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Events

Events

Lapeer’s Own Treasure

It’s been a while since Carl and I journeyed to The Pix Theater in Lapeer.   While it seems like it was just yesterday, it’s already been a couple of years. The ride there takes a bit, but is completely worth it. The theater is warm and cozy, the staff are helpful and accommodating, and the patrons are...Continue reading...

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Contagious, Relaxing Fun!

When I say that its fun to play at Bumper’s Landing . . .

I’m not just making it up.  Oh, it’s serious and it’s real!

You know the kind of fun that you have that’s un-planned, spontaneous and exciting?

THAT kind of fun!

It’s never dull, you know that by now.  And, it’s usually not crazy all night.  Most nights are somewhere in the middle.  But most of the time,  uhm, hell, ALL of the time, it’s fun!

Fun to play, fun to watch, fun to just be a part of.  So much going on, and so so many great people, friends and staff.

And, know what else, fun never gets old.

If you think about it, Carl and I pretty much spend most of our time at Bumper’s wrapped up in what we are going to play, playing and what we need to play next; so we don’t have a great deal of time to worry about what’s happening around us.  Then throw in the unknown of the weather, and we suddenly have a lot on our plates.  Now consider that we have so many friends at Bumper’s, and how they each want to chat with us during our breaks.  (now you’re getting it . . . )

So, FUN actually needs to take care of itself.

And, luckily, it does!

Most everyone is animated in some way; smiling, laughing, chatting, telling a story, dancing or ranting about whatever they are trying to work through in their lives.  Bumper’s can be a very relaxing place, though you wouldn’t notice it right away.

It’s true, think about it with me . . .

. . . when people are relaxing, they show it in so many different ways; and it’s not always, quietly.

In this day and age, there is an awful lot of steam to be let off, and Bumper’s Landing is just the right place to do it.

Another test of my statement is to simply look around the next time you are there.  Do so and you’ll see smiles everywhere.  I’m far from a genius, but I have noticed that when people smile, they are usually happy.  And being happy is relaxing too.

Another thing we have noticed . . .

. . . fun is contagious as well.

When the staff is having fun, and we are having fun, then sooner or later, the customers are having fun too!  All of them.

It’s true!

Interesting how that works.

I realize that fun in not the type of thing that most people analyze.  Ok, I get it, but there is just so much of it at Bumper’s that I become fascinated by the entire dynamic.  I can’t hide it any longer.

I am here to spread the word

Bumper’s Landing = Relaxing fun that is contagious!

Rb

Americana

Nothing is more American that the need to relax. We DO work hard.  Yes, I realize this has been an “off” year, to say the least, but we still have worked harder than lots of years put together. Worked at our jobs, our relationships and our lives in general. We’ve worked to survive, to thrive...Continue reading...

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Happiness

What is the true meaning of happiness?

Happiness is a sense of well-being, joy, or contentment. When people are successful, or safe, or lucky, they feel happiness.

Although we take our job very seriously, we do know that it is just to make people happy as they relax, fuel up and fortify for the cruel world outside that awaits them.

We simply bring song.

We dispense little three-minute capsules of distilled-pleasant-memories, contained in melodic and lyrical form.

What?

Our music is designed to soothe the savage beasts within us all.  To keep people happy.  We get paid to bring the musical joy!

Oh, Ok.

When we do that, the whole world is better for it.  Well, I realize how ridiculous that sounds, but the idea is solid.  We do our part.  We work at it, (about eight hours on any given Saturday.)

And, when we do it right, it is rewarding.

Very, very rewarding.

I’m not talking about in a monetary way.  Yes, we get paid, and we do get tips from the wonderful people that attach their own price-tag to songs that they ask us to perform.  But that’s not what I was talking about.

The rewarding part is not when they put money in the jar, but how they communicate their appreciation for what we do and how we do it.  When they approach us and ask for a song, it gives us a chance to please them by bringing one of their favorite tunes or artists to life for a moment of two.

Another reason that we enjoy it, is because it is a way of gauging which way the audience wants us to move, musically.  We play country, Island, Folk, Pop, Oldies and even Rock and Blue Grass at times; so when we get a request to play some, “Blues!”, we move in a direction that we wouldn’t even have thought to go.

That’s one of the wonderful things of performing to a live audience.

Sure, they might be there for the food, the fellowship and the booze, but we do get to try and entertain them when they are.

Saturday by all accounts should have been slow.  It was a Fourth-Of-July weekend, and Carl and I were planning on it being quiet and low-key.

We realized that most people were planning on being with their kids, their families or their  girl and or boyfriends, by the pool this entire weekend.  Those that weren’t were up north, or chilling on the couch.

Anyone left over would be a welcome surprise.

However, from the moment Carl and I arrived at Bumper’s Landing on Saturday, they kept coming in.  By the time that we began playing, the place was filling up, both inside and outside.

Everyone who came through those doors seemed happy and up-beat.  Honestly, when they are happy, we are happy, that’s usually how it works; and Bumper’s people are the happiest people in the world.

What’s more, this summer we have made a concerted effort to play tons of new/old music for our audience.  We have worked tirelessly to upgrade our show with the best in technology, sound and content that we possibly could have.  Truth is, we take this gig very, very seriously and do everything that we can do our best to make it exciting and enjoyable each and every time we play.

Being allowed to entertain at Bumper’s Landing is both a gift and an honor.

We work each and every week to make our show better in all aspects.  We want to keep these people coming back for more, all summer, every year.  We want them loyal and happy.

And to me, loyalty is extremely important.

Our first set was a bit of a crazy mix of “Island music, goes to the county fair!”

As the patrons began pulling us in each direction, it became apparent that all types of music would be welcomed and enjoyed on this afternoon.

Of course we didn’t mind, we love having people be part of the show by sharing their favorite song requests.  And, like two well-worn musical genies, we were there to grant all of their musical wishes!

Some bars are one-trick-ponies.  They allow, blues or rock or country, but not much else.  Bumper’s’s vibe is so chill that we can get away with playing virtually anything, and the customers will still adore it.

So, with all musical genres in play, we set out for our second and third sets.  Our music was country classics and yacht-rock favorites, with oldies and a love-your-brother song or two thrown in for good measure.  (We feel the world needs more of that theses days)

More, Happy!

Everyone sure seemed delighted with our song selection, and our friends who have become The Bob and Carl Fan Club loved them all!

We met some amazing new people, some long-time friends and even had a visit from someone we used to perform with for about twenty years!

We got a surprise visit from Jim Lee, our drummer from Sanctuary and The Boys band.  What a treat, as Carl and I haven’t talked to him in many, many years.

As the sun set, it was time the people to put on their dancing shoes because when we cranked up the tunes, everyone seemed to suddenly to come down with a bad case of Boogie Fever!

It was truly a wonderful evening.  The kind of amazing night that you want to share with your best friend.

Saturday was so wonderful that we simply cannot wait to return to our favorite sleepy-little-bar-by-the-water next week.

Just the thought of it makes me happy.

Rb

On The River After The Flood

The rain had been threatening all week with flooding everywhere by Friday.  It seemed certain that we would have to play indoors on Saturday, if we played at all.

However somehow, by 10:30 in the morning, the rain subsided and people began to poke their heads out as if to look for an ark.  You’d think that a business that was situated beside the water would be able to shrug a few inches of rain right off and get ready to handle the patrons with ease. Right?

. . . and, of course you would be correct!

By 4:30, (our usual arrival time), Bumper’s Landing was bustling and ready to go.  The Tiki was open and all that seemed to be missing were two lucky musicians eager to fill the afternoon with song.

We set up with ease since people were slowly arriving for some relaxing moments by the waves. Everything was in place when we began to sing.

The sky was indeed “iffy”, but Carl and I were confident that the rain would hold off for the evening.

Lots of new faces adorned the boardwalk as the music began to filter in, out and around the waterfront.  Our focus seemed to be on lots of lite country songs with a smattering of  the usual Yacht Rock favorites.

Smiling patrons singing along told us visually that we were pleasing those who came to enjoy the unique vibe that is totally Bumper’s.

There were plenty of people inside as well, eating, drinking chatting and generally just enjoying life by the water.  Who could blame them, boaters know how to find any island of paradise no matter how far off the map.

Out under the pavilion, the music was really flowing by our second set.  The boss was at the Tiki so we had better play some new/old songs for him and his crew.  “Follow Me” by Uncle Cracker was the ticket to get everyone singing just in time for the boats to come in and the boardwalk to start really humming.

Music truly builds bridges between people because as the songs poured out of us, the connection between all those within earshot became stronger and stronger.

There are some connections that simple cannot be broken.

It’s always interesting how so many people from such diverse backgrounds all find common ground in a place that is so welcoming.  Maybe we take it too personal, but Carl and I would like to believe that we help this melting pot of humanity by offering music that is the best of what we as a people have written.  Music born of our shared feelings and emotions as we navigate this crazy existence.  All we ask is that you continue to take this journey with us.

The only thing you need bring when you come to Bumper’s is a smile.  We’ll provide the rest.

It was another good night.

Lots to remember.  We encountered two bachelorette parties, one entertaining millionaire trying to dock his million dollar baby.  Old friends, loyal friends, happy dancing girls, a gaggle of young go-getters from L’Anse Cruise and even Cadillac Jack, himself!

Hmmmmmm, was anyone or anything missing?

You’ll have to join us next week to find out.

Rb

 

Rb

Oh What A Night!

It was such a great night at Bumper’s Landing in Harrison Twp, I don’t even feel bad about stealing the words to that immortal song.

It sure didn’t start out that great, as Carl and I sat in the van looking upward and trying to outwit the weather man.

We were sitting in the parking lot at that point, staring upward and then back at our weather apps to come up with a plan for the rest of the evening that didn’t involve us drying ourselves with towels.  (Which, I will tell you , we have done on many occasions over the years)

In the end, there was no real way to play outside, since we knew that the rain would come, just as surly as taxes and eventually another election cycle.

So, inside it would be.

We were certainly leery of playing indoors, since this time of year everyone prefers the clean air and warm sun on their shoulders.  We play so much indoors through the winter, we just wanted to make the most of the evening, and if it cleared up and was nice, everyone would be out while we were stuck in.

Well, you get the idea.  The life of a Rock Star!

So, indoors it was and luckily we had plenty of time to set up and get ready.  However, there was one problem, a table of diners were right where we needed to set up.  They were having an after dinner drink at that point, so we simply needed to wait an hour for them to be done and on their way.

We began at 7:00 actually, one hour later than normal.  However, we would make it up on the back end.  (We’ll get to that later)

Taking it slow at first, the only think that stuck out about the evening at that point was the volume inside of Bumper’s.

I mean, we knew that going in, but damn, its loud in there!

We can crank up the PA, that’s not an issue, but, honestly, to do that, you need to play louder than the patrons.  Trouble is, once you do that, they start getting louder and louder as well.  Then, Carl and I have to turn up and, well, you get the idea.

It can becomes a loud-fest.

Luckily, we didn’t take that route as we avoided turning anything up much at all.  Just another part of being, (you guessed it), a Rock Star!

So we played a strong first set, and waited with cautious optimism that the people would keep pouring in.  Somehow, that’s exactly what happened!

By the second set, there was so much going on that Carl and I knew it was going to be one of those night when all we can really do is to simple hold on for dear life.

Kinda like a bus careening around a mountain pass, you just hold on and hope that you make it.

Girls were dancing, guys were drooling and it got even louder.  We pulled out our best dance tunes and played them one after another.

The place was rocking like it was 1999!%$#&^%%^()*!

Everyone smiled, everyone laughed, everyone danced and joy was ping-ponging off of every wall and window.

Rock Star Secret:

Sometimes for no good reason everything comes together, like any great painting or artistic creation, this night will live forever as one of the best we have ever experienced at Bumper’s.

We really didn’t do anything different.  It was, simply, what I have talked about for many years.  At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I’ll say it again. . .

. . . it’s the people!

It’s always the people.  If we have a great night or a mediocre one, it usually the people that make it so.   We take our job very seriously, and are pretty consistent with our music and our professionalism level.

Translation: It ain’t us.  It’s the people.  We arrive and are ready to entertain.  If the people respond, we are right there with them to help them have the night of their lives.

The people are always what motivates us.

The people are the reason we play.  The reason we sing.

We do it all for you.

 

. . . yes, you.

You are our reason.  For you, it is great to be a Rock Star!

Rb

A New Cruise To Peruse

Varrooooooommm!

We’ve seen it for years, seen the cars, heard the noise, the excitement, the fun; but have just never gotten in the race.

The Gratiot Cruise that is.

Due to the huge success of the Woodward Dream Cruise, the Gratiot cruise was born officially in 1999.  Trouble is, for one reason or another we have just never been a part of the excitement.

It is, after all, the Saturday before Father’s Day, and we have been pretty busy over the years.

For one thing, Carl and I played at the Dream Cruise for about the first nine years, so we were kind of in the big race. Seems like we’ve be here and there on that annual date, but just never on that particular road, I guess.   Some things in life are like that.

Sometimes, you just miss the bus all together.

Fast forward, (pun intended), and it was a couple years ago when we were asked to contribute to the event.  However, with the crazy everything last year, we never got out of the garage; it never happened in 2020.

Good news, somehow this year, (and actually, I will really never know how), cooler heads prevailed, and the event went, full-speed-ahead.

Not knowing what to expect, we arrived early in the day, to scout out our location in the Eastpointe High School parking lot.  It was to be one of the gathering places where the cars would congregate before they took to the streets.

Like most things this year, it was running a little rough since the weather was attempting to throw a monkey wrench into the entire event.

Not raining bad mind you, but each and every time it would sprinkle, the boys would need to come back out and dry off their pride and joy.

Then they would dry off their cars.

We were to play from 2:00 until 3:30, and we were bound and determined to cross that finish line.  Staying in touch with the pit crew gave us the emotional support we needed to take the stage just as the rain subsided and the caution flag came out.

Everyone was poised to get the green light, and we thought some Ricky Nelson would start everything off on the right track. “Traveling’ Man” rang out of our speakers as everyone crowed around to hear us.

I cruise these streets alone at night
A challenge waits at every light
I may be wrong and I may be right
But I will be fast and brave tonight

Let her roll!
Let her wind out more than ever
Let her roll!
On these streets we’ll ride forever!

I might be killed, or I might be lost
My armor smashed, my body tossed
But the price I pay is worth the cost
To chase these dreams that haunt my thoughts

Let her roll!
Let her wind out more than ever
Let her roll!
On these streets we’ll ride forever!

I never lose, and I don’t give in
I ride with fire on a flaming wind
I sound like thunder
And I’m harsh as rain
And I’ll rule these streets until the end!

We played one long set off our best classics to the enjoyment of all those present.  Since the weather would not cooperate the crowds were small to say the least.  We did however, show them that we could avoid and trouble as we made our way from song to song.

We did all the great car classics and lots of traveling music.  We even threw in lots and lots of golden oldies to the delight of the car fanatics.

Even DJ MoonDog sang our praises as we packed up our gear and headed to our next gig.

We checked back in with the pit crew and were cleared to roll out to Bumper’s Landing, where we had to play in about two hours.  A little tired, (it had already been a long day, and it had just really begun) Carl put it in gear and took another deep breath.

Sometimes people keep you going when you feel tired and lose your way.  That’s how it is many times in life, just having someone to pick you up when you are down and get you back into the race is all you need when you are running on empty.

You don’t always have to win; but sometimes it just feels great to feel the wind in your hair and see the horizon stretching out in front of you.

To compete; to put your foot down all the way on the gas and let the engines wind.  To see what you are made of as the world flies past you in a blur of heat and excitement.

That’s living!

Your destination won’t always be clear, and you may not always reach it; but when you lose your way, if you have someone special to come home to, you will have won the biggest prize of all.

Rb

 

A Delightful Drive – The Country Club Of Lansing

When considering The Country Club of Lansing, Carl and I take several thoughts into the equation:  Distance, Time, Effort & Reward.

Distance: 112 miles
Time: 1 hour 44 minutes
Effort: Plenty
Reward: Normal rate

We drive quite a distance.
The set up is easy and quick.
The playing time is only two hours, but the people, (and I know I can be a bit of a broken record), are what makes this performance either worthwhile of completely out of the question.

It is quite a drive; but that just gives us time to talk about lots of music stuff that we normally don’t get a chance to discuss.

Time: yes, it is a big chunk.  Arrival, driving, set up, playing, tear down, return drive, unloading, return to our houses.  However, we don’t play that long so it all evens out when you think of it that way.

Money, effort, wear and tear; I suppose there are lots of things to consider when doing a gig like this, but really, if the people appreciate it, we’re in!

However, the greatest factor to mull over is one of the simplest, enjoyment!  Any discussion pretty much begins and ends right there.

So, off we go to Lansing.

Since we have played this event a few times, we know the way.  Carl pretty much puts the Bob and Carl mobile on cruise control and before we know it, we’re there.

After saying “Hello!” we pull the van up to the beautiful clubhouse and begin the set up.

It’s their annual LobsterFest evening, so we know where to be, what to wear and just what to play.  It seems to all just falls into place.

I’ll say it again; the people are just so nice.  That makes it all worthwhile.  From the staff to the guests, we get nothing but smiles, and “Thank you!”s

For the evening we do our usual mix of country, ocean, rock, folk favorites, and as usual, they are all greatly appreciated.

It’s nice to be appreciated.

When you know that you are wanted and the things that you do are important and valued, it really makes a person feel like they are a priority and needed.

As the night evolved, we interacted more with the members and got some good requests of songs we might not have otherwise thought about playing.

Requests always make us feel good.  They are an integral part of any performance, and a great way to open up valuable avenues of communications with people who would otherwise be too shy to interact with us.

There was some dancing towards the evenings apogee, both fast and slow.  This group is out to enjoy dinner at this event, so it tends to be a bit more reserved.

With another perfect summer evening closing, we loaded the gear and headed back to our homes, content in the knowledge that sometimes, you can’t decide a problem by mere statistics alone.

Sometimes you need to use your heart, not just your head.

It’s a “people thing”.

(Most things are in this business.)  It’s pretty tough to use mere statistics to explain music, It just doesn’t work that way.

In the end the reason we do what we do is pretty simple as well.

We sing for the people.  We sing for you!

Rb

Expect The Unexpected!

I know, I know . . .

how could you possibly expect the unexpected?

My point, exactly.

When we look forward to playing Saturday afternoons/evenings at Bumper’s Landing in Harrison Township, we NEVER know what to expect.

In fact, I’ll let you in on one of our little secrets . . .

As Carl and I head out to Bumper’s (at about 4:15), we usually turn to each other and sigh, “It looks like we’re going to have another sleepy afternoon by the water.”

Oh, and the joke is real!

We never look too far into the gig because we never know what to expect.  It’s always something different.

Possible variants include (but are not limited to):
Weather, Water level, People, Boats, Pets, Staff, Customers, Holidays, Bats, Events, Aliens, Owners, Politicians, Fish Flies, Musicians, Bachelorettes, Regulars, Security, Celebrities, Pirates, Illegal Aliens, The Purge.

On any given occasions, one or more of them could come into play to throw everything into flux. More times than not, one thing leads to another and then its as though something has disrupted the Space-Time Continuum. (and not in a GOOD way)

So we are left to deal with the consequences with smiles on our faces and a song in our hearts.

Don’t get us wrong, there is literally nowhere else that we would love to be.  Bumper’s is our Nirvana, our musical Shangri La.  For all these years and thousands of gigs we have played, this is the Holy Grail of gigs.

That being said, we always approach each Saturday with guarded optimism.  We observe, scout, survey, and or generally try and catch the vibe as we arrive.  We have been doing it long enough now to get a handle on how the night is going, right off the bat.

Just moving our gear up to the stage this time engaged a trio of young day drinkers who started things off with a bang.  Our set-up was peppered with questions and suggestions,  reviews and requests.  It was fun already!

Yep, it was going to be an interesting evening.

Playing our first set, set the tone for the evening.

So far, we were all over the place, musically and thought-wise.  (I wonder why . . .). Sometimes; I would say, most times, we have an ebb and flow to our sets.  They begin with Yacht-Rock and then evolve from there to country, reggae and on to folk.  From there it can take a turn to pops-ville, oldies or meld into good O’l Rock N Roll.

Regardless, wherever we may wander musically, we usually have a map to navigate with.  We survey the customers and they give us plenty of indications on what they are enjoying.

(Reading the crowd is a whole other conversation; one that has taken us years to master.)

This crowd is pretty easy.  Here at Bumper’s they are pretty laid-back and happy.  They go with the flow more than not, and are the happiest people we have ever had the good fortune to entertain.

On this evening, we had plenty of regulars, plenty of newbies and a great mixture of the spectrum in-between.  All of them content, all of them getting the most out of the laid-back vibe on the waterfront.

The weather was a little cool and it could have rained at any moment, but didn’t.  Undaunted, we launched from listening music into dancing music as effortlessly as an Olympian changing positions on the Pommel Horse.

As the sun set the dancers took control and we just held on, as we do so many nights here.  Luckily for us, the fish-flies weren’t cleared to fly, so they were manageable as our last song cascaded over the waves.

While is true that we never know what to expect.  It is also true that if you expect just that, you will never be disappointed!

Rb

BOB AND CARL