“I thank my friends, family and most of all, my band mates for the experiences they’ve given me.”
Over a year ago, our friend Simon Forster, who owns a pub called the Aspinall Arms in Northern England, invited us to do a final Ghettobillies performance in his neck of the woods for Halloween 2008. We thought it was just an idea and weren’t too sure it would come to fruition. At the time we were just finishing our final Ghettobillies show in the U.S.A. (little did we know there would be 2 more shows after that). As months past, Simon pushed his drunken, happy time, fist pumping, rock-n-roll agenda more and more and eventual got us to agree to a simple 2 show event, as long as we didn’t play any other shows in the U.K., ensuring a good turn out for his venue. The band began preparation a month in advance with rehearsals and costumes for the first night on Halloween.
Befitting of a band that never got signed to a record label, but instead succeeded and spread across the land by word of mouth and secrets told in dark corners of late night parties and smoky quaint tiny pubs, the 2 shows took place in a small town village hall called Hurst Green, located about 3 miles from Simon’s Pub, near Clitheroe. The band and friends stayed upstairs, above the Aspinall Arms pub and enjoyed their fine hand pumped ales and delicious homemade food. Our last day there, Simon’s sister Sally and her family took us on a tour of a nearby boarding school called Stonyhurst where J.R.R. Tolkien’s sons attended and the inspiration for Lord of the Rings was hatched.
The shows were of course a wonderful success.
Our dear friend Simon Grinder picked us up from the airport and served as the bands personal chauffeur and driver throughout the trip. The Grinders also put us up before and after the shows at their house where quantum amounts of alcohol was consumed (as per usual) and old friendships were made even more concrete.
This trip and final shows were a closing of a chapter in many peoples lives; mostly my friends, John, Bong and Derek, but there were countless others who traveled so far to see the show and sing along one more time, before wishing us luck, who also felt the sadness of it’s conclusion. Our lives have been changed forever and transformed because of the path we chose to take so many years ago, long before we could have even imagined where this idea of a silly band from the rural countryside in Michigan would take us. It was a path less traveled; filled with joys, sorrows, loss and triumph. A path that proved to be both extremely difficult, but also unimaginably rewarding. This band has given me most of the close friends I have today and the world’s greatest wife and a future that is far brighter than it would have been had I not chosen to continue against all odds to try and succeed, and we did succeed. In a way none of us could have foreseen. We succeeded in a way that will far outlast a few moments on the radio.
I thank my friends, family and most of all, my band mates for the experiences they’ve given me.
I have been shown time and time again the enduring wonder and kindness that human beings can bestow on one another and I am so lucky to be the receiver of so many gifts from so many.
It’s been incredible. Thank you all.
Below is a recording of the last night of the last song of the very last show of the band Ghettobillies.