GRIFFITH | This fall the store that has been a destination for everyone from national celebrities to aspiring 12-year-old rockers with garage-sale guitars, will close its doors.
Like Paris’ legendary Shakespeare and Co. bookstore, which served as an intellectual watering hole for the likes of Ernest Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald, Dynamite has been a haunt of musicians and an inspiration for thousands of Hoosier music students. Paisley-bedecked and with a pork-pie hat atop his head, owner Jerry Clemons Jr., who does everything from tune guitars to book lessons while kibitzing with customers, formally announced the closing on July 1 on his Facebook page.
Clemons and his father, Jerry Clemons Sr., opened Dynamite Music at 105 N. Broad St. in 1994 as a retail music shop providing a full range of instruments and instructors. Both Clemonses were working musicians and the store quickly evolved into a performance center, with the addition of a stage and practice rooms. Students often found themselves in the company of national and regional musicians like Nicole Jamrose, Kenny Kinsey, of the Kinsey Report, and Lannie Turner, who would stop by to heat up the afternoon with impromptu jam sessions.
Dynamite became a portal to the world of professional music for the region, with free Saturday afternoon performances and the annual Dynafest music festival held at a Griffith park. Billy Ozello, who plays in the band Survivor, and Jeff Massey of Sweetwater are two musicians who provided instruction and tales of life on the road to a generation of budding blues men and women. “We’re like a family here; there will be a hole in the community, a rift in the force,” Ozello said.
As Clemons winds down the store he’ll make rare collector pieces available for sale, including a 1963 Tremelo Lux Amp and custom Lynch Stratocaster.
Clemons has led the tough dual life of hard-working musician and business owner for almost two decades, fronting his own Nick Danger Band and playing with many others, like Amber Rose Band and the Nicole Jamrose Band.
“I’ve had a great run, my kids are both happily away at college," Clemons said. "I decided it was time to change up the beat and explore the next chapter of my life.”