Thanks for sharing your memories about Johnny D’s!
William H Bonney from Watertown wrote:
I created a video about the place that got me through college in the 1970s, and beyond.
We’ll miss you, Johnny D’s, and thank you Carla DeLellis for your tireless service to the community.
– William H. Bonney
Doug M from Somerville wrote:
Well the first thought I had when the closing was announced last year was that it may time to move out of the square. That feeling has dissipated a bit but it is true that when I was thinking about moving a few years back the proximity to Johnny Ds was one of my considerations, I wanted to still be within walking distance of the club. Most of the shows I’ve been to have been after I moved to Davis Square in April, 1998 but my first show was a folk show I went to with my brother and a mutual high school friend some time in the 90s. We were sitting left of the stage at a table at the front ( not sure if there was no dance floor then or because it was folk they covered it with tables ). Since my brother ( though overbearing at times ) has excellent taste in music I’m sure it was a very good show. Since I moved to the square I think I’ve probably been to well over 200 shows and that may be conservative though the last few years due to age, working later, changes in JDs schedule, etc I haven’t been going to as many as I would have liked but it was still my habit on weekend nights to pick up some ice cream at JP Licks and walk down the block to see what was going on there and if it sounded good from outside to go in or attempt to go in. Since my middle aged memory is a little faulty these days I’d probably need reminders of the stuff I saw in the early days but I do have a few memories. I have a humorous memory of going to a Tuesday night show with my sometime guitar teacher Bertrand Laurence ( I’ve seen him several times there ) with him describing his experience as a male model in his early days in the U.S. and other experiences in between songs. I also remember a great show with Marty Stuart there a few years ago which I went to at the suggestion of a friend. Probably the vast majority of shows I went to were roots music ( my southern father raised me on bluegrass ) so those are the things I remember well, Cajun, bluegrass, country, blues, etc all things I would have had trouble seeing anywhere else in such an intimate way. I think I’ve seen just about every Luther ‘Guitar Junior’ Johnson show since he started playing there regularly ( and saw a few at other places before then ) and he was always great. Then there was the last month and a half where I saw at least part of all but a few of the shows and all I did see were great. There’s Glen David Andrews taking us out into the streets till we were sent back by the police, Sleepy Labeef, Steve Riley, Nathan and the Zydeco Cha Chas, Rhett Miller, Amy Black, Junior Brown ( managed to get a table right next to the stage for that one so remember it well ), and finally the fantastic show with James Montgomery the last Friday ( and neon grandma the next night ) you were open which was amazing. I guess my biggest memories were all the great shows I’ve been to all within walking distance of my front door but going to the Jazz Brunch, Monday Comedy and Trivia, open mic night over the last few months gave me a chance to see all the other stuff you had to offer and the I got to know the staff a bit and they got to know me as well partly because I was always there . Glad I got to meet you Carla ( though I’m sure I’ve seen you many times before ) before closing first at the the Christmas benefit show where you kindly signed Richard Davis’ picture of Johnny Ds I’d won in the raffle ( hanging on my wall ) and many times over the last month after the staff noticed I was there all the time. I do remember occasionally seeing your mother walking through before or after shows in my first years even before I knew who she was. Thank you to you and your family for all the years of working hard to entertaining us with wonderful music and keeping us fed etc and good luck for your future endeavors, you deserve a break to try other things and enjoy your family. And good luck to the wonderful staff who became so welcoming to me and started calling me by name when I started showing up every day the last 6 weeks ( it seemed like that kind of place long before I had my little run ), I may see Grant at the Blues Jam in its new digs in coming weeks. And the show and parade was the perfect sendoff. Best wishes to everyone involved in this great place, the closing will leave a hole in Davis Square in the near future which will be difficult to fill. The last few months have taught me to be a bit more adventurous in looking for live music ( and I’ll need to go farther afield than walking down the street now ) and that is a tribute to this club. Thank you.
Bevy from Billerica wrote:
I made it to the final send-off on Sunday and what a great time it was! A beautiful day, great crowd, festive music, fun parade, and wonderful way to bring an end to such a great place. I stayed inside right up until the closing time, having a few last drinks, seeing some familiar staff members and patrons, chatting, having a few good laughs, listening to some live music and soaking up that unique Johnny D’s atmosphere one more time, until Carla closed the bar for the last time and gently nudged the last few people outside to join in the parade and celebration. It will probably be a few weeks or more of not coming to Johnny D’s to see a show, before the closing completely sinks in for me. I’ve been a customer since I turned 21 (I’m 53 now) and Johnny D’s always seemed like such a familiar and comfortable place to visit and hang out (almost like a home away from home) it’s going to feel strange without it. Thanks for one last great Johnny D’s memory and thanks to everyone involved who made it such a special place for so many of us for so long.
J from Cambridge wrote:
Hey Carla and all the awesome staff and family at Johnny D’s. Just want to say thank you and wish you the best on your next adventure. my story- during the year I turned 30 my young marriage exploded like a nuclear bomb of hurt. I looked around and it seemed like everyone was already married, with a family, in a race to the suburbs. on the few occasions that I would venture to clubs I felt like a senior citizen. Except at Johnny Ds where there was always a great crowd of all ages, no one stalking anyone in an obnoxious way, amazing music, some room to dance (with someone always dancing more weirdly than me, relief) and a great friendly vibe. plus the shows started at a reasonable time! I knew I could always rely on Johnny ds to shake the blues away. Thanks so so much, and sending you all good things in the next 47 years.
Dennis Lopez from CAMBRIDGE wrote:
It was a pleasure to perform a rockin’ DOO WOP show at Johnny D’s in Dec of 2015. After 3 postponements due to weather! Great turnout just the same. We’ll miss your venue and the friends we met there, both workers, and fans alike! THANK YOU CARLA! "BILLY D AND THE ROCK-ITS"!
John D from Boston wrote:
I moved to Brighton from India in 1999. Though Brighton had a pretty decent music scene, it was the warmth, the community and the joy that came from crossing the river and coming to Johnny D’s since the winter of 2000 that made my days memorable.
I admit, there were bands whose names I didn’t know when I walked in!
I admit, I came for the zydeco bands because I wanted to learn about it before my NOLA trips.
I admit that through different phases of my life, Johnny D’s made me appreciate different genres of music – from blues to bluegrass to jazz to big band to swing to salsa!
I admit that Sunday night salsa improved my social life, with lifelong friendships; and relationships that lasted till brunch the next weekend and then a little longer
…and Johnny D’s has been the common thread through it all.
Thank You Johnny D’s. Thank You Carla… for all the good times, the great brunches, and the warm memories.
(My only regret… I wish I could have snagged one of those "It’s hip, it’s home, it’s Johnny D’s" T-Shirts earlier. After all I do share the same initials)
GLEN from NORTH READING, MA. wrote:
THERE IS NOTHING THAT CAN EVER REPLACE JOHNNY D’S. EVERY TIME I WENT THERE TO SEE A SHOW IT WAS BANGED OUT. IT WAS ALWAYS AN ADEVNTURE MOVING AROUND IN THE CLUB BECAUSE IT WAS SO FULL OF PEOPLE; BUT ANYONE THAT WENT THERE MORE THAN ONCE FELL IN LOVE WITH THE PLACE BECAUSE IT SOUNDED GOOD, THE CROWD WAS ALWAYS ENERGETIC, THE FOOD WAS GREAT AND THE STAFF WAS FRIENDLY. SOME OF THE ACTS THAT PLAYED THERE…………I DON’T KNOW HOW THEY GOT SUCH GREAT ACTS TO PLAY IN SUCH A COZY PLACE, BUT MAYBE IT WAS BECAUSE IT WAS A COZY PLACE IS WHY EVERYONE LOVED IT THERE. VERY SAD TO SEE IT GO. HOW WILL ANYONE EVER HAVE A CLUB SO COMFORTABLE, SO CONVENIENT, IN SOMERVILLE EVER AGAIN?
GLAD I GOT TO GO THERE, I WILL MISS IT VERY MUCH.
Donna from Medford wrote:
Thanks to Carla and her family for Johnny D’s. I have so many good memories in the past 26 years of coming to your club to hear fantastic American roots music and World Music. Around 1991 I started coming to your club to hear Ronnie Earl and other blues acts, especially the great Hubert Sumlin, then all the great Rounder Records artists and others from Louisiana such as Irma Thomas (Peter Wolf was in the audience to hear Irma too), Charmaine Neville, Marcia Ball, Steve Riley, Nathan Williams, Glen David Andrews, Leo Nocentelli (he was the best!), Walter Wolfman Washington, Rosie Ledet, Bruce Daigrepont, Geno Delafose, Boozoo Chavez and the unforgettable Beau Jocque (he had the whole place dancing and there was a line of people waiting to get in and lots looking in the window from outside!) Then there were the Austin musicians like Asleep at the Wheel, Jimmie Dale Gilmore and the Antone’s house band with Angela Strehli and LouAnne Barton (they drove through a big snow storm to get to the show and many people, including me, made it to hear them despite the snowstorm. Angela Strehli told me she thought they were not going to make it but they did) Wanda Jackson’s show was such an inspiration. Buddy and Julie Miller were an incredibly talented duo. I would see the Screaming Coyotes every chance I could (RIP Kenny Holladay, incredibly talented man). What other venue in Boston had Jack Smith and the Rockabilly Planet and the wonderful Billy C Riley who was red hot! Flying Saucers rock and roll for sure! I was surprised to find that the Jobim Morelenbaum Quartet was coming to Johnny D’s from Brazil! I was there to hear them and buy their CD of the great Antonio Carlos Jobim music! I also want to thank you for the great kindness you showed to Jim Reinhold, who loved to play blues harp at your weekly Sunday blues jams. RIP Jimmy, a great guy. Thanks to all the staff at Johnny D’s and to all my fellow club goers and music lovers. We had a good time didn’t we?
Donna from Medford wrote:
Thanks to Carla and her family for Johnny D’s. I have so many good memories in the past 26 years of coming to your club to hear fantastic American roots music and World Music. Around 1991 I started coming to your club to hear Ronnie Earl and other blues acts, then all the great Rounder Records artists and others from Louisiana such as Irma Thomas (Peter Wolf was in the audience to hear Irma too), Charmaine Neville, Marcia Ball, Steve Riley, Nathan Williams, Glen David Andrews, Leo Nocentelli (he was the best!), Walter Wolfman Washington, Rosie Ledet, Bruce Daigrepont, Geno Delafose, Boozoo Chavez and the unforgettable Beau Jocque (he had the whole place dancing and there was a line of people waiting to get in and lots looking in the window from outside!) Then there were the Austin musicians like Asleep at the Wheel, Jimmie Dale Gilmore and the Antone’s house band with Angela Strehli and LouAnne Barton (they drove through a big snow storm to get to the show and many people, including me, made it to hear them despite the snowstorm. Angela Strehli told me she thought they were not going to make it but they did) Wanda Jackson’s show was such an inspiration. Buddy and Julie Miller were an incredibly talented duo. I would see the Screaming Coyotes every chance I could (RIP Kenny Holladay, incredibly talented man). What other venue in Boston had Jack Smith and the Rockabilly Planet and the wonderful Billy C Riley who was red hot! Flying Saucers rock and roll for sure! I was surprised to find that the Jobim Morelenbaum Quartet was coming to Johnny D’s from Brazil! I was there to hear them and buy their CD of the great Antonio Carlos Jobim music! I also want to thank you for the great kindness you showed to Jim Reinhold, who loved to play blues harp at your weekly Sunday blues jams. RIP Jimmy, a great guy. Thanks to all the staff at Johnny D’s and to all my fellow club goers and music lovers. We had a good time didn’t we?
Somerville fan from Somerville wrote:
Best brunch in town. We loved coming there almost every Sunday morning. We miss you Johny D’s. Thanks for the great years of early morning jazz and pancakes!!
joe spagnolia from westport ma. wrote:
I GREW UP IN JOHNNY DS MY MOST FOND MEMORIES WOULD HAVE 2B THE MANY TIMES JOHN LINCOLN WRIGHT GRACED THE STAGE AS WELL AS RONNIE HAWKINS SPIDER JOHN KOERNER AND SAFFIRE AND HOWARD ARMSTRONG AND LAST THE LATE GREAT HUBERT SUMLIN. I COULD GO ON BUT THE BEST THING OF ALL WAS YOUR PARENTS THEY ALWAYS SMILED WHEN THEY WERE THERE. THE WARM FEELING YOU WOULD GET. THAT IT ALWAYS WAS LIKE HOME 2 ME.SORRY 2CU GO GOOD LUCK IN ALL U DO AND THANKS FOR ALL THE GOOD TIMES THAT YOU GAVE 2 ME AND MY FAMILY. GOD BLESS YOU ALL JOE SPAGNOLIA
Vanessa from Revere wrote:
I am really sorry Johnny D’s is closing! At least it is leaving wonderful, fun memories to all of us! I have had a lot of fun there! New Year’s, Honk Fest, even took my Mom and Dad, who live in Brazil to get to know the place! And they really liked it!!! My husband and I will be there for the farewell celebration for sure! Thank you so much for everything! Somerville will not be the same without you!
Bevy from Billerica wrote:
I’ve been coming to Johnny D’s since 1983 for live music, meals and/or drinks at the bar. It’s been the main attraction in Davis Square for me for all that time and I imagine my visits to Davis Square will be few and far between after the closing. Johnny D’s always had a cozy, friendly, relaxed vibe to it that few other similar types of music venues ever seem to have.
Always a fun, satisfying time hanging out there and easily one of my top 10 favorite music venues in all of New England. I’m going to miss walking through the front door and seeing all the familiar faces of the greeters, waitstaff, bartenders, and sitting down at the bar or having a meal at a table before a show.
I plan on showing up for the final performance and parade to join in the celebration and send-off on Sunday. Best wishes to everyone at Johnny D’s and good luck with future endeavors. Thanks for all the great times and memories!
ERIC PIERCE from EVERETT wroe:
Spent the 90s here.
Spent my youth here.
Wish I could remember it.
It must have been fun.
What will I do?
Who will over serve me now?
I feel so alone.
Sharlene Hansen from Westford wrote:
I am sad this establishment will be gone. For me, it really always represented Davis Square. Like a place to come home to. I have had many a Jazz Brunch there, and was always excited when people would come from out of town to visit and expose them to the awesomeness that is Johhny D’s. Another icon in our fair city will be gone. Thanks for the memories and all the great times. Wishing you well and sending love.
Joel H from Arlington wrote:
As the clock winds down, I want to wish you a wonderful and joyous future, wherever the paths may lead you. Johnny D’s has been such a special place–we have all been fortunate to have experienced it. I will try to get SRO room for tonite’s Playing Dead show (bought a ticket online), and hope I’ll see you to be able to wish you well in person. I used to come in and visit with your mom….and wanted to share the story below (which I have shared with you before). I wrote it back on April 11, 2008:
I was very saddened to hear of your loss. Although I am "just another customer", I never felt that way in Tina’s presence. I used to visit Johnny D’s years ago when I lived in Arlington, but then moved "away" (to Stoneham—I know….it REALLY isn’t THAT far), had children (which kept me from going out to Johnny D’s very often), but then I moved back to Arlington 2 years ago and started coming back.
After the pain of this tremendous loss subsides, I’m sure that you will be left with some of the most wonderful memories of your mom and your entire family. I just wanted to share a couple of stories with you to hopefully brighten you up a little bit.
"On Top Of Things"…..More often than not, I would go to Johnny D’s alone, sit on the back side of the bar, have dinner (which, by the way is always superb!), and people watch. Johnny D’s is an amazing place to people watch! I’d frequently have a conversation with Tina, and then I’d watch in amazement as she attended to every little detail of the club operations. One night I was sitting at the bar on the other side of the swing top entry from “Tina’s Seat”, and suddenly in the corner of my eye I noticed Tina literally bolt off her chair and head for the ramp into the dance floor / dining room. Then I saw people on the ramp move back a little bit and, before anybody else could even react, Tina was attending to the customer who had fallen (it happened to be a diabetic reaction). There were customers and waitstaff who were all much closer to the incident than Tina, but she was the first person to reach the person and render aid. She never missed a thing!
"Johnny D’s New Website"…..Late last year, just after you had changed the website and included some of the fantastic pictures of your dad and wrote up the history, I happened to drop by for dinner. As Tina walked by, I mentioned the website changes and told her what a wonderful tribute I thought it was to both her and your dad. Carla, she was absolutely thrilled! She lit up like a Christmas tree! And in her usual understated way, she asked, "did you REALLY like it? You didn’t think it was too much?" Carla, she was absolutely glowing, so when things return to some semblance of normalcy (they’ll never be quite the same, as we have all lost a truly unique character from our lives), I hope that you will keep the tribute section of the website, and perhaps even expand it a bit!
I wish you all the best going forward. Your mom and Johnny D’s will always have a special place in my heart!
Steve from Medford wrote:
I will miss this place terribly!! They are like family. Great staff. Always had my corner barstool and was entertained with the great staff and friends I met along the way. Karla is a gracious and wonderful person. I wish her the best of luck in her future. Keep in touch all
mj from fairfield wrote:
Am so sorry to see you close. I moved to Boston from CT in 1986 and my first apartment was a block away (the rent was $180 with all utilities!!!!). I passed Johnny Ds every day as I went to the newly extended "Davis Square" Red line stop and can’t count how many times I have been there to see a variety of musical genres. Roomful of Blues, Buckwheat Zydeco, The Story and DaVincis Notebook.
From lazy Sundays spent listening to open mike jazz to rock, acoustic and acappella. I’ll never forget the afternoon we came for jazz and brunch and stayed to hear Jonatha Brook and The Story who were playing that night. Our waitress was wonderful as we were grateful for seats since the line of people waiting to get in was out the door and down the block.
John O’Donnell from Arlington wrote:
I have seen some great acts at Johnny D’s, from experimental jazz, to the historic acts like the Skatellites, who invented ska. But the greatest evening for me was seeing the rip-roaring Texas polka band, Brave Combo. It was my 40th birthday and the beer flowed like water as we tried to discover “Who stole the kheska”;. One of the most fun I’ve ever had.
Suze from Belmont wrote:
I am going to miss Johnny D’s so much. It was the first music venue I went to alone, and have always felt comfortable there. I’ve seen so many wonderful bands over the past 23 years (shortly after I moved to the Boston area). CJ Chenier, Boozoo Chavis (that might have been my first show there), Roomful of Blues, Leon Russell, Joan Osborne, Gangstagrass all three times they’ve played there, David Tronzo, The Other Europeans (14 piece band that couldn’t fit on the stage), Bettye LaVette, and so many more. I’ve had first dates at the Sunday Brunch (sometimes the food was better than the date) and met people who have become friends. Carla, you will be missed but I understand why you are doing what you are. You and Johnny D’s are probably the most important reasons why Davis Square became hip. See you around town!