By Sarah Bennett
By Adam Lovinus
By Jena Ardell
By Nate Jackson
By Gustavo Arellano
By Nick Keppler
By Nate Jackson
By Alex Distefano
Photo by John GilhooleyTired of watching the real money in live music—the booze—going to someone else while he booked bands for bars, Alex Hernandez opened one of his own. Nearly six years later, Alex's Bar, his red-'n'-black, dark-but-not-dank dream come true, has hosted the likes of the Adolescents and Black Flag, as well as modern noisemakers High on Fire and Zeke. Also: the free barbecue on Sundays may be his single greatest contribution to the world.
What's the best show you've had?
My favorite show that I've done here is the Hot Snakes. The Eagles of Death Metal show was really cool. The Black Flag show just because it was such fucking chaos—them playing to bass backing tracks.
What about the worst show?
Bay City Rollers—they brought it to me as more original members. It was one guy. They're more of a cruise ship cover band than the Bay City Rollers. They'd go from a Bay City Rollers song to "My Sharona." It was a pretty bad show.
Are there bands that are really hard to deal with?
Yeah, there're always tons, but I can't really disclose because I deal with their booking agents and management. There're all kinds of bands that are terrors and come in with these crazy fucking riders. Like, they want a can of Murray's Wax. The funniest one was the Eagles of Death Metal wanted a map of England. That was fucking funny. We actually fulfilled that one because it was so funny. Their tour rider was a complete joke. They needed silly straws for their drinks, so we got silly straws for them.
So you get a lot of ridiculous riders?
Some of them are hilarious, but some of them are dead serious. C'mon, it's a small punk rock club. Dude, we're a small 200-capacity venue. We're not fulfilling any of this stuff. If we fulfill any of it, it's coming out of the door and you guys aren't walking away with any cash. If you need it that bad, I'll order you a pizza. But if you're the Hot Snakes . . . I had my dad prepare a whole meal for those guys.
Why does your punk bar have good beer and not just PBR?
Punks drink good beer when punks have money. When they don't have money they're drinking PBR.
What do the different crowds drink?
An Adolescents show we stock up on the Budweiser, Bud Light, PBR. They're not really drinking cocktails, they're just drinking those, Jägermeister and tequila. Royal Crown Revue we'll stock up on vodkas, whiskeys, scotches.
Favorite local bands?
I like the Sexytime Explosion a lot. Geisha Girls are great. Shameless plug: the Bolides, my band. Withdrawal, they were really good.
How do you find out about new bands?
We get bombarded by e-mail. It's been about a year since we cut off hard copies of demos. Under my desk we still have four boxes of shit we haven't listened to yet. Mostly, we get mp3s, MySpace links and website links. MySpace is the easiest way. It's pretty much like a press kit—pictures, it's got their songs. Most of the time it's word-of-mouth. People tip me off. I read all the different zines, even the OC Weekly.
ALEX'S BAR IS LOCATED AT 2913 E. ANAHEIM ST., LONG BEACH, (562) 434-8292; ALEXSBAR.COM.