Owner of legendary TJs - John Sicolo - dies

South Wales Argus: Mr Sicolo outside his beloved TJs Mr Sicolo outside his beloved TJs

THE OWNER of legendary bar TJs, John Sicolo died yesterday morning, aged 66.

Mr Sicolo, who has owned the bar for almost 40 years, died at the Royal Gwent hospital at 6.30am.

Mr Sicolo had been admitted to the hospital two weeks ago for a knee replacement operation and had also had an operation for deep vein thrombosis.

A post mortem is currently being carried out to determin the cause of death.

Originally one of eight, Mr Sicolo was born and raised in Newport.

He joined the Merchant Navy at the age of 16 working his way up to the title of Chief Steward before he left at the age of 28.

It was then that he started running Cedar’s Rest restaurant, which later became El Sieco’s Wine Bar before he then ran it under the name of TJs.

The club attracted tens of thousands of bands including the likes of Oasis, the Manic Street Preachers and Feeder and was also featured in FHM in 1997 as one of the top 50 big nights out in the world.

But as the Argus reported last week, Mr Sicolo was struggling to find £15,000 to save the bar from closure.

Mr Sicolo’s sister in law Arlene Sicolo, 73, who is married to Mr Sicolo’s brother Ray, 74, said: “He was a great brother and a good laugh. He loved running TJs and lived for that place.

"He was very well-known in the community and very well-respected.”

Mr Sicolo had also raised thousands of pounds through the club for charities.

Mrs Sicolo said it was not known yet whether a family member will take over the running of TJs.

He leaves behind his daughter Leanne Jones who he adopted from a previous marriage, and four grandchildren.

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Comments (17)

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9:22am Mon 15 Mar 10

Richard Morgan says...

Photos and tributes can also be left on the Facebook group: http://www.facebook.
com/group.php?gid=41
4023785832
Photos and tributes can also be left on the Facebook group: http://www.facebook. com/group.php?gid=41 4023785832 Richard Morgan
  • Score: 0

9:30am Mon 15 Mar 10

islwyn09 says...

God Bless You John! You Gave Your Life To Music & Making People Happy Even Folk Who You Had Never Met Through Your Charity Work! Music Has Lost Another Champion,A Bloke Who Was About The Music Not The Money Or The Fame! With John's Passing & Subsequent Closure Of TJs Where Are Young Bands Going To Get The Opportunity To Perform Live? He Was The Antedote To Simon Cowell's World Of Vacous Plastic Pop Which Pollutes Our Airwaves! God Bless John! You've Earned Your Place In Heaven!
God Bless You John! You Gave Your Life To Music & Making People Happy Even Folk Who You Had Never Met Through Your Charity Work! Music Has Lost Another Champion,A Bloke Who Was About The Music Not The Money Or The Fame! With John's Passing & Subsequent Closure Of TJs Where Are Young Bands Going To Get The Opportunity To Perform Live? He Was The Antedote To Simon Cowell's World Of Vacous Plastic Pop Which Pollutes Our Airwaves! God Bless John! You've Earned Your Place In Heaven! islwyn09
  • Score: 0

9:52am Mon 15 Mar 10

dragged up says...

John was a legend. Did a lot to define Newport to the wider world, and make it such a great night out. He's also largely responsible for me having such a great youth; knowing that pretty much every week there was somewhere to go with good bands, cheap cider and my mates. like many people now in their thirties and forties, i haven't been to TJs to say hello in a while, something i'll not now have the chance to rectify. shame on me.
I will miss him.
John was a legend. Did a lot to define Newport to the wider world, and make it such a great night out. He's also largely responsible for me having such a great youth; knowing that pretty much every week there was somewhere to go with good bands, cheap cider and my mates. like many people now in their thirties and forties, i haven't been to TJs to say hello in a while, something i'll not now have the chance to rectify. shame on me. I will miss him. dragged up
  • Score: 0

11:08am Mon 15 Mar 10

myopinion says...

R.I.P John, Newport has lost a great legend, heartfelt sympathy to all that knew him.
R.I.P John, Newport has lost a great legend, heartfelt sympathy to all that knew him. myopinion
  • Score: 0

12:18pm Mon 15 Mar 10

Poolergirl says...

RIP John, a great loss
RIP John, a great loss Poolergirl
  • Score: 0

12:43pm Mon 15 Mar 10

D-G says...

Desperately sad news. The world's a less colourful place today.

RIP John - Rest in Peace or Rock In Perpetuity, I hope you're happy wherever you are.
Desperately sad news. The world's a less colourful place today. RIP John - Rest in Peace or Rock In Perpetuity, I hope you're happy wherever you are. D-G
  • Score: 0

2:23pm Mon 15 Mar 10

rafa's red army says...

some of the best nights of my life in TJ's. John always had Newport in his heart and Newport is a much sadder place for his passing.
some of the best nights of my life in TJ's. John always had Newport in his heart and Newport is a much sadder place for his passing. rafa's red army
  • Score: 0

2:26pm Mon 15 Mar 10

darren wallis says...

what a true gentleman and friend,
such a sad loss,
my thoughts are with his family.
rest in peace mate
what a true gentleman and friend, such a sad loss, my thoughts are with his family. rest in peace mate darren wallis
  • Score: 0

3:20pm Mon 15 Mar 10

Cantankerous says...

John was awesome - he will be sorely missed!
John was awesome - he will be sorely missed! Cantankerous
  • Score: 0

3:47pm Mon 15 Mar 10

maria p says...

R.I.P Jonny! A Legend, a true gentleman + everyones friend. Newport has lost its heart, U put Newport on the music map,+ will never be forgotten. Keep the music playing Jonny, til we meet again R.I.P xxx
R.I.P Jonny! A Legend, a true gentleman + everyones friend. Newport has lost its heart, U put Newport on the music map,+ will never be forgotten. Keep the music playing Jonny, til we meet again R.I.P xxx maria p
  • Score: 0

8:22pm Mon 15 Mar 10

islwyn09 says...

Jilted & Desmond I Think The Comments About The Abject Failure Of NCC To Get "City"Ready For Ryder Cup & Of El Tel Mathews Has A Lot To Do With It! Sad But True!I Hope & Pray That TJs Will Live On To Honour The Name Of John Sicolo & His Contribution To Music & Welsh Culture!WAG & CADW Take Note!
Jilted & Desmond I Think The Comments About The Abject Failure Of NCC To Get "City"Ready For Ryder Cup & Of El Tel Mathews Has A Lot To Do With It! Sad But True!I Hope & Pray That TJs Will Live On To Honour The Name Of John Sicolo & His Contribution To Music & Welsh Culture!WAG & CADW Take Note! islwyn09
  • Score: 0

12:55am Tue 16 Mar 10

broadsworddan says...

How very sad. Everyone knew of John, whether they had met him or not, his reputation as an ambassador for Newport's social scene and for independant music was widespread. We should all be very proud to have had a place like TJ's here. It was one in a million. In fact I strongly believe the council should ensure TJ's lives on after John's death as it has become as important an icon of Newport's identity as the transporter bridge. Without TJ's Newport will be a less interesting place. Rest in peace John. P.S. Can anybody confirm the urban legend of Kurt Cobain Proposing to Courtney Cox in TJ's?
How very sad. Everyone knew of John, whether they had met him or not, his reputation as an ambassador for Newport's social scene and for independant music was widespread. We should all be very proud to have had a place like TJ's here. It was one in a million. In fact I strongly believe the council should ensure TJ's lives on after John's death as it has become as important an icon of Newport's identity as the transporter bridge. Without TJ's Newport will be a less interesting place. Rest in peace John. P.S. Can anybody confirm the urban legend of Kurt Cobain Proposing to Courtney Cox in TJ's? broadsworddan
  • Score: 0

8:33am Tue 16 Mar 10

Edcase1977 says...

I can confirm with absolute certainty that Kurt Cobain never proposed to Courtney Cox in TJs. Whether Courtney Love ever proposed to him is a different story - one that will forever be linked to the legend that is TJs and John Sico!
I can confirm with absolute certainty that Kurt Cobain never proposed to Courtney Cox in TJs. Whether Courtney Love ever proposed to him is a different story - one that will forever be linked to the legend that is TJs and John Sico! Edcase1977
  • Score: 0

9:13am Tue 16 Mar 10

pestobobber says...

islwyn09 wrote:
Jilted & Desmond I Think The Comments About The Abject Failure Of NCC To Get "City"Ready For Ryder Cup & Of El Tel Mathews Has A Lot To Do With It! Sad But True!I Hope & Pray That TJs Will Live On To Honour The Name Of John Sicolo & His Contribution To Music & Welsh Culture!WAG & CADW Take Note!
islwyn09 why do you write your posts With Upper Case Characters At The Start Of Every Word?

It must take much longer to to that and it is Totally Unnecessary, What Do You Think You Are Achieving By It?
[quote][p][bold]islwyn09[/bold] wrote: Jilted & Desmond I Think The Comments About The Abject Failure Of NCC To Get "City"Ready For Ryder Cup & Of El Tel Mathews Has A Lot To Do With It! Sad But True!I Hope & Pray That TJs Will Live On To Honour The Name Of John Sicolo & His Contribution To Music & Welsh Culture!WAG & CADW Take Note![/p][/quote]islwyn09 why do you write your posts With Upper Case Characters At The Start Of Every Word? It must take much longer to to that and it is Totally Unnecessary, What Do You Think You Are Achieving By It? pestobobber
  • Score: 0

10:25am Tue 16 Mar 10

Gareth says...

broadsworddan wrote:
How very sad. Everyone knew of John, whether they had met him or not, his reputation as an ambassador for Newport's social scene and for independant music was widespread. We should all be very proud to have had a place like TJ's here. It was one in a million. In fact I strongly believe the council should ensure TJ's lives on after John's death as it has become as important an icon of Newport's identity as the transporter bridge. Without TJ's Newport will be a less interesting place. Rest in peace John. P.S. Can anybody confirm the urban legend of Kurt Cobain Proposing to Courtney Cox in TJ's?
Thanks SWA for reopening the comments section for people to say a few words about JS; an icon of Newport.

It has all been said really - both here and on facebook. Personally, I just smile at the thought of T&J back together again. No doubt this Friday night, a whole host of rowdy angels will be getting a clip around the ear, as they queue outside the pearly gates and around the block for the launch of TJs 2. God bless.

---

On the above comment regarding the council: TJs success was solely due to the personality of John (and Trilby back in my youth!) as its heart . Alas, it became financially unviable even with JS at the helm. With his passing, we only have an empty shell of a building. An events genius would find it difficult to recapture its past, never mind a council committee of civil servants.
[quote][p][bold]broadsworddan[/bold] wrote: How very sad. Everyone knew of John, whether they had met him or not, his reputation as an ambassador for Newport's social scene and for independant music was widespread. We should all be very proud to have had a place like TJ's here. It was one in a million. In fact I strongly believe the council should ensure TJ's lives on after John's death as it has become as important an icon of Newport's identity as the transporter bridge. Without TJ's Newport will be a less interesting place. Rest in peace John. P.S. Can anybody confirm the urban legend of Kurt Cobain Proposing to Courtney Cox in TJ's?[/p][/quote]Thanks SWA for reopening the comments section for people to say a few words about JS; an icon of Newport. It has all been said really - both here and on facebook. Personally, I just smile at the thought of T&J back together again. No doubt this Friday night, a whole host of rowdy angels will be getting a clip around the ear, as they queue outside the pearly gates and around the block for the launch of TJs 2. God bless. --- On the above comment regarding the council: TJs success was solely due to the personality of John (and Trilby back in my youth!) as its heart . Alas, it became financially unviable even with JS at the helm. With his passing, we only have an empty shell of a building. An events genius would find it difficult to recapture its past, never mind a council committee of civil servants. Gareth
  • Score: 0

10:26am Tue 16 Mar 10

Michele2121 says...

I thought the point of this was to leave tributes to the Legend that we have just lost? Not a sounding board to complain about the Argus. Please have some respect.

John was an amazing guy. He looked after us all while we were kids and gave us wonderful opportunities to see bands and party in a relatively safe environment. This is a devastating loss for the Newport music scene, not to mention his family and hundreds and thousands of friends. Newport will never be the same again.

With regards to the Kurt Cobain thing, i asked John and he said that he did go there to see Courtney but as far as he knew, there was no proposal. He did try to make him pay to get in though!
I thought the point of this was to leave tributes to the Legend that we have just lost? Not a sounding board to complain about the Argus. Please have some respect. John was an amazing guy. He looked after us all while we were kids and gave us wonderful opportunities to see bands and party in a relatively safe environment. This is a devastating loss for the Newport music scene, not to mention his family and hundreds and thousands of friends. Newport will never be the same again. With regards to the Kurt Cobain thing, i asked John and he said that he did go there to see Courtney but as far as he knew, there was no proposal. He did try to make him pay to get in though! Michele2121
  • Score: 0

8:36pm Tue 16 Mar 10

Riandaj says...

Very sad to hear of John`s passing.I remember him from the El Seico`s days of TJ`s.Many a happy night spent in there drinking that sangria they used to serve before he got a proper licence.I think it cost 50p a jug & that would see you through the night,which is more than you would see afterwards.Happy days......Rest in Peace John,gone but most definitely not forgotten.
What with John passing and Micky Jones of "Man" fame on the 11th,a sad week for the Welsh music scene.
Very sad to hear of John`s passing.I remember him from the El Seico`s days of TJ`s.Many a happy night spent in there drinking that sangria they used to serve before he got a proper licence.I think it cost 50p a jug & that would see you through the night,which is more than you would see afterwards.Happy days......Rest in Peace John,gone but most definitely not forgotten. What with John passing and Micky Jones of "Man" fame on the 11th,a sad week for the Welsh music scene. Riandaj
  • Score: 0

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