As a Colorado native, I’ve seen a ton of changes in my homestate over the past 30 years. For the better part of the last 12 years, I’ve lived in Capitol Hill (for you non-Denverites, that’s the neighborhood directly adjacent to the downtown area). I’ve seen a lot of things change around here. Most of the change has been a good thing. When I first moved to this neighborhood, I constantly got offered drugs and got harassed for spare change. One time, a hooker approached my room mate and I and asked if we were “down to fuck for a little piece of rock.” Gross.
Suffice to say, the neighborhood has cleaned up for the most part. I feel safe for the most part no matter where I am now. To boot, many of the local businesses have cleaned their shit up too, and if they didn’t, they got shut down.
One of the mainstays in the neighborhood was a bar called Bender’s Tavern. I didn’t really care for the place personally, but it was always decent enough for music and drinks. Really, I only went in there a handful of times. The most memorable being an after party for a Pigface show. Martin Atkins and Curse Mackey were spinning some alright records and I got wasted with alright people from the band. Fun times.
Seeing as I rarely ever went to Bender’s, I didn’t ever get a chance to really enjoy the place. What I did do though was enjoy the Johnny Cash mural that was painted on the side of the building. I got to see it every time I drove down 13th Ave. Check it out:
Pretty badass right? I’ve been down that street countless times throughout the years, and every time I passed, I would check out the Cash mural. Unfortunately, last year, Bender’s announced that it was going out of business. I never officially heard anything, but I drove by it a few times and realized that it had shut down. I wondered what they were gonna do with the space for a while, then honestly just forgot about it.
Last week, I was driving down the street towards the previous home of Bender’s Tavern. I had heard that Quixote’s True Blue, a bar that is heavily involved in the jam band/Grateful Dead scene was moving in. Personally, I don’t give a single shit about the Grateful Dead (or jam bands for that matter). The music never spoke to me and the scene behind it annoys me even more than the 45 minute “songs” that these bands crap out. Really, just not my thing.
I really didn’t even consider that Quixote’s may change the Cash mural. I suppose I just kind of assumed that it would be there on the side of the building, greeting me with all of it’s awesomeness like it had for the past several years. Instead, as I approached, this is what I saw.
What. The. Fuck!?!? I was speechless. I could believe that Bender’s was gone, but I couldn’t believe that the hippie bastards would actually paint over the Johnny Cash mural. To me, that just seems wrong. Putting all of my personal judgements and opinions aside, I don’t understand how anyone could put Jerry goddamn Garcia over Johnny Cash. Really, unless you are a fan of the Dead, I challenge you to name more than 5 Dead songs….Can’t do it? Don’t worry, most people can’t.
What makes this even more maddening is the fact that there is another Grateful Dead bar just blocks away from this one. Guess what’s painted on the side of that one? You guessed it! More Jerry Garcia bullshit. Check it out:
I’m really behind on this whole thing too. A couple months back, the local Denver newspaper Westword published this article about the switch. Not long after the Garcia mural was unveiled, someone vandalized it. Read about that here.
The change’s that have happened in the Capitol Hill neighborhood are mostly good. No longer am I getting pushed for money or drugs. Crackhead hookers aren’t trying to blow me for a dollar, and I don’t worry about getting stabbed when walking down the street. Unfortunately though, some of the change’s in my neighborhood I feel are for the worst. Like painting over a Johnny Cash mural. The man in black must be turning in his grave.
What do you think? Would you rather have a Jerry Garcia mural or a Johnny Cash Mural? Leave me a comment and let me know or tell me on Facebook or Twitter: