A touring band whose members have spent a questionable amount of time in Twin Cities dive bars as both performers and patrons, stomp-rock quartet the 4onthefloor is putting its merchandising know-how behind a series of T-shirts to benefit their favorite local watering holes.
On Tuesday, the band unveiled a new black T from/for Palmer’s Bar on the Minneapolis West Bank. It’s the second installment in 4otf’s so-called #GiveAStomp campaign, following a white shirt offered in May saluting Dusty’s Bar in northeast Minneapolis.
“Whether we fill their bar stools, fill our bellies with their amazing food, or send rock in roll into the world from their beautiful stages, they have had our backs,” reads a statement from the band with the Palmer’s shirt, selling for $25 via Wisconsin’s Ambient Ink clothing and merch company and 4otf’s social-media channels.
The T-shirts are available only on a pre-order basis. Thus, the Dusty’s T is now offline, and the Palmer’s shirt will only be available through early August. The bars will receive 44 percent of each sale.
4otf tour manager and occasional bassist Andy Holmaas said the idea for the series dates way back to mid-March, when bandleader Gabriel Douglas and the crew were stuck in Dallas for nearly a week after its gigs at Austin’s South by Southwest conference were abruptly canceled due to the just-then-emerging coronavirus quarantine.
“Gabe and the guys were all talking, ‘What can we do to make sure we can go back to places like Dusty’s, Palmer’s, Mortimer’s and Grumpy’s once this thing is all over?’” Holmaas recalled. Not only do they patronize these establishments, Holmaas said “the owners of them all happen to be some of the sweetest people in the world.”
Palmer’s, of course, is now owned by longtime 4otf cohort and fellow musician Tony Zaccardi, who was widely featured in the news in May and early June as a black business owner fending off the rioting and looting that followed the George Floyd tragedy.
Palmer’s has not yet reopened for business with the continuing limited-capacity guidelines, but Dusty's has, as have Mortimer’s and Grumpy’s. They will be the next two recipients/subjects in the T-shirt series; their campaigns start Aug. 4 and Sept. 4, respectively.
Sadly, Muddy Waters was also supposed to be featured in the series, but the beloved Lyn-Lake hangout shut down permanently in May — underlining the financial pain COVID-19 has caused bars and venues, a reminder which the members of 4otf themselves did not need. The band had just purchased a new tour van over the winter and then had to cancel the rest of its tour dates for the year.
“Just like every other band, we’re trying to figure out how to return to action, but not until it’s safe,” Holmaas said, “and in the meantime we’re trying to do whatever positive things we can to help our friends and community.”
Seems like they nailed it in this case.