For Lyn O’Rourke and Trevor Watson, that wasn’t going to cut it. From 1981 until 1989, they ran Club i-D, a weekly club night with a freewheeling vibe and a focus on new-wave. Though it was held at multiple venues over the years, its most famous location was The Mississippi Room at the Lafayette Hotel in North Park, where the line to get in would stretch around the block every Monday night.
“I’d say a lot of people didn’t make it to work the next day,” says Tim Mays, owner of The Casbah, who partied and occasionally booked shows at Club i-D before opening his venue in 1989. “It was the only place in town that was playing all the new music back then that was coming out.”
Club i-D is having a comeback at the Mississippi Room on Saturday, May 5, as part of the hotel’s weekend-long Rock the Boulevard party. Just as he did 30 years ago, Watson will set up his turntables in the room’s clamshell-backed, 1940s-era bandstand. The event will also feature DJs Vaughn Avakian and Wendy O’Rourke.
During Club i-D’s heyday, Watson would spin tracks by iconic acts like Talking Heads and Kraftwerk, but also mix things up with cuts like the Hawaii 5-O theme and Japanese kabuki music. On the parquet floors, the crowd was eclectic: New romantics with glitter and shoulder pads grooved with punk rockers in chains and spiked hair. Tom Cruise even stopped by to sing “You’ve Lost that Lovin’ Feelin’” for a scene in the film Top Gun.
“There was no door policy,” Watson recalls. “If you wanted to be part of the family, come on in.”
In 1985, Watson and O’Rourke launched a biweekly magazine, Revolt in Style, running band interviews along with photos of club-goers—presaging the club photography at current hotspots like Voyeur and El Dorado.
Though they charged $5 at the door, Watson and O’Rourke say they weren’t doing it for the money.
“It was always all about the feeling, and it felt good,” O’Rourke says. “The reunion is about recapturing the moment and reigniting that flame again.”