Impaler had been booked to play this show back in the early 2000s. ('Old School Ghouls' era)
We had arrived in Detroit early in the afternoon after a show the night before in nearby Bowling Green, Ohio, with a support band called Seventh Calling from our hometown in tow. We were travelling in a converted school bus together for a short Eastern road trip.
We thought we would check out the club and get some directions from the staff for a good place to eat and hang out for the afternoon until our load in time of 7pm.
As we parked the van we were startled by the loud crash as someone dropped a full bag of garbage out of their 4th storey apartment window onto the ground outside! Not something you see everyday!
We entered The Old Miami which is a VFW (Veterans of Foreign Wars club) for ex-soldiers and the general public to get their drink on and hang out to play darts and pool. They also booked bands for the evening hours and had a small stage with lights and PA system.
We were greeted by an elderly man sitting on the first bar stool at the bar with a huge pool of his urine all over the floor around his stool. He smelled like he had been doing this for several weeks! Other than this gentleman the only other person in the club was the bartender who was mopping the floors in the back (maybe he should have been working around the barstools up front!).
He was a soft spoken gent (we'll call him "Chad"), he was very polite and told us even though we could not load in our equipment at this time we could hang at the nearby local mall for the afternoon and get some food. He gave us directions and off we went to have some lunch and shop.
7pm - We returned to The Old Miami to load in. As we entered the bar we heard lots of yelling and to our surprise it was mild mannered Chad screaming and chasing a patron 'round the pool table swinging a pool cue at the fellow's head. Chad was very drunk and had a totally different demeanor than earlier in the day when we first met. Evidently one of the fringe benefits to tending bar there was to drink as much liquor as you like!
Somehow we got the okay to load in and began to do so. Chad got louder and more rowdy as the time passed and we all started to become uneasy about the situation. After all THIS was the guy in charge of the bar!!!
A local support band came and played leaving soon after their set. They assured us that this was normal for the early hours at the venue but that a rock/metal crowd would file in as the evening wore on.
Unfortunately as the night passed Chad became more and more agitated and began screaming from behind the bar, produced a shotgun and began waving it around, screaming catchy slogans like "This is MY bar, motherfuckers!! This is how I party!!" etc, etc...
Our support band at that point decided to cancel their appearance. A few people had showed up about this time and we felt obligated to play for them and to be paid by the club. Gas for the school bus was spendy and we wanted to make it back to the Twin Cities after this debacle!
At this point some local called the owners to relay to them the state of Chad the bartender. The venue quickly dispatched a young woman who came in and took charge putting Chad into a cab and sending him home. She curtly told us that music was expected to start at this time and if we were to be paid we should get it going NOW!
Seventh Calling had packed their gear by this point in time and were having nothing to do with the gig anymore.
So Impaler was forced to go on very early taking the support band's slot. We played a stripped down show but really had a great time! We played every song we knew and some cover tunes as well making for a much longer set than we generally were expected to deliver. We wrapped it all up around midnight playing long enough to be paid!
The only regret I had was at midnight many people who wanted to see us began to file into the Old Miami in make up and holding albums to be signed. We had to explain that we were finished and the show was over. So we had a few drinks, shook a few hands and signed a few albums. We were paid in full, gassed up the bus and waved good bye to Detroit and The Old Miami.
I often wonder if Chad is still the daytime bartender at The Old Miami and if that drunk ever changed his pants!