Hell House was a short-lived residence for shows, most of which took place during the summer of 1988. It was called Hell House because it's address was allegedly 666 N. Milwaukee Ave, though the actual address was either 662 or 669 (with the number upside down) North Milwaukee. It housed many local shows and many moments of craziness, including lots of fist fights.
Hell House was also well known for the rumor "that some homeless guy died in the basement and his dog ate his face. No one knew the guy was down there until a nasty smell started wafting upstairs."
The history of Hell House according to one of its resident's, Ru:
"Me, Marco De Oreo, Jake LaBotz, Junkie Stone (the only white P-Stone in the joint). Alan Jones (he was our token white guy), Jill from Madison, Tina Matlock, Todd, and stepchild potless hippie, Mark Blade. Eric Leather was given a room to crash in early on, but he and Junk did not play well with each other resulting in a whole lot of very bloody violence. We began to live there in the fall of 1987. We opened up to the world on NYE 87-88. Our original idea was to charge $5... to leave. We also planned drug "theme rooms" which occured on their own. We had 2 kegs on each floor, several fights, a pit bull ran around biting people, a stabbing, gunfire, and a massive hangover."
Ru goes on to say, "The original household started to dissolve in the summer of 88. We were more or less executing an experiment in life as performance art. Our disdain of tv, radio, and mirrors coupled with our absolute love of 'perception enhancers' (any enhancer was cool as long as there was a lot) turned it into an impromptu sensory deprivation chaos tank. Basically we all started getting really insane and people just had to get out. I think Alan was the last to leave, I stayed on til somewhere in 89, spring or so. I'd say it stayed pretty fun until fall of 88 when most of us stopped staying home (plus we were going crazy) -we used to have such fun times, sitting around the fireplace drinking ale, and playing the campfire blues songs de morte, our guest room became very floppy and we stopped repairing the front door. Also, some bright kids spread it out that it was free for all squat-it was not. A friend owned it.
The building had 4 addresses, 2 on each side. The one we got the phone bill at was 662-the entrance to the hall going upstairs. The second, to the stage area was 664 or 666, we decided to use 666 because we liked the more harmonic balance of the digits."
Another Hell House resident, Jake La Botz, described the place:
"I was forced into the office of Mayor at Hell House upon my arrival (a few months after it got up and running).
On the third floor (the only floor with heat....we did all the duct work ourselves):
Me and Marko shared the swank penthouse loft with the views of Grand Ave. Ronnie came by regularly to show off his new guns and put a few rounds in our exposed brick walls...(P.S. he taught my 9 yr old brother Leon hot to shoot...Leon is now Leon Del Muerte...a well know Death Metal guitarist...)
Junk had the nice room next to the kitchen...Toad and TUna were in the back room with the rat hole at the end where Ru led his mischievous activites.
2nd Floor: Marc Blade had the loft behind riot gates (fearing for his life...smart man) Eric leather was in the room just below Junk with the pitbull that he beat to near extinction every day. Jones was down the hall eating raw beans (he said they filled him up when they expanded in his tummy). and...people who werent allowed on the 3rd floor
Bikes, Punk shows, stolen things, and...people who werent allowed on the 2nd or 3rd floors..."
Regarding the rumor about the homeless guy who died there, the facts according to Ru are this:
"The dead guy: his name was Isadore. He lived in a "backwoods Mississippi rundown shack-sheik" shoebox apt at the S.W. corner of the ground floor. The only time we'd see him was when he would walk his dog around the block and we'd say hey and offer beer. One day we noticed a smell. A week later it was everywhere and had become nauseating. Ronnie came by for the guys rent (like $2.64 a month) and used his key when the guy did not answer. He found him d-e-d dead. He came up and got me because the police, coroner and Isadore's daughter were on the way and he wanted me to help explain why she should not see him. We told her the dog, who loved him dearly, noticed its master was sleeping way too long and the dog was hungry and had to go to the bathroom. After some nudging the dog began to lick his face and licked and licked and in it's hunger it licked a little too hard "you get what we mean", we said. She was like "ohh my god" and broke down. I'm not sure if it was rats, since the dog might have scared them off, but perhaps as the dog did doze, the sneaky rodents got a few nibbles in, freeing the smell of flesh which may have triggered the dog's own carnive\orous instinct- hard to say. It was not pretty and the smell never did go away."