The Rebel Lounge is turning three.
The Rebel Lounge is turning three.
Courtesy of The Rebel Lounge

Happy Third Birthday, Rebel Lounge

Live music club The Rebel Lounge is throwing a party. That’s not a surprising announcement, as it is a festive
spot any given night the place is open, being a destination for a diverse roster of live and touring bands, DJs, dance nights, and happenings where performance is at the core.

This time, though, the all-ages shindig on Sunday, May 20, is happening to celebrate the venue’s third anniversary. Bands The Sink or Swim, Rival Coast, Coyote Tango, and Dirty Sunset will take the stage in honor of the occasion.

Hitting this milestone is exciting for The Rebel Lounge’s co-owner Stephen Chilton. “The cool thing for me,” he says, “is the artist development side. We have seen bands play on our stage one or two times and then graduate to a bigger club on subsequent visits. That is great to watch.”

Chilton, who is best known as Psyko Steve, has been promoting shows around the Valley long before the last few years at The Rebel Lounge. Friends gave him that nickname years ago, and he eventually started attaching it to his music-biz dealings. He says the moniker is “ironic,” and it only takes about five minutes to figure that out, as he is one easy-going dude.

The Arizona native started booking shows at Modified back in 2000 and hasn’t stopped since, save for a year in the mid-2000s when he gave Los Angeles living a try. After his return, he put his skills to work at Crescent Ballroom, tackling booking and graphic-design jobs.

Starting a new venue was something that Chilton and Rebel’s other owner, Chuckie Duff, had thought about for a while, and the pair checked out different properties from time to time. Duff, a musician and founder of record label and media company Common Wall, also deals in real estate.

The two got to talking about the building that for many years housed the legendary Mason Jar, which opened in the late ’70s and was known as much for its great shows as its colorful, clog-wearing owner, Franco Gagliono.
Some number-crunching on Duff’s part and the takeover of this building became a reality. Chilton and Duff hit the ground running.

“We had a few challenges to tackle,” Chilton says, “but nothing surprising, just the usual duties that need to happen, from accounting and admin tasks to getting employees.” But they were nothing that slowed them down.
Music fans were ready for them.

“Right out of the gate,” he adds, “we had sold-out shows, like GBH.”

It’s that love of fostering artists that continually resonates with Chilton. “We’ve had bands like LANY and The Frights who have sold out here and then gone on to say, Crescent Ballroom next, and then The Van Buren, and sold out those venues.”

“Any band,” he adds, “playing to a handful of people on a given night could be those bands in a couple of years.”
Continuing to showcase known bands and groom new bands is always on deck at The Rebel Lounge, where you will always see a mix of genres.

“I don’t want it to be any one genre, or one sound,” Chilton says. “That’s why we keep the decor uncomplicated — to show that the venue is not tailored to any one style.

“Anyone belongs here.”

The Rebel Lounge’s three-year anniversary party starts at 8 p.m. on Sunday, May 20, at 2303 East Indian School Road. Tickets are $3 to $5. Call 602-296-7013 or visit therebellounge.com.

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