What brought you to Ann Arbor?
I came here in with four friends in 1979 for an opportunity to open a bar. We opened Rick’s (on Church St.) with an investor, working the bar for a few years without paychecks; we lived on tips and pooled our money to live together in one house. We worked and ate at the bar and built up the business.
How have things changed in Ann Arbor over the years? I am not sure how much things have changed actually, I think it may just be a matter of my perspective as I get a little older. The university has expanded its reach, drawing a broader range of students both geographically and culturally.
What are you most proud of working at the Michigan Theater? The drive and passion of the people I work with. We provide world class performing arts from the Ann Arbor Film Festival to the Ann Arbor Symphony while we maintain a strong relationship with our community.
Tell us about your family. My wife and I have four sons. We are rooted in this community. They have all received college degrees here in the State of Michigan and three of our sons live in Ann Arbor while one is attending grad school in Denver.
What one thing would you change about Ann Arbor? I have always loved the live, local music scene here over the years. It is different now, it seems there are fewer venues than in the past, but maybe that is just my perspective.
What is your favorite Ann Arbor tradition? Football Saturdays and the Art Fairs, are times that the city has the opportunity to welcome back so many people.
What was your most interesting celebrity sighting in Ann Arbor? We had Koko Taylor (a Chicago blues guitarist) playing at Rick’s on the same night that Al Jarreau (jazz great) was playing at Hill (Auditorium). Al came to Rick’s to watch Koko and I invited him to sit at the bar and got him a drink. He said “ you guys ( bartenders) have the best job” so I told him to come behind the bar and pour a few drinks. While he was bartending, a guy came up and asked him “aren’t you Al Jarreau?” That guy was (ground floor punk rocker) Iggy Pop. Three legends all at the same time!