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On June 1, SDSU’s Aztec Center, home to long-dark Montezuma Hall and the Backdoor, will be demolished to make way for a modern structure.

From the late 1960s to the 1990s, both venues hosted concerts by emerging rockers such as the Ramones, Violent Femmes, REM, Talking Heads, Dokken, Wall of Voodoo, Romeo Void, the Go Go’s, Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, the Beat Farmers, Metallica, the Replacements, Love and Rockets, King Fish, Etta James, John Lee Hooker, Captain Beefheart, and more.

At issue is a large mural painted in 1976 by a Chicano Studies lecturer named Arturo Enselmo Roman. It portrays a cartoonish Aztec warrior rock band and decorates the wall outside The Backdoor. SDSU anthropology department chair Seth Mallios wants to save the mural and put it on permanent display in the Love Library.

“And the speaker cabinets,” says SDSU archaeologist Jamie Lennox, who is writing a history of rock concerts at SDSU. “I'd also like to see the original speaker boxes from the Backdoor incorporated. They're huge, and I have no idea what we'll do with them, but I think they're cool.”


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