From the ashes of Gas Monkey Grill comes Amplified, a music space with a strong focus on music.
Gas Monkey Garage Grill & Bar on Technology Boulevard in Dallas was one of the places that had to close because of the coronavirus. For months, the place had to be closed. On top of that, the owners, including Richard Rawlings, who started Gas Monkey and used to be on Discovery Channel, sued each other for libel.
Now that Rawlings is no longer involved, the owners and operators of the new music space, which is now called Amplified, don't just see this as a chance to change the name. They see it more as a chance to "rebuild."
"We changed the look and feel of the venue and got rid of a lot of the garage feel," says managing partner Alex Mendonsa, who also worked at the venue when it was called Gas Monkey. "This way, we can focus more on what we do, which is food and music."
The venue, which has both indoor and outdoor concert stages, has been remodeled three times in the last 11 years, starting with the old Firewater brand that used to be there near I-35.
All of the car-related decorations that used to be on the walls under the Gas Monkey sign have been taken down and replaced with things like Marshall amp cabinets and a better sound system that remind people that they are there to hear live music. Amplified is not connected to Gas Monkey Garage, the Gas Monkey Brand, or Richard Rawlings. This is made clear at the top of the venue's official website.
"My best friend Vinnie Paul from Pantera and I used to go to Firewater all the time," says Amplified consultant Scott Long. "He died, but he was my best friend." "Vinnie liked this venue a lot when he was in Gas Monkey, and it's too bad he's not here to enjoy this because he would have loved it."
Amplified still has an outdoor stage, but it has added a few new features to help it focus more on music. These include a second indoor stage, a wrap-around bar that can fit more customers, and a new DAS audio sound system that will give the people playing music and the crowds listening to it "more coverage, more clarity, and more power."
The only thing on the venue's schedule is putting on shows by local and touring bands that play everything from indie rock to death metal. So far, rock bands like the Manchester Orchestra, Cradle of Filth, and Thrice have played at Amplified. The bands NOFX, Cannibal Corpse, Suicidal Tendencies, and Modern English will all play at future shows.
"No matter where you stand," says Mendonsa, "you get a concert-quality sound."
In a defamation case in a Dallas County court in 2018, Rawlings and the managing partner of the Gas Monkey Bar, Daniel Flaherty, got into a fight. Flaherty said Rawlings was trying to "escape from his obligations under a valid and enforceable contract" and was trying to "slander" him and start "a campaign of half-baked accusations" against him. Court records show that in August, both sides signed a joint dismissal and said that all claims had been resolved and settled.
Mendonsa says, "It was time." "Richard has always wanted more than just a venue in Dallas, and we were focused on making a great venue in Dallas with great food and great music."
Long says that the venue can now focus more on bringing music to a part of Dallas that has been quiet for a long time.
"It was like a breath of fresh air when I posted a picture of the sign that went up the other day," says Long. "It seemed like everyone in the music business and in the Dallas music scene started to talk about it and hit me up. People all over the world know this venue and know that it has changed. They also know that this is now the best place to be."