Walter Mencken 12:02 p.m., May 30
Locals Call BS on Vince Neil’s “1st Rock & Roll Strip Club”
The Las Vegas Sun just reported that Motley Crue’s Vince Neil will open his first Vegas strip club, Vince Neil's Girls, Girls, Girls (named for a crude Crue tune), in two weeks.
"It's something I always wanted to do," Neil is quoted saying. "So it's like a dream come true. But this will be different and unique. It will be the first rock and roll strip joint. It was a business opportunity to become a partner that was too good to pass up."
Wait, “the first rock and roll strip joint”? Really? Well, the place is bound to have a great in-house light system. I wonder if the "six-feet away from the stripper" rule applies to how far the audience must stay away from band members, and will the musicians be required to follow the same rules as the young ladies, such as wearing pantyhose onstage?
Matt Arbaugh of local heavy metallers Atropal points out that San Diego has already been mixing its G-strings with guitar strings for years.
While with Caustic Felon back in 2009, Arbaugh says “We heard thru a friend in another band that they were playing a show at Pure Platinum. We were able to get in contact with there entertainment director Lisa L. and they checked us out and were impressed with the quality of our music and we began to put together a show unlike any thing they had done before. Adding girls to the stage production adding new lighting and stage production effects.”
During their first Pure Platinum show, “The strippers were breaking it down next door and kept us all very entertained when the band wasn’t onstage. One girl was more than just doing her job with our bassist Paul [McFaddin], and I’m pretty sure if the other guys weren’t married… In fact, the drummer was late to the stage, due to a beautiful blonde named Jessie, who was draining his wallet in the lap-dance lounge.”
By early 2010, Pure Platinum had also hosted live concerts by the Carlos Blues Experience, Roots Covenant, Beat Panther, 3 the Hardway, the Amalgamated, and Dannicus Live, as well as a weekly Wednesday “concert karaoke” showcase.
And of course there was the inevitable February 2010 set at Pure Platinum by Hugh Gaskins and the G-String Daddies.
Judging from these photos of the club, how long before they book a residency for local tribute rockers Deeper Purple?
“With bands,” says Arbaugh, “your ticket gets you into the show along with access to the strip club side at no extra charge. We feel as a band that we can hold your attention, but who doesn’t like to look at a half-naked girl? It's like fine wine and beautiful sunset, that is if by fine wine you mean beautiful women -- who seem to think everything you do and say is just awesome -- and a beautiful sunset is as stunning as a shredding guitar player, keeping in time with a bass driven beat that thrashes your brain like a piece of paper in a wind storm. Can't think of a better excuse to go to a strip club!”
Dream Girls in Kearny Mesa similarly expanded beyond stripper poles back in 2009 and 2010, booking club nights with DJ Atari and Junior the Disco Punk.
So Vince Neil can hardly lay claim to anything akin to his so-called “first rock and roll strip joint.”
(Caustic Felon at Pure Platinum)
“Nude girls go with rock and roll like jelly goes with peanut butter,” says Steven “Sugar” Cole, who claims his failed attempt to open a local rock and roll club called Groupies, offering both live music and nude entertainment, cost him over $50,000 in 2008.
“I sank fifty grand into one location on Midway with the assurance that I’d get all the permits,” he says, “but at the last minute they rejected my licenses, after lying to me for six months about what I needed to get approval. All I want is to have stripper go-go girls while the bands play, on individual podiums and on a separate stage for anyone who’d rather look at girls than the band.”
“I’d even pass on the liquor license,” he insists, “if the girls can be nude. I’m sure I could still make money, but the city just plain doesn’t issue [nude entertainment] permits, and they haven’t since the seventies.”
Cole says he’s managed similar clubs in Philadelphia and Rhode Island, the latter venue hosting a once-monthly All-Male Revue. “It sells out every time, and I’d do it more often, if the women would buy a few drinks once in awhile. Guys in a strip club spend [at the bar] like sailors on shore leave. Women give all their cash to the dancers.”
He says San Diego officials have been more difficult about licensing than anywhere else he’s ever operated.
“All the strip clubs in this town, they got their original licenses over twenty years ago. The permits get renewed if they can prove that someone who lives in San Diego still owns the place and if they’ve been okay with vice. But opening a new place, they’ll lie and say I can get a ‘burlesque’ permit, by putting in more of a theater setup, but then they deny every other application I need to open.”
Cole claims that a vice department official once told him “You could be the head of the Mafia and you’ll still never put another nude club in our town,” and this sort of stonewalling makes him even more determined to do business in San Diego.
“The City reneged on all the permits,” alleges Cole, “but the older clubs that have been around since the ’80s, they have a lot of leeway about mixing live entertainment with stripping.”
Cole says mixing hard rock with nice racks is just plain good business. “It’s a good idea [for strip clubs] to go into bundle marketing, like cable companies and fast-food places. Times are tough for strippers, and bands are out of work. But if you tell people they can have their naked girls and their rock bands, two for the price of one, that’s probably the most recession-proof business in town.”
“For a Navy port, it’s pretty f-ing conservative here,” says Cole. “The strippers have to wear pantyhose under their G-strings. What happened to the wild, wild west? You guys [in San Diego] really need a place like Groupies. It’s not healthy for a whole city to go without any kind of sexual release.”
“Be proud of your rockin’ strip clubs, San Diego!”
Here’s a video of Caustic Felon shot at Pure Platinum in 2009 (yeah, that's right Vince, 2009!), featuring the band both performing and getting lap dances from the strippers (WARNING: Mature Content. Duh.)
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