Since its opening in 1991, the Bovine Sex Club (the BSC) has been at the forefront of the rock, punk, and metal scene in Canada. The BSC was opened by Toronto nightlife enthusiasts Wesley Thuro, Chris Sheppard and Darryl Fine. Its junk-covered, baby blue exterior gives off a post-apocalyptic vibe; however the club itself is not known as being unwelcoming. (See link for photo: Bovine Sex Club Exterior Photo) Rather, the club’s rich history of success, adaptation, and diversity has morphed it into one of the top rock/punk in Toronto, Canada, and the world. Major artists such as U2, Gun’s and Roses, and Metallica frequently visit the club due to its welcoming, intimate nature. Furthermore, Canadian artists like Sum 41, and Billy Talent got their start within the BSC (Horak, 2016).
Owners Wesley Thuro and Chris Sheppard specifically played major roles in the early success of the BSC. In 1990, Thuro opened an all ages club called 23 HOP and as a result he is often credited for some of the early popularity of the club. (Read more about 23 HOP here: http://thenandnowtoronto.com/2014/09/then-now-23-hop) Thuro’s partner Chris Sheppard likely played a bigger role in the early success of the BSC due to his popularity as a CNFY radio personality (Fine, 2011). “Chris Sheppard was at his zenith with CFNY and had begun his recording career. He was friends with bands like The Cult and one time after Lollapalooza he brought down George Clinton and P-Funk, Bootsy Collins, Ministry, and Red Hot Chili Peppers. All the headliners, six limos at once. So we got a big push in the beginning with Chris’s celebrity.” (Horak, 2016) Although the BSC is often thought of as solely a punk venue, the venue has highlighted many other genres throughout its rich, 25 year past.
In an interview on the Toronto blog titles Music She Blogged, Darryl Fine describes the rich past of the BSC. (Find the full interview here: http://musicshebloggedinterviews.blogspot.ca/2011/02/interview-with-darryl-fine-from-bovine.html) Darryl stated that the club was started with the intention of being asmall club, but it eventually became a hip spot. (Fine, 2011) In about 1994 the club went through a 3 year hard rock phase when Metallica and Mӧtorhead were very popular (ibid). A few years later the club began playing more glam rock and punk which drove out all the metalheads (ibid). Then, in the early 2000s the club became a “So-Cal Warped Tour type (ibid).” Artists such as Fat Mike and Against Me that were playing in the Warped Tour would often play at the BSC before their tour (ibid). At this time, Toronto artists Sum 41, Billy Talent, and Alexisonfire were growing in popularity due to the BSC showcasing their music.
The Bovine Sex Club has helped Toronto to grow as a diverse, cultural, music filled city. The Bovine is more than just a venue or just a stage with a PA. It is an aesthetic. It is a production (Horak, 2011).
Horak, S. (2016). The Bovine Sex Club’s 25 Years in Toronto Music Scene. Stories Behind The Songs. Retrieved January 22, 2017.
Fine, D. (2011, July). Interview with Darryl Fine from the Bovine Sex Club (Toronto) [Interview]. Retrieved January 22, 2017.