I grew up in Lakewood area when it was unincorporated Jefferson County. They almost named Lakewood "Jefferson" when they incorporated the city. The vote was very close. The Lakewood cops all were the first in the US to be required to have college degrees. They wore Blue blazers the first two years and were called "agents" instead of officers.
I grew up in the front pew of my Dad's church. Thats right. The son of a preacher man your Ma always warned you about. My old man was preaching against the Viet Nam war one day when this dude jumped up and railed against him... because his son had died over there. That was the first time I saw my Dad for the man he was rather than just being daddy.So many stories about Lakewood and the foothills... tubing down Rattlesnake Hill. The first Budget Tapes and records was in Green mountain plaza. They had a parachute stretched across the ceiling of the joint. Bought my first album there... Jethro Tull - Benefit. 2nd album I bought was Led Zep II. Remember the stones Sticky Fingers? With the zipper? I used to work at the driving range right there picking up golf balls for a dime a bucket. I started pumping gas at that phillips 66 at the ripe age of 12.
I drank my first beer about then at the church dance right there on Alameda at Mississippi. I used to see live music at Roller City on Saturday nights after skating. At 12 years old I discovered that scene when my ma forgot to pick me up one evening. I am experienced at dancing, for sure. I used to ride my bike to Redrocks. In Morrison... the Morrison Inn used to be an old drug store with the old time soda fountain. We used to stop there and the actual 'Soda jerk' would make us floats or malts. About that era, my old man would drop me and my brother of in an old Tiger Paw trailer in the hills like around Deer Creek or Buffalo Creek. We'd just be up there alone for like a week at a shot... fishing and hiking and hanging out... two brothers and a dog. Nowadays that would be child abuse.
The Beatles played Red Rocks in 1964. The only stop on their tour that did not sell out. A friend of mine was dragged there by his brother. A few years later, my older brother was at the Jethro Tull concert at Red Rocks where the people outside caused a riot trying to get in. My brother tells of the police siccing a dog on the crowd. No more concerts there for years... then it started slow with Barry Manilow. Gordon Lightfoot. Then solo acoustic acts like James Taylor and Stephen Stills. We used to go early and climb up on Ship Rock... catching the concert for free. There are steps carved in the top... always had to make sure to get down to the halfway point before dark. So many, many stories and concerts there. Checking out the wall down in the new museum there is like taking a trip down memory lane. I saw Jethro Tull there last summer. Ian Anderson's 40 year reunion tour! Jimi Hendrix played Mammoth Gardens. So did Janis. Led Zep played their 1st ever US gig at Mammoth Gardens...they were nervous about their US debut... to them the venue was podunk... they did not want to be nervous when they opened in LA the next week, it was important for them to be smooth and capture the US market! Now, Mammoth Gardens is called the Fillmore.
About 1973...Wishbone Ash opened for the Doobie Brothers on Halloween in the Coliseum ... it was crazy. I started doing a lot of stuff in 1973. A lot of firsts that year. Best concert I ever saw was Pink Floyd's dark Side of the Moon tour at the Coliseum. It would take an hour to tell that story. It was billed as the last concert ever at the coliseum. The next week I saw ZZ Top open McNichols. 30 Years later, with the same buddy from high school... we watched ZZ top close McNichols. And still... the Coliseum is still there! The Rodeo goes 29 shows in 17 days there in January.
Remember KFML? They gave away free tickets to concerts all the time. (They were the ones who did Highstreet) Saw Lynard Skynard the first time, the real band, at Ebbits Field , downtown with free tickets won on KFML. Spirit. Ambrosia. Muddy Waters. So many others. I saw Steve Martin do stand up at Ebbits Field. He was insane. Believe me, it was unlike any show you would ever see today. He was in the crowd. He dragged us all into the street outside and we smothered VW's with our bodies... pressed our faces to the windows of the coffee shop next door. That man was insane. Long wild story that. When my same buddy dropped me off at home, he said "If that guy ever gets famous... man alive do we have a story to tell!" My Buddy and I saw Asleep at the Wheel the first time at Ebbitts Field. After that... we saw Ray and the guys a dozen times from Ft Collins to Colorado Springs. They do Texas Swing... they picked up where Bob Wills left off. Ray has won dozens of grammys... performed all over the country. Then Chuck Morris closed Ebbits and opened the Rainbow Music Hall. What a wild show Asleep at the Wheel put on there! So many awesome bands played there. Back when Mellencamp was Johnny Cougar. Elvis Costello. Now it is a Walgreens. That sign was there for years... I just talked to a guy who said his friend is the one who bought it when they took it down.
Remember the Chutes at Deckers? The thumb where people jumped off of? I was there that day the guy broke his neck... it took FOREVER to get an ambulance there... the whole time people kept jumping and partying... kegs and bikinis. dozens of cars... easily 200 people every weekend. Tubing down the South Platte was a rite of passage. You can still tube there... it is just illegal to jump.
It used to be the cops would catch you a little buzzed behind the wheel... they'd let you park it and walk home. It was just a traffic ticket, one they seldom gave out back in the day. Nowadays it is way serious. It just aint worth it. I don't drink any more. I love sobriety. Much more energy for dancng! I have always had lots of energy. I remember one Sunday in 79 we skied all day at Winterpark... went home and watched Craig Morton throw interception after interception in the Broncos first Super Bowl... and then we went to the Coliseum and saw Boston play. Not sure I could pull that one off now!
Remember the Zanza Bar? Enjoy yourself... it's later than you think! That is where I learned to dance. Swing, Cha Cha, triple step, waltz. Clint Eastwood filmed Every Which Way But Loose at the Z Bar. The Four Seasons further east on Colfax? That is the bar where Hank Williams Jr never showed for the concert... we were all waiting and disapointed that night. He got rolled in the Holiday Inn down at Sable and Colfax. We got stiffed for the show. Then he wrote a song about it... "Well, I OD'ed in Denver and I just can't remember her name!"
In Glendale...The Sports Page became Rodeo became Confeties became NEO. Next door was Thrills. Thrills became Jimmy's - A reggae place... then The Famous Door, now it is a Mexican Restaraunt. Nantucket Landing was there. And Chaps. And Cowboy Country, which is now that other strip club I've never been to whatever the name is. Shotgun Willies used to be a country bar. They just kept the logo when it changed over to a strip club. Dora's, a mexican place on Leetsdale near Havana used to be Tequila Willies. I used to love that place. At Hampden and Monaco, there was a bar called Sweetwaters. The Runners used to play there a lot. Around 1980, they made national news when they would raffle a brick on Monday Nights... and at Halftime you would get to throw the brick into a small black and white tv into Howard Cosells face! It was hilarious. Cosell hated denver ever since... called us barbarians. I never did win the raffle and get to throw the brick. I think that bar is now called JL's Cheers. The Grainery became Rosie Bottoms became Tulips... remember the old grain silo? The slide down onto the dance floor?
The Lift became Aspen City Limits became Bangles across the street from Mr Luckies. Now it is the Cherry Street something ...When it was the Lift... you could not wear Blue jeans in the joint! Mr Luckies? Remember they had two floors with two bands every night? What a wild, insane time that was. Mr Luckies was downright dangerous. The Godfather on the west side was owned by Mr Tucker... my old gym teacher/coach. The Feds busted him for dealing coke to his ex- students. Yes... he was at Aurora Central. Funny how the jocks used to look down at us freaks... but they all got busted for drugs! Go figure!
Downtown was a cruising area on 16th... once our old junker that we had borrowed from Lantz' sister just up and died amidst the hot rods... we just left it there! Caught hell for that one! Remember when The Peoples Fair started, like 25 years ago? It was at East High School for about 10 years before it got too big and they moved it to Civic Center Park.
Does anybody remember the 3.2 clubs? Yikes! After the Gold Rush out at 6th and Sheridan? The Yellow Pages downtown? Rememeber Thirsty's? Remember the Pub on Montview in Aurora? After the Fox was on South Broadway...and Billy Jacks on Yosemite? My Sweet Lass in what is now Cherry Creek was a hoot. So damn many good bands played there.Somebody reminded me about Sams, the 3.2 club at the top of Lookout Mtn. Jeez, that place rocked!
When I was 25, I got fed up driving a forklift and got a job tending bar. It was at a Holiday Inn at Arapahoe and I-25. the Circle in the Square. That place was jumping. I had so much fun working there... and good pay. I drove a little Toyata Celica. We called it "the Japanese Mustang". Before Shotgun Willies was a strip club... it was... Shotgun Willies - the Country Bar. We used to go dancing there a lot. They just kept the name and the sign when the strip club owners took over. The Funny Papers up north became the Disco-nection became M-80's.
Remember when Al and Tory owned Bogarts? It is a health food store now. And Al and Tory have for years owned/run the New York Deli News. I first met my Buddy Butch there... and Harley. Remember the bartender upstairs.. Gerard? Not sure how long the Tailgate on main street in Parker has been there... but it is a hoot every Friday and Sturday night. Like being in a small town away from town... but just right there in town.
When Cajuns Wharf opened about 1983... it was so hot. Bands that played in town would get up and jam on the stage. I saw Phil Collins jump up and jam with the band. One night... the band sounded so good... I looked and Kenny Logins was up there jamming. I saw Men at Work do the same thing. Now Cajuns Wharf is the Stampede. Right next door... back in the day... was the Yum Yum Tree. I saw Three Dog Night there... that was one awesome show. Down Parker Road... Lady and the Dove became the Charlie Horse became Packards became Panama Reds, Now it is a Chinese buffet. Over on Yosemite and Hampden... the safeway closed and they turned it into Denver Denver. We all called it Safeway Safeway. Then it became Maui Bay. Now it is an Office Depot. Remember when the Illif Park Saloon was Rock and Roll? We used to meet all kinds of women there... it was the ONLY game in town for a long while... before it languished into what it has become.
When I lived on the ranch up in Berthoud, we used to go dancing on Saturday nights in Longmont at Mustang Sally's. On Sundays we would often ride the horses over to Carter Lake, and we'd hang out at the Windjammer, a little scootertrash bar that had a band on Sundays. That is where I learned that you had to take your spurs off BEFORE you got out on the dance floor! Remember the Neon Moon up north? And the Greystone Castle? Both those places were huge. The Moon is now a home depot. I don't know what that hotel did with the castle... but the building is still there. I think it is a private party place.
Hermans Hideaway has been there a long time. I used to see Big Head Tod and the Monsters there a lot. That is where I first saw Chris and the Kings. They still throw down around town. And Hazel Miller I has been playing there for over 2 decades. She just played there a while back with Opie Gone Bad, the Railbenders, and Buck Wild. I saw the Informants there the other night... with Brethren Fast and teh Colfax Cowboys. A while back I saw a big benefit there, my friend Erica Brown sang there ... and Hazel Miller. It was good to see her, The very first time I met Hazel was 20 years ago at Patricks out in Aurora. Danced more than a few times there over the years.
Still.... the Little Bear has never changed. You can still see some great local bands there, like Chris and the Kings...Tiny Barge... the Railbenders...Something Underground...Bretheren Fast. It feels like walking back in time going there. I was first there with a fake ID when I was 19 and saw these guys out of Detroit ---- George Thorogood and the Destroyers? I've seen there Leon Russell. Jack Mack and the Heart Attack. You can still see Firefall there. Leftover Salmon. BBKing. Asleep at the Wheel played there in 2005. Missing Persons. Tab Benoit plays again soon. So many awesome bands play the Bear! Homeslice played there last New Years Eve. In fact... teh will be at the Bear tonight. The Buffalo Rose is still a great spot as well. Little River Band. The Outlaws. Foghat. Grand Funk Railroad. It used to be on the "has been" circuit... Golden Earing playing Radar Love! Now Murry bought it and it is Country night every Saturday night... and how long has the Grizzly Rose been there? It was called Michael B's the first time I walked into the joint... and how dang many awesome bands have played there? I saw Van Zandt there a while back... it was like seeing Lynard Skynard again.The final song was FREEBIRD! The Rose really hops when the rodeo is in town for two weeks. I used to work in the chutes... what a blast that was. The National Western Stock Show is a part of the fabric of this town. When the Rodeo is here...Teddy's is jumping... and the old Stockyard Saloon is packed for the full two weeks.
And Lincoln's Roadhouse at Pearl and Buchtell. What a hoot that place still is. GT and The Sidewinders . The Delta Sonics play there a lot. The Informants. Remember the Dalheart Imperials? Bretheren Fast? Whisky Throttle? Angie Stevens and the Beautiful Wreck? Buck Wild? Go in on Sunday afternoon... the band always starts at 3:30... it is like a Saturday night there on Sunday afternoon. The bartender, Lantz, is one crazy dude! Like those bands? Try the Skylark Lounge on Broadway. They all play there as well. Boa and the Conmstrictors were playing there yesterday. Another great Sunday spot in the summer is the Platte River Grille... right next to Hudsons Gardens... where Little River Band and Eddie Money played this summer.
The best new venue in town? The Soiled Dove Underground at Lowry... it is hands down the best acoustics and has the most cozy atmosphere in town. The Railbenders recorded a CD there on New Years Eve 2 years back. What a hoot! They played again the next year. I love seeing the Railbenders at the Little Bear... and they play the Oriental and the Bluebird often, too. The Oriental is one of those old 50 cent movie houses. Like the Gothic Theater. Those art deco theaters are now awesome bars. I saw Woodstock at the Gothic... and Vanishing Point. The Groove Tube. Now plenty of great bands play there. A ton of great bands comes through the old theaters... The Gothic...The Bluebird...The Oriental...The Ogden. Live Music and good people. Rockabilly Boogie. Ya gotta love it!
A lot of folks write to me with their own memories of Denver... pretty interesting... I remember the Hatchet lady... and The Albino man. Creature Features... The Midnight Special... Don Kirscheners Rock Concert... TV went off the air right after Johnny Carson during the week. 4th of July at Del Mar park and the Thursday night movies there. The bands played on that stage there at Del Mar... then when every body got out of control... the city tore that stage down! JJ's Fun Center. The Brick yard. The Pinball Wizard. The Handball courts... Hey, at Cinderella City... remember Cinder Alley? And yeah, Celebrity was the hub of all the hang out joints. You could go there to meet other kids from all over town. Parties ap at the Shelter at Genesse Park... the BFYM keggers. Woodsy's on Cherry Creek near Quebec... that was like a wasteland back then. Geez... there used to be free parties EVERY weekend. Out at the old racetrack.. or those abandoned Silos.
All great memories... but the deal is...
THESE are the good old days. Glory days are what you do EVERY day. Make some new memories... NOW.
Lately I've been going to the new Toby Keith bar... it has some GREAT bands touring through there.
Some pics from the way old days....
Company Picninc (Check my dates headband!)
Little Bear, Telluride Bluegrass festival,
I used to be a blonde!
AFC WEST Champions
Steelers HATE US.
Hey Painterdave.......did you know David Wooderson!!
I live in walking distance to Herman's Hideaway. Still the best place for live music in Colorado. Me and my wife see Big Head Todd every year on New Years Eve and in the summer at Red Rocks.
"who wears short shorts ?......he wears short shorts !"
i went to arvada west for 9th & 1oth grade ,then finished high school up in blackhawk/central city......man has that place gone to the crapper !
his dad was the mayor of Central City.
then he was the mayor for a long time.
His grandparents owned the rock shop up there...
Now it is Dostal Alley Casinbo/brewery ....
wonder if you knew Buddy?
Yeah... the cutoffs back in the day....
let's just understand.. it was 1979... Telluride Bluegrass Festival...
I was just divorced... the slot had cheated on me...
I partied in the sunshine all day long at that concert....
met a girl from Grand Junction...
and ended up in her tent that night.
AFC WEST Champions
Steelers HATE US.
I remember the old Elitch's Gardens and my younger brother throwing up on the Zugspitz.
I miss the old Mile High Stadium.
i thought there was a "t" in his last name though
it's been 30 years,but in a town like that you know everybody
i went to school with both he and his sister.
knew the lorenze's (owned the blach forrest inn,the blake's all the old families up their.
the mason's owned the liquor store etc....
Wow, Painter Dave...you took me down memory lane of the 70 and 80s; growing up in Colorado, and I knew virtually all of the things you mentioned. Thank you!
I lived by Lakewood Jr. High, and was supposed to go to school there right before they closed it down for renovations. I went to Elementary school at Eiber Elementary in the 80s.
I went to dinner with a friend the other day and we were just going off about how fun it was to grow up in Denver in the 80's. The old Elitch Gardens, Celebrity Fun Center, North Star and Cinderella Twin Drive-In, Casa Bonita in its hey day, etc. Its nice to see a few things still standing but there was nothing quite like that period of time.
I remember they tried to save the original Twister and move it, but it didn't pan out. Man I miss that place. The new Elitches is alright, but it just doesn't have that charm and history.
Cinderella City used to be a great place to pick up chicks.
"Nobody can give you freedom. Nobody can give you equality or justice or anything. If you're a man you take it" - Malcolm X
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