Monday, August 15, 2005

Mike's Auto Body

Back when I was living in Chicago, I went to a regular jam at a local 50's bar which had been converted from an auto body shop, hence the name, Mike's Auto Body. The bandleader was a great guitar player named Mark Wydra. He has worked with a long list of folks including: Eddy Clearwater, Floyd McDaniel and Dave Specter. He was a great guy that introduced me to a bunch of cool people.

Anyway, they lost the jam night gig and were replaced with a white leather jumpsuit wearing Elvis impersonator one man band. I got there kind of late and the place was almost empty.

Just as I was leaving another regular showed up. He was a younger guy named Al Rowe. He was the leader of a band called The Al Rowe Experience and he was a great Hendrix impersonator. He dressed and played the part perfectly. He played a left handed Stratocaster strung right handed and everything. He was the winner of a national Jimi Hendrix competition.

Mike, the owner, introduced the two of us to the Elvis impersonator. He asked us to play a few numbers with him. We just sort of looked at each other and said, "Okay, what the hell. Why not?"

The stage was about eight feet off the ground and built atop a bunch of classic car parts. We played slow Muddy Waters tune. I think it was "Nineteen Years Old" and then Slim Harpo's, "I'm a King Bee." On stage was an Elvis impersonating one man band, a Hendrix impersonator and me playing the harp. I wish I had that on video.

They closed their doors about a month later and converted the place back to a body shop.

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