Jeff Lowery, a Charlotte music entrepreneur and scene visionary, has died. Details of cause of death have not been made public.
Lowery founded and operated a number of the city’s most well-known music clubs in the 1990s, including the former 13-13 Club on South Boulevard and the Pterodactyl Club on Freedom Drive. Both clubs attracted a variety of alternative rock bands early in their careers, including Soundgarden, Alice in Chains, Jane’s Addiction and the Flaming Lips, as well as established acts such as the Ramones and Sonic Youth.
The Pterodactyl also served as a popular alt-dance music club during its run. “Some of Charlotte's earliest DJs spun at Pterodactyl: Matt Bolick, Kris Krause, Pierre Mavaji, Jeff Nagel, Drew Detweiler, Mark Stowe and Mike Reynolds,” said Charlotte musician and longtime resident Chris Johnson. “It was where a lot of people got their first chance to DJ at a real club.”
Johnson also recalled seeing a long list of acts at both venues, including the Meat Puppets, My Life with the Thrill Kill Kult, Butthole Surfers, the Jesus and Mary Chain with Nine Inch Nails, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Iggy Pop, Teenage Fanclub, Widespread Panic and Belly.
“I know Jeff gave a lot of people their first jobs, either DJing, bouncing or bartending at his clubs,” Johnson added. “He also took a lot of chances with his own money by booking some of the bands, and if enough people didn't show up he would lose his ass. I remember he booked Robert Fripp, an all-acoustic show with 12 acoustic guitar players. Maybe 200 people showed up.”
Lowery also operated the Milestone club in the early 1990s. He opened the original Milestone Records on Central Avenue. Lowery’s later ventures included Jeff’s Bucket Shop on Montford Drive, and publishing Amps 11, a local music magazine, in the early 2000s. In 2009, he opened Dammit Janet, a '70s dance club in NoDa.
A memorial will be held at 9:30 p.m. on Aug. 13 at Amos' Southend. A Facebook memorial page has been set up at www.facebook.com/JeffLoweryMemorial with more information.