Steve McClellan thanking the crowd the night First Avenue reopened after a three-week closure in November 2014. / Jeff Wheeler, Star Tribune

Steve McClellan thanking the crowd the night First Avenue reopened after a three-week closure in November 2004. / Jeff Wheeler, Star Tribune

After a decade-plus of vagabond existence, former First Ave booker Steve McClellan’s nonprofit organization DEMO is hoping to create a permanent home in a 3,000-square-foot Minneapolis space to host music-ed classes, lessons, workshops and gigs. A crowdfunding campaign for the DEMO Music Center kicked off Monday via Razoo.com in an effort to raise $100,000 by year’s end.

“A place where musicians can come together” is the simple explanation of the center offered in a video posted on the Razoo page (and reposted below). Among the rewards for big givers in the fundraising drive are a round of golf with the Suburbs’ Chan Poling and fly-fishing with the Suicide Commandos’ Chris Osgood on down to a T-shirt and a DEMO membership.

 

Started in 2005 as McClellan’s 32-year tenure at First Ave came to an end, DEMO (Diverse Emercing Music Organization) was based on the similarly named DAMF (Diverse Arts & Music Foundation), an in-house organization at the club. It has since hosted and co-promoted shows in a wide array of venues around town, with the likes of Patti Smith and the Hold Steady -- but more often with young and/or unestablished performers.

“For 40 years, my [work] booking bands has been about selling beer,” McClellan says in the video. “What we’re working on now, it’s like a new construct.”

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