It was probably 25 years ago now. A musician friend was visiting from out of town and he wanted a taste of the Atlanta music scene, so I took him to the Star Community Bar in Little Five Points, one of my favorite musical hangouts at the time. The featured band that night was a break from the Star Bar's usual rockabilly programming, a hard-rocking group by the name of Greasepaint, playing in full clown makeup.
To add to the strangeness, two of the guys in the band were massive human beings, closer to seven feet tall than to six. And as they came up to the stage, my friend Brian looked across the table at me with a look that said "You have to be kidding me. I wanted good music and you took me to a freak show?"
But what Brian soon learned is that these guys were good. As in very good. They were serious musicians playing serious music, they just happened to do it in clown costume.
The biggest clown in the band -- and I mean that literally, not figuratively -- was a man named Mike Geier, and Mike's been working the music scene in Atlanta ever since, in a variety of musical genres and guises. It's a tough way to make a living, but with equal parts persistence, creativity and business acumen, Mike has succeeded.
His latest musical iteration is as Puddles' Pity Party, where he has become a bit of an Internet sensation. Earlier this week, he introduced himself to the nation by appearing on "America's Got Talent!", and, well, see for yourself.