The Live Music Venues of Gainesville
compiled by Marty Jourard
If live music seemed to be everywhere you went in Gainesville there was a reason: it probably was. Indoors and out, night and day, close to year round. Two factors were involved. The first was the University.
The University of Florida was a vast playground for bands and other musical performances due to the large size of the school, a strong entertainment budget run by Student Government Productions, a big-time fraternity scene that hired many bands and held many parties, and the appeal of the great outdoors. Located in the Sunshine State, Gainesville had pleasant weather—if you didn’t count the humid heart of the summer—which allowed for music to be performed outdoors close to year-round. The prevalence of the hippie musical festival concept added to the number of outdoor events, as there were music festivals such as Hatchett Creek, Dusserah, Gainesville Music Festival and others. But the majority of the live music took place in the many bars, lounges, clubs, fraternities and roadhouses in and around town. Any opportunity to sell more beer by providing live music was an obvious smart choice for a bar or restaurant or lounge. With the exception of some university venues, most if not all of the music places listed in this chapter are closed and some of the buildings are long gone or converted to other uses. With Google Maps you can plug in an address and see the current use of the building...if it’s still there.
Comments from people who remember these venues are in italics.
The Alibi Lounge 3334 W University Ave
In the mid ‘60s, acts such as Dick Stephens Trio (“Progressive Jazz”) played here on weekends. By the mid ‘70s bands were booked from Monday to Saturday (such as the Archer Road Band). Became part of the Big Daddy’s franchise in 1975
The Backdoor (at the Sweden House) 2400 SW 13th St
This all-you-could-eat smorgasbord restaurant opened a music venue in the back area, cheap beer, Road Turkey, New Days Ahead played there April ‘74
The Bent Card 1826 W University Ave
The Bent Card was Gainesville's
coffeehouse. It existed for a little over five years, from 1966 to 1970. Like
most coffee houses, it was associated with a church but it wasn't located in a
church parish hall or something like that. It was in an old ramshackle building
on University Avenue next to a fraternity. The building was used as a childcare
center during the day. I remember seeing it as I drove out of Gainesville on my
way to a Univac conference in Miami in 1966. It was closed when I came to the
University of Florida in September 1968. It finally reopened in late October.
Most of my UF friends came from the Bent Card. It was run by Bob Zuber. It was where I met Jack Schuster, Pete Scott, Doran Oster, Sandi Matthews, Kathy Crotta, Gail Gillespie, Zoa Grady, Chip Rief, Bob Rose, Jarrett Renshaw, Auguste Rubrecht, and Bill Dreisbach to name just a few who come immediately to mind.
You entered the Card from a side door in the front of the building. (It may have been on the 2nd floor. I blush to realize I don't remember.) There was a short hall paralleling the front of the building, with a psychedelic scene painted on the wall. At the end of the hall, Bob Zuber or his sidekick Rex would be sitting at the table, ready to take your dollar, for which you got free coffee and munchies. Performers got in free. Then you turned to your right and the coffee house proper was in a room to your right. Or you followed the hall to the back of the building to where the kitchen was located as well as a room where the performers gathered to tune up and jam.
Jack Schuster, who played fiddle, mandolin, jews harp, and just about any instrument you could name, always tried to organize an impromptu jugband, often with John Johnson or Zuber or Rex on washtub bass and/or washboard. He formed a group called The Puget Sound.
Big Daddy's Lounges
1625 SW 13th St. (Cin City Lounge)
1800 NE 23rd Ave
The location at SW 16th Avenue and 13th Street, opening January 1970 as the Cin City Lounge, began featuring a DJ named Rudi spinning records. The bar was very popular with the vast student population in the apartments lining 16th Avenue, an area known as “Sin City” which accurately described the combination of affordable student housing, swimming pool keg parties and cheap alcohol, such as the Tuesday Night ten-cent drink specials at Cin City, where a dollar could get you knee-walkin’, commode-huggin’ drunk. Many bands played Cin City including Mudcrutch. By 1973 it was renamed the Sixty-Six Lounge.
Live music gradually became just one part of the nightly musical offerings as the Disco phenomenon arrived and the club added a DJ
When Lloyd Hart (real name David Carr) left WGGG he wanted to start a "Phono Bar" (the term Disco had not taken hold at that point). I owned 4 EV Century Fours and a Phase Linear 700 that we used to use when we booked Homer. Big Daddys was about to sell Cin City because it wasn't making any money, so Steve Boberski (regional manager for Big Daddy's) let us try the "Phono Bar" concept there and we just took the door charge. In just over three weeks we turned that place into the most profitable (on a per square foot basis) property that Joe Flannigan had! David went to work for Big Daddy's and I joined him down in Miami about a year later. We built a shit-load of his triple-decker lounges around the country and all had a disco with a stage at one end of the dance floor. The disco would alternate sets with the band. That was a successful format for years until Joe started drinking again and ran the company into the ground.
Old Joe looked at the numbers and flew up, unannounced, on his company plane, got a taxi to the club, and the fire marshall told him he couldn't go in. Flanagan told him, "But I OWN the Mother F----r!" The fire marshal said, "I don't care. You don't go in till somebody comes out!" He later told me that it was at that moment that he decided we were going to work for him. Jim Nygaard
Bilbo & Gandalf’s 2300 NW 6th St
Named after characters from “Lord of the Rings,” this venue opened winter/spring 1975.
Gamble Rogers played here many times [James Opp]
I played at their open mic for Bob Dylan's birthday party in May '75... Dave Durham also played... this was almost a year before we met and formed Archer Road Band. Gary Gordon
Blue Eagle: on Magnesia Springs Road.
The Blue Eagle, sometimes known as Piero’s Blue Eagle, presented several styles of music during its history. According to an advertisement in the Gainesville Sun 2/7/64, the Blue Eagle was “”Alachua County’s Newest Lounge—dance to the music of the Casanovas, featuring Ray Parrish, Pat Kee, Aubray Deen and Dean Bass.” There was no address for this back-in-the-woods roadhouse: “From G’ville drive to Grove Park, turn right on Magnesia Springs Rd. and go ¼ mile. Fully Air Conditioned. Comfortable Seating.” Guitarist/singer Jimmy Tutten remembers playing there when it was a country-music style venue but doesn’t mention the date. I drove out to the location in 2012 to see what remained but was discouraged by a sign in the yard of the house between me and the abandoned club site: Don’t Worry About the Dog, Beware of Owner.
Bruce Bush, Mark Scarborough and I actually played there in 1972. Then it was a black bottle club and we were the only white boys. Tom Holz
Bobby’s Hideaway 17301 NE U.S. 301 Waldo FL
A redneck package store/lounge/live music venue next to the highway in Waldo, Bobby’s had a reputation as a rough sort of place and it was not frequented by hippies or long hairs. Owned by Bobby L. Bryan, son Steve owned Nite Life behind Fat Boys in Gainesville.
Bobby Lee Bryan, 85
passed away at the Veterans Hospital in Gainesville at 2:35 July 10, 2009.
Bobby Lee Bryan was born in Jacksonville in 1924. He was a veteran having served in the Navy in WWII. He started a successful flooring business, installing terrazzo floors through out Gainesville and Jacksonville. Perhaps he is most known as the owner of Bobby's Hideaway in Waldo, which he ran with his wife, Ruth for 35 years.
Beef and Bottle (Brown Derby) 5220 SW 13 St
Opened in 1972, a supper club south of the city off US441, booked acts include Steve Martin, Doc Watson, Odetta, The Dillards, John Hartford, Dr. Hook, Gamble Rogers. Closed the Entertainer’s Lounge stage January 1976. Became the Brown Derby in 1977, closing in 1994. Now an Islamic Center and mosque.
Citizen's Field 1100 NE 14th Street
The site of many high school home football games, this was a stadium owned by the City of Gainesville. Shows included James Brown circa ’68, Jr. Walker and the All Stars, Dion, James and Bobby Purify, Ruth Brown, The Gainesville Community Festival of Music and the Arts, June 1st, 1974, w/ Richie Havens, Paul Hillis Jazz Group, Johnny Ace and the Percolators, Breeze.
Connection Lounge 3500 SW 13th St
Originally a lakeside restaurant site called Pirate’s Cove, then Harbor Lights, the restaurant management got in trouble through a gimmick of feeding the alligators during Happy Hour, which led to alligators swimming near the shore, losing their innate fear of humans and eating a few dogs. Featuring a bar, a dance floor and a deck directly on the shore of Biven’s Arm lake, this was a popular singles hookup lounge in 1975 and booked dance bands, after the Connection it briefly reopened as The Nashville Scene, offering acts “direct from Nashville.” It is now Chopstix, an Asian restaurant.
Cotton Club/Blue Note Club 837 SE 7th Ave.
This building was originally a PX at Camp Blanding and after World War II was purchased by the Perryman brothers and moved to the current site as a movie theater. The next owners, Sarah and Charles McKnight opened the Cotton Club in the mid ‘50s. The club was primarily known as a venue for black singers and musicians on the so called “Chitlin’ Circuit” in the South. Black patrons came from as far away as Jacksonville, Palatka and Ocala and it became a popular spot for the all-white university football players. It is thought by some that the presence of the whites at the club, in direct conflict with the segregation laws of the time, was the reason the city chose not to renew the club’s license. In the late 1950s, it was renamed The Blue Note Club, where patrons danced to jukebox music. Artists such as BB King, Ray Charles, and James Brown were said to have played the Cotton Club but the lack of any historic record of shows such as tickets, posters or news articles makes it difficult to confirm. The building is currently under consideration as part of a community arts center.
I believe we were the first whites to play there in 1970, as part of the Jazz Project.
Dr. John's 1730 W. University Avenue
Inside the College Inn Cafeteria, this was a short-lived music venue from circa 1974.
Dub's (Kit Kat Club/Hootenanny/Locker Room/The Orleans) 4560 NW 13th St
This building, soon to be demolished to make room for a Social Security administration facility (2013) has a long and storied history as a Gainesville music venue, presenting the popular musical styles of the time. It was the Kit Kat Dinner club as early as 1950, The Hootenanny in 1962, The Locker Room by April ‘64, then The Orleans, (opening in November 1964) and then Dub's Steer Room (Feb ’66), with a restaurant that featured steaks, but it was known by all as Dub’s. After being closed for years it had a brief stint as a private club called the Sunshine Eagles Club.
To describe Dub’s is to describe the current social and musical trends of any given period as Dub Thomas’s entrepreneurial spirit allowed him to change with the times. Live music, topless dancers, disco...over the years Dub’s was a very popular club until it closed in 1990.
Last call at Dub's: the end of an era
By Bill DeYoung
Gainesville Sun 1/16/91
After nearly three decades as Gainesville's one seemingly indestructible rock 'n' roll nightclub, Dub's has passed into history.
The square cinderblock building on NW 13th Street, which drew record crowds for 26 years under one man's astute management, is on the auction block.
"I tried to hang in there as long as I could with it," says Christy Thomas, who took over the business a year ago following the death of her father, James "Dub" Thomas, longtime patriarch of the bar. "But there's no sense in trying to ride a dead horse."
Taxes, she says, sunk the good ship Dub.
Throughout the '70s, Dub's weathered the storms of a fickle public. As many Gainesville bars dried up, unable to keep the locals shelling out during the dry, student-less summer months, Dub's held on, And prospered.
Dub used to say it was because he understood what people wanted and he gave it to them: he brought in consistently good out-of-town rock bands, gave the best local ones a shot, and he kept the beer prices down. Another of his innovations, the mini-skirt contest, continued up until the very week the club closed its doors.
The trouble began in the late '80s, when Dub overextended himself by buying up several other local nightspots. Instead of expanding his empire, he got into tax trouble. At the time of his death on Jan. 9, 1990, Christy says, he was in trouble with the Internal Revenue Service.
A burly Californian who came to Florida in 1964, Dub Thomas bought the building — in what was then a little-developed section of Gainesville — after cleaning up in the fast-food business via the In-and-Out hamburger chain.
During the '60s, the place sold steak dinners it's still listed in the phone book as Dub's Steer Room). Dub started presenting live bands toward the end of the decade, and by 1970 his club was the place to be for young, rock-starved Gainesvillians, especially those who shunned the campus scene.
One of Dub's first "house" bands, whose job it was to provide background music for the strippers night after night, was Mudcrutch. A quartet of local boys who played mostly twangy, country-rock type music. Mudcrutch included Tom Petty and his best buddy, Mike Campbell. Today, of course, Tom Petty is Tom Petty and Mike Campbell is his songwriting/record-producing partner in the Heartbreakers.
Mudcrutch, which underwent several severe personnel changes during its long tenure at Dub's, nearly didn't get the gig at first because they played too much original material. Learn some covers, Dub told them, and I'll put you on stage.
They did, and Dub did, too.
For a while, Mudcrutch backed up a steady stream of topless dancers (another of Dub's early crowd attractors). The dancers became a thing of the past at about the same time Mudcrutch moved to Los Angeles, the first step in their transformation into Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers.
When the Heartbreakers appeared in Gainesville at the end of January, Petty dedicated the song "Southern Accents" to Dub's memory.
Stan Lynch, the drummer for the Heartbreakers, says he saw some of his first-ever rock 'n' roll shows at Dub's. He was younger than the guys in Mudcrutch, so Lynch hardly ever performed in Dub's (he was in a band called Road Turkey), but he remembers seeing Bob Seger there. And Foghat. Mudcrutch, too.
Lynch remembers when driving to Dub's was an adventure, becaue it was so far out of what was then town. And he remembers Dub. "It's significant that a guy who was in his 50s could run a nightclub for young people better than young people could," he says. "I'm always impressed by experience, and the older I get, I acknowledge and appreciate the older people who can stay in business.
"That's what impresses me about a cat like Dub and his club, more than anything — the guy had it wired. He obviously knew how to run a club for the town. Whatever he did, it did it for 25 years. He must've had something on the ball."
Christy Thomas and her brother Wayne tried valiantly to keep the old club going. But the debts, she says, were insurmountable. Christy says she tried to get the club re-financed, but "the economy just doesn't know what it wants to do.
"When Daddy passed away, there were just too many debts in arrears," she adds. "Before he died, he was looking to get all his taxes paid up, but he wasn't able to.
"What were were hoping to do, originally, was close for the holidays. But then we just didn't have the money to re-open it."
So another landmark comes up on the auction block. Will Gainesville ever be the same again?
"We'd just like to say thanks, Gainesville, all the people that hung in there with us all those years," Christy says. "It breaks our heart, it really does, but there's just not much you can do about it when you're dealt that kind of a hand.
"I hate to see it, but I have to go on," she says. "I've tried till I'm blue in the face. I guess it's better that we do it on our own accord instead of getting the reputation that we were kicked out of business or something.
"Because there's still 26 years of Dad that he put in there, I told Wayne a couple of months after Dad was gone, this was definitely Dad's bar. It was just him."
* * *
I forgot about the” Hoot,” Yeah we played it too.. I see I have the Hoot listed in August of ’63. The Locker Room first shows up in my log in April of ’64. The Orleans first shows up in October of ’64. Dub’s Steer Room first shows up in February of 1966. Tommy Hicks the guy who owned the venue up until Dub came in with The Steer Room.
Dub did own a gym on University Avenue before he did the night club and restaurant routine. Dub's was called "The Hootenany" in 1962 when I first went to Gainesville. They had a piano bar with sheet music so patrons could sing along. There was no bandstand nor bands playing there. Folk music was quite popular and the pianist played a lot of that. Tommy Hicks took the club over and started hiring bands when the club was called "The Orleans." We, The Playboys and The Rare Breed played for Tommy and for Dub.
Regarding the topless dancers, Dub was the first person in Gainesville to have them. There was a big brouhaha from the local righteous people that tried to stop them from doing shows at Dubs. The sheriff said he could not stop the topless dancers. At first Dub got the dancers from Las Vegas and paid them $1000 a week each to dance there. Later some local girls started dancing there. We played there often (The Rare Breed) backing up the topless dancers and one of them wanted us to move our lights which were near the edge of the platform she was dancing on. She said the people would not be able to see her footwork! That's the truth!
I found the little book I kept on income from gigs and it shows that in 1963, I was averaging about $10 a night playing at The Hootenanny
My first Dub's visit was when I was 15 or 16 (1967) & there were still topless go-go dancers. The Maundy Quintet was playing & I was allowed in because I was Tom's girlfriend...Dub just grinned at me as I lugged in equipment & never asked my age. He was a cool man.
Dub was the best to play for. It's the only place I ever played where we got an unasked for bonus because they we had a good turn out for the week. Hell, forget the unasked part it’s the ONLY place I remember getting a bonus at all.
Michael D Lowe
Dub "discovered" Lynda Lyndell. He financed her first single.
Michael Ray Fitzgerald
Dub's was "the happening" place in the mid-60's when I played with the Playboys/Rarebreed. We were the house band when Dub brought in the first topless dancers. It's difficult to play when your jaw in hanging down on your strings. Dub's was frequented by many Gator football players back then including Steve Spurrier.
Dub’s Owner Dies At Home
Gainesville Sun — January 10, 1990
James "Dub" Thomas, the burly, affable proprietor of the Gainesville nightclub that bore his name, died Tuesday of an apparent heart attack at his home in Monteocha, north of Gainesville. He was 58.
Known as Gainesville's father of rock 'n' roll, Thomas owned and operated Dub's for 26 years and had recently purchased the Feed Store and a part-interest in Lillian's Music Store.
At Dub's, Thomas cut a legendary figure, hand-picking the acts he hooked from the ranks of local musicians. In the 1960s, his favored bands included future members of the Eagles, and in the early '70s a regular attraction at Dub's was Mudcrutch — which included Gainesville's Tom Petty and several future members of Petty's Heartbreakers.
Other performers who appeared at Dub's early in their careers were rocker Bob Seger and the comedy troupe Ace Trucking Company, featuring John Belushi.
Born in Oklahoma, Thomas was raised in a suburb of Los Angeles. As a teen-ager, he worked as a bouncer in Sunset Strip nightclubs. Intending to pursue a career in police work, he majored in criminology and psychology at Mt. San Antonio College.
He also founded the In-N-Out restaurant chain, which a 1988 trade magazine credited with being the model for Burger King.
A promising football played, Thomas once said he was rejected by the Los Angeles Rams because of an asthmatic condition; when his doctor advised him to move to a smog-free climate, he chose Gainesville.
Thomas came to the area in 1954 and opened Dub's 10 years later. The
club celebrated its 25th anniversary last year, establishing it as the
longest-lived nightclub in Gainesville.
Thomas, a diabetic, had a history of heart trouble. Survivors include a daughter, Kristy Lisenby; a son, James Wayne Thomas Jr.; and one grandson.
Gatorland 420 NW 13th St
A bar since at least 1955, Gatorland was four blocks north of the University. Don Felder played drums in a band there in the early ‘60s.
Granfalloon 1430 SW 13th St.
Originally a fast food restaurant named King’s Food Host, it featured dance bands including Road Turkey, .38 Special 1/75 Jules Verne Band 1/75
Great Southern Music Hall 233 W University Ave
Originally built as the Florida Theatre (opened Sep 10, 1928, white only); the theater was remodeled and opened as the GSMH in 1974, Earl Scruggs w/Gamble Rodgers as opening was first act, had a main stage, Backstage Bar (local bands/acts), and Wine Cellar (duos, acoustic) National acts played regularly. Pot smoking after the lights went down was a common occurrence. I saw Weather Report, B.B. King and Ray Charles perform here.
I met Frank Zappa at the Backstage Bar. I was jamming on harp with some guys in the Wine Cellar and at the break I sat down with Frank and I asked him a question which had always perplexed me. "Who was Uncle Remus?" I asked and he said :"Why of course that refers to Walt Disney!" He was chain smoking and drinking water with his bodyguard Baldheaded John. I asked Frank if he'd like to sit in with us in the wine cellar. He said "Sure why not." I hustled frantically back to the wine cellar to find the band (can't remember who it was) we were all excited, they agreed. I went back to the bar and made it just in time to see some drunk UF student say, "Fuck you Frank Zappa!" and he poured a mug of beer all over Frank's beautiful white suit. Baldheaded John picked up this little S.O.B. and literally threw him so hard through the front double doors that the kid landed clear into the right lane of University Ave. Needless to say Frank and John left the bar and we never jammed. Frank was still trying to keep his beer soaked cigarette alive. Roger Schliefstein
The Keg 1973>Crusty Sean's 1976>Diamond Jim's 203 SW 16 Ave
A converted MinitMart store turned beer bar/lounge in 1972. Mudcrutch and Road Turkey played a two-week run at The Keg in ’72, alternating sets, July and August, Jules Verne Band also played there. The building is currently for sale.
The Jazz Project played there in Feb ’75: Jazz Project was: Henry Boudin-sax/flute, Peter Einhorn-guitar, Bob Harris-piano, Al Hospers-bass, Tony Kahwajy-drums
Lamplighter 1 NW 10th Ave
Opened 1964, part of United Liquor Lounges across from Lipham Music. Bands that played there include Mr. Moose, Homer, demolished, now the site of a Zaxby’s.
Mad Monk's Inn 1305 NW 5th Ave
Converted MinitMart, long benches.
July 1975 it turned into
Long Branch Saloon 1305 NW 5th Ave Ted Nugent and the Amboy Dukes played there 5.19-20.75 Vassar Clements also played here.
Moose Lodge 1414 NE 23rd Ave
The Moose Club was a fraternal organization that offered its facility for dances. A group called The Swinging Astronauts played there 11/21/64, $2/couple.
Lot of memories of the Moose Club as we call it having grown up in the NE. Saw many groups there compliments of Country Boy Cliff Walden. Especially remembered Jerry Lee Lewis!
Rodger C Mallard
I saw Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels there also.
Saw the Nightcrawlers at the Moose pretty early, maybe '65.
I remember seeing Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs, Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels and the Royal Guardsmen at the Moose Lodge. Felder has a story in his book about getting into a fight there. I believe I recall from the book that Petty [in the Rucker Brothers] was playing that night.
The Moose Club dances were facilitated by A.D. Chambliss, the Gate City Carpet store owner whose children were about our age. He later started the Place. He told me that he wanted a "clean" place for young people to gather and hear music.
The Place [formerly White Rabbit/Rebel Lanes] 811 W. University Ave.
The White Rabbit opened in late 1968 for people 18 and older, Noah’s Ark, Styrophoam Soule and J.K. and the Jug played there. A.D. Chambliss, owner of Rebel Lanes, converted the bowling alley to a dance club named The Place in the summer of 1969 as a club for teenagers only, no alcohol served. The dance floor was built from the bowling lane wood and hardwood which made sliding possible when dancing. Acts that played there included The Candymen, Billy Joe Royal, John Fred and the Playboy Band, The Tropics, The Swingin’ Medallions, The Epics (w/ Tom Petty on bass), Ron and the Starfires, the Maundy Quintet, Gingerbread (w/Don Felder on guitar), The Classics IV, The Outsiders, The Night Crawlers, The Zombies.
Sarah's Restaurant 732 5th Avenue [Sarah M McKnight Specializing in Home Cooked Food, Steaks, Chops, Chicken Homebaked Pies]
An African-American establishment, Sarah’s hosted jam sessions and bands with integrated musical lineups. Now a vacant lot.
I was house guitarist my last few years at UF. Usually called just "Sarah's," it was a streetcar diner structure--lunch counter by day and R&B club Tu/Th/Fr/Sat nights. Played there from ‘64 thru ‘66. Tunes were blues, R&B, some funky jazz. Usually chosen by a series of drop-in singers or the house organist. “Mercy, Mercy, Mercy,” “Summertime,” “Georgia,” “A Change Is Gonna Come,” songs with an emotional message and/or a danceable pulse. I remember Lee Dorsey's "Workin’ in a Coal Mine" and Nat Adderley's "Blue Concept" were my favorites on the juke box.
Charles Steadham and I met on the stage at Sarah's, still friends and collaborators to this day. He was sitting in on sax, and I was in the house band on guitar. It was a predominantly African-American audience and band, playing soul top-40 repertoire. I learned of it from bandmates in my fraternity-circuit rock band. Hung out at Sarah's for a year or so, got invited to play one night, got the job offer, and quit the frat-rock band. Not that we used names much, but I believe Sarah and Bobby called the back room "The Allegro Lounge," and the band "The Allegros." I've forgotten if the frat-rock band had a name. Lenny from Miami was our front man. Harold Fethe
Skateland 2107 NW 13th Street
Skating rink that presented occasional live music. In 1962 this was listed as the Playhouse Skating Rink.
I used to watch the Tropics, the Sundowners, the Nation Rocking Shadows, the Intruders
I saw The Maundy Quintet at the skating rink summer of 1966.
Suburbia Drive-In Theater 2713 NW 13th St
Outdoor theater that occasionally presented live music. Concerts: Johnny Winter, Power, Mudcrutch and others.
Temple Bar NE corner of 13th /University Ave
The Temple Bar was a basic beer tavern hangout like all the rest along the strip. Just another little place. It has the distinction of being the first public gig for The Lords-- Me and Tom Webb plus two or three other guys I'll have to research. The owner told us we could have a gig and if he liked us he would put us on the road and book us with The Toys. We were very excited.
We planned for weeks and had clothes made and changed between sets, had pictures taken, even got in the little independent paper. So we did the gig, got paid with a $75 check and it bounced. When Tom or I went to the bar to get it fixed, the place was shuttered and the guy had blown town. That was my opening shot, welcome to the music business.
Teen Time (in Gainesville Recreation Center) 516 NE 2nd Ave
TP and I would walk here every Friday night from our homes on NE 6th Terr to hear the bands that often played. One day TP told me that they were going to be playing a very special record that night. So there I stood by TP at Teen Time to hear for my first time a group called the Beatles. That changed Toms thoughts about music from that day forward because until the English invasion, he had been a solidly an Elvis fan.
Mudcrutch played at my 9th grade prom dance here in 1972.
Tom's Tavern 214 NW 13th St
Tom’s Tavern a few blocks north of University Ave is listed in the 1962 City Directory, owned by Thomas Henderson. A small tavern that offered live music, Al Hospers’ first band Odds Against played there in 1966.
My group, The Barracuda's, used to play there too. They would pass the hat every hour or so and we'd make $4-5 each time - plus a pitcher of beer once in a while. Barry Baumstein
Trader’s South 2212 SW 13th St
Trader Tom’s, a topless bar run by Thomas Henderson and his wife. His daughter worked there and his son Nick sat in on saxophone with various bands at his father’s insistence. Pool tables, jukebox, and very small round tables for table dances. Watered-down pitchers of Old Milwaukee beer. Bands Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, including many local players. Tom ran a clean, straight business and having the money taken at the front by a woman was smart, considering the rural clientele back in 1971, pickup trucks, the place was on 441 and attracted not only rural types but slumming college students and others fascinated by the sociological aspects of topless dancing. This was the author’s first steady music engagement in his three-piece band Road Turkey. This was how you learned to concentrate on your instrument despite the obvious distraction. Hookups were possible, as the dancers considered the band their ally in making money. The building is demolished, the iconic sign still stands and the property is for sale as of 2013.
The Village Gate NW 39th Ave 2 miles West of I-75
Opened 1968, no longer standing.
The Village Gate was an African-American nightclub that featured R&B / Soul bands every weekend. It was owned by a very successful Black entrepreneur, Mr. Howard. The house man's (club manager's) name was Clyde "Boogie" Williams who also owned and operated a barber shop in the 300 block of NW 5th Avenue in the building now occupied by Ruby's Soul Food) Restaurant. Boogie was a jovial, but firm and well-respected club manager. Physically, he was half-again larger than Dub Thomas. So, you always knew when Boogie was in the club. The structure was of concrete-block construction and originally housed the club and a drive-thru package store. It was demolished some years ago, but I believe the paved parking lot survives to mark the spot. I played there many, many times with Weston Prim & Blacklash, The Georgia Soul Twisters, Gene Middleton and Linda Lyndell (circa 1968 - 1975).
Westside Park Recreation Center 1001 NW 34th St
Many teen bands performed here in the late ‘60s and early ‘70s, including Airmont Classic and in 1971 a one-off band Styrocosmic Funnel, with members of Uncle Funnel and Styrophoam Soule and Mr. Moose, including Stan Bush, Stan Lynch and Marty Jourard.
Women’ s Club 2809 W. University Ave
The Women’s Club hosted dances for the daughters of members at events such as Cotillion. An unlikely but lucrative source of bookings, they paid better than most gigs. The Continentals played there.
High School Sock Hops
Gainesville High School, P.K.Yonge, Westwood and other junior high and high schools held dances in the basketball gym known as “sock hops” and other more formal events such as homecoming dances, featuring bands and recorded music. =============================================================
Plaza of the Americas
Many free concerts were held on this three-acre lawn on the UofF campus over the’60s and ‘70s, with bands playing in front of the library terrace or in the middle of the Plaza. The site of Halloween Ball concerts, Love-Ins, political rallies, religious proselytizing, cheap lunches served by the Hare Krishna people, the Plaza was populated with hippies, students, musicians meeting and jamming, and the dogs wearing neckerchiefs and playing fetch with Frisbees. From the Florida Alligator newspaper: “The first love-in of the season for UF will be held tomorrow afternoon (9-30-67) in the Plaza of the Americas at 2:30. Music will be provided by ‘The City Steve’ and a sitar player. According to Lew Rothlein, 2UC from Miami and organizer of this particular love-in, this will not be a political rally.”
Among the hundreds of bands that played the Plaza: Cowboy (w/Bonnie Bramlett), Climax Blues Band, Mudcrutch, RGF, Celebration, The Split Ends, Gingerbread/Flow, Commander Cody and the Lost Planet Airmen, Road Turkey, Nate & John, John Hartford, Atlanta Rhythm Section, Riff, and many many more.
Reitz Union Ballroom
Reitz Union North Lawn
Free concerts Spring Quarter ’75:
4/26 Nitty Gritty Dirt Band/Steve Martin
5/3 Jimmy Buffett
5/10 Chick Corea Larry Coryell
5/24 David Bromberg
Reitz Union Patio
Flow, RGF, Road Turkey, Frosted Glass
The Rathskellar Johnson Hall (Academic Advisory Center)
Opening in January 1969, the “Rat” was the first campus facility to serve beer. With a German beer hall theme, the first group to play the venue was “My Father’s Moustache,” a singalong banjo and ragtime act. The Ewing Street Times, from Miami, played regularly the first few months. Later the venue began booking a remarkable variety of acts: Doug Clark and the Hot Nuts, Mudcrutch, Dion, Celebration, Riff, Blackfoot, RGF, Lynard Skynard (as they spelled it back then), Oliver, Bette Midler, Archie Bell and the Drells, Swingin’ Medallions, The Box Tops, Homer, Goose Creek Symphony, Road Turkey, Blues Image, and a version of the Allman Brothers without Duane (who was busy recording “Layla” at that time down in Miami) all played the Rat. In the early ‘80s U2 played the Rat on their first world tour in support of the album “Boy.” Johnson Hall burned down December 1987 from a grease fire in the kitchen.
4/25/76 Bob Dylan Rolling Thunder Revue
4/10/68 Buffalo Springfield/Beach Boys/Strawberry Alarm Clock
5/16/70 Super Show: Sly and the Family Stone etc.
Loudon Wainwright 1/26/75
A group of more than a dozen fraternities, thousands of bands played here over the years.
The greatest thing about playing Fraternity Row was the breaks. I remember walking out back of the fraternities during our breaks and hearing ten other bands playing in ten other fraternities. Every kind of music. And we almost all knew each other. Usually we'd try and stagger our break times so we
could go catch each other's act. Then after the shows we would party together. I always partied with the Starfires and the Sundowners when they came to town. Jim Lenahan
Built in the mid-‘20s and with seating for 843, the University Auditorium was never designed for loud rock music but there were plenty of loud rock shows in the venue, with sound bouncing off the elaborately carved wood interior paneling. Carlos Montoya, Paul Winter Consort, John Jacob Niles, Peter Paul, and Mary; Ravi Shankar, Lynard Skynard [correct spelling] RGF, Power, Celebration, Mudcrutch, Cowboy, New Days Ahead, Blackfoot, Dr. Hook, Todd Rundgren.
Opened in 1949 with seating for 7,000, this was the premier indoor venue for national acts until the Great Southern Music Hall opened. Chad Mitchell Trio, The Platters, Leslie Gore, Simon and Garfunkel, Count Basie, James Brown, Righteous Brothers, Wilson Pickett, Rufus Thomas, The Hollies, Ray Charles, Buddy Rich, Ian & Sylvia, 5th Dimension, Four Tops, Supremes, Gladys Night and the Pips, Four Season, The Lettermen, Johnny Rivers, Sweetwater, Blues Image, Chambers Brothers, Temptations, the Association, Joan Baez, Delaney, Bonnie and Friends, Pacific Gas & Electric, Guess Who, Gypsy, Don McClean, Richie Havens, The Carpenters, Isaac Hayes, Beck Bogart & Appice, Drifters, Little Anthony and the Imperials, Ted Nugent & The Amboy Dukes, Cactus, Ramatam, Rare Earth, Beach Boys, Seals & Crofts, Stevie Wonder, Earl Scruggs Revue, Elton John, John Mayall, Taj Mahal, Yes, Virgil Fox, Ike and Tina Turner, Grand Funk Railroad, Doobie Brothers, John Sebastian, Gregg Allman, America, Loggins & Messina, Spinners, Johnny Cash Family, James Taylor, Crosby & Nash, Harry Chapin, Steven Stills, [Grateful Dead last band to play 11.29.80, J. Geils 2.2. 1975]
The Maundy Quintet opened for The Hollies at theGym. After the show Tom Laughon & I (& others) went to Dub's and played pool with Graham Nash of The Hollies. I was only 15. Nancy Crawford
Mudcrutch Festivals 2203 NW 45th Ave
A series of music festivals at the “Mudcrutch Farm” organized by Mudcrutch with assistance from Jeffrey Meldon. Although there were supposedly three, only two are documented with posters and advertisements. The second one attracted people from all over the state and southern Georgia.
Florida Folk Festival
Founded in 1953, with a remarkably diverse musical and cultural lineup. Part of the musical culture of the deep South. I attended several of these as a child and the diversity and excellent musicianship left a lasting impression.
5/3/68 Hearts and Flowers Bernie Leadon
“Bernie Leadon, who was raised in Gainesville, is bringing his group “Hearts and Flowers” all the way from California.. The group is made up of Bernie, who plays mandolin, banjo, guitar and dobro; Larry Murray, Waycross, Georgia, the lead singer, and David Dawson, Honolulu, Hawaii, plays Appalachian style autoharp. They have two Capitol Records out now” Folk Festival program excerpt
A folk and bluegrass festival outside of Gainesville held in the early ‘70s.