Home News 25 Legendary Tempe Music Venues: Then and Now

25 Legendary Tempe Music Venues: Then and Now


Regardless of rumors on the contrary, April 3, 2004, wasn’t the day that the music died in Tempe. It was the date when the plug was pulled on fabled Mill Avenue rock membership Lengthy Wong’s, although. The heartbreaking occasion signaled the tip of town’s largest dwell music period, however not a loss of life knell for its scene. Nor had been any of the closures that shuttered different distinguished Tempe venues within the ensuing years.

The heartbeat of dwell music within the east Valley metropolis has ebbed and flowed significantly over the previous 4 many years, from the immense recognition of the Mill Avenue sound across the time that the Gin Blossoms cracked Billboard’s Sizzling 100 charts with “Hey Jealousy,” to the fallow interval following the shuttering of Lengthy Wong’s.

Tempe’s music scene has weathered many ups and downs over time, together with the present pandemic, however it’ll in the end survive. Will it ever ascend to the peak of its ’90s heyday once more? In all probability not, however that’s to not say it gained’t proceed to develop new bands and musicians.

As is the norm in any metropolis, venues have a tendency to return and go. Some are felled by progress. Others are victims of the ever-changing whims of patrons or the fickle economic system. All these outcomes have taken place within the Tempe scene over the previous a number of many years, proving that the true fixed is change.

That’s the spirit behind the next look again at 25 venues that outlined dwell music in Tempe over the previous couple of many years. It illustrates the modifications which have occurred within the metropolis’s music scene and in addition supplies a present glimpse at what grew to become of many famed spots.

The famous sign for the Electric Ballroom.

The well-known signal for the Electrical Ballroom.

Tempe Historical past Museum

Dooley’s/After the Gold Rush/Electrical Ballroom

1216 East Apache Boulevard, Tempe
At present: New Faculty for the Arts & Teachers

Lengthy earlier than its present standing as an arts constitution faculty, this uniquely formed construction served as a sequence of music venues that includes a “who’s who” of the music world. Within the ’70s and into the ’80s, the 700-person institution was known as Dooley’s and had gigs by the likes of Devo, Tom Petty, Elvis Costello, The Kinks, and Blondie.

Many of those reveals had been booked by native promoter Danny Zelisko, as he spent his embryonic years within the live performance enterprise bringing in acts to the venue shortly after launching his now-defunct Night Star Productions within the mid-1970s. He continued bringing in reveals after the venue modified house owners and names twice over the next twenty years, changing into After the Gold Rush within the early ’80s and the Electrical Ballroom within the early ’90s.

Every hosted notable acts. After the Gold Rush, for example, bridged the heyday of laborious rock and hair steel (Cinderella, King’s X, and Quicker Pussycat) into the rise of grunge and various (Nirvana, Mr. Bungle, Widespread Panic). Electrical Ballroom had all kinds of gigs, operating the gamut from The Cramps, L7, and Social Distortion to Bloodhound Gang and Blur.

The property’s live performance historical past ended within the late ’90s, due partly to an alleged sexual assault by the rappers of Onyx. (The incident led to the liquor license getting pulled by state officers.) The New Faculty for the Arts & Teachers bought the property within the early 2000s.

Boston's was home to rock 'n' roll throughout the '90s.

Boston’s was house to rock ‘n’ roll all through the ’90s.

Tempe Historical past Museum


910 North McClintock Drive, Tempe
At present: Elite Cabaret Gentleman’s Membership

Described by former Phoenix New Instances scribes as an “east Valley rock mecca,” Boston’s was a shabby dive with loads of verve. It was owned by Al Nichols, who ran the place together with his three sons, Corey, Keith, and Jeff. Exhibits befell on each its indoor and out of doors stage and included a variety of native bands getting their begin.

The well-remembered Tempe bar, which operated from 1991 till 2002 and was a hub for rock, punk, various, steel, ska, and indie. Search the net and you will see an enviable listing of touring acts that hit up Boston’s throughout its run, together with The Specials, Napalm Loss of life, Jesus Lizard, Rocket From the Crypt, Flogging Molly, Weezer, Slipknot, Mike Ness, and Jello Biafra.

Following Boston’s closure, it grew to become a Latin dance spot known as Membership Macarena for a bit, solely to finally go vacant once more. In 2009, it reopened as 910 Dwell, a mixture nightclub/venue that combined dwell music with DJs, together with a notable gig by a pre-breakthrough Skrillex in 2011. By 2013, the principle room was remodeled right into a gentleman’s membership referred to as Elite Cabaret. The expansive again patio has gigs as soon as in a blue moon, which retains Boston’s rock ‘n’ roll spirit alive.

Gin Blossoms play the Hayden Square Amphitheater during the 1990s.EXPAND

Gin Blossoms play the Hayden Sq. Amphitheater in the course of the 1990s.

Tempe Historical past Museum

Hayden Sq. Amphitheater

404 South Mill Avenue Tempe
At present nonetheless working

Again within the ’90s, Hayden Sq. in downtown Tempe boasted a small nexus of venues sharing a symbiotic relationship and groove with the Mill Avenue scene. Located round a Fourth Road cul-de-sac, its cluster of now-defunct bars was a stomping grounds for musicians, together with Balboa Cafe, Chuy’s, and Edcel’s Attic.

On the middle of Hayden Sq. was a modest out of doors amphitheater. Performances had been widespread all through the 1990s by various bands (Soul Asylum, Rubbish, They Would possibly Be Giants) and laborious rock acts (Stabbing Westward, Deftones). Phish additionally placed on a memorable gig in 1994 attended by 1000’s.

Nowadays, the world is known as “Hayden Station” (due to its proximity to a light-rail cease) and continues to be used for infrequent gigs, like when the Gin Blossoms returned to their roots and performed throughout 2014’s Tempe New 12 months’s Eve Block Celebration. Final 12 months, it hosted the Hay Day Music Pageant with units by Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers, The Pistoleros, Clever Monkey Orchestra, and The Hourglass Cats.

The entrance to Hollywood Alley during its glory days.

The doorway to Hollywood Alley throughout its glory days.

Wincek Household

Hollywood Alley

2610 West Baseline Street, Mesa
At present: AZ Health Plus

Over the span of 25 years, this “ultra-chic pissant hip dive bar” situated on the border of Tempe and run by the Wincek household was a much-beloved bar, restaurant, music venue, arcade, and second house to many drinkers and Valley musicians.

Inside its well-worn partitions — which had been famously coated with peeling film posters, previous LPs, and different ephemera — a powerful number of abilities each native and touring carried out for the delight of crowds each giant and small. One other draw was the lineup of home made recipes created by Rachel Hrutkay, the grandmother of the Wincek household.

Hollywood Alley closed in 2013 due to monetary points confronted by the Winceks. Shortly after its shuttering, it was stripped of each single little bit of memorabilia by its proprietors and regulars and was utterly reworked by the property house owners. After working as a secondhand retailer for years, it’s now a neighborhood boxing and yoga facility known as AZ Health Plus.

The Marquee Theatre's building used to host family-friendly country fare.EXPAND

The Marquee Theatre’s constructing used to host family-friendly nation fare.

Tempe Historical past Museum

Pink River Opry

730 North Mill Avenue, Tempe
At present: Marquee Theatre

A decade earlier than Marquee Theatre opened for enterprise in March 2003 on the nook of Mill Avenue and Washington Road, the expansive constructing was the area of nation crooners and down-home sounds. In 1993, the venue debuted because the Pink River Opry, a family-oriented place with auditorium seating and a theatrical-style revue known as the “Arizona’s Nation Music Present.” 

On the time, New Instances writers described the performances as a “scripted mix of family-friendly crossover nation and pop, punctuated with a little bit of comedy.” Yee-haw. Lengthy after the Pink River Opry headed for the final roundup, the property grew to become the live performance corridor everyone knows in the present day, sans the seating, and all of the heaping helpings of cornpone. Since changing into the Marquee, it’s placed on upward of two,000 concert events.

Yucca Tap Room in the 1970s.

Yucca Faucet Room within the 1970s.

Tempe Historical past Museum

Yucca Faucet Room

29 West Southern Avenue, Tempe
At present nonetheless working

The Yucca Faucet is a survivor. It’s withstood financial downturns, evolving tastes, and is seemingly getting by in the course of the present COVID-19 disaster. One of many causes is as a result of the bar, which has been owned by the Hu household for the reason that early ‘70s, has modified with the occasions. A 2009 growth added a craft beer/whiskey bar and kitchen whereas an adjoining arcade got here alongside in 2018. In the meantime, the principle room on the Yucca has remained largely the identical, proper right down to its wood-paneled partitions. And if they may speak, they’d spin tales of the numerous gigs which have occurred right here.

After that includes a number of completely different home bands on weekends, the Hu household began presenting native dwell music in 1989, together with most of the famed acts that put Tempe on the map. Present proprietor Rodney Hu can rattle off a rundown of among the extra well-remembered bands that performed on the Yucca, similar to Flathead, Spinning Jennies, The Pistoleros, Satellite tv for pc, and The Refreshments. And as new teams had been born, the bar provided up its stage to every, starting from Grave Hazard and The Black Moods to The Format (who carried out a memorable acoustic set in 2005).

Edcels Attic in a 1994 photo.EXPAND

Edcels Attic in a 1994 picture.

Tempe Historical past Museum

Edcels Attic

414 South Mill Avenue
At present: GLOW Photographs & Cocktails

Want proof of the ever-evolving state of Tempe’s nightlife scene? Look no farther than this second-floor spot, which has beforehand been referred to as The Upstairs Pub, Ziggy’s, Classic Bar & Grill, the Coconut Membership, PA Connection, and the BAC Lounge over time. Its longest stint was as Edcels Attic (or Edsels Attic, relying on the supply) in the course of the decade-long stretch from the mid-’80s to mid-’90s.

Dwell music was on faucet nightly from a rotating number of bands, operating the gamut from the blues-oriented Chuck Corridor and the Brick Wall to the Bruce Connole-led various ensemble The Strand. Longtime proprietor Ed Chiongbian and Cely Bossany, who bought the place in 1986, additionally regularly booked artists like Walt Richardson and Morningstar, the Zubia brothers, and Brides of Science.

The old Devil House was a major party spot for ASU kids.

The previous Satan Home was a significant get together spot for ASU youngsters.

Tempe Historical past Museum

Satan Home/Membership Rio

430 North Scottsdale Street, Tempe
At present: The Watermark Tempe

All through the ’80s and ’90s, this spot alongside Scottsdale Street simply north of the Salt River was a significant rage haven for ASU youngsters and 20-somethings. It debuted in 1981 because the Satan Home, and later grew to become Membership Rio, providing a mixture of theme occasions (like its Saturday foam events) and DJ nights all through its 23-year lifespan.

Membership Rio’s party-hardy infamy was due in no small half to its low cost and plentiful drinks, which led to each good occasions and dangerous choices throughout its run. (Onetime Arizona Cardinals quarterback Jake Plummer acquired in bother again in 1997 for allegedly fondling 4 girls contained in the membership.)

In addition to serving as a infamous nightspot, Membership Rio was a well-liked live performance venue, particularly in the course of the 1990s and into the brand new millennium. Numerous acts from that period gigged at Membership Rio, together with Dangerous Faith, Porno for Pyros, Inexperienced Day, Jesus Jones, Ben Folds 5, Korn, System of a Down, and Soulfly.
After later changing into the Arizona Seashore Membership for a spell, the membership was torn down within the mid-2000s, and the property has develop into The Watermark Tempe, a $150 million mixed-use growth.

Tony's New Yorker on Broadway Road featured blues, rock, and more.EXPAND

Tony’s New Yorker on Broadway Street featured blues, rock, and extra.

Tempe Historical past Museum

Tony’s New Yorker

107 East Broadway Street, Tempe
At present: American Legion Submit 138

This property alongside Broadway Street simply off Mill Avenue began out as a church, then grew to become a nightclub earlier than a noteworthy stint within the late ’80s and many of the ’90s as Tony’s New Yorker.

The Italian restaurant and its connected lounge had been graced by many legendary Tempe musicians, together with bands just like the Piersons, bluesman Hans Olson, and the late Doug Hopkins. The truth is, the troubled Gin Blossoms songwriter and guitarist reportedly performed his ultimate gig at Tony’s alongside Olson in late 1993 shortly earlier than taking his personal life.

Nowadays, music nonetheless echoes via the constructing, because it’s now an American Legion Submit 138. Artists and bands sometimes carry out inside the big and full of life bar, which is a favourite of neighborhood folks, former servicemen, and quite a lot of biker sorts. Like with any American Legion Submit, nevertheless, membership is required.

Inside Eastside Records onEXPAND

Inside Eastside Data on

Benjamin Leatherman

Eastside Data

217 West College Drive, Tempe
At present: HQ Vape & Smoke

Although not technically a music venue, the unique location of Eastside Data on College Drive was an epicenter and assembly floor for the native music scene for near 20 years. It additionally hosted quite a lot of reveals in its day, each inside the shop and out within the parking zone.

One of many largest was a rowdy efficiency by surf/area rock act Man or Astro-Man? in 1995 that pressured the owner to ban future gigs at Eastside for a prolonged time frame. And although it wasn’t as uproarious, the ultimate evening at Eastside’s authentic house previous to its closure in 2010 featured Grave Hazard and different locals performing within the aisles. 

After its closure in 2010, neighboring smoke store HQ Vape & Smoke (an iconic Tempe enterprise in its personal proper) expanded into the area and doubled its dimension. Eastside co-owner Michael Pawlicki opened a number of completely different pop-up variations of the shop round Tempe over the previous decade earlier than deciding on an area contained in the Double Nickels Collective close to the Yucca Faucet Room.

The current home of Tempe Tavern during its days as the Oxbow.EXPAND

The present house of Tempe Tavern throughout its days because the Oxbow.

Tempe Historical past Museum

The Oxbow/Murphy’s Irish Pub

1810 East Apache Boulevard, Tempe
At present: Tempe Tavern

The squat cobblestone construction situated simply east of McClintock Drive on Apache Boulevard is probably not the oldest current constructing in Tempe, but it surely does occur to be the oldest one at the moment working as a music venue. In 1919, nearly a century earlier than it started internet hosting every part from punk and loss of life steel to hip-hop, the constructing was the E.M. White Dairy Barn. It later was remodeled right into a industrial institution in 1930 and later grew to become a sequence of eating places and bars.

Earlier than it was Tempe Tavern, the property was the Oxbow within the 1940s and the New Oxbow Tavern within the 1970s. All through many of the ’90s, it served up many a pint as Murphy’s Irish Pub earlier than its closure in 2001. A decade later, its present proprietors refurbished and reworked the joint in 2011 into its present look.

30-Weight and the Marz Band perform at Big Surf in 1978.EXPAND

30-Weight and the Marz Band carry out at Massive Surf in 1978.

Tempe Historical past Museum

Massive Surf

1500 North McClintock Drive, Tempe
At present Nonetheless Working

This iconic Tempe water park is nothing if not historic. Having opened in 1969, it not solely is the longest-running attraction of its form in Arizona but additionally options the first-ever wave pool within the U.S. Within the 1970s, folks turned out in droves for quite a lot of out of doors concert events by noteworthy acts.

In line with Massive Surf’s proprietors, basic rock and pop legends like Deep Purple, Steely Dan, Boz Scaggs, and Foghat all carried out amid the palm timber and Polynesian kitsch of the park. (Generally the out of doors setting was a bit hazardous, like when Pink Floyd reportedly pulled the plug halfway via its September 1972 set as a result of rain.) Different famend names who visited Massive Surf for reveals over the many years embody Elton John, Stevie Marvel, Blue Öyster Cult, Sting, and the Pink Sizzling Chili Peppers.

Quick-forward to the current, and the water park nonetheless is giving up area for concert events. Steve LeVine Leisure placed on three separate editions of its Soundwave music festivals in 2011 and 2012 at Massive Surf, whereas the annual Moist Electrical has introduced in such noteworthy DJs as Dillon Francis, Diplo, and Flux Pavillion annually since 2013.

The Sail Inn was an old-school haven for drinking, dancing, and live music.

The Sail Inn was an old-school haven for ingesting, dancing, and dwell music.

Gina Lombardi

The Sail Inn

26 South Farmer Avenue, Tempe
At present: The Lodge Sasquatch Kitchen

In 1990, Sail Inn proprietor Gina Lombardi and her enterprise companions turned what was initially a ramshackle dive referred to as the Final Probability Saloon right into a thriving music vacation spot. It spent the higher a part of the subsequent 24 years as one among Tempe’s favourite locations to drink, hang around, or catch a present. Native musicians and bands had been massive followers of the place throughout its lifespan, be it blues artists within the early ’90s, the members of Mill’s well-known jangle-pop period, or extra trendy acts like Dry River Yacht Membership, Japhy’s Descent, and The Sugar Thieves.

The nice occasions got here to an finish in 2014 when the property was bought to builders and remodeled into the brand new house for Chef Aaron Could’s Sasquatch-themed restaurant/bar The Lodge. Sail Inn’s patrons will probably be happy to know that the institution retains some structural parts of its former identification, together with the property’s out of doors amphitheater, which serves because the backdrop for the patio.

The Bash on Ash in 1997.EXPAND

The Bash on Ash in 1997.

Tempe Historical past Museum

The Bash On Ash

230 West Fifth Road, Tempe
At present: Schooling at Work

Massive bashes befell on this now-defunct live performance corridor connected to the equally extinct sports activities bar McDuffy’s, and we aren’t simply referring to the occasions professional wrestlers battled inside. There have been additionally costume balls, swing events, and quite a lot of different nightlife occasions. The principle attraction, although, was concert events, which the Bash hosted in abundance after opening in 1997.

A great deal of raucous native CD launch events occurred throughout the cavernous foremost room, together with shindigs by Morse Code, Mourning Maxwell, Victims in Ecstacy, Kings of Pleasure, and Blessedbethyname. As one of many snazzier mid-sized venues regionally, it noticed a variety of use by Valley artists with vital followings, in addition to underground hip-hop acts, up-and-coming indie bands, punk and ska legends, and hordes of laborious rock and loss of life steel teams.

The Bash loved a six-year run, however a mixture of waning crowds, the post-9/11 financial funk, and a downturn of curiosity in dwell music satisfied proprietor Scott Adams to eschew concert events in 2004 and switch it right into a nightclub. It didn’t final, and he consequently introduced again the Bash on Ash the next summer time, solely to shut each it and McDuffy’s in 2005. The constructing now could be now occupied by the places of work of Schooling at Work.

Inexperienced Room

560 South School Avenue, Tempe
At present: Vacant

Ever strolled previous this specific School Avenue institution in your option to Solar Satan Stadium over the many years? Little question you’ve seen the sequence of sports activities bars and drinkeries which have come and gone from the property. Again in 1999, it was house to the Inexperienced Room, one of many first music venues overseen by native live performance promoter Charlie Levy.

Let’s set the stage: It’s late 1998 and the longer term proprietor of Crescent Ballroom and Valley Bar had left Nita’s Hideaway. Levy had chosen to deal with managing native bands and was approached by the house owners of Fumbles, a foundering bar situated within the area, about bringing his shoppers in to carry out on the enterprise. A lot of Levy’s cohorts from Nita’s, similar to soundman Jamah Ruhe and the members of the Bombshelter DJs, adopted him to the Inexperienced Room. And the place prospered. Jimmy Eat World held the discharge get together for his or her influential album Readability on the spot. In the meantime, Levy additionally introduced in such bands as Get Up Children and Superchunk.

Levy and his crew departed a 12 months or so later, and the Inexperienced Room carried on for a spell earlier than closing. Since then, a sequence of sports activities bars and eating places have taken over the property, together with its most up-to-date tenant, a now-defunct Mediterranean restaurant known as Nush.

Strikes and spares mixed with ska-punk at Tempe Bowl in the late-'90s.EXPAND

Strikes and spares combined with ska-punk at Tempe Bowl within the late-’90s.

Tempe Historical past Museum

Tempe Bowl

1100 East Apache Boulevard, Tempe
At present: Apollo Residences

In what some people fondly keep in mind because the Valley’s model of Chicago’s notorious Hearth Bowl, the long-defunct Tempe Bowl was the location of many rock, punk, and ska gigs within the late 1990s. After the neighboring Electrical Ballroom misplaced its liquor license in 1997, reveals booked on the ailing venue had been rapidly moved subsequent door to the bowling alley. Christine Zahn, Tempe Bowl’s proprietor, was receptive to the state of affairs and allowed additional concert events at her enterprise within the following months. It rapidly grew to become a well-liked all-ages venue frequented by punks and straight-edge youngsters.

The reveals helped Tempe Bowl’s backside line but it surely wasn’t sufficient to maintain the place alive. It closed within the early 2000s and was remodeled into the Southwest Institute of Therapeutic Arts. The property has since been razed and is now a multimillion-dollar condominium venture set to open later this 12 months.

The Big Fish Pub during its 19-year run in Tempe.EXPAND

The Massive Fish Pub throughout its 19-year run in Tempe.

Tempe Historical past Museum

Massive Fish Pub

1954 East College Drive, Tempe
At present: 360 Bodily Remedy

Opened in 1995 by authentic proprietor Donny Johnson (at the moment the overall supervisor for Fortunate Man Concert events), the Massive Fish Pub was barely faraway from the favored Mill Avenue scene however nonetheless featured most of the identical acts. Because the years wore on, the pub additionally hosted many famend laborious rock and various acts throughout their early life, together with A Good Circle, Sevendust, Eagles of Loss of life Metallic, 30 Seconds to Mars, and Chester Bennington’s pre-Linkin Park band, Gray Daze.

Johnson bought the bar in 2005 after a decade of possession to native entrepreneur Mark DeCarlo. It grew to become extra of a blues/R&B joint earlier than altering house owners once more in 2008, this time being bought by proprietor Victor Boiseau, who returned the place to its rock membership roots.

Regardless of his finest efforts to maintain the Massive Fish, he reportedly acquired right into a spat with the house owners of the strip mall that housed the bar over lease and different points. Consequently, Boiseau closed the pub in 2014 and moved it to Mesa (the place it lasted lower than a 12 months). Since then, its authentic house underwent a significant reworking and is now house to one of many Valley areas of 360 Bodily Remedy.

Yes, Tempe once had a restaurant, bar, and music venue inside a giant barn.EXPAND

Sure, Tempe as soon as had a restaurant, bar, and music venue inside an enormous barn.

Tempe Historical past Museum

Minder Binder’s

715 South McClintock Drive, Tempe
At present: Social Corridor

When it got here to kitschy spots, it was laborious to high Minder Binder’s. In spite of everything, the place was constructed to resemble an enormous purple barn and boasted a bucolic theme and an array of antiques inside. Opened in 1972, it was aimed at school college students and beckoned them with 5 completely different bars, nickel beer nights, dance events, and reveals on its yard or within the upstairs space. Veruca Salt performed there as soon as, as did bands like Flotsam and Jetsam, Agent Orange, Voodoo Glow Skulls, Infectious Grooves, and even Gap (again earlier than Courtney Love went utterly nutso).

Minder Binder’s purchased the farm round 2005, and the property sat nearly a decade as a decrepit eyesore alongside McClintock Drive earlier than being utterly reconstructed and reworked in 2014. It’s now referred to as Social Corridor, an expansive restaurant and bar with not one of the ostentatiousness of its predecessor.

The third version of Chuy's, which was located in Hayden Square.

The third model of Chuy’s, which was situated in Hayden Sq..

Tempe Historical past Museum


A number of Areas

The historical past of Chuy’s encompasses not one, however three separate bygone venues in downtown Tempe, every with its personal specific vibe and most well-liked sound. The primary location originated within the 1970s and was referred to as Chuy’s Choo-Choo, a ground-level bar on the now-demolished Casa Loma Resort close to Third Road and Mill Avenue that began that includes dwell acts across the late 1970s.

In 1981, native musician Jim Simmons and his spouse, vocalist Nancy Jackson, took over the spot, 86ed the “Choo-Choo” portion of this moniker, and turned it right into a scorching spot for jazz and blues artists. “Each massive jazz and blues particular person you may consider performed there, just like the Crusaders and John Lee Hooker,” says native live performance promoter Danny Zelisko. Different guests included Charlie Musselwhite, the late Jaco Pastorius, Branford Marsalis, McCoy Tyner, and Gatemouth Brown.

Resulting from real-estate growth in downtown, Simmons and Jackson moved Chuy’s twice in the course of the 11-year span they ran the membership, finally winding up in what then was referred to as Hayden Sq. in 1989 and spending the subsequent three years internet hosting rock and various concert events till its closure in October 1992.

Gibson's in Hayden Square was a rock haven.

Gibson’s in Hayden Sq. was a rock haven.

Tempe Historical past Museum


410 South Mill Avenue
At present: Vacant

Quick-forward a 12 months and a half (and an possession change) later to 1994 and what was as soon as Chuy’s grew to become Gibson’s, a most well-liked spot for a lot of music followers. Its balcony was an excellent place for chicken’s-eye views of the bands (to not point out a more in-depth have a look at the row of namesake guitars adorning the ceiling), the higher-than-normal stage gave an aura of significance to anybody acting on it, the sound was all the time spot on, and it was the place many noticed a few of their largest rock heroes in the course of the peak of their success.

Zelikso was one among ‘em. “I liked reveals at Gibson’s,” he says. “There was that balcony and you may look down on whoever was taking part in.”

Gibson’s was open for less than 5 years, however hosted loads of well-known acts, together with Lords of Acid, Gravity Kills, Suicidal Tendencies, Supersuckers, Cibo Matto, and Soul Coughing.

In 2000, the bar went hippie as Have a Good Day Cafe for a number of years earlier than changing into a sequence of various golf equipment, together with Margarita Rocks, Moonshine Whiskey Bar, and the Cabin Tempe. The property is at the moment vacant however we’re guessing it has a brand new tenant earlier than too lengthy.

JD's was one of the Arizona spots where Waylon Jennings got his start.EXPAND

JD’s was one of many Arizona spots the place Waylon Jennings acquired his begin.

Tempe Historical past Museum


825 North Scottsdale Street
At present: Vacant

You could not comprehend it from its shabby look, however the now-closed furnishings retailer subsequent door to the Dream Palace strip membership was as soon as thought of hallowed floor. A lifetime in the past, it was the placement of JD’s, a reputation that’s possible acquainted to followers of the late Waylon Jennings.

The 2-floor nightclub, which was situated at what was then backside of the dry Salt River, debuted within the mid-’60s and featured rock bands downstairs and nation music upstairs. The outlaw crooner and longtime Valley resident carried out their usually, honing his craft and gaining publicity to the nation music world. Different Corridor of Famers that graced JD’s and packed ’em in by the 1000’s had been Johnny Money, Willie Nelson, and the Valley’s personal Mike Condello.

The membership survived into the ‘70s, albeit after quite a lot of setbacks. After the river mattress flooded in 1965, vital water harm triggered the place to shut for weeks. It additionally modified possession and names earlier than being gutted by a fireplace in 1976 and finally turning right into a retail retailer in 1978. It was most lately a furnishings outlet, which went out of enterprise a number of years in the past. 

The original Compton Terrace in 1980.EXPAND

The unique Compton Terrace in 1980.

Compton Terrace

5555 East Van Buren Road
At present: Fiftyfive55 workplace constructing

Say the identify “Compton Terrace” to old-school Valley residents and so they may instantly ask again, “Which one?” There have been two variations of the famed out of doors amphitheater, with the primary situated on the Phoenix/Tempe border contained in the storied Legend Metropolis amusement park. Constructed by native entrepreneur Jess Nicks (father of rock ‘n’ roll queen Stevie Nicks) and his brother Gene, it occupied the southeastern nook of Legend Metropolis and debuted in July 1979. It additionally offered a brand new supply of earnings to the struggling amusement park.

Filling a necessity for large-capacity live performance venues within the Valley, the primary Compton Terrace featured a 20,000-person capability and an unequalled lineup of reveals. The Nicks partnered with native promoter Doug Clark and introduced big-name rock and pop stars of that period to its stage, together with Elton John, Dan Fogelberg, Low cost Trick, Grateful Useless, and Linda Ronstadt.

Legend Metropolis lastly went below in 1983, forcing Compton Terrace to relocate to what was then referred to as Firebird Lake in Chandler. (AC/DC carried out the ultimate present at its authentic house.) Concert events continued to happen there via the ‘90s and 2000s till its demolition a decade in the past.

The Sun Club was hot, scummy, and beloved by many during its run.EXPAND

The Solar Membership was scorching, scummy, and beloved by many throughout its run.

Tempe Historical past Museum

The Solar Membership

1001 East Eighth Road
At present: Valor on Eighth Residences

There’ll by no means be one other place just like the Solar Membership. Simply one of many extra legendary and seminal music venues in Tempe historical past, it was a breeding floor, cultural incubator, and launching pad for what would develop into among the metropolis’s most illustrious rock acts.

Living proof: The Gin Blossoms attracted main label curiosity after a memorable present right here within the early ’90s. The members of Useless Sizzling Workshop had been additionally regulars in the course of the band’s early life and would pay homage in 1995 by utilizing a photograph of the Solar Membership as the duvet artwork for his or her album 1001.

Bluesman Hans Olson started a protracted affiliation with the place in 1969 when it was referred to as The Library and provided him a daily spot to jam. He grew to become proprietor within the late ’80s, mounted it up, and rechristened it with its best-known moniker whereas racking up $48,000 in debt, necessitating promoting it off 18 months later. The Solar Membership lived on for one more couple of years earlier than closing in 1992. A four-story condo constructing known as Valor on Eighth is now situated on the property.

Nita's Hideaway is etched in Tempe music history.EXPAND

Nita’s Hideaway is etched in Tempe music historical past.

Tempe Historical past Museum

Nita’s Hideaway

1816 East Rio Salado Parkway, Tempe
At present: Tempe Market

In early 1995, Nita’s Hideaway, the small out-of-the-way dive on Rio Salado Parkway owned by the late rodeo queen Nita Craddock, had a watershed second: It hosted the primary of a sequence of weekly units by the now-defunct pop band the Piersons. It was the first-ever present on the bar organized by Charlie Levy, who needed to cajole its proprietor into permitting it to occur. Craddock lastly relented, permitting her namesake spot to develop into etched within the annals of Tempe music lore.

The Piersons had been the primary of actually 1000’s of bands to carry out at Nita’s over the subsequent seven years, serving to it develop into a staple of the native music circuit. Craddock allowed Levy to construct a stage, purchase a sound system, and herald larger acts on weekends, like Tucson’s Large Sand. Issues rapidly blew up from there as Nita’s grew to become a hub for indie and tastemaking rock.

Then got here some quite a lot of twists and turns. Craddock grew to become fed up with the bar biz and bought the constructing in 1998, solely to purchase it again months later after its new house owners’ try at an all-ages punk membership failed. Then, late Mark Covert bought it in 1999 and returned Nita’s to its former glory in 2000 with Levy’s help. Sadly, the bar and different close by companies had been earmarked for the longer term Tempe Market and torn down in 2003 to make method for the buying middle. 

Long Wong's was a focal point of local music in the '90s.EXPAND

Lengthy Wong’s was a focus of native music within the ’90s.

Tempe Historical past Museum

Lengthy Wong’s

701 South Mill Avenue, Tempe
At present: Vacant

Lengthy Wong’s on Mill was the epicenter of the Tempe scene throughout its glory years and the nucleus of an interconnected community of musicians, golf equipment, and followers. An esteemed establishment that hummed with dwell music nightly for 16 years straight, it’s the place bands wished to be seen and heard. Though the Gin Blossoms will ceaselessly be linked to the place, they weren’t the one ones that made its tiny stage their house.

The listing of those that had been featured at Wong’s is almost infinite: The Beat Angels. Zen Lunatics. The Pistoleros. The Refreshments. Busted Hearts. Gloritone. Revenants. Trophy Husbands. Flathead. Even the late Elvis “The Cat” Delmonte, an entertainingly eccentric artist, even acquired stage time. Lengthy Wong’s in the end was a barometer of Tempe’s music scene, rising in prominence and significance as curiosity in its model of rock and pop did the identical. Its closure in 2004 got here as a blow and shock to many, even after the highlight on Mill had lengthy since light.

And although Lengthy Wong’s was demolished to reportedly make method for future growth alongside Mill, its plot has remained vacant ever since, serving as an occasional parking zone and a gaping reminder of what was.

Editor’s word: This text was beforehand revealed in October 2015 and March 2016 and has been up to date. New Instances wish to thank the Tempe Historical past Museum and Bruce Liddil for using their photographs.