Pioneer Days

Jeff Swaney celebrates 20 years of Club Clearview by spilling somedirt

Long 'View: Deep Ellum isn't exactly known for lengthy life spans. New clubs like Indigo and Club Hush have closed down in the past few weeks, and the district's been tarnished with a reputation that isn't helping the remaining clubs. Thus, it's not only good news but outright astounding that Club Clearview celebrates its 20th anniversary on Saturday.

It also doesn't hurt that such a long span of time surpasses any statute of limitations.

"We ran [the club] underground without licenses, permits or anything for a coupl'a years," original Clearview owner Jeff Swaney says. "I can say that now. I don't think anybody's gonna come back to me after 20 years. Unless you killed somebody, I don't think they can go back."

And if that's not surprising enough, get this: The first event at Club Clearview was co-hosted by none other than Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban.

"It's true," Cuban says via e-mail. "We used to throw parties all the time back then and finally had to find a spot that could hold thousands of people."

As Cuban recalls on his BlogMaverick Web site (www.blogmaverick.com), the first party took place June 8, 1985, at Clearview's original location at 2625 Elm St. Deep Ellum hadn't yet been established as a hot spot, so Cuban, Swaney and friends had to include maps with every invite. Two thousand people figured out where to go, and after the successful party, Swaney kept the space running with friends. That is, he says, until the warehouse's original owner, Dorothy Busch of the Anheuser-Busch family, sold the building to a Baptist foundation in 1987.

"She was the heir to the building. She was elderly, and they convinced her that the work of Satan was going on in there," Swaney says. "She was quite appalled."

A few weeks later, Swaney set up an official operation at the current 2806 Elm St. spot, which also houses Art Bar and Blind Lemon, and though ownership has changed over the years, the space has remained a consistent figure in the Deep Ellum scene.

"The Video Bar was there first, but [Clearview] was the first to really market to people to come to Elm Street," Cuban says on BlogMaverick. "Swaney was the first that I had heard call the area Deep Ellum, a name that had been dormant for many years."

Swaney recalls acts like Ministry, Green Day and the Red Hot Chili Peppers making their earliest Dallas stops at Clearview, and in recent years, hot indie acts like Broken Social Scene and Fiery Furnaces have boosted the club's cred.

"We were the uncensored venue for people to do their thing, whether it was art or music or fashion shows or ridiculous stuff or whatever," Swaney says. "A lot of places in Deep Ellum grew up around it."

Saturday's rooftop party will include performances by Flame Trick Subs, Shadow Reichenstein and more. And who knows? Cuban might pop in and say hi to his old friends.


Local pods: If, after reading this week's "Rise of the Pod People," you rush to your computer and load your MP3 player with podcasts, make sure to give a few local productions a listen. Exit 50(www.exit50.com) isn't a musically inclined podcast, but it does link to quite a few around the area, from the non-major-label focus of Pod Safe Audio (www.podsafeaudio.com) to the Christian-rock-loving Spin 180 (www.spin180.com). Also, be the cool kid on the virtual block and add dconstruction.org to your bookmarks before everyone else does. The site isn't up yet, but in early July, Summer Break Recordsowner Robert Jenkins will be one of the hosts for a Dallas-centric music show with exclusive performances and interviews from local musicians.

Ohhhh, the "d" is for Dallas. I get it.


This just in: Silver Arrows play their final hometown show at Hailey's on Friday. The promising pop-rock group is off to New York to give that whole "success" thing a shot. Good luck; you'll be missed.

 
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