Corby’s is ready to rock

Downtown bar and grill Corby’s Rock N Roll Heroes set for a summer of live music

VISALIA – The stage is set at downtown Visalia’s Corby’s Rock N Roll Heroes for post-COVID concerts, where a not-so quiet riot of live music will be shredding all summer.

Brandon Morse—owner of the 1980s hair metal-themed bar and grill—and his new band, Special Guest, headlined their first show June 4 at their indoor venue, which Morse said can hold about 80 guests.

“It’s like an ’80s hair metal museum in here,” Morse said. “My intent for [the band name] was when we did have a real band in here, I was going to make a flyer and put their name up top, ‘with Special Guest.’ So when people walk in and say, ‘who’s the Special Guest?’ I’d say, ‘you missed us, we already played.’”

Corby’s was recently granted a permit to hold live music at the restaurant which opened at 221 E. Main St. in June 2020. Photo by Reggie Ellis

From Special Guest—who Morse said will headline around twice a month Friday evenings at Corby’s—expect covers of hair metal hits from bands like Def Leppard, Dio and Judas Priest to more mainstream tunes from the likes of Pink Floyd, Johnny Cash, the Beastie Boys and Seven Nation Army.

“We dress up, it takes me an hour-and-a-half to get ready because I’ve got to do eyeliner and all that kind of stuff, put on my fake tattoos,” Morse said. “We’re just having a blast. It’s a bunch of 50-year-olds and a 19-year-old [guitarist]. It’s awesome.”

Morse and his wife—an education administrator who splits time on the bass with her husband when she’s not singing for Special Guest—opened Corby’s in June 2020, neck-deep into the coronavirus pandemic. Morse, who spent 25 years teaching P.E. and later administering the GED at Avenal State Prison, said they didn’t receive any PPE loans during the pandemic due to not having payroll, but their rock-n-roll dreams were worth the struggle.

“The difference is I can’t wait to get here every day,” Morse said. “I never had that feeling when I worked at a prison.”

Morse said they recently got a liquor license at Corby’s and plan to have daily drink specials, along with a slew of new menu items from the grill to enjoy.

After selling out tables three weeks in advance, Morse said they’re going to go with a first come, first serve policy for live music seating to get a more diverse crowd. Artists and bands interested in performing at Corby’s should stop by the restaurant during the day and ask for Brandon Morse.

Acoustic jams will be every Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m. at Corby’s, where rock covers will be played at no cover charge for patrons.

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