Blind Pig

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Blind Pig
BlindPigLogo.jpg
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Background Information

Established

1971

Genre

Rock, Indie, Punk

Location

Ann Arbor

Address

208 S 1st St
Ann Arbor, MI 48104

Phone

(734) 996-8555

Hours

Monday - Sunday
3:00 pm - 2:00 am

website

blindpigmusic.com

Music Calendar

Link to Music Calendar

About

The Blind Pig was opened in 1972 when Tom Isaia and Jerry DelGiudice bought and renovated an old downtown building. They named it after the illegal after-hours gathering place the Detroit Police had raided a few years earlier, touching off the 1967 Race Riots. The facility was primarily a coffee shop at first, converting to a bar at night and serving relatively upscale drinks.
Isaia and DelGiudice sold the venue in 1979 to Dave Whitmore, who in turn sold to Roy and Betty Goffett three years later. They doubled the club's space by renovating the rear portion of the building, opening the 8-Ball Saloon on the lower level and moving the stage to the more spacious top floor. The expansion made The Pig more conducive to crowd-heavy rock shows.


The Pig quickly became a hot spot for both local acts and touring bands. Names as notable and varied as Jimmy Hendrix, Joan Baez, Bo Diddley and George Thoroughgood - who even filmed the video for his "Treat Her Right" there. Local acts like MC5 and Iggy Pop also have graced the Pig's Stage.


During the late '80s and early '90s "college rock" turned into "alternative" and "grunge." Again, the Pig showcased a series of bands during this time that, while barely having enough money to tour, were unknowingly destined for world fame and acclaim. Bands such 10,000 Maniacs, Everclear, No Doubt, Pearl Jam, R.E.M., The Rollins Band, Screaming Trees, Smashing Pumpkins, Sonic Youth, Soul Asylum, Soundgarden, Stone Temple Pilots and ascraggly little band of upstarts called Nirvana.

It was Nirvana, years after they played there, who gave the Pig their most flattering moment in the limelight when they, on a televised MTV interview, cited the club as their number one venue of choice anywhere, ever.

Perhaps it was because, way back in '89 when they were barely scraping across the country in a rattletrap van, the Pig gave them the biggest audience turnout that they had ever had. Whatever the case, The Goffetts payed homage with a framed shrine to Nirvana that is featured inside the club, the centerpiece of which is a record containing songs that the band had performed at the venue.

Despite all of its successes, there were a few times in the past 20 years when the Pig was dangerously close to the brink of catastrophe. While most concerts pass by uneventfully, every once in a while the excitement level goes through the roof and chaos ensues.

Legendary California punk band The Circle Jerks, for example, once got the crowd so charged up that audience members took to destroying the interior of the club, tearing down the bar rails and laying waste to furniture and mirrors.

Another unfortunate incident occurred a few years ago when the now-defunct local band Gangster Fun painted over dressing room walls that had previously boasted the signatures of many of the artists that had played at the club in years past. The band met with such vehement disapproval immediately after the incident that they were forced to flee from angered concert-goers.


In early 2017 the storied concert venue was put up for sale by the Goffett family. There were fears among some that the property at 208 S. First St. would be razed to make way for new residential units. In December 2017 the venue was sold to a new ownership group that plans to invest in the building and keep it as a hub for local and national musicians.


Blind Pig 2010 - Photo by Dwight Burdette

Additional Reading

Crain's Detroit


External Links

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