Inductee Biography for JD’s
The famous JD’s nightclub was located on Scottsdale Road just south of Curry Road down in the usually dry Salt River bed. The double-decker club featured live country music on the main level and live rock and roll and rhythm and blues down in the basement. With a capacity of approximately 3,000 people, this was the jewel of Arizona nightclubs in the mid-1960s.
JD’s opened in 1964 to packed houses and featured legendary musical performances. The club was the vision of Jim Musil, a veteran nightclub and restaurant owner who moved to Arizona in 1948, operating many places around town before opening his dream nightclub. JD stands for James David, Musil’s first and middle names.
The Beatle era was just beginning and the go-go sounds of the early 1960s were giving way to the new sounds of maverick country and rock and roll. JD’s had the most cutting edge, outlaw country music upstairs and the hippest new rock music downstairs. Jim Musil saw the trends and made sure he was in the forefront of the new energy.
Jim’s son, Jim Musil Jr., was a young, hip entrepreneur who quickly took to the music business and began promoting and recording the acts who were playing in the club. He also brought in many top national performers. A deal was made for the great Waylon Jennings and The Waylors to play the upstairs country level while many of the top local rock bands played downstairs. As the house band, The Waylors played seven nights a week for the first few years. Bands like Phil and the Frantics, Mike Metko and the Nocturnals, and Mike Condello (a 2005 AMEHOF inductee) would be rocking in the basement. The people you could see at JD’s on any given night might include major country stars such as Johnny Cash and Willie Nelson. JD’s was the center of the country music scene in the Southwest. The club’s distinctive sign even won an award as the best sign in America.
Being in the river bottom, it was not a big surprise when a major flood closed the club for several weeks in 1965. Jim Musil Sr. passed away in 1968 and Jim Jr. took over, and eventually leaving JD’s in 1971. It continued on under various names, and was called Scene West when a fire gutted the building in 1976. It was rebuilt and re-opened as Fridays & Saturdays, but became a retail store in 1978. JD’s was the premier local musical venue of its time and it has earned its place in Arizona entertainment history.