The Hideaway is a biker bar on the brim of Lake Elsinore. It's just a dank little shack on the side of the road. Inside, several dozen dollar bills are withering on the walls alongside wood-carved signs that say things like, "Liquor in Front, Poker in the Back." There is a thin layer of film in here-a mysterious composite of grime, dust and biker dander that covers most everything.
There are about eight people inside the Hideaway, four of which are members of a biker gang called The Red Devils of Riverside. There is also the barmaid-skanky like Courtney Love and 30ish with dirty-brown hair, a salamander tattooed on each of her love handles and sex dripping off her like drool from the tongue of a panting hound.
She brings my order of a Budweiser and Cuervo. I pay and put a fistful of singles into the idle jukebox.
There are certain unwritten rules one must obey if you are to survive a night in a biker bar. One of them is to choose proper biker music. Keeping this in mind, I open with a couple of cuts from Dr. Hook and the Medicine Show, followed by some Thin Lizzy for old-school style points, some Kid Rock for totally balls-out rock, and close the Super Ultimate Fabulous Biker Set with three songs from Deep Purple.
The bikers are shooting pool and it is apparent who the top dog is. It's a guy named DJ, who is high-stepping around the table like some fascist Minnesota Fats. But as the opening guitar groove of Dr. Hook's "Penicillin Penny" fills the room, the bikers begin bobbing their heads in unison, DJ's frenetic death march seems to soften and the gorgeous wench behind the bar is swaying her salamanders to the gravely, rumbling sound of Ray Sawyer's voice: "She's Penicillin Penny she's the queen of the sunset strip/If she ever gives you any then you better see a doctor reaaal quick."
Periodically, between pool shots, DJ calls her out from behind the bar. He puts his hands anywhere he wants and I can hear their tongues lasciviously thudding together, and just after DJ dismounts her mouth, a guy I call Dead Man Walking walks into the bar.
Dead Man Walking is the quintessential example of how not to comport yourself in a biker bar: He twirls around the room gazing in awe like a retard in The Grand Ballroom of the Palace of Oz. He pulls out a cell phone, dials and says, "Hey, Richie, you'll never guess where I'm sitting right now. I'm in a biker's bar!" He orders a Cape Cod from the barmaid and blatantly ogles her ass as she searches for cranberry juice. And when she delivers the drink he makes his biggest mistake yet: He hits on her.
"You married?" he says.
"No," she ho-hums him.
"I'm just asking because you're so pretty."
And I'm thinking, oh man, any moment now DJ's gonna grab some shears and play origami on this guy's face.
Dead Man Walking walks over to the jukebox and puts in a buck, then walks over to the pool table where he tries to high-five a Red Devil for a combo well taken (the Devil leers at him like he's contemplating the spot where to stick his knife), and then gives up and walks back to the bar to find a stool.
It's my turn to play pool. I shake DJ's hand and we proceed to shoot our guts out while Kid Rock blares, then Thin Lizzy, and then into song one of the Deep Purple closeout set, and I'm getting those looks like, Nice tunes, dude, and it won't be long before I make my play and buy the Red Devils of Riverside a round of rotgut-then we'll all be drinking and stinking up the joint together. I'm thinking what a fine time it will be when-suddenly-to my horror, "Islands in the Stream" starts piping out of the jukebox and the whole freaking groove comes to a screeching halt. Now the bikers have scrunched faces as if to say, I can't believe you played this song!
Of course, it wasn't me who played it, it was Dead Man Walking. I realize that not only is this guy on the path to ruin-but now he's taking me down with him. Something needed to be done. So I walk up to him at the bar, make a little small talk, and then say, "Hey man, can I give you a little advice?"
"Sure," he answers.
"It's a really bad idea to be hitting on the bartender."
"Why is that?" he asks.
"See that guy over there with the biker jacket that says, "Red Devils of Riverside-Ripping Out Your Organs since 1979'? Well, that guy is her old man. And he's about to slit open your gut and cook crystal in your stomach. And what the hell is this?" I say, pointing to his drink.
"A Cape Cod."
"Beer. Whiskey. Tequila. These are your choices in a biker bar. No Cape Cods. No Cosmopolitans. Just beer. Just whiskey. Just tequila. And for chrissake, you can't be playing "Islands in the Fucking Stream,' either. You trying to get shot? What other songs did you play?"
""Cupid,' "Rock Around the Clock' and "Teddy Bear,'" he says.
I knew then it was time to go.E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org and editor@SD citybeat.com.