Featured bartender: Rockotlan's Krishna Kleparski
Rockotlan, 3447 N. Forest Home Ave., is Milwaukee's only combination heavy metal bar and Mexican restaurant and definitely worth a visit for the experience of it regardless of one's music taste. The food looks really good and the purple-walled / rocker decor is unlike anywhere else in the city.
Krishna Kleparski has worked behind the bar for about four months. Kleparski's striking appearance – she describes her styles as "steampunk" or "dominatrix" – is rivaled by her easy smile and conversation.
We recently stopped in to Rockotlan to listen to a couple of death metal bands and chat up Kleparski about life, zombie movies, animal bones and, not surprisingly, metal music.
OnMilwaukee.com: What do you like about working here?
Krishna Kleparski: Good food, metal.
OMC: What kind of metal do you like?
KK: Mainly black metal. I also like depressive black metal. Folk metal. Ambient.
OMC: What are your favorite metal bands?
KK: Emperor is my all-time favorite but I also love old Abigor, Ossadogva, Kampfar, Wardruna, Nastrond and Deathspell Omega.
OMC: Are you a musician?
KK: No, I used to played the violin years ago.
OMC: What other jobs have you had?
KK: I used to be a mortician. I went to MATC West Campus. The job was pretty interesting. You never knew what you were going to come upon.
OMC: Why did you leave?
KK: It was a conflict with my religious views and the company that I worked for. I hear other people are different.
OMC: Was it depressing work?
KK: No not at all. It's very peaceful. When you're embalming, you can play music, you can talk to them. They won't tell your secrets. They're very polite.
OMC: What did you like about the job?
KK: I did restorative art. That was what I was known for. There are so many people working in the field but don't have the skill, they aren't very artistic. That's why you hear so many people complain their loved ones didn't turn out so well.
OMC: Did you grow up in Milwaukee?
KK: No, I moved here from Arizona. I was born in Rockford, Ill. I also lived in California and Ohio. My dad moved around a lot. For the first part of my childhood he was in the Army.
OMC: Is that your real name or did you pick it?
KK: It's my real name. I would pick something else. Every 'Krishna' I meet is some Hindi guy who's a doctor or works at a gas station. My dad was part of the Hare Krishna group when I was a kid. My mom was a Buddhist. It was a strange upbringing.
OMC: Do you like Milwaukee?
KK: It's OK. I have friends here. I've been here a while. But if I want to go out, I'll go to Chicago.
OMC: Where do you want to travel someday?
KK: Europe. Norway, Greece. Places with a lot of history. Ancient ruins.
OMC: What's your favorite drink to make?
KK: Honestly, I like it when people order whiskey and beer. No need to be pretentious about it.
OMC: What's your favorite drink to consume?
KK: Zombie Killer mead. You can buy it at Discount Liquor. It's delicious. My first experience with mead was homemade and none have ever compared to it and it pisses me off.
OMC: When you're not bartending what do you do?
KK: I like to go to concerts. I make jewelry. And I look for animal parts to add to my collection.
OMC: You have an animal parts collection?
KK: Yeah, organs, fur, bones. Sometimes I do bone art. I'll take the bones from various animals and put them together in various patterns or make a new creature like a bat spider.
OMC: Would you ever make bone jewelry?
KK: I want to but the bones I have right now are too large. I would like to find some bird bones, though.
OMC: Where do you find the bones?
KK: I get them from people who hunt. Occasionally I get lucky and find them. Or I order them from eBay.
OMC: You must get hit on a lot when tending bar.
KK: I do, but not as much as when I worked at the country bar.
OMC: Which country bar did you work at?
KK: It's closed now. It was called the Rodeo.
OMC: What's the worst pick-up line you've heard?
KK: A lot of times they aren't even pick-up lines. They'll say, "are those real?"
OMC: Are they?
OMC: What don't you like about bartending?
KK: Drunken idiots. The fact you can't punch someone in the face if they piss you off.
OMC: Do you ever cut off people?
KK: Yes, I'll take their drink away and say "you're done" and give them water. You have to be firm. If you're sweet about it they're not going to listen.
OMC: Where do you get most of your clothing?
KK: Mostly eBay.
OMC: How would you describe your style?
KK: It depends on the outfit. It can be considered steampunk on certain days, gothic on others but usually like a dominatrix.
OMC: Do you have a lot of tattoos?
KK: I have five. My first one is pretty crappy. It's off the wall. I got rushed into it. I got pinhead from "Hellraiser." I have two that are being worked on. I have friends doing it.
OMC: Have you ever been to Renaissance Faire?
KK: I love it there. I'm working on my costume for this year. My attire is going to incorporate elven armor with a sorceress hood, Blesbok horn headpiece, and hopefully cloven hooves if I have the time. I am going for a sexy warrior Satyr look.
OMC: Any interest in seeing "World War Z?"
KK: I'm into the '80s zombie films. The modern ones are more about the action. My favorite movie of all time is "Hellraiser."
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Just out of curiosity...I went to Youtube...and listened to an Emperor's "song" (the group Krishna loves)...very scary. The lead "singer" screams while the other members of the band play very loud....and the crowd appears to really enjoy this....I don't understand. :)...however...Krishna seems to be be a very nice young woman.
Molly Snyder | July 21, 2013 at 10:40 a.m. (report)
Otto: I didn't try their food, but I plan to. I was sitting at the bar and saw many plates of food brought out to people and it all looked very good. Particularly the nachos.
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