By Leslie Radford: Freedom Newspapers
It was just another weekend in Clovis for many music lovers who gathered Friday at The Hole to rock out to the sound of heavy metal with a twist of punk.
Bands such as Clovis’ Deer Tic, Albuquerque’s Weapons of Mass Destruction, Semi-Automatic Bunny and The Oktober People play at the Mabry Street warehouse just about every weekend, according to promoter Jon LeBlanc.
“We just wanted a place for local bands to play where anyone could come and listen to music,” LeBlanc said. He said more than 100 bands have been booked since the music venue moved to its new location a few months ago inside a warehouse at 1505 Mabry Dr.
For just a few bucks, anyone at any age is welcome to attend shows as long as they abide by the rules — which include no alcohol and no moshing. Amateur bands are paid from cover charges and whatever is left over goes back into the business, according to LeBlanc.
“Music doesn’t have to be your life, you could just listen to it,” said LeBlanc, a musician himself. “I’m not here for the money.”
Guitarist and vocalist Andy Mason of Portales plays with the Fun Brothers, who perform at several local and regional music venues such as Kelley’s Bar and Grill, Java Loft and The Do Drop In in Portales, as well as Roswell and Albuquerque.
“The Hole doesn’t really fit my style of music,” Mason said. “But I’ve played there a few times. It’s a lot of fun. It’s a great place for the younger crowd to hang out.”
LeBlanc said he’s just trying to put Clovis on the musical map.
“Clovis is the birthplace of rock and roll,” LeBlanc said. “My goal is to make kids proud to be from Clovis. There’s so much musical talent here and nobody knows about it.”
He said The Hole is for “that kid who doesn’t even know he wants to play guitar. He can come here and figure that out.”
“Underground music is so big these days,” LeBlanc said. “People from Clovis, New Mexico, can be something and do it all on their own. You just have to believe.”