Rock the Casbah

The Iron Sheik gives an iron-lunged shriek at the Climax Lounge on Friday.

Like most people with pulses, you gag on the gooey pabulum spewed by Norah Jones, Jason Mraz and their spindly ilk. So brace yourself for the full-blooded, muscle-toned vocal stylings of... The Iron Sheik? Born Khosrow Vaziri, the native Iranian wrestling legend began his career as a gold-medalist in the 1968 Olympics and a coach to the U.S. Olympic wrestling team before going pro in 1973. After years of body slams and battles royale, he snagged the world heavyweight belt, which he held from 1983 to 1984 before losing it to the up-and-coming Hulk Hogan. During the World Wrestling Federation's mid-'80s golden age, the Sheik was one of the circuit's most reviled yet admired villains, nemesis of the jingoistic Sgt. Slaughter and tag-team partner of the cold warrior Nikolai Volkoff.

Volkoff was always the songbird of the team -- he belted out the Soviet anthem "The Internationale" before every match -- but when the Iron Sheik hits the stage at the Climax Lounge Friday night, he won't be executing his trademark Camel Clutch before a slack-jawed audience. He'll be singing.

"He's not a singer -- that's the whole point," says promoter Jason Cotter, who contacted the Sheik's management after discovering that the wrestler was doing a promotional tour. "I want to put this celebrity-of-sorts in an unusual position and see what happens. When I first told his management about the idea, they were a little apprehensive. But they asked the Iron Sheik, and he agreed to it."

The retired 61-year-old bruiser will be backed up on stage by the infamous local hardcore group Scott Baio Army. "They're going to be doing real simple stuff, like 'Louie Louie,'" says Cotter, who also brought washed-up child actor Corey Feldman to town a few years ago to sing at his venue. "Personally, I'd like to see the Iron Sheik do 'Build Me Up Buttercup.'

"He's never done anything like this before," Cotter adds. "And after this, he'll probably never do it again."

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