The Bedrock Lounge was “the” place to go in the mid-to-late-1980s for music and dancing. It was located on Sixth Avenue, just off Proctor. On the weekends people were lined up to go in. They had live music on Friday and Saturday evenings . . . groups mostly from Seattle, although there was a rumor that Black Flag from L.A. wanted to come to Tacoma and perform at The Bedrock. I think that every local alternative rock band that never made it big played at The Bedrock. The decor was a little trashy with old TVs lining the walls and music playing too loudly.
I usually perched on a stool at the tavern across the street. I’d sit with my buddies, have a couple of beers, and watch the Sonics on TV. Out the window I got a kick out of the people in their “gothy” black clothes, and their spiky hair, weird make-up, and funny smelling cigarettes. They weren’t all like that, however. One “regular” looking young woman caught my eye. She wore blue jeans, a pink sweatshirt over a white blouse, and matching baby pink leather high top tennis shoes. She didn’t look anything, but cute. I liked her smile and I liked her laughter. Sitting in the tavern I couldn’t really hear her laughter, but I imagined it. Sometimes in bed with the covers making me warm and comfortable I swear I could hear it miles away from Sixth Avenue.
One night, after a grueling loss by the Sonics, a small 8×11 poster on the tavern bulletin board caught my eye. The headline read “Mamma Don’t Dance After Two AM this weekend at the Bedrock Lounge.” For some reason, instead of walking directly to my car, I crossed the street to the little market on the corner. I bought some Red Vines and a bag of chips. Nothing says living, like food that’s bad for you. I am such a rebel. As I came out of the market, I saw Little Miss Pink Shoes pull a Mamma Don’t Dance poster off a telephone pole, and put it in her purse as she walked away.
Driving home I turned on the radio and twisted the dial until I got some music that sounded like the type of music that came from The Bedrock. Sometimes after a Sonics game on the weekend I would walk slowly from the tavern to my car . . . absorbing melodies and riffs. Now and then I would hum a few bars to my friends and ask “What’s the name of this song.” Mostly they just looked at me and shrugged their shoulders. However, my buddy Chuck knew some of the songs and would tell me a few of the groups and singers: Tears for Fears, Belinda Carlisle, The Beastie Boys, The Ramones, Patty Smith, Sex Pistols, and The Clash. I felt like I was getting an education.
Back home in bed I got warm and cozy and went to sleep singing “Karma Chameleon.” As I drank my morning coffee the next day I resolved to give The Bedrock Lounge a try. I thought to myself, “Maybe Momma Don’t Dance will dance with me this weekend.
Late Friday night I was at the tavern sipping a Pepsi and keeping an eagle eye on the people milling about outside the Bedrock. Soon the tavern was going to close. I had to use the restroom, but didn’t want to miss Little Miss Pink Shoes. I finally left the bar, and walked across the street. I really had to go, but I knew I could hold it until I got into the Bedrock. In line I danced around a little bit. Well, people thought I was dancing. I was just holding back the pee. I did a really smooth hop and turn as Little Miss Pink Shoes walked by and said, “Nice moves” and then chuckled. I followed her to the end of the line. She smiled as I introduced myself. “First time here? I don’t think I’ve seen you here before?” Before I could answer, murmuring from the front of the line reached all the way down to us. Apparently, we all miss-read the poster. The Bedrock, thanks to the state liquor control board was no longer going to allow dancing after 2:00 AM. Or maybe they just caught up with the owners. Like the tavern, they were closed.
I stood there gritting my teeth when LMPS said, “Wow, you’re taking this really hard.” I had to confess that I was in dire need of a bathroom. LMPS laughed and laughed, introduced herself and then said, I just live around the corner with a couple of friends. I know they’re still up. Let’s go.
The Bedrock closed a few months later. By then we had danced away many nights to the music of Danger Bunny, Rebel Blade, and our favorite ska band, Arms Akimbo. I proposed the last night they were open. She said, “Yes” a few days later. We couldn’t afford live music for the wedding reception, but made do with Ian Dury & The Blockheads on cassette tape singing “Hit Me with Your Rhythm Stick.”
The views expressed in this article are the writer’s own.