The announcement was made today in an article by Sarah Rodman of the Boston Globe. “It’s time for a change,” Owner Carla DeLellis says, stressing the decision is a personal one and not a financial one.
The last show at Johnny D’s will reportedly be in late January or early February of 2016.
Long a family institution and home to wide variety of music, DeLellis is the owner of the building, located at 17 Holland St. And according to the Globe, she “plans to turn the 309-capacity, 3,900-square-foot place into a multi-story mixed-use building, with commercial space at street level and three stories of residential space above it,” adding that the commercial space “could include a smaller club.”
“The hardest part of this decision is taking away people’s home away from home,” said DeLellis, referring to longtime patrons. And she despairs of where certain acts will find a home. “Who is going to pick up those shows?” she wondered.
While DeLellis says the business has always fluctuated, and there has been increased competition in the market over the years, Johnny D’s is in the black. “It’s not that the money is bad, it’s that my other options are better, and it’s very hard work,” said DeLellis, who not only wants security and stability for her four children — two college-aged and two middle-schoolers — but to actually spend more time with them, which her typical 18-hour-a-day, six-day-a-week schedule at Johnny D’s simply has not allowed.
“My younger kids still want me to be with them and do things with them,” she said, “and I’m getting to know my older kids as adults, which is nice. So I can’t work the amount of hours I’m working and really have time with my family.”
Johnny D’s opened in 1969, and has played host to countless performers, including Alison Krauss, Ben Harper, the Dixie Chicks, Jeff Buckley, Gillian Welch, Bettye LaVette, Sleepy LaBeef, Guster, Rhett Miller, Shelby Lynne, Lee Ann Womack, and Booker T. Jones. Upcoming shows include Stan Ridgway (of Wall of Voodoo) on August 5, Alex Meixner Band plus Britt Connors & The Bourbon Renewal on August 19, and the Upper Crust on August 21. Check their full schedule here.
In September 2013, Neil Young unexpectedly dropped by to debut a new song with the band of his wife at the time, Pegi Young and the Survivors. Watch video of that impromptu performance below…