Franco and The Urge Resurrect The Mason Jar for One Night Only
Two phrases that Franco Gagliano tends to say a lot nowadays are "I don't want to offend anyone" and "I'm not gonna lie to you." When Franco ruled supreme as owner of The Mason Jar, one of Phoenix's longest-enduring rock clubs from the early '80s into the early Aughts, you more likely heard him say, "You guys didn't bring any people."
Outside the Mason Jar
It's a mellower but still ageless Franco who finds himself slightly uncomfortable about showing up and offering 75-cent Kamikazes at an event taking place at the former location of The Mason Jar (now The Anvil, a gay bar). It's being called "Legends of the Mason Jar -- One More Time." He's afraid the other legendary bands that played the Jar will feel snubbed by their omission.
Legends of the Mason Jar is Friday night at the (former) Mason Jar. For more information, click here.
Glen De Jongh, who jumpstarted the event by reuniting his band The Urge (and the local musician Franco credits as "having more talent than any rock star I've ever known"), already regrets the name, and recently said on Facebook that he wished he'd told the promoter to name it something else.
Glen De Jongh
"The reason we're doing a 'Legends of the Mason Jar,' and not a 'Mason Jar Reunion,' is I have to be fair -- like, why are you doing this band or that band? When I do a Mason Jar reunion," Gagliano says, "I don't want to leave anybody out," leaving the door open to future Mason Jar-related events.
But no one could be offended by calling Franco Gagliano the legend of the Mason Jar, the guy who navigated the club from cover bands to art rock to hardcore punk to hair metal to grunge and finally to rap before letting go of the reins completely in 2005.
"Legends of The Mason Jar" offers any ex-Jar patron from any era a chance to walk into that landmark building again.
But to get the full Mason Jar experience, you'd have to stand in the office of Gagliano's condo, where all the artifacts that hung on the club's wall until they became a liability to hipness still hang proudly. The Toto gold record. Franco in his white hat posing with every hair metal band imaginable. Did I mention the Toto gold record?
"I got that from a guy who worked for Danny Zelisko. One of the guys from Toto -- I don't remember who -- played at the Mason Jar."
As for the Wall of Fame photos, they feature Franco posing with world-renowned rock stars, forgotten legends, former Jar patrons, old employees -- all snapshots equal in size and stature, indiscriminately laid side by side and encased in large glass frames.
Franco with Joan Jett. Franco with a former bartender. Franco with John Entwhistle. Franco with the guys who did the Cops theme. He doesn't remember their names, so why should you? Franco and some blond chicks. Franco with The Fabulous Thunderbirds, maybe on the way up, maybe on the way down. It hardly matters, because he got them coming and going.
But this also happens a lot. Franco will point to a snapshot that looks like him and the cast of Saved by the Bell. And then he tells you it's a very young and hungry Pearl Jam.