When AlphaGraphics moved, we landed next to a landmark, Grant’s Lounge. Many of my customers don’t have a clue about Grant’s when I reference it giving directions, but Grant’s is at the very least a landmark to my particular generation of kids who grew up amidst the music of Macon in the early 1970s. I generally don’t find it productive to ruminate around in my memories, but our close proximity to the Macon club that was frequented by so many of the Capricorn bands has stirred up some fond recollections.
I can’t say that I was a regular, but I was there some. I remember my first time in Grant’s very well. It was probably in 1975. I was friends with a couple of the Allman Brothers roadies that had a little side band called the Almost Brothers. They were playing at Grants on the weekends when they were in town and I had been invited to come and jam. I played drums . . . not very well, but that really didn’t matter in those days. Macon musicians were a generally friendly bunch and they took a lot of kids under their wings.
For some reason, the first memory that sticks were the photos of enormous nude women behind the bar. I had certainly seen photos of naked women before, but not of such magnificent girth. I never did find out why the photos were there or who had the fetish for large women. That day, we set up the equipment and did a quick sound check. At some point, I remember Mr. Ed Grant walking in front of the stage and lifting an eyebrow in my direction. I was a skinny kid of 16 with big hair. Drinking age was 18.
As I climbed out from behind the drum kit, I saw Mr. Grant again. He motioned to me and I walked over.
“Young man, do you know who I am?” he asked.
“Yessir, Mr. Grant,” I responded. My scrawny kid impression of Mr. Grant was big and imposing.
“Follow me. I want to show you something,” he said as he walked around the stage. We approached a door. “Young man, do you know what that is?” he questioned.
“Yessir, Mr. Grant, it’s a door,” I replied. I wasn’t missing the obvious.
“No, young man,” he stated, “that there’s the back door. The police, they come in the front door, you go out the back door. Understand?”
I did. And I remembered Mr. Grant’s admonitions during later visits to the club, but I never had to go out the back door. Grant’s was a very cool place in those days, with a fascinating clientele. The young musicians were there. The musicians that made it were there. Older musicians that liked to hear the young musicians were there. There were black people, white people, young and old and no one seemed to mind. It was a good time.
Mr. Grant died a couple of years back, I understand. The club is still open, though you wouldn’t know it in the daytime. Beautiful wife and I worked late on Saturday a couple of weeks ago and the joint was hopping. The clientele and the music are way different, though. The building is decrepit, though I’m not really sure that it wasn’t just as horrible back in the day. It’s been purchased by the same investors that sold and remodeled our building, and they’ll be restoring Grant’s when they find a buyer.
I don’t even drink anymore, but I’ve found myself wishing for a neat little club or restaurant next door where young people and older folks and black people and white people could go. They could listen to good music or play a little music and laugh and talk and get along and have a good time and nobody would mind. I’m older, and I’d like it a little neater and cleaner than the Grant’s I remember. . . and I’d prefer to skip the naked photos of large women.