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Boots—the Springfield club that tried to pass itself off as the area’s premiere honky-tonk when it opened last year—never caught on. The club’s failure provided Jay Nedry just the opportunity he’d hoped for. Nedry, who managed the venue as Boots and in its previous incarnation as Zaxx, took the room out of receivership this summer and reopened it as Jaxx. (JayZaxxJaxx. Get it?)
The new club’s name isn’t the only similarity it will have to the old Zaxx: Nedry has already signed a steady diet of ’70s arena rockers, including Bad Company, the Outlaws, Uriah Heep, and the Marshall Tucker Band, to play his club. This roster notwithstanding, bands don’t have to attain barely-a-shadow-of-their-former-selves status before being welcomed at Jaxx. Jeff Pierce, owner of Pierce Recording in Arlington, is already taking Nedry up on his offer to use the new club to help support the local music scene. Pierce will sponsor a bimonthly showcase of area acts, and thinks Zaxx’s lingering reputation will make recruiting talent for the Jaxx gigs a breeze. “This will give local bands the chance to play on the same stage and use the same sound system that Foghat and Blue Oyster Cult and Jefferson Starship or Shuttle or whatever-they’re-calling- themselves use,” says Pierce. Nedry says his bookings will reveal how welcome the club is to all kinds of music—except one. “We’re going to have reggae, rock, alternative, whatever,” he says. “Everything but country. Obviously, that didn’t work here.”