York County Prison The Season 12 'American Idol' performance finale was intense…
- Posted on Sep 14th 2009 10:40AM by Spinner
Come to see: Punk and metal legends, and their younger siblings. The reason behind this much heavier music policy is a simple case of supply and demand. As owner John Sicolo tells Spinner: "It's what people around here want to come out to listen to."
The atmosphere: Sicolo describes it as "vibrant and ecstatic, with a bit of chaos. The venue opened as a steak and seafood restaurant called Cedar's Rest. It later became The Pittsburg Diner, a burger bar, until John bought the property next door, knocked the walls through and re-christened the place El Seico's. In 1985 he finally settled on the name TJ's Disco. The T stands for Trilby, after John's late wife, and of course the J is for the man himself.
You saw them here first: TJ's has been visited by many big names on the road to stardom. At least one notable outfit wasn't welcome though. "The Dead Kennedys played here, Oasis, Muse, Offspring, Green Day and naturally all the big Welsh bands, except the Stereophonics." But why not? "Too many covers. We made a decision, years ago, to only book bands that played their own songs. It's hard for many to get a gig unless they play covers that people know. So we decided to help younger talent by making sure they could play their own stuff."
Claim to fame: Hole, and in particular Courtney Love, were the main attraction one night at the tail end of 1991 when a particularly famous punter made an appearance. Sicolo tells Spinner: "Kurt Cobain came down to the club from London to meet up with Courtney the night Hole played, and he ended up proposing to her at TJ's."
Despite the late Nirvana singer being on the cusp of worldwide superstardom, John himself was oblivious, thanks in no small part to the modest transport was using. "Kurt drove down in a Skoda as far as I know and to be honest I didn't know who he was." Luckily for Sicolo, who was the doorman for the night, the promoter of the show came to his rescue. "I was about to charge the bloke £3.50 to get in until they told me who he was. He'd just said he was there to meet up with Courtney. In the end they persuaded me to let him in and that was the night he proposed!"
You should also know: TJ's remains fiercely proud of its independence and the part it plays as a potential stepping stone for bands seeking wider fame and acclaim. "We have loads of photos on the walls of local bands who never made the breakthrough but had a buzz in the area," Sicolo says. "We get people bringing their grandkids and kids in 'cos they don't believe their older relatives were ever capable of playing TJ's."
Booking now: LA Guns, the Anti-Nowhere League, Alec Empire, Gallows, and InME.