We were facing a little bit of nervousness about our shows this weekend, as we were informed by the owner of the bar after seeing our posters come in two weeks ago that, “We are a redneck bar. Tell them not to bring any of their LGBTQ stuff here.”…
We’re used to getting all kinds of looks when we walk into a place, but we had never received such an outright pointed comment previous to a gig as this one. Our first thought was to cancel, I won’t lie. Then we thought about all kinds of snarky retorts to spew back. Then, after countless hours of driving and discussing and sitting in silence on it, we remembered who we are. We are CHAMPAGNE-MOTHER-F’IN-SUNDAY, and we will not let fear and anger dictate our path! We are lovers and story tellers and listeners of hearts and we will continue to do what we do. We decided to face the situation head-on and go to the bar last night before our gig tonight and meet the people. And we did.
We went in with mohawks held high and smiles wide, and we drank, laughed, cried, and were fully embraced by the locals.
The Hub sits in an “ungoverned” space right between the Utah and Wyoming border. It is a proudly self-proclaimed redneck bar 100%, from the slot machines and animal heads adorning the walls, to the table covered with pictures of boobs from raucous nights of yore. Country music chosen on each juke box play and men in camo gear with fish hooks on their sweat-stained caps and elk teeth hanging from leather strips around proud necks of young hunters. The whiskey is poured with abandon, as a middle finger from Wyoming to the Utah side that has pour regulators on all bottles. The bar runs its own law and keeps everything smooth and in family. Every single person over the 3 hours we hung out was greeted by the young bartender, Hayden, who’s parents own the Hub. His dad was lost in a tragic car accident less than 2 years ago and his picture hangs in a place of honor above the door. Hayden left school to come help his mom with the business.
The Sunday bartender, Vicky, let us know all kinds of stories about the town, the old bar that burned down “accidentally”, and about her son who won his battle with cancer and is in remission. Jared visited with a vet who wore a diamond earring of his wife’s in his ear and they traded jokes. His wife sat down at the other end of the table with me and we traded stories with Vicky about motherhood, body image, and woman’s rights. At one point, someone said the yak on the wall looked like Trump and the whole bar laughed. A young man celebrating his birthday approached me to compliment my hair. He works at a “neighboring” bar (45 min away) and they’d love a Sunday band. Woo hoo, I know just the folks! He shared how being gay in this town was scary at first, but he is glad with his decision now. He was loved and hugged by several people there over the night. We got “fun meter” pins from Chico and Alan. Chico has a bait shop, pans gold, and grows weed. Alan used to play guitar and designed an Epiphone Les Paul for Pabst that the company actually bought off him for a whole pallet of beer. His wife paints rocks to help with her ADHD.
We learned all this because we went there. We sat with the humans who invited us into their “home” to play music, and we got to know them. Do we always have the luxury of getting to do this before every gig? No. That is why it is so important that we did it for this one. We had the time. We took the chance. We made the effort. And now, instead of being some “strange band from Tacoma, Washington“, we are now that kind of different but cool band that came and hung out and got to know all the people that frequent that bar. Now they will call their friends and have them come see us. Now they will be a little less apt to judge and a little more inclined to listen. And so will we. And this, dear readers, is how change is made. From the human being up. Even if we do not have the opportunity to do this before every gig, we must approach each one as though we had.
Can’t wait to blog tomorrow about our gig tonight!!
Let’s get Dressed Up!!