Danica Johnson

Sue is the co-owner/operator/bartender of Birdy's Bar and Grill. Other than her nickname of Birdy, she is also known as the Punisher.

Q: Why did you and Mike decide to strike out and start a rock club four years ago?

We're into live music. That's what we believe in and we felt that there was a market for it still and so many venues had gone to dance clubs. The live music scene was dying. There weren't many places to play and there was a lot of lost contact with bands so we decided it was time to see if we could put all of our experience towards getting it going again.

Q: What is the biggest challenge you face as a venue owner?

We're here every night, that's one. If it would ever fail, it wouldn't be because we didn't put everything into it. For me one of the biggest challenges is trying to keep doing what we're doing; trying to get people to take a chance on bands that they've never heard of. It's amazing to me. Some of the best shows I've ever seen have been in this club with 10 people here.

Q: Does any particular style of music make it harder to make it to closing?

Yeah, but everybody has their own taste in music and their own style. I learned a long, long time ago that just because it might be a style that I don't like, there are a lot of people out there that do.

Q: What's it like being a sober person observing the inebriated night after night?

You see it all. You see how people change when they're out. Some are OK but most are more like Jekyll and Hyde. Girls and guys. The couples ... the things you pick up on that one or the other doesn't ... it's amazing.

Q: Most destructive national act?

The back pool room is always used as the band room for national acts. We just leave them alone to have the room and when they leave at the end of the night we have to clean it. We always joked about who the messiest national act was and the record so far had been Guided By Voices. So, the Strokes do their show and at the end of the night everybody is leaving and there were some people they had taken back to the dressing room and they had food catered back there so I hadn't been back there yet. They leave and we're busy cleaning the bar and they had just walked out the door so I finished a couple of things and walked to the back pool room and opened the door and our mouths dropped to the floor. There was lasagna on the ceiling, on the walls. I've never in my life seen anything like that. It was unbelievable. A million beer caps and liquor bottles, puke ... it was the sickest thing I've ever seen. Of course the first thing I do when I got my jaw back was run to the front door to see if they were still out there. Fortunately they were just driving off because I would've drug them in with me and those boys would've cleaned that room, big rock stars that they were. It was a huge show, sold out. It was a great night, all the same.


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