Tucson Entertainment in 1985
The Entertainment Magazine published monthly in print until 1994 and went online in January 1995 as Entertainment Magazine On Line– one of the earliest newspapers to launch on the Internet. The EMOL.org site continues 20 years later.
The first volume of Entertaining Tucson Across the Decades covers the years 1985 and earlier. This volume continues from 1986 until the end of the 20th Century.
As 1984 ended, so did Rockefeller’s– Tucson’s number one hard rock venue. Mark Newman took over the old Outlaw nightclub on West Lester (which also closed) and renamed it the Roxy. The Roxy will give local rock bands a larger place to play and showcase up-and-coming bands. An all ages club opened in February 1985 on North Oracle called DanceTrax with recorded music. Country music enthusiasts got a big change with the moving of the Outlaw to 5822 E. Speedway.
The charred hull of Chances Night Club, 6542 E. Tanque Verde Road, was condemned hours after an arson fire ripped through the building on Thursday, January 11, 1985. The bar opened in November 1978.
Note the change in spelling from Giant Sandworms to the Giant Sandwurms. According to Howe Gelb, the change reflects the new concept direction of the band. He said the Giant Sandwurms were working on their new material and looking for a drummer. They moved to Los Angeles and recorded as Giant Sand. Garber said the name was changed to end the affiliation with the movie.
Al Perry and the Cattle began recording a six song EP at the Sound Factory Recording Studio on January 2nd. Perry said it should be released by February (1985). Jeff Keenan said the Phantom Limbs are scheduled to record a second record in San Francisco during February.
KBLE-FM, Tucson’s first cable radio station went on line in early March 1985. Locally owned and operated, KBLE-FM is available to basic subscribers of Cox Cable through the audio portion of a yet to be assigned channel.
Photo: The Saddle City Band with Michel Landon (center). From right to left: Mike Sullivan , Mike Holloway , Landon, Rick Nuttall and Bill Cashman , the band’s producer. Photo courtesy of Art Attack Records , March 1985. Entertainment Magazine archives.
In April, the Saddle City Band appeared a second time on NBC-TV’s highly rated and very successful TV series “Highway to Heaven,” starring Michael Landon and Victor French.
Unfortunately, for local music, especially the punk and metal bands and fans, the months old WREX nightclub closed down in April.
By the summer, Jack’s Pub closed its doors to live music. At the Maverick, John E. Mann continued as the house band. Lil Abner’s Steak House was perfect for dinner and the music of Dean Armstrong. Street Pajama’s release, “Beast de Resistance,” came out on vinyl at the end of July 1985. For the past six months at KXCI (91.7) and for nearly 2½ years at 96 Rock’s Sunday nights with the KLPX Virgin Vinyl show radio alternatives opened the airwaves to new, local and “non-commercial” music.
By the fall, Marc Levinson and his partner Howard Stern planned to reopen the Comedy Zone, which was discontinued when Karmel’s closed. The newly reopened Comedy Zone relocated to Terry & Zeke’s Friendly Tavern on East Speedway. Terry Glassman says they are trying a new concept. Tequila Mockingbird, at El Con Mall, continues its Comedy Night.
In November, the Tucson Fire Department (TFD) closed Splinter Brothers Warehouse and ordered all patrons to immediately evacuate because the 13-year old building didn’t meet current fire code standards. At 10:00 pm, about a half dozen members of the TFD filtered into the crowd and ordered the building to be evacuated during the show after citing a number of fire code violations. At about the same time, Brooklyn’s Night Club was also being checked by TFD. When a TFD officer overhead someone at Splinter Brother’s determinedly say, “We’re going on,” he called for police back up to avoid any incident. The 100 people were ushered to the exits as the TFD and Tucson Police Department made sure the show wasn’t going to go on. Disgruntled patrons questions the ethics of shutting the building town in the middle of the performance. It was an incident that could have been avoided.
Now Available From Amazon.com
by Robert E. Zucker
The local entertainment scene in Tucson, Arizona during the 1950s through 1985 was vibrant from the ‘50s rock and roll of the Dearly Beloved to the ‘80s with the Pills, Giant Sandworms and everything in between classic rock, disco, alternative, punk, hard core, country, swing and Big Band. Hundreds of bands and thousands of entertainers over three decades. Within these pages are the memories and the experiences of those people and places.
These are the original articles and interviews published in several local newspapers that covered the Tucson entertainment scene over the decades. Follow their stories through the years the big breaks, record releases, hot performances and duds, break ups, tragedies, personal insights and struggles.
Purchase copies of Entertaining Tucson Across the Decades on amazon.com.
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