After a yearlong dispute with the Alcohol Beverage Control (or ABC), which resulted in the closing of popular Oxford blues bar and restaurant Rooster’s Blues House, owner Scott Michael is excited to put the past behind him and pursue new business endeavors.
Rooster’s Blue’s House temporarily closed from Feb. 20 until March 20. Michael released a statement that said: “ABC took disciplinary action against Rooster’s as a result of alleged violations of local option law.”
A local option is the ability of counties or municipalities to allow decisions on certain issues based on popular vote, and it usually relates to alcoholic beverage sales.
The statement continues: “Rooster’s denied the alleged violations, appealed this disciplinary action and sought to have it overturned. Both parties maintained and continue to maintain that their respective positions are correct. However, the parties agreed to this suspension to settle the matter.”
Although the popular bar and restaurant’s liquor license was suspended by the Alcohol Beverage Control, Michael said, contrary to belief, it was not due to issues involving underage drinking.
“I can’t say specifically what went on,” Michael said, “but I didn’t agree with [ABC], and they didn’t agree with us. We agreed to disagree and to do what we’re doing. [ABC] obviously wanted a whole lot more, and I wanted a whole lot less, but this is what we settled on, and I’m very happy.”
Although the temporary closing was sudden and unexpected for customers, Michael said the process has been ongoing for over a year, and the settlement was expected.
“This came in quick, but we made a quick decision to have an agreed settlement to shut down for 28 days, and that’s what we did,” Michael said. “We’re happy about it, and were looking forward to getting back on the Square.
Moving forward, Michael expects to have a positive and thorough relationship with the ABC.
“I talked with the chief of ABC, and he and I had a great conversation,” Michael said. “We will have a great future moving forward. We’ve got a great ABC agent here in Lafayette County. I’ve met with him, and he’s a super nice guy. I’m looking forward to a really bright future.”
Despite Rooster’s Blues House dispute with the ABC, Michael continues to move forward with other business ventures. Over the course of a year, he authored Mississippi Killer Blues: A Rooster’s Blues House Mystery.
“I really have no idea how I ended up wanting to write a book,” he said. “I originally wanted to write a children’s book because I have children, and at the time, they were a little bit younger than they are now,” Michael said. “The idea [for Mississippi Killer Blues] spun from there.”
After researching the book writing process, Michael began to formulate his ideas into a story. Mississippi Killer Blues is a fictional, mystery novel set in Oxford and based around the disappearance of several women in Lafayette County. As the County Sheriff does an insufficient job in tracking down the murderer, Michael’s main character, Rooster T. Feathers, takes matters into his own hands.
Michael is also known as Rooster T. Feather’s to many of his customers, an alter ego he passed on to the main character of Mississippi Killer Blues.
“When I went to Northwest Junior College, I knew I wanted to come to Ole Miss, but I got a scholarship playing football [at Northwest],” Michael said. “I had a really long mullet, and back then, you had two options when you came into your freshman year. You either got your head shaved, or you could get a mohawk. I opted for the mohawk. I had a real long mullet tail, and when I was running around the football field I looked a rooster.”
Michael grew up in Coldwater, a short drive from Oxford and Lafayette County, and has been an avid Ole Miss fan all his life. As a child, he dreamed of playing Ole Miss football and eventually having a successful Oxford business. His book includes fictionalized aspects of his life.
“This book touches on a little bit of everything in my life, but it is fictional,” Michael said. “I sometimes don’t really know where some of my ideas come from. It’s one of these things where I don’t know what I’m gonna do next. Neither does my sweet wife, best friends or anybody, because I don’t know even know. But it’s gonna to be something, and this is what we did.”
A well known figure in Oxford because of his vibrant personality and two bars, Rooster’s Blues House and Mr. Feather’s, many customers are eager to see how Michael will transition his talent into a book.
“I’m so excited to read this book,” UM junior Wesley Neville said. “Knowing Scott and the atmosphere he sets in everything he does, I’m sure this book will be such a fun read. It will really put a different spin on Rooster’s Blues House, especially with its closing.”
Rooster’s Blues House manager Zach Clolinger said he’s excited about the future. “We’re going to bring the same amazing atmosphere, specials, and bands that you always look for at Rooster’s Blues House, except this time, you’ve had enough time to really know that you want to be there.”
Michael plans to distribute Mississippi Killer Blues in his bar.
“I honestly don’t know how people will react to the book, because I don’t know how to react to it,” he said. “My life has been awesome, and it’s been a little crazy, and I love it when people really know who I am and what I really am all about, and I think this book is part of that.”