Miz and Blues Traveler
Sherman Theater, Stroudsburg, PA
by MIke Mizwinski:
As July was dwindling toward August, our friend Mike Mizwinski took the stage with his band, Miz, at the Sherman Theater in Stroudsburg PA to open for Blues Traveler. We asked him to give us some perspective on what it was like to play that show, to meet up with a band that he saw when he was younger, and to let our readers get a feel for his experiences.
I remember being 15 and watching Blues Traveler (then headlining the Horde Tour) completely rock a near sold out crowd at Montage Mountain and being blown away at the power these five guys can produce. Twelve years later, what an honor it is to get to share the stage with Blues Traveler.
The band MiZ consisted of John Morgan Kimock on drums and Mike Dougherty on bass. Believe it or not, it was only this particular line up’s 3rd time playing a show together.
I’d love to say everything went smoothly and we played the best set of our lives, but that wasn’t the case. With my acoustic guitar sounding a bit like mud through the monitor and not having time to get a good sound check in, we did what we had to do and played the best we could (no disrespect to the sound crew at the Sherman who always does a great job, and worked hard to get us sounding good). One thing I can say is that the energy of the crowd made us play with great enthusiasm and we all had a blast. The place was buzzing by the time we hit, with fans packed right up to the front of the stage. It’s always such a rush to hear the place roar after finishing your first tune. The vibe was definitely strong. We played a brand new tune called “Heels of the Day” and also played a newly arranged version of another brand new MiZ song called “the Brakes”.
At one point, I was looking over at John and Mike during the climatic part of our song “Pinegrove Stomp” and with out saying a word, knowing we were going to take it around just one more time. The wide eyed, smiling look these two had on their face said it all. I love when these type of musical connections happen spontaneously.
After our set, BT proceeded to rock the place for almost two hours. I got to sit on some road cases on the side of the stage and watch them do what they do best. I never knew Popper could play the guitar that well! You can tell these guys have years of experience with working a crowd and delivering great set filled with feel good, catchy music.
One of my favorite memories of the night was hearing Popper shouting over the mic several times during the evening “lets hear it for MiZ!! the royal biz, the holy shiz!” It really doesn’t hurt to have John Popper plugging your band.
And I have to say that I did love getting to hang out with the band backstage after the show. I would just like to say that all of Blues Traveler and their crew are some of the most pleasant (and funny) people I have been around in a long time. Afterward it was amazing to meet all of our new fans and friends out at the merch table during the night. I love talking to people and getting to mingle with the crowd and everyone seemed really pleased with our set.
Mike Miz is out this week with his Grateful Dead tribute band, the Jam Stampede hitting shows in New England and ending on Monday night at the famed Brooklyn Bowl to do a Jerry memorial show, August 9th. That show will include some major special guests including members of New Riders of the Purple Sage and Hot Tuna.
He will continue to perform both with his own band and with the Jam Stampede for the months to come.
To see some of what Miz can do in action, check out the video below for a recent show with Jackie Green. Mike and Jackie get together for a spirited version of the Dead’s Sugaree.