10th Mule-iversary Reunion
Thursday Oct. 24, 2019 was a night to remember. The Presidio Yacht Club was crowded with friends, fans, family members and well-wishers, along with a handful of regulars who were wondering what had happened to their usually sleepy Thursday nights there. The Mules were celebrating their 10th anniversary and turned the occasion into a reunion with several Miracle Mule alumni from the band’s beginnings.
The Mules kicked things off with 5 songs from their up-coming third album, Romp in the Swamp. Then Geoff called to the microphone the band’s original vocalist Amy Wolgamott. Amy sang several of her signature tunes, including “Stuff You Gotta Watch” and “Train in Vain,” and then stuck around to share vocal duties with Sandy for the rest of the evening. “Last night was super special!” said Amy the following morning. “Good vibes all around and so lovely to see everyone again. So much talent on that stage and such great energy!“
Andrew “A. C.” Chilson, the Mules original pedal steel player, also sat in for much of the evening. Unfortunately he had sold his pedal steel since he left the Mules, but he did show off his new lap steel as well as shining on his old mandolin and electric guitar. At his request the band played some old favorites, including “Honey Don’t” and Geoff’s “Gone Gone Gone.”
The Mules original accordionist Michael Whiteley was also on hand. Dick couldn’t talk him into playing accordion or piano, but he is also the band’s back-up bass player and did sit in on bass for a half dozen or so songs. Michael proclaimed “I think my two biggest contributions to the band were: 1. coming up with the name “Miracle Mule” and 2. selling Dick his accordion.
Nathaniel Hunter, the original drummer, wasn’t able to make it. The Mules’ second drummer, Carl Upthegrove, wasn’t supposed to be available either, but surprised everyone by showing up anyway. He helped kick off the 2nd set by sitting in on two more songs from the way-back machine, “Memphis” and “Little Sister.”
As special as the night was, it was almost even more special. The Mules’ original bass player Andrew Clyde Perrins tried calling both Geoff and Dick during the festivities from his home in England. Dick didn’t hear the phone over the music and Geoff ignored his phone’s vibrating. “If I’d known it was Clyde,” he said, “I would totally have stopped the song to talk to him.”
As if the anniversary wasn’t enough, there were several birthdays to celebrate, including A.C.’s and Brian’s, and a newlywed couple was there, who had just gotten married that morning. So there had to be cake. The cake was almost too beautiful to cut, but thankfully someone finally bit the bullet, as it was every bit as yummy as it looked.
Bringing together the band members who started it all with the ones who are currently carrying on the Miracle Mule tradition was the perfect way to look back and celebrate 10 years of music, fun and friendship. Willie Nelson may have said it best: “the life I love is making music with my friends.”