Special Tribute Show to Arizona 60′s Record producer, Jim Musil!

This Saturday & Sunday, April 14t & 15th, on RFP Presents we will be featuring a rebroadcast of a Johnny D’s 3 hour Mostly Vinyl show — This will be a special tribute show to Jim Musil. Jim was the Phil Specter of Phoenix music in the 60’s and he also was responsible for bringing many bands that became legendary to JD’s in Tempe. Like the Doors, Van Morrison & Waylon Jennings The show kicks off at  5pm AZ/Pacific time Saturday and Sundat at 3pm

Here is the back story on Jim as written by Dan Nowicki:

Jim Musil Jr., one of the most important figures — and unforgettable characters — in Arizona music history, apparently died about a month ago in California under circumstances that are still unclear.

Musil (1939-2013) ran the legendary 1960s music venues JD’s (“on the Scottsdale Strip”) and the Fifth Estate in Tempe. As a producer, he cut Waylon Jennings’ first album “Waylon at JD’s,” and great ’60s R&B and rock sides by the likes of The Versatiles (“Just Pretending”), Brother Zee and The Decades (“Sha-Boom Bang”), Phil and The Frantics (“I Must Run”), The Mile Ends (“Bottle Up and Go”) and The Superfine Dandelion (“Ferris Wheel”). The Musil-produced track “What’s Happening” by Phil and The Frantics has been licensed by the AMC TV show “Mad Men” and will be heard on an episode in the new season that starts Sunday.

Musil and his father, James D. Musil Sr., opened the double-decker JD’s nightclub on July 21, 1964, opened with Waylon Jennings and the Waylors upstairs and The Mike Metko Combo downstairs. Musil replaced Metko’s group with Phil and The Frantics in spring 1965; Jennings was the regular act upstairs for more than 20 months.

“Both floors were just packed,” Musil told me several years ago in an interview. “Every night was like a Saturday night when it first opened. As far as I know, it was the first double-decker club anywhere.”

The idea of mixing country music on one floor and long-haired rock and roll on another (plus alcohol) meant there were plenty of fistfights in the parking lot. Mr. Lucky’s in west Phoenix would pinch the double-decker concept from JD’s.

There was some drama at JD’s on Christmas Night, 1968, when a gunman took hostages after closing time in an apparent plot to assassinate Waylon Jennings, who was playing there at the time. Police wound up shooting and wounding the gunman outside the club. Musil testified in the subsequent trial.

At the Fifth Estate at Scottsdale and Curry roads in Tempe, Musil brought the elite of the Los Angeles Sunset Strip scene to Arizona. He’s probably most celebrated in retrospect for booking The Doors in 1966 for what was their first gig outside California. But he opened the club in Memorial Day weekend 1966 with Them (see photo with Musil posing with Van Morrison and the late Steve Dodge of Phil and The Frantics) and in the 14 months of its existence hosted groups such as Love, The Association, The Music Machine, The Leaves, The Lovin’ Spoonful, The Mindbenders, The Merry-Go-Round and others.

Musil had a great memory for details, recalling that he paid The Doors $750, plus round-trip tickets for four, and put them up at the old Royal Inn near Scottsdale and Thomas roads. Their Fifth Estate engagement was three-shows-a-night for three nights. After hearing The Doors’ live set, which already included “Light My Fire,” Musil suggested that they go into the studio to cut a record. The group informed them they had recently signed with Elektra.

“I really thought I could get a hit out of The Doors with no problem,” Musil told me.

The Fifth Estate closed in July 1967 primarily due to what Musil characterized as “constant harassment” from Tempe city fathers.

Should be a great show!

1 comment

  1. Joan Roseberry Beck December 30, 2017 5:59 pm  Reply

    When it first opened I went there most nights, I was going with the base player for Waylon Jennings. It was a fun place to go. I never heard about the gunman before, glad that never happened. Waylon Jennings was one of my favorites and still is.

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