Friday, November 5, 2010

Where have all the Good Goths Gone?

When I mentioned I was going to write about the pathetic state of the
Goth movement on Twitter i got a bunch of hate tweets. Ironically,
that is exactly why I wanted to blog. Goths don't even know what they
are about anymore. EVERY Goth kid should Google "Visigoth" and see
what that means. There are no Vampires. That's not Goth; that's Anne
Rice, and please do not confuse the two. That is all I will say about
Goths... I have instead decided to blog about one of the godfathers of

This morning on a business call, one of my friends mentioned that one
of my favorite "Goth" clubs was experiencing a resurgence. It's become
an all ages club, which is really sad, I don't want to get my dance on
with a bunch of 18 year olds! I know that sounds harsh, but come on's not right.

So, there is this block in San Francisco at the corner of 11th and
Harrison that in my youth was Goth central. Back in the day, (yeah I
said it...sad I know) there was a bar on the corner called the
Paradise Lounge. They featured new young talent. One of my friends,
Peggy was a part time DJ there, we'd go there to get our drink on..and
then once she was done..we'd heckle the new talent.

Most nights it was this crazy gawky guy named Chris Issak, I wonder
what happened to him?...heh...

After we were suitably sedated we would turn the corner and wander
down to the DNA lounge. DNA was a warehouse style club, very Bauhaus
ala The Hunger in those days. There was a second floor grid that I
used to love to hang out on. Anyway, I digress...for a few years it
was the place to be. I spent many a weekend in SF sleeping on the
floor of my friend's rehearsal hall, so i could go out and dance all night.

A few years passed, and I returned to the scene of the crime. The
Paradise was gone, but DNA was still there...only this time it's not
just a Goth Club, it's a dance club (cries and rocks). However, the really
embarrassing part of this story is that I have dragged the Cure (whom I was working with at the time)there with me -- yep the entire band (DIES). The GM of the club handled it
really well and set us up in the VIP room and said we had shown up on
Deathrock night...we all laughed like little kids on too much Halloween sugar.
The VIP room, you see, had a closed-circuit TV so we could watch the
kids out on the dance floor. I think that night we counted at least 20
Robert Smith wannabes...5 were girls. We didn't stay long, the music
was bad, and we were bored. However, we did one thing that will
forever live on in my mind. We all removed all of our make up (yes
even Robert) and combed our hair down...looked really really normal
and then went out on the dance floor to dance to "Boys don't Cry."
Those kids had no clue they were dancing with their idols...only the
Dj knew. I wonder if he told them after we left?

So, you see, now this place is cool again. I wonder if my name is
still scrawled across the VIP room next to Robert's. On one hand, I
kinda hope they have painted...and on the other hand, sorta not...

sometimes i'm dreaming
expressionless the trance
sometimes i'm dreaming
so many different names

****photo of Dusty Grave as Struwwelpeter a Gothic version of an old German story book character****


  1. I have a huuuuuge downlow love affair with all things Goth. Best Goth club in Miami when I was growing up that would let me and my friends in at 14 years old of Kitchen Club. I was in LOVE with it, and the people there and the atmosphere. Until it closed down and nothing else ever opened up that was as awesome. I was then subjected to clubs playing endless Luke music about popping coochies and dooky love.
    For me, Goth was always that kinda thing I had to stand and admire from the sidelines from. I am annoyingly perky and my hair is blonde and won't hold dark colors and I just could NOT pull off the Goth look at ALL which kept me from a lot of hangouts due to insecurity. That being said, The Kitchen Club was the SHIT. The first place I'd ever been introduced to industrial music and atmosphere. Nobody cared. Once that club closed down in 1992 when I was 15 my world of living in Miami went to shit.
    In addition, my Dad was a Prof of German language and culture, and so I am VERY familiar with Struwwelpeter, so when I originally saw this photo on Dusty's interview on WLP's blog, I gave a HUGE shout out!! YEAH! That is AWESOME! Younger generations and American culture in general have no idea what Struwwelpeter is so that was super cool to see it represented in that photo!

    I'm glad you got your place BACK, and it's cool again :) And thanks for letting me share my Goth club experience. The one club I frequented in my delinquent days was the most awesome environment I had as a teen, hands down.

  2. Okay, just a complete sidenote, but which lineup of the Cure was this? I gotta ask, 'cuz I'm all kinds of obsessive about the Cure (though admittedly not so much now as I used to be), so the entire time I was reading this I was wondering "was Lol there? Simon? Porl, maybe?"

    And you're right. Vampires are not Goth. Anne Rice created the whole mopey emo vampire thing, and it crept into the whole Goth subculture like the Ebola virus, mostly after The Vampire Lestat hit the shelves. Like Steampunk is doing right now (as someone on Twitter said, Steampunk is what happens when Goths discover the color brown). I mean, you'd see plenty of po-faced youths covered in pancake all over the place in the Goth scene (thanks, Nik Fiend!), and maybe the occasional vampire cheeseball wandering about, but I think that was mostly because of the romanticism of old b/w horror flicks and associated imagery (which is why Bauhaus' "Bela Lugosi's Dead" is a lot funnier than most people think it is). Okay, maybe Dave Vanian kind of pushed the whole vampire angle a bit, too, but that was acceptable enough (and I blame a lot of that on Anne Rice too -- the Damned's 1982 song "The Dog" is all about Interview w/a Vampire).

    But then, my whole conception of what's Goth and what's Noth is kinda weird anyhoos.

  3. That is such an interesting and awesome story about you dragging The Cure along to the DNA.

    Within a scene, there will always be people looking to catch on with a fad... make it into an act. Or on the other end, be so into it they become pretentious.

    Although I fully am a big fan of Anne Rice's Vampire Chronicles, and I did grow up reading them.. it certainly was not the keystone to me becoming a part of the Goth scene.

    The biggest reasons that I enjoy the scene are my great love of Dark Wave music (read The Cure-- all the stuff my awesome mom played for us as kids), and how interesting... creative.. different and usually open minded and accepting the people within the scene tend to be.

    As far as DNA goes, it's fun... I feel mixed about it being 18+.. because on one hand it definitely does bring the level of maturity down a few decibels. On the other hand, I know quite a few young ens that frequent the club that are awesome.. and when I was that age I would have loved to go (not sure why I never did).

    All in all I did prefer the club when its headquarters were The Glas Kat, the flow of the club feels more organic. But I do like DNA too.

    But.. if you are seeking a goth club that is 21+, awesome, albeit sorta tiny.. our very own Santa Cruz ---The Box is the way to go. Great Dj's, fun and friendly people... :D

  4. Ps. In regards to the romanticism of vampires, totally dates back to the old tellings of Dracula.. and B&W. No matter the contemporary tellings, the dark savage seduction of a vampire is an enthralling concept. :)

  5. Awesome replies you guys!! I knew I was hitting a seriously controversial
    issue by bringing in the Vamp aspect!!

    Aleck- I love the Damned and yeah they did bring the idea of vamps in!!

    Larissa-The old style of Goth is more what you all call Deathrock..

    Truthfully I knew it was a hot button... That is why I chose to blog it!!

  6. Hey, wasn't Robert Smith just copying Siouxsie? ;-) That sounded like a fun night! You've presented some "hot topics."I love old school goth/ deathrock, dancing at the DNA and old style vampires, the carnivorous ones. But I refuse to see or read Twilight, True blood or most other new vamp stories... except Buffy. I'm a "sucker" for Buffy and Angel.