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Andrew Adler moved into the club as a 19-year-old when it was still on Luckie Street and stayed for several years, working for rent and a salary of $50 a week.
"It was a communal scene," says Adler, nicknamed "Andrew the Mug" because he emulated the tough-guy talk used in classic '40s gangster movies. "There was a safe, all-ages environment; everyone had fun, but they came away with a sense of political awareness."
An ugly blemish on the city's punk scene came in the mid-'80s, when a gang of neo-Nazi skinheads began squatting in a vacant warehouse across the street from the 'Plex and would come to the clubs to start trouble. Adler recalls a Black Flag show at 688 when one climbed onstage to hassle female bassist Kira Roessler, but singer Henry Rollins threw him off.
DuVall took the skinhead movement personally, believing they'd targeted the Metroplex as a racist reaction to the fact that a hardcore band had a black guitarist. The club played host to a number of integrated bands or African-American artists, such as Bad Brains and Fishbone.
After being kicked out of the club on a nightly basis, Adler says, the skinheads eventually moved to Little Five Points, where they continued to cause mayhem for a number of years.
David Durango came to live at the Metroplex in late 1987 when it got too cold in his unheated warehouse space downtown. Better-known as "Rotten Dave," Durango fronted the band Rotten Gimmick, which played regularly at the 'Plex. He spent the rest of his time doing odd jobs around the club, picking up girls and basically hanging out with rock stars.
Some nights, he'd find Henry Rollins sitting in a corner writing poetry or Lemmy from Motörhead playing pinball or Mott the Hoople's Ian Hunter without his trademark sunglasses. When El Duce, the late singer for shock-rockers the Mentors, got drunk and passed out in the club's filthy bathroom, folks took turns writing on his bald head with a marker.
"To me, it was the coolest place in the world to live," Durango says. "I'm now in Florida a couple miles from the beach, but I still miss the Metroplex."
In the end, it wasn't loud music, violence or drugs that brought down the Metroplex; it was politics. In the summer of 1988, longtime activist Cornwell hosted a weeklong "Alternative Convention" to coincide with the Democratic National Convention taking place a few blocks away at the Omni.
He brought in LSD pioneer Timothy Leary, then-Libertarian presidential nominee Ron Paul, Native American activist Russell Means, political activist Lenora Fulani and political humorist Pat Paulsen, in addition to a dozen local and international bands. But police, citing safety concerns, barricaded Marietta Street outside the 'Plex, turning away many of Cornwell's would-be customers.
"I lost somewhere between 20 and 30 grand on that event," says Cornwell, who blames city leaders for orchestrating the club's demise. He closed the Metroplex in December 1988. A few months later, the building was gutted by a mysterious fire and demolished.
Adler believes Atlanta's punk scene effectively died when the Metroplex shut its doors. "Since there was no club for the scene to call home, the next generation of punks never really took hold," he says. "These days, people go to a club because they want to see a particular band, not so much to hang out and be part of a community."
Punk's last gasp
Certainly, GG Allin wasn't interested in building community. The notorious East Coast shock-punker, famed for performing in a jock strap and taking dumps onstage, was on tour in 1991 when his band left him in Atlanta. Allin took up temporary residence in the Clermont Hotel and soon agreed to a session with local recording engineer Jeff Bakos.
Bakos recalls that although Allin "smelled like piss," he seemed civil and normal enough during rehearsals. "Then, when I handed him the microphone, he turned into GG Allin, this character with frantic energy who ran around the studio like a wild man," Bakos says.
Shortly thereafter, Bakos stopped by to visit Allin backstage following a gig at the Wreck Room. While Allin was chatting with friends and fans, his girlfriend, a Clermont stripper, "whipped her pants down in the middle of the dressing room, peed into a pitcher, and he drank it," Bakos remembers. "GG always had to be the most outrageous motherfucker on the planet – and he was."
A few months later, Bakos got a call from Allin, who was in a Detroit jail for throwing feces on his audience. "He said he wanted to do another recording, but the next thing I heard, he was dead," Bakos says.
Allin OD'd on heroin in June 1993 after a particularly raucous New York concert. He was found face-down in a friend's apartment, covered in blood and feces, but it was several hours before anyone realized he had died. That same year, one of his last singles, "Hotel Clermont," was released.
come on man you know you got a bromance. you probably still rock that OutKast…
Yes, 14 is the correct answer. I'll pass your info along to the group's manager,…
That was January of 2007, and they are 21 now, so I'm guessing 14?