Off Beat

Former mayor Sharon Sayles Belton once noted that obtaining a Hard Rock Cafe would be one of the important steps in Minneapolis's transition to "cool." Yet with the restaurant/club set to open September 12, one wonders just how much of an impact putting, say, the lead-singer-from-Candlebox's flannel in a glass case will have on the Warehouse District. Admittedly, what makes something "cool" is hard to pin down. But show us a fanny-pack-wearing jackass with a Hard Rock London T-shirt, and we'll show you what cool isn't.

Granted, as an alternative weekly that happens to be incorporated, City Pages might not be in a position to haze our new chain-club neighbors. So we assembled a blue-ribbon panel to do it for us.


CITY PAGES: Do you think the Hard Rock will make it past its first Minnesota winter?

LORI BARBERO, FORMER BABES IN TOYLAND DRUMMER: My Grandma said, "If you can't say anything nice about somebody, don't say anything at all."

KIM HA, RADIO K DJ: Chances are, the Hard Rock Cafe will have to stay open until at least a dozen of their T-shirts end up at a Savers in a different state.

JAKE RUDH, LOCAL DJ: As long as Minnesota remains surrounded by Canada, the Dakotas, and Iowa, unfortunately, I think the Hard Rock Cafe will not only survive, it'll thrive.

LEE BAILEY, GENERAL MANAGER, HARD ROCK CAFE: Of course. We never like to put numbers on it, but we will do very well our first year.


CP: How do you think the new neighbors will get along?

BAILEY: We are honored to be located next to First Avenue and its history. I mean, Prince shot Purple Rain there!

STEVE MCCLELLAN, GENERAL MANAGER, FIRST AVENUE: I am just very proud that the Powers That Be behind this city's long-range planning efforts have finally brought a "real" rock club to downtown Minneapolis after all these years.


CP: Do you think Hard Rock's food will be better than First Ave.'s pizza, at least?

SEAN Tillmann, A.K.A. SEAN NA NA AND HAR MAR SUPERSTAR: I don't think so. I like First Ave.'s pizza. But hopefully, it compares to the now-defunct Hulk Hogan's Pastamania.

HA: You should not be able to buy anything but stale potato chips at a bona fide rock club.


CP: What kind of cheesy memorabilia will be featured at the Minneapolis location?

HA: Prince's silk bathrobe? Maybe the original lyrics to "Funkytown"?

SAMMY G, SELBY TIGERS: They have been in touch and I will be donating my scarf collection and a retired jumpsuit. I am told they are to be prominently displayed, apparently right next to several items from my good friend Louie Anderson.

Tillmann: The actual suits that David Lee Roth's midget bodyguards wore would be awesome.

BAILEY: We don't have any cheesy things. We have 65,000 pieces of memorabilia worth over $32 million in all of our cafés.


CP: C'mon, what about Christina Aguilera's bustier?

BAILEY: Well, we had Madonna's bustier at the Salt Lake City location and people loved it!