The Mason Jar
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The Mason Jar was a nightclub and music venue in Phoenix, Arizona. It was known for rock music, alternative rock, punk rock, hip hop, and heavy metal in the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s. Many famous bands such as Nirvana, Rob Zombie, The Ramones, Joan Jett, Stone Temple Pilots, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Pearl Jam, Tool, The Black Crowes, Los Lobos and many others took the stage during its heyday.
The Mason Jar was founded in 1979. Early Arizona acts of note included "The Spiffs" "Blue Shoes" "Llory McDonald" and "The Schoolboys" (later to become Capitol Records recording act "Icon"). Founded by Clyde Shields and sold to Franco Gagliano after a couple years in business. Franko is credited with growing the club and making the small venue a success with national touring bands. Franco, originally from Sicily, who was a legend in his own right, managed the club from inception until the year 2000. Gagliano was known for his pizazz, personality and his love–hate relationships with the bands that played at the Mason Jar. He certainly made the place all the more lively with his dry sense of humor and thick Sicilian accent. He often wore his famous clog shoes, or “klags.” Many patrons had just as much fun engaging with Franco on numerous conversations over seventy-five cent Kamikaze (cocktail) shots.
Many bands came to the “world famous” Mason Jar on their way to Sunset Strip in Hollywood, California. Some simply ran out of money, never making it to Los Angeles, and others simply liked Phoenix and decided to stay and made it their permanent home. Whatever the reason for passing through Phoenix, all bands somehow made their way to the Mason Jar and the club became world-renowned in the process. Scores of bands played at the Mason Jar before they made it big, such as Tool, Green Day, Kid Rock, Rage Against the Machine, Jane's Addiction and Guns N' Roses. Local bands such as Surgical Steel, Flotsam and Jetsam The Results and Sacred Reich also played there. Jason Newsted of Flotsam and Jetsam, who later became the bass player for Metallica, was a regular at the Mason Jar.
The Mason Jar experienced a resurgence as top Phoenix live music venue with the start of the new millennium, when in 2000 the club was bought by local businessman Michael Manfredi aka "Mick". Mick gave The Mason Jar a badly needed face lift, a substantial sound system upgrade and a new contemporary list of rising stars to hit the stage like, Linkin Park, Papa Roach, Fall Out Boy, Jimmy Eat World, Opeth, 30 Seconds to Mars and many more. Mick's appetite for diversity brought The Mason Jar into new genres including country music with acts like David Allan Coe, Hank Williams III and Shooter Jennings. Mick honored The Mason Jar's roots by hosting acts like Megadeth, The Ramones, Rob Halford, Dishwalla, Frank Black, Vanilla Ice, Stephen Pearcy, Ice-T, Robby Krieger and many, many others.
The Mason Jar was a favorite launching ground of music industry execs like Jenna Adler of Creative Artist's Ageny (Papa Roach, The Apex Theory) record labels like Sony and DreamWorks, management agencies like Sanctuary Music (Rob Halford) and of concert promoters like Danny Zelisko, owner of “Evening Star Productions” (now merged with Live Nation) Tom Lapenna and Wil Anderson of Lucky Man Concerts, Kim Larowe of 13th Floor Entertainment and many, many more.
It was not uncommon to see famous artists, professional athletes and politicians at the Mason Jar. Artists like Sammy Hagar and Michael Anthony (Van Halen) would stop in to jam when booked on tour through Phoenix. Local artists like Alice Cooper and Glen Campbell's kids made their debut upon stage at The Mason Jar.
The Mason Jar was often awarded "Top Club for Rock" by the readers of The Phoenix New Times. It gave music fans in Phoenix a chance to experience live bands the way club goers in Los Angeles and other major cities could.
The Mason Jar closed for business on February 15, 2005 when Mick sold the license to an outside party that no longer operated as The Mason Jar. The Mason Jar experienced its busiest year ever in its last year of business (when Mick was owner), boasting over 30 bands per week and dozens of shows on sale at Ticketmaster every month.
As of 2015, the site of old Mason Jar has been providing a place for local musical venue once more. The gay bar has moved and the site is once again promoting all kinds of musical performances. Rebel Lounge is established as a popular venue for emerging musical bands and DJs from all across America.
- Rodgers, Larry (2005-03-02). "Mason Jar closed for remodeling, will reopen as gay bar".