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Residents to Fight Concerts at Rose Bowl : Neighborhoods: Nearby homeowners renew objections after City Council gives the go-ahead for performances by controversial rock bands Guns N' Roses and Metallica.

April 30, 1992|EDMUND NEWTON | TIMES STAFF WRITER

PASADENA — With visions of heavy metal concerts dancing in their heads, irate residents of the hillside neighborhoods around the Rose Bowl say they will press for a new citizens advisory commission to minimize the number of loud, high-attendance concerts at the 70-year-old stadium.

Over the emotional objections of neighborhood leaders Tuesday, the City Council voted unanimously to give the go-ahead to an August concert featuring the rock bands Guns N' Roses and Metallica.

"If they'll book a group like Guns N' Roses, who won't they book?" asked Cam Currier, vice president of the Linda Vista-Annandale Assn. Currier said the city is in the process of changing the Rose Bowl from "a sports-oriented venue to an entertainment venue."

But others defended the council action as a blow for artistic freedom that also happens to make financial sense. "This is an opportunity to raise almost $400,000 overnight," said Matthew Owen, a mortgage company loan officer who recently moved to Altadena. "Are we willing to inconvenience a few homeowners for the benefit of 120,000 (Pasadena residents)?"

The council vote permits the Rose Bowl to suspend noise restrictions and extend the regular 10 p.m. curfew to midnight on Aug. 22 so the bands can play into the night and the city can earn at least $385,000.

If the concert goes late, the city stands to earn even more from stiff penalties. Promoter Avalon Attractions has agreed to pay $4,000 for every minute the concert extends past 12:01 a.m.--$66 per second.

"For 66 bucks a second, I looking forward to it," said Councilman Isaac Richard, who argued strongly for approval of the concert.

But homeowners on the slopes of the Arroyo Seco, overlooking the Rose Bowl, were not appeased.

"My interests have been totally ignored by the City Council, which is attempting to balance the city budget on the back of the Rose Bowl," Currier said. He called the vote, with all council members approving except Rick Cole, who was absent, irresponsible.

Currier and others cited the reputation of Guns N' Roses for inciting mayhem, particularly during an abbreviated concert in a St. Louis suburb last year, when the audience rampaged after vocalist Axl Rose walked off the stage. The result was 60 people injured and $200,000 damage to the Riverport Amphitheater.

"There may be behavior that is potentially dangerous," said Dale Beland, present of the East Arroyo Neighborhood Assn.

Currier also referred to the lyrics of a Guns N' Roses song, "One In A Million," which includes racial epithets. Currier demanded to know if Richard approved.

"If he was trying to get an invitation to my house, I wouldn't let him through the door," Richard said. "But they're making money for the city."

Others in the audience defended the bands. " 'One In A Million' was meant to point out the offensiveness of that kind of language," said Brett Perkins, a songwriter and advertising director.

Owen, who is 28, said he had been to eight Guns N' Roses concerts in the past year--"and I haven't experienced one problem." He added that both Metallica and Guns N' Roses performed at an international benefit for AIDS patients last week in England.

"When it comes to drunk fans, nobody could be worse than the Giants fans in the 1987 Super Bowl," Owen said. "Some heavy metal fans even have jobs and short hair."

Avalon expects to draw between 70,000 and 80,000 to the Aug. 22 concert, said Avalon president Brian Murphy. The city will earn $385,000 for the show, as well as a share of profits from the sales of food, beverages and novelties, and a portion of fees paid for parking.

Acting Rose Bowl manager Robert Holden said the city has negotiated an extraordinarily good deal with Avalon, including a $1-million performance bond. "That's not the norm," he said.

The Rose Bowl has largely been a money-losing enterprise in recent years, posting deficits of as much as $570,000 in five of six years, according to an audit that was released in February.

Murphy raised the possibility of requesting a second night at the Rose Bowl for the two bands. "If we sell out immediately for one show, you can understand that we'd be back again," he said.

Holden said the city is in line to earn at least $750,000 from rock concerts this year. The council has already approved a concert of the Cure, a British band, in June. Rose Bowl administrators are negotiating for two nights of Elton John and Eric Clapton at the end of August.

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