The Mouth That Roared

Leonard's talking off the top of his head. Children, leave the room.

When common sense failed him, Fagan consulted a dictionary -- in this case, the second collegiate edition of the American Heritage Dictionary.

But Webster's New International Dictionary of the English Language, Silverstein pointed out, lists two definitions of "shit": one meaning to "defecate," the other to "talk nonsense" or "attempt to deceive." And linguistics experts testified that "Good Beer, No Shit" is actually slang for "Good Beer, Really!" or "Good Beer, No Kidding."

The state nixed the label anyway, and in March, a district court judge sided with the state. The case is now on appeal. In the meantime, Road Dog Ale is being marketed under a new label: "Good Beer, No Censorship."

Tattoo you: Leonard speaks his mind behind the bar at Leonard's II...
James Bludworth
Tattoo you: Leonard speaks his mind behind the bar at Leonard's II...

...and also off the top of his big, bald head.
James Bludworth
...and also off the top of his big, bald head.


Previous Westword article

"The Offal Truth"
An short item on the Ralph Steadman "Good Beer, No Shit" debacle.

Sample from

"F***in' Leonard's"
(421K aiff sound file)

While Leonard awaits his hearing before the state liquor-license authority -- which will determine what action to take against Leonard's II, including the possible suspension or revocation of his license -- his suit against the state wends its way through district court. (Reitz says he cannot comment on Leonard II's situation while the case is pending.) In October, Leonard won a minor victory: Denver District Court Judge William Jones ruled that Leonard could post X-rated signs while his assorted cases are pending. But the judge also decided to let the state hold on to the 29 confiscated signs, even though he suggested they were seized improperly.

The decision was not a "get-out-of-jail-free card" for Leonard "to do whatever he damn well pleases," Jones cautioned. But until the legal issues are decided, people should consider Leonard's II "like Eddie Murphy on television," the judge said. "If you don't like it, turn it off. In other words, in this case, if you don't like what is said in the bar, don't go there."

Back at the bar, Leonard scribbles away on a legal pad, designing another sign. This one is for his office: "Do Not Fucking Touch, Look At, Feel, or Smell This Fucking Door."

"People are always coming back here and pounding on the door and wanting to talk when I'm trying to work," he explains. "Fuck that."

After his case against Colorado went public, people from around the world wanted to talk with Leonard Carlo. The BBC interviewed him, and Rolling Stone spent several days with him in Colorado Springs. But although he's having fun, Leonard insists he's not in this for attention. His business hasn't been affected one way or the other by the media spotlight. In fact, he says, the attention might actually have driven away a few people. "Publicity," he scoffs. "Yeah, right. Like I need that bullshit."

But he did get a recording out of it: A buddy of his in the Oak Ridge Boys wrote a little ditty called "F***in' Leonard's," with a vocalist singing about Leonard's saga while Leonard himself recites a litany of dirty words.

Other than that, it's been business as usual, Leonard-style. On New Year's Eve, he threw out every bottle of beer in the place. "Beer drinkers are the cheapest motherfuckers in the world," he says. "It's all right for kids, but why go in a bar to drink beer? Come on. Have a little finesse. From now on, it's just wine and whiskey." And lots of four-letter words.

One's on the next sign he plans to make and post for all the world to see, state investigators included: "Fuck Censorship."

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