Last Friday, Rocks Off was hanging out with some friends at the West Alabama Ice House and ran into Ralph Ullrich, otherwise known as Ralph the Plumber, also otherwise known as one of Tuesday's mayoral candidates a little further down the ballot than the three (and a half) examined at length in the Press' recent cover story
We didn't realize it at first, but eventually it came up that Ralph is also the former owner of Pik N' Pak, the beloved Montrose icehouse that used to be across Waugh from Rudyard's, where (we believe) a lovely parking lot is today. Rocks Off was busy graduating from our suburban high school at the time and didn't make it to a whole lot of Rusted Shut shows (yet), but in the early '90s Pik N' Pak was a hub of Houston's punk/noise scene, hosting legendary local bands like the Pain Teens and some, such as Linus Pauling Quartet and the Hates, that
refuse to die
are still around today.
According to this Facebook poll
, Pik N' Pak is running slightly ahead of Rockefeller's (!) and slightly behind the Axiom, Fabulous Satellite Lounge and Power Tools in "Which of these Houston night spots do you miss the most?" (Emo's is the clear front-runner with a little less than one-third of the total votes; poor Cabaret Voltaire.) It seems to have been a very popular spot with Christian rock bands as well, as Rocks Off has found online records of the Jesus Lizard and Jesus Penis stopping by.
Ullrich's platform - which you can see on his Facebook page
- includes expanding flood control, establishing an independent crime lab and mental health court, converting city vehicles to cleaner fuels, legalization of medical marijuana and - not coincidentally -reducing tension between the mayor and city employees. We're sure that last one wouldn't be any problem for him - he'd just have them all over to West Alabama for a round or two of beers.
Anyhow, good luck, Ralph. Rocks Off hopes you win, because the thought of Rusted Shut playing an inaugural party on the steps of City Hall would be almost inconceivable anywhere but Houston.
We're also curious about our readers' Pik N' Pak memories and stories. We heard there were some pretty sweet murals there. Leave those in the comments if you don't mind. Much obliged.