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Blues on Grand in Des Moines, IA


   Pretty Boy's Corner

August 14, 2009

We made it in to Des Moines and our hotel is right downtown which is close to the club. It is called the Hotel Fort Des Moines and it is very old. We are told that it has been used by many of the candidates during the primaries when they were running for president. During our stay here a Miss Iowa competition was convening. Over 300 beauty queens from around the state made for quite a sight which, pleasant to look upon, tended to overload the elevators. I remember having to wait 15 minutes for an elevator car and finally giving up and taking the stairs. On the eleventh floor of this hotel is a public radio station where we played some songs acoustically and Laurie was interviewed by Ron Sorrenson, one of the radio hosts for WFMG 99.1. He was very gracious as he was a stand-in for Scott the Big Dog. Scott had other pressing matters that he needed to attend to and could not make the interview. Thanks for helping us get the word out guys.

Blues on Grand is a great club. It looks little iffy on the outside (after all it is a blues club), but inside are great people and great music. Many of the great players currently making the rounds like Walter Trout, The Neal Brothers, and Coco Montoya play here. The owner Jeff Wagner is truly a great guy and quite a character. We pull up to the club and there is a no parking sign in front of his establishment. Obeying the law we park around the back but Jeff tells us to park in the front at the no parking sign. He tells us that he put it up so the bands would always have a convenient place to park when at the club. Clever. He must have some friends in important places. Later after we set up and do a sound check we are all sitting around the bar and Jeff says, "I suppose you guys want to eat now." We tell him we do and that we are starving. He proceeds to pull out all kinds of stuff for us to eat. He starts with little bags of salted peanuts. Ha, ha. Then he shows us various jars of pickle pigs products like pigs feet, pig hocks, and pig lips. By now we know that he is pulling our legs in a very entertaining and humorous way, but when he pulls out the jars of pickled male and female body parts we start to get squeamish. I ask him, "Are you trying to make us loose our appetites so you don’t have to buy us dinner?" He says, "You bet" and we all laugh. So if you want to have a good laugh just ask Jeff what he has to eat. Jeff sends us on our way for a wonderful dinner at The Raccoon Restaurant near the hotel.

The band had a great time playing and found the club very enjoyable. Jeff told us that the night we played was one of the opening nights for the state fair. He said that this would cut down on the attendance but to our surprise we had a respectable turn out that made the night fun. At one point during a break between songs we hear a guy on a cell phone tell someone, &"Yeah. There's two blondes and a couple of guys tearing it up. Get your ass down here." No finer compliment could have been made that night. Thanks everyone at the Blues on Broadway. You made this one of our more memorable road gigs. Hope to see you next year.

Here's an interesting and, I am told, true story. A man and his wife are awakened one night by some sounds. After investigating the man finds that there are some people in his garage and it looks as though he is being robbed. He calls 911 and says, "There are some people in my garage robbing us." He is told that all patrol cars are already on calls and that if he stays on line they will get the next available unit to his house. After waiting a while the man hangs up and calls 911 again. This time he says, "There were some people in my garage trying to rob me. I shot them all with my shot gun. Can you send someone to help?" Within five minutes, six Police Cars, a SWAT Team, a Helicopter, two Fire Trucks, a Paramedic, and an Ambulance showed up at the residence,
and caught the burglars red-handed. One of the Policemen said, "I thought you said that you'd shot them!" The owner said, "I thought you said there was nobody available!" Way to go.


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