Curtis Cartier on the, ah, challenges facing the best haunted rock 'n' roll venue in the San Lorenzo Valley.
By Curtis Cartier
I f walls could talk, the ones at the Brookdale Lodge, a.k.a. the Brookdale Inn & Spa, could tell tales all night. At nearly 120 years old, the famously haunted hotel, restaurant and concert venue has housed countless travelers, fed untold bellies and rocked innumerable socks.
Since new owner Sanjiv Kakkar bought the business last year, however, a lot of fingers have been pointing his way as a troubles have piled up: dead steelhead trout in his stream, trash on the property, sex offenders living nearby and limited services available for guests.
Mūz has his own apartment by the beach and has no plans to enter a Brookdale Lodge hotel room anytime soon However, when it comes to messing with Central Coast concert venues--homie don't play that.
Kylan Oaks, the lodge's music booking agent and sound technician, quit recently after he said Kakkar refused to pay him. Oaks claims his boss would routinely shortchange or even stiff the bands he would book and that he had the employee turnover rate of a telemarketing firm. Still down $400, Oaks said he's taking Kakkar to court over his lost wages and has pledged to tell everyone with a set of ears about his "slumlord" of a boss.
The venomous gossip of a jaded ex-employee is to be taken with several dozen grains of salt, however. At this past Saturday's "Reggae Massive" concert featuring Jah Warri, Hypnotic Vibrations, Positive Lions and a handful of other reggae acts, a few of the venue's employees adamantly defended Kakkar, saying he is a great man with great plans who got an undeserved bad rap. Still, judging by the fact that some of the bands never even showed up, and when they didn't the venue directed all blame toward the show's promoter, it could be said that the once-venerable concert hall is struggling to keep its good name.
The night had started well for the 100 or so mostly underage attendees of Saturday's show. The $15 ticket price seemed a steal for three live bands and three DJs. But when the first DJ had played for nearly two hours and offered up only vague suggestions as to when the bands would arrive, several dreadheads began to dissent. Rachel Ranz had retired to the bar where she had planned to drown her sorrows in burgers and beer. "I can't even get a burger!" she cried. "All they have is nacho fucking cheese Doritos." Indeed, with the lodge's kitchen closed indefinitely, Doritos have been as gourmet as it gets for guests until Kakkar finishes getting his restaurant back up to code.
As the night wore on and it became increasingly apparent that Reggae Massive was turning into Reggae Wretched, a lot of the eager kids that had earlier attested to the venue's greatness now changed their minds and offered various curse-ridden descriptions for the place.
And just before presstime, Mūz heard from Positive Lions member Josh Millican, who says none of the bands that played Saturday was paid by the promoter brought in by Brookdale to replace Oaks.
While Mūz is all for big dreams and exciting changes, reverence must be paid to the others that came before. And cash must be paid to bands and employees who expect it. The Brookdale Lodge has great potential; it's time management stopped squandering it.
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