Venue notes: Charlie's Obsession, Los Angeles

Little-publicized dive that was the scene of an unknown number of shows in the mid-80s, including an obscure Hüsker Dü gig in early November 1985. Carla (Caldato) Trujillo, who attended the show, writes in April 2006:
      The place was called Charlie's Obsession. It was located in a scummy hotel on Spring Street in downtown LA.... This was a very scary location since my brother warned me about it and then later found out two friends had their cars broken into since they parked out front instead of the underground parking lot. The bill was DC3, Angst, SWA (my ex-boyfriend's band and the reason I remember the gig, vividly) and headlining was Hüsker Dü. I had a great time since I stood up against the left side of the stage by Greg Norton. I thought he would jump on my hand since he was bouncing around so much. The other thing that I thought was interesting was right before the band started Grant was smoking a cigarette and wanted to put it out. Not finding a suitable place he stepped on it, barefoot! young and fearless. Donít think you could get me anywhere near a place like that now that Iím 30 years on and somewhat wiser.

Les Greenfield, writing in May 2015, adds:
      Donít know why, but I was on the YouTube looking around and Snakefinger popped up. Jogged my memory of seeing him at Charlieís Obsession in í85 I believe. Donít remember the openers. ... Anyways, yep, scary place alright. Drove up from the valley and remember it right in the scum heart of downtown. Junkies and drunks vomiting on the street out front. Went inside and it was like a condemned building. It was like a friggin derelict flophouse. Me and my roommate went exploring around the building and saw rats the size of a chihuahua run down the hallways that were filled with trash. It was an unreal experience as even in the most colorful of Hollywood shitholes we never saw any place as creepy as that place.

The show was excellent. Small place. They still had the disco mirror ball on the ceiling from when it was a disco. I remember the dancefloor was something out of Saturday Night Fever. We may have seen another show there but not sure. It wasnít there very long at all. A few months I think, maybe six. Ahh to be young and fearless. Donít think you could get me anywhere near a place like that now that Iím 30 years on and somewhat wiser.

Mark [no surname given], writing in Nov 2015, adds:
      I was looking through old boxes in storage and found a 33-frame proof sheet and negatives of a roll of black and white film that I shot on Sunday, December 19, 1986, at Charlie's Obsession of a band called The Lazy Cowgirls. They were posing for me, with an upholstered restaurant booth and an ornate columnar molding in the background; the last photo has them in front of flowered wallpaper and a wall mirror (maybe the men's room?). [...] So at any rate the club was still in operation at the end of 1986.

Andy Nystrom, writing 30 years after the fact, describes his experiences at the Nov 1985 Hüsker Dü show here:
      I remember that hotel having a huge staircase and myriad rooms with various events going on in them. While poking around the place, I opened one door and people were sitting in near darkness except for a few candles flickering. I believe it was a religious gathering, since they were softly singing or chanting.

The gig was on the second or third floor-- can't remember for sure.

And the area it was located in was a sketchy one. Grant and one of his buddies walked me back to my car to make sure I was safe.


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