Sunday, February 23, 2014

The Madison St. Mafia?

This weekend, we were privileged enough to perform at Mr. Tony's with some fantastic artists, such as Hell's Heathens, Seeking Seven, and a friend of mine, Mr. Alaun Comer. Seeing Alaun reminded me of living on Madison St., downtown Tupelo and the (many) nights of drinks and impromptu jam sessions that ensued.

I lived on Madison St., for around 3 years, moving to the area in 2010. I was just around the corner from some friends I knew from the Tupelo bar scene, and we would get together (mostly at my place) after the bars all closed to continue the drinking and conversations. Guitars would always come out pretty quick and be passed around until everyone had their chance to play, or until the alcohol was gone, whichever came first. The Stables Bar & Grill had a second happy hour every Tuesday night from 9:00-Midnight, and we would all walk downtown for 2-for-1 beers and Cheese Fries. At one of the early "meetings," I coined the phrase "Madison St. Mafia" and we started calling ourselves that. One of those in attendance even made a secret group on Facebook and we would plan our nights out, what bar was doing what, where we all wanted to meet, what time, etc. If it happened to be a night there was no live music, we would bring instruments with us. We started adding people to the group that lived or hung out on Madison St., and everyone was connected.

We always walked downtown to avoid having to drive impaired, and in our drunken stupor, walk back home at closing time. The last arrival to the appointed meeting place would promptly be sent on a last minute beer run to make sure we were properly stocked for the evening's after party. Almost all the time, they were responsible for buying it, because we had all drank our money away. Incentive to get there early!

The walk back became known as the Madison St. Crawl, as most of the time, we were too inebriated to walk. How we avoided going to jail just on public drunk charges, I don't know, because it's kind of hard to "blend in" when you have a group of 15-20 people stumbling down a sidewalk, looking like the ball in a Pinball Machine, but we managed.

To put these after-parties into perspective, there were no less than 7 apartments (each with at least 2 occupants) within a one block radius that could become host for one, and more than one of these parties hosted over 100 guests. Not very subtle! I came home from a show one night to a 5 apartment throw-down, with people I've never seen before (or since) in my home. These parties brought out all manner of "characters," some of whom, like Alaun, I have made the effort to stay in contact with. 

I have very fond memories of living on Madison St. I got a few good songs out of it, made some great friends, had some incredible experiences (Bravada-surfing down Jefferson St.), AND managed to live to tell about it. I have purposefully excluded all the names (except for you, Alaun!) to avoid getting anyone in trouble. Everyone involved knows who they are, and that's all that matters. We built our own little Haight-Ashbury district, and most of us saw it through to its completion. Hats off to you all, and let's do it again sometime soon.