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Boz Scaggs Music Community

IT ALL COMES DOWN TO THE SINGER...
AND THE SONG

BOZ SCAGGS' NIGHT CLUBS

 ``I have very little to do with the clubs,'' Scaggs said of Slim's, opened in 1988, and the comfortably ornate Great American Music Hall, which dates back to 1907. ``It keeps me tuned to contemporary music more than I might otherwise be, but I'm not there a lot.''

Boz Scaggs & Partners Open New Concert Hall 2009

Old UC Theater to be revived as concert venue

By Doug Oakley
Oakland Tribune
Posted: 08/11/2009
Updated: 08/13/2009

BERKELEY — The operators of Slim's and the Great American Music Hall in San Francisco plan to open a 1,500-seat concert venue in downtown Berkeley.

The city's Planning Commission approved the project in May.

The UC Theater has been closed for about eight years, and any new tenant there likely will need to do seismic construction upgrades, city officials say.

The project will come on the heels of the Aug. 27 opening of the new Freight and Salvage Coffeehouse just a block away on Addison Street. That venue, which will showcase folk and traditional American music, will seat 440 people.

A letter to the zoning board lists David Mayeri and Dawn Holliday as the applicants. Their summary of the project says the concert hall will be operated by Slims and the Great American Music Hall.

The group also puts on the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park every year, an event that draws 600,000 people, the letter states.

A publicity person for Slim's was unavailable for comment this afternoon, as were Mayeri and Holliday.

In their letter to the zoning board, the two say the concert hall will employ about 150 staff and host 60 to 120 concerts a year and up to 24 public and corporate events.

The new concert hall, if approved by the city, will serve food and drinks and showcase live bands playing alternative rock, classic rock, country, bluegrass, blues, reggae and world music.

NOTE: August 17, 2009 - City officials have approved a plan that would allow the owners of music venues The Great American Music Hall and Slim's to open a music club at the site of Berkeley's UC Theatre.

SLIM'S

  Slim's
333 11th St
San Francisco, CA
94103-4313, US
                            (415) 255-0333

THE VENUE

Opened in 1988 by legendary R&B artist Boz Scaggs, Slim's is a live music nightclub dedicated to providing the public with excellent service, a congenial atmosphere, good food & drinks, and the finest of American Roots Music--Blues, R&B, Cajun/Zydeco, Jazz, Alternative, and more. Pollstar Magazine has voted Slim's the best nightclub in America five out of the last eleven years, and for the past two years Slim's was awarded Best Bar & Club by the readers of the San Francisco Chronicle. The club is located in the South of Market district of San Francisco, a hub of nightlife in the city. Although parking in San Francisco is notoriously difficult, we have the luxury of having several hundred parking spaces available at a low-cost garage on our corner.

The premises consist mainly of an open floor on our main level. At one end of the floor is our performance stage. At the other end we have a small balcony with table seating for 70 where guests may sit and relax. Our bar runs the length of the floor in an "L" shape. The decor is simple and tasteful, with chandeliers, brick walls, and a bar inspired by the facades of several New Orleans manors. A coat check and additional rest rooms are located in our downstairs level. Slim's is entirely wheelchair accessible.

What? You need more info? Well, some additional info is available through these other links:

If you've still got questions, drop an email at info@slims-sf.com or call us at (415) 255-0333 and we'll do our best to accomodate you.

Scaggs' Quote on Slim's

Boz explaining the delay in the opening of Slim's Nightclub originally scheduled to open June 23, 1988 with an opening week bill that included Otis Rush (with Scaggs, under the nom de plume of Presidio Slim, sitting in) and Ornette Coleman...

"The escrow didn't close and, therefore, the liquor license and the assets didn't transfer to Slim's, and we were on just a hairline schedule to get open on time anyway, as these things go. I mean, we planned way, way out in advance and gave ourselves a month leeway. We had a month to be finished. I mean, we planned to be finished an entire month to just fine-tune it. And, as things go, we just got right down to the wire. It seemed to me that we were going to make it. Then I left for Japan about 10 days ago and while I was away this thing didn't transfer. And we had to hold up construction; we couldn't construct it - the permits wouldn't allow us to. It just didn't make any sense to commit. We haOpd about $150,000 committed to this particular phase of construction and we just cannot go ahead and do that until we legally have the place. That's what happened. When I came back from Japan it had been delayed to the point that we had an emergency session and decided that we simply cannot open. We had to cancel all the acts. It's just a monumental bummer...It's one of the saddest things that's ever happened to me. I just don't ... I'm heartbroken." - Boz Scaggs

Slim's Reviews


  • Opened in 1988 by rock musician Boz Scaggs of The Steve Miller Band, Slim's is an awesome spot to catch live music. You'll find up-and-coming touring acts and sometimes a genuine rock star or two performing in this intimate club. You can get close to the musicians on stage and enjoy more floor space near the L-shaped bar near the back of the club. Slim's is small enough for excellent sight lines no matter where you stand. For those who want to take a seat, there is a second-floor balcony with chairs and tables with a waitperson to deliver food and drinks. The type of crowd varies, depending on the genre of music and band scheduled. Shows often sell out, but the design of the space allows you to move around without feeling too crowded. 


  • I’ve spent so much time mixing shows at Slims that I had my own presets saved in th digital effects racks.  p0wN!  This is Boz Scaggs’ joint and done just the way he always wanted a club to be.  A great sounding room, a big dance floor (watch out for the pillars when you’re really dancing hard), a giant bar staffed by exceptional bartenders and man, the blackened chicken and hot rice served to the crew just can’t be beat. A clean back stage too. Special bonus points for an easy load out at 3am,  Slim’s started out being mainly an R&B and blues club but for years now has had great music from every possible genre.  This is a world-class club, baby.  - livekick

GREAT AMERICAN MUSIC HALL

The Great American Music Hall
859 O'Farrell Street
San Francisco, CA 94109
(415) 885-0750

 


Slim's buying Music Hall

Joel Selvin, Chronicle Pop Music Editor
Thursday, November 29, 2001


A new ownership group at the San Francisco nightclub Slim's has reached agreement to buy the Great American Music Hall and is expected to take over operations of the O'Farrell Street venue before the end of the year. The Music Hall went on the market in March after its most recent owner, music-oriented Riffage.com, went out of business.

Frank Caufield, senior partner in the venture capital firm Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield and Byers, pulled together a number of investors to fund the expanded operation. Caufield has had a stake in Slim's since he and rock star partner Boz Scaggs opened the 11th Street club 13 years ago.


  NEW PARTNERS

The new partners include financier Warren Hellman, venture capitalist Roger McNamee (who plays guitar in the rock band Flying Other Brothers) and former Chronicle Publishing shareholder Joseph O. Tobin.

"Even with the downturn in the economy, I've needed two rooms for some time, " said Slim's General Manager Dawn Holiday. "I've been incredibly busy since 1996. Even though I've used outside facilities a lot, a similar-sized room open to all ages has been very important to me."

Slim's runs shows at a variety of locations, including Foley's Irish House in downtown San Francisco and the Noe Valley Ministry, and also books music for the South of Market punk-rock club Covered Wagon.


 UPGRADES PLANNED

The Music Hall, built in 1907, has a colorful history as a restaurant, bordello and home to fan dancer Sally Rand in the '30s. Owner Tom Bradshaw opened the venue in 1972 as a jazz club. He sold it in 1991.

The Music Hall has hosted innumerable impromptu performances by Van Morrison, the first HBO special by Robin Williams, and a historic 1975 performance by the Grateful Dead immortalized on the live album "One From the Vault." Holiday said she plans no changes in the Music Hall's programming, although she does plan to upgrade the sound system and lighting.

"I don't think the public will notice the difference," Holiday said. "I don't  think I'm going to designate one room as a rock room and the other as a folk room or anything like that."

She also said she expects the public to benefit from lower ticket prices with the two clubs no longer competing for the same acts.

Other 'Boz Scaggs' Ventures

Slim's owners are eyeballing yet another nightclub in San Jose

Joel Selvin, Chronicle Staff Writer
Monday, January 27, 2003

Sometimes Frank Caufield would show up at Slim's, take a post behind the bar and pour drinks. Considering he was part-owner of the club, that wasn't all that unusual. But few customers suspected they were being served by a venture capitalist who once funded a little startup called America Online and still holds a seat on the corporation's board of directors.

Rock star Boz Scaggs started the 11th Street nitery 14 years ago but ran short of money before the club opened, which is when Caufield, senior partner in the venture capital firm Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield and Byers, joined the partnership. Both men probably have better things to do, but they now preside over San Francisco's most happening nightclub operation. Having last month assumed ownership of the Great American Music Hall, which was always Slim's top competition, they are now eyeballing an even larger place in downtown San Jose.

With a second San Francisco club, the Slim's bookers have flexibility that will make offers more attractive and allow them to vie for acts that previously would have been the exclusive province of Bill Graham Presents, the behemoth of the local talent buyers. The Slim's operation also is one of two finalists for the 25,000-square-foot former Woolworth's building in downtown San Jose, originally developed as the future site of another House of Blues. A third club would give the chain even greater clout in bidding for top acts.

Slim's general manager and co-owner Dawn Holliday credits Caufield with teaching her common sense in club management. "He ran it like a business, instead of me putting on my favorite bands," said Holliday, who started in the local club business working the box office at the Old Waldorf more than 20 years ago.

When the Slim's partners needed to raise money for the Music Hall purchase, Caufield pulled together a group of investors that would be the envy of any Fortune 500 corporation, let alone the modest $2 million-a-year nightclub. Among the new partners are some of the big dogs of the city's money scene. Financier Warren Hellman is a Wall Street legend who threw giant free bluegrass concerts in Golden Gate Park the past two years with the help of Slim's. Roger McNamee is another fabled venture capitalist who plays in a sideline psychedelic band, the Flying Other Brothers. Organic Inc. CEO and chairman Jonathan Nelson, who was once fired from a job mixing sound at Slim's, is one of the most successful dot-com entrepreneurs still standing. David Marquardt sits on the board of directors of Microsoft. Joseph Tobin used to be part-owner of The Chronicle.

Scaggs started the club with a simple goal in mind. "I wanted a place where I could go hear rhythm and blues music," said Scaggs, who keeps a studio nearby and drops by the club to hear sound checks for almost every show. "To be able to walk in the back door and see Patti Smith," Scaggs said, "is part of my ongoing education."

None of the investors expect to make any money on the deal (they do, however, expect to be able to reserve seats for sold-out shows). Although Slim's operates in the black, the club is not likely to declare any dividends anytime soon. Most of the profits have been plowed back into the operation. These investors look for a different kind of return.

"To my kids, this is cool," said Jeffrey Levenberg, the club's former attorney who was persuaded to accept the Slim's CEO position once the expansion started. Like all the partners, Levenberg invested in Slim's because he loves music.

"I don't even know what the breakdown is anymore," said former Santana manager Ray Etzler, one of the original partners in the club. "Of course, it doesn't matter if my percentage is more or less. It's not like it's a cash cow. "

The 600-capacity Slim's now adds to the club's management and booking responsibilities the 450-seat Music Hall, an ornate room built after the 1906 earthquake that fan dancer Sally Rand ran as the Music Box in the '30s. As a jazz club that opened in 1972, the Great American Music Hall hosted royalty -- Duke Ellington, Count Basie. The club was a special favorite of Van Morrison, who played dozens of nights at the O'Farrell Street nightspot. The place went on the market after its last owner, the Internet music site Riffage.com, went out of business more than two years ago. The Slim's partners were able to buy the club for a reasonable six-figure price, although Riffage creditors retain an interest in any profits.

"There were good reasons to buy the Music Hall," said Caufield. "There are some efficiencies in costs and booking. But it was also an opportunity for professional growth for the people who run Slim's."

"It also kept the Music Hall out of the hands of five attorneys from L.A. who wanted to turn it into a restaurant," said Holliday, who worked the box office New Year's Eve at the Music Hall. "I didn't want to see another music venue go away."

The partners also have their eyes on the 90-seat Sweetwater, the perennially under-financed Mill Valley nightlife institution. In San Jose, they are up against the operators who run a Los Angeles franchise of the downtown New York avant-garde jazz headquarters, the Knitting Factory.

"Maybe they're in it for the money," said Scaggs.

 

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