American musical expression that has anchored rock-and-roll music for the
past 50 years. Fox has been a record producer, musician, photographer and a
driving force in the development of the Mississippi Valley Blues Festival,
one of the top blues festivals in America.
A Traverse City Central High School graduate, Fox played in several area late
‘60s and early ‘70s blues/rock bands, including Wheelin Bliss, which
evolved into the original Newt & The Salamanders, which evolved into
The Fabulous Horndogs. During the mid-‘90s he was a driving force in
the development of the Northern Michigan Blues Society, which helped to
coordinate several blues shows at the now defunct Kodiak Nightclub as well
as at the Traverse Bay Casinos.
For fans of the blues, this musical style has been hit or miss in
the area. The casino has cancelled their blues festival and now offers only a
few blues shows a year. The Dennos Museum Center/Milliken Auditorium can be
counted on for four to five excellent blues concerts a year, while Union Street
Station, The Loading Dock and GT‘s all offer the occasional blues act and
some phenomenal ones at that. But the bottom line for Fox and the thousands
of other area blues fans is that there just is not enough consistent blues music
being played in the area.
That is all about to change!
DINING WITH THE BLUES
Enter Bubba‘s Fish Haus & Blues Company, located in the former TC Traders
building in the Cherryland Complex at the corner of Garfield and South
Airport, which plans to open the first week of January. The vision
of the Flint-based Blue Collar Gourmet Restaurant Group and Traverse City-based restaurant consultant Matt Videki, Bubba‘s plans to offer the blues
and a lot of it.
“We plan to have the best in blues bands from Detroit, Chicago and St. Louis
each weekend and during the summer months we will offer live entertainment
every night of the week,“ said Videki, Bubba‘s general manager. “We have
opened and brightened the place up and we will have room for 200 plus for
our live shows.“
Videki saw the need for consistent blues music offerings in the area.
“First of all, we will be a lot easier to find then the Kodiak, and I think
this community has been asking for this type of thing for sometime, so I see
us answering the call,“ he said. “I think when you combine the music
with our fresh seafood concept and the décor of the place this will be a hot
spot in the community.“
ART OF THE BLUES
Décor? Enter photographer David Fox.
“Yeah, we are going to have an ‘Art Bubba Deco‘ look,“ said Videki. “When we
started to develop this project we had a few people suggest that we get with
David Fox. I did some checking and found that Fox had a national reputation
for his photography of blues bands and musicians. We looked at his work and
were sold on incorporating into our theme.“
At first, several photos will be laminated into the walls at Bubba‘s;
eventually the restaurant will incorporate framed works from Fox. Fox has built a
reputation among blues musicians for his photographic work, which has
appeared in several publications, on album covers, and in the homes of some
of the blues greats. The legendary John Lee Hooker enjoyed the photos Fox
took and one of Hooker‘s favorites of himself was taken by Fox and hung in
Hooker‘s living room.
“I think it is great that Bubba‘s is going to embrace the work of local
artists, besides myself they will have shots taken by Dr. Mark Zimmer,“ said
Fox. “They will also incorporate a good mix of regional blues bands with
Fox and others in the area look optimistically at Bubba‘s as a place that
will feed their blues music souls.
“This company has a track record in Flint and I think they are going about
it the right way,“ said Fox. “They are committed to quality service and
having everything right before they open.“
Fox also believes that Bubba‘s will be a positive force in the entertainment
area of the community.
“I don‘t think this will have a negative impact on the other venues in the
area; rather I see it strengthening the area blues scene,“ said Fox. “We have
developed a reputation in the national blues community for having quality
fans, and when you mix that with the beauty of the area, this becomes a real
appeal for national touring acts. This community has proven in the past that
it supports quality entertainment so I see this venture being quite
successful and the location is perfect.“
A driving force in promoting the blues in the area has been WNMC 90.7 FM;
the station has a large following of blues listeners and Fox sees this as
another appeal to the blues acts who visit the area.
“WNMC has been very influential in keeping blues music alive in our
community. The station profile bands and play the bands music before they
arrive in town and this helps get people to the shows.“
For Northern Michigan fans of “The Blues,“ next year looks very promising, and
fortunately that is just a few weeks away. Videki is planning a kickoff
weekend in early January with a major blues headliner; stay tuned to The
Express for details.
To learn more about David Fox and his photography visit
his website at www.davidlfox.com
(231) 947-6899. For additional information on Bubba‘s visit