Sitting At The Metroplex…

Holy shit, it lives!!!

I drive by the site of the second (Marietta Street) Metroplex virtually every day going to and from work and while I don’t miss it as much as 688, it’s still one of those holes in my life I can never refill. At some point I’ll regurgitate a few more stories about the place but I’ll whet your appetite with two.

The first is late November of 1985, the second (and less impressive) Atlanta Dead Kennedys show. I parked down the street outside an African-American club called, I think, the Phoenix. I’ve always thought that was the only time I ever parked there but today decided I must have done it before that show because I felt ok about doing it. And the reason why I did it? To save the three bucks or so the guy charged for parking in the lot next to the ‘Plex. Needless to say, I rued my decision when I came back after the show to find it hade been towed. Save $3? Cost me probably about $100 to get it out. Plus, I had to find a ride home. My friend Todd couldn’t take me because he was going with Jello to the Red Hot Chilli Peppers show that was at 688 that night. (aside – the only words Jello Biafra probably ever heard me say was “They towed my fucking car”. That heartens me in some way.) Anyway, I drive by that place evryday as well. When I first started commuting to Centennial Tower I noticed the place had changed names to something Dance Club and had various country flags painted on it, leftover, I’m sure, from its proximity to Olympic festivities in 1996. Anyway, last night I looked over and they’d knocked the building down. One more old Atlanta structure gone to be replaced, probably, by a highrise of some sort.

The other Metrplex story I’ll regale you with today dates from 1986 or so, the first time Skinny Puppy played Atlanta (and the only time for several more years.) The end of their show seemed rather hokey at the time, with an “audience member” (aka band associate) pretending to shoot the lead singer (Ogre?) to death. It was actually sort of funny. Some guys from the band Flatbush were videotaping the show upstairs. As we knew the band would get a copy, we said loud enough to be on mic “At least Alice hung himself”. When some moron pulled this stunt for real on Dimebag Darrell, I could see why initially some audience members thought it might be part of the show. Bad life imitating bad art.

In the future I’ll bring up Arthur Davis getting clocked by a full beer can outside the club and other shenanigans that’ll make you think “damn…….”

21 thoughts on “Sitting At The Metroplex…”

  1. Well, how about the Stage drivers off the 2nd floor, – a good 20 ft. drop at MANY show. 1st show for me was Suicidal . I got in the “pit” that night and never looked back. That was when Skinheads were good guys at shows, then Skins, for the most part, turn into the most hated part of the scene. Anyone else at G.B.H or JFA? Both great shows but.. Bad Brains always a great show.
    That was 20 effin years ago. Damn! Shit, I wish a got remember all the bands I saw, including the local ones..

  2. Reasonably accurate on the Metroplex CL article except a) I’m not sure I ever heard anybody ever refer to the bar part as “The Other Side” b) the Chilli Peppers had already played the much smaller 688 THREE times before they played the relatively spacious outdoor stage at the Plex.

    I wrote this blog and never explained why. I’d look over at the Phoenix on my way in to/out from work everyday and the other day noticed it had been torn down when it was standing the day before.

    Can’t remember the Boingos playing there, but then again I gave up after seeing them at the Agora in October of 1983 and deciding they were probably past their sell date at that point.

  3. Saw Suicidal once there. Never saw GBH or Bad Brains (the first I didn’t care that much for, the latter I didn’t like the later albums and feared a similar show.) JFA I only saw at the first Metroplex at 300 Luckie (this buiding, inexplicably, is still with us as I drove by it leaving work tonight.)
    Sun City Girls opened. There must have been about twenty folks there at the end of JFA’s set (summer 1984 I think) and I ventured into the pit area (NOT A FUCKING MOSH PIT that’s for METAL bands) with about five other folks. Some Joe stage dives and hits me flush in the head with a knee. I stay out and someone else (or maybe the same guy) dives again and, kid you not, same damn result. I move to the back at this point. Actually had a decent bump on my head from the encounter.

    I think I first saw folks dive from the second level the first time the Butthole Surfers played Atlanta at the second Plex in January of 1985.

    Thye CL article mentions Dave Grohl playing there with Scream but other eventually more famous folks to play the Plex were Moby (I’m assuming he was with the Vatican Commandos when I saw them open a show at the first Plex back in 1983 or 84) and Steve Shelley of Sonic Youth who was drumming for the Crucifucks in the first show I saw at the second Plex in December of 1984.

  4. Oingo Boingo never plyed there. They played the Roxy up in F-head, or whatever it was called then..

  5. Yep, you’re right. I checked my ridiculous shows-I-saw-1987-1997 listing* and it was Let’s Active. Why did I think Oingo Boingo? Funny hair and big guitars? Hmmm, OB seem to have neither. Now, Let’s Active, perfectly good stuff, I don’t hate them at all … funny how memories work I guess.

    * not as comprehensive as Jon’s Head, but the best I could do. Whoooo Lotus 1-2-3!

  6. That Let’s Active Metroplex show will forever be burned in my brain with the image of Mitch singing Led Zeppelin’s “Dancing Days”…….

    Have just gotten a video of Sonic Youf at the Plex from 1987 so it’s good to see the inside of that place again……

  7. I remember seeing the Chili Peppers w/ Faith No More at the Metroplex in ’87.It was an indoor show.

  8. 1. I played in a band with the DJ for the club, that band got to play once, opening for Lydia Lunch and Foetus. I performed solo at an event organised by a WREK alum & PD. I lived in the warehouse across the street after the demise of the club.

    2. I saw Scratch Acid open for the Chilli Peppers. Chilli Peppers open for Fishbone. I saw Ether Binge. TOO MANY bands to name. Too many Sapporo or Foster’s to remember the walk home, and/or (all too often) the band before leaving.

    3. The Phoenix was a great club (with a rich history). A wonderful building. I lived in a few buildings downtown, one of which was demolished for Centennial Park.

    Thanks for creating/maintaining this blog,

  9. Actually, Kevin, that Atmospherics night you performed at was done by Dan Leithauser (still very active at WREK at that time) and Arthur Davis, who was probably GM at that time. I drove Arthur over there at some point to drop off stuff and he walked in on some sort of arrangement he probably wasn’t supposed to see (I think he was told that as well.)

    Did Scratch Acid open for the Peppers? I remember seeing them headline with Bar B Q Killers opening……

  10. Fishbone opened for the Chili Peppers in 87 (or 88). and it was indoors. The peppers played in their underwear (whipping their privates out on occasion) and the guitarist who died of heroin was still there. Fishbone, well Angelo wore these big boxers on suspenders much too big and his privates were flying out too.
    Both were excellent, I liked Fishbone better. I think that was the show where a skinhead girl threatened to beat me up if I didn’t give her my spot in front of the stage. Grrr.

    you know the Metroplex club has a myspace page, you all should check it out.

  11. I kinna work at metroplex for a while and lived there but that was so long ago. I remember bands playing but all I wanted to do was get high supposedly party and get laid. Ah sweet youth. Miss my Atlanta friends so sorry many have died including a girl name kara from aids for the needle .peace.

  12. also- follow for now played with fishbone, i think the next year, at the ‘plex.
    and, i was at the wendy o’ willams show. got there to late to see the opening act, what would become parts of Nirvana. Wendy O’Williams was pretty awful but entertaining. Some kind of horrid rap music.

  13. The show was booked as Wendy O. Williams & the Plasmatics and I do remember it being dire. There were no other recognizable (to me) Plasmatics from their album releases. The opening band was Scream, with Dave Grohl on drums. This was Scream’s second time through in about a year (the first opening for the Subhumans at 688.)

    First show I saw at the Marietta Street Plex was, I believe, the only Atlanta appearance of the Crucifucks, featuring Steve Shelley (later of Sonic Youth) on the drums.

    I think the RHCP played the last show at the Marietta Street Plex in the spring/early summer of 1989. But the parking lot’s still open, at least!

  14. Bought my ticket for the Gang Green show. Bought a t-shirt. Proceeded out the door, acrosst the street to the homeless hangout. Drank, smoked, dropped.

    Missed the Gang Green show.

  15. Toward the end of Metroplex’s run, death/speed metal sort of merged with the hardcore scene (though there were definitely hold-outs on both sides) and I can remember seeing several metal bands with punk bands opening. Much to my shame now, I must admit being more devoted to the metal scene as a teenager.
    One of the more memorable (no) shows at the ‘Plex was the British satanic metal band Venom. Venom were big across the pond; they played places like the Hammersmith Odeon and their stage shows had given them the reputation as the KISS of death metal. If I remember correctly, this was the most expensive Metroplex ticket ever (15 bucks maybe?) and the place was sold way over the fire code.
    The show was way late starting (I don’t remember the local band’s name that opened, but they were damn good), and us headbangers were getting restless. It must have been about midnight when rumors started circulating that Venom’s drummer had decided his kit wouldn’t even fit on the stage and he was refusing to use the opener’s. Finally, an extremely pissed Cornwell announced Venom had went back to their motel and weren’t going to play. Someone, maybe Cornwell, let slip the name of the motel. A bunch of us went there and somehow found out their room number; we stood outside screaming “Venom sucks” until their manager, who looked like a Flock of Seagulls reject, came out on the balcony and threatened to call the police. We heckled him mercilessly, but eventually we had to disperse because the motel manager had already called the cops. After that night, those limey poseurs were poison to us. Slayer was more kick-ass anyway.

  16. This is one place the whole world should have been able to experiance. The greatest music and bands came from that era. Now it seems that the same jock type people who used to pick on the hardcores are now the same folks who are now listening to the outcome of those bands. Example, Henry Rollins, Glenn Danzig, ect..ect..ect..

  17. First of all, thanks for this blog. I was reminiscing about the ‘Plex and did a search and here I am.

    My first time at the ‘Plex was actually to perform. I was the bassist for the Gary Brock Band and we were doing a fundraiser for the Atlanta Taskforce for the Homeless. I later ran follow spots for Megadeth. Dave Mustain was my designated target.

    When I worked in record distribution I saw a lot of groups there, mostly reggae but one rock notable was Wendy O. Williams and the Plasmatics. They had just put out “Maggots: The Record” on WOW/Profile Records. Got Wendy’s autograph and saw her famous tits up close and personal-like.

    I miss that place. People stage diving off the balcony into the pit, skulking through the backrooms and hidden staircases. Stuff happening backstage that should have landed us all in jail. Anybody remember that big blue tarp over the stage, full of rainwater? That was an electrocution waiting to happen…

    A shout out to Paul Cornwell for having the guts to open the place and keep it going as long as he did.

  18. John Denver could have played the Metroplex and it would have been a cool show!
    I really miss those days, but all that loud, angry, and rebellious music has turned me into a prick. I think someone should dedicate a website in memory of the Metroplex.

  19. Just surfing around and looking for sites with info regarding the old Metroplex. I was reading through some of these posts and I saw the one about the Venom show. I was at that very same show. If I remember correctly, it was in 1985. If not 1985 it was 1986. This was my first Metroplex show, ever. Interestingly, the show as held on April 1st, April Fool’s Day. I’m trying to remember the name(s) of any opening band(s). Was one of them Hallow’s Eve? They were a local/Atlanta metal band. I’m thinking it was them who opened, and maybe even someone else (another local band).

    Anyway, I saw the same thing… got to end of the last opening band. The stage crew began clearing the stage and left only Venom’s equipment on stage. The crowd was chanting “Venom! Venom! Venom!” Then, over the PA was the announcement, “Due to circumstances beyond our control, Venom will not be performing tonight.” Everyone in the place looked kind of puzzled. Then, you started hearing some people saying “April Fools!” over the buzz in the place. But, then the lights came on and they started tearing down the stage. They really weren’t playing.

    The next day I called the Metroplex from work. A guy answered and I told him I was there the previous night and was just wondering if maybe they would mind giving some more detail as to what happened.

    The guy told me that earlier in the day Venom had come down to do a sound check. He said that as soon as the entered the place and looked around they said the place is too small and “we’re not playing.” He said they had been calling and trying to persuade them all day to come play, telling them the place would be packed and it would be awesome. He said even right up until the moment they finally made the announcement that they weren’t playing, they were on the phone with them, pleading, telling them what a crowd was there, even let them hear the crowd over the phone. They said, “No” and refused to play.

    What respect I had for Venom (which admittedly wasn’t overly much) surely disappeared that day.

    I have some photos I took during one of the Megadeth shows there… had to have been 1985/1986 as well. I saw Megadeth there twice, in fact. One time (what a show this was) the opening band was Testament (who then had only one album out), followed up by Anthrax, with Megadeth headlining on their “Peace Sells” tour. I have some photos I took from the railing, upstairs, of people diving onto the crowd below, complete with the handwritten posters “No balcony dives.” Heh-heh.

    I’ve looked around for a good Facebook page for the old Metroplex. I haven’t found one. I thought about maybe starting one up and providing a place where people can post old photos and other memorabilia.

  20. There are 2 facebook pages for the Metroplex. They have some great pics and the private one even has a video. I used to work concessions and sometimes the door. I think about the fantastic bands that come through there, and 688. I kept every ticket stub and tons of flyers, fanzines, and song lists. Billy Davis still has a ton of shirts…it makes me jealous! I missed the reunion, but heard that it was great!

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