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The Thirsty Whale, which opened in 1975, was a rock and roll club at 8800 Grand Avenue, River Grove, Illinois. It brought in acts like Blue Öyster Cult, Molly Hatchet, Black Oak Arkansas, Extreme, Foghat, Johnny Winter, Mother Love Bone (who played their only Chicago show at the Whale), and Peter Criss. Survivor performed here monthly early in their career. Future Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductee Cheap Trick played there regularly in the late 1970s, promoting the release of their first two albums, "Black & White" and "In Color", respectively.
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The Thirsty Whale, which opened in 1975, was a rock and roll club at 8800 Grand Avenue, River Grove, Illinois. It brought in acts like Blue Öyster Cult, Molly Hatchet, Black Oak Arkansas, Extreme, Foghat, Johnny Winter, Mother Love Bone (who played their only Chicago show at the Whale), and Peter Criss. Survivor performed here monthly early in their career. Future Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductee Cheap Trick played there regularly in the late 1970s, promoting the release of their first two albums, "Black & White" and "In Color", respectively. The club began to be a showcase for local Chicago area hard rock and heavy metal bands such as Enuff Z'nuff, D'Molls, 7th heaven band, Uzi, Defcon, Mortar, Paradoxx, Wicked Ryhme, and others from the mid 80s through its closing in 1996. The height of club was during the mid 1980s, The Whale (as it was called by its patrons) was the place most every up and coming local band wanted to play, typically Saturday and Sunday's would have early all-ages shows and in the evenings over 21 shows. Young bands would have the opportunity to open for national acts to grow their fan base and sometimes the attention of major record companies.Although the Thirsty Whale was a small club in size it had its own scene and from it grew a local music magazine "The Chicago Rocker" which was founded by Tony LaBarabra, one of the clubs many booking agents over the years. Chicago never had the metal scene that Los Angeles had but The Thirsty Whale was always a stop over for most bands playing the arenas in Chicago. If you were to ask a local rock musician from this era, they would say "Without The Thirsty Whale,there wouldn't have been a rock scene in Chicago". The club closed its doors on June 2, 1996, and was demolished to make way for a BP gas station and McDonald's. LaBarbara has hosted a "Thirsty Whale Reunion" where some of the bands that played The Whale back in its heyday held a one night only reunion.
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