Due to the demands of the job (say, closing the bar late, then arriving early the next day for set-up work), some Royale employees arrive to the occasional shift in less-than-full-freshness. But the balm that soothes any vexed spirit is a quick conversation with colleague Mike Herr. Even the most-faded flower stands tall after a quick exchange of pleasantries with our favorite Mike. Straddling the line between front- and back-of-house duties with aplomb, Mike’s upbeat nature, ready laugh and ability to make the world’s finest vegan chili are all ingredients to co-workers having a better day. We salute Mike Herr in the month of December, though, as noted below, it’s Mike’s work in November that sealed the deal.
Tell us all about your band, Kisser. You went on a recent tour, which took you away from the Royale family for a bit. How’d it go?
This past November was particularly beautiful and important, kinda. My band, Kisser, went on a Middle Western tour through Columbia, Mo, Kansas City, MO/KS, Madison, WI, Beloit, WI, Milwaukee, WI, and Chicago, IL. Madison was the coldest and the whitest. We had to sleep in a nice hotel there. On the whole, the tour was a success for our morale and intake of “experiences” as a band. In general, we play good, heart-and-mind-provoking music I think; but when people disagree, they usually come out with it, probably because I have a face they can trust.
How long have you been playing the drums? And how big of an influence is Neil Peart of Rush on your own playing?
I’ve been messing around on the drums for about a decade now, but only seriously realized and pursued my potential a couple years ago. I don’t think drumming is very important in any real practical, philosophical, metaphysical, or existential way, but I do think it’s very important to me and music, in general. Neal Peart, while I respect some of his drumwork, especially the way he grooves in odd-meter, is mostly a douchebag on the drums. My personal wallet of influences and favorites includes Jimmy Chamberlin of Smashing Pumpkins, Elvin Jones, John Bonham, Rex McMurray, my friend Pat Boland, and many others that I’m too lazy to name.
You’ve done a bit of everything at The Royale over time, both front- and back-of-house. What have been your favorite moments at work?
I have enjoyed working with everyone at the Royale, and doing almost literally every job at the Royale (though I’ve never clocked in as a bartender). Over the year-and-some-change I’ve worked here, I’ve had some good times: a soul-meltingly-slow Vinyl-Side Monday spent watching a light flurry fall on the King of Highways with Matt Grant; Tilnise brewing a curry and taking on the hard facets of geosocial race construction and people I look like in sitcoms with me in the kitchen; shooting hoops with Vejay in the rain; cliff-diving with Winston; high-fiving Francis; making biscuits with Bobo. Ah. I miss Jesus.
Would people be able to find you writing about music on any local websites?
You can find my music writings at http://kdhx.org/blog/author/mikeherr/.