The Golden Tiki, Evel Pie, and a Man-Wolf: my chat with Branden Powers
I moved to the Las Vegas area of Nevada towards the end of 2017 and discovered two kickass hangouts pretty quickly. Equally loved by me was both THE GOLDEN TIKI and EVEL PIE, little did I know at the time that both of these spots was owned and operated by the same madman: BRANDEN POWERS. Just who is he? What’s he all about? Well I sat down with him recently to chat a little about his youth, his amazing pop culture-influenced businesses and a little about a Spider-Man villain. Enjoy.
#1. Thanks for joining us at FirstComicsNews.com, We gotta know how old were you when you first got into comics? What was that introduction like?
It’s 1974 Bakersfield California. The home to Merle Haggard and Buck Owens. I’m in preschool and just came down with the chicken pox. I’m sequestered to my room where I sing “I’m just an Ol’ Chicken in a Chicken Cage” over and over until my parents want to shoot me. Out of desperation my father leaves and brings back a fat stack of comic books and Meco toys of Batman, Robin, Penguin and others. In between covering my entire body in Calamine lotion and downing bowls of soup my father begins to read to me. I remember not having much interest in the Archie comics but more in Batman, Superman, Spider-Man, and of course Man-Wolf.
#2. I hear you were a huge fan of Man-Wolf as a kid, he’s a lesser known villain – sooo what was it about him in particular that captured your attention?
My friend Marz Richards who now runs Sunset Comix in LA and was then known as Mark Setzer wasn’t a window licking moron like me. He could already read in preschool and he’s the one who expanded my comic universe immensely for years to come .. which basically centered around Man-Wolf so it’s only fitting that Marz would grow up to run one of the hottest newest comic stores n Los Angeles. I think what I really loved about Man-Wolf was his connection to his father and at the time most super heroes were orphans. Their relationship was trying to say the least but in the end his Dad, like my Dad always had his back. Plus what’s not to love about an astronaut that goes to the moon, grabs a mysterious rock that turns him into a werewolf who then returns to the Moon and becomes a God? I think what was also appealing is the 70s were when Halloween came back with vengeance. It kind of died in the 60s, but the classic movie monsters along with new comers like Michael Myers help catapult that holiday into what it is today and Man-Wolf had that classic Halloween werewolf connection that I loved.
#3. You’ve had an exciting career from a club and events promoter to a business-man how has being a creative successful risk-taker directed your life? Its for sure a path less traveled!
Growing up in Bakersfield which was the butt of many late night Carson jokes forced me to be creative. I lived in a era without the internet or cell phones. I spent a ton of time jumping my friends on our BMX bikes, lighting shit on fire, smoking banana peels, getting into fights and even when we got Atari we weren’t that interested we would rather be outside throwing Lawn Darts at one another. As I grew up I began to skateboard, play in punk bands, and throw illegal outlaw parties in the fields outside Bakersfield.
Those parties led me to become one of the founding fathers of the Rave scene in North America . I started with $500 in Kinkos flyers and went on to do 60,000 plus person events. I sold out Knotts Berry Farm, the San Diego Convention Center, Snow Valley Ski Resort, and countless Indian reservations . We were arguably the first to have carnival rides at a rave and we were the first to throw a rave ever in Mexico. If you see a girl at a party wearing fairy wings or has a fairy tattoo that came from us. I have some crazy stories from Fully Naked Full Moon Raves with weenies and boobies flopping…
Gotta stop you there and say… I WISH I HAD BEEN THERE!!!!!
…that’s not all, I had Hunter S Thompson shoot my first edition copy of Fear and Loathing with a shotgun all while high out of my mind on mushrooms and LSD.
Hopefully someday soon I’ll put everything on paper and into a book because the stories are wild.
You goddamn better!
I did enough ecstasy to kill a small village of talking horses, and now I’m in the twilight of my long adventurous life. I’m on a slippery slide to hell. My youth is quickly fading and I’m desperately trying to hold on because being old sucks balls. I currently own The Golden Tiki and Evel Pie in Las Vegas. Evel is like every pizza parlor my father Turney Powers owned in Bakersfield when I was growing up. Evel Pie is an homage to my lifelong obsession with Evel Knievel who inspired me to jump over my friends into a flaming pile of boxes or too drop in on a crazy ramp and knock out a majority of my teeth. I have a wonderful family.
Let me introduce them; Lisa my wife who is an amazing corsetiere’, London my 13 year old daughter who (Thank God) is way smarter than her pops, she is a straight A student Student Body Vice President and is not sniffing glue while playing “Hey Mister” for beer and cigarettes like I was at her age! Jake Ryan my 8 year old is all about Pokémon, Battlecats, and is also wicked smart like the film “Rain Man” smart. His knowledge of video games and Pokémon cards is amazing. I’m now carrying on the tradition my father started by reading Man-Wolf to Jake every night and he loves it!
That’s a tradition I can get behind.
#4. If you were to get into the comics business what sort of projects would interest you today?
It’s funny you ask. I’m actually working on a few comic projects for my bar The Golden Tiki and my pizza place Evel Pie.
WHAT!? That’s so amazing. We’ll be waiting for more info on that for sure!!
#5. Are you a Marvel Comics fan, DC Comics fan, or a fan of more indie books like Mirage, Dark Horse, Image, IDW, etc. ? Overall what would you say?
I’m a lover of all art and artists. It’s what separates us from the beasts. I also love a good story and the creative behind it all.
Well – I’m a lover of GOOD PIZZA. For my money there’s no better hangouts than TIKI and EVEL. You can tell a good venue starts at the top with the owner and you are one hell of a guy. The businesses capture your flair for fun and creativity. I wish you much more success and appreciate you talking with us.