Road Blog: Friday February 18, 2022 - Mount Pleasant, MI
February 18, 2022
Mount Pleasant, MI
The first overnight road run of the year started with a return visit to Mount Pleasant, Michigan. We had a show booked here in 2020 but it was canceled along with 25 other shows because of the pandemic. We met at my place, gear still loaded in the van from our show last weekend, threw the guitars and a couple small pieces of luggage in, and headed north, Aerosmith – Toys in the Attic blaring. The drive up was largely uneventful. We saw hundreds of deer in the snow dusted fields and several hawks, following the snowline south and north, perched in trees, looking for rodents.
We checked in to our accommodations for the night around 6:30 – a small little nugget of a motel in the little town of Alma, about 20 miles south of Mount Pleasant. When I tried to book the room a few weeks back, a salty, irritated man barked at me over the phone that they had no rooms and too bad. Hotwire said different so I booked two at a discounted price and hoped for the best upon arrival. Judging by the parking lot, there were plenty of rooms then, and there were plenty of rooms now. Mr. Salty handed over the keys, raising an eyebrow, convinced we had a dog, and barked “no late checkouts!” It ain’t The Ritz but the rooms are fine.
We headed into Mt. Pleasant and our first stop was B's Music Shop. This is a place I’ve wanted to hit for years. Brian, the owner, is an old friend from my OffRamps days, and I was hoping to run into him but he’d left for the day. The store was bigger than I’d expected, lots of guitars, several Reverend Guitars, and lots of acoustics. There is also a surprisingly well curated selection of vinyl, and I saw a few titles that were interesting, but not in the cards. I did walk out with the debut Piper album, featuring Billy Squier.
We left B’s and parked behind the bar and walked over to The Bird Bar & Grill for some food. Jake got a vegetable sub and Gabe and I got burgers. “Well done, that’s how we do `em.” She said when I asked. OK I muttered, scolded and defeated. They do the buns well done too. Very well done. It was…decent, convenient, affordable and filling, and served with a friendly mid-Michigan smile, so we ate up and headed back over to Rubble’s.
Rubble’s is a townie bar in a college town. It’s got real history; when it was called The Foolery back in the 80s, bands from Soul Asylum to Black Flag to the Meat Puppets, Fishbone and the Dead MIlkmen all played there. It changed over to Rubble's Bar sometime around the end of that decade and I’ve played there probably ten times since. It’s got a band room and a bar room, with a window between where you can order drinks from the band side. The short, angled stage sits at the far, north end of the band room, next to the storage room which serves as a green room and gear staging area. The stage monitors are the same ones they’ve ad since he first time I was there. We met Dicky Post, our sound engineer who seemed to know and enjoy what he was doing, and said hi to the rest of the staff, who were also friendly and welcoming, as always, happy that we were there. “You’re the Maker’s Mark guy?” the bartender/manager asked. “um, yeah I guess?” I answered, slightly confused, wondering what legacy I’d left last time we played there a few years back. “Missy said we had to have something good on hand for you tonight so I got a bottle of Maker’s. Had to go to three fucking stores to find it.” Now that, my friends, is a friendly bar. Thank you Rubble’s! Their motto is that every single is a double and every double is a quadruple, so I got one of those, expressed my gratitude, and walked back to the band room.
We went on a little after 10pm, and by now it was pretty much a blizzard outside. “30 mile an hour winds and sideways razor snow” the bartender said, not thrilled about the situation. As a result, the city wasn’t exactly bustling with activity and our audience was thin. We had some faces to play to, though, and they were appreciative and we were grateful. We played two sets, wrapped up around 1am, did some more damage to that bottle of Makers, loaded out and drove back to the angry motel. The conditions were whiteout but Gabe was sober and alert and we didn’t have any problems. Jake and I chatted for a few before we crashed out around 3am.
This morning I woke up at 5:30am freezing. I couldn’t tell if I was in the icy waters of the Atlantic waiting to be rescued as Kate Winslet refused to share the floating door that might save my life, or if I was Luke Skywalker, suspended upside down deep in a snow cave, feet frozen in ice, about to be dinner for some foul-smelling creature. I tossed and turned for an hour or two before getting up to investigate. The AC/Heater unit was set to AC/55f, so either there’s a ghost in the machine or I’m rooming with a Wampa monster from the ice planet Hoth. Holy cow it was cold. Did I mention there was a blizzard outside? I reversed ship, cranked the heat, put on a layer of clothes, and crawled back into bed, hoping it was be as warm as the belly of a tauntaun, but it wasn’t. I’ll live.
Today we’re heading back south to Lansing where we’ll play tonight with our friends The Plurals at The Avenue Cafe. Our pals A Rueful Noise were supposed to play, but had to drop off the bill, as happens fairly regularly these days as we navigate through this pandemic. We’ll do some more guitar and record shopping, crash a craft-beer music fest, and inhale some of the best ramen I’ve ever had before the show at Ruckus Ramen, and drive back home afterwards. If you’re thinking of coming up from the Detroit area DO IT! It’s a sunny day and the rock and roll will be live! xx