It’s been a rough week for Charlie Morrison. First, he wrecked his truck. Then the local dance night promoter spent three days in jail for trashing the Broadway motel room where he and some fellow revelers were crashing – an alleged charge that could add up to a felony. Then Sunday night (or Monday morning, technically) the 30-year-old was picked up by the drunk patrol and tossed in a crowded detox facility.
Luckily, Morrison is accustomed to tightly-packed spaces. He’s a main force behind Night of the Living Shred, an 80s skateboard culture-themed dance party held at Bender’s Tavern, 314 East 13th Avenue, that has become a destination every Thursday for a certain set of party-till-you’re-naked hipsters.
With old school skate videos projected onto the walls and national DJ’s like Troublemaker, Swamp, Klever, Titsworth serving up a grind-heavy mix of 80s and 90s metal, punk, electro and everything in between, Night combines the energy of a backyard ramp jam with the intimate joy of a basement flail-a-thon. Westword pegged it best mid-week club night in 2006 and, earlier this year, best club night for hooking up. (If you’re into the blurry, sloppy stuff, that is.)
Since Morrison had some time for reflection while drying out at Denver C.A.R.E.S., we thought it the perfect time to call him up on the facility's public pay phone and get his thoughts on skating, dancing and the unawesomeness of detox:
Westword (Jared Jacang Maher): Why are you in Detox? Well I think I got a little bit of a partying problem. I was crossing Colfax last night, three in the morning, and I seem to have tripped and fell. They brought me in here. I blew a .343, which is, I guess, four times the legal limit.
Impressive. Yes. And I can actually remember the cops picking me up, which is also impressive. Because that means I was not blacked out.
Where were you coming from? I was just on the ‘fax, man. Doing the crawl. I have giant Jihad beard and I had an army jacket on, so I just looked like a homeless person.
So what’s detox like? Man, it’s full of drunk people! You ever see Full Metal Jacket? Yeah, it’s like that. I didn’t know they could stack shit that high.
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How long have you been doing Night of the Living Shred? I think it’s coming up on two years now. I do it with Wesley Wayne, Pirate Sound System and Parris. They’re our DJs. It got started pretty much when I was in Benders [Tavern] one day. I had just got back from San Diego. It was spawned over a drunken, blabbermouth idea. I walked into that big back room and said, ‘We should play skateboard videos on that screen have my friends DJ.’ And they were like, ‘That is a good idea, sir. If you can get a bunch of people in here, we will pay you and give you free beer.’
What’s the trick behind a good dance party? Gotta have good DJs that can feel out the room and know when it’s time to throw down. If it doesn’t hit it, it doesn’t hit it. Timing, that’s the key.
Any favorite memories of parties gone by? I’ll give you two. When Enoch, my friend, was still alive, he would just completely freak out and dance all over chicks and pour beer all over his head. That’s pretty much how the night got started, by getting the chicks into it. And once you get the girls moving, then the whole thing goes off. But the best thing I’ve seen at a Night of the Living show is when I saw my idiot brother climb one of the support poles, climb the rafters 25-feet above the room and then slide down the other pole onto the dance floor. He’s a circus act.
What should people know about Night of the Living Shred? Our DJs are full of awesomeness. Um, hot chicks. It’s not strictly a skateboarding scene, but we have that orientation.
Are skateboarders good dancers? Skateboarding is dancing. It is, man! Think about it. All the moves, they’re the same. You just think of a kickflip, then you reach down into your soul and grab that and you say, ‘Now I am going to cut a groove with these chicks.’ Adding booze to the equation helps too. I take my shirt off when I dance; I take my shirt off when I skate. It’s the same, I don’t care what anyone else says.
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Is this your first time in detox? No, actually. The first time I escaped. It’s not really high security here, you know. There are no cops here. Once the doors opened I just made a dash for it. But this time they have my cell phone and my property, so I don’t want to leave that here.
Don’t they make you pay for the privilege of being in detox? Yeah! It’s almost three hundred dollars. They give you food. It’s really good food, actually. What day is it today? Monday. We get [reads off a print-out posted by the phone] ‘Chili mac, Mexican corn, dinner rolls, chocolate pudding, decaf coffee and milk.’ Free Gatorade and water, too. You have to re-hydrate and wait until your blood alcohol level is back to a normal human being’s, which is when you blow a zero. Then you’re allowed out.
So have you blown a zero yet? No. I puked most of it out, but I think I still have a few hours. Around 6:30 pm probably.
Any plans this evening? No. I think tonight I’m going to take it easy.