The Twisted Mule Saloon

The Twisted Mule Saloon: An Interview with owner, Jerome Grayson
By Dillon Steen

What is your family background?

I grew up in a small farming and ranching community in Allison, Okla. There were maybe 150 people when I graduated; there were five of us in that class that year. My mom worked as a cook at the school, and my dad owned the grain elevator and feed store while I was growing up. He also worked a lot in the oilfield when it was booming. We had a pretty simple life really. My dad played in a couple of bands, and I would go around with them to little dive bars out in the panhandle and western Oklahoma and sit in the corner and watch.

Why open a music venue when you are a musician/artist yourself?

It was kind of just a quick reaction. I was playing with a band for a few years and loved it. Like a lot of things, the real world caught up with me. Between my wife, kids and “day job,” I just did not have the time. We bought another bar here in town called “The Pit Stop.” I was helping the previous owner get in touch with some bands we would either be playing with or would run across in Oklahoma and Texas.

When the owner wanted to sell, I jumped on it. We kept booking bands and had good success. However, it was not big enough to do what I wanted to do. I wanted the folks who live and work out here in western Oklahoma to have a place of their own, a place where they could see a band like Reckless Kelly without having to go to Amarillo, Texas or Oklahoma City. The Twisted Mule Saloon in Elk City, Okla., is a throw-back to the old dance hall days.

Read more of this interview in the December issue of OKFR!