The 22nd annual Arts, Beats, & Eats Festival is taking place this weekend, estimated to bring in over 330,000 visitors to Downtown Royal Oak. The festival runs Friday, August 30th, until Monday, September 2nd featuring over 200 performances, highly-ranked Juried Fine Arts Show, and some of the best local cuisine in the Detroit Area.
Arts, Beats, & Eats is located Downtown Royal Oak between 11 Mile Rd and Lincoln Ave, Main St and Lafayette Ave. Check out more event details including ticketing and parking information here!
We had the opportunity to sit down with a few artists performing at the 2019 Arts, Beats, & Eats Festival, including So Called Ghost, The Fruits, Aim Lower, Slowfoot, and The Muggs. Here’s what they had to say about the upcoming event:
What is your favorite aspect of Arts, Beats, & Eats? If this is your first time performing, what are you most excited about?
So Called Ghost
So Called Ghost: Our favorite aspect of AB&E is probably the gathering of such great local talents in each category. Arts, crafts, food and music we usually wouldn’t have time to explore and enjoy is brought to one central location. This is our first time playing this festival and we’re most excited just to get up and show the people what we’ve got.
The Fruits: This is our second year performing at AB&E and we’re berry excited to be a part of it. We love the entire atmosphere. Everyone is just down there enjoying themselves. It’s nice to play a small part in what makes this such a cool Labor Day tradition.
Aim Lower: Being in a local band is strictly a DIY undertaking – as is being an artist, or a cook trying to start your own business/food truck. It’s a lot of work getting your craft out to people, and the risks far outweigh the rewards in most cases. Arts, Beats, & Eats is a rare event that not only provides people with a platform to showcase their art, but a major platform alongside more nationally recognizable artists ensuring that a lot of people will be there. That is both our favorite aspect, and what we are most excited for.
Slowfoot: Our favorite aspect of AB&E is the gathering of so many people from all over to have a good time. Music, food, and art really do tie us all together. This is our first time on the festival we are most excited to play our original music in front of a great crowd.
The Muggs: This is actually our 7th or 8th time playing AB&E throughout our 19 year career as a rock band. It’s always special to play in front of your hometown in a festival setting. AB&E has always been so good to The Muggs and we never have taken that for granted. We always play with such ferocity, like it’s always our last show ever!
You have the beats covered, so what types of arts and eats are you looking forward to at the festival?
So Called Ghost: The examples of glass art, photography and woodwork we’ve seen online looks wildly impressive. As for the eats, we’re collectively very excited about the Lockhart’s BBQ being there that weekend! We’ve heard great things and we certainly have a soft spot for amazing BBQ.
The Fruits: As far as the eats go, we’re all about anything and everything fruit! 🍉🍋🍓 As far as art goes, we saw a store last year that made ceramics and bowls shaped as fruit. We made sure we bought some stuff from him.
Aim Lower: I think we would all agree that outside of music, the eats is probably what we’re most excited for. I’ll be looking for as much BBQ as possible.
Slowfoot: WE LOVE BURRITOS! We also really love surrealistic art, avant garde and the obscure.
The Muggs: I always look for lighter snacks these days. Anything veggie will do. I know Dannymuggs loves any type of BBQ and Zach, our drummer, gets his kicks on a sugar high! As far as arts go, I’ll look around and survey the tents. I’m a necklace guy! So think Shannon Hoon, in that Blind Melon vid, “No Rain”!
Tell us a little about yourself! Where are you from? How did you get involved in music – and in your style of music?
So Called Ghost: We’re all born and raised Michiganders! Most of us live in the Metro Detroit area right now. We’ve all been in the same circles of the local music scene for a while. One day we all just happened to be finished with or on hiatus from our respective projects and thought we should try this particular combination. We’d all been fans of each other’s talents throughout the years, so this is kind of a personal super-group to us. Tanner’s singing is heavily influenced by an array of Soul artists, and Frankie (guitar), Brendan (bass) and Robbie (drums) have a strong inclination towards a technical approach to their musicianship. All of our previous experiences and individual inspirations have created what we consider the backbone of our band which is tight, technical grooves, silky vocals and blistering riffs.
The Fruits: We’re based out of Berkley. All three of us are gigging musicians and decided to form a band. We play different styles separately from jazz to acoustic to country to rock.
Aim Lower: We all grew up in the metro Detroit area – 3 of us having grown up in Westland. We all have different genres of music that inspire us, but we all collectively have pop punk music in common. We all grew up on bands like Blink-182, New Found Glory, Sum 41, and Taking Back Sunday, so when we decided to get together and start writing songs, that style with the members we have is just naturally what came out. I wouldn’t say that we consciously thought amongst ourselves “Hey, let’s be this type of band.” It just organically happened that way.
Slowfoot: We are from Waterford, MI. We’ve all been playing music since we were kids. The world brought us together to form this rockin’ band! We play soul, blues, funk, rock, fusion. Hard to describe with a single genre.
The Muggs: The Muggs were born and bred in Detroit. East side specifically. Danny & I fell hard for The Beatles when we were children. We met in high school (ole Notre Dame on Kelly Rd & 8 Mile Rd) and then when we were 18 years old, we fell hard for the blues (both American & British). British blues bands like Peter Green’s Fleetwood Mac, Savoy Brown & American blues bands like Paul Butterfield, Mike Bloomfield, B.B., Muddy & the Wolf. The blues heavily influenced The Muggs’ sound of combining rock AND the blues. Dannymuggs is one hell of a songwriter & he rips it on lead guitar!
What do you think sets Detroit apart from other cities like Chicago or New York, as far as the music scene is concerned?
So Called Ghost: That’s hard for us to say. We haven’t done any touring yet to other major cities like Chicago or New York. For our experience so far in our 2+ years as a band, Detroit local music is very tight-nit in terms of band/audience interaction, both on and off stage.
The Fruits: All three are great music cities with a rich musical history. One thing I can say about Detroit is that the people involved in the music scene are very friendly. When someone from Detroit wins, we all win. I feel like Detroit artists tend to stick together and support each other which is a really cool thing.
Aim Lower: New York, Chicago, LA… hey have the benefit of SOOO MANY people flocking to live there. Detroit is a major city, but always just a step behind, always on the come up. And I think that fuels a lot of the attitude of artists here locally. A rock band from Detroit has to work twice as hard as a band from Chicago or New York. I think that you can hear that chip on our shoulder and that hunger to prove that we’re just as good if not better than them in a lot of the music that comes from here. That hunger sets us apart.
Slowfoot: What sets Detroit apart is our attitude towards music. All the bands in the scene here are all about giving 100% of their soul to the music. Without soul, music is worthless.
The Muggs: I think that Detroit has more of a close knit musical community, whereas Chicago and New York are more fragmented due to their sheer size. I’ve been enjoying live, local music for 26 years now and it’s always been world class. Be it the Detroit blues scene, rock, garage, country, jazz, avant garde, all of these genres and scenes, they are all great. There are so many great bands in Detroit. I always encourage people who love music to get out in Detroit, Hamtramck & Ferndale especially, to see what they’re missing and support live music.
What are your favorite places in the city to perform?
So Called Ghost: The Loving Touch in Ferndale, The Shelter in Downtown Detroit and The Sanctuary in Hamtramck have been some of our favorite venues so far.
The Fruits: Obviously AB&E is a great place to perform. We headlined DETxDET at The Loving Touch this year which was a blast. It’s an incredible festival put on by Melissa Rowe where current Detroit bands cover famous Detroit artists. This past year we performed music by Madonna which is something we’ll never forget.
Aim Lower: The Shelter is by far our favorite venue that we’ve had the privilege to play in Detroit. The history of the venue speaks for itself getting to play there was an amazing moment for us as a band. I believe it was our best performance as well.
Slowfoot: Old Miami is a fun club, we performed in front of the RenCen a few times that was a blast. We LOVE the Crofoot in Pontiac, and Callahan’s Music Hall before it closed.
The Muggs: Cadieux Cafe bar/restaurant/music venue is The Muggs’ home base on the east side of Detroit and has been since the early 90’s. Danny & I cut our blues teeth at Nancy Whiskey’s in Corktown back in the mid 90’s. In Hamtramck, the Outer Limits Lounge has taken Metro Detroit by storm as the best venue for garage rock, psych rock and more. The Magic Bag in Ferndale is always a great place to see national musical acts, as we have opened up for some of our heroes (Cactus, Mountain, Savoy Brown) throughout the past several years. Royal Oak Brewery is a blast and I just saw who, in my opinion, are the best party, anthem, rock band in Detroit, the Beggars, just two weeks ago. I could go on and on.
Is there a Detroit legend that has been an inspiration for you in your music?
So Called Ghost: To say any of the Detroit legends directly influence our music might be a bit of a stretch. It carries a different meaning, however, to remember that so many great musicians have come from this same city. It’s special knowing that as time passes and with each show we play, that we are adding to the rich history of Detroit.
The Fruits: There isn’t one particular person, but rather carrying on the traditions that all the Detroit greats have started.
Aim Lower: Iggy Pop is a punk rock legend. So as far as punk rock is concerned, everything starts and stops with Iggy Pop in Detroit.
Slowfoot: Mark Farner, Smoky Robinson, Stevie Wonder, Alice Cooper, MC5…too many to name!
The Muggs: So many. Stevie Wonder could be the best songwriter to come out of Detroit or the world, in fact, one could argue. But then again, there are local legends just as prolific, songwriters like Matt Smith from Outrageous Cherry & the Matt Smith Group. Troy Gregory from Super Birthday, Wendy Case from the Paybacks and currently, Royal Sweets. Johnny, Mikey & Timmy Hentch from the Hentchmen. In the blues scene, greats like Thornetta Davis, Tosha Owens, Smoke Jones and the Freddie King of Detroit, Mr. Rusty Reid. Classic rockers like Johnny Bee Badanjek and Jimmy McCarty from the Rockets & Cactus fame (and more). Great cover band artists like Jody Raffoul, Greasy Carlisi, and Todd Glass of the Jody Raffoul Band, and then who can forget James Wailin and Bobby East from the Reefermen? All these cats are legends to me and have been a strong presence of the Detroit music scene for 20+ years!
What’s next for your band?
So Called Ghost: After AB&E, we’ll have maybe one or two more shows to announce, then after that we’ll be sure to start writing more music!
The Fruits: We’re going to continue recording and releasing singles. After AB&E, we have shows in Detroit, Windsor, Toledo, and Chicago which will keep us busy. We’ll also hopefully be shooting another fruit-based movie/TV parody. So far we’ve done “Summer Lovin’” from Grease and the stairs scene from She’s All That. Basically, what we do is reenact the scene with help from watermelon, pineapple, and other fruits. They’re always a hit on our social media pages.
Aim Lower: Our band has gone through a lot of highs and lows this past year, so nobody really knows right now what’s next for this band. Arts, Beats, & Eats could very well be our last show. But we promise to put all of our effort into making it memorable. We are very grateful for the opportunity.
Slowfoot: We are going into the studio after the summer madness is over to record our first full-length album. We are very excited to put our record out.
The Muggs: Our brand new, 5th studio album entitled Slave To Sound (6th album overall), recorded in Hamtramck at Adam Cox’s amazing studio, is due out late November or early December 2019! Stay tuned to our FB & Instagram pages for more info. Also, http://www.themuggs.com, http://www.themuggs.bandcamp.com & we are on Spotify, Pandora and all AMI/Rowe internet jukeboxes across America, but who’s counting! Haha!