“I was one of those kids who got in trouble because their lives were moving too fast.
I went to Arthur Hill but graduated from Au Gres-Sims, I moved when I was 15. When I moved up north, the transition into a very rural community slowed me down. It gave me more time to process things and make better decisions. That transition helped push me towards my major in college, criminal justice.
I came back to Saginaw and went to SVSU. I started deejaying to make some money just down the road, where Bubba’s Roadside was. I got into deejaying and promoting on the same night and it turned out really well. Music was always an interest of mine, I was good on the mic and a good emcee, and as a college kid, being the center of attention obviously felt cool.
I loved it. The experience turned me onto the industry and I’ve never looked back. Entertainment took me over. I started at 19, I’m still doing it at 42, and it still gives me goosebumps.
I went out as DJ Red, deejaying different nightclubs but promoting the party myself. Bar owners liked that. I got the door money and said they had to have me on the radio, and the name blew up.
But I was also going through a lot at the time. I lost an ex-wife to alcohol and raised my daughters by myself since they were five and three. I needed an outlet. I didn’t use drugs or have an addictive personality, so I turned back to music and started writing my own. I moved from being a local DJ to a national DJ to making my own music with my band, Redburn. We did a show at the Machine Shop and toured with Saliva, Saving Abel, and a line of shows with Uncle Kracker.
But before I started the band, I was diagnosed with a brain tumor. It wasn’t malignant, but it started to affect me: fatigue, anxiety, depression. I quit all entertainment.
I started treatments and things turned back around and I got back into music. There was talk of Hamilton Street Pub closing down, and I hated the idea of seeing this place close. I talked to the owner and said I would like to buy it, but let me run the place for six months and then we’ll move into the purchase. We closed it down in January of 2020 to make the changes that it needed.
We reopened in January and February and were doing very well, but then COVID hit. Because of that we didn’t go through with the sale, but we’re partners at the moment and I’m excited for the future. This place is important to people. They have history here, memories, and that’s important, too. If you’re willing to embrace that, people respect it. We want to keep the history and essence of Hamilton Street Pub but also put our own twists and new touches on it.
I think Hamilton Street Pub needs to be an entertainment bar from top to bottom, but at the same time, be a restaurant. My interest and ambition is to have great, new food that also ties into the music bar. That’s us.
I think Hamilton Street Pub needs to be an entertainment bar from top to bottom, but at the same time, be a restaurant. Our customers love music and love to talk and have conversations, not just stand on the wall and watch people dance. So as a bar, venue and as a restaurant, the personalities of those things have to be right. We built our new menu around music--as an example, we call the ‘Caesar Salad’ the Seeger Salad’ so it ties into the rest of what Hamilton Street Pub is. My interest and ambition is to have great, new food that also ties into the music bar. That’s us.
And I love every other place here in Old Town because we all have our own vibe, our own personality. I don’t look at it as competition because it makes for a better city. It’s important for us to keep working together, even though in hard times in a small city you might feel like you have to fight over the same dollars."
- Chris Redburn, Hamilton Street Pub