News Column

A Rendezvous to remember

July 18, 2014

By Andrew Gaug, St. Joseph News-Press, Mo.

July 18--Jimmy Green has watched a lot of things come and go at his bar, The Rendezvous, at 619 Felix St., from people and bands to businesses that once neighbored the music venue.

When Green took over the bar in 1994, bars and restaurants like the blues bar The River Club and Maid Rite were still establishments on Felix Street. Originally called The Rendezvous Too lounge, named after the original Rendezvous building that burned to the ground in 1991, it was the first new business to open on the rebuilt Felix Street in 1993.

"I've seen a lot of things change Downtown in 20 years since I've been down here. It's gotten a lot busier down here," he says. "It was kind of a ghost town ... I think there was only like one dress shop and a couple of office buildings."

During those two decades, Green moved the venue's outside deck stage inside, where it's been hallowed ground for any music act in St. Joseph to perform at some point.

In fitting fashion, both stages will be used starting at 9 p.m. Saturday as Blue Oyster Culture Club and Full Power'sTodd Cooper host a 20th Anniversary Jam for Jimmy Green to honor his legacy in the local music scene.

"I've always said 'If you've been in a band 10 minutes in this town, you already owe something to Jimmy,'" Cooper says.

That debt of gratitude is owed from bands ranging from Cooper's own to Radkey to out-of-town regulars like The Melismatics.

Any musician is invited to come out on Saturday to perform covers and originals. Heck, if you're a comedian, you can perform a set. There will be no cover, and the fun will last until closing time.

"Originals, covers, there's no rules," Cooper says. "There's going to be a drum set, there's going to be bass, and anybody that wants to bring an acoustic guitar (can) ... I just open it to anybody and I'm hoping other people show up."

Unlike an open-mic night, there's no allotted time, which Cooper is hoping will cause some entertaining chaos, a fitting tribute to Green, who's found some of the best times at the bar working in that atmosphere.

"I'm hoping for a bunch of good feelings and a (expletive) load of funny mistakes," Cooper says, laughing.

Band members from all different genres can collaborate on, say, a Ramones or Slayer cover.

"I like that feeling when you're playing music and you see a buddy of yours and (you say) 'Come on up here and help me with this' and you'll jam on a song. I've always really liked that, that camaraderie," Cooper says.

Hoping he'll be able to get the night off, because a bar owner's job is never done, Green is excited about the possibility of seeing some old faces, maybe even some parents with their 21-year-old kids.

"I've seen people come in when I first bought the place and now I'm seeing their kids come in. Twenty years is a long time and you see people grow up," he says.

Much like Green has appreciated any band that has graced his stage, even with its ragged carpet that Cooper says, lovingly, gives him nightmares, he's equally appreciative to the regulars that have allowed him to live the dream.

"It's kind of a fun job. You get to see your friends all the time and hang out with them and you get to laugh with them," he says. "Somebody asked me 'How much longer you do that? How much longer are you going to run that place?' Until it becomes work or a job where I don't want to get up. As long as I'm enjoying it, I'm going to keep doing it."

Andrew Gaug can be reached at Follow him on Twitter: @SJNPGaug.


(c)2014 St. Joseph News-Press (St. Joseph, Mo.)

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Source: St. Joseph News-Press (MO)

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