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Promoter Mike Beard Discusses Avalon Nightclub Closing

In Clubs, Music
Mike Beard

This Saturday marks the final show at the Avalon Nightclub in Santa Clara. Promoter Mike Beard—while hasn’t been the only person to book shows there—has been a major force, bringing in countless local and national acts. Y & T play the Avalon’s final show on July 30, which is sure to be a sell-out. We interviewed Beard about the Avalon’s closing and San Jose’s music scene in general.

How long have you been putting on shows at the Avalon?

I have been doing show since 2003 with local bands and moved into national bands. I started in Boise, Idaho at Tom Grainey/J.T. Toads venue. I booked this band called Midline and they drew and the owners told me to keep at it, and I did. I called it Monday Metal Madness with Man Down Productions with Midline. We drew 1,000 people on that Monday. I was in from then on.

What were some of the favorite bands you’ve been able to bring to the South Bay that wouldn’t have otherwise come?

All of the local and national bands to me are a gift and special. Without the bands and fans this would not happen. It’s all about them and not the promoter, to be honest.

Here is a partial list of bands I’ve booked: Exodus, Trapt, Dredg, Hed Pe, Prong, Testament, Fishebone, Fingereleven, Geoff Tate, Y & T, Lizzy Borden, Armored Saint, Taproot, Misfits, MSG, Saxon, UFO, Otep, Death Angel, Alien Ant Farm, Stryper, WASP, Lynch Mob and Montrose.

Do you have any plans to continue booking shows in San Jose?

I do have things in the works for the South Bay. Stay tuned for those shows and bands to be announced.

Of all the places you booked, was there anything about doing shows at the Avalon that were particularly special?

It was in my home town of Santa Clara. I grew up here. I joined the U.S. Marines from 1988 to 1992 here. My dad and brother Rich were Police officers here—dad for 32 years at SCPD.

Tell us about your last show? Other than the bands you have playing, do you have anything special planned?

M.I.R.V., Fungo Mungo was my last show, really… Y & T on June 30th is the Avalon’s last show and all the credit goes to Mike and Julia Jafari, the owners and people who I owe a huge thank you to for allowing me to do show all these years.

What do you think the San Jose scene will be like without the Avalon?

Well the scene has been hurt over the years with The VooDoo Lounge and Toons closing. The bands are as good as ever, but I just don’t feel like they have many places to play.

The Blank Club and Johnny V’s have been wonderful keeping the pulse going and the Caravan too. The Brit as well. We’ll see what happens. There are rumors of new owners and bookers wanting to open up a new/old place downtown. I’d be into it when I see it or get the call to do shows there. This is nothing new for me I have been through many club closes so Man Down Productions just moves operations to others places that need me.You’ve been about of the South Bay scene a long time. What is the greatest secret most people may not know about our little scene?

The secret—which is not a secret, but so key—is the support from The Metro, the bands, the fans and the bands’ studios keep all this alive. The scene to me will never die, it just needs a new place to hang out or re-invent itself. I am working on that as we speak with a few friends TBA later. Stay tuned South Bay.

Y & T Play the Avalon on Saturday July 30 at 8p. Tickets are $30.

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