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  • Writer's pictureJose Martinez

THE PUNK ROCK MUSEUM - VEGAS FUN AWAY FROM THE STRIP

For music fans, especially punk rock devotees, consider a visit to Las Vegas’ The Punk Rock Museum, a very cool option when in Sin City. The museum, located in a remote warehouse district away from the Strip, proudly shoves in your face the history, culture and absurdity of rock & roll’s bastard step-child. Lifelong punk fans as well as curious looky-loos of all ages are invited to undertake a hands-on, uniquely punk rock experience.



I love a museum that has a bar and I really love a museum that lets you drink while touring the exhibits. Believe me, this ain’t your grandma’s museum. As we started our tour, we came upon oversized portraits of punk rock notables with reflective quotes from them. That was a good start and then we were bombarded with a bevy of music memorabilia. The museum offers multiple floors and room after room of exhibits, instruments and swag covering 40+ years of punk rock.

 


The Punk Rock Museum houses the world's most expansive, inclusive, and intimate display of artifacts, fliers, photos, clothing, instruments, handwritten lyrics, artwork, and just about everything else donated by the people and bands who were there.



Not only can you see amazing artifacts, there’s a guitar room where you can play the actual guitars and basses played through the amps the artists played them through. There are guitars and amps from Rise Against, NOFX, Pennywise, Sick of it All, Strung Out, and many more. And you can actually play them!

 

“A lot of people ask, “what happens if something gets broken?” The simple answer, we fix it - just like we did on tour,” the powers that be explain.

 

Founded by “Fat Mike” Burkett of NOFX, the museum was developed by Burkett and production manager Lisa Brownlee. It is governed by a ten-person collective of musicians and investors including co-founder Pat Smear (The Germs / Foo Fighters) and skateboarder Tony Hawk.



And because this is Las Vegas, guests can get married here, and because it’s a punk rock museum, guests can also get tattooed here (yes, there’s a proper tattoo parlor onsite). And don’t forget about the Triple Down, the punk rock bar managed by P Moss, the founder of landmark dive bars Double Down Saloon and Frankie’s Tiki Room. This is a fun bar that’s worth a visit just because. It’s loud, irreverent and just damn cool.


 

A heads up for anyone interested in visiting The Punk Rock Museum, plan ahead if possible as often times there are really cool guided tours from punk rock icons, including Joe Escalante of The Vandals, as well as members of The Ramones, Goldfinger, Flogging Molly, Offspring, Stray Cats, Plasmatics, and Machine Head, as well as former MTV personality Matt Pinfield.  And that’s just a fraction of musicians who have participated. During my visit, Pennywise bassist Randy Bradbury led a group tour.

 

“For me, this is a fabric of my life,” Bradbury said of the museum’s extensive exhibits.


(Jose Martinez and Randy Bradbury of Pennywise)


“If you don’t want to deal with the hustle and bustle of the casinos or the Strip and big hotels, this is something where you can learn about American culture and a worldwide movement of punk rock,” Bradbury added. “If you hear music at all today or look at fashion, it all has an influence from punk rock. This offers a tiny education and it’s interesting.”

 


“Interesting” to say the very least. We had a blast at The Punk Rock Museum and adjacent Triple Down bar. It definitely was time well spent and a welcome break from the traffic, crowds, and the stench of smoke from the casinos. 

 

FYI, tickets are $39 for adults and Guided Tour are $100 per person. Kids ages 4-12 are $19.50. Four years and younger are free. Admission for military personnel is $35. Admission for locals, with valid Las Vegas ID, is $20. And entry is free on your birthday as long as you have valid ID.

 

The Punk Rock Museum is located at 1422 Western Ave. Closed Wednesdays. Open Mon, Tues, Thurs and Friday from 12pm to 8pm; weekends from 10am to 8pm. Call (702) 823-2983.

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