Marilyn Malone calls home to one of the hottest spots in Memphis, “The Bat Cave.” The Bat Cave is a underground space where the ceilings are the floors to some clubs above ground. Sitting down with Marilyn, I recalled my first encounter of The Cave and it was the dopest experience that I’ve had being in Memphis. A garage door replaces the traditional front door and it’s full of funky colored couches, graffiti walls, and plants, believe it or not. The first door you approach leads to the kitchen and living room area. This huge space is usually occupied with some of the most talented artists in the city, along with a makeshift stage and a recreational gathering around the pool table. I stared in solitude as I watched this space unoccupied and in natural light until Marilyn came to bring me to the backend which led to her room. Spaces of art, a hat wall, a makeshift closet of clothes hanging from ceiling pipes, and a disfigured couch make up the elements of her space. The greatest fucking room I had ever seen, not only because of the look but because of what you feel when you cross the threshold into her universe.
As I settled into the only level part of her couch, we sparked a blunt and hit record:
D: Who are you and what do you do creatively?
M: I’m Marilyn. I sing. I definitely sing a lot but I’m more behind the scenes, facilitating things. I’m just social. People always ask me if I do music and stuff like that but I don’t have anything recorded or shit to really show people.
D: What’s it like living under a club?
M: Oh my God [laughs], well it’s not a club anymore but when it was, it was actually pretty cool because we could hear all the trap jazz that they did up there. I could hear it perfectly and it was never that disruptive until shit went down [referring to a shooting during a party earlier in the year].
D: How did you find The Bat Cave?
M: My friend’s dad lived here and he named it The Bat Cave and he was in this band, The Generics and they just had shows here. There was all these older people here all the time. My room belonged to his son, Conner and he was in a band and they started having shows here like birthday parties and stuff and that’s how I started coming here. I’ve been hanging out here for about five years and I had just been coming here for so long. They had their final show because his dad found a new place and we were overly drunk and he just asked me if I knew anyone who wanted to live here and I just said me, like right now. I never thought I’d be able to live here because I just thought this place was so fucking cool. It was really easy though, he just gave me the landlord’s number and it just happened. It did take them awhile to move their stuff out of here. When we moved in, there was a recording studio in there and all this badass equipment. It has always been like this music kind of vibe here. And we didn’t want to change the name because he had already named it The Bat Cave and we looked at it like we were moving into The Bat Cave.
D: Did you come in with the plan of renting it out for parties?
M: That’s why we moved in here so that people would have a place to play music and I could have free rent and it would be awesome because I’d be surrounded by all my friends who do music. It wasn’t much of a decision. My friend who played music here, I think they had shows where they charged people but not that often so it was just always in the air that it was possible to charge especially since they were doing the stuff at The Den [club above ground] and they were making money. It has always been a thing to just capitalize because it’s weird living in a fucking warehouse but it’s for the people. Do it for the homies.
D: Do you see yourself going anywhere else anytime soon?
M: I’ve been thinking about it. We’ve been trying to reopen the space upstairs and actually run a venue because upstairs is considered commercial and down here is residential so we’re not really supposed to be doing shows and my landlord was just like if you want to do it, you can do it upstairs but we had to come up with a business plan. We actually went through that whole process and it turns out that there’s something weird going on with renovations so it was put on hold. But that’s what I feel like I should be doing in Memphis like running a venue, organizing because this is the last place that I want to live in Memphis. I want to go live somewhere else for a second. I’m going to California for a week and I think it would be badass to live out there but I don’t know if I can handle all the people, traffic, population, smog and shit. New Orleans would be badass but it depends on what happens with this. If we can get more legit with it then I would definitely be down for that. No time soon. I’m just focused on this. I want to be in this.
D: Has there any problems other than what happened upstairs?
M: Rarely shit goes down but there has been a couple of incidents. At the end of the day, this is our fucking house. This is our kitchen and people fuck shit up. But it’s not often enough.
D: What’s the weirdest thing you’ve encountered here?
M: We had a fucking hardcore show here, some hardcore band and we had our couch in there. I didn’t see it happen but I saw it on Snapchat that people literally took our couch apart and was just swinging it around. One of our pillows were in the rafters and I don’t know how they did it, but on the videos they are just going HAM. Then they took my fucking cheese for my good sandwiches out of my fridge and took a knife and just stuck the cheese into the wall. It was such a bummer. And then theirs the occasional vomit and toilet fuck ups and we only have one bathroom. But like I said, it doesn’t happen often, if it did, we’d have to reconsider some things. But the other reason it’s cool is because you can do whatever the fuck you want here. A lot of people rent other spaces but you have to follow so many fucking rules there but here you can do whatever, like set up your own bar. That’s our main thing, that you have the freedom to be in your energy.
D: Any “famous” people perform here yet?
M: I think the most famous person we’ve had here was Darwin Deez. He does that song [singing] “everyday outta be a bad day,” that’s a good ass song. My old roommate booked them, it was a good ass show. Magnolia played that night too and they spent the night and my roommate was just like, can ya’ll get the fuck out and I’m just like don’t burn that bridge, that’s fucking Darwin Deez. We’ve had a couple bands from out of town play here but it’s really cool. People just passing through is dope. And then it’s just like where else are they going to play because they’re all broke from touring and they just want a place to play and crash and they will give us a hundred bucks because I felt weird at first with charging people.