By: Khaos McLeod
The legendary Cobalt Motor Hotel (The Cobalt). It has been called by many “the last true haven of the underground extreme music scene” in Vancouver, BC, Canada. Its existence is currently being threatened with the possible eviction of its Matriarch, Wendy13. This potential loss would deal a severe blow to the Vancouver hardcore music scene.
The city of Vancouver is hosting the Olympics in February of 2010 and is scrambling to cleanup the downtown eastside neighbourhood in which The Cobalt resides. It would appear that our beloved hardcore bar may soon fall victim to gentrification. The $lumlord$ that own The Cobalt have given Wendy13 a 60 day eviction notice, which expires on September the 30th 2009.
When the news of the possible closing of The Cobalt became known I was asked to interview Wendy13. She recently wrote an editorial that was featured in The Absolute Underground on the subject. After reading it I decided not to do an interview, but to share her editorial in Punk Globe. I felt that what she said, says it all; so instead of an interview, I wrote this preface to accompany her editorial.
Since that date, I have to admit that Eddy was right. That fateful night I had indeed met a very prolific and vital force in the Vancouver extreme music scene. Wendy13 is known the world over for running Vancouver’s only hardcore bar that even the big guns play at. Many of the more well known bands have graced the Cobalt stage; from Anthrax, The UK Subs, The Hanson Brothers, Dr. Know, Death Angel, Metal Church, The Unseen, Total Chaos, Ripcordz, The Accused, Dayglo Abortions, The Exploited, The Real McKenzies, Agent Orange, SNFU, DOA; the list goes on and on. Wendy also lets the newbies play as well, giving some their first opportunity to play on stage, including The Jolts, S.T.R.E.E.T.S, Bison BC, Pride Tiger, and 3 Inches of Blood, just to name a few.
As someone who has had the opportunity to play on The Cobalt stage, as well as running the Monday Night Khaos shows at The Cobalt, I am speaking from experience and my heart when I say that The Cobalt is home. It is home to the Cobalt crew, the bands, Wendy13 herself, and to anyone else lucky enough to have stepped through the doors. It seems that its closing is imminent. “The $lumpire$” (Wendy13’s pet name for the $lumlord$) have refused Wendy13 a reasonable lease and it looks like on September 30th we may very well witness The Cobalt’s final hour. Of course we hope that this is not the case, but only time will tell.
The lights at the front of the bar,” Girls, Girls, Girls”, which once shone so proudly for Mötley Crüe’s album of the same name are fading, extinguishing one by one, creating an eerie effect as the looming date rapidly approaches. I wonder if the last one will die on September 30th.
WELL I'VE GIVEN THIS A LOT OF THOUGHT ABOUT WHAT TO SAY ABOUT THE SITUATION I'M CURRENTLY FACED WITH….
I WAS PRESENTED WITH A 60 DAY EVICTION NOTICE FOR THE COBALT ON FRI JULY 31..2009….IT BLEW ME AWAY…..I'VE BEEN A GOOD TENANT….GONE ABOVE AND BEYOND TO HELP FIX UP THE SPACE TO A HABITABLE VENUE….REPAIRED THE $LUMPIRE$ TARNISHED IMAGE WITH THE CITY INSPECTORS AND POLICE….BASICALLY OPENED UP A REFRESHING VIABLE DOWNTOWN EAST SIDE VENUE THAT’S NOT A SCARY PLACE TO BE FOR SOCIETY…
NOW BEFORE I GET INTO THE $LUMPIRE$ PART IN ALL THIS…..I MUST ALSO MENTION WHAT THE COBALT HAS ALSO MEANT FOR THE DOWNTOWN EASTSIDE AND THE RESURGENCE OF VENUES AND MUSIC AS A VIABLE REALITY….
DO WE REALLY THINK THAT THE BENEFACTORS OF THOSE VENUES WOULD HAVE GIVEN THE LIVE VENUE OPTION A SECOND THOUGHT WITHOUT THE COBALT'S SURVIVAL INSTINCT…THAT IT’S A POSITIVE VENUE ATMOSPHERE…
WE'VE FOUGHT OFF THE DRUG DEALERS…CRACKHEADS…STOLEN GOODS RINGS ….PROVEN TO THE CITY AND POLICE. THE SAFETY OF THE MUSIC COMMUNITY…IN ESSENCE REVITALIZED A PIECE OF THE DOWNTOWN EASTSIDE AT NO EXPENSE TO THE TAXPAYER….
THIS HAS BEEN DONE BY THE MUSIC COMMUNITY….THE BANDS …THE FANS… THE CLEANUP VOLUNTEERS ….MY STAFF….PEEPS THAT LOVE THE BAR…AND FROM THE INSPIRATION AND SHORT LIVED LIFE CYCLES OF ALL THE FALLEN ATTEMPTS LIKE THE NIAGRA…THE PIC…THE AMERICAN…LUNATIC FRINGE….CLUB SODA…THE COLUMBIA ETC AND THE EFFORTS OF THOSE PEOPLE WHO HAD THE SAME VISION FOR A PLACE TO COME TOGETHER TO HEAR OUR MUSIC….
NOW THIS SEEMS TO HAVE TURNED INTO AN ESSAY OF THE MUSIC COMMUNITY…BUT I GUESS THAT’S WHAT ITS ALL ABOUT….
I JUST WANT THE COBALT TO BE TREATED FAIRLY BY THE $LUMLORDS….I BELIEVE THAT AFTER ALMOST 10 YEARS OF DEDICATED SERVICE TO THEIR HOLDINGS THAT I DESERVE THAT…
I DO NOT DESERVE AN EVICTION NOTICE BECAUSE THEY THINK THEIR LIQUOR LICENSE WOULD BE BETTER UTILIZED BY SOMEONE ELSE TAKING OVER THE COBALT TO REGRESS IT TO THE DRUG INFESTED UNLAWFUL DAYS OF YORE…OPEN FOR BUSINESS AT 9AM….
I DO NOT DESERVE TO GET EXTORTED TO SIGN A LEASE THAT NEGLECTS MY RIGHTS AS A TENANT FOR AN EXORBITANT AMOUNT OF MONEY WHEN THEY DO NEXT TO NOTHING TO POSITIVELY IMPACT MY BUSINESS EXPERIENCE THERE….
WE HAVE ENDURED THIRD WORLD CONDITIONS AT THE $LUMPIRES HANDS SOMETIMES MULTIDAILY FROM THEIR NEGLECTED HOTEL REPAIRS….
I WILL FIGHT FOR THE COBALT UNTIL THE END IF THAT IS WHAT IS MEANT TO BE BECAUSE I BELIEVE IN IT….. …..THANK YOU EVERYONE…
PLEASE WRITE A LETTER OF SUPPORT….THE TRIUMPHS AND THE TRIBULATIONS….EVERY LITTLE BIT HELPS….VIVA THE COBALT….
Address To Send Letters
917 Main Street
Vancouver, British Columbia V6A 2VD