It’s Scream, the Club Sequel, at Play Room
With “alternative” music topping the mainstream charts, it’s hard to remember when the term applied strictly to the underground.
But in the mid-'80s, when the club scene was dominated by dance music and heavy metal, alternative subcultures had no haven, no venue to launch their bands and flaunt their shocking fashion. When Scream opened its doors in 1985, it became just such a sanctuary. During its four-year run, it became the biggest weekly Los Angeles club featuring strictly alternative music.
And now it’s back, starting Monday at the Play Room.
A lot has changed in the intervening 10 years, but the timing seemed right to Dayle Gloria, who booked acts during Scream’s first incarnation. To her eyes, the current night life terrain resembles the ‘80s, with only dance clubs and hard-rock venues to choose from. A few venues feature live alternative bands--but Scream’s original success grew from something more than that. Scream created an all-encompassing alternative atmosphere.
In 1985, Gloria and Michael Stewart were deejays bored with top 40. “I was getting into darker bands like Bauhaus and Siouxsie, so we wanted to be able to play that,” Gloria said. Stewart and fellow deejay Bruce Perdew formed a partnership, and Gloria--with her ear for good music--took charge of booking bands. Scream debuted at the Ebony Theater on Hollywood Boulevard that December. “All these bands wanted to play, and we saw the Ebony had a stage,” she said. “That’s how we got Jane’s Addiction.”
Jane’s Addiction became Scream’s premier band. The band’s music and style reflected everything the club stood for--it was dark, arty, offbeat and very alternative. “It was really nice to have an alternative to the Sunset Strip scene, a place to go and have it be our own,” says former Jane’s Addiction guitarist Dave Navarro. Scream took up residence downtown, at the Embassy, then after 1987 at the Park Plaza Hotel. Murals and slide projections set the mood, while acts such as the Red Hot Chili Peppers and X performed. They added a Monday dance night at Hollywood’s Probe club, and the Scream scene expanded to incorporate the new glam-metal crowd, who mixed with the alternative set to create a colorfully eclectic party.
Scream’s last shout came in 1989 when Gloria and Stewart’s partnership cracked under the weight of “creative differences.” Stewart started Helter Skelter, while Gloria began the Club With No Name, which ran until 1992. She left the club world in 1995, and has been working as a veterinary assistant, at Beverly Hills Animal Hospital. But she began to miss the charge of putting together shows. Still, It wasn’t until When she saw the newly Play Room--formerly the Probe--she felt ready to try it again.
Gloria’s plans are to hold Scream 2000 monthly, complete with the slide projections--photos from Scream’s glory years--deejays spinning music from the past and present, as well as live bands. “I want it to be a combination everything I did in the past,” she said. Only time will tell if audiences for today’s alternative music are willing to remember where their roots are, and maybe get a glimpse of where they’re headed.
Scream 2000, Monday at the Play Room, 836 N. Highland Ave., Hollywood, with Green Jelly, Motochrist, American Pearl and more. $10. (323) 460-6630.