Franco Gagliano Talks Legends of The Mason Jar, Past and Present

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We were like a wife and a husband and the little kids. Maybe Brian--we probably butted heads. They did me a favor one time, playing a benefit, and when I put them on no one was there, so he got mad about that.

They used to play every other week. When they first came from Tucson, I found them a place. They were coming back and forth from Tucson a lot. I ran a full-page ad for them in New Times; cost me 180 bucks. And they were playing three sets a night when they were the Pills.

A lot of the agencies, they knew that Phoenix was a pit stop. Stone Temple Pilots, nobody knew them. Nobody, nobody, nobody. I had them booked at The Mason Jar; they were coming through Phoenix from El Paso. They weren't signed.

Either them or another band, 3 Doors Down--they got stuck because their van broke down. I said, "You've got to be kidding." So I get on the phone. "Put on the mechanic and I'll give him my credit card number. The show must go on." So it was like $800 to fix the van; they barely made it at 11:30.

A few bands would say, "We're on the way!" and [then] never show up. What am I gonna do? I have to give people back their money or a rain check.

El Duce didn't show up a few times. The Minotaur. There were quite a few, just never showed up. There were a lot of shows that were last minute cancellations. So I'd say, "Anybody who has a ticket, I'll give you guys 75-cent Kamikazes all night." So many I can't tell you.

Who were the biggest national draws? Bo Diddley, Two nights. Then the Metallica boys, Stone Temple Pilots, Jane's Addiction. When It sells out, it sells out. I think Jane's Addiction did two shows. Red Hot Chili Peppers too, they did a matinee at 7:00 and 9:00.

In the Nineties, there were rival rock clubs opening in your zip code, weren't there? The Library on Indian School, which didn't last too long. There was so many clubs right across the street that tried to book some of my bands. They were like Impulse. I remember one day this guy came in here with a tape measure, took measurements of the stage, took a measurement of the PA. Then a few months after, this guy opens a club next to the Chinese restaurant.

And the owner turned out to be the guy with the tape measure. Late '80s. Then the Roxy on Highland, they tried to take a lot of shows.

The Roxy closed on amount of a shooting at a rap show. Did the Jar book a lot of famous rappers? I booked all those early rap guys. When the rock and roll scene was dying, because of the rap. You used to stop at a red light and hear Metallica, Scorpions, or KUPD. After that you didn't gear it so much. Every third car was playing rap. [Imitates beat car sounds.] Every single one started at the Mason Jar.

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Serene Dominic
Contact: Serene Dominic