Holy name

Resuscitating a temple of rock

Keri Carlson

The history of the Whole Music Club was destroyed with the rest of Coffman Union during renovations. During those four years, many forgot about the once-thriving music venue.

By the time Coffman Union finally reopened, anyone previously involved with the Whole was gone. The club has hosted such seminal artists as Sun Ra, Tom Waits and Sleater-Kinney, but few current students realize that. And for those who were there back in the day, the Whole is remembered similarly to the Foxfire – a dead venue.

“We have to build it up,” said the Whole’s new manager, David Hill. “We have this wealth of history, but some kid from Territorial Hall doesn’t care, he wants to see a cool band now.”

This is the first year of Hill’s position in the resurrected Whole. Previously, the Minnesota Programs & Activities Council advised the student volunteers. Now, the students rely on Hill.

“Before, it was a room someone could rent; it just happened to have a great sound system,” Hill said. “I’m pushing to make it a venue.”

To make the Whole be seen as a consistent concert spot, Hill said, he and the student volunteers are committed to putting on two shows every week.

Every Wednesday and Friday night, the Whole will host concerts. Fridays feature some of the best local bands (such as A Whisper in the Noise), while Wednesdays are more relaxed – designed for leisurely hanging out or even homework.

Each Wednesday of the month has a different theme: Electrologue, inspired by the School of Music’s Spark Festival last semester, showcases electronic music. BiTS Variety Show chooses talented students from around the University to perform. Anyone who wishes to participate is encouraged to send in demos. New Routines features a jazz showcase. On the last Wednesday of the month, Radio K sends DJs to spin their favorite music from the station’s playlist.

The Wednesday programming reflects Hill’s other major goal for the Whole – to make the space more of a hang-out spot. Along with the chill atmosphere of Wednesdays, the club now serves food and coffee. But the biggest improvement of the Whole is about to happen.

“We’re doing away with the prison look,” Hill said. The Whole’s cold, gray decor will soon get a friendly revamp with carpeting, sofas and chalkboard walls for people to doodle on.

It’s proof the Whole lives on.