“I thank my friends, family and most of all, my band mates for the experiences they’ve given me.”
Over a year ago, our friend Simon Forster, who owns a pub called the Aspinall Arms in Northern England, invited us to do a final Ghettobillies performance in his neck of the woods for Halloween 2008. We thought it was just an idea and weren’t too sure it would come to fruition. At the time we were just finishing our final Ghettobillies show in the U.S.A. (little did we know there would be 2 more shows after that). As months past, Simon pushed his drunken, happy time, fist pumping, rock-n-roll agenda more and more and eventual got us to agree to a simple 2 show event, as long as we didn’t play any other shows in the U.K., ensuring a good turn out for his venue. The band began preparation a month in advance with rehearsals and costumes for the first night on Halloween.
Befitting of a band that never got signed to a record label, but instead succeeded and spread across the land by word of mouth and secrets told in dark corners of late night parties and smoky quaint tiny pubs, the 2 shows took place in a small town village hall called Hurst Green, located about 3 miles from Simon’s Pub, near Clitheroe. The band and friends stayed upstairs, above the Aspinall Arms pub and enjoyed their fine hand pumped ales and delicious homemade food. Our last day there, Simon’s sister Sally and her family took us on a tour of a nearby boarding school called Stonyhurst where J.R.R. Tolkien’s sons attended and the inspiration for Lord of the Rings was hatched.
The shows were of course a wonderful success.
Our dear friend Simon Grinder picked us up from the airport and served as the bands personal chauffeur and driver throughout the trip. The Grinders also put us up before and after the shows at their house where quantum amounts of alcohol was consumed (as per usual) and old friendships were made even more concrete.
This trip and final shows were a closing of a chapter in many peoples lives; mostly my friends, John, Bong and Derek, but there were countless others who traveled so far to see the show and sing along one more time, before wishing us luck, who also felt the sadness of it’s conclusion. Our lives have been changed forever and transformed because of the path we chose to take so many years ago, long before we could have even imagined where this idea of a silly band from the rural countryside in Michigan would take us. It was a path less traveled; filled with joys, sorrows, loss and triumph. A path that proved to be both extremely difficult, but also unimaginably rewarding. This band has given me most of the close friends I have today and the world’s greatest wife and a future that is far brighter than it would have been had I not chosen to continue against all odds to try and succeed, and we did succeed. In a way none of us could have foreseen. We succeeded in a way that will far outlast a few moments on the radio.
I thank my friends, family and most of all, my band mates for the experiences they’ve given me.
I have been shown time and time again the enduring wonder and kindness that human beings can bestow on one another and I am so lucky to be the receiver of so many gifts from so many.
It’s been incredible. Thank you all.
Below is a recording of the last night of the last song of the very last show of the band Ghettobillies.
As long as I have my CD’s, the music will never die. I have my memories of all the nights by the fire at the cabin pissing off the neighbors playing your recordings.I will always remember the times spent with you guys and be able (in my old age) to think back to better times and our friendship but most of all the connection you created with so many with the words and music of the Ghettobillies.
GO ROBB GO!!!!!!!!!
Almost 7 Years ago I met Kip and on our 2nd or 3rd date he played a Ghettobillies CD and told me they were quite a band to see perform live. I was 17 at the time and unable to get into a bar. Eventually we worked our way around that issue and it was not long before our dates revolved around the GB tour schedule, and not long after that came the new friends. Today I can say that almost all of our friends are from the GBN, and what great friends they are. I don’t know how our relationship would have grown without the GB, but the life, friends, and memories that we have because of them are truly unforgettable.
Dear Ghettobillies –
You will be missed more than you even know. Roy and I have been with you for so long – Roy even longer…we have had some of the best times at Ghettobillie shows. I will truly miss you guys staying at our house, eating, drinking, laughing our asses off – we always looked forward to your company. Some of our best memories are with you guys from the gold dollar to introducing us to the band Fez , to New years eve in Chicago to a night at TC speakeasy where our bill was larger than the band’s tab to Roy’s 30th b’day party.. The Ghettobilles are still my favorite pick me up music and mostly I will miss seeing you guys and wish each and everyone of you, Robb, Derek, John and Matt all the success and happiness you deserve and hope to still stay in touch!! Much love to you all. Marci Frederickson
Wish I could have been there dude.
I remember seeing you guys play in the kitchen of Jason’s house in Fenton and thinking, well, hell, life just doesn’t get much better than this. Thanks for the great ride!!
I really enjoyed the shows I got to see while living in Chicago. I was really blown away by how talented you all were and what great guys you all were to hang out with. I wish you all the very best and look forward to hearing what you will be creating in your future whether it be music or any other medium. I hope to always be in touch. Love, Mishel*
It’s funny Robbie,
I met you sometime before the birth of the Ghettobillies, we faded into mutual obscurity and then I reconnected with you at the end of what appears to be a significant portion of your history. I remember meeting you while in college at UofM through mutual friends and thinking that “this guy will do some cool things in his life”. I’m glad to know that my intuition was,as usual, very correct! The performance is awesome and almost made me feel like shedding a few and , by the way, love the CD!
PS – Maybe Roy can get his equipment back now!?!?! 🙂
HAPPINESS COMES FROM THE JOURNEY. YOU BOYS HAVE TOUCHED ALL OF US AND WARMED OUR SPIRITS ALONG THE WAY.
What great times we all had.Love to all in the GBN we will all meat again.
Thank YOU for some of the most memorable times in my life! I am a better person for having met the GB and learned from words of wisdom both on and off stage (mainly off stage!).
There will always be a niche in our hearts for you. Just let us know which geriatric facility you’ll be rocking out at in 60 years, and the crowd will surely follow.
Love, love, love,
Thank you guys so much for some of the best times of my life! Your music has truly helped change me. I was in a really bad place in my life when some friends and I went skydiving. Long story short, they (Napoleon) accidentally put ‘Hiding Out’ on my DVD. As I listened to that song, watching my video, I realized there was so much more I wanted out of life. Thank you!!
Since that night, I have been a huge fan, spreading the word. I hate to see you go, but thank you for the many memories. I wish everyone of you luck in all you do. You will forever remain my favorites.
See you at the next last show, fuckers.
It’s sad to see this all come to an end. Wish I’d had the chance to hop on the GBN train sooner but am still happy I got to ride at all. There’s no one like you guys, the music will still go on but nothing will ever top a live performance. Thank you so much for all the time, sacrifices, good times, an good music.
P.S. The England pictures are amazing, great work.
It’s been about 13 years since the first time I saw the Ghettobillies play in the basement at Johnny’s. They have never ceased to make me anything but happy and I am immensely proud to have worked with them on a number of occasions. And regardless of whether or not they really ARE done playing together, I am lucky to have four very good, and very talented friends.
Nooooo!!! I never got to see you play live! My life will never be complete now. 🙁 Maybe I’ll catch you on the flipside when you do a comeback tour 20 years from now. Looking forward to it.
Four years!? Has really been only four years? It seems longer. It was New Years 2004 the first time I saw the Ghettobliilies. I didn’t know any of the songs, but I was impressed that you guys played three sets without one cover song. I went to my first after party that night where I was promptly ditched by the one person I knew, but I still had a good time chatting with folks and the band.
I started going to shows after that, bought all the CD’s, just kinda hung around in the background. Had a brief conversation with Derek about Paczki Day.
Then, came the Emergenza Battle of the Bands and an anonymous phone call congratulating them on their wins, followed by a trip to Boston to make sure they didn’t win the whole thing.
Then postings on the message board, road trips, meeting many wonderful people, jumping out of airplanes and eventually getting a definite article added to the front of my name.
I will miss the shows and all that kind of fun, but I am very happy that I have gotten to know each of you personally and consider all of you friends. You know I will be there to support each of you in whatever you decide to do next.
The band is done, the music lives on, the road goes on forever and the party never ends.
Robb, Derek, Bong, John, (and Babby, Jason and the entire GBN)… there are so many derogatory and insulting things I could say here, but I won’t. They’ve already been said a thousand times before. What I’d like to say is that your friendship and your music has indeed changed, and likely saved my life. I won’t be lengthy with this, but what I’m doing now, and the people in my life… most of that wouldn’t be here without having known you all. I probably also would not have ruptured a testicle. I just wanted to say thank you.
Love to you all, and long live Milky The Clown!
Almost four years ago now after leaving Chicago for the first time Scott stopped and picked me up on the way to the Detroit area to see you guy. That was my first gettobillies experiance. Since then I have tried to go to as many shows as I could and introduce my friends to your music. I havent been able to make it to any of the last shows unfortunately but the CDs are always playing. Even down here in the bible belt of Kentucky people are always asking who Im listening to.
You are amazing people and an amazing band. The good time will be remembered and missed. I have yet to find another live performance in a bar that even comes close to the energy you poured out on the stage every night.
Good luck to each of you as the path continues on. Thanks for the memories!!!
I still have a hazy memory of Robbie giving me a flyer for a Halloween party at Johnny’s, possibly at the same time Dina introduced us – Jason was in a grass skirt, Derek was Gilligan, and I can’t remember what Conaway was – but it was just jaw-dropping awesome. I couldn’t believe how great the songs were, how great the singing was, and what a goofy family vibe had already surrounded the whole thing.
In the “formative” years (’98-01), people seemed to come from nowhere to give the band a boost: Amy Bryson helped get a lot of initial attention as well as forwarded Some Reseev to the partner of some asshole named Charlie Buckets; Hal Soper and Planet Ant, who really made Butterface and the entire operation possible; Marci&Roy, Audrey&Dave, Leo&CeCe, and others who kicked in generously, including some dude named Jim Reese, who gave us $1000 and then disappeared (and I’m forgetting some others, I know!); Mike & Rhonda at SitesandSounds, who put in insane amounts of hours on the website; Vervate and Ian who bridged gaps on the drums; and of course, all the guest musicians who were somehow talked (I mean, bribed) into going into the studio, but they’re probably credited more or less accurately on the discs.
None of knew what the fuck we were doing, but it seemed like the right thing to do, and I’d say it all panned out pretty well.
Thank you, Ghettobillies!
It’s hard to believe that it’s all over. No more shows? Ever? That is a hard pill to swallow.
I have so many wonderful memories from the Ghettobillies shows. I remember the first time I saw the three of you (Robbie, Derek and Jason) play in Messina’s pull barn/garage– way, way back in the day. I also remember going to that really cool Speakeasy under someones house in Ann Arbor when I was barely 21. I did spend my 21st birthday with you guys at The Heidelberg. Remember some jerk came in and ripped off the cash box at the door. Leaving you guys with no money for the gig. A couple of us went around person to person to recollect money so you guys could at least get paid something for your performace. (People liked you guys so much that they paid twice to see you!) I have memories from The Blind Pig (The 8 people, fully dresses, in the over flowing hot tub. Another birthday of mine.) Garages, house parties, bars Up North, GB headquarters in Chicago, weddings, benefits, my memories are long, very, very long. You could say that the soundtrack to my late teens, all of my 20’s, and the beginning of my 30’s could be put to Ghettobillie music. 🙂
The music aside…Robbie, Derek, John and Matt, you guys are wonderful people and great friends. I hope that we can all still stay in touch even after the music as died down. You should all be proud of what you accomplished over the years. You, and your music, are loved by many. I wish nothing but the BEST for you four. Cheers to a great ride!
Love always, Sharon
I am a wreck!!!!Bombarded with memories, some 20 years old!!! You are my favorite band,and not just because I know you, I mean, I really know you!!! ANd not just because of my brother,Hartland, or Ann Arbor/Ypsi, Toledo, Chicago, the late night sleep overs, the nude me and jacquizzies (i spelled it that way on purpose) my excellent Thai cury, and your sassy thongs, and not only because of the illicit drug use, or dirty hippies,the introduction to my husband, and your amazing gift at his benefit. All these reasons I am so grateful for, but you are my favorite band not only because of those things, but because you are really, really good at rockin my face right off my head. Remember, “Yay you guys!!!” I started that. And you made it happen!
Memories…like the corners of my mind…
It seems like a couple of lifetimes ago that I first saw the Ghettobillies opening for TOBASOL at the Blind Pig. All I can clearly remember is that the little one was wearing a polka dot shirt, I was pretty sure he was gay, and being suddenly struck by how flipping awesome the band was…it was like a light went on.
That summer before y’all (meaning Robbie and Derek) moved to Chicago was one of the best I can remember, and I must say in retrospect seems both eternal and far too brief. (I may have been a phantom fan since then, but I will always be a fan.) Thanks for the walk, the music, and the memories.
I hope you guys know how much joy you brought to all of your fans’ lives…that joy is a rare and special gift, and I would like to be so presumptuous to say, on behalf of everyone who ever heard you or saw you play live, thank you for that gift.
Love to all,
Just wanted to thank you for the years of great music & for the night we saw you in Big Rapids, MI. in the middle of a massive snow storm. We drove up from Detroit just to see you. Had the time of our life, even if we were the only ones in the bar. You did a full blow out show for just for the 4 of us! It was great meeting you all, and hands down the best time we’ve ever had. You will surely be missed by anyone whoever saw you perform or have ever heard one of your songs. Bravo!!!
It’s comments and shared memories such as these that made it all worth while. Thank you for the Thank You.