Egan’s is opening back up today. Finally. The bar itself though will be barely recognizable. Gone are most of the photos, Christmas lights, memorabilia, trinkets, and do-dads that made the bar we left so unique among Tuscaloosa’s alcohol slinging establishments. The interior walls aren’t green anymore and the bar’s façade has been trimmed in red so as to make it more palatable to the townsfolk that love their Crimson Tide football team above most anything else. The bicycle on the roof, the story behind which no one ever seemed entirely certain of, has been removed.
When I heard about not only those changes, but ones to bar’s operation, I didn’t take it very well. Maybe it was because over the past few months, while everyone else was coming to terms with losing their favorite bar, I was regularly combing through the 30 hours of audio that we recorded for the podcast. Audio that is filled with our friends sharing their hopes that Egan’s would eventually reopen and be not too dissimilar from the way they’d left it. I was sort of locked in time in that last week of Bob’s Egan’s. A lot of those same people that I was listening to were, to me, being bafflingly calm about what was happening to the bar. Some were upset though about the reupholstering that was going on, and we would bellyache amongst ourselves and swap grievances.
My tongue eventually became too unwieldy to hold, and I got into argument after argument about the value of original music and the worth of those sold off nostalgia inspiring do-dads. I even managed to have an all-around embarrassing drunken hollering match with the bar’s new owner.
A month or so ago, a fellow Egan’s goer said something to me that did not seem at all significant at the time. It slid across my brain, and seemingly out of it, like a fat kid on a Slip’n Slide. But the phrase dragged itself back somehow, and it has occasionally been clanging pots and pans together in there ever since. The thing that this person said to me was, “It’s a fuck’n bar, dude.”
Yep. Egan’s, the building itself anyway, is just another fucking bar. I would have preferred that it had stayed just as it was. But, all of those pictures and reminders of the bar’s decades worth of history, the bicycle, even the weird music, it’s all peripheral. None of that was why I spent so much time and money there, and none of those things led me to sacrifice my liver there. No, I gave up my health and potential for financial stability to spend time with people that I love.
Another phrase that’s gotten itself wedged in my brain, but only because I’ve heard it said ad nauseam, is “Egan’s didn’t make the people. The people made Egan’s.” I blame former bartender Billa Dawn for the proliferation of that sentiment. And while I’ve come to accept the statement’s validity, you can blame her and another one of her turns of phrase when I “set ya’ll on fire” if I ever have to hear another person say, “The people made Egan’s.”
P.S. I’ve heard that my screaming match with Mike did not earn me a preemptive bar ban as I’d assumed that it would. I’m steering clear of opening day just to avoid the possibility of dampening any spirits with potential pessimism and bitch’n. But, assuming that the podcast doesn’t earn me a ban, I’ll see you guys soon. Finally, I know where you’ll be.
All of the music in Episode 2 was original and provided to us by artists that have actually had the experience of having people walk through their bands, mid-gig, to get to the pisser. The tunes you heard in this episode were by the following:
BAT – An interesting trio with intelligently written songs covering topics such as arachnid education. It’s hard to come by a CD of theirs, but here is a video of them performing at Egan’s.
Bad Cologne – Another one of Ronnie Lee’s bands, and a thump’n good one at that. Take a look at their Facebook page here.
Ham Bagby and the Seige – Ham is a mountainous man and the Earth’s best chance against aliens looking to start a guitar battle. Buy their live album here, or go watch Ham play live. Unlike a lot of these bands, he’s still at it.
James Spann and the Suspenders – I am both endlessly embarrassed of this and so thankful for the fun times I had doing it. Our music is priceless, so we don’t charge for it. Download it all here for free.
Wretched Flamingo – How in the hell did these guys come out of Mississippi? They were far better than any bunch of kids from Meridian, MS had any right to be. Unfortunately, they hung it up a while back and there isn’t much from them online. If you ever come across anything of theirs though, grab it. You’ll be glad you did.
Special thanks to David Smith for allowing us to use the Egan’s Class Photo. Check out his work at www.dsmithscenes.com. We’d also like to thank Laura Townsend for her photo of Daikaiju raising hell in the Egan’s that was.