Back in the mid-’80s when I was in high school, I was befriended by a group of social misfits who wanted to play some music. One of the first times we hung out, they took me across the river, to then “seedy” Newport, and an even seedier little music club called The Jockey Club. While the legendary Punk Rock venue didn’t exactly “change my life” — well, I could make a case that serving underagers $1.50 Foster’s oil cans paved the way for my eventual alcoholism — my experiences there with other outsiders and musical adventurers definitely shaped who I am today.
The Jockey was Greater Cincinnati’s CBGB’s in a lot of ways. It had the same grimy charm, but it also helped keep local early Punk fans satiated with shows by bands that might have otherwise skipped over the area, including The Cramps, The Ramones, minutemen, TSOL, Black Flag and Husker Du, to name but a few. The club was also one of the few places popular local bands like SS-20, Human Zoo, BPA, The Afghan Whigs, The Refused, The Edge and Doc and the Pods could get regular gigs, making it something of a clubhouse for musicians on the fringe.
This Saturday sees the release of a book commemorating the historic venue. Stories for Shorty: A Collection of Recollections from the Jockey Club 1982-1988 (Shorty was the club’s lovably curmudgeon bartender) is being released by the local Aurore Press, which reached out to those with experiences at the club and asked for essays about their time at the Jockey. On Saturday, Shake It Records will host the release party, with characters and musicians from the era — including Billy Blank, Jimmy D, Handsome Clem Carpenter and Uncle Dave Lewis — expected to attend. Pedro X and Jughead from the pioneering SS-20 will play some acoustic tunes at the event.
There's a concert event that evening at Southgate House. Read more about both events here.