Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Welcome to Choo-Choo's!

Welcome to Choo-Choo's Tucson!
Way too many years ago, I worked at Choo-Choo's Rock 'n Roll Club down on 424 N. 4th Avenue, and among those days I can remember, they were probably the most fun of my entire otherwise-boring life. I don't want to ruin it right now by telling you who I am but I was there from '72-ish through '75-ish. I'm long gone from the area but Tucson remains a warm spot in my little heart & tinier brain.

This site is for us geezers to reminisce about those halcyon, albeit foggy, days.

Unfortunately, I'll be monitoring any comments that you'll want to make here. I don't want to get into any creepy porn crap or otherwise bizarre shit. Moderate to heavy cursing is permissible as are moderate drug and sex remarks (of which there were plenty. But we're well past any statute of limitation...I hope), but heavily insulting, degrading, or otherwise just mean shit will be barred.

This is for the good memories, the good times, and the good friends we all had back then. I'm hoping to track down Doc, Jon Millar, Terry Glassman, Shag (whose real name I never did know even though I worked with him for 2 years or so) and other employees, as well as members of some of the great bands that went through there, such as the Womblies...or was it The Wumblies, and see if they'd like to contribute.

Next posting, I'll post an old photo to see if you can recognize me. Yeah, I know, the suspense is...


  1. I have no idea how I stumbled upon this - I was an 18 year old messed up girl from New York, who ended up at the UofA who loved to party and ate more quaaludes at Choo Choo's than most people have seen in a life time - Technically I should have been dead a long time ago -
    My best memories are those from the band Lip Service - Any idea where those guys went? Mike Lordi, Hollywood (Lead singer)...Well if this page is still active, it would be fun to hear back from you - I am sure I at least know you, probably made out with you and who knows what else :) JD

  2. You said that you worked at Choo Choo's from
    1972 forward. I am looking for the place that
    Led Zep played at for a short guest appearance
    - probably 1973/74. I don't think it was
    the whole band. It was for sure Robert Plant,
    maybe Jimmy? It is a fact they played
    somewhere - this club, or another.
    My e-mail is llocker@cox.net. Lisa Locker

  3. Hello ObNoxK,

    You are not Kevin I suppose? This is Shag and I worked with Jon and Doc at Choo Choo's Night Train and with Terry at the Stumble Inn all the way up until my incarceration for the various drug charges that began in late 1979.


    1. Shag... It's Ken Philcox. How are you man?! Remember Julie? We've been married 25 years now. It's why Choo-Choo's/Night Train will always be one of my fondest memories.

    2. OMG, many, many moons ago I worked at Choo Choo's, GREAT memories working with Doc & Shag (I never knew his real name either!). I think some of my best memories were from the 'after parties'. Miss the old place and all the people!

  4. I remember Choo-Choo's and the later expanded version, Night Train. I worked with Doc & John from around 1973 until the drug busts in 1979. My understanding is that John Miller died in Phoenix quite a while back. Doc got his reinstated Optometry license back after serving some short time and probation for the legal problems and still lives in Tucson with his wife and children. After serving 5 1/2 years in prison Shag lives in Texas following a fairly successful career as a Real Estate Developer in California.

    To this day shag isn't really really what disappointed his family more - the criminal record or being a Developer...



  6. Hey Guys,

    My sister Julie Farley was a frequent visitor to the Night Train, and introduced her baby sister to the crew. No matter what was going on behind the scenes, it was a really delightful time in my life, and I enjoyed meeting so many of her friends and acquaintances. Doc, was one who watched me like a hawk and never let anything happen to me, when I was there with my sister. I owe him. He even asked me to live in his home while he was to be incarcerated, unfortunately I did not, and lost touch because I moved to the east coast. I met you, Shag only a couple of times, last time being the bar somewhere over on speedway or broadway, not quite sure. I am certainly happy for all of you that your lives played out somewhat better that the late 70's incident. Would love to keep the conversation going, and find out what happeded to a few of my sister's friends - Jeremy for one, and I can only remember the other guy looked liked David Lee Roth (and wanted to be a teacher)





  8. Hug aroud the club 1976-78.And really loved it. Alot of good people snd good times.Went to many house parties afterwards.Had house party on Harding PL.everbody showed up,over 200 people.what ablast that was!!

  9. what ever happened to sparky , sandy both redheads and tina with the long blonde hair?

  10. Rae Opengart29 May, 2013 17:39

    I'm glad this blog is here - very interesting! I started hanging out at the club in 1976 and worked at the 'Train from 1978 to 1981, intermittently. (Being 17 in 1978 may have had something to do with that!)

    Thanks for the update, Shag! I always felt horrible about the legal troubles but there wasn't much I could do back in the day.

    Those days were some of the best memories I have! The bands!! Wolfgang, The Wumblies, the guys from San Francisco that came about once a year and Shadow (?) from Seattle that were there a few times - they stand out in my mind but there were so many others! My favorite concert ever was Johnny Cougar, as he was still called. There were maybe two dozen people there, counting bar employees, but he kicked ass!

    Other memories are equally cherished - the many after parties attended, my co-workers like Foxx, Mary Beth, Red (Rachel?), the couple that came in for lunch one day and concluded with a BJ - they were in the back. And the not-so-cherished ones - witnessing a guy get stabbed by the steps to the back door, wet t-shirt contests, almost getting robbed working the little bar. Oh yeah, those were the days!

    1. Is this Rae-Rae?!

      This is Ken. I painted the last set of murals... and married Julie the bartender. We've been together more then 25 years now.

    2. Which Julie? Big or little? Silly question - I should say, Big Julie or someone I don't remember? What are you guys up to? Are you on Facebook? Message me there or email me direct at rsopengart@gmail.com.

      I have thought about big julie - slightly taller than the other Julie, skinny as a rail - off and on over the years, wondering how she has fared. Does she still trim her bangs the same way? LOL!!! Oh my - so much catching up! I'm in the San Francisco area since the end of 2000, lost my parents and brother-in-law but all the siblings are still around. No kids, nieces or nephews. Five cats, though.

      Email me or FB - always more to tell but not publicly.

  11. I saw Spirit at Choo Choo's in 1976, but I got thrown out early for openly smoking a joint in the place. I just wanted to party, that's all!

    Harry Kirshner

  12. 6/10/1980
    Black Oak Arkansas
    Mountain (West/Laing)
    STILL the best show I ever saw.
    Thanks Night Train.

    1. I remember the Mountain show... Leslie West got pissed and kicked his mic stand off the stage, and it hit some girl in the head. He was a real dick.

  13. While searching for links to Choo-Choo's I found this
    webpage. I was in a Denver-based rock show band called "Dreams" back in the mid-to late seventies and we played Choo-Choo's several times. The name of the club was changed to Night Train right before our last gig there. Yes, the Wumblies played there plenty of times,
    they were almost the "house band". Other bands that played there were Be from Arizona and I think Northwest bands like Bkue Sky, Shyannne, and Bighorn may have played there as well.

    It was a great place to play and party. The girls were
    outrageous and friendly - always an excellent combination. Doc was a character, a nice guy who loved "his bands" and his club. The hamburgers were awesome. The Sunday afternoon talent showcase was always an opportunity for local bands to try out.

    I miss those days and the club. I'll never forget Choo-Choo's, that's for sure.

    1. Choo-Choo's/Night Train was a great place... the kind of place where lots of fond memories are made. It was the height of Tucson's music scene, which at this point is pretty much nonexistent.

  14. I remember drink and drown night at Choo Choo's Night Train back in the 70's all the beer and wine you could drink. Didn't quite know how to drink back then as I was only 18 or 19 so I would drink one beer then one wine one after another. Woke up in some rehab place on the south side of town. Thats how I learned not to mix my drinks. I remember seeing the Runaways there. Hey me and Joan Jet are the same age. Cool.

  15. I'll bet you that a whole bunch of us know each other from that place... I was at every show mentioned on this website.... but of course I worked then... AND literally lived right outside the back parking lot.

  16. We went there every night. Me my sister and Angela would trade the same clothes. We only had 3 good outfits to wear. My ex spit beer in Tramps face, which wasn't a good idea. I saw Spirit and Paul Butterfield. The Wumblies was the band I saw the most.