Shawn Crahan of slipknot had been talking about starting a club for some time. To be honest I just kind of blew it off as talk but in mid January of 97, he stopped by the studio with Paul and told me he was buying Safari. I knew he had been talking to Tony off and on for a while about taking over the club but nothing had came of it until then. I think just about everyone was, "Shawn why are you buying that dump." but Shawn had a vision in his mind. I think he took over running the club around the same time and began cleaning the place up and painting. Many of the members of Slipknot helped in this. the Stage was re-carpeted and flames were paint along the bottom of the bar.
Shawn officially owned the bar on February 1st , 1997. The first show was Murphy's Law & my Band The Have Nots(you can read my review of the show here). It was Around this time, Lanny, Randy and myself had start a public Access show called Recline of Mid-Western Civilization that featured shows at the club. The first taping we did I believe was at the late show with VICTIM's ANONYMOUS and Radio Caroline.
At the time the booking was all handled by Shawn and Myself aka Axiom Promotions. The main focus was opening Des Moines back up to live music and rock, punk, Ska, & metal national acts. Also to continue with all ages shows on a regular bases. At first I mainly worked on all ages shows but as the number of Agencies and Bands contacting me increased, I was forced to start doing 21 & over shows. The Bands that stick out in 97(f are: MURPHY's LAW, QUINCY PUNX, CRETIN 66, THE SEX OFFENDERS, HORNY TOADS, ISAAC GREEN & THE SKA-LARS, INCH, PANSY DIVISION, PLEASURE FUCKERS, THE IMPENENT SEA SNAKES, U.S. BOMBS, 30 FOOT FALL, BORIS THE SPRINKLER, AT THE DRIVE-IN, PEECHEES, DRAGS, THE HUMPERS, THE LEAVING TRAINS, RADIO CAROLINE, NIL8, SOCIAL DISTORTION, RED 5 & AUTOMATIC 7, BLACK 47, THE YUM YUM TREES, SWINDLE, AGENT ORANGE, BLUE MEANIES, APOCALYPSE HOBOKEN, BALLGAGGER, BACKWASH, VALENTINE 6, OBLIVIONS, REVOLATORS, RED MAX, MERCY RULE, OPIUM TAYLOR, GLUE GUN, APOCALYPSE HOBOKEN, PROP 13, THE URGE, REEL BIG FISH, THE AQUABATS, MOG STUNT TEAM, THE TEENAGE FRAMES, THE LADONNA'S, THE LOADMONTHS, ,ROCKET FUELS THE KEY, Bleed, BLANK 77, BOBGOLIN, THE TOMORROW PEOPLE, UFOFU, THE CHICKEN HAWKS, NECKBONES, 247 Spyz and THE B-MOVIE RATS.
Though we had some failures here and there we made sure that it was well know that the club was a national club with a growing audience. Also that summer Steve Robinson helped out when Shawn stopped booking. By the fall I was booking the club completely. This was a bright time in my life and I think just about everyone involved with the club. The crew was: Tony Gray(Paul's Brother) manager, Joey Hollywood was the soundman until he was replaced with Kevin Miles, Lanny Bartendered then left to move to LA, My son's mother Jessica bartendered, and the other Kevin bartendered. We were like a gang for the most part. It was all business but there was always this underlaying feeling of play time. Things like Bar-B-Queuing meat we bought off this guy in a pick up truck for the bands, Lanny playing bag pipe music to clear the bar at 2am, & sitting on the roof and drinking for hours with Shawn. It was like hanging out with your friends all night but working. Also the great music and the number of friends made over that summer with the bands that played the club.
It was also during this period that the much need changes and improvements were made to the bar. The first was re-flooring the back area of the west building. It really need to be done and when they moved the pool table out of the area the floor gave way and I think Paul fell through. It started in late February, they ripped out the sound booth and back women's restroom. Then the floor and filled the basement with 20 trucks of sand. then pored cement over the sand, rerouted the pluming(this caused a sewage flood and the cancellation of the first Mog Stunt team show. Mog blamed it on the alien that was following them around the country), built the stage & dressing room and put in a new lighting system. Shawn also bought a new sound board and made a number of changes to the sound system(I think the old board dated back to the late 80s). This was all done in time for the Social Distortion show on May 23rd but Slipknot ended up playing the first show on the new PA and Stage.
The next part of the renovation didn't begin until late August(I believe) when the last of the old ceiling was removed and building the shell of plywood, an office, and new electrical wiring was completed. All in all the complete renovation cost close to $40,000 without closing the club.
By November of 1997, Slipknot was gaining increasing attention from labels and was becoming a large drain on Shawn's time. So, Shawn made the hard decision to close the club and concentrate on the band full time. the doors closed on November 15, 1997. Even though he had already found a buyer the club's future was really in question. There was a feeling that something important had come to an end. The Des Moines scene would greatly miss Shawn the club owner.
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