Wednesday, May 18, 2005

GOODBYE PARAMOUNT

Somehow my story in this morning's New Mexican didn't make it on to the free Web site (Don't get me started here ...), so I'll post it here.

By the way, in the Fan Man e-mail I quote in the article Jamie Lenfesty asks club patrons to e-mail him favorite memories of the Paramount.

I have a few of my own. I have fond memories of playing there, opening for Jonathan Richman and Jimmy Carl Black's German blues group (The Farrell & Black Band) and for last year's Bonnie Hearne benefit with half the musicians I know in Santa Fe.

But probably my favorite show there was the Concrete Blonde show in 2002. Not only was I happy that Johnette and the boys were together again and playing as ferociously as ever, but that was my daughter's 21st birthday. It was the first time I took her to a club show without having to make arrangements with the management to get her in.

So e-mail Jamie your stories and read the story below:

As published in The Santa Fe New Mexican
May 18, 2005



After bringing popular music acts to downtown Santa Fe since late 1998, The Paramount Lounge and Nightclub will close at the end of next month.

In a mass e-mail to club patrons sent Tuesday, music promoter Jamie Lenfesty wrote, “After almost seven years I am very saddened to say that it does indeed appear that The Paramount, the best nightclub that Santa Fe has ever had, is going to close at the end of June.”

The e-mail says the closing is due to “a variety of factors,” including the health of owner Donalee Goodbrod. “Her guidance and energy kept the Paramount going and the loss of that energy was a blow from which the club was never able to recover,” Lenfesty wrote.

Goodbrod, who suffered a stroke last year, couldn’t be reached for comment Tuesday.
Referring to the final two shows he has booked at the Paramount — Antibalas Afrobeat Orchestra on May 24 and alternative country singer Kathleen Edwards on June 15 — Lenfesty wrote, “please come out and show your appreciation for the Paramount and enjoy what will be the last big club shows in Santa Fe at least for awawhile.”

Doug Roberts of Phase One Realty, which has listed the Paramount’s site at 331 Sandoval St., said Tuesday that his agency is trying to sell or lease the building, which is owned by a company called Dogleg LLC.

“There’s been a lot of interest,” he said, both local operators and folks from out of town.”

Roberts said one party has discussed making office space out of the building, but the others would like to operate a restaurant and/or a nightclub in the building.

According to Phase One’s Web site, the owners would sell the 9,100-square foot building for $2 million.

A Phase One brochure for the property says, “Originally built as architectural offices in 1988, the building was extensively renovated for a high-end restaurant. Since that time property has housed several successful restaurants, the most recent of which were the Paramount nightclub, (Bar B) and Paramount Pizza.”

Before it became The Paramount, the building housed a short-lived nightclub called Cowboy. Before that, the building was the Double A restaurant, which closed in February 1997. A story in this paper at that time described it as a “Los Angeles-style glitter dome.” The Double A operators spent $5 million to remodel the building for the restaurant that lasted less than two years.


In his e-mail Lenfesty recalled many of the nationally known acts that played the Paramount. Among those to play there were Lucinda Williams, Los Lobos, Warren Zevon, Ralph Stanley, Bo Diddley, R.L. Burnside, Rickie Lee Jones, Concrete Blonde, They Might Be Giants, Ozomatli , Toots & The Maytals, Gillian Welch, The Flatlanders, Alejandro Escovedo, Stan Ridgway, Terry Allen and Junior Brown.

There are few other Santa Fe venues for national popular music acts. The Lensic Performing Arts Center brings in several name acts, but it’s a theater and not set up for dancing. WilLee’s Blues Club on South Guadalupe St. has been booking national blues artists like Ian Moore and Mem Shannon (scheduled to play there May 28). But that club is much smaller than the Paramount.

The Paramount opened about a year after the closing of a downtown spot called Santa Fe Music Hall. At that time there was much discussion and hand-wringing in the popular music community about why Santa Fe has such a hard time keeping music clubs going.

Some said at the time it was because of a slump in the tourist industry. Some noted that people don’t drink as much alcohol as they did in the ‘70s and ‘80s. Some said Santa Fe has a scarcity of people in their early 20s and that baby boomers don’t go out at night as much as they used to.

Lenfesty, in an interview Tuesday, said that whoever runs the next big music club here should explore doing more “all-ages shows” with an enclosed area for those who are too young to drink but come to hear the music.

“They have it in Albuquerque, I don’t see why we couldn’t have it hear,” he said. “It’s young people and college kids who really support live music.”

Lenfesty said the Paramount was able to work for so many years because it didn’t cater to one particular crowd. “There was live music, there were DJs,” he said. “You’ve got to be everything to everybody. You had hard rock shows, country, blues, reggae ... Bar B was more loungy. The DJs attracted gays and straights. You can’t just cater to one group and make it in Santa Fe.

“The Paramount worked for a long time and it would still work except for the loss of Donalee’s guidance,” he said. “When she got sick, that was the end.”



THE CHARRED REMAINS at THE PARAMOUNT
1999

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