The iconic local music venue the Casbah is passing a major milestone, and the city of San Diego and the club are celebrating.
To some music fans, it may be hard to believe the Casbah has been around long enough to throw itself a 25th birthday bash all month long in January, but not to city officials, who will proclaim Jan. 14, 2014, as Casbah Day throughout America’s Finest City.
There will be "great shows with bands that have played the club over the years, as well as a few up-and-comers and a whole slew of local bands," according to an email sent out Wednesday by the Casbah, which also said that Shepard Fairey – the same graphic artist who created the “Hope” image for Barack Obama’s first presidential campaign and the “Obey” graphic featuring pro wrestler Andre the Giant’s face – will design a commemorative T-shirt design that will be sold only in January 2015.
The Casbah is owned by local music impresario Tim Mays, whose operation puts on shows all over the county – the Belly Up, the Soda Bar, the Irenic, Block No. 16, to name just a few -- in addition to the Kettner Boulevard site. Over the years, the Casbah has presented thousands of shows, everyone from Nirvana to the White Stripes to Death Cab for Cutie to the Black Keys.
"I ended up opening a bar with a few friends called the Pink Panther," Mays told Eight24.com’s Scott McDonald in 2011. "It was really successful, and it gave us the opportunity to buy another place that had the license for live music, and that was the first Casbah [which was just up the street from where it is now]. And before we knew it, the opportunity came along to triple our size and buy the location we're in now from a woman who was running it as a lesbian bar. So we bought it and moved here. It gave us a full liquor license and gave us the patio, which wasn't a big deal back then. But then they passed the no-smoking rule, and it became a huge asset. It was during that time we started doing shows at other locations as well. So now, we develop bands at the Casbah, and when they get bigger, we work with them at every level that we can beyond the Casbah."