Trees Dallas is an institution, not just in the Deep Ellum section of Dallas, but all around the world, especially in the rock and metal community. I’ve talked to bands from all over the world, all of whom hold Trees and its owner Clint Barlow in the highest regard. I got the chance to squeeze in a quick phone conversation with Clint right after the club celebrated its fifth birthday since the Grand Reopening and the listening party for the out-of-this-world new P.A. system that I can tell you first-hand sounds amazing. And the man himself is just so cool and easy-going and an absolute pleasure to talk to. So here it is, my conversation with Clint:
Clint: Oh it was incredible. It sounds ridiculous, man. Unfortunately I’m not gonna be here for the next few shows. We rarely get time to take a vacation, so unfortunately I have to miss a couple of bands.
Amps: Speaking of, you’ve got a REALLY busy fall schedule of shows.
Clint: oh yeah, and there are a lot that still haven’t been announced yet, either.
Amps: For those of us who don’t know how it works, what goes into getting all of these big, national acts to come and play Trees?
Clint: It’s just a lot of work. You have to know these guys. The club’s got a cool reputation so they wanna play here, which makes it kind of cool, you know?
Amps: And you reopened five years ago, correct? What led to your reopening the place?
Clint: It was five years, yes. It was actually an accident. I’ve played here in the past in the late 90’s and early 2000’s. My wife Whitney and I were both working and I was touring quite a bit. I was VANILLA ICE’S drummer for years and that was a lot of weekend stuff, so between that you had a lot of time on your hands. Anyway, we were looking for a place up in Allen or McKinney to open up a little bar that would be kind of cool. And one day we were driving down in Deep Ellum and she’s not from here either. So I said to her, “You never went to a show at Trees, did you?” and she was like, “No.” So we drove by and the door was open. I wanted to see if the guy was there to let us look inside. So we started talking and they were just really cool people and he says, “I’ll make you a great deal if you wanna open up your bar here.” At the time a lot of things were going downhill here and it was really looking down. But, we decided to do it and now here we are (laughs).
Amps: Well I for one am glad! Living in New York I would read about SEVENDUST and IN THIS MOMENT playing there a lot, and I made it my mission to get to Trees to see a show if it killed me! I always tell people, “When I die, scatter my ashes at Trees.”
Amps: And it never fails. Every time I go to a show at your place I come away having made new friends!
Clint: Thanks so much, man.
Amps: How do you feel when you’re there overlooking everything and the place is just packed with people having a great time?
Clint: It’s really cool. A lot of times you don’t really get to experience it because you’re busy doing paperwork and you get stuck in the office and miss a show or whatever. But there’s certain bands that I’ll go out and see, and there are bands that when they come here I’ll try to do all my stuff early and get out to watch the show. It’s really satisfying, you know what I mean?
Amps: When did you realize the importance of having other genres of music besides just being a metal bar?
Clint: Pretty much immediately, because I did some booking before at a place called Firewater and I realized you can’t book what YOU like, you have to go by what everybody else likes. There are so many bands in that genre and there’s only so much money that particular audience has to spend. They can’t go see a rock show every day. That would be kind of cool, but it’s not gonna happen.
Amps: What can you tell me about your new place The Bomb Factory? How’s everything going there?
Clint: It’s gonna be opening middle of next year. There’s a lot to do to it. It’s gonna be awesome, though. It’s gonna absolutely destroy everybody (laughs evilly)! We’re kind of in the pre-production right now, but there are a lot of variables with the construction, we’re getting pricing on a full build-out, the whole shebang-a-bang, you know?
Clint: It’s pretty cool, man. Actually I was playing in New York City, we were at Irving Plaza and I had a Trees shirt on. It was right when we first opened and one of the security guys goes, “Man there’s a cool club in Dallas called Trees. Where’s that one at?” And I said, “No, that’s the one you’re talking about. I reopened it.” The guy was flipping out, like, “Dude, I will move back to Dallas if I can go work there!” It was really funny. It’s real cool to have people recognize that. And I saw a couple guys that were doing interviews, big bands I gave some shirts to and seeing them do their interview with a Trees shirt on is pretty cool.
Amps: What do you want to say to all the Trees friends and family out there?
Clint: I appreciate everybody’s business and them coming to the club and seeing shows. It keeps the place going, not just me, but the neighborhood. Trees is its own thing, but at the same time it’s part of Deep Ellum and without everybody else around me then we’re not gonna be successful.
The man knows what he’s talking about. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. I’ve been to a lot of rock clubs both here and abroad, and I can say with no hesitation that Trees will always be my favorite place to see a show on the planet. Period…end of story. Check their site HERE to see what shows are coming soon, and if you see me there, come say hi!