Colorado Music-Related Business|

Jay Bianchi

Photo: Jay Bianchi (photo provided by Taylor Bishop) | By Kyle Harris, Westword | The year-old Colorado Musicians Union has secured its first major public victory. Jay Bianchi, the Grateful Dead entrepreneur and venue owner accused of sexual assault by one woman and rape by another — claims that he denies and calls “a witch hunt,” “lies” and “a vicious attack” — just announced on Facebook that he’s ending his 26-year run as an independent music promoter.

No doubt, it’s been a marathon. Bianchi is leaving the business with plenty of good memories, but also a record of bad losses and some burned bridges.

But first, he’ll have one last hurrah over the weekend, at the Melvin Seals and JGB Independence Celebration at So Many Roads, the last of the many venues with which he’s been involved. After that, Bianchi will hand over the booking reins at So Many Roads, which he describes as “the rosy culmination of all of my creations,” to bartender Erica Morris; restaurateur Tyler Bishop will carry on as the sole owner.

“Throughout the years, I have always looked for Charlie to inherit the Chocolate Factory, but only one gave me back the Everlasting Gobstopper when I handed it to them,” wrote Bianchi, who fancies himself a hippie Willy Wonka. “Only one called me every day, or checked in, no matter what, to make sure I was okay. Only one never took for granted what could have been assumed. It took me a while to find Erica Morris (I had to wade through some false friends), and although she is a Phish Kid, she is steadfast and true. She knows, learns and appreciates the fine nuances of Grateful Dead…

“I have found her to be an unwavering and true friend as well as a compassionate, hard worker,” he added. “She can’t help but to tell the truth no matter what the outcome is or who it hurts.”

In that post, Bianchi offered some poetic self-reflection on his late brother, Phil Bianchi, and the many venues he ran. “The energy of Quixote’s True Blue made possible the creation of Sanchos Broken Arrow. We filled the places with Grateful Dead vibes and we mined quite a bit of happiness out of them. Oh the smiles that emerged from these unassuming bars powered by so many dreams and miracles. These smiles in turn made us smile and we became greedy for smiles,” he wrote.

“We kept seeking what would make more and more people happy,” he continued. “We did festivals, we did events, we did bus rides, we conjured up more ways to make people happy at more places and in more ways. Cervantes Masterpiece Ballroom followed and so did Dulcinea’s 100th Monkey, Owsley’s Golden Road, Dark Star Lounge, The Donkey OT / New Speedway Burger, Be On Key Psychedelic Ripple, Owsley’s Crazy Diamond as well as stints at the Oriental Theater, Sculpture Park and Civic Center Park. We took chances and we made mistakes. Sometimes the mistakes were financial and emotional disasters.”

One of Bianchi’s high-profile disasters occurred in 2018, when he “did punches” with staff, as he described the incident to Westword, and later took a swing at musician Aidan Pagnani, one of the founders of the union.
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[Thank you to Alex Teitz, http://www.femmusic.com, for contributing this article.]

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