Mr. B: Riding through Hell ... and beyond


Pianist Mr. B, aka Mark Braun, and his band, the Joybox Express, are cycling and gigging — hauling Mark’s piano and a full band’s worth of equipment –  from Holland to Detroit, July 2-15th, with a finale at the Concert of Colors — and they’re sharing their adventures with MT blog readers.

Yesterday we rolled through Hell

really. The small town was on our route; was it only coincidence that a new method of "cost saving" paving forced us to roll over a tarry goo, sucking us into the road and down into ... whoa

  I gotta  watch myself, that's the delirium-ebullience-rage talking. That's all part of life as a piano-biker when you travel in the heat on roads with no shoulder, where for a time the locals seemed to tip the scale of appreciation of us in the other direction.

Birds were flying (no wings), angry exhortations abounded, yet we rode strong and true for 32 miles, over some very trying hills. Jim Gilligan was on board pushing, as Brian had to leave us for a day. Jim is a wonderful, positive presence, and a very strong rider – we flew through the course. Lance "Legstrong" Wagner, our fiddle player and water hauler, rode like a champ, pushing the piano up the hills with one hand as he steered with the other.  He managed all this as he hauled a trailer filled with ice, water, Gatorade (lots), food and tools. Lance is wise beyond his 21 years, is a great teammate, and a pleasure to be with every minute. His fiddle playing is a great bonus; it allows us to present a whole other vibe during our gigs.

Today should be a great day. We're on our home turf, rolling after a 1-2 p.m. concert at the Chelsea Library with a group ride following at 2:30. We'll end up at the Wolverine State Brewing Co for a 4:30 celebration gig!  We'll roll with a lot of riders who will join us – many of them have used our downloadable Group Riders Pledge Form ( Home Page) to raise dollars for groups they are representing. They form "teams." In this way the JBE can benefit a host of charities all at one time, the enthusiasm of those who garner pledges being the only limiting factor. It's very exciting to see our idea succeed, and to imagine the long range implications for our 2012 trip down the Mississippi. (Did I mention that we’re traveling down the Mississippi next year? More on that later.)

Well, I've got to prepare for a busy, busy day, so, until the next time. Thanks for following, and please Like us on Facebook - spread the word!

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