Music really did take over my life. It’s hard to think about my life and who I would be as a person without my drastic love for music. And now, I’m running a DIY venue named after my dog in Boaz, Alabama.
Words from Haden:
I really didn’t know real, raw, great music existed until around two years ago. I remember that date it all changed and everything. On March 1st, 2014; I heard Peach//The Front Bottoms for the first time. The Front Bottoms were a real gateway to tons and tons of others bands that felt honest and not at all saturated. A year later, I bought myself my first bass for my 15th birthday. Romana, my Squire P-Bass. I went to my first show on May 2nd, 2015 to see Tigers Jaw at The Masquerade. I think if I’ve had a religious experience, that show was it. I soon started getting more active in the Northern Alabama local music scene. Music really did take over my life. It’s hard to think about my life and who I would be as a person without my drastic love for music. And now, I’m running a DIY venue named after my dog in Boaz, Alabama.
AH: Tell me all about Maggie's
HS: The whole idea of me becoming a promoter and the operator of a venue just kinda happened. It’s kind of a funny story, actually. I was in a band around the end of July with two of my friends. We wrote an EP and we were working to get it done. Around this time I called up one of my very great friends John, who’s in Eyes on Lips, and I told him “Hey, do you guys wanna play a house show with us and it could be our EP release show?” And Eyes on Lips were all for it and we were all pretty excited. So anyway, the band I was in fell through. I was pretty down in the dumps about it, but I did decide to make the show go on for my pals in Eyes on Lips. I remember telling John that I was going to become “The Leslie Knope of Local Music.” When it came time to looking for the location of this show, I struggled. I asked a ton of people I went to school with if they had basements that I could use for a show, but like you could guess, I had no luck. One day, me and my friend Haley were driving around Boaz trying to see if there was anywhere this show this could happen at. Then, I had an epiphany that gave me a feeling up my back that’s hard to forget. We rode to main street and I looked through the windows of a building that my father owned. It was perfect sized and it looked so nice and rustic. I fell in love with the place. The first show at Maggie’s was on September 4th, 2015. Noah Williams and Zack Huitt did acoustic acts before Eyes on Lips performed. 60+ people came and it was amazing. The energy was indescribable. Boaz slept well that night.
AH: Your pretty young, so I can imagine running a venue can be a bit of work. How do you balance school, life, etc. with having the venue?
HS: It can be rough, but I really do have a lot of help; mostly when it comes to me getting around. Since I can’t drive, my best friends have to drag me places all the time (thank you Jessica Rose, Androw, Brady, and Haley for all the gas spent on me). My girlfriend, Jessica Rose, takes a lot of super nice pictures at the shows and she helps me hang the flyers up that my talented cartoonist of a pal, Jacob Haney, draws up for me. The guys from Eyes on Lips have helped tremendously as well. They’ve helped me out with sound equipment and helped provide a PA system at the time that I did not have one. When it comes to juggling school, Maggie’s, and other life activities it really is just about not being lazy, trying not to suck at geometry, and letting everyone know that you have a show in two weeks. At times I really have to go hard on different task and sometimes I gotta eat 6 Key Lime Yoplait Whips because I’m a bad stress eater, but when it comes show day, everything (for the most part) runs smoothly. To sum it up, I just have to keep myself busy and stay productive.
AH: How has Maggie’s been received by your community and the local music community? HS: I think the place has gotten really great reception! We have a lot of regulars and when someone comes for the first time, they tend to become regulars. Things like this don’t tend to happen in Marshall County. It’s not like the place is barren, we have every fast food joint that you could think of. It’s just the area lacks anything with much life. Maggie’s specializes in liveliness, in my opinion. I believe that’s why people seem to really like coming to shows and make their hearing all fuzzy. When it comes to how I became in contact with the bands that play here, it’s mostly from people in bands that I’ve been introduced to by the guys in ExL or through twitter mutuals that are also in bands. From there on, it’s just a thing of “I know this one guy… and he know’s this guy in this one band…” I’m constantly learning about new bands in the area, and it’s crazy that I’m able to learn about new bands as much as I do. And the venue is getting around enough for bands from farther off are asking to play here. My buddy Mike Frazier from Virginia came a couple weeks ago and brought Save Face(NJ) and Second to Last(CA). And in about a week and a half Dying Whale is coming from Atlanta to play here. And I’ve asked a couple bigger bands to come Maggie’s at some point and I’ve gotten some promising replies. Getting connected with different people leads to getting connected to other people and chain keeps going on.
AH: What challenges have you faced starting and running a venue? HS: It’s ridiculous how much I have learned from these past few months. I often look back at myself when I was first starting it all and wince at the foolish mistakes I made; and I’ll probably say that about current me in another 6 months. One of the largest issues I’ve had was sound/microphones/PA. I’d have to burrow Kyle’s PA system a lot. We had a huge show in December to raise money for our soundboard and it was a great success and we raised enough funds for a really nice mixer. I bought two columns speakers and microphones shortly after, so the equipment problem has been put to rest. Hanging flyers can be a huge pain because of, as mentioned earlier, my transportation issue. Little hiccups like microphone problems, slow set ups, mics shocking the lead singer, merch tables, etc. really add to the stress of show days. But after every show, I feel a lot better and have a sense of accomplishment. Every show we’ve had has been great in it’s own way. I haven’t locked up Maggie’s once before and walked away feeling disappointed.
AH: I talked with you awhile about the band you are involved with; tell me a bit about that. HS: Oh boy. I'm really excited. Centre Floral is myself on bass, Jessica Rose on guitar, and Noah Williams on drums. This is mine and Noah’s third band that we’ve started, and this is the first one that’s worked really well. We started on New Year’s Day when Noah and I bought a full drum set for $100 from our last drummer. Funny how that played out. The best way to describe the sound is just un-complex, fuzzy, garage rock. It really is more fun than stressful and I hope the people who listen to it feel the same way. I really wanna make some fun, fuzzy music. We have a good amount of material written so I don’t think the goal to have a full LP out is crazy at all. We’re currently finishing up the four songs that we’re gonna record in my garage and release as a “Hey! We’re a band!” sorta EP. Hopefully it’ll be out by the you’re reading this and if it’s not, it should be really soon. wink emoticon
AH: What are some of your hopes/goals for the future of Maggie’s?
HS: I’d love for Maggie’s to become a venue that people would drive a couple hours out to see a touring band that they really, really enjoy. I want the venue to get out there and attract people from further out. I always want local bands to come but I’d love for the place to become a better known DIY venue for bands across the country and maybe even places outside of the country. That’s a big goal of mine for Maggie’s. It seems outlandish ,but, I believe in this community. I’m not sure if this next bit is a goal or a desire, but I want there to be a cool place to eat on Main Street. There use to be a good-but-lil-pricey BBQ joint but the owner got involved with a pretty bad scandal and fled town, rendering Main Street BBQ-less. I think my life would be perfect if a Bubba Ritos or Giovanni’s Pizza opened on Main Street. If you’re reading this and you’re a higher up at either of these places; there’s a vacant building beside Maggie’s.
Thank you to Jessica Rose Turner and Courtney Padgett for the nice pictures :~)