Reader: The Owner of Denver's Grateful Dead Club Is Not a Douche!

Reader: The Owner of Denver's Grateful Dead Club Is Not a Douche!
Michael Mcourty
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On October 22, Jay Bianchi, a longtime Denver venue owner, punched staff members who took a man who appeared to be overdosing into the green room at his Grateful Dead-themed bar, Be on Key Psychedelic Ripple; he also argued with bandmembers after one musician got into a tiff with the bartender.

In a conversation with Westword, Bianchi explained his actions. According to him, he hit his doormen because the overdose incident triggered Bianchi's traumatic memories of losing a brother to an overdose. “We did punches,” he confesses.  “But I hit like a girl. I did punches to them, but it was not the strongest punches, and it looked worse than it was.”

Ditto for the altercation with the band, he added: “Musicians feeling entitled and being bitchy caused me to react that way."

Readers had their own reactions. Says Jason:

It would be difficult, from an engineering perspective, to design a less likable person. Maybe add a ukulele and fruit-scented vape? 

Responds Rossen: 

Entitled delusional musicians don’t belong in this scene or any scene. Cheers to Jay!

But Dom comments: 

It's bad enough to not take responsibility for his own actions but to then drag an unrelated overdose death into the story as an excuse for his own behavior is deplorable.

Mia replies:

I’ve known the brothers since I moved to Denver in 1992. Their venues are not dangerous places. Quite the contrary. The statement from one of the band members, "I would fear very heavily for my physical well-being if I ever went near that place,” makes me laugh out loud! Good, go somewhere else! In fact, it might be nice to weed out the assholes so their establishments go back to what they had intended to be in the first place. The owner is not a douche. You don’t know him and you don’t understand the depth of his loss.

And Jenny takes issue not with Bianchi, but our report:

Westword, your blatant dis-concern of the individual ODing (minus a half-ass mention of them being brought to the hospital and surviving) is gross. You could have mentioned Narcan pens, addict support groups, ANYTHING, but instead decided to highlight drama that really only involves a few select people.   

Finally, Patrick concludes:

Still one of the better bars in Denver.

Read on for more of our coverage of the Bianchi family and their venues.

Reader: The Owner of Denver's Grateful Dead Club Is Not a Douche!EXPAND
Michael Mcourty

"Remembering Phil Bianchi of Sancho's and Be on Key Psychedelic Ripple"

"The Bianchi Brothers Break up Their Empire and Come Full Circle With Quixote's True Blue"

"Dead-Centric Be on Key Psychedelic Ripple Moving Into Former Denver Wrangler Building"

Reader: The Owner of Denver's Grateful Dead Club Is Not a Douche!

"Grateful Dead-Themed Club Owner Attacks Employees and Musicians"

The Bianchi venues have been mainstays of the Denver music scene for decades. That helps explain why the incidents of October 22 caused so much discussion...and it hasn't died down yet.

"Maybe it makes me look bad, and I need to have my heels cooled every now and then, too,” Bianchi admitted to Westword. “People make mistakes. As long as people learn from them, that’s good.”

What do you think about Bianchi's actions? His clubs? Post a comment or email your thoughts to editorial@westword.com. 

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