Music

Calamity’s Most Notorious

Weird and wonderful moments from the club’s four-year run

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Iggy Pop: “His plane lands from Denver, and I’m at the gate, and everybody coming off is wearing a 10-gallon hat,” ex-Calamity Jayne’s GM Craig Boyle remembers. “And the very last people off the plane are Iggy, with the dark glasses, and little [then-wife] Suchi. And I say, ‘How was the flight, Iggy?’ And he says, ‘Uh, we’re definitely in the West now.’ And I say, ‘Oh, well the world series of rodeo [NFR] is here this week.’ And he goes, ‘Ah, man versus beast.’”

As for the show, a packed room knew it was in for a wild night when the shirtless (soon to be almost bottomless) punk deity began punting stage monitors to the floor below during opening number “Raw Power.” “That was a big night for us,” Boyle says. “We knew that we had booked a full-grown rock legend that night.”

Buddy Guy: “We decided to film that concert, so we had four cameras set up with lighting and everything miked for a multi-track recording,” club video director Jay Nemeth recalls. “And of course when Buddy Guy showed up, he and his manager were like, ‘You’re not gonna videotape us. There’s no contract or licensing agreement or anything.’ So Jayne took Buddy and his manager upstairs and probably laid some herb on ’em or something, and next thing you know she comes down with this cocktail napkin that says, ‘I, Buddy Guy, hereby allow you to videotape my act.’ We still have those tapes.”

Calamity Jayne: rocker, cowgirl, outlaw

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Faith No More: “The band’s room reservations at the Showboat fell through, and I had this big rented home with a swimming pool, so I told Jayne I could put them up,” club security chief Bob Ryan says. “My wife at the time came home and saw [singer] Mike Patton spinning around on a ceiling fan. He fell down and broke through our glass coffee table when he landed. He was lucky he wasn’t seriously hurt.”

Donovan: “It’s getting pretty close to showtime, and we still hadn’t seen him,” Boyle says. “Then this cab pulls up, and this guy steps out and shakes my hand and says, ‘Hi, I’m Donovan.’ And I say, ‘Where’s your gear?’ and he responds, ‘I don’t have any.’ He ended up borrowing one of Jayne’s guitars, just sitting on a stool, playing acoustic, and it was fantastic.”

Devo: “Our only bathroom was in the main hall, and obviously when you’re Devo and you’re wearing your flower pots [Devo’s ‘energy domes’] for your [upcoming] encore, if you need to piss, coming down through the club is not an option,” Boyle explains. “So I opened the back door for them, and they went outside. I was just standing there wishing I’d had a camera to take a photo of them in their flower pots, pissing on the outer wall of the club.”

The Pleasure Barons: “The best show I ever saw there—and one of the best shows I ever saw, period—was [supergroup] The Pleasure Barons with Mojo Nixon and [ex-Blaster] Dave Alvin and the Beat Farmers,” remembers longtime Vegas radio DJ Dennis Mitchell. “I have little flashes back to it, of Mojo sitting up in the rafters, and Country Dick Montana just going insane and them pulling all these wild oldies out of the hat, ‘Games People Play’ and ‘Take a Letter Maria.’ It went till about 2 in the morning, but you didn’t want to leave because of what might happen next.” [The show is immortalized on 1993’s Hightone Records LP Live in Las Vegas.]

Nirvana: “We had reached a point where we needed a barricade [between the stage and the crowd], and it just so happened that the people building it were running late that night, so they were bringing the pieces of the barricade in and placing them in front of the stage during Nirvana’s set,” Boyle says. “We wanted it up for [headlining] Sonic Youth, and, of course, no one had any way of knowing what was going to happen with ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ and the whole grunge thing exploding. The crowd was heckling Nirvana, chanting ‘Sonic Youth! Sonic Youth!’ They did a short set, and Kurt Cobain came into the dressing room cursing, very angry, and I remember thinking, ‘You’re opening for Sonic Youth and no one’s heard of you. What did you expect?’”

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Spencer Patterson

Spencer Patterson is the Editor of Las Vegas Weekly, having previously served as Managing Editor, Arts & Entertainment Editor and ...

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