Carl Foshay played his first gig at Ziggy's on Cherokee Boulevard 15 years ago when he was 16. He played his last at what is now called Music Box at Ziggy's on Friday. For musicians like Foshay, the iconic bar closing this week was a place to see and be seen - and heard.
"The good thing about Ziggy's for musicians like us who are into hard rock is it was very inclusive," Foshay said in a telephone interview.
"I've played there with all sorts of genres, often on the same bill. It was nice to have that."
Ziggy's will close for good Thursday following the death of owner Michael Wood earlier this month after an illness, according to manager Kelley Eaves.
"That is the reason," she said. "It has nothing to do with any rumors about development."
Last call for Ziggy's
Ziggy's was founded in 1980 by Ralph Zigner, a 1977 All-American wrestler at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. Zigner died in 2010.
The restaurant/bar was remodeled to enhance the dining area and create a separate music room and renamed in 2017, with the idea of putting more of an emphasis on music and comedy. It has especially been a place for local bands, especially those just starting out, to play.
"It's sad to see a local music institution like Ziggy's close," SoundCorps Executive Director Stratton Tingle said in a text. SoundCorps is a nonprofit organization that helps organize and promote local musicians.
"Through the years, the whole Ziggy's crew has wholeheartedly supported local music industry entrepreneurs, and we've seen so many important local musicians, bands, artists and event producers rise to their prime in part by drawing audiences to Ziggy's."
Eaves, who has worked at Ziggy's for more than nine years, said she had hoped to have a little more time to remain open once the decision to close was made, but that Thursday will be the last day for the patrons and six employees.
"We have no idea what we will do," Eaves said. "We haven't had time to consider it."
Syd Glenn started bartending at Ziggy's two years ago.
"It's my first time bartending," she said by phone. "I love it. What I like about it is that we get all kinds of people, and they are all welcome. Redneck, gay or punk, everybody is welcome, and I really like that."
Foshay said the performance with his band SubKonscious on Friday was a lot of fun and more celebration than sad.
"It was wonderful, and we were happy to be there," he said.
"We didn't start until about 12:15 (a.m.), but there was still a good crowd, and they had all these pictures of bands that had played there and they were giving them back to the artists. It was hot and smokey, as always, but it was a lot of fun."
Karaoke is on tap for closing night, according to Eaves.