No more bouncing floor
Los Angeles has the Whisky, New York had CBGB’s – and Vail had Club 8150, a local music venue institution slated for demolition as Vail expands and renovates the village. Fans remember the shows, the friends and the good times, but most of all, they remember that famous bouncing floor.”I left my credit card there the other night,” says Jarrod Morrah, a 10-year resident who spent many nights at 8150. “It’s hard to conjure up any one great memory, because I go to all the good shows. I saw a good Karl Denson show recently, but I’ll always remember the floor and everything.”Dani Janklow has rocked out at 8150 on and off, but wishes she went more now that it will disappear.”I love 8150,” says Janklow. “I think like anything else, I’m falling in that trap where I wish I would’ve gone more. I love that staff, and the intimacy will be missed – and of course the bouncing floor.”Former resident Jake Wolf played 8150 many times, with Shakedown Street and other acts. He remembers the floor actually impacting performances.”I played with (The Grateful Dead’s) Vince Welnick on his 51st birthday, and I told him, ‘hey man, watch out – the floor moves,” says Wolf. “I explained that when the crowd gets going, it moves three or four inches in any direction. He said, ‘I played RFK, and let me tell you about a floor moving.’ The first thing that happens is Vinnie’s mic stand whacks him in the face and he looks and says, ‘Oh, I should’ve listened to you – that stage really moves.'”Wolf will play a bigger part in 8150’s demise than most: He’s been tasked with arranging the venue’s final show ever, a recreation of The Band’s famous “The Last Waltz,” a farewell concert that featured special guests ranging from Bob Dylan to Neil Diamond sitting in on songs. Martin Scorcese filmed a documentary about the concert.
For 8150’s “Last Waltz,” Wolf, a drummer, singer and multi-instrumentalist, managed to gather a posse of local and Colorado-based musicians to round out the cast of characters that will appear onstage.”This is no joke here – this is a major undertaking,” Wolf says. “I don’t think I can overemphasize the number of artists that are coming out to contribute. I’ve still got people trying to get on this, and we’ll play until the alcohol gets pulled.”Certain performers will fall into specific roles, like Darkstar Orchestra’s Rob Eaton, who fills Neil Diamond’s shoes. But rather than just playing entirely from the catalog of ‘The Last Waltz,” Wolf has left room for local favorites (like Flux Five’s Dave Laub, Little Hercules and the eminent Tony Gulizia) to take center stage for a few songs.”I was trying to get musicians in the valley – but then I realized there’s lots of people who have connections that don’t live there who happen to be from Colorado, and I included them, too,” says Wolf. “I’ve just turned 31 and I’ve been playing there 10 years. The people and everybody in Vail has treated me like family since I’ve been in Colorado, and I know I’m not the only one. Luckily it’s a big enough room to pull everyone together.”
Most musicians and music fans agree that the loss of 8150 will be a huge blow to the local music scene – especially with no comparably-sized venue slated to take its place.”Vail’s losing an icon in 8150 more than Crossroads,” says Janklow.Local rockers Defying Gravity played 8150 several times, and guitarist Dan Renner isn’t sure where louder bands will go until another club springs back to take its place.”As a band we’re concerned about having a local venue; I’m just hoping another club opens up,” Renner says. “We just played with Short Bus at 8150, (which has) the guys in Sublime. We get to see legends like HR from Bad Brains or Suicidal Tendencies. I grew up here and there ain’t s*** to do. I had to drive to Denver and back for shows. I’m going to miss those acts.”Renner also wonders who will fill the space for bands that are too big for the Rumpus Room or Loaded Joe’s but too small for the Vilar or Ford Park.”My question is, ‘what do we do now?'” Renner says. “Is Sandbar going to bring more than the funk-jam stuff we need in the valley?”8150 vet Wolf also thinks the loss of 8150 is a musical tragedy.”I think the scene will suffer tremendously,” Wolf says. “It’s a shame that Vail town council isn’t going to replace that with something of comparable size. Not only are you depriving your locals of something they want and need, but you remove an amazing outlet for kids and young people. Without that outlet, I wonder what’s going to happen.”Wolf also thinks Vail’s geographical location makes it a draw for artists – but larger artists will change their roots without a venue to play in.
“Vail geographically is a hinge between east and west – when artists are going through it’s a major stop,” Wolf says. “Now with 8150 gone, I wonder where the whole state is going to go. Artists are going to have to change their routes – maybe they’ll even go around (Colorado).”Sandbar, The Rumpus Room, Loaded Joe’s and others will likely do their best to fill 8150’s shoes, but no venue can replace the memories of the storied 8150. In 2002, while Wolf was living in Statebridge, he had a traumatic bike wreck.”I shattered my pelvis, femur, hip – it’s all replaced with titanium now, but it took me two years to start walking again,” says Wolf. “8150 did a benefit, and it helped me out tremendously and I’ll never forget that. And when I went to a show in a wheelchair, with another friend who was also in a wheelchair, they put us up to the front of the stage so we could see and had people surround so we wouldn’t be hurt or have drinks spilled on us. That’s amazing.”
Arts &Entertainment writer Ted Alvarez can be reached at 748-2939 or email@example.com.Vail Daily, Vail, Colorado