The Chop Suey as we know it is ready to shut down after one final weekend and a couple epilogeous nights. The situation makes for a difficult obituary — CHS has reported that the E Madison venue is being prepared to live on under new owners with backgrounds in music and the LA club scene.
Erin Carnes, the co-owner of The Escondite, a live music venue and burger joint in downtown LA, and her musician business partner Brianna Rettig are set to begin an overhaul to both the interior and the exterior of the 1937-built building at 14th and Madison. The 2002-born Chop Suey business was on the market for just under $100,000 this summer as the Japanese company that owned Chop Suey decided to bring its investment to an end. In 2009, the club was purchased by the same ownership as K’s Dream, a live music venue in Tokyo. The business partners have declined to comment on the record but said to expect details soon. One performer with knowledge of the new set-up said music and performance will remain part of the new club’s offerings but that the way events are booked and promoted is set to transition to a “for rent” format that leaves elements like marketing and ticketing to the acts to handle. UPDATE: CHS has been told this format is NOT part of the new plan.
The change, of course, won’t be the first for the club. The early 2000s transition from punk hangout the Breakroom came under the auspices of some familiar names — the Chop’s founding co-owners were Wade Weigel, Jeff O’Felt, and Linda Derschang. They overhauled the venue and gave it what the Seattle Times called a “swank rock” feel — a “front-of-the-club lounge, with leopard carpet, Chinese lanterns, cocktail tables and a wrap-around bench.”
So, here’s to longtime booker Jodi Ecklund and the old Chop Suey — the one where you probably saw a few great shows along with the nights you took one for the team to support friends in bands. There are some bittersweet remembrances out there including this from The Stranger’s Larry Mizell, Jr.. The killer in the shooting he mentions as part of the end of hip hop at the club, by the way, received a 30-year sentence in the case.
If you’re looking to make one last visit to the 12-year-old Chop Suey, you might consider Saturday night’s School of Rock Show as the kids perform the music of The Dead Kennedys. “WARNING: This show contains explicit material and may not be suitable for everyone,” the promo notes. Very punk rock. Sunday’s big goodbye is sold out. Monday ends with a night of metal. Tuesday, in the most eilogeously epilogeious epilogues of all, the Chop closes its business with an invite-only “Budtenders’ Ball” sponsored by a “cannabis products” company.