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Last call at the Lava Lounge

Photo by Jack GouldThere'll be tears in the beers at the Lava Lounge this Saturday night, when the beloved Long Beach rock club hosts its last show ever: a set from the bootylicious 00 Soul. And who's happy about this? Nobody, of course—certainly no fan of good and decent live music anywhere—save for a few persnickety homeowners near the Lounge (located in the Java Lanes Bowling Alley on Pacific Coast Highway), who've complained about seeing people drinking (alcohol, we assume) in the parking lot and peeing in unauthorized shrubbery. To recap: because of the complaints, the Lounge had its operating hours cut back in April by the Snoop Town City Council, which meant that bands had to cease their merrymaking by 9 p.m. during weeknights and midnight on the weekends. What's more, Lava Lounge booker Mark diPiazza was also forced to cut back on the harder, punkier bands who helped make his room what it is. Not that anyone was pointing fingers at genres or anything, but if there was indeed a problem with illicit vein-draining and brewski-tossing, why risk getting your entertainment permit yanked by booking the types of bands that might—might, we say!—attract these consarned buffoons? The music diPiazza signed up would have to have been the sort of decidedly mellower but still very good bands like Nimbus Luna and Havalina Rail Co., which would have effectively put diPiazza in direct competition with his wife, Maralyn, who already books these more intimate, non-punk acts at diPiazza's Restaurant and Lounge down the street. Mark was left with no choice but to let the Lava be. But the Lounge isn't entirely dead yet. On June 22, less than a week after the room's farewell show, the club will reopen with a slightly altered name, the Java Lounge, and a new maximum capacity of 200, roughly half of what the diPiazza-run establishment has held. There will still be live entertainment—if you consider karaoke every Friday night "entertainment"—and bands haven't been banished completely. The Room Formerly Known As the Lava Lounge will begin hosting one-Saturday-per-month residencies by several different bands, with one band playing the first Saturday of every month, another the second Saturday, and so on (popular Grateful Dead tribute band Cubensis is the only one confirmed so far). DiPiazza is even helping with this somewhat awkward transition by lining up the bands for the new format. Still, how long the Java Lounge setup will last remains to be seen. There is talk that the Java Lanes property will soon be sold to the Long Beach Unified School District and that a nurse's training school may be built on the site (which would sure get those bowlers riled up). But none of that matters to all the local bands who have one less room to play and the club operator who's left without a club to operate. "Everything has to change," a resigned diPiazza told LowBallAssChatter. "To me, it's an unfortunate situation that punk rock has to be eliminated in Long Beach. And with Linda's Doll Hut and Club Mesa as we've known them folding, it's sad that there aren't more avenues out there for different music. I loved the Lava Lounge. My wife and I put our hearts and souls into the place." (Rich Kane)


This week's rolling-on-the-floor, laugh-out-loud, pee-your-pants-funny press release comes from none other than OC band Anyone, who are set to release their big-label debut album this August (when your hype machine starts cranking up this far in advance, that's a sure sign your band's talent pool is more of the wading variety than the diving kind). Some lowlights (all italics added for emphasis by LowBallAssChatter):

"ANYONE was born from the smoldering remains of a highly experimental trio called SYLVIA in 1995. The band's short, blurred life proved to be the embryo for what would later become the most innovative band of the new millennium.

"[Lead singer Riz] Story . . . renamed the band ANYONE, a name that he'd been saving for his first-born child.

"The band then self-released the critically acclaimed 'Live Acid.' One thousand copies were literally devoured by the Orange County scene in less than a month.

"A large warehouse was secured and ornately decorated by the band, while a film crew was on hand to capture the performance. The controversial documentary that resulted shocked the alternative underground. The early buzz on the film, 'TOGETHERMENT,' had the media tagging Story a real leader in the OC movement.

"[Andrew] Mudrock was brought in to co-mix the album with Story. The band felt that he could help capture the sonic bomb blast that had stunned live audiences and defined the band's signature, revolutionary sound." (RK)


While it may not be on the same level as finding out that your sweet, gentle, dearly departed old Uncle Hughie had a penchant for donning women's undies, it was nonetheless a bit of a shock to read in the latest issue of Spin magazine that Joey Ramone had quite the taste for . . . financial planning? In writer Donna Gaines' eulogy of the late punker—whose stagewear during the band's 22 years of existence consisted mostly of some of the rattiest, ripped and frayed trousers ever modeled by a non-homeless person—she reveals that Joey "loved sushi, Frappuccinos, video games and playing the stock market," and that one of the tracks Joey cut for a planned solo album was "Maria Bartiromo," a love song to his favorite CNBC financial analyst. What's more, writes Gaines, "Joey said the network had invited him to perform the song on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, but he declined—an acoustic set just wouldn't cut it." Sigh . . . now we wanna sniff some glue. (RK)


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