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With their fingers on the club pulse

November 28, 2002|Kastle Waserman | Special to The Times

Nightclubbing may be for the young and young at heart, but in the age of quick-edit trends and ever-changing music tastes, what kind of club really draws the 18- to 25-year-olds? For almost 20 years, Michael Stewart and Bruce Perdew have run clubs catering to young alternative crowds. They have kept a hold on the 18-plus cohort with cutting-edge entertainment that incorporates music, visuals and offbeat fashions.

Moving from Scream club in the mid-'80s to the Gothic industrial club Helter Skelter through the '90s, their "Evil Club Empire," as they call it, now spans nearly every night of the week with Perversion (Thursdays at the Ruby), Clockwork Orange (Fridays at the Ruby), Dungeon (Saturdays at Blue), Blue Mondays (Mondays at Blue) and Velvet (Sundays at 7969).

Here's their take on what the youthful crowd thrives on:

Question: Your core crowd is 18 to 20. What attracts them?

Stewart: The music we play is more cutting edge.

Q: But most of the music is from the '80s.

Stewart: In the '90s all you had was hip-hop and grunge, and those didn't really fit for kids who wanted to dance. The '80s stuck around because that music is more alternative dance stuff. You can still play Siouxsie, and people still like it.

Q: You've got a lot of Goth going. Define that today.

Stewart: In the beginning it was death rock and punk rock and glam rock. Now Goth is just a term; it's a catchall. I think it's more of a look that people go for.

Q: Dungeon, your fetish club, is open to young clubgoers. Does that concern you?

Perdew: Our shows don't show any nudity; it's more of an exhibition. We keep a close eye on that show. We have someone there who monitors the show and doesn't let anything get out of control. It's just a performance, just entertainment.

Q: What's the life span of a club?

Perdew: The life span's usually about six months to a year, sometimes two years, then they go on to other things.

Stewart: It's a weird process. You go to a club, you make it your own, you enjoy it, but eventually, no matter how much fun you're having, after a year or two you feel you need to move on to something new.

Q: Why do you cater to young crowds?

Stewart: I just think that's the age people go to clubs the most in their lifetime. People start changing between 25 and 30. When you get in your 30s, you start going to restaurants.

Perdew: Older crowds usually only go out once or twice a week, as opposed to the younger crowd going out four or five nights a week.

Q: How do you stay in touch with the youth culture?

Stewart: I still like the music and the fashion. I think we relate to the crowd because that's what we like, and they like what we do.

Q: What makes a good DJ?

Perdew: A lot get into DJing because they want to play music, but they're not really playing music for the crowd, they're playing it for themselves.

Stewart: They have to pay attention to what's going on. There's been a big movement in the last few years that everyone has to mix and be real technical. That's great, but if you're just mixing a bunch of songs that aren't popular or fun, the crowd isn't going to dance. I think it's more of an ability to read a dance floor.


`Evil Club Empire'

Where: The Ruby, 7070 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood. Blue, 1642 Las Palmas Ave., Hollywood. 7969, 7969 Santa Monica Blvd., Los Angeles

When: Nights vary.

Cost: Cover varies

Info: (323) 462-7442 or

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