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Red Wedding Closes the Odyssey Nightclub in LA : 1985
Red Wedding at The Odyssey

March 14, 1985 - by billy eye

PLEASE NOTE THESE ARTICLES WERE HEAVILY RE-WRITTEN FROM MY ORIGINAL NOTES IN 1994 & 2011.

la punk rock

Monday Night.

Traditionally the most boring night of the week, but not if you were at the Odyssey when Red Wedding played an unexpected show.

Odyssey night club Some of the hottest local bands have been playing the Odyssey in the last weeks as desperate club manager Scott Harvey fights city government and local neighbors for the reinstatement of his dance permit.

Monday and Friday night have traditionally been New Wave nights at this club, and for years it's brought throngs of young people to Hollywood, crowding the dancefloor to dance to DJ's like favorites Chuck E. Starr and DJ Steven or just hang out and play pool in the juice bar upstairs.

However, numerous complaints of public drunkenness, urinating, smoking pot, snorting coke and copulating in people's yards by late night patrons of the club have caught up to Harvey. He weathered the loss of his liquor license years ago because the Odyssey's main customer base is under the age of 21 anyway.

 

We Make History by Red Wedding from New Wave Theater

All Dressed Up by Red Wedding from New Wave Theater

But no dancing at the Odyssey, long one of the best, most popular dance floors famous for having the hottest DJ's in town, may surely mean the end of the venerable club. Where are all of the underage party kids going to go?

Let's face it, if you ask me, the glow was off the Odyssey at least two years ago. In response to the Odyssey's problems, last year owner Eddie Nash and manager Harvey opened a teenybopper club in Reseda called Phazes, which has become a magnet for valley dudes - and more controversy.

I attended the grand opening of Phazes; it was originally slated to be a gay bar until the opening night when the place was overun by straight kids. I haven't been back since, unless you count hanging out in the parking lot waiting for 'a friend.'

Red Wedding / LA Punk Rock

Marc O, John Taglavia, Michael Ely, Brian Engle, Spider Taylor

Harvey's bold plan to keep the Odyssey alive is to book high profile local bands while he attempts to secure that dance permit he needs to stay in business.

So while a dozen or so of the club's pretty-boy patrons picketed outside (it's said they were paid . . . some of these kids looked like they were gonna get paid walking the street regardless), Red Wedding took the stage (actually the famous dance floor) in a last minute surprise show one recent Monday night for a small core of old and new fans.

1980s punk rockThe eager audience was treated to a spirited performance by this local band that continues to explore the psychedelic realm with hard driving guitar solos and haunting vocals.

This night they played a couple of new tunes from the group's latest release 'Nails' which has topped college radio play lists around the country. You may have read about Red Wedding in the February 'In Touch' magazine, they are an intriguing bunch of guys who have long been breaking new musical ground.

Red Wedding band photoOver the last four years they have been together as a group, Red Wedding has refined a cohesiveness and a sound so unlike most other bands that it is hard to describe them. . . much like X was hard to describe before they came along.

They are neo-psychedelic to be sure, but with plenty of hypnotic swarthiness, and growing better now that they no longer have synthesizers in the mix.

One recent gig in San Diego left the audience begging for more, even after three encores and an improvised version of Bowie's "Ziggy Stardust."

91x radio in San Diego has added the cut "Bernardo" from the 'Nails' album into rotation and this brings people to the clubs in a way that doesn't happen much in LA with our own lame KROQ, which basically refuses to support the local scene anymore.

1980s punk los angelesA few people were disappointed that the fog and pulsating light pylons that descend from the ceiling weren't activated during the Odyssey set, tho. (Just kidding). And there was a strict, "No Dancing" rule because of the legal problems. According to bassist John (the LA Weekly calls him "cutey-pie") Tagliavia, Red Wedding is in the studio now recording a new E.P..

Boy George made a brief appearance at the club, but was evidently disappointed that the club was no longer packed with raging teen-agers and didn't stay long after Red Wedding's set. I was amazed at how smooth Boy George's skin was, until Red Wed's former keyboardist Marc O informed me that it was make-up. I'm terribly naive, I guess.

When I went to the back office to talk to him, Harvey and his assistant were there with thousands and thousands of dollars in bundled bills lying in large, indiscriminate stacks on his desk, the last night's revenue from Phazes. So don't cry for Scott Harvey.

More interesting bookings are in store, so the next time you complain about being bored on Monday night, don't be surprised if the Odyssey proves to be the unlikely destination you choose.

Real Player

Click to hear a college radio
(Cal State Northridge)
interview with Red Wedding from 1984.

Click here to see
Red Wedding on New Wave
Theatre in 1981.


BILLY EYE UPDATE: This is the last Rock and Roll article for Data Boy magazine. This one was long after Judy had stopped contributing, and more than two years after my last regular contributions to the magazine.

Here's news footage of the fake protest the club paid for after the dance lisense was revoked. I think the first guy you see interviewed is Scott, who booked the Red Wedding show.

The Odyssey night club logo

Unable to make a go of it as a rock venue (or re-secure a dance license), the Odyssey 1 was not-so unexpectedly burned to the ground one night, leaving only a shell of the cavernous two story club standing near the corner of Beverly and La Cienega. The fire was obviously arson and someone may have gone to prison for it.

The Odyssey Night Club in LA 1985
View from the DJ booth after the fire. Photos from Michael.

Intrigue swirled around notorious drug kingpin Eddie Nash, owner of the Odyssey - and other hot dance places like the Seven Seas, Starwood, Ali Baba's and The Kit Kat Club. He was involved in an infamous tale that involved a strung out porn star (John Holmes), missing drugs, money, and a brutal, bloody murder in the Hollywood Hills - the alleged mastermind of the July, 1981 slayings that became known as the "Wonderland Murders." In my new book I'll tell you how I had to face down Eddie that night to get our money.

The Eighties were in full swing by this point.

The Odyssey Night Club in LA 1985
The patio after the fire.


The front of the club.

A movie was made about Eddie Nash called Wonderland.


UPDATES:
"I always wondered if the Odyssey was on the net..GREAT articles...Yes I am still ALIVE and living in Palm Springs Calif. I still have all the music but I am no longer a DJ.

"Today I am a Registered Nurse in an Acute Care Hospital. Say if you guys want any live feeds of the Odyssey or news feeds of the closing let me know! Your articles brought back great memories of some fun times! = ) Thanks!

- Chuck E. Starr


"Howdy, I grew up at the Odyssey and became a d.j. in LA, claiming the Fake Club as my premier gig before moving to NYC to play records there. the whole sordid story is at www.hyperactivemedia.com/5am/ if you are interested. and by the way, Chuck E. Starr (great to hear he's still around--and a nurse!!!) didn't play the first new wave record at the Odyssey--Steven Smith did. It was actually the buggles doing 'clean clean', which I brought him, and I later forced to him to play 'Rock Lobster', which I had bought from Joseph & Henry's first Vinyl Fetish store--on Highland (i think; maybe La Brea).

"I just got in contact with Chuck's old light man who has tons of tapes from the Odyssey and hope to put them online soon at my site.

Thanks for the flashback, Steve Suckman


WOW. I grew up at The Odyssey. What has happened to Scott Harvey and Chris Cox, Nick Bois Manager, Steve The Door Man. Myself and Johnny Deakin lived with Louis Barazza on Croft Street and as under-age-ers and partied every night at the Odyssey, it was a blast. After the closing we followed Nick to the Seven Seas where he worked for Eddie Nash, just wasn't the same club or location. Eddie & Nick got into a lot of trouble and Johnny and myself were there for much of it. It is wonderful you have a write up on this Club and those times. Saw many of the New Wavers first at the Odyssey along with Grace Jones and Elvira at certain Halloween parties they had. Scott Thorsen was another regular there too. Thanks for the great site and info!

- ANTHONY


1980s punk new wave music"It's hard for me to believe that Red Wedding's last performance was 20 years ago!

"Spider and I are alive and well and living in Oro Valley, Arizona (just northwest of Tucson). We've been a couple now for 29 years. It's been one long, incredible journey together, and we're still sharing good times. "

- Michael Ely, Red Wedding


Michael Ely and Jim 'Spider' Taylor (Red Wedding) have resurfaced a new CDs. Their new recording name is Smoke & Mirrors - their first CD "The Perfume of Creosote: Desert Exotica Part One" (Click to order) was released in 2004 to worldwide acclaim.

Smoke & Mirrors (4 1/2 stars out of 5)
The Perfume of Creosote

Hurrah! A concept album.
Taking aspects of ambience, world music, psychedelia and jazz, the artists concerned, Michael Ely and Spider Taylor, have produced a lush and exotic beast of an album, inspiring in its beauty and wonder. It could have been a bit of a mess, what with tribal percussion, prog rock guitars, trip-hop beats an ambient soundscapes, but you'll be hard pushed to find a better fusion experiment.
- Stuart aka zeitgeist

Smoke & Mirrors: Dieties
"Smoke & Mirrors - "Deities" 2xCD - Michael Ely and Spider Taylor's second release brings 140-odd minutes minutes of highly palatable and cinematic tribal pop exotica. Like the bastard love child of Martin Denny and the early Factory Records roster, these 22 instrumental tracks are an expansive journey through ancient cultures as seen through the eyes of modern soundtrack composers. Each track on 'Deities' is devoted to/inspired by a different Hindu deity, and with their highly-developed melodic structure and a good ear for nuance and playful mystery, SMOKE & MIRRORS have constructed a melodic and accessable travelogue. In fact, their upbeat instrumental work favorably reminds me of THE CHURCH frontman STEVE KILBEY's obscure 'Earthed' release. 'Saraswati, The Wise' is a standout, mashing up tablas and banjo alongside drum programming, synth, and guitars for a wonderously joyous vibe. Spectacular, living, and vibrant sounds that uplift the spirits and open up whole new (and old) worlds." (Aural Fixation)

Red Wedding CDA third disc - WHITE ROSES PAINTED RED -
was released in 2006 to rave reviews.


New Red Wedding 'Best of' CD was
released in 2007 and it's fantastic!

TVparty is Classic TV on the internet!Los Angeles 1980's punk / new wave scene
billy eye & judy Zee articles / Punk Rock Los Angelesred wedding + 1980s punk rock

MORE ON RED WEDDING:
Theoretical site

Red Wedding site

Red Wedding CD

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PEOPLE WHO ATTENDED
THE ODYSSEY 1 NIGHT CLUB
IN LOS ANGELES:

"Oh my!....
"My name is Todd. I grew up in Whittier, and don't recall the first night I went to the Odyssey... what I do know, is that it was a life changing experience for me.
" It was the first time I was "out" and at a gay club.. I was 19 and was so enthralled with the whole scene. I had so much fun there....loved the onset of the whole 'new wave' time. I will never forget any of it. I went there until 1982 when I moved to go dance in Las Vegas. Thanks for the memories."
- Todd

The Odyssey 1 club

 

These original Data-Boy Music columns have been collected in a book with LOTS of new material and photos - it's the story of Data-Boy magazine and the LA Punk / Post-Punk scene. The story presented is a lot more complete!

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The Odyssey Night Club in LA

The Odyssey Night Club in LA

The Odyssey Night Club in LA

Thanks to Michael Randall for the Odyssey photos!

Funny I was going to take my Odyssey matchbook and have someone make a t-shirt for me, But you beat me to the punch...lol Only thing is that you forgot to add the address on the back of the T- shirt.

Yes, that is me in the day at Odyssey. I was know for dancing to "One More Shot" next to the D.J. booth.. lol. When I heard the song playing I would run from the T.V. room, down the steps to the dance floor and take a HUGE hit of Poppers and just do my thang out there. 

You must of gone to Phazes in the valley and Hot Tracks too.
I used to hang at Seven Sea's too as well as Peanuts, Dirt box, Plastic Passions, Ariel, Black Market, Club 70's and the list goes on and on..lol

A few years back I was in Palm springs and saw this guy and I yelled out " OMG You're Chuckie Star" and it was and he looks the same as he did back then. So, 70's and gay leather daddy like :) 
 
- Michael



Punk Rock Los Angeles

INTRODUCTION

10-7-80 The first article, The Masque, Punk bands, Darby Crash & The Germs, The Garage

10-21-80 The Toasters, Great Buildings, The Go-Gos

11-2-80 New Wave nights in Hollywood, T.S.O.L, Shandi, The Smog Marines

11-16-80 Grace Jones, The Nobodys, Billy Sheets and the Elites, The Talking Heads

12-1-80 Hollywood Boulevard 'punks'

12-27-80 End of the year wrap-up, The Naughtie Sweeties, Dead Kennedys, Fear, punk riot in the OC

12-27-80 David Bowie as The Elephant Man

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1-05-81 Devo, Rock Against Racism

1-19-81 John Hiatt and The Toasters at the Starwood

2-03-81 Wendy O Williams, London aka Motley Crue, and Live Nude Girl

2-17-81 The Veil, Darby Crash death, Phil Seymour and The Textones

3-5-81 New wave night at the Odyssey, Ray Manzerek

3-19-81 The East LA scene, Hey Taxi!, The Rentz, The Plugz, The Detour, Human Sexual Response

3-19-81 Judy Zee on LA radio in 1981

4-02-81 Tonio K & Romeo Void, Oki-Dog, Flippers, A week in the LA clubs

4-16-81 XTC, Wall of Voodoo, Madame
Wong, and The Pop

4-30-81 U2 and Missing Persons

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5-28-81 Missing Persons at the Topanga Corral

6-11-81 The Brat, Parapalegic Infants in Downtown LA and U2 in Santa Monica

6-25-81 Performance artist Adore O'Hare, downtown clubs, Red Wedding

6-25-81 Missing Persons in Westwood

7-09-81 Los Illegals, The Brat in Hollywood, Al's Bar, Johanna Went, Jerry Lee Lewis

7-09-81 John Cale live at The Whisky

7-23-81 Brave Dog, Stiff Little Fingers with Missing Persons, The Grandmothers

8-06-81 Bow Wow Wow, Malcolm McLaren, Mad Society, Ian Hunter , and the new psychedelia

8-22-81 Missing Persons, Jean Pierre Rampal

9-07-81 Filming at the Brave Dog, Red Wedding, Atomic Cafe, The Stains, Los Illegals, East LA bands

10-06-81 KROQ of the '80s, hardcore EPs, Missing Persons at The Whisky

10-20-81 West Hollywood & the end of The Starwood

4-7-82 New Wave Theatre, Aphotic Culture, The Waitresses and The Plimsouls

5-07-82 In the clubs, The Spoons, Nick Lowe, Madame Wong's West, Angry Samoans, Motley Crue

5-21-82 Interview with Terry Bozzio in 1982

8-27-82 Missing Persons, Red Wedding at the Whisky, Dream Syndicate, The Untouchables, The Go-Gos, Orange County hardcore

1-12-83 End of the year, Minutemen, Fear, Gun Club, Theoretical party, KROQ, Missing Persons

3-14-85 Red Wedding closes The Odyssey in 1985

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