If Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz were really Alicia Olink from Boynton Beach electropunk actKill Miss Pretty, and her house that spun through the air in a twister were really the much-adored but defunct Fort Lauderdale nightclub Squeeze, the whole scene might resemble the nightclub Sea Monster, the former site of Squeeze, this Saturday. Kill Miss Pretty will take the stage at the club to debut its new single, “Judy Garland,” which features Olink whispering, “I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore.”
In place of munchkins, the newly designated weekly Squeeze night at the Sea Monster likely will include the musicians and DJs who once played at the hottest alternative-rock club in 1990s Fort Lauderdale — people such as DJ Danny Bled, former Marilyn Manson guitarist Scott “Daisy Berkowitz” Putesky and some of the guys from Collapsing Lungs and Basketcase. These and other artists and musicians considered Squeeze a second home when it was open, and the new night has drawn the loyal clientele back to the spot.
From the start, Kill Miss Pretty has been concerned with fantasies and fairy tales, delivering songs about glow-in-the-dark dildos and the soul-saving power of music. Olink’s often tranquil and sometimes childlike voice is complemented by bulletlike beats, heavy guitar riffs and the evidence of influences such as PJ Harvey, Fugazi, the Beatles and the Moldy Peaches. And like the Peaches, costuming is an integral part of the band’s act. The trio’s 2006 Alice in Wonderland-themed debut at Fort Lauderdale’s Gumwrappers [now the Dive Bar] featured Olink as Alice, guitarist Russ Rogers as the Mad Hatter and bassist Martin Davis as a giant rabbit. Olink dressed as the Wicked Witch of the West for a Culture Room show a few years later, while Rogers and Davis portrayed her flying monkeys. At Moonfest in West Palm Beach, Olink played a zebra to Rogers’ and Davis’ safari guides. “We had three girls dressed as cats just crawling around stage the whole time,” Rogers says.
For the “Judy Garland” party, Olink will wear a Dorothy-inspired dress created by local designer Kayce Armstrong. “She almost always reuses other fabrics — fabric recycled from shower curtains, sheets or clothing she gets from a thrift store — so I’m excited to see what she’ll come up with,” Olink says.
Rogers, Davis and Putesky, who plays on “Judy Garland” and will perform with the band, will don Marilyn Manson-esque attire. “Not anyone in particular but just in that vibe of creepy rocker kids, guys, whatever,” Rogers says. “That’s the plan, anyway. As it gets closer, everybody’s ideas start bubbling to the surface.”
While Squeeze’s heyday took place before Olink’s time (“I think I went there but had to sneak in,” she recalls), her husband, Rogers, remembers his last performance there. At the 1994 release party for Marilyn Manson’s “Get Your Gunn” video, Rogers’ band Sinful Lust opened the show with Manson’s “Cake and Sodomy.” That night, Rogers met Trent Reznor, the Nine Inch Nails frontman who produced Manson’s first album. Afterward, Rogers’ band went out to their drummer’s van and found sleaze spray-painted on its side and panties hanging from the windows.
More than a decade since the club’s closing, some of its former patrons visit a Squeeze Facebook page to share tales of drinking till they fell off their barstools on 25-cent drink Tuesdays and leave comments such as “I still think of it around 11 p.m. on a Thursday night,” “I walk my dog by the empty building all the time and get a grinnish smile on my face” and “The South Florida nightclub scene never recovered from the end of Squeeze.” As one commenter put it: “Nothing today matches that feeling of sitting in the parking lot, pounding that last drink, puffing that last bowl, and walking towards the club just as the roll is kicking in … God, I miss that club!!!”
Rogers says it’s been about five years since he and Olink developed their new single’s “You don’t have to call me darlin’/Do me like I’m Judy Garland” hook. After recording the song with the production-engineering team of Gustav Joseph and Adam Balevic, they heard about former Squeeze owner Jack Kearney’s new monthly night at his old club. Rogers tracked Kearney down to pitch the idea for a show. “They loved it,” Rogers asserts, “and it’s been getting more and more interesting and more and more correct, like it’s the right time, the right everything.”
Kill Miss Pretty plans to release an album this summer that will include two versions of “Judy Garland” and a cover of the Marilyn Manson song “She’s Not My Girlfriend.” More important for the band, its members will continue to have fun. Rogers says that his 10 years in the Numb Ones, a band that signed to Cleopatra Records and toured the country, taught him that fun is crucial and that focusing solely on success facilitates disappointment.
“We try, at all costs, not to do any show, photo shoot, video, etc., that we are not 100 percent sure we are going to have fun doing,” Rogers explains. “It may be work, and that’s fine, but we make sure we can laugh the whole time, and not ever take it or ourselves too seriously. Actually, the more ridiculous the better.”
Kill Miss Pretty will perform 10 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 20 at Squeeze @ Sea Monster, 2 S. New River Drive W., in Fort Lauderdale. KC Killjoy and Danny Bled will DJ. Admission is $10, but those people who text, “SATURDAYS” to 313131 will receive a free drink with a $5 cover before midnight, as will anyone with a ticket stub from the Hearing Damage rock operataking place earlier in the evening at Cinema Paradiso. Call 954-767-6200.
Contact Colleen Dougher at email@example.com.
This story was originally published Feb. 15, 2010.