The Crazy Horse name once meant a lot in OC. You could see such country acts as Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard, Buck Owens, Trisha Yearwood, Randy Travis, Willie Nelson, Garth Brooks and Patty Loveless perform there. In its old 55-freeway-kissing Santa Ana locale, the rustic-but-classy saloon won Academy of Country Music awards year after year for Best Country Nightclub—not merely best in the county or state, mind you, but best in the entire freakin' nation. So much for history and character. Since Fred Reiser sold the Crazy Horse in 1999, the room has increasingly become a joke. Now ensconced in the more upscale surroundings of the Irvine Spectrum, the restaurant/nightspot has gradually undergone a regrettable metamorphosis under the principal ownership of Jay Nuccio, the most obvious indicator being found on the venue's website, which almost proudly proclaims, "Not Just Country—Come On In!" Indeed. Now presenting just a few name country concerts per month (if that, singer Terri Clark was the lone touring act in February), the Crazy Horse these days sadly resembles a lookin'-to-get-laid meat market akin to the lounge scene at your neighborhood Holiday Inn or Marriott. Disco, for example, reigns supreme on weekend nights, featuring bands such as Disco Inferno and BootieQuake. The MoJo DJ Dance Club shakes it up one night per week. Even Vegas-style tribute bands such as the Beach Toys and Marlon the Ultimate Elvis Experience are gracing the stage. Private parties and banquets, along with Wednesday's "country night" (featuring live bands playing a mix of originals and covers, almost as an afterthought) and dancing fare round out the monthly calendar. Sure, country music isn't exactly sizzling these days. But the trendy club sank to a new low one recent Thursday evening, when we popped in to satiate a twang fix, only to find the Poorman's Bikini Beach Sniff-Off Contest taking place. What would former owner Reiser make of today's Crazy Horse? Well, he couldn't be reached for comment, and current owner Nuccio didn't return our phone calls. But such deep thoughts were interrupted during our quick drink when we overheard a cocktail waitress ask a customer, "Where's all the pussy tonight? It's a cock-block out here." Pretty classy, no? Right . . . no. (John Roos)
Stefani YVES SAINT STEFANI?
These days, the NBA isn't the only place where you can find an ill crossover. For mega MTV stars who dare try their "talents" in other money-making ventures, music-to-fashion moonlighting gigs are the latest trend. And who's the next star to jump on the bandwagon? Gwen Stefani. Yep, OC's biggest rock star recently turned fashionista as she announced the release of her own clothing line, LAMB. The No Doubt front woman will join the ranks of her musically inclined designing colleagues such as J. Lo, Jay-Z and Puff Daddy/Puffy/P-Diddy (or whatever he's calling himself these days). For these couture rock stars, millions of dollars in album sales and idolization from impressionable MTV teens worldwide apparently just isn't enough. Gwen dubbed her label LAMB because all the accessories will feature the words Love, Angel, Music and Baby in Gothic lettering. Great! That's all we need—Gothic accessories to go with our derriere-friendly J. Lo denim. Soon the only thing preventing women everywhere from looking like Gwen will be a cheap bottle of platinum-blond hair dye. All right, and a gorgeous husband. Okay, okay—and killer abs. Stefani's funky fashions are rumored to hit the streets sometime next year. We just hope the next phase of this trend won't be designers cutting albums. Can you imagine Donna Karan and Calvin Klein trying to start their own garage punk band? (Ladonna Jackson) QUOTE O' THE MONTH
"Pauline Kael had just as much intellectual verve in her 60s as in her 30s, something I would also say about Times pop critic Robert Hilburn, who, like Kael, is a hugely influential figure among younger critics." —columnist Patrick Goldstein, writing in the Feb. 4 LA Times
To which younger critic Rich Kane responds, "Influential only in the way Hilburn taught me how not to write about rock & roll."
To which even younger critic Chris Ziegler responds, "Who's Robert Hilburn?" (Rich Kane)
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FAX O' THE MONTH
"To: All Buyers & Agents. We are looking for dates for STEPHEN PEARCY in your area to support an existing date, and we are willing to offer a special routed price. If you have any possibilities or would like to have more information, please contact our office." In case anyone has forgotten who Pearcy is, that info is summarily provided, next to a very non-threatening skull-and-crossbones logo: "STEPHEN PEARCY (former original lead singer of RATT) performing all the Ratt hits . . . 'Round & Round,' 'You're In Love,' 'Lay It Down.'" Surely there's a decent Ratt tribute band out there in need of a new lead singer for their upcoming string of wedding-reception gigs. (RK)