UnNews:Veteran punk rocker laments demolition of club he once trashed

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Veteran punk rocker laments demolition of club he once trashed

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13 November 2006


The burnt out interior of Macedonian Hall holds special memories for local resident Todd Stollings, who vandalized it in 1981 as a teenager.

ANAHEIM, California -- When local punk rocker Todd Stollings looks at Macedonian Hall in Anaheim, he sees more in the rundown nightclub than an eyesore or a nuisance. Stollings, 41, spent some of the most memorable nights of his adolescence in the shabby building, and he is one of the few local residents opposed to the scheduled demolition of the venue in early December. "My youth is in that building," Stollings sighs. "That, and a whole lot of my vomit and urine."

"This is a historic spot, and here they're just going to tear it down. It's really sad."

Macedonian Hall, built in 1934 by automobile dealer Stephanou Giouros as a gift to the community and intended to serve as a cultural center for local Macedonians, Albanians, Turks, and Serbs, underwent a number of changes during its 72-year existence, serving at various times as a roller rink, a disco, a Pentecostal church, and a discreet meeting place for Marines from the base at Tustin, but one of its most notable incarnations was as a punk rock club in early 1981. "All of the best known local hardcore bands played here. Black Flag, The Adolescents, Bad Religion, Circle One--all the bands that were too notorious to get booked anywhere else played the Macedonian."

While the bands raged on Macedonian Hall's tiny stage, Stollings and his friends took out their teenage frustration on the interior fixtures of the building. "Oh, man, we used to rip the shit out of that place," he recalled. "You know how clubs have those booths along the walls? Well, we used to stand up on top of the banquette benches that were still there and rip down these old cloth pattern things [200-year-old Albanian tapestries installed in 1939 by Giouros] from the wall. Then we'd throw them into the slam pit and see how many fights it would cause. Fuck, that was awesome. The only thing more fun than that was getting our hands on the fire extinguisher and spraying that foamy white shit all over the carpet. People would be slipping and sliding everywhere. Speaking of slipping and sliding, man, I saw more people slip and fall in that men's room after my friend Mike Santorum yanked the fixtures out of the sink and fucking flooded the place. Sometimes you had to just go into the ladies' room, which was easy because we had kicked so many holes into the wall between the rooms."

Todd Stollings at age 16 rallies his fellow punk rockers inside Macedonian Hall to help him destroy rare Albanian artworks hanging on the club's walls. Stollings, now 41, opposes the demolition of the nightclub.

"Yeah, but we couldn't stand on the banquettes anymore after me and Jeff DiOrio sliced the seats open, tore all the stuffing out, peed on it, and jammed it down one of the toilets," Stollings continued. "God, there'll never be another spring of 1981," he said, blinking back tears.

Stollings recalls one night when Scottish hardcore punk group The Exploited played the Macedonian, and the promoter sold tickets to more people than the club was able to hold. "We went off that night," recalled Stollings, visibly excited nearly a quarter of a century later. "Around ten o'clock it kind of became clear to us that they weren't going to let us in. We could hear the Circle Jerks starting to play--they were one of the opening bands--and me and my friends got, like, forty or fifty guys together and tried to rush the doors. They were locked, so we just started breaking windows and shit while we figured out what to do. Well, after about fifteen minutes of this, who do we see coming down the street but Jack Grisham, from TSOL, pushing a giant dumpster--and the trash inside it was on fire! So we all got behind the dumpster and pushed it as hard as we could through those locked doors. They didn't stay locked for long, man. The Exploited never got to play, but we got in there long enough to watch the whole front wall of the building catch fire. That's a piece of Orange County musical history, right there. But I guess those kinds of memories aren't important to our city fathers. They're just going to tear it down like it's nothing, and build a goddamned Starbucks or something. Doesn't anybody care about the past in this city?"

If all goes according to schedule, Macedonian Hall will be bulldozed on December 7. Stollings has no patience for neighbors' arguments that the burnt-out hulk is dangerous, blights the neighborhood, and reduces property values. "There are more important values than money," he said, adding that he had hoped to bring his children to the site some day.

"My kids are five and six. Soon they would have been old enough to show them the remains of those old Macedonian statue things that me and my friend Chris Hetson busted all to shit one night with one of the legs that we had sawed off of a table. They'll never see it now. I hope those fucking yuppies enjoy their Frappucinos."

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