By Noah Hubbell
By Leslie Simon
By Brad Lopez
By Tom Murphy
By Noah Hubbell
By Inkoo Kang
By Dave Herrerra
By Josiah M. Hesse
Tony's manager Dimitrios Katopodis--better known in Fort Collins as "Jimmy"--is not in water quite so hot, but neither is he entirely dry: He faces two class 2 petty offenses in connection with the December 21 fracas. One involves a violation of the code stating that no person with a liquor license "shall permit any person to display pubic hair, anus, vulva or genitals" in his joint; the other takes him to task for allegedly allowing "profanity, rowdiness, undue noise or other disturbances offensive to the senses of the average citizen or residents of the neighborhood in which the establishment is located." Jimmy has been ordered to attend a criminal hearing in regard to these alleged infractions in April. Meanwhile, a review of Tony's liquor license has been continued until May at Jimmy's request. At that time, the liquor-license authority will consider four charges made against Tony's in relation to the Won Lump Some show; two of them specifically mention Mather's "anus and genitals" and a third accuses the venue's owner of failing to "maintain his establishment in a clean and sanitary condition and in full compliance with the requirements of restaurants under the supervision of the State Board of Health." Tony Katopodis, owner of the lounge, referred all questions about these pending concerns to Jimmy, who did not return numerous calls from Westword.
These events in and of themselves probably would have incensed many Fort Collins music lovers, but three subsequent controversies have compounded the situation. The first involved a planned benefit for Mather, scheduled to take place at Tony's on January 29. Several Fort Collins performers committed to appearing at the fundraiser, and posters emblazoned with the slogan "Help Save Hyland's Butt" were slapped up around the area. But two days before the bash, it was called off amid accusations of police pressure. Sergeant Pete Gazlay, the District 1 supervisor, uses different terms to describe what went on, but he does not deny that his officers may have played a role in preventing the spectacle from going forward.
"One of our officers got wind of what was going on there," Gazlay says, "and obviously, we were concerned. Our officers had been hit with bottles and glasses just the month before. So we went to Tony's and told them, 'You guys probably need to think through this again. This is coming up before the liquor board, and if there's another riot, it won't look favorable to them.' And later that day, they canceled the show." Gazlay does not consider this tack coercion. "Coercion is too strong a term. But I certainly wanted to influence them not to have the benefit because of public-safety issues. We had a riot there the last time, and the posters had an anti-cop tone to them. So I think it was a prudent decision on their part to do what they did--but beyond asking them to consider their actions, we didn't have anything to do with the cancellation."
On February 1, three days after the aborted benefit concert, Denver's Foreskin 500 was slated to visit Tony's, but that concert, too, was deep-sixed. It's easy to speculate that Foreskin's reputation had something to do with this decision. After all, the band's members are well-known for their willingness to expose skin during their boisterous performances. In addition, the group ran into trouble during its previous visit to Fort Collins, for an April date at the Ramskeller, on the Colorado State University campus. In the May 9, 1996, edition of Feedback, Foreskin's Mark the 3 Kord Scissor King described the previous run-in, which revolved around lead singer Diggie Diamond: "Diggie was doing this thing with Cremora [the non-dairy creamer]--he threw it in the air and lit it on fire. And when he did it, these cops raced up, grabbed him and dragged him off the stage." More recently, Mark added, "They took Diggie outside, and he's standing there in bikini briefs and handcuffs with Cremora all over him. And the cops were acting like they'd nabbed Bugsy Siegel. It was pretty lame and kind of funny--but the drag was that he had to go to court and deal with it." Diamond was charged with public endangerment, a third-degree misdemeanor, and paid a fine.
Given the band's previous treatment at the hands of the Fort Collins police, Mark was edgy about returning to the community. The band was convinced to return by Morris Beegle, a talent manager who, through his Hapi Skratch record label, works with acts such as Fourth Estate and Beth Quist. But Beegle says the trouble with Won Lump Some put a quick end to his planned promotion: "Basically, the police had been giving Tony's a real hard time. They were really harassing them, and it made them think that they'd get their club shut down if they didn't cancel. So they did."
Officer Rothschild and Sergeant Gazlay dispute Beegle's story; they say that they are unfamiliar with Foreskin 500 and its previous troubles at the Ramskeller and have no knowledge of efforts by other representatives of the Fort Collins department to put the kibosh on the appearance. But Gazlay is conversant with the circumstances surrounding a third cancellation, this one involving Denver's Hate Fuck Trio.