By Steven Neff, Rock At Night Orlando Correspondent
A new column which features articles related to the city of Nashville–The Nashville Chronicles-Edition 1
We at Rock At Night Magazine have ventured out of the nest to start a series on Nashville, Tennessee. Known as “The Nashville Chronicles”, we’ll bring to you our experiences in Music City as we cover the different music venues across the city. After visiting Nashville for the first time, I realized that I had to go back and write about those experiences, hence “The Nashville Chronicles”.
Nashville isn’t just about country music, but is a vast landscape of musical genres that will satisfy the palette of even the most discriminating of music connoisseurs. Nashville is painted in multi-layers of music and trimmed with the hopes and dreams of aspiring artists who make the pilgrimage there to catch the attention of the music royalty that may one day lead to a career. Most will not make it. But for those that do, Nashville is the mecca of ambitious artists and would be music idols.
There are a plethora of music venues in Nashville, each with a personality all their own. Our venue of choice for the first installment of the Nashville Chronicles is The Basement, a little treasure located on 8th Avenue South. Our internet research of local venues had The Basement as a venue of choice on most sites recommending their favorites. The Basement is just that, sitting below a radio station and a fantastic record store known as Grimey’s; which also happens to be the owner of The Basement.
We had the pleasure of talking with owner Mike Grimes about The Basement and discovered that Mike has a passion for musicians as he’s one of their own and he cares about giving artists the chance to be heard as well as giving music lovers an experience they’ll not forget. Our time at The Basement was memorable; so much so, that I’ll be stopping by again. Thanks Mike.
Interview with Mike Grimes of The Basement
Rock At Night: Mike, thanks very much for taking time with us at Rock At Night.
Mike Grimes: Glad to be of service!!
Rock At Night: I just got back from Nashville and had a chance to go to your venue, The Basement. It literally is in the basement, below a radio station and your record store, Grimey’s New and Preloved Music. What a fantastic venue The Basement is! Can you give us a little history on The Basement location as the building itself looks like it has a lot of history and stories to tell.
Mike Grimes: The Basement was opened in 2002, me and a business partner assumed the lease in Feb 2005 after moving Grimey’s upstairs in May 2004 from its original Berry Hill location. Been kicking it 12 lovely years.
Rock At Night: What made you decide to open a concert venue in a basement and when did the venue open its doors?
Mike Grimes: I had a music venue in East Nashville, Slow Bar, that ran from 2000-2003, it closed in Sept 2003.
After the success of that I wanted to continue so I took over the lease of the Basement.
Rock At Night: While looking online for the best venues in Nashville, The Basement is almost always mentioned as one of the top concert locations in Music City. What makes The Basement so special in your opinion?
Mike Grimes: We have a major passion for booking as many different types of music as possible. My history as a musician has given me the insight on how musicians like and deserve to be treated. That has had a lot to do with our success.
Rock At Night: How many shows a week on average are playing at The Basement?
Mike Grimes: Two shows a night Mon-Sat. One show on Sunday and sometimes a 6pm showcase. Approx 15 shows a week.
Rock At Night: What can music fans expect when they head out to The Basement for a night of jams with their favorite bands?
Mike Grimes: They can expect an intimate experience with excellent sound and a feel not unlike the Cavern Club during the Beatles early days.
Rock At Night: I’ve noticed that there’s a multitude of genres playing at The Basement and there’s a lot of talent in these bands. How do you decide who plays The Basement?
Mike Grimes: We receive upwards of 1,000 requests a month. We base our booking on the most compelling requests that will pack the house full of drinkers basically.
Rock At Night: While The Basement is more of a small and intimate venue, you’ve had some well-known bands play there haven’t you? What are some of the biggest bands that have played at The Basement?
Mike Grimes: Metallica, Mumford and Sons, The Lumineers, Sturgill Simpson Band Of Horses, Shovels and Rope, Dawes, Dr. Dog, Kacey Musgraves, Brothers Osborne and Margo Price.
Rock At Night: You’ve opened some other concert venues in Nashville as well. Can you talk a little bit about those locations?
Mike Grimes: Our only other location is The Basement East. 500 cap. Opened in 2005. We have been fortunate to have performances or shows with Cage The Elephant, Alice Cooper, Keith Urban, Luke Combs, Dashboard Confessional, Steven Tyler and tons more.
Rock At Night: In closing, here’s your chance to tell our readers anything we may have left out. Any closing words Mike?
Mike Grimes: Support local live music. We booked so many of the greats on their way up. Local live music is your best value and it makes you feel good too! You can say “I saw them when”.
Thanks Nashville, see ya soon!
Special thanks go to the bands of Trevor Sensor and Mt. Joy who helped make our experience at The Basement a memorable one. Thank you gentlemen.
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