I have always had a very schizophrenic relationship with the Hard Rock Casino. A love/hate relationship if you will.
On one hand, I have very much enjoyed walking around and viewing all of the rock memorabilia over the years. My favorite display is this guitar autographed by Coldplay ... the greatest band ever.
Throughout the past decade, I saw quite a few good shows at the Joint, including Alice in Chains, Velvet Revolver, Foo Fighters, and Axl n' Roses -- and for the most part, those shows were excellent.
Aside from the actual music and memorabilia, however, I sort of hate the place.
First of all, I've never quite understood the evening "dress code". It seems to be anathema to what the hotel stands for.
Think about it. A dress code at the "Hard Rock". Really?
Have you seen the typical rock musician? Not one of today's fashionably coiffed synth players, of course, but one from the pre-2000 emo hipster fruitcake era.
I've said it before and I'll say it again, a real "Hard Rock" Hotel should be populated by long-haired, pale white, emaciated people who have not bathed in three weeks with a syringe sticking out of their arm as they contemplate how to off themselves in a guest room. The cocktail waitresses should be dressed like kinderwhores and have equal parts lipstick and vomit smeared across their faces.
The only, and I mean the only dress code for a "Hard Rock Hotel" should be the following: No Visible Fecal Matter.
Of course, I am exaggerating to make a point, but I believe that my point is valid. The Hard Rock Hotel & Casino is anything but "hard rock".
It's a property populated by ever-preening trust-fund babies racking up gambling debts with daddy’s credit card. It's a property populated by people who couldn't fret a cowboy C chord if their life depended on it. It's a pretentious frat house chock full of talentless pretendsters, posers, and wannabes.
Come to think of it, maybe it is a little hard rock after all.
This week comes news that I may not be the only one who isn't exactly buying what the Hotel is selling. Finally, I have an ally in my rage against the Hard Rock Hotel machine. Finally, I have a major corporate player who is backing up what I have been saying all along.
"Gee Rex, who else thinks that the Hard Rock Hotel has gone completely overboard with its 'Douchebags in Paradise' motif?"
Well, I'll tell you ... the folks who wholeheartedly agree with me are none other than the owners of the Hard Rock Cafe itself.
Owners of the Hard Rock Cafe restaurant chain are suing owners of the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas over its name, saying the casino's party image has damaged the moniker enough to justify ending a 14-year-old licensing agreement. The lawsuit says that the cable reality show "Rehab: Party at the Hard Rock Hotel" on truTV casts its brand in a bad light. The lawsuit says the show portrays the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino as a place that "revels in drunken debauchery, acts of vandalism, sexual harassment, violence, criminality and a host of other behavior" that most people would find offensive, including patrons of Hard Rock restaurants.
The hotel is owned by Morgans Hotel Group -- a company that is entirely separate from the cafe chain. Hard Rock Cafe agreed to let the hotel use its name, but now wants to rescind the deal. If the restaurant chain wins its lawsuit, the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino would be forced to change its name and brand, which have been central to its strategy of marketing to music lovers and others who know the Hard Rock name. The cafe owners said in the lawsuit that the casino's pool parties, which are also titled "Rehab," have been associated with criminal activity, damaging the Hard Rock name.
What a predicament.
While I can sort of see where the Hard Rock Cafe is coming from, I would be remiss if I didn't wonder aloud "What goodwill?". I mean, I get that they don't want to be associated with Morgans, but I'm not sure that the behavior of Rehab's patrons threatens the authenticity of the Hard Rock Cafe brand.
I've been to Hard Rock Cafe a couple of times, and once again, they didn't really seem very 'hard rock' to me. In my opinion, Hard Rock Cafe is to hard rock music what the Olive Garden is to Italian food. They are to the 'hard rock' lifestyle what Las Vegas is to anything-goes fun. For the most part, it's just an image. An unbelievable image. When large corporations try to shop sex, drugs, and rock & roll to the white-collar, college-educated, good credit-scoring masses, the end product is usually pretty lame.
Personally, I have never seen the reality show referenced by the Hard Rock Cafe, but from its name, I'm pretty sure I get the idea. My guess is that watching this particular show is like watching the Douchebag Olympics. You probably have 1,000 people on camera trying to out-vinegar one another, with throngs of spectators yelling "Whooooooooo!" the entire time.
Again, this is probably not wholly inconsistent with the clientele of the Hard Rock Cafe. I am aware that the Cafe is a bit more family-friendly, but it may be a little disingenuous for the HRC to cite "drunken debauchery" as something that they do not want to be associated with. Again, it is named the HARD ROCK Cafe. Not just rock, but hard rock: Pot-smoking, head-banging, skank-banging, devil-horn-making, hard fucking rock.
It's hard to believe that a few douchebags squirting around in an artificial pond in Desert Detroit would really tank their image, but I can kind of see where they are coming from.
Then again, what did the Cafe think it was getting into when it licensed the name to Morgans? It was, after all, a Las Vegas resort casino, and it's always catered to a younger, more affluent, college demographic. They had to have had some idea of how it was all going to go down.
It sounds like seller's remorse to me, or maybe, just maybe ... the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino has finally gone too far.
I mean, there are small, disposable douchebags, and then there are those big, huge expandable bags with 6' rubber hoses on the end.
Perhaps the Cafe thought it was getting the former, but ended up getting the latter.
In any event, the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino may, eventually, be getting a different name.
I don't know, but believe me when I tell you ... I do have a few ideas.
Coming soon to the corner or Paradise and Harmon, the brand spanking new Receptacle of Feminine Hygiene Fluid Hotel and Casino.
I think it has a nice ring to it.