Mike Cherry has been a professional d rummer for more than forty years. He joined the Bel Airs as their drummer in 1995, a relationship that he says has lasted “longer than any marriage .” Cherry l ives outside Columbia , Missouri , where the band is based.
Cherry recalls the last t ime he played the King Biscuit Blues F estival twenty-five years ago . He was drumming for blues artist James Harman and was asked at the last minute to play with J ames Cotton and Pinetop Perkins. “You’re looking around. Who’s the boss he re? Even Pinetop kinda let me know , ‘J ust pay attention to James Cotton. ’ ” After the performance Cherry “followed Sam Carr and Junior Lockwood around all night long.” Reflecting on that night , he says, “I just had the greatest time, and it always stuck with me. It was a flavor I could never get rid of.”
Still frame from Pryor Center video interview with Mike Cherry at Bubba's Blues Corner; Helena, Arkansas, 2017
© Pryor Center for Arkansas Oral and Visual History, University of Arkansas