I'm seriously mortified and ashamed of myself right now. Here I am - a 20 year guitar player and a Kalamazoo native that has had the honor of playing many vintage Gibson's over the years, but I have never visited where they were conceived and born out of pure unadulterated luthier love. One of my most proud and successful beverage menus was inspired by these iconic axes and were appropriately named after many of these legendary music makers.
The Gibson Les Paul in Cinnamon Maple finish is still requested on a regular basis as well as Kalamazoo's first smokin' cocktail, The Gibson Smokestack. It was not unusual on a Friday night in 2013 to find the back bar of Old Dog Tavern filled with a haze of smoke generated from the mini Smokestack I built out of an old Absolut Vodka cobbler styled cocktail shaker. They were, and still are, damn good cocktails. All of this tribute to a Northside Kalamazoo history staple and I really didn't know exactly where the Smokestack sat.
Today I changed this horrific oversight on my part. I headed down to 225 Parsons Street for a birthday celebration. A 100 year birthday party to be exact. The Gibson Guitar factory that is now the home to the Heritage Guitar Company invited us all. It is an unwritten rule that you should always go where you are invited - and I was sure glad I went.
There are some big plans in the works for this Kalamazoo historical Northside guitar factory - and these plans are really big. MLive reported this week that Rolling Stone LLC is partnering with the building owners, Plaza Corp., to put some serious life back in this good old brick building. (MLive article link).
According to the redevelopment plan, it is looking like this will be a stunning addition to Kalamazoo's already thriving downtown. A one stop spot for an evening of dining, drinks and entertainment as well as a tremendous cultural tourist stop for those visiting Kalamazoo.
I'm grabbing the microphone and sending a shout out to all the volunteers today who made this birthday bash happen. ENCORE! to their hard work, diligence and dedicated efforts to "Save the Stack" from being demolished and a STANDING OVATION for their time and energy they gave to make this Saturday shindig happen for the lover of the guitar and Kalamazoo history. Here is a big BE MICHIGAN hug from us to you for all you do. Cheers!
Here is a short video of my tour today. Public tours are offered Wednesday and Fridays. Contact the Heritage Guitar Company for further information.