As Kix’s “Cold Blood” blares on the stereo at the backyard gathering, a couple reminisces about the band and how they used to see them perform at “that club” up in Baltimore.
“What was the name of that place?”
I chime in with, “Hammerjacks! Did you know they are opening back up?”
“No” was the reply.
Now you know.
1300 Russell Street, a mere hop, skip and a jump from the most well-known location of this iconic rock and roll venue is the location for its newest incarnation.
Back in the spring of 1997 at 1101 South Howard Street, they truly paved paradise to put up a parking lot, this one for a new football stadium. One of the world’s most important music clubs was razed for the Ravens’ playing field and parking area. The hard rock haven of the 80s and 90s was reduced to rubble by the wrecking ball as longtime patrons snapped photos and snatched bricks.
The very first and original location stands in Federal Hill at 1024 South Charles Street, the current home of Nobles Bar & Grill.
While Kix performed at Hammerjacks numerous times, the band who actually played there the most number of times was ______________
Major international acts like Def Leppard would even drop by the club when they were on tour nearby.
I was never able to visit the Howard Street location as I was busy on the left coast at Los Angeles clubs like the Whisky and Roxy. I was well aware of the presence of Hammerjack’s, however. It was, after all, the largest rock and roll nightclub on the east coast.
The club opened on Guilford Avenue for a short five year run from 2001 – 2006. I visited that rendition once and did not experience the sense of awe that I thought I might. My date said it was nothing like the Howard Street location he used to frequent.
Fast forward to all these years later. “Golden Ticket” recipients, many of whom acquired their precious passes at a red carpet rally in the fall of 2015, eagerly await the reopening of Hammerjack’s, tentatively scheduled for the fourth quarter of this year. The gathering, held at GAME featured live music by Korupt along with speeches and videos featuring footage from the good ‘ol days.
Hard rock, punk and metal were the main music genres featured at the club, but the new venue will offer up various different styles. In addition to live music, bars, a beer garden and restaurant will also be part of the 60,000 square feet property. Paradox Nightclub was felled a couple of years ago to make way for the complex, which Hammerjack’s Entertainment Group CEO Kevin Butler notes will be a “world class” concert venue.
The Butler Did It
Kevin acquired the Hammerjacks trademark around 2009 and he, together with business partner Andy Hotchkiss are working hard to create a fantastic nightclub experience.
The iconic logo, featuring a hammer and flying sparks even appears on a sign on the cover of Iron Maiden’s “Somewhere in Time” record. The HEG website sells merchandise with the club’s emblem, both modern and throwback versions.
Currently in production is “Encore: The Hammerjack’s Rockumentary,” which memorializes the club and follows the process of years of planning and the rebirth of a musical legend. Just watch.