SickthingsUK: Jack Curtis

Miss Christine and the GTOs

Jack Curtis

Curtis was a ex-disk jockey and owner of the VIP Lounge/Club in Phoenix. He made 'The Spiders' the house band at the VIP in the mid-sixties and also financed the first band recordings, released on his 'Mascot' label. Curtis's support as the band were starting out was was very important, as it gave them their first real break. It gave them a regular gig to work on their stage craft and get paid for it, and of course by releasing their first records he set the stage for eveything that would come afterward. 'The Spiders' were now a recording act!

From Alice's autobography 'Me, Alice':

"The deal that Jack Curtis gave us was quite good for a group that hadn't been playing more than a year. We had steady employment at $500 a weekend and Curtis even sponsored the recording of a single on his own label. It was called 'Why Don't You Love Me?' and Curtis pressed fifty copies of it. The group bought twenty-five of them and the rest rotted in a Phoenix record store".

Alice's estimates at the number of copies is likely a little low, as, while very rare, there are still quite a few copies around.

From Dennis Dunaway's autobiography 'Snakes, Guilotines, Electric Chairs':

"We were barely old enough for our parents to allow us to go to these places, but we'd heard all about the most popular teen club in Phoenix, the VIP Lounge. One night, we showed up unannounced and introduced ourselves to the owner, Jack Curtis, who agreed to an audition. Jack had a wholesome Dick Clark kind of style. He didn't have to hear much at the next day's audition before he agreed to hire us. But the band name, he said—that had to go.

"We couldn't have made it this far without that name," Glen said.
"How about the Spiders?" Jack said. "It has more radio appeal."
"The Spiders!" Vince said. "It's still a bug. I like it!"
Jack said we could have a new stage to go along with the new name. It would be called the Spider Sanctum.
"I haven't the slightest idea what it should look like," Jack said, "but you're going to build it."

Later that week, the band met at the VIP to build our magnificent set. We scrambled like a pack of chimpanzees. Mr. Ward, the dad who'd built our guillotine, showed up with a station wagon full of wood. Even Mr. Furnier and Mr. Buxton came to offer engineering pointers. Just like at the Cortez "Pit and Pendulum" dance, we used clothesline to create spiderwebs. I painted a giant spider on John's drum head. Glen found a sparkly curtain in a faded brown color he called "shitania" and stapled it up to be our backdrop. I plugged in some indigo and magenta lights. We stood back and admired our pit of doom.
Jack, meanwhile, had radio ads going with an echoey voice announcing the Spider Sanctum-sanctum-sanctum …

After the show, an ecstatic Jack Curtis met us at the side of the stage and said, "Whatever it is, you boys have it."