Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Phoenix Clubs of the 90s - Electric Ballroom - Tempe, Arizona

Today begins a new series on Life On This Planet called Phoenix Clubs of the 90s.  Every so often I will be featuring a Phoenix-area live music venue that is no longer with us.  I'll be sharing a few stories, some pictures, ticket stubs, etc.  If you have any memories and photos you'd like to share, please leave me a comment below.  Here we go...

Electric Ballroom
1216 E. Apache Blvd., Tempe, AZ
Opened:  Sometime in 1994?
Closed:  February 2, 1998
Formerly known as: After The Gold Rush, Dooley's
What it is now:  New School for the Arts and Academics

Just think about it...  your kid could now go to school in the same exact spot that Nirvana, The Police, Tom Petty or Iggy Pop once played.  Here's what the building looks like today:


The Electric Ballroom was huge.  I saw many shows there and my band Audra played at least 10 shows on that stage.  One of the coolest things about playing on that big stage was the curtain.  Even for the smallest local band, they would close the curtain so you could set up your gear and they would raise it to start your set.  Rad.  Audra first played at Electric Ballroom on April 18, 1995.  I even saved one of the VIP passes.

I remember having tickets to see one of my favorite bands - james - on May 10, 1997 and the show got cancelled.  I remember going to the Ballroom with my brother, after seeing Peter Murphy at Hayden Square on July 18, 1995 and Corrosion of Conformity was playing.  I have live footage of Audra playing at Electric Ballroom back in 1995.  Lots of memories.


Here's just some of the bands that played at Electric Ballroom:
The Cramps, Blur, Iggy Pop, John Lydon, Wilco, Weezer, Dio, Fishbone, No Doubt, Sonic Youth, My Life With The Thrill Kill Kult, Bush, Ned's Atomic Dustbin, Flaming Lips, Elastica, The Cult, Adam & The Ants, The Melvins, Helmet, Fountains Of Wayne, Great White and hundreds more.


And when it was called After The Gold Rush:
Rage Against The Machine, Todd Rundgren, Kiss, Phish, Nirvana, Foghat, Robyn Hitchcock, etc.

And when it was Dooley's:
The Police, Muddy Waters, Devo, Mick Ronson, Tom Petty, Blondie, The Kinks, Elvis Costello, etc.

Some additional clippings from my personal collection:







[Photo Credits:  Electric Ballroom sign is from Electric Ballroom Memories.  Electric Ballroom today photo is by Bret Helm.  All clippings and ticket stubs are from the Bret Helm collection.  :)  ]



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22 comments:

  1. wow, I'd forgotten about Peter Murphy at Hayden Square. My fav electric ballroom memory....I threw my bra at Adam Ant and it hung on his mic for awhile lol! I also sprained my ankle at that show. Was a cool place.

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  2. This blog is great. I currently work at New School for the Arts and have many fond memories seeing such great acts Hierogyphics, Jeru the Damaja, De La Sol and Crash Worship to name a few.

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  3. Thanks for posting this! I was looking to confirm that After the Gold Rush was formerly Dooley's, and behold, there was your blog, confirming it! I was actually at that Nirvana show, I recall Curt had blue hair. In fact, I had dinner with the band prior to the show, as I worked at Tower Records at the time, and the record label hosted a little dinner first, at what was then called The Firehouse, on Apache. I also saw and met Iggy Pop at this club (it's one of the few celeb photos that I never got my copy of from the label!) Fun stuff, thanks again!

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  4. I wondered what happened to my favorite place ASU days. We used to go to Ladies Night at After The Gold Rush and get penny drinks.

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  5. Yes, Dooley's was the same place.

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  6. do you remember the sun club,great place to play too.
    sad another musical landmark gone also.long wongs on mill is closed too I heard.ah yes ,we are getting older I suppose.cool blog

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  7. Dooleys was the last straw for my club, Issac Newton's Falling Apple Saloon. Detroit boys who made their bones with Arbys franchises....the place was HUGE compared to my place and had both rock bands and disco. My manager Julian and I tried to sabotage them before they opened by opening their tap kegs in the walk-in cooler and closing the door. Didn't work, they had a great run and I became a customer after we closed. Met many a beautifl lass there and took em home for the night. Ah, Tempe in those days was a total party. :)

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    1. Hey Luke....... fond memories of Issac Newtons and the after-hour parties at Newtons and Dooleys....... just a thought hows your Tigers doing? All the best...... Julian

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  8. Good Times! I was upstairs watching Weezer when this little girl taps me from behind. I remember thinking WTF is a young girl doing here? She says to me that she's the sister of the drummer, and asked if I could trade places with her so she and her parents could watch the show. Man, I had a great spot. And, I love Weezer! What should I do? I mean, is she even Pat Wilson's sister? So, we engaged in fisticuffs and she through me off the rail. No, of course I moved. To this day I wonder about that. Anyway, I loved that place. I remember the club shutting down because the manager allegedly sexually assaulted a waitress, or something like that. I don't know what happened with that, but I had some great times there, and saw some legendary acts. I had played a couple of times at Balboa Cafe. I wonder if we ever met, or probably knew some of the same people.

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  9. Thanks for the post. Couldn't think of the name "electric ballrom and "goldrush". Blackhouse Twins played there....my son David DeVere was in the band. He passed away 6-6-12.

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  10. Was there when "KUPD & ATGR" were promoting the NEW Pink Floyd album "Momentary laspe of reason" in `87, soooo many babes there w/great tunes being played. Left for Army a few months later,came home a few times to party w/friends there. Took my NEW now ex-wife there in july `98 & discovered it closed (electric ballroom) by then :( allways wondered why??. And now "The Devil House/Club Rio/AZ Beachclub" is gone too ! Man, it is a drag to get old.

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    1. Oh this is so cool. I was there too. Loved Dooleys. Friend of mine started a bar fight there that escalated into an all-out brawl with a complete evac of the place.

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  11. Very nice Blog! Lots of great Info, and I thoroughly enjoyed the Read. I was Wondering if anyone here remembers (or has Info pertaining to) The Blind Melon Concert that took place at the Electric Ballroom on 10-14-1995? I am a Historian for the Band, and Have been able to find very little about this show. Anyone who was there, and would like to share their experience can email me @ melonography@gmail.com

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  12. Going through my old concert ticket stubs... in 1982 at Dooley's I saw Dave Bromberg and John Stewart. Also at Dooley's in 1982 I saw Gil Scott-Heron. Dooley's had some hilarious and bizarre gnome or troll that was placed up high on the wall, very short little guy, ugly, had a very long nose that somewhat looked like a p*nis. That was the joke of it. If anyone has a picture of it, I am hippiefreak-at-hotmail-dot-com.

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  13. I saw Face to Face play Electric Ballroom a few times; awesome live band. Another fun experience was being in the pit when the power went out during a Descendents set. The club emptied out and the show was rescheduled with original tickets honored. Those of us slow to leave were rewarded with 2 shows because the power came back on.

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  14. I saw The Joe Perry Project at After The Gold Rush in the early 80's but more importantly saw my favorite artist of all time there, Rory Gallagher, on May 21, 1985. Blew the doors off the place.

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  15. Hello. Do you have any other of those weekly calendars for Electric Ballroom? Would love to see them all.

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  16. Saw the Ronnie Van Zant band there in early 80s - loudest concert I'd ever been to. Partied with Riki Rachtman from MTV one night and he introduced us to Rob Halford, who had dropped by when Priest was in town. As someone said above, Tempe was THE rockinest party spot anywhere in the 80's - early 90s. Nothing came close. Dooleys/Gold Rush,Hammerheads, Devil House, Zeros, Sun Club. What an era.

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  17. I googled EB and found this! Awesome that someone put this together! I use to work at Electric Ballroom, as well as a few other tempe/ Scottsdale bars. Helped put me through school. So many great bands! Can't forget GWAR! HAHA. Worked a lot of the shows mentioned above. Blind Melon played there as well. About a week before Shannon Hoon died. I played pool with him after the show! Thanks for posting this! Great memories.

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  18. I loved Dooley's during the late 70's. We used to go early, get a good table and watch the old black and white movies they would show on movie screens on the stage.

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