Ben Hutcherson: “We had a last-minute show in Las Vegas, but very few details. It was at a strip-mall VFW hall far from any actual nightlife. The manager explained that the show was some local metal musician’s fortieth birthday party and that we could expect to be paid in Bud Light and a single cheese pizza. Guarantee? What guarantee? The guy then informed us he had an AR-15 in the trunk of his car. He then asked to play Zach’s drums, which seemed to mean he was going to play. Awesome. We found ourselves playing to the three other bands and the staff. This guy was not popular. We bailed as soon as we were done, as we’d heard about a ‘killer house show’ we could hop on. Maybe we could save this night? Nope.
“The show was a hodgepodge of touring musicians, two high school bands, a pack of crust punks and a bunch of parents getting wasted while their children ran around unattended. After sobering up and generally feeling bummed out, we had to find a place to crash. We found out later that we’d made the right decision, as the cops showed up after just one song. Bullet dodged. Night could only get better? Nope.
“We called every hotel we could find. Nothing. About fifty miles outside of Vegas, we found a run-down joint with a single room available. It was well past 3 a.m. We opened the door, only to find what seemed to be the site of a murder. Blood on the walls, blood on the chair, blood on the pillows, and a stain on the bed that we later found out was ‘decomp’ — the blood and remnants of a human body. Dan threw the keys at the clerk and demanded our money back. The clerk just said, ‘Yeah, I get it.’ We then drove like maniacs through the night to Phoenix and considered ourselves lucky to have not added to the murder history of the hotel.”
Editor's Note: The Denver Bootleg is a series chronicling the history of local music venues by longtime Denver cartoonist Karl Christian Krumpholz. Visit Krumpholz's website to see more of his work.