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Days Inn Lincoln Park Has a Secret, Star-Studded Rock 'n' Roll Past

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  Site Where: 644 W. Diversey Pkwy. [map], Chicago, IL, United States, 60614
November 5, 2009 at 9:12 AM | by | ()

Tucked away in a strip with an independent movie theater and chain stores like Jamba Juice is an unassuming hotel with a bad-boy rock 'n' rolla past. The Days Inn Lincoln Park is nicknamed the Rock & Roll Days Inn for its musician clientele, which includes Sean Lennon, Twisted Sister, Nelly Furtado, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Dave Matthews, KRS One and the Foo Fighters.

It's rumored to be the place where Courtney Love and Kurt Cobain conceived their child, says Stefanie Hrejsa, general manager of the hotel. Years later, Love allegedly walked out of the hotel and said she couldn't stay there because of the painful memories, Hrejsa says.

For the most part, the musicians were great guests, Hrejsa and Executive Housekeeper Elisabeth Nowik say, with blues legend Clarence Gatemouth Brown strumming his guitar in the lobby, a member of the Red Hot Chili Peppers becoming pen pals with one of the elderly desk clerks, and the Grammy Award-winning gospel choir Sounds of Blackness performing a mini holiday concert for the hotel housekeepers who couldn't attend the group's show.

But obviously, the musicians aren't always so well-behaved. Sheryl Crow got busted for rollerblading in the lobby, to which the diva replied, "Do you know who I am?" Garbage stayed at the hotel and started a nasty "who can go the longest without taking a shower" contest, which made for pungent rooms. And the housekeepers had to scrub a lot of hair dye out of the sinks. "Offspring was the worst," Nowik says. "Everything was trashed." She says the beds were overturned and the room was destroyed. "We didn't even know how to enter the room because everything was covered in garbage," she says. The group also went up to the fourth-floor roof and started peeing over the edge, Nowik says.

The Rock & Roll Days Inn had its badass heyday in the late '80s to early '90s, when it wouldn't be unusual for up to five bands to be in the 133-room hotel at one time. The hotel was popular among bands because it's near venues like Schubas and Kingston Mines. It also gave cheap rates and allowed tour buses to park right outside. Plus, the bands would stay there before they make it big, or after their star power fizzled. "Nirvana was just a couple of young kids," says Nowik about the band when it came to the hotel. "They weren't very famous." Since then, the Days Inn has increased its rates, buses are no longer permitted to park outside of the building and the hotel is now smoke-free, which seems to deter some rockers.

That's not to say that this place has lost its rock-star street cred. Ted Leo and the Pharmacists and French pop songstress Emilie Simon recently stayed there. If you groupies wanna check out this former band haven, rooms start at $95 a night.

[Photos: Jennifer Kester]

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