With the local music scene still stunned by the El Mocambo buyout and likely transformation into a dance studio, venerable College Street venue Ted's Wrecking Yard (549 College) was abruptly closed by its landlord last Wednesday (October 24). No one was more shocked than Ted's booker Yvonne Matsell, who'd heard rumours but didn't see the shutdown coming, much less a takeover.
"Late Tuesday night," recalls Matsell, "Ted (manager Ted Footman) called me to say he was going to talk to the landlord about a problem. Then on Wednesday afternoon he called me back to say the locks had been changed due to unpaid rent. It seemed weird for only $8,500 owed."
Footman confirms this saying, "I was about eight grand short for the rent so legally, the landlord could lock me out. He's done it before, except this time he had Dan Burke from the El Mocambo waiting on the sideline."
The result of Dan Burke's wrangle is that Ted Wrecking Yard will soon be the new home of the El Mocambo.
"I've got the keys," Burke boasts. "The landlord changed the locks on Ted's Wrecking Yard Wednesday and gave Ted five business days to come up with the money or face eviction. Ted didn't, so we're taking over the lease as of November 1.
"The problem is, there's no liquor licence, and we won't have one until mid-December."
In the meantime, Burke will be putting shows into the Cadillac Lounge and the Comfort Zone. The question is, once Burke gets his new College Street venue up and running, will it be known as the El Mocambo?
"I'd fucking say so," snorts Burke. "We've got the Web site, we've got the phone number, all of it -- it's all capped."
And will the famous sign be there, too? Burke is keeping his cards close to his chest, but don't bet against seeing the neon palms on College.
"The sign needs some repairs," he grins, "so as of Thursday it'll be taken down from the El Mocambo. You know, I'd really like to have it up for the final few shows here, but what can you do?"