Here Are All Your Amazing New Daisy Stories

Posted by Holly Whitfield | June 29th 2016 1265 0

As I said at the beginning of today’s earlier post about the New Daisy Theater’s renovations:

If you’re new to town, or just not familiar with the New Daisy, let me tell you this: the place is full of stories.

If you’re a local who hasn’t been to the new New Daisy yet, let me tell you this: those stories are only the beginning. The east end of Beale Street is just getting (re)started.

As promised, here are some of those stories.

The New Daisy opened in the 1940s and was a movie theater; in the 1980s it became a music venue for shows with about a thousand attendees. This means it hosted a lot of up-and-coming bands that later became big time, or the super-famous looking to play a more intimate venue in Memphis. The New Daisy site lists Bob Dylan, Nirvana, Smashing Pumpkins, Dave Matthews, and more.

I was curious about what this blog had said about the New Daisy over the last seven years. It’s mentioned on the list of things to do on Beale Street If You’re Underage – which is still true – a good portion of the shows are all ages or 18+.

The other mention was in a now-outdated (but still fun to read if you’re an old school Memphian) post about Old things Next To the New Thing. I found this snippet in a news update from June of 2013: Muck Sticky apparently celebrated his 4,000th consecutive day wearing pajamas by hosting a pajama party and show at the New Daisy. Of course.

These fleeting mentions, however, have nothing on the floodgates of New Daisy stories that opened when I asked my Facebook friends to share their favorite recollections.

New Daisy Theater in 2011.

New Daisy Theater in 2011.

I was hoping to include two or three in the first New New Daisy post, but there were so many that I have dedicated the rest of this post to All Your Crazy New Daisy Stories.

Some are funny, some are surprising, some are really sad. Some have (edited) swears in them, or references to not-quite-legal things. Read at your own discretion.

Have your own New Daisy memories or recent experience? Add them in the comments!

The Prince after show with Rufus Thomas. It was after a Prince show at the Pyramid. I remember it was cash only at the door and I was a few dollars short so I just sort of balled what cash I had up and shoved it in the door guys hand and ran into the theater. Nobody came after me and the show was amazing.Joey Ma.

I wish we’d had smart phones back then. The new daisy was the Newby’s of downtown. Gritty southern rock and New Orleans Funk/Jazz was the mainstay. Sure, s***** bands like Breaking Benjamin and 3Doors Down played there but a lot of great acts that were under the MTV radar, which was big at the time, came through that beer, cigarette and booze matted floor. It was cheap, we were young, and occasionally and adult would buy you a beer. – Alex M.

We saw a very young Maroon 5 open up for Cowboy Mouth YEARS ago. Adam wouldn’t take off his trucker hat for anything! They ended their set with five straight Rage Against The Machine covers. Weirdest set I’ve seen there…Chris C.

I saw so many great shows there. I saw Slayer, Smashing Pumpkins, Tool, Fugazi, Fishbone, Helmet, Sonic Youth, The Melvins, Liz Phair, Neurosis, the xx, Testament, Foo Fighters, No Doubt.Lex S. who actually has visual aids:

Smashing Pumpkins Ticket - Photo by Lex

Photo provided by Lex S.

Melvis Ticket - Photo By Lex

Photo provided by Lex S.

When Breaking Benjamin were struggling artists [circa 2001] they put on one incredible show. Encore’d with Aenima by Tool- amazing.Miles E.

The Headphones Tour in 1998. You plugged in special headphones and tuned into a radio station and there was music to accompany each act. It included: Cornelius, Sebadoh, Robyn Hitchcock, and The Flaming Lips. Wayne Coyne was the emcee! – Lee C.

There was a stupendous run in the late 90’s/early 2000s, which happened to coincide with my happily married but childless years. In that span we saw Bob Dylan, Iggy Pop, Buddy Guy, the Cult, Ween, Queens of the Stone Age, Flaming Lips, Frank Black, and the Melvins. I’m sure there were others, but those stick in the ear wax.Matthew T.

First time my mom ever saw me play music a guy named Roach introduced us and said “Put your f’n hands together for.. Ugggghhh THESE Guys!” – Gil W.

Also competing in the Funniest Person in Memphis finals. The two people ahead of me didn’t show up so I went first. Picked up the microphone and it automatically started feeding back. Needless to say I did not win. also Gil W.

I almost forgot about the Johnny Cash tribute show where I met the whole Cash family! Tommy Cash signed a hat and a copy of Mama Cash’s Kitchen!Stephanie B., who still has these souvenirs:

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Photo provided by Stephanie B.

Cash Cookbook Autographed Steph B

Photo provided by Stephanie B.

The “super secret” Justin Timberlake show! My cousin Susie got drunk and made friends with Cameron Diaz. Maybe it wasn’t really a stop on his tour, or he was in town for something else? I don’t remember, I just know a lot of girls I knew were REAL P***** they missed it.Samantha V.

Other fond memories include Dread Zeppelin, Fishbone, Beck, G Love and Special Sauce.Joey Ma.

Oct 19, 2002. My two best friends who recently passed in a car wreck were planning on seeing OAR – David Gregory and Brandon made “City On Down” Briarcrest’s senior song for our class. That night, along with David’s family and Brandon’s family, as well as a few of our classmates, O.A.R. dedicated a version of City On Down to the memories of them. Not a dry eye in the Daisy and still one of the greatest moments of my life. O.A.R. are class acts and, in the words of Marc Roberge, “This is what we live for… For stories like this.” Thanks Daisy for that show. You have no idea the people that were affected by one song and one venue. Miles E.

A decade ago I opened for Muck Sticky singing my version of the 1966 smash hit “They’re Coming to Take me Away” by Napoleon XIV. I wore a tux and Chuck Taylors as I wheezed through to the end, where I was carried offstage by two (actors performing as) security guards. So, yes, one song. Never to be performed again. The best show I ever saw there was Al Kapone and the Memphis Symphony Orchestra’s Opus One in November, 2011. As Craig Brewer put it: “There’s not a cooler place in Memphis right now.”Jon S. who has photographic evidence:

Photo provided by Jon S.

Photo provided by Jon S.

Christian Brothers SAE boxing tournaments every year! It was the social event of the season! This was very amateur in comparison to what I think [the New Daisy] did on their own. Normally several CBU, U of M, and Rhodes students that lasted a few rounds!Jessie G.

I did see Gwar when I was a young thing. Saw a girl 3/4 my size get the crap knocked out of her in the pit. Everyone stopped immediately, made a circle, and some guy gave her a hand up so hard it lifted her off her feet. She immediately threw up devil horns and slammed into him and we went right back at it. She is and will ever be a mysterious hero.Katrina C.

I had my first real fight there! (Kickboxing) Back when I was 15. I’ll never forget my mom looking terrified and my dad (who only has daughters) looking quite pleased. I loved it though. Pretty sure I broke that girls nose.Bette S.

My friend had a show at New Daisy back in 2006, and my dad agreed to go with me. He sat in the back with my friend’s mom. Both of them died of cancer within the year, his mom and my dad. It felt really important that they met, and it’s one of my favorite memories from such a grim period of my life. – Ashton L.

All these are from Joey Mi.

The first show I ever saw at the Daisy was the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion and R. L. Burnside in 1996. It was the first time I’d ever seen a blues musician live and the first time I’d ever seen a theremin. I still have a JBSX poster I grabbed off the wall there.

I caught Chris Cornell on his first solo tour in 1999. The best part of the show was when he sent the backing band off stage about halfway through the show and the lights went all the way down. You could hear him noodling around on his guitar in the dark, and then a spotlight turned on right on him as the noodling turned into “Fell on Black Days”. When the first chorus hit, the lights came up and the whole band kicked in, having snuck on stage in the dark. Still one of my favorite live music moments.

And in 2006 I caught They Might Be Giants. The opener was an unknown band at the time, Ok Go. Part way through their set they had a drum malfunction, and to fill the time while the drummer fixed it, they reenacted the confrontation scene from Les Miserables acapella. I’ve been a huge fan ever since.

Sneaking in mini mixed bottles of Sunny Delight and/or Hawaiian Punch with the cheapest vodka we could buy, to Accidental Mersh (I think that’s how you spell it) and having our parents pick us up and take us to Krystal’s after (they had to know right?!?) A.K.C.

1988. Keith Richards and the Xpensive Winos in support of Keith’s first solo album. Mick was not missed. I think they only did one Stones song: Happy. Waddy Wachtel and Steve Jordan were in the band.Paul J.

Rancid in 1996 for …And Out Come the Wolves tour. Place was totally packed. The pit went from the stage to near the bar in the back. Tons of people crowd surfing and tossing big empty garbage cans around. I was in high school and had never experienced anything like it before. – Craig M.

The variety of raves that the New Daisy hosted between 1996 and 1999 have all become one big event in my haggard mind.Ed A., who I (Holly) would pay good money to see at a rave

Thursday// Coheed and Cambria// AFI in 2004. Sold out show. People kept jumping off of the hand rails and into the pit so much that they broke. Good times!Diana R.

Phi Beta Sigma parties.Kela S.

I’ve seen a lot of great shows there, but the funniest time was auditioning for the Real World. We were divided into groups so each group was diverse. A producer would then ask us questions about race, gender, sexuality, etc. and try to get us to argue or fight with each other. It was a…unique experience haha. – Jonathan T.

It was 1990 and local band Tora Tora was playing. The place was packed and we decided to drink some PGA punch. By the end of the show we were hammered and the next day had the w rest hangover. Now that was a party. – Jason R.

We had the best time at the George Clinton/Parliament show. The music was great, of course, but what was really special was the crowd. It was -by far- the most diverse crowd I’ve ever been in at a concert. Loved it! Want more of it!Wendy S-W

Playing there with The Community Bubble and performing in the finals of the Funniest Person in Memphis contest. Bittersweet: the Randall Holcomb memorial show.Nathan H.

I remember seeing 10 Years there and my buddy Michael was getting thrown out for getting too pumped in the show. They stop and refuse to play until they bring him back in. The bouncers probably felt dumb watching the band pull him on stage to sing with them. We also had many great shows in there from Swoon, a good friends local band. Those were the days!Lance M.

Grace Potter playing “big white gate” on the piano is a personal favorite. – Mark P.

These are all from Ben C.:

– Nov. 1998. Finally saw Fugazi live. It didn’t feel *real* until Ian MacKaye started throwing morons out for acting like…well, morons. Oh, Memphis!

– Dicky Barrett of The Mighty Mighty Bossstones (it was the 90’s) gave a free t-shirt to a guy for doing a face dive off of a stack of amps. Considering the guy was hauled out of the venue, it was probably a “please don’t sue us!” gesture.

– Shortly after the death of Jacques Cousteau (literally within days), GWAR revived his corpse to open their live show. He was promptly decapitated within minutes.

– Rocket From The Crypt opened for Rancid (again, it was the 90’s) and played a set so relentlessly amazing, I went to the lobby bought everything off of their merch table and left before Rancid finished their set. RFTC became my favorite band and lead to me meeting my (late) Wife. All because of that one show.

The Jim Rose Circus was a trip. At the end of the show they pretended to douse the audience with lighter fluid and threatened to light us on fire. Even though I knew it was part of the show I was still freaked out by it. I’m not sure you could get away with a stunt like that today.Joey Ma.

I did the first/only Crown Vox show there when I was 4 months pregnant.Jennifer H.B., who has a photo:

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Photo provided by Jennifer H.B.

I once was front row when Every Mother’s Nightmare opened for Tora Tora…. Oh how those were the days- did I just totally show my age?Rachel W.

Met my hubby there!! – Joelle S.

Saw my first Ingram Hhill show there and have now seen them over a dozen times. Also, the New Daisy rivals the Mid-South Coliseum in great wrestling action I’ve seen there. Power Pro Wrestling especially. – David O.

Wrestling. – Michael C.

Foo Fighters early show before they blew up. – Ryan W.

All these are from Ryan G., who was a concert promoter for 10 years in Memphis (mostly at the New Daisy):

– I remember UT Med School and a law firm both having Christmas parties back to back weeks in the Daisy. At the law firm party, people were having sex on the balcony, and after the Med School party, we found stethoscopes everywhere!

– One person from the New Daisy family I’ll never forget is Clement.  He’s an older man that cleaned up the Daisy after every event. He now does the same for a few places on Beale. He has a terrible stuttering problem and barely speaks English, but he always smiled at everyone, no matter how terrible his job was.

-It was at the Daisy, watching local bands like Crippled Nation, Chosen View, and Dis-Missile that I realized how amazing music was. As a teen, it gave you an escape from whatever was going on in your world, as you could spend a few hours screaming along with every word. I got into booking concerts because I wanted to give that feeling to others.  My last show as a promoter, I stood beside the stage and just listened to 1,000 people sing along to All Time Low, and it almost made me cry to know I’d be partially responsible for that many people having a meaningful moment with music.

-We had Frankie Muniz’s (Malcolm In the Middle) band play, and he spent his time before the show walking Beale.  He ate some, drank some, and couldn’t believe how freaking hot and humid Memphis was. He is from AZ I believe, and was complaining about the Memphis heat.  We had to get a fan to blow directly on him while he performed, but still had to also provide a bucket so he could throw up between, and sometimes during, songs and keep going. 

Scott Ian signed my [redacted] at an Anthrax show at the New Daisy. I also bought and subsequently lost a pair of Gwar commemorative panties at one of the many Gwar shows I attended there. – S.B.

I [saw] Gwar there. I hid behind [my friend Mo] and I still have my “bloody” t-shirt. I also went on my first blind date ever to see Bush there when I was 17…with a guy nicknamed “Chunks”…he was nice, but apparently he threw up a lot. I was a sympathetic puker, so I knew in my heart it wouldn’t work out (even though he didn’t do it that night). He gave me his flannel shirt to warm me up though. I may still have it. Apparently I save all shirts I’ve worn to the Daisy.Lisa S. 

Childish Gambino when Donald pulled a girl up on stage because she was all about it and then she didn’t know the words and he made fun of her… Harsh but just. Haha. – Susanne S.

Seeing The Decemberists back in 2007, dropping off my little brother at a metal show in 2009 and hoping he didn’t get beat to a pulp in a mosh pit, and also trying not to get sick at some jam band show because of Reasons. – Holly W. 

I was at that Decemberists show! I was so thrilled. I think my heart beat like a mile a minute the whole set. That was my first concert. – Madeline F.

Mid 90’s. I won heavyweight championship of U of M intramural boxing tournament. My dad was sooooo proud. He still has the trophy sitting on top of his TV at home…. it’s been there since that night. Then the Daisy hired me to be a bouncer which led to too many great nights there to list. #proudfatherKevin C.

Pezz playing with Rancid and the Offspring in November of 1994. Marvin S.

Back when I was a budding music writer at a high school paper the first show I ever reviewed was at the new Daisy. Can’t remember the band but I remember the short term hearing loss SO well.Elizabeth C.

Jim Rose Circus Sideshow – had to be 96 or 97. I saw things during the show that defied logic and psychics. A grown man maneuvered his entire body, head to toe, through a tennis racket minus the strings. Another performer suspended a large weight from his nether region and then swung it – the weight – around while his silhouette was projected on a white sheet pulled across the stage. I experienced sympathy pain and amazement simultaneously. The over the top entertainment of Las Vegas had nothing on The New Daisy or Beale that night. – Kevin K.

My old band played some big opening slots there back in 93-96 ish: Allgood, Jupiter Coyote, Yow etc. Doing an opening DJ slot for Robert Glasper Experiment was pretty special too. – Mark R.

It’s where I learned to run when the DJ plays “Tear The Club Up”. – Nic H.

Saw Three 6 Mafia there back in 96 maybe. THAT was a crazy show.Lisa S.

311 in 1995 crowd surfing. – Cameron M.

The one time I ever did Stumbling Santa, we accidentally crashed a law firm’s Christmas party and just refused to leave.Matthew T.

Seeing Big Star come out to do the encore of a Posies show in 96 and getting thrown out of a Tripping Daisy show when my dummy friend grabbed the mic during the encore break and shouted “I love my girlfriend’s dog!” – J.D.R.

Once saw Patrick Swayze at the New Daisy. He just kept playing “She’s like the Wind”Bob H. (Ed. Note: I don’t think this actually happened, but you do you, Bob.)

Late 90s, saw a Bobby Blue Bland video show taped there with Bobby Rush and Johnnie Taylor, it was amazing.Steve S.

Nirvana – bleach tour – 91. Also I saw Hole there in 94 when Courtney Love threw a deli tray of meat at the audience.Rachel H.

Kate and Sally’s story:
Kate: Sally and I managed to dance on stage with Iggy Pop when we were just wee little bright eyed teenagers.
Sally: And we met him outside the backstage door!! There were only like 6 or 7 people back there; we just went back there with some dude to see if he was around, and there was Iggy Pop just chillin’. Then he signed my shirt and Kate‘s copy of Trainspotting (the book). Best part…. I only got to go because [my future husband] forgot to get permission from his dad so Kate invited me.
Kate: And he was just chatting in Portuguese with some fan from Brazil like it was the most normal thing in the world. What a night.

Kate’s photos:

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And finally, something that was echoed several times.

“Hey remember that time at The Daisy?”
“Nope.”
Repeat ad infinitum

– Katrina C.

Thank you so much to everyone who shared. Have your own New Daisy memories or recent experience? Add them in the comments!

Don’t forget to read up on the New Daisy’s total renovation and get up there to make yourself some new crazy/not-so-crazy/fun memories.

Go there:

New Daisy Theater
330 Beale Street
Memphis, Tennessee 38013

newdaisy.com

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Author: Holly Whitfield

I write about what’s going on with Memphis music, food, arts, events, sports, people, and culture. Memphians love Elvis and barbeque with a passion that must be seen to be believed, but there is so much more to this place.

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  1. Jay says:

    Summer 1994, some band called “Luna” friends said we should see. Maybe 12 people there. Girlfriend (now wife of 21 years) and I went to balcony and did IT!

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