The Legendary TJ's
TJ's, on Clarence Place in Newport
|Address||16–18 Clarence Place, NP19 0AE|
|Owner||John Sicolo (founder, 1971)|
Trilby Tucker 1985-93
Mehmood and Ozzeer Hassan (2011)
|Type||Music venue and Nightclub|
|Seating type||Primarily standing, some seating|
It was an integral part of the so-called toilet circuit and the Newport music scene, particularly catering to fans of rock music. The club was given the moniker "The Legendary TJ's by Radio 1 DJ John Peel.
TJ's closed on the death of owner John Sicolo, but his grandson Ashley now runs a similar venue named El Sieco's on nearby Market Street, which pays tribute to the sounds and interior features from the original venue.
John Sicolo started the venue with his then wife Vivienne in 1971 as a restaurant named "Cedar's Rest" before becoming a burger bar named "The Pittsburg Diner". Sicolo bought the premises in 1973 and extended into an adjoining property to form the nightclub "El Sieco's", during which time a variety of musical artists, including local folk acts, performed at the premises.
This section's factual accuracy is disputed. (August 2019) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
Some sources have suggested the venue was named using the initials of founder John Sicolo's two most important people, his sister Jeanette Sicolo, and partner Trilby Tucker, forming Trilby and Jeanette.
However others have indicated the name is a combination of Sicolo's and Tucker's, as it was Tucker was apparently the person who established TJ's as a live music venue on the premises in 1985, naming it Trilby and John's.
A further proposed connection exists which claims it was his daughter, Janet Sicolo, who worked with Sicolo's partner, Tucker, to save the club from bankruptcy in the 1980s, and as a result the name was changed from Sieco's to TJ's, meaning Trilby and Janet.
On 3 May 1994, the then up-and-coming Manchester band Oasis performed at TJ's following a small venue tour of the UK. The band were in South Wales frequently that year, recording at Loco Studios near Usk and Rockfield Studios in Monmouth, and had begun performing shortly after the release of their single "Supersonic". In a setup similar to the present day Clwb Ifor Bach, the band played to the Newport crowd on an un-raised stage, practically level with the crowd. The band performed with local group 60 Ft. Dolls, and among the concert goers were members of the Manic Street Preachers. It was later that week that Liam Gallagher was photographed for their first NME cover in Newport's King's Hotel on High Street.
1990s and 2000s
Catatonia filmed their single "Mulder and Scully" at the venue. It is allegedly the place that Kurt Cobain proposed to Courtney Love. Other bands who have played at TJ's early in their careers include The Manic Street Preachers, Green Day, The Offspring, Lostprophets, Iron Maiden, The Stone Roses, Muse, Primal Scream, Descendents, NOFX, Misfits, Mighty Mighty Bosstones, Lagwagon, The Bouncing Souls, The Vandals, The Ataris, and Skunk Anansie.
Popularity and fate
John Sicolo, owner of the club throughout its period of popularity, died on 14 March 2010, aged 66. A tribute concert in his honour, headlined by Goldie Looking Chain, was held in the city's John Frost Square on 10 July 2010. On 15 September 2011 TJ's was sold at auction for £242,000.
In 2019 it was announced that the property was to become a 58-bedroom hotel, after councillors unanimously backed redevelopment plans. The development will restore the Grade II listed buildings facing onto Clarence Place, which have fallen into disrepair in recent years.
El Sieco's, on Market Street, Newport, features similar sounds and design cues from the original TJ's. The venue is adorned with salvaged memorabilia and features from TJ's premises on Clarence Place. It has been run by John Sicolo's grandson, Ashley since 2016.
- Best, Jessica (21 February 2010). "Threat to legendary Newport nightclub". South Wales Argus. Retrieved 23 October 2010.
- Wood, Chris (4 March 2016). "The legend lives". Retrieved 25 November 2019.
- "'I think I've finally got it right': Newport's El Siecos is moving to a bigger venue". South Wales Argus. Retrieved 25 November 2019.
- Wood, Chris (4 March 2016). "The legend lives". Retrieved 30 August 2019.
- "Tributes paid to ex-owner of Legendary TJs on eight-year anniversary of his death". South Wales Argus. Retrieved 30 August 2019.
- Williams, Nino (5 May 2019). "When Oasis played TJ's just weeks before they became the biggest band of the 90s". walesonline. Retrieved 9 May 2019.
- "NME MAGAZINE FRONT COVER 1994 Oasis NME Covers - Mini Poster - Stick It On Your Wall". www.stickitonyourwall.com. Retrieved 9 May 2019.
- "TJ's music venue owner John Sicolo dies in hospital". BBC. 15 March 2010. Retrieved 23 October 2010.
- Domino records on TJ's
- "Bullet for My Valentine biography". BBC News. Retrieved 8 April 2009.
- Mansfield, Ruth (15 March 2010). "Owner of legendary TJs - John Sicolo - dies". South Wales Argus. Retrieved 23 October 2010.
- "Tributes paid to John Sicolo - TJ's owner and hero to music lovers". South Wales Argus. 16 March 2010. Retrieved 23 October 2010.
- "Newport tribute gig to TJ's owner John Sicolo". BBC. 10 July 2010. Retrieved 23 October 2010.
- TJ's Sold at Auction