When Graham Wood Drout and Iko Iko began holding down the late-night shift at Tobacco Road in 1981, "the owner, an ex-cop named Neil, kept a shotgun behind the bar, couldn't get any strippers to work for the club, and hired [the band] to play for Mariel refugees under a disco ball till 4 in the morning."
Later, the Road got raided, shut down, and finally reopened under new owners Kevin Rusk and Patrick Gleber, who brought Iko Iko back to play the opening party August 13, 1982. "Back then it was pretty lawless. There was a dirt road. The bridge was broken and stuck in the up position," Drout recalls. "I remember a naked guy walking down the street looking for change in the pay phones. [And] one night there was a drive-by, and even the cops thought it was part of a Miami Vice shoot.
"But in the '80s and '90s, Tobacco Road was a world-class blues destination," he says. "We had guys like Neil Young and Stephen Stills sittin' in the bar listening to us." And as he has done for almost 30 years, Drout will play the Road this Tuesday. He'll be joined by world-renowned guitar man Albert Castiglia, Madman Mitch Mestel on bass, and Cortland Joyce on drums. So go, stay way past midnight, and get real gritty with some free "damaged boogie and dirt-floor blues" at one of the greatest bars Dade County has ever known.
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