From all accounts, the re-opening of Club Dada went swimmingly last Friday night; the mayor spoke, the bands played, the drinks flowed. Long gone are the bad memories of former owner Steven Shin, who disappeared a few months ago owing his employees, his landlord and the state of Texas thousands and thousands of dollars. At least, the new owners, the Beatles trib band Hard Night's Day, thought Shin was long gone.
Before the festivities got under way last Friday, one of the new owners, Hard Night's Day bassist Mark Ehman, was intercepted by a courier, who wanted him to sign for an envelope. Much to Ehman's surprise, inside that envelope was a cease-and-desist letter from Shin, who's claiming he owns the name Club Dada and the neon logo perched above the front door.
"We just turned it over to our legal team, and it will be worked out," says Hard Night's Day guitarist Bob Cummins, who's behind the band's taking over the club. "But Steven owes a lot of people a lot of money and is in serious debt and default. I think we'll come out on top. If anything, we'll just call it Dada if we have to. That's what everybody else calls it...We haven't heard from Steve in two months, and then boom, right when we opened the door, [the courier] showed up. It added to the drama of the whole opening. It was kinda fun."
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Sounds like. Problem is, Shin still owes plenty of folks--including iconic door man John "Beard" Brewer--plenty of money; landlord Don Cass probably wants his $40,000 in back rent, while Beard's still petitioning the Texas Workforce Commission to do something about the money owed him. That Shin's spending his dough and time going after guys trying to make something of a place he left in shambles is ballsy, sure, but also odious. If anything, he was a caretaker for a name and a place started by others--Tom Henvey, Doak Boettiger and David Border--and did a crap job of tending to its estimable legacy. That he didn't just skulk away is absolutely, breathtakingly, confoundingly stunning. I believe Hard Night's Day has just the song for this occasion: Dude, let it be. --Robert Wilonsky