahead past that was the main stage, with poles going to ceiling about 20 feet up. And the girls were utilizing every square inch, gladly. Heavy metal and rock memorabilia, silver and gold records and guitars adorned the walls, along with a Hellyeah drum set tucked away on a platform jutting off the second level that I'm sure Vinnie Paul probably rocks out on every time he shows up. Which I was hoping would be that very second. Ah, not so lucky.
Settled in plush chairs by one of the stages, there were a couple of key things that stood out about the Clubhouse . . . besides that fact that the fully nude girls were just hanging around like it was a cocktail mixer.
1. Throughout the night, the music selection ranged from AC/DC to Hatebreed to Coal Chamber to Slayer, with some Skrillex thrown in for good measure. Never have I been to a strip club where some hip-hop, Beyoncé or that stupid milkshake song didn't pop up in the mix. It was just pure, good rock 'n' roll and metal on the bill. That's what you wanna see; girls losing themselves in the guitar solos and breakdowns, not strutting around and swaying their hips to Lady Gaga.
2. The fact that you can bring your own bottle of booze (or huge tubs of beer, as many dudes walking in were lugging around) is genius . . . the club ends up making way more money. And the dancers were all about taking swigs from bottles and just chilling with the customers, which, inevitably, led to lap dances aplenty. More than once, we had some entertaining chicks at our table that I'm pretty sure were incapable of even giving a lap dance they were so drunk (Oh, my God, where are my panties! Oh, they're on staaaageee. I need to go get them! Oh, well, it's not like I'm putting them back on!). But, hey, we ended up with more than enough stories to bring back to AZ after hanging around there for three hours. Which will lead to future customers, no doubt.
3. Whoever is hiring the girls at the Clubhouse needs to come work at some of the clubs out here. Granted, as it usually goes at all clubs, about half were less than desirable. But a percentage of the girls were beautiful, but maybe I'm biased because I spent half the night talking to a tall, slender, blond Southern belle with a big floppy hat and baby blue ruffly lingerie, as well as a girl tatted head to toe (including a zombie and Medusa on her back thighs), with black dreads, a fur-adorned leather tribal skirt, and black makeup on her cheekbones, like a linebacker -- a hot linebacker, mind you.
I wasn't really sure what to expect at the Clubhouse, but I was fully prepared to be let down. I imagined the possibility of cheesy décor and seedy ambiance, like most strip clubs I've been to. But my surprise led to one conclusion: We need more strip clubs in Arizona owned by musicians. Oh, yeah, and new booze laws. But that's a whole other topic I'll leave to the news section of New Times.
Here's what we need to do. Get Bret Michaels, Chester Bennington, the dudes from Job for a Cowboy, maybe even Megadeth's Dave Ellefson or Alice Cooper (well, those last two don't drink, and their Christian beliefs probably would get in the way) to open up a club. How is it possibly that one of them haven't already?
The petitioning commences now.