Howards Club H

Drag takes the stage as local LBGTQ claims a club night for their own

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News With the band’s sound check completed, Howard’s co-owner Tony Zmarzly was on the stage at the club making sure the gear was pushed to the edges of the stage. He taped down a section of the carpet and checked for errant microphone cords. The crowd cleared the dance floor in front of the stage, and waited. Then Rosie D. Riveter appeared, all glitter and bitchy attitude. Drag was on stage at Howard’s Club, and it found a willing audience. The Rosie and Viv Show last Sunday was the first of three Queer Night drag and variety performances scheduled for the club. Organizer Gary Strain, a.k.a. Rosie, hopes this will continue and maybe even expand in 2018. The other shows are set for Nov. 26 and Dec. 10 at 8 p.m. she and Vivian Vendetta Sinclaire also will be part of the line up Saturday, Nov. 19, for the Leelah Alcorn Memorial Scholarship Benefit Show to raise scholarship money for transgender students at Bowling Green State University. The benefit starts at 3 p.m. and runs until closing time. The show Sunday marked a promising launch as Rosie and her co-hostess Vivian Vendetta Sinclaire commanded the stage with raucous, off-color humor and word play. They pulled the audience in. They even had a couple women come up to guess their bras sizes, to no avail. Then Nikki Cordy, the club’s barkeep, left her station, to nail it. Strain said when he’d approached Cordy about staging the drag…


Arts beat: NRBQ right at home at Howard’s Club H

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Anyone who doubts that Howard’s Club H is having a revival as a music venue wasn’t at Saturday night’s NRBQ show. The venerable rock quartet was right at home in the stylish grit of the venerable club. And the sound system did justice to the band’s mix. NRBQ responded with 100 minutes of effervescent groove-based music delivered with a sly smile. The band opened with founder Terry Adams’ ”Rhythm Spell” and wrapped things up with Johnny Cash’s “Get Rhythm” as an encore. That was fitting because there was plenty of rhythm on display between the two. Whether they were sunny rock, the blues, or mambo, the beat was the thing throughout the night. The set bounced with little time between numbers from one highlight to another – the NRBG standard “Me and the Boys” or a rendition of Stevie Wonder’s “You Are the Sunshine of My Life” among them. The show had its odd turns, as when the Adams summoned drummer John Perrin from behind his set to sing a number, supposedly for a woman in the audience. He ambled to the front of the stage and consulted with bassist Casey McDonough and guitarist Scott Ligon about what to sing. Then they eased into Roger Miller’s hit “King of the Road.” Adams took his place behind the drum set, He treated those drums far gentler than he did his two keyboards, which he treated like percussion throughout the night, slapping, punching, and then executing…


Expect the unexpected when NRBQ plays Howard’s Club H, founder Terry Adams promises

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Back in 1966, a teenage Terry Adams used to push his piano into the bedroom and jam with brother, Donn, and a few other musical friends. A half century later Adams is still pushing his keyboards across the country playing concert halls, clubs, and bars with that band born in the outskirts of Louisville. NRBQ – originally for New Rhythm and Blues Quintet, and then Quartet – purveyors of off-kilter, off-beat pop rock is heading to Howard’s Club H, Saturday, Oct. 28, starting at 7 p.m. Tickets are $20. Click to purchase. A few home recordings mark the launch of a band that has persisted over the years, reaching music lovers ears in concerts, recordings, and the soundtrack of “The Simpsons,” where their loving irreverence was a perfect fit. In a recent telephone interview, Adams said “you don’t want to lose the reason you got into it.” “Music affected me when I was a young guy. Listening to it gave me something I couldn’t get anywhere else. It showed me the world, gave me insight into living. You can have times when you need a true friend and the music really reaches you. It’s there for you.” He started “messing around” on piano around sixth grade. “I didn’t know I was going to be a musician. I just loved listening to it, and slowly I realized I was making it myself, and I never turned back.” At the beginning during those bedroom sessions, “we just…


New WBGU-TV show captures sound, atmosphere of Howard’s Club H

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Dive is a moniker that Howard’s Club H wears proudly. While owners Steve Feehan and Tony Zmarzly have made a number of cosmetic improvements to the Bowling Green establishment, the essential gritty rock ‘n’ roll essence of the place remains. Joe Goodman, of WBGU-TV, recognized that spirit as soon as he came in. The graffiti, the concrete floors and the smell of well-aged beer, he said, “reminded me of all the places I loved in New York City that I was missing. … It’s where real rock is born. This is where people cut their teeth.” So the television producer started thinking about how he could share this place viewers. Working with bands and the owners, he brought in a crew to film. The result is “Live at Howard’s.” As the posters declare “the dive comes alive on WBGU-TV” on Thursday, Oct. 12 at 11 p.m., and in that time slot every week for the next nine. The shows will then be rebroadcast early Friday, Saturday, and Sunday at 3 a.m. The show’s premiere will be celebrated with a party at the club where the first episode will be shown. Goodman said the aim is for “Live at Howard’s” to be “a little manic, energetic” in keeping with the vibe of the gritty club. The aim is to feature up-and-coming bands both local and regional with a mix true to the club’s usual lineups. The first show features Howard’s regulars Tree No Leaves. The band…


Bobby G brings taste of Delta blues to Howard’s

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Robert Gray first got hooked on the blues listening to sound standing outside the juke joint in his native Winterville, Mississippi. He and his friends didn’t have the money to get in so they absorbed the sounds that wafted from the homespun club. “We just loved what was going on,” he said, “so we would try to sing, just walking down the road singing. That’s when I first got it.” That was years before Robert Gray began Bobby G, the blues singer. Bobby G, now 73, will perform Saturday, July 15, at 7 p.m. at Howard’s Club H in downtown Bowling Green with Curtis Grant Jr. and the Midnight Rockers. Cover charge is $5. Bobby G will also perform Saturday, Sept. 9, at the Black Swamp Arts Festival. The performance celebrates the release of “Still Sanding” on Third Street Cigar Records. This is the bluesman’s first full-length album, and it’s giving the world – it’s charting in Italy, Australia, and elsewhere – its first taste of Bobby G. John Henry, a local blues impesario said, the bluesman is “a treasure.” Because Gray stayed around home, raised two children with his wife, and didn’t go out on the road and experience the hardships and bad habits that so often entails, “he’s well preserved.” His voice is clear, with a sweet high range, though he can growl when the tune demands it. That’s all on display on “Still Standing,” a set of originals written by Johnny…


Music rings out up & down BG’s Main Street

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Music brought people together in downtown Bowling Green Friday night. On South Main Street more than 100 people gathered at Grounds for Thought for “Singing for Our Lives: Empowering the People through Song” a protest song singalong led by three of the four members of the Grande Royale Ukulelists of the Black Swamp. A couple blocks north more than 100 people celebrated the ageless power of rock ‘n’ roll with The Welders, who for more than 30 years have been staging a spring break show at Howard’s Club H. Mary Jane Saunders, co-pastor of the First Presbyterian Church, opened “Singing for Our Lives” at Grounds by explaining her rationale for suggesting the event. Many are feeling stressed and uncomfortable in the current political climate, she said. That’s been expressed in several rallies, most held in the green space next to the Presbyterian Church.             The sing-along of classic songs was offered as an occasion “to have fun together” while not forgetting the cause that has united so many in the community. “Music has the power to empower and to energize us,” she said. Pop music historian Ken Bielen gave a brief introduction to protest music, much of it by simply quoting memorable lines. He recalled that it was gospel singer Mahalia Jackson who urged Martin Luther King Jr. to deliver his “I Have a Dream” speech. “When people get together in the right combination, history is made.” He then…


Weekend shows celebrate Howard’s Club H musical legend

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News When Steve Feehan and Tony Zmarzly bought Howard’s Club H earlier this year, it was with the intent of reviving the venerable night spot as a top local music venue. The fruits of those ambitions will be evident this weekend. Blues rocker Michael Katon, who played the club regularly from 1982 through the early 2000s, will return for a show Friday. Then on Saturday at 10 p.m. a crew from WBGU-TV will be on hand to tape a triple bill of younger acts – Tree No Leaves, Indian Opinion and Shell. “Howard’s has always been a music venue, a place to hear live music with a bar to go with it,” Feehan said. “We want to foster a community as much as we can. That’s what’ needed in this day and age.” And that’s what Howard’s was in its heyday. The bar traces its genesis to 1928 when Fred Howard opened a candy shop where the Wood County Library now sits. Legend has it, Feehan said, that the candy store also fronted a speakeasy that was popular with college football players. When Prohibition ended, Howard’s became a bar. The details of that and other stories are hard to pin down, he said. That’s part of the fun. “After we took ownership, then we realized what we had,” Feehan said. People would walk through the door, and share lore of the club, which moved across the street in the early 1970s. “We almost felt more…


“Gavarone’s small business leadership comes up short” – JJ Dennis

I was very surprised to receive a brochure at my door recently touting Theresa Gavarone’s experience as a business owner as a reason why we should elect her to the position she was appointed to fill in August. Based on my time working at one of Gavarone’s businesses, I do not believe her experience as a small business owner warrants support. Anyone who has frequented Howard’s Club H knows that part of its charm is in its grungy appearance. What you might not know is that until very recently that grunginess ran bone deep. While her family owned Howards, employees were regularly forced to wade through vomit and other human waste multiple times every night to plunge the toilets that hadn’t flushed properly (read: hardly at all) for years. Those boxes of plastic gloves you saw behind the counter? Not for food prep. In addition to the infamously inadequate bathrooms, closing duties included dumping gallons of bleach down floor drains behind the bar to prevent an unbearable stench from filling the business the next day. When the smell didn’t drive customers away, the broken AC and furnace did. Fortunately these issues (which posed a clear health risk to employees and patrons) were fixed immediately when new ownership took over. That makes me wonder though, why were these issues – issues that were resolved within days of the business being sold – not addressed for YEARS under Gavarone’s ownership? I don’t believe that letting a business fall into that degree of…


Friends serve up support at benefit for Corner Grill staff (updated)

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Howard’s Club H got to rocking a little early Saturday. At 2 p.m. the Mechanical Cat was on stage rapping about other worlds against a psychedelic background. The business at hand though was a centered on a very real world cause – helping the 10 or so employees of the Corner Grill, who have lost work because of the Feb. 1 fire. The Grill is a beloved part of the downtown scene, whether for folks people heading to work at dawn, the employees from the county courthouse down the block, or the late night revelers and the workers who serve them. It’s been that for decades. So Howard’s, another venerable downtown establishment, opened its doors to host the benefit that ran from early afternoon to early the next morning with a full slate of bands, as well as a buffet of home cooked food and raffle items. Howard’s employee Nikki Cordy who organized the benefit reported: “It was absolutely amazing. It certainly exceeded my expectations. We had perfect weather,everyone was in such a positive and fun mood,we ran on time,all the bands showed up & kicked ass,we raised over $4,000. I couldn’t possibly be happier.” Larry Cain, the owner of the Grill, said he was glad to see the turnout to help his employees. They’re a team, he said. He now expects the Grill will take three to four months to open its doors. A glance inside the diner shows a gutted interior. The…