By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Eric Nicholson
In August 1999, the city took the decision out of the owners' hands: After threatening to fine Baish and the Worthams if any more shows happened at Rubber Gloves before the parking lot was finished, the trio canceled several weeks of scheduled gigs and shut the doors. It turned out to be a bit of a blessing in disguise. "The fact that we had to cancel shows until the parking lot was in was a real blow to Memory and Jason financially," Baish said at the time. "But it actually gave us a chance to get a lot of things done, not having to worry about shows and staying late to get things done."
Rubber Gloves reopened in September 1999, and Baish set a more "realistic time frame" for the bar's official opening: October 30. He was almost right; the bar did open in October, except it was one year later.
Construction was completed on time, but that only meant the club was ready for the inspectors to decide if it was good enough. The next year was spent keeping everyone happy: This inspector would tell them to do that, that inspector said they had to do this, and more often than not, they contradicted each other. Every department had a different set of codes it adhered to, and by the time they were finished with him, Baish's patience had disappeared under a mountain of paperwork and an endless parade of inspectors.
"They just come and go," Baish says. "You know, you're calling for one guy, and he's not there anymore, it's this guy. Then this guy gets transferred to this department."
Even after the city was satisfied with the condition of the club, the bar still was not allowed to open. Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission regulations required Rubber Gloves to post a sign two months before it planned on opening the bar, informing the general public of its intention to start selling alcoholic beverages. Baish knew about the sign early on--he was informed of the requirement in January 2000--but the company in charge of filing Rubber Gloves' application for a liquor license told him that such a sign was unnecessary. By the time Baish found out the sign was needed, the opening date had to be postponed. Again.
Once the sign was secured and in place for the required two months, Rubber Gloves' bar finally opened on October 5, with a show featuring Chicago's Joan of Arc and local band [DARYL]. By that time, though, Baish and the Worthams were no longer the co-owners of Rubber Gloves. "Josh started realizing that there's not going to be any money made splitting it up," Jayson Wortham says, "so he wanted to buy me out."
"As the months went on and we were dealing with all the red tape with trying to get the bar opened, it became more and more on my end, dealing with the kind of crap that no one wants to deal with," Baish says. Even though everyone involved considers him the club's sole owner now, he has yet to officially buy out the Worthams. "Once the bar opened, it was clear to me that, with the time and money that had been put forth, to divide that 50-50, that wasn't fair. That wasn't something that was gonna happen. I wanted to compensate them for starting the club and seeing it through, but it just became more and more evident to me that having two people..." He trails off, losing the thought. "It had come to the point where I was taking care of everything, and I don't want to say that there was no room, but it became more and more a one-sided deal."
The Worthams weren't pleased with the situation at first, leaving the club they'd started behind. Any hard feelings, however, have evaporated. "Now that I'm removed from the place, I'm really, really a lot happier now," Jayson says. "I hope the best for him, and I hope the best for the place. Denton definitely needs something."
Which is why Baish got involved in the first place and why he's still fighting to open the club's outdoor stage. He was initially told Rubber Gloves would never be able to open the stage, based on its continued parking problem. But after working with city planner Thomas Gray for the past few months, he's on the verge of doing just that, leaving his problems with the city behind. For now.
"I talk to Dan at Dan's Bar, and Dan tells me that he deals with a lot of the same shit that I'm dealing with," Baish says. "I think that, mainly, Denton just has their codes and ordinances. They enforce them so much stricter than Dallas. I think a lot of that has to do with Denton wants to stay small, older...they want to stay true to the historic aspects of Denton. But I don't see it as the city versus the kids. Like, 'We just want to rock.' I don't think it's that. They have a job to do, and I respect that. I just wish we could come to a definite conclusion, because it would save everybody time. I'm sure that they don't want to keep having to do Rubber Gloves shit. Rubber Gloves this, Rubber Gloves that. Let's do it and move on, you know."