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This is a picture of the Spa Motel lounge sign, sadly demolished about eight years ago in order to build a new police station.

The dB's stayed at the Spa whenever we'd come to Chicago to play. It was not what you'd call a luxurious place; in fact, it struck me at the time as being somewhat iffy in its clienetele (many paying hourly rates). But the nice folks there, Boris and his mom, always had room for us, and that's where we parked and slept and partied when we were in town.

The lounge was always pleased to see us. We were comparative regulars among the touring bands who came through the Spa. We closed the lounge down nightly, as befitted young rock gods like ourselves. The cover band from the bar across the street would come in and give us a hard time, which we always looked forward to. Some of the stuff they'd say ended up as lyrics to "Huey, Dewey and 'Louie, Louie'" from Paris Avenue.

One time through, the band we were opening for (The Bureau), who had been on tour with the Pretenders, were unable to get their gear off the trucks that carried the headliner's equipment. We, ever helpful, offered them our gear so they could do the show with us. Never heard back from them, so we did the whole gig ourselves, had a right good time doing it and retired to the Spa Lounge for aftershow festivities.

The members of the Bureau were scattered around the bar. I went up to one of them and tried to initiate a conversation about how sorry we were they couldn't do the gig. His head rose slightly, and I heard him slur "Fuck off, mate" as he turned back around to his drink. I went back to my table and decided that my attempt at civility was useless.

About half an hour later, our manager gave me a nudge. "I think your friend from the other band has just thrown up on himself." Sure enough, Bureau Boy was still propped against the bar, with a gigantic splash of vomit all over his shirt. Hope the rest of his tour went alright, and that he had a change of clothes with him.

Once, I got given one of the hourly rooms, I'm sure, because it had mirrored ceilings, nasty velour bedspreads (ala what Knights Inn used to have) and there was some sort of solarized-looking porn on the tv. Although I can't remember completely, I'm sure that the decor added to whatever intimacy was achieved.

The Spa is long gone, but I bet any band who ever stayed there has a good story to tell.


Gil said…
We never got to stay in hotels....
..but if we did, the Spa woulda been awesome!
steve scariano said…
Ah, The Spa! To paraphrase the old John Sebastian song, the stories it could tell! They definitely don't make 'em like that wonderful old joint anymore, do they? Thanks for the memories, mate. :)

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