All of you who think last night/today's news that Walter's on Washington will close at the end of October is another nail in the coffin of Houston's indie scene can relax. Rocks Off reached owner Pam Robinson around 12:30 p.m., and she said the club will open at it's new location (she can't say where yet) within days of closing on Washington, and that none of the club's shows will have to be moved or rescheduled.
Rocks Off: So it's true?
Pam Robinson: Walter's is moving, yes. It's moving, not closing. Walter's on Washington will have to be Walter's off Washington now (laughs).
RO: What happened? The building got sold?
PR: The property was sold. It was a private sale. Walter's has been a little tired of the lack of parking and - how can I put this kindly? - the area sucks. I live here and I love my home, which is right behind the bar, and I loved the neighborhood for many, many years. I'm still hopeful that eventually it will get back to what it used to be, a lovely community with a lot of diversity, but it's been overrun by the non-Walter's type.
And I just can't fix my parking. We don't have any parking. That's no bueno. The city has been really cool to work with me, and I won my [noise-complaint-driven] lawsuit, so that was all great, but then it's other problems. My shows are selling out, we have to turn people away. I don't really have to worry about the noise anymore, but I do about parking. This is bad. My daughter's car got hit on the street. It's getting bad.
RO: Did you own the building or was it someone else?
PR: I am now a tenant, and I'm not liking that.
RO: Do you have any idea where you might move?
PR: If you called me earlier today, I was at my new property. We can't release it yet, but we will in the next two weeks.
RO: But you definitely do have a new location.
PR: Yes. There's three humps to work out. I've already got over like ten hurdles, and I've got three more hurdles to get over: the TABC, City of Houston and another section of the City of Houston. There's two City of Houston offices and then TABC, and then we're home free. There's insurance [too], but I'm not worried about insurance.
RO: What about the shows that are booked there now?
PR: We're not losing any shows. All the shows through Walter's are through the end of October, and then there's a down time of I think five days, and then a show at the new place. We're doing the build-out now. I was meeting with a contractor today. The new place has never been a club. It has to be built out - the restrooms, the bar, the stage. Once we get the timeline from the contractor nailed down, that's our tentative schedule, moving the first week of November.
RO: Once you guys shut down, it'll kind of be the end of Washington as a live-music area. How do you feel about that?
PR: I love Washington Avenue. I've always loved it, and I've always appreciated it. I see the direction it's going, and it was time for Walter's to get a bigger spot and get more parking. It really was. A place where there's no homes around, more parking. Actually the neighbors have been great, now that the lawsuit's finished. I'm going to miss the neighbors; they've been very good to us.
RO: I know you can't say where the location is yet, but is it inside the Loop?
PR: Oh, definitely. I wouldn't go outside the Loop (laughs). We're actually pretty excited about the new place. It's a whole new chapter. Hopefully it's in an area where there's never been live music or any bars or anything like that. This is going to be exciting. It's going to bring some attention to an area that's long overdue. Imagine - downtown with parking. Free parking!
RO: Personally, what shows at the club were most memorable for you?
PR: Golly, I've been there 10 years - how far do you want to go back? Los Lonely Boys was an awesome show. Tony Joe White was probably my favorite show. I have my personal favorites like Micky & the Motorcars, but Tony Joe White brought tears to my eyes. It was just awesome. But then there's been other shows like Melt Banana, Uh Huh Her, things like that. I like it all.