Bat story – a blast from the past

A wayward bat was located today on the fourth floor where I work. It reminded me of another bat story I have…from way back in 2006. But I remember it like it was yesterday.

I had just moved into a new apartment in an old house downtown.  I had been there for maybe a month.  One morning, i awoke to a weird buzzing or chirping sound in my room.  I looked and looked but couldn’t find it.  And then…I realized the sound was coming from my bed.  I know!  So I flipped up the bedspread and there, clinging to the side of the mattress like a tiny rock climber…was a bat.

Well I freaked right out.  I’m not good about bugs and I’m not good about mice or rats or any other wild animals that might find their way into a house.  I ran from the bedroom to the living room and tried pretty unsuccessfully to collect myself.  As I sat there, I swear I saw the thing flying back and forth in my room…waiting to attack.  I found a long-sleeved shirt and a stocking cap and put them on.

In the end, after some feeble attempts to capture the bat, I decided that I didn’t have time to do anything about it because it would make me late for work.  So I ducked, sneaked in and grabbed some clothes from my room as quickly as I could, got dressed in the living room, and left.

When I got home from work that night, I could still feel the presence of the beast. I didn’t see her right away, but I knew she was still there.

I went to my couch and put on a long-sleeve shirt and stocking cap…they were still lying where they landed when I quickly changed clothes after that morning’s extraction attempts. I went to the cupboard and grabbed the only bat-catching weaponry I own…a colander and a Tupperware lid. Utensils in hand, I was ready to face the creature.

But I couldn’t find her. I kicked my bed and I once again heard the death-chirp. I ran back into the living room like a little girl. I collected my wits and went back in. I lifted bedding…eventually pulling it all off the bed, one piece at a time, trying to expose the creature. Nothing. I checked under the bed. Nothing. I retreated to the living room (this time I walked like a grown man might).

I grabbed a 4 foot-long dowel which I decided to use as a potential hiding-place poker. I re-entered the bedroom, poking at everything. The bed. The pile of clothes in the corner. The clothes in my closet. The bed again. The dresser. I banged on the wall. I used the stick to turn on lights. Nothing.

Was I making it all up? Did the beast exist? Did I imagine the death chirp when I first kicked my bed?

I called Alison. She’s a naturalist. At 4’11”, she’s a pint-sized naturalist, for sure. But surely a little naturalist would be better than having no naturalists at all on my bat-herding team. Plus, she lives right around the corner and could be on the scene in fairly short order. And really…if anyone was going to be acting like a little girl in this situation…I figured it might as well be a little girl.

To my surprise, Alison arrived with new weapons: a broom, two flashlights, and a fitted sheet.

She took the poking device and started poking. She poked the bed. Nothing. The pile of clothes in the corner. DEATH CHIRP! Oh. My. God. Now there were two people running around like little girls instead of one. My plan was falling apart before my terrified eyes.

But at least we knew where the bat was. It was in a pile of about a dozen folded t-shirts sitting on a nightstand in the corner of my room. Flashlights were useless…she was somewhere IN the pile not ON it. I was certain she was pooping in my Harley t-shirts and building a nest to raise her family of man-eating beasts.

After about five minutes of debate about who would act on behalf of the humans, I put on leather gloves and grabbed the fitted sheet. I decided that I would scoop up everything with the sheet and carry it outside. Alison stationed herself in the bedroom doorway…ready to “run like hell” on my orders. I set the sheet on the pile of clothes…silence. I started to tuck the sheet around the pile. DEATH CHIRP! DEATH CHIRP! “Oh my God oh my God…it’s in the sheet it’s in the sheet,” I croaked. I looked to the door to see a little cloud of dust and hairpins floating in the air where Alison had been standing. I continued to tuck, gently but as quickly as possible, until I had the whole chirping package wrapped up and ready to go.

“What’s going on in there?” Alison hollered from the porch.

“I got it I got it I got it,” I said, high-stepping through the apartment (which is thankfully very small) carrying the package like I might carry a very dirty diaper or nuclear waste, keeping it as still as possible while I high-stepped through the rooms. I got outside, kicked the chair which was propping the door open, and gingerly tossed the t-shirt/animal pile into the front yard.

The poking device then became a package-opening device. I flipped over the pile. Chirp chirp. I started flipping t-shirts over until I finally exposed her. She was tucked between a fender t-shirt and a shirt that read “chicks hate me.” “Appropriate,” I thought to myself.

There we stood, Alison and me circling this pile of shirts. I with a dowel and she with a broom…waiting for the bat to get up and go. I’m sure this animal was annoyed to say the least…her warm, safe hiding place had been moved, flipped, and exposed in daylight (which I don’t think bats like). A truck pulled up to the curb and a couple asked what was going on (we must have looked ridiculous).

“Oh, there’s a bat in that pile of clothes…it was in my house,” I said.
“Oh, we thought it was a snake or something.”
“No…that would make sense, though. It’s just a harmless bat and I’m a wimp.”
“Oh…ok…have a good day.”
“You too…thanks for stopping.”

As Alison and I were considering poking more to make her leave, she started to crawl around, leaving me more poop as a parting shot. (Note: if you’ve never seen a bat crawl around on your clothes…it’s pretty creepy. And then when you think about that bat creeping around on your bed while you’re sleeping…that’s really creepy. And then, if you think about it all enough, you’ll realize that you’ll probably never comfortably sleep in your new apartment again.) Eventually, she took off and flew into the tree across the street, where I assume she’s waiting to see me walking the streets at night so she can swoop down to make me scream like a little girl again…just like old times.

Ten years and counting

So we’re right around the actual ten year anniversary of the first REAL OFB show.

Out of Favor Boys played several shows over the summer of 2003. It was really Danny, Tony and me with various players in the rhythm section. We played with some really great players that summer. And I remember being very excited about it at the time.


Danny strolling in front of the Old Daisy theatre in Memphis, TN circa 2004

But it wasn’t until the fall that we got serious. We auditioned a couple of drummers, having very little luck. We ran into John Ford one night at Francois’. Danny knew him from his student teaching days at Loy Norrix. He pointed us to Kevin Dorcy for drums.

So we played a gig with Kevin and Greg Orr (yes…that Greg Orr) at Francois’. And it was great, but we all knew that Greg was a temporary solution. (If I recall, he was in seven other bands at that time.)

Kevin introduced us to Timmy Brouhard. And really…the rest of 2003 is really a whirlwind. We played Francois’ and Wonderful’s a bunch. We won the KVBA contest and the right to represent Kalamazoo in Memphis.

The rest, as they say, is history.

After we finished our second studio CD, John moved on to other endeavors and Kevin moved to Chicago. Mike Porter joined the band.

When Mike couldn’t make Thursdays work for hosting the Thursday Blues Jam, we got Tim Miller to help us out.

And over the years, many people have filled in for various Out of Favor Boys for one reason or another. We’ve been very fortunate to have guys like Pete Galanis, John Hill, Alex Mays, Johnie Gayden, Coach Ronnie Parker, Dave Cleveland, Dave Allemang and many more be at least a little bit out of favor with us.

It’s been a great first ten years. I wonder what the next ten have in store. I hope to see you at our anniversary party on Nov. 16.

Wednesday Night Lights

There’s an awful lot of excitement about tonight. The oddsmakers are hard at work figuring out who’s likely to win…who’s likely to lose. I’m sure that people are already pouring in to the place, taking their seats, taking in the sights and sounds. 8 o’clock…8 o’clock…just can’t wait until 8 o’clock.

And of course there are questions. How will they play? Will they be well-rested…or will they be more rusted? It’s been almost a week since they’ve played. Who’s going to be in the starting lineup? And what about the distractions of playing on such a big stage? Will they be distracted (like A-Rod) by random girls on the sidelines?

The whole situation reminds me of something a baseball coach I know once said. He said, “let’s get another drink and get up there and play some funky blues.”

That coach was Coach Danny Ouellette. And he was talking to the Out of Favor Boys. And I’m sure he’ll say it again tonight as OFB takes the stage at 8 p.m. at Gun Lake Casino.

Well that’s what I’ve been talking about this whole time. What did you think I was talking about?




Go Tigers!

Sweet, sweet Sunday morning kind of post

So here’s what I’ve learned so far today. Fat Free non-dairy creamer is not only fat-free…it’s also enjoyment free. I’m about to add cinnamon rolls to the equation. I’ll bet that makes it a little bit better.

Happy Earth Day! I’m going to celebrate by spraying a product around my house that will hopefully kill thousands of little earth-dwelling creatures. No…not poison lollipops. Ant spray. Happy Earth Day, little ants.

Sorry if that last part seemed cruel, but when they’re crawling on your toe while you’re typing a blog post, sometimes you get a little cruel.

In addition to celebrating all the ways we could be (but are not) helping out our earth, it’s also Administrative Professionals Day on Wednesday. This is a day when we get to celebrate all the ways we could (but don’t) help out our Administrative Professionals. “Print this. File this. Mail this. Please stop talking to me…and stop breathing through your mouth.” I mean…”Happy Administrative Professionals Day!!!”

OFB will be celebrating AP Day by playing at the Gun Lake Casino on Wednesday night. If we had a secretary, we’d totally take her out to the casino for a fun night of watching her lose her paycheck at the slots, nickel by nickel. Man, that would be awesome. I’m going to go place the “help wanted” ad on Craigslist right now.

Have an out of favor week…

OFB on the small screen

We’re proud to announce that Out of Favor Boys has signed a contract with Kalamazoo CBS affiliate WWMT to host a new two-hour “news, current events and music” show on Sunday mornings beginning June 2, 2012.

The show, tentatively titled Good Morning, OFB will be patterned loosely after the successful morning talk show, “The View” but will focus on Michigan news, events and artists. It will air on Sundays after CBS Sunday Morning.

We’re very excited to have been given this opportunity. It’s very exciting for us to get yet another platform from which to promote ourselves and our music, but also to promote Michigan artists and really focus on news coming out of the state.

The basic plan is that we will sit around a coffee table, sip coffee and discuss the week’s news and events.

The show will feature musicians from across Michigan. Obviously, we’ll try to focus on West Michigan music, but there’s so much great music from Detroit that we’ll likely feature quite a bit from there, too.

We’re so excited and we hope you’ll tune in!


For more information or to sign up for our weekly email, visit

Peeps: the secret to happiness?

(Warning, this post includes graphic photos of Peep mutilation and may not be suitable for children.)

For some people, it’s true love. For others, it’s rolling around naked in piles of money. For Danny Ouellette, it’s slow blues songs in the key of D.

But T-Bone knows the true secret of happiness. Peeps.

Last night, Tony presented me with the annual gift of Peeps. Somewhere along the line, I must have mentioned that I thought they  were delicious. And every year since then, Tony has made a really big deal about giving me freaking Peeps around Easter time.

This year, it was a whole gift set featuring three boxes of Peeps and an awesome Peep hat that I will likely cherish forever…or until it gets lost. (Has anyone seen it…I don’t know where it is…)

Arguably, the best year for this was when the gifted Peeps were thrown all around Wonderful’s funky basement (sorry, Turk, for making you clean those up). Of course, the ones that weren’t thrown around the basement were stuck to my car in the parking lot.

Sticky Peeps are gross.

This year, because the Peep gifting happened at the same time as Oberon season, one little Peep went on a little adventure around the bar. It didn’t end well for him.

March is Sergio Fuerte Month

Some holidays are newer than others…

Last night, at the jam, Danny declared March to be Sergio Fuerte Month. I don’t know how widely celebrated this will be.  I don’t even really know how it will be celebrated at all. I imagine that it will involve tight pants and salsa (the delicious condiment…not the sexy dance).

Sergio Fuerte, for those of you who weren’t at The 411 Club on Thursday, is an apparition.  He’s totally obscure, yet completely unforgettable. He’s the one-hit wonder from 2001 that you can’t really remember, but it’s tattooed on your brain nonetheless. He’s a figment of imagination. He’s…well…he’s just Sergio.

Sergio stands for many things…most of them illegal. Of the things for which he stands that we can mention here on the Internets, the biggest are Honduran cigars and Dominican rum. He’s very specific about those things. He stands for fun…which mostly happens because of the Dominican rum. Ladies, you’ll be happy to know that he stands for love…like any semi-respectable Latin lover would.

Oddly enough, he also stands for Taco Bell soft tacos at 3 a.m. He’s a mystery…

So come on out and celebrate Sergio Fuerte Month with OFB all month this March. This weekend, we’ll share stories like the one about how Sergio ate 32 crawfish at the first Gumbo Cookoff. In a few weeks, Tab Benoit can tell you about the time that he took Sergio parasailing through the Bayou behind his air boat.

[Sigh] Good times…good times…..

Happy Leap Day

February 29th. It’s a good day. I mean…it’s a grey, crappy, rainy day this year. But it means well. It’s a day that happens once every four years…except every 400 years when it doesn’t. I love the “divided by 400” exception to the rule. Remember 2000…when we all wanted a leap day, but couldn’t have one? That was awesome.

Anyway. Enjoy your free day. Do whatever you want with reckless abandon. Today doesn’t count. (I don’t know if that’s the official view of leap day…but it’s the OFB view.) Here are some things to consider:

  • Try a Rusty Nail with your omelet this morning. Nothing says, “I’m leaping” like a little Drambuie first thing in the morning.
  • Buy an OFB CD online. I don’t know about you, but that would make my leap year.
  • Two words: Indiana Jones Marathon.

There are many other ways, I’m sure. I know I’ll celebrate by being at work and…well…working.

Tomorrow…we jam.  And Sunday…Gumbo.  Mmmmmm.  See you there.


Another Friday night in Kalamazoo

So I’m getting pretty excited right now about playing tonight. It’ll be nice to play a whole night with just the band…no jammers. Mike Porter always brings something special when we play. I think it’s been a long time since the five of us have played together…so I’m really looking forward.

The sad news today was that Etta James passed away. I feel like a lot of the blues idols have been passing lately. Pinetop Perkins and Willie “Big Eyes” Smith passed last year. I’m very glad that we got the chance to see those guys and actually play with Willie Smith before we lost them.

We’re very lucky in that regard – in the almost 9 years that the band has been around, we’ve been able to meet and play with a lot of pretty big names in the blues. Big and up-and-coming. Tab Benoit. Larry McCray. Studebaker John. Watermelon Slim. Eric Lindell. Willie “Big Eyes” Smith. Bob Stroger. Eddie King.

Anyway. We’ve been lucky. And maybe we’ll get lucky again tonight. Harper and Motor City Josh are great blues artists and it would really be a lot of fun to jam with them. We’ll see…

New year…same old OFB

Danny quietly mocks the notion, but I think the turning of the calendar presents a good opportunity to look back and look ahead. I agree that it shouldn’t be the only time we look back or ahead…but it’s a good opportunity, nonetheless.

So as we enter 2012, I wanted to think about all the good things that happened to the band this year. Of course, there was the Thursday Blues Jam at the 411 Club. While they weren’t all musically memorable, a lot of good music came out of them.

We played the Kalamazoo Blues Festival and a Mixer on the Mall in 2011. Always nice to play outdoors in downtown Kalamazoo. We also played several outdoor parties and weddings.  Just thinking about it now makes me long for longer days and warmer nights.

Back in March, we got to jam with Tab Benoit at the 411 Club. Definitely a musical highlight for the year.  Besides being a great guitarist (and drummer) and a wonderful performer…Tab is really just an honestly good guy. And when he yells, “Everybody solo!” at the end of the night, only good things happen.

Looking ahead I know we have Thursdays, a night with Tab Benoit, a night at the State Theatre.  I know we’ll be returning to the great Hawg Roast party on the east side of the state.  The rest is undecided, but I know it’s all going to be good.

Joel Krauss