I have been in love with music my entire life. From the early days of banging on my mother’s good pots and pans (when she wasn’t home) to the time I began to learn how to read and write music, melody has always been a part of who I am. I took piano lessons for ten years, and also joined band briefly in high school. I finally was able to get my first drum set on my 12th birthday at the Port Huron Music Center. My mother agreed that she would help pay for half of it. I beat the shit out of that drum set day and night to the point of having family members forcibly remove me from playing (Apparently drums are really loud?).
I have played with many musicians in different community bands, string orchestras, brass and wind ensembles, and various garage and basement projects. Along the way I have learned to play guitar, and bass as well as a plethora of percussion instruments.
I’ll never forget that one beautiful sunny Tuesday evening. I had finished work early for the day and decided to get out of the house and go for a walk. I decided to walk around the downtown area from my home (which is a good mile). I was strolling along the river when a little boy, who was fishing, approached me. I smiled and acknowledged him as I continued to walk. He smiled back and said, “Hi, are you going to Lynch’s tonight?” As you could imagine I was quite taken aback by this boy who couldn’t have even been tall enough to even see over a bar. Maybe I misheard him? Curious, I stopped and took the bait. “Um, well… I know there is an open mic night going on tonight, but I’m not going” I said. What the boy said next still rings in my ears today. He looks up at me and says “You should go, throw your net on the other side and you will catch some big fish”. Before I could even begin to process what was happening, or what the hell he was talking about, the mysterious boy giggled and walked away carrying his bucket and fishing pole in his hand.
After that encounter, you bet my ass I went to open mic. Sure enough, some of the other band members of The Haberdasher approached me about joining their band as a new drummer. It wasn’t until months later after being in the band and understanding the stories of the The Haberdasher, that I even made the connection that I had met The Haberdasher that day. I can only interpret our encounter as destiny; a nudge to put me on the right path. Why he appeared to me the way he did as little boy I will probably never know or understand, but I hope that we can meet vis-à-vis one day again.
When I was in 4th grade, I drew a picture of myself in what I expected to be my career. Apparently my youthful mind decided i was to be a scientist; lab coat, short hair, glasses, beakers, centrifuge, and a microscope all at my disposal. The microscope was the real deal breaker for me, something about being able to see what could not be seen, peering into an entirely different world that makes up our own. Who would've guessed that my career goals as a ten year old wouldn’t be the path that I stayed on.
It wasn’t until I was seventeen that my love for guitar truly blossomed and almost everything else fell by the wayside. After graduating high school I constantly moved around allowing my art, and love of music and theater guide me to my next destination. I became involved with a few musical projects along the way but nothing that ever stuck.
While living in Chicago i was going through some major depression and anxiety. Certain events had left me wanting to return to Michigan and re-discover my purpose. It wasn’t long after that I had met Rob and Ryan. I can’t say for certain the first time that the Haberdasher presented himself to me, he does love living in his shroud of mystery. He could’ve been the old lady in white at a club in Chicago, or the Jamaican businessman at a street festival, or the painter in the alleyway. Each one had asked me about my life and reassured me that I was on the right path. In those moments I knew I was exactly where I needed to be and saw the path straighten in front of me. All I know now is that the first meeting is irrelevant and the only thing that matters now is the telling of his stories and the discovery of my role in his journey. My vision is becoming clear.
Ryan Michael George McInnis, Ryno. I began writing music at around 8 I'm told. Started with keyboards but found it difficult to sing so I picked up a guitar. I played in many bands over the first several years of my musical journey, ranging in genre from acoustic to industrial to full blown metal.
Then the dark times came. My anger and disillusionment with society drove me to the very precipice of madness. It was then that The Haberdasher spoke to me. I went on a sojourn of sorts to the Red Rocks of Arizona. I had picked up a local artists recording of Native American Drum and chant music and was listening on repeat for days when one morning it unexpectedly snowed. I was on my regular morning jog through what had become an even more surreal landscape when He appeared to me. A rather large and beautifully crested bird landed on a trail marker near me and beckoned me near. As I approached he flew further down the trail. Each time I got nearer him he did the same, leading me down the path, until finally he ceased to advance and stood perched on a snow covered cactus. I knew he meant for me to stop as well so I began to look around me. To my left the wild expense of Red Rock country during a blizzard. To my right, the face of a giant rock formation and there in stone wall, a tiny cave. I decided this must be what I had been lead here to see. The cave was just large enough for me to sit inside of out of the snow. So I sat and listened to that music and gazed out on the outlandish vista until the snow stopped falling. To my surprise, when I crawled out of the cave and descended back to the trail, my bird was still there. He lead me all the way back to the trailhead and we said our goodbyes.
This experience changed my life. I picked up music with fervent excitement once more. Started an alternative rock band called The Juxtaposers, started playing the bass guitar and began my inevitable rise back to the light.
More than a decade later it is now evident to me that The Haberdasher was with me that day. He appeared to me as glorious bird. He put me back on the path, both literally and figuratively and has guided my steps ever since. He lit my darkness with the wisdom of the elders and set me free from the tangled thorns of anger. I now walk the path.
Robin Schweihofer (Robin)
I am a self-trained musician. My early music career days came from bluegrass, which my uncle taught me. The first time I met The Haberdasher, I was on my first ever solo vacation. I had gotten lost and took an exit off of the freeway because I was hoping to find gasoline, which I was dangerously low on. I drove down this road, surrounded by corn fields on each side. I kept driving, driving, and driving; just hoping to find a gas station. At a point I realized that I had driven too far, and it appeared that there were not going to be any gas stations on the exit I had taken. I decided that I had to turn around and get back to the
freeway. Going back a quarter mile down the same road, strangely enough there was a gas station on the left hand side. It should not have been there, and I know there was no way that I had passed by it without noticing. But sure enough, there it was so I pulled up and started pumping gas into my car. After a few moments had passed, the attendee came out: a small Asian man with a slightly greasy comb over and thick rimmed glasses. I paid him for my gasoline and I asked if there was anything else nearby, and he simply replied “You are.” He smiled at me and shook my hand, and then I got back in by car and drove away. Luckily, I made it to Traverse City unscathed thanks to The Haberdasher.