J Dee’s… J Dee’s… J Dee’s… what to say about good ol’ J Dee’s….


As you probably heard, J Dee’s Landing is finally closing the doors for business this week.  The news is shocking and disappointing to all who have been supporting the venue for some time now.  J Dee’s was a place that has a lot of different meanings to a lot of different people.  For some, J Dee’s was just their local pub, similar to something like Hair of the Dog, it’s where they could get cheap drinks at any hour of the day in any mood they were in, looking how ever they wanted.  And I gotta give it to them, more than anything, it was a dive bar.

To other people, it was where some of the best Karaoke in the desert went down.  They could wail it out at the top of their lungs, with no regard as to whether they were even close to being on key or not.  The team of stationed carolers were an eccentric one, and loyal.

And then, there were the kids who found J Dee’s as a place where they could create their own culture and provide entertainment for their friends at, and did so pretty epically. The door was always open to all types of people and all the different types of musical genres that you could imagine.  What was really great was that it never really seemed to matter how many people the promoter could pull, J Dee’s just wanted people there.  And people came. Metal heads, Hip Hop heads, punks, gutter kids, hipsters, flipsters, country men,  rockabillies.  It was this common ground where each promoter respected one another, each scene respected one another, and the venue respected all.

There is definitely more proof in the pudding of all of this then just my words and impression of the place.  For instance, the guts of J Dee’s changed drastically over the past two to three years with the help of the young music community that frequented the place.  What once was a really awkward space, definitely more of a single pool hall, not designed for bands and performances of any kind, was remodeled and transformed for the betterment of everyone (note: they even kept the pool table).  The restricting walls were eventually knocked down, pushed back to allow more space, and rebuilt back up equipped with a good sized stage within months.  Once the new stage was built, the backdrop to the stage changed as well and then eventually became a community piece where everyone could bring in an object (art, photos, furry things, dolls, string, etc etc etc) to add to the wall, organized by The Ghost Channel (local promoters who built their business from J Dee’s) and Cris Cichocki (local artist).  A photo of this revised wall, a.k.a. the community art piece , is featured in the second photo down.

What once was almost a painfully looking and sounding place to go watch a good punk band turned into a warm and cozy place built by my fellow peers right before my eyes.  The magic to the venue isn’t so much the venue itself (although it was a big contributor), but it was always more about the people and the unspoken, consensual agreement that we were all ‘in it’ together because we all wanted something better for the community.  A place to call home, for all the black sheeps.

Below, I have provided some of my favorite photos from my personal favorite J Dee’s era.  Keep in mind, there was waaaaay more going on, way more different crowds, scenes, packed nights, etc etc etc… I just happen to hang with these dudes and go to these particular shows.  These dudes I’m referring to are The Ghost Channel, a group of 4 men who curated and organized great punk shows.

Check ’em out:


(somewhere in the second stages of development, check out the black and white painted stage backdrop)

(last stage of development. check out the community art piece that’s the stage’s backdrop!  featured in photo are friends of The Ghost channel and Cris Cichocki.  this was brought together by many people contributing a piece of art, object, or photo to the wall.  a great collage.)

(see that mirror in the back?  that was how the place looked when they first started throwing shows… basically, a grimey pool hall, dive bar.  see those two kids talking that are crammed in the left corner of the photo/venue?  those are the performing musicians and that was where the stage was!  horrible, right?  so glad they changed everything around.)

(fans/community enjoying a night at J Dee’s)

(Dreamcatcher performing on the new stage.  special lighting installation by Perry Scanlon.)

(this is the how the community art piece and the new stage looked.  packed house for Slipping Into Darkness, like always.)

(an up close and personal experience with your favorite bands was a highlight.  johnny is pretty happy about it.)

(*all photos taken by 5000 Photography)


These shows that the The Ghost Channel threw were pretty epic (please note: I hate using the word ‘epic’ because it is so trendy and over used, but there really is no better word).  In February 2010, there was a tragic falling out between The Ghost Channel and J Dee’s Landing.  I don’t want to get too political on my community art and culture blog, but it was something a long the lines of people (managers) getting fired for reasons that they shouldn’t have gotten fired for and The Ghost Channel took defense to the people who were fired, had their backs, and because they thought the whole situation was unfair and out of control they chose to leave the facility along with the managers that they were backing.  This was a super bummer to all who followed them and grew with them.  Many music promoters of other genres also had respect for the managers of the facility and were just as upset.

As The Ghost Channel left J Dee’s Landing for good, I asked my good friend, Alex Callego (member of The Ghost Channel), to write his final good byes for a three part series on my blog, The Coachella Valley Art Scene.

Check out the three part series written about J Dee’s Landing by Alex Callego:


To read the rest of the article, please click the direct link!:

http://www.thecoachellavalleyartscene.com/2010/02/25/a-story-about-j-dees-part-1-a-ghost-is-born/


To read the rest of the article, click the direct link!:

http://www.thecoachellavalleyartscene.com/2010/02/26/the-ghost-of-j-dees-part-2-scene-vs-community/


To read the rest of the article, click the direct link:

http://www.thecoachellavalleyartscene.com/2010/02/26/the-ghost-of-j-dees-part-3-overchoiced/


Right before ( about a week before) the news of the falling out with the owners, managers, and The Ghost Channel, Steven Preston wrote a beautiful write up about all the psychedelic shows that had been going down at J Dee’s.  At that time, around late January of 2010, the scene was just starting up.  And to much of our surprise, it is still going on strong, and I don’t see an end to the psychedelic storm anytime soon.

In this article written by Steven Preston goes into detail how the J Dee’s venue changed drastically over the year, a year ago.

I love the way it is written… so please do read on:


To read the rest of the article, click the direct link!:

http://www.thecoachellavalleyartscene.com/2010/02/19/latest-news-a-psychedelic-storm-on-the-horizon/


The week after Steven wrote that article, the bad news hit.  So, then Steven wrote a response article to the last one.

Another really well written article:

To read the rest of the article, click the direct link:

http://www.thecoachellavalleyartscene.com/2010/02/25/latest-news-a-psychedelic-storm-passes-the-story-of-how/

This is next article is a photographic recap that I did of one of the psychedelic shows at J Dee’s that Steven Preston was talking about.

It’s pretty good, if I do say so myself:


To view all of the photos, click the direct link!:

http://www.thecoachellavalleyartscene.com/2010/01/14/flash-back-the-entrance-band-at-j-dees/


To end this Party Recap off on a high note, I leave you with some Youtubes that I found on J Dee’s.  I am sure there are many more out there… here are just a few…

J Dee’s Landing Youtubes:

Thanks for all the great times, J Dee’s!  You’ll be missed, but not forgotten.

If you would like to submit a story, photos, YouTubes of your times at J Dee’s please do!  You can email words, links, and photos to Sarah at thecoachellavalleyartscene{at}gmail.com.  Next week I will be featuring a Recap of last night’s Farewell Party at J Dee’s with words from some of the regulars.

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