IKO-IKO and Tobacco Road; A Love Story

It was the beginning of the 1980’s. Miami, Florida was literally on fire. It was a very exciting time. Beautiful people every where. Rock stars, film crews, Mariel Refugees, Cocaine Cowboys, Hippies, DEA agents, smugglers, dealers,drifters,actors,artists, musicians, bikers, bankers, doctors and lawyers. Miami Vice was a big hit on TV and Miami Disco was rocking the radio. With all this going on who could imagine that the hottest spot in town would be an old Miami River Bar with a five AM closing time and house band that kicked out nothing but the Blues. Crouching in the shadows of a rather sketchy , beat up and kind of scarey neighborhood, Tobacco Road became the epicenter, the common denominator, the place where it all came together and Graham Wood Drout’s IKO-IKO was there rocking that amazing house almost every week end all through the Me Decade into the nineteen ninety’s.

IKO-IKO’s sound developed out of this very unique environment. A world audience open to originality and American music. Roots and Blues music mixed with island grooves,Latin percussion and Voodoo drums. The music of New Orleans is a big influence on the band : Gulf Coast Americana. Tobacco Road began bringing touring Blues Bands to Miami and IKO-IKO was there trading sets on two stages, all night long, forty five on- forty five off, with just about every major and minor Blues, Zydeco, and Roots band in America. Albert King, Albert Collins, Koko Taylor, Sun Ra, David Bromberg, John Hammond, an eleven year old Derick Trucks, Diamond Teeth Mary McClain, The Nighthawks, The Fabulous Thunderbirds, Dr. John, John Lee Hooker, the list goes on and on. Other musicians visiting Miami would often end up at Tobacco Road in the early hours of the morning jamming with the bands. If you were up late enough you might have seen David Lee Roth, John Jorgenson, David Bromberg, Steve Stills, Robert Cray, Pinetop Perkins or Jim Belushi
(just to name drop a few) joining the band on stage.