Asbury Park mourns the loss of Stone Pony co-founder

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ASBURY PARK -

Asbury Park and legendary music venue the Stone Pony suffered a loss this week when co-founder Butch Pielka passed away.

Loved ones say Pielka’s legacy is the bands and music that play at the venue – like up-and-comers The Brothers Union.

The Stone Pony in the early days wasn’t a concert venue, but a bar with a house band.

“There was a different house band almost every day of the week,” says promoter Kyle Brendle. “You had bands like The Nines, Yasgur’s Farm.”

Brendle says that there were many bands that got their start at the Stone Pony, like The Shakes, Cats on a Smoother Surface and even Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band.

But he says that one of the first bands to play still plays at the Stone Pony to this day.

“Finally they hit with a great band after a year, the BlackBerry Booze Band, which featured a guy named Johnny Lions from Ocean Grove, which morphed into Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes.

Pielka owned the venue from 1974 until 1990. When he first took over, the venue was a DJ and dance club named the Magic Touch. It was eventually transformed to the Stone Pony under Pielka.

The Stone Pony continues to evolve. The venue now features the Stone Pony Summer Stage, which brings in bigger names like Fitz and the Tantrums, who headlined a concert Friday night.

Friends and loved ones say that Pielka will never be forgotten.

Pielka was 71-years-old.

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