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PARTY ANIMALS Not much has changed at “The Zoo,” including its rustic interior and stuffed inhabitants.


map,” Zanzucchi admits. Scott, who played steel guitar for western swing legend Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys, decided he had enough of the touring life. His solution? Raise his family in Flagstaff and run the state’s most suc- cessful country music club. Under Scott’s ownership, Bob Wills, Willie Nelson,


Wanda Jackson, Waylon Jennings and a flood of others (many of whom were his friends) poured through the club on their way to Las Vegas or Los Angeles. “If you were a star in the ’60s and you were traveling Route 66, you had to come through Arizona, and you had to play at The Museum Club,” Zanzucchi explains. Even better, Scott used his reel-to-reel recorder to tape


the best performances. One such recorded performance: Roberts’ well-worn record of Rod Hart & The Hustlers’ album Live At Don Scott’s Museum Club. Some 50 years later, nothing much has changed.


Inside, neon signs glow against the wood-plank dance floor polished smooth from decades of boot soles dancing in the night. A wilderness of taxidermy animals overlooks the regulars, who are likely nursing a beer under the cab- in’s wagon wheel and antler chandeliers. Two bars flank the dance floor; on one, a blackboard advertises future shows “Coming to The Zoo.” The Museum Club’s reputation as northern Arizona’s


go-to country-western venue certainly holds strong. As in decades past, The Zoo is a little bit country, a little bit rock ’n’ roll. Depending on the night, you’ll find national


32 DORADO • JULY/AUGUST 2015


touring acts, such as leading country artist Jo Dee Messina and psychobilly group The Reverend Horton Heat, or local favorites like vintage honky-tonk band Trailer Queen. Brea Burns, Trailer Queen’s perfectly classic front- woman, sees the club as a time capsule. “It’s keeping what music is really about alive. It’s a throwback to simpler times,” she says. In recent years, it was common to have a line out the


door, according to Gary Nelson, the club’s general man- ager in the early ’90s. The Zanzucchi days were always packed, thanks to Flagstaff’s “pretty jumping” bar scene and a steady flow of great musicians. Its nickname, The Zoo, also took on a whole new dynamic; the club drew a rowdy crowd looking for — perhaps a bit too much — fun. “That’s what happens when you mix country music and alcohol, and stir vigorously,” Nelson says. These days, you’ll see the joint packed for Wednesday’s dime beer night, the weekend and big-name concerts. But the crowd and their reasons for visiting The Zoo are the same; white-haired cowboys (and their girls) and slick greasers alike slide across the dance floor to the most iconic music of decades past — and present. And some even come for the ghost stories, which are


aplenty. Scott and his wife died in the building, and many believe their spirits have stayed behind. Maybe they fell in love with the place like so many others, Zanzucchi says. “It’s one of a kind. They don’t want to leave.”


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