Local resident rock shop Exit/In turns 45 this year, and we already told you about the kick ass block party that they have planned on Saturday July 23 in celebration. Today, they have unveiled a commemorative wall mural by local street artist Bryan Deese to celebrate this year’s birthday, and it features some of the most influential artists to perform at the Elliston Place haunt, including Jimmy Buffett, Sting, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Steve Martin, and more. The mural portrays each as they appeared at their Exit/In performance, and many of them were taken from photographs by notable rock photographer Alan Mayor. The mural is located on the western facing, outer wall of the venue, and is easily viewable from the patio at sister bar Hurry Back.
You can head below for another image with a legend of all of those honored in the mural, along with a brief story of why they were chosen to represent the iconic venue. Also, if you haven’t already, make sure you mark your calendar for the Elliston Place Street Fair celebration party on Saturday July 23. The street fair will feature performances inside The End and Exit/In, as well as, an outdoor stage on the street. Artists scheduled to perform include Diarrhea Planet, The Protomen, The Delta Saints, The Features, The Black Cadillacs, RICHIE, OJR, and late night DJ sets with MASHVILLE ft. Wick-It and KDSML.
1. Jimmy Buffett was the first artist to play Exit/In in 1971. He’s certainly come a long way since then!
2. Chuck Berry has performed at Exit/In several times, most notably in 1980 at the grand reopening. Prior to that time, the stage had been on the Elliston Place side of the venue and the entrance in the back, hence the name, Exit/In.
3. Waylon Jennings & Jessi Colter were some of the few country artists to perform at Exit/In in 1975. Many years later, their son, Shooter Jennings performed on the very same stage.
4. Cowboy Jack Clement performed several times at Exit/In throughout his career, including the 40th anniversary celebration.
5. Rock and roll wildman genius Jerry Lee Lewis performed at Exit/In in 1974.
6. Joe Strummer performed at Exit/In with his band The Clash.
7. Flea performed on Thanksgiving night at Exit/In with the Red Hot Chili Peppers in 1987, and before their set, they had a formal holiday dinner on the bar!
8. David Byrne performed with his band Talking Heads during their first ever performance in Nashville in 1977, and it was broadcast live on local rock station KDF. The emcee introduced the band with “punk comes to Nashville, for the first time, and probably for the last time.” Times change.
9. Aspiring comics Cheech & Chong cut their teeth at Exit/In in 1973.
10. On the back cover of The Police’s Zenyatta Mondatta album, Sting can be seen in one of the small photos wearing an Exit/In t-shirt.
11. The iconic microphone from the poster of Robert Altman’s 1975 film, Nashville. One of the most memorable scenes was shot in Exit/In.
12. Each of Steve Martin’s three Exit/In appearances ended up outside the club. The first time, he took the audience across the street to see his new red Trans Am in a church parking lot. The second time, he tied skinny balloons around everyone’s heads, lined them up in the middle of Elliston Place, and led a Bunny Hop procession in the direction of Baptist Hospital. The third time was so funny that he has recalled it to several interviewers over the years. At the end of his late show, he took the arrow out of his head, laid down his banjo and said, “Man, I’m starvin’. What’s the name of that eat-a-sackful place up the street?” The audience howled (at that time there was a Krystal up on West End across from Vandy), and off they went.
13. “Gwar isn’t an easy show from a producer standpoint,” said co-owner Chris Cobb. Add in the fact that the barricades at the front of the stage were not correctly bolted in and Cobb had to make an impromptu wedge out of 2x4s he found in the back parking lot. The band had to stop the show, and ask the crowd to back up as Cobb tried to fix the problem. “Oderus, may he rest in peace, just decided that he needed to hose me down as I was trying to fix the barricade, and I was just soaked…t-shirt, khakis ruined and I was just sopping wet the whole show. That’s a really good Exit/In memory.”
14. Ernest Tubb celebrated his 65th birthday in 1979 at Exit/In with a guitar-shaped cake and celebrity guests including Mae Axton and Peter Fonda.