Last month, Disco Pimps front man Eric Alexander opened the Stage Saloon downtown. Formerly the Heat Supper Club, the 300-seat room at 762 Fifth Avenue becomes one more county nightspot at least partially owned by an area musician. Here’s the list: Bar Pink Elephant (John Reis/Night Marchers, etc.), the Starlite Lounge (Steve Poltz), and Hensley’s Flying Elephant (Matt Hensley/Flogging Molly).
Alexander has fronted the Disco Pimps for a decade. He relocated to San Diego eight years ago after being based in Phoenix. Already a part owner of the Gaslamp Tavern, he says he jumped at the chance to open a “band bar” on his own when the location became available. According to Alexander, having a musician run a club does make a difference.
“Musicians are a separate breed,” says Alexander. “And they generally don’t mix with business types. Those are the sort of room owners that will point to an area, move a table, and say, ‘That’s the stage.’ But here we built everything from the ground up for the best sound and sight lines.”
Artist amenities at the Stage Saloon include a drum riser, green room, and full backline (drums, bass amplifier, and two guitar amps). The latter feature is attractive to performers who’d prefer not to haul their heaviest gear. For now, Alexander plans to book all types of music, including Americana and hip-hop, with promoter Peggy Calhoun helping bring in the local talent.
Although the economy is in a downturn, Alexander feels the Stage Saloon can ride out this rough patch.
“I talk to other bar owners and everyone says this is the worst quarter ever, so maybe I got into this at the wrong time. I put my house on the line and everything. But my bar is different than the typical corporate places down here, with more of a rock ’n’ roll energy.”
Alexander says he’ll be performing on Fridays with his heavy metal cover band Train Wreck and on Saturdays with the Disco Pimps.
– Bart Mendoza