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Oz was one of the oldest and most popular clubs in Chicago for the punk and alternative scenes. First established in 1977, there were three different incarnations of Oz, as the venue was routinely getting shut down by the city. Oz had no liquor license, would ignore mandatory closing times and typically had no sign out front. Because of this, Oz was a club for the dedicated, hardcore fans of the scene. The owner of Oz was Dem Hopkins.

Oz Locations

  • Oz #1 - 1770 W. Greenleaf (Rogers Park)
  • Oz #2 - Hubbard St. between Clark and LaSalle (8/1980 for sure)
  • Oz #3 - 3714-1/2 N. Broadway (Since at least 2/1981, closed on May 9th, 1981)



Oz started out in 1977 as The Greenleaf, a gay bar which would play punk shows at night. Right after La Mere Vipere burned down, around March 1978, the name was changed to Oz. The Vipere clientele moved to Oz and it was the dominant Chicago punk club for a period of three years.

"The dozen or so punk regulars were swastika clad fools who only listened to 77 punk. We started hanging around there requesting the Subs, Upstarts etc. We played our first gig there. Dem, the manager, was (and remains) dedicated to the small scene which was forming, and refused to card minors. The bar had to move again though, due to the police and pressure from other places. Finally, it ended up on Broadway. It was losing money because nobody was showing up, (the reasons are that they didn't want to advertise and the dance room wasn't half as good as the one at the second Oz).The police finally closed the bar the night the Subhumans were going to play, claiming there was a gun on the premises (yuk yuk). The bar has since reopened as "F-Beat", a gay new wave disco. Dem hates the music, but it's the only way he's going to recuperate his losses from Oz. Most of the crowd that formed at the second and third Oz now hangs out at O'Banions." - John Kezdy in 1981.


  • Sometime around the summer of 1980, Dem introduced Earl Letiecq to John Kezdy, spearheading the formation of The Effigies.
  • November 1980 at Oz saw the first ever shows for Naked Raygun (with their new name) and The Effigies
  • On March 9-11, 1981, a live record of the most popular local punk bands at the time played at Oz. This record, later named Busted at Oz, because the definitive compilation of the Chicago scene. It is the first recording of many notable Chicago acts, including Naked Raygun and The Effigies.


  • Dem Hopkins - Manager
  • Gary Burrell - Bartender
  • Bobby Vasquez - Bartender

Notable Shows

  • August 1980 - Naked Raygun (first show with that name)
  • November 9, 1980 - The Effigies (first ever show), Strike Under
  • November 27-29, 1980 - Strike Under, The Effigies (29th)
  • December 13, 1980 - Black Flag
  • December 31, 1980 - Naked Raygun, The Wayouts (final show), Strike Under, The Effigies
  • February 1981 - The Fix (Thurs and Fri show)
  • March 21-23, 1981 - Husker Du. The infamous "Blue Paint" show.
  • April 1981 - The Fix
  • April 21, 1981 - U.X.A.
  • April 25-26, 1981 - D.O.A., Subverts


External Links