Cross Street Station reunion

Linette and I first met about 16 years ago in an Ypsilanti bar called Cross Street Station. It’s been closed for several years now, but apparently quite a few people still have fond memories of the filthy, old place that, for whatever reason, agreed to book my band when few Ann Arbor clubs would. The bar closed over a decade ago, and the property has since been condemned. It’s still standing, though. At least the facade is. And it’s crossed my mind many a time that I should put some kind of memorial plaque outside, noting that it’s where Linette’s seduction of me first began. Anyway, it’s come to my attention that there’s a movement afoot to reunite folks who used to frequent the bar.

The reunion will take place in Ypsilanti at the Corner Brewery on Wednesday, November 25th, at 6:00 PM. People are being asked to RSVP to James Christie (, if they’re planning to attend. And, I’m told, those who attend will be asked to contribute $4 toward the rental of the room. Other than that, I don’t have any information.

I wasn’t a regular there by any means, but, like I said, I did play there on occasion, and I may attend the reunion. I suppose it’s possible that I might recognize someone who once yelled “boooo,” or ran away in horror as I began attacking my bass with cutlery. I’m not sure what I’d say to them, though… Maybe I’d apologize.

In other Cross Street-related news, I hear that Ward, the bar manager responsible for booking my band to play that fateful evening, and thereby the man ultimately responsible for introducing me to Linette, and his wife, Val, are expecting a baby…. Isn’t that cool?

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  1. Jill
    Posted October 25, 2009 at 9:25 pm | Permalink

    I was part of an EMU based Amnesty International group that organized a fund raiser there in 1989 (I think). I remember a band called “Map of the World” played, among others (I think). It was only a few years ago that I finally retired my t-shirt from that event.

  2. Naia
    Posted October 26, 2009 at 3:24 am | Permalink

    Oh my..Map of the World, the band I was in, the Evaders, played with them frequently. Our guitar player was the boyfriend of their lead singer (an interesting story there that I won’t go into now).

    I saw a number of bands at the Cross Street Station – the most memorable being the Motor Dolls.

    Ted Televite and I had fantasies of turning this structure in the back into a puppet stage.

    I looked at the building when I was shopping around for the new Dreamland. There was recent structural work done on the inside (2×4’s but no drywall) and it was very cheap, but there were holes in the floor, and in the roof, and the basement was flooded. The cost of getting it to code would have been substantial.

    I’m sure the building is even cheaper now. If somebody had the backing it would make a great new Indian food restaurant.

  3. Kim
    Posted October 26, 2009 at 8:29 am | Permalink

    Was it dirtier than the Elbow Room?

  4. Posted October 26, 2009 at 8:36 am | Permalink

    Oooo, Cross Street Station… took so much of my money on countless pitchers of Bells. Listened and danced to lots and lots of ska there. While I didn’t meet my husband at Cross Street, we did spend many of our early days as a couple there. Very romantic filthy bar memories for us too. :)

  5. Carson
    Posted October 26, 2009 at 8:41 am | Permalink

    Sorry if this is naive, but when a building is officially condemned, does that mean that it’s beyond repair? If so, are they just selling the lot?

    I found this real estate listing:

    I’ve heard that the plumbing is shot, and that the roof is falling in. And I imagine the liquor license is long gone.

  6. Oliva
    Posted October 26, 2009 at 9:13 am | Permalink

    One of my last times there was with a friend who had had three children in rapid succession and wanted to get out of the house. We went there, and she borrowed darts from a guy who couldn’t play because he was too sore from getting a penis ring a few hours earlier.

    There were sure some fun times there–a skanky but in ways lovable place (I do remember the floor being reliably gross).

  7. Andy Ypsilanti
    Posted October 26, 2009 at 9:58 am | Permalink

    DJ Chuck Damage, the Sunday night ska/motown DJ still hangs out in Ypsi from time to time, and he has ocasional reunion shows for that. Best “worst place to see a show ever”. Fantastic music. Horrible room. I miss that place.

  8. Andy Ypsilanti
    Posted October 26, 2009 at 9:59 am | Permalink

    Um, that is, reunion shows for ska/motown night. Not for hanging out in Ypsi.

  9. Double Plus
    Posted October 26, 2009 at 10:34 am | Permalink

    I have a vague memory of an older guy in a wig that used to do open mic nights. Sound familiar?

  10. Ben lorenz
    Posted October 26, 2009 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

    I played there a lot in the early 90s. We were rhe restroom poets. Terrible room to play but had a ton of fun. They had speakers mad out of half barrels.

  11. ytown
    Posted October 26, 2009 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

    I am looking foward to this, I will be there. I never missed reggae night!!

  12. Andy C
    Posted October 26, 2009 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

    Way dirtier than the Elbow Room.
    Broken glass every where, 2 working outlets tops on the stage, 10 feet from the stage to the back wall with tables and booths, $1 taco nights. The open mic nights were like at the Apollo, if people didn’t like you they booed you off. For a long time there was no cover. Damn that place was great. The times Ward was running it was the best.
    I played it about two weeks before it closed, it was still a good place. I remember a band telling me they showed up to play one night and it was condemned. They played Vinyl Joe’s instead.

  13. Vera
    Posted October 26, 2009 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

    Used to live at Cross Street. Wimpy burger Mondays, taco tuesdays, Wed open Mic, The Samaritans on Reggae Thursdays, Fri and Sat are too hazy to remember, Sunday dart league.

  14. Curt Waugh
    Posted October 26, 2009 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

    A friend dragged a big group of us there one time to see her brother’s band or some such thing. All I remember (and we all still talk about it to this day) was that the band was awful, but the lead singer pulled out a flaming dildo and humped the air and waved it around to end the show. No clue what the band or his name was, but he will ever be remembered as “flaming cock guy” to a group of us.

  15. ytown
    Posted October 26, 2009 at 2:12 pm | Permalink

    It was probably Mark.

  16. Mr. X
    Posted October 26, 2009 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

    The first time I was there, I was managing a band from Ann Arbor. I can’t remember anything, except for the fact that I saw someone pull a knife on a guy outside of Ted’s Pills n’ Things, or whatever that store was called on the corner.

  17. Ken
    Posted October 26, 2009 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

    The space if front of the stage was really narrow. The stage, if you can call it that, was clearly an afterthought. It should have been at the back, where the dart boards were. There was more room there. But they had it right at the end of the bar, facing a couple of booths. And, they didn’t care what the hell kind of music they had there. People drank regardless. There is no equivalent today.

  18. watching laughing
    Posted October 26, 2009 at 4:30 pm | Permalink

    As I remember, in the mid to late 90s, Cross Street Station was shut down for good, for selling drugs at a pretty good clip.
    Enough to raise a big RED FLAG, and POOOOOOFFF, done.

    Watching laughing.

  19. Naia
    Posted October 26, 2009 at 5:40 pm | Permalink

    Replay to Carson:
    A condemned building may still have enough structure to bring it up to code if you can afford it. The Thomson Building was condemned and was slowly being renovated…but, well we all know what happened.

    When I checked out the old Cross Street Station Building as a possible purchase it was not beyond repair, but considering the cost of a new roof and draining the basement, it was way beyond my means.

    Anyway, in my far from expert opinion, it seems to me that if there is still a sound foundation to build from it would be more efficient and economical to work with what is already there rather than start from scratch.

  20. Andy Ypsilanti
    Posted October 26, 2009 at 5:40 pm | Permalink

    I never heard about selling drugs, just about not keeping the building up to code….

  21. stella
    Posted October 26, 2009 at 6:02 pm | Permalink

    My recollection is that in the summer of 2000 part of the roof collapsed and that is what closed it. I am sure we played there as late as April 2000.

  22. watching laughing
    Posted October 26, 2009 at 7:40 pm | Permalink

    Yah, I guess, you could say, It’s mystery?

    Watching Laughing.

  23. Posted October 26, 2009 at 8:41 pm | Permalink

    I did used to play my bass with a metal vibrator. I’d wedge it under the strings, turn it on, and then beet the hell out of it with spoons. (When you don’t know how to actually play music, you have to improvise.) I don’t think, however, that the vibrator was ever flaming.

    And I also never heard about drugs having anything to do with the bar closing.

  24. beermaestro
    Posted October 27, 2009 at 7:52 am | Permalink

    I went to EMU from ’89 to ’93. As others have said, it was a skanky, manky dive (esp. the bathrooms), but I loved seeing India Green, Brothers from another Planet, and of course “Reggae Night”.

  25. Ed T
    Posted October 27, 2009 at 9:41 am | Permalink

    I don’t remember it, but I’m told that there used to be a little patio out back where you could drink, in the parking lot.

  26. Andy Ypsilanti
    Posted October 27, 2009 at 10:48 am | Permalink

    Funktelligence. Jazzodity. IV-V-I Orchestra. So many more. Those were great days for music in Ypsi. Not that it’s not a good time now…

  27. Peter Larson
    Posted October 27, 2009 at 11:34 am | Permalink

    I remember Mark telling me about the Restroom Poets playing there at one time.

  28. Posted October 27, 2009 at 7:55 pm | Permalink

    Hmm… weird that one of the guys in the Restroom Poets reads this blog. It’s a long story, but they hated me at one point. It had to do with my putting up fake posters, saying that their show was on a different date. I thought that it was hilarious. They didn’t agree… I’m assuming this is what Pete is referring to.

  29. Peter Larson
    Posted October 27, 2009 at 8:14 pm | Permalink

    No, I think it was because you wrote “really boring college rock” underneath their name.

  30. Posted October 27, 2009 at 9:16 pm | Permalink

    That doesn’t sound like something that I’d do, Pete.

  31. Posted October 27, 2009 at 9:19 pm | Permalink

    You must have me confused with someone else.

  32. Suzie
    Posted October 29, 2009 at 8:58 pm | Permalink

    Tangent – Mark, here’s an article I think you’d like about interesting people in an interesting place.

  33. Aaron O'Brien
    Posted November 4, 2009 at 7:57 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for the memories gang. I went to EMU ’89-’93 and lived a block away from the Station. What a great place. It certainly was the the best place to hear bad music and occasionally the worst place (we were crammed in like sardines) to hear great music.
    My favorite with Big Dave and the Ultrasonics, a kick ass blues band. The reggae dudes were cool too.

  34. ytown
    Posted November 25, 2009 at 5:13 pm | Permalink

    Is the reunion still on? I didn’t RSVP, but still might head over.

  35. Rob
    Posted March 17, 2020 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

    bot fly was awesome there. I miss my $1.50 rolling rocks. JJ was the best bar tender in town!

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