Archive for the Trop Rock Happenings Category

Mercedes Benz, Mercedes-Benz Museum

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The Mercedes Benz Museum

Note: In this blog, I’m taking a side step from the usual Key West Blog, to share with the world an incredible experience I had, many, many years ago. As you’ll see, this experience was a very important part of my life, for which I am still amazed at to this day.

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I was twenty one and I was going out on my big adventure. back packing through Europe! I had no desire in the least to travel with anyone. just go by myself. A lot of people thought this was very weird. Myself however, I thought it made perfect sense. This way there were no compromises and I’d do everything I set out to do. It worked out perfectly, as it turned out. I went to every place in Europe that I set out to visit. Some places were more significant than others, however I got to see them all! As this story is specificly about the Mercedes-Benz Museum, I’ll restrict this blog story to that visit.

The preamble to all of this was that my father, Robert C. Rehm, had been working for Mercedes-Benz of North America (MBNA) since 1963, shortly after MBNA was formed, and was instrumental in setting up their North American sales organization. So, I grew up with the firm, so to speak. Every couple of months, my dad would come home with a new car that the company assigned him. This was an era where there weren’t all that many Mercedes on the road and passing cars would always wave to each other. Dad brought home over those years, the greatest assortment of cars! 200, 200D, 220D, 230, 250S, 250SE 280S, 280SE,280SEL, 280SL, 300SEL, 300SEL 6.3, 450SE, 450SEL.. I think he brought home virtually every model that was in the product line over those years, with the exception of the two 600 models! The only person in the organization who had one of those was the CEO of MBNA, Karlfried Nordmann, whom I met once at a company family get together.

In those early years where I was somewhere between seven and eight, my dad brought me home a book, “A Racing Car Driver’s World”, by Rudolph Caracciola, perhaps the most famous racing driver of his era (1925 – 1953). The book was fascinating and I loved every paragraph! Easily one of my favorite books I’ve ever read. I still have it to this day.

Reading this book was more of a passion than anything else for me, I found it tremendously exciting to read about the races, fellow drivers, and of course the cars themselves.

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)Caracciola in a W125 at Monte Carlo, 1937)

While Mercedes-Benz was ingrained into my soul, I also couldn’t help but love the competition as well. The Auto-Union of the thirties, was Mercedes’ biggest rival and what a car it was! It looked so sinister with the engine behind the driver. The engine was magnificent as well. Sixteen cylinders and designed by Dr. Porsche, for the first several years.

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(Hans Stuck Sr. in an Auto Union C Type)

In one passage Caracciola talks of a time where in a press gathering, he and Auto-Union driver Berndt Rosemeyer, switched cars and gave them a run. Imagine that today? I don’t think so HA HA HA! They both agreed that the ideal car for 1937 would have an Auto Union engine and a Mercedes transmission… albeit, with the engine in the front.

The bottom line here was of course, that I learned everything I could about all of the Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix and record cars (in 1938 a Mercedes-Benz record car set the fastest official speed ever recorded on a public road. It still stands today, 76 years later).

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I knew these cars like the back of my hand and I read about them day in, day out for fourteen years, so, as you can imagine, visiting the famous Mercedes-Benz Museum was a top priority for me, to see these cars I had only read about prior.

I first landed in England and toured their before I went to the Continent. I was in Munich and mentioned to a few fellow travelers in the youth hostile I was staying at, that I was planing on going to Stuttgart to see the museum. This was always met with the same answer “Oh Stuttgart is an industrial city. It’s all Mercedes and Bosch”. Obviously I wasn’t going to give their advise any attention. I was going to Stuttgart, no matter what they said.

When I arrived in the Hauptbahnhof (train station) as soon as I alighted from the train, a local approached me with a friendly smile and asked “Are you looking for the youth hostle?” in English. I said I was and he gave me directions. On the way there, I’m guessing it was maybe six or eight blocks, I was approached by at least three other people offering to help me find the youth hostile, all with a friendly smile and a sincere attitude of giving visitors a warm welcome. Forget what the tourists said in the Munich youth hostile (Munich itself was wonderful!), I found Stuttgart to be a very friendly city. I tied it for being the most friendly on my entire European tour, with London.

The next day was my big day and I set off for the Daimler-Benz factory, which within it’s complex was the Mercedes-Benz museum. It was a somewhat cold day in October as I crossed the Neckar River and saw the outside of “The Wall of Death”, the Mercedes test track that I’d seen so many times in the Mercedes magazine “In Aller Welt”, that my dad would bring home. What a thrill!

After passing that, there was an entrance to the factory compound with a guard house. I approached the guard house and in my best German, asked the guard inside how I could see the museum. To my stonishment and dismay, he told me that the museum was closed. When I heard this I exhaled and it seemed that every ounce of enegry left my body. The guard saw my disapointment and went on to explain that a terrorist group, the Badder Meinhoff Gang, had kidnapped and brutally murdered a board of directors member of Diamler-Benz and that the factory was closed to all outsiders.

I was so dejected, but I fully understood. The needs of the safety of the firm out weighed the dreams of my own As I turned to leave, I had only one option that I just thought of. I pulled my wallet out and handed the guard my father’s Mercedes-Benz of North America business card. I told him that was my father and he asked me for my passport. I didn’t hesitate. The last names matched of course and he looked over at me and said “Ein moment, bitte” and he picked up the phone to make a call.

He was on the phone for quite a while,making a series of calls, obviously talking to different people and waiting on their replies. After about a half hour, he stuck his head out of the guard house and said in English “Welcome! You’re one of the family!” and shook my hand with a smile from ear to ear. He informed me that they had arranged for a car to come out, pick me up, and bring me to the museum. I was elated, yet a bit confused. The bottom line was, I was going to the museum!

What had turned out happened was the guard called a director of the facility, who in turn called someone else higher up the chain of command, who did likewise until one of them called my dad at MBNA in New Jersey, who confirmed who I was. Amazing!

After a few minutes, a black 220 airport style limo comes and picks me up at the guard house. I thanked the guard profusly. I know I made his day, as much as he made mine. An executive was in the car and greeted me warmly. As we drove to the museum, within the complex, he talked about how sorry he was that the museum had been closed, but it was a securty situation we all had to deal with.

When we arrived at the museum we walked up to the front door and he pulled out his keys, unlocked it, entered and… really… turned on the lights. He mentioned to me to make myself at home and stay as long as I liked. He would be in an office there if I had any questions, as he had some work to do. He also mentioned that later in the afternoon, there were people from the U.S. picking up their cars on what is known as, the European Delivery Program and were going on a factory tour in Sindelfingen, if I wanted to go, I could.

Here I was, they opened up the Mercedes-Benz museum just for me. I couldn’t believe it! I was in a state of both shock and gratitude. Nonetheless, I spent about three hours, looking at all sorts of cars, but spent most of my time around the racing cars W25, W125, W154, W156, W165, W196.

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(1938 W154s in France)

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(1939 W156)

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(1939 W165 Tripoli)

 Even the still-born Type 80, that Hans Stuck Sr. and Dr. Porsche had as a project with Mercedes-Benz, designed with a Daimler-Benz DB 601 aircraft engine but never run, for the world land speed record, was there.

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(The type 80)

A few hours later, I was off by a special factory bus to the Sindelfingen factory, to see how the product was manufactured, with a group of people picking up their brand new Mercedes-Benz cars. I rode the bus back to the main facility in Stuttgart and had a great conversation with the tour guide about all things Mercedes-Benz.

To this day, decades later, I am completely blown away by the acts of kindness and compassion, by so many people at Mercedes-Benz in Stuttgart. They all went so far out of their way to help a member of the “Family” see his dream come true. I felt it extremely important that this experience be documented.

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Mercedes-Benz built an all new museum several years ago. I felt it important to mention this amazing act of kindness that was extended to me years ago and I hope I do get to visit the new facility one day!

As a songwriter, one day I’ll write a song about this incredible experience.

Of course, I write this from my own perspective, however it goes much deeper than that. What was exhibited here was a sense of loyalty of workers to the firm they worked for and the belief that together they were all a team. Here we had a series of employees, from a guard at a gate, to super high executives all pulling together for the sake of a co-worker’s son. Strings were pulled, a lot of strings were pulled and in a day where overseas calls cost a fortune, that didn’t matter the calls were made. They actually opened the museum for me, a twenty one year old wearing a flannel shirt and hiking boots. That has always instilled a serious sense of pride of being a part of such an organization.

I am eternally grateful to all at Mercedes-Benz and to every one in the firm,  I say “Thank you und Vielen Dank!”

Christopher R. Rehm

To obtain my music:

My CD is available on iTunes, CD Baby, CD Universe, Rhapsody, and Beachfront Radio.
Search: Key West Chris

Thank you everyone!!

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WFR – not quite on island time, on my way to paradise

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Did you ever have one of those days when things just don’t seem to go right.  I have had about five in a row.  Last Thursday I was driving my old car to Atlanta where I was going to leave with a friend to use while I am in the islands.  I made it as far as just outside of Montgomery, Alabama and it broke down.  When I say broke down, I mean it broke down.  I am not a mechanic but I got a tow truck to pull it into a small shop and they were able to look at it on Friday.  It needed some steering part that had to be ordered and it would not be in until Monday.    In the interim I spent a couple of unexpected nights in Wetumpka, Alabama where I stayed at the Wind Creek Casino and Motel.  It is a pretty nice place and though I am not much of gambler, I had some fun in the Casino. Monday of course was a holiday so my car part arrived today. About six hours of labor later my 1968 MGB is back on the road and I will be driving on to Atlanta tonight.


I will be in Atlanta late this evening and  I will spend the night with my friend and his wife and then tomorrow  leave for Miami,  Port o Spain, Trinidad and on to St. Lucia.  I will arrive in St. Lucia day after tomorrow at about daylight.

I think it only fitting that I spent a few hours on the side of the road with a broken down car, just to get my mind right for the trip back to the islands. I can’t wait to see the beautiful blue waters and the palms swaying in the breeze.  I can almost smell the spices in the air, taste the fresh seafood and feel the sun shining down on my skin.  I don’t know exactly how long I will be on St. Lucia but I know for sure it won’t take but a few short hours to decompress and get back on island time.  I have been away too long.

It is funny how life gets in the way of living.  I had some personal business…life…to get behind me so I was out of the islands much longer than I wanted to be.  During my time off I wasn’t sitting still.  I have spent a time in western Canada, Alaska, San Francisco, York, England and a few other places. None of which were tropical. The nearest thing to tropical was a four day trip I made to San Diego last December and trust me it was far from tropical.  I love San Diego and I enjoyed some great seafood and time on the rather cool beach but, I need the tropics.

Anyway, by this time tomorrow I will be in Port o Spain, grabbing a bite to eat, waiting to board another plane on to St. Lucia.  I hope to be able to fill you in once I land and get my feet back in the sand.

William Fair Roberts…not quite on island time, on my way to paradise.

Kenny Chesney Confirms New Orleans Show

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Kenny Chesney

Kenny Chesney

Kenny Chesney will perform a one-hour acoustic set in New Orleans on May 17 to help raise money for the charities of two of his friends — actor Matthew McConaughey and New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees.

“Having spent the last five or six months in the studio, I am so ready to get out there and play,” Chesney toldThe Tennessean, Nashville’s daily newspaper. “Even though we’re making music, it’s not the same, and I can’t wait to be in a room with the energy of the people … have that feeding back at me, getting all that coming back at me.”

Chesney expects to release his new album this fall. He’s been working on it since October, the newspaper reports. Chesney’s previous album, Life on a Rock, was released in April 2013.

Tickets to the New Orleans charitable event are $350 for general admission. Proceeds will benefit McConaughey’s Just Keep Livin’ Foundation and Brees’ charity, the Brees Dream Foundation. 

“Drew and Matthew set the bar — for working hard, for giving back, for inspiring others,” Chesney said. “They inspire me. And if I can go play songs and help them raise money for their foundations, which do so much good, I’m happy to.

“When you factor in that I’ve been cooped up, not really playing, and I’m ready to get out there with some people. … it’s a little selfish ’cause the audience makes me feel so good! But having done this, I already know we’re gonna have a ball, and no one will get out of there without a smile on their face.”

Original Source

ART, Music, Writing…. and more, in Key West!

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Here in the Keys we have some really great songwriters! Take
Adrienne for example. If you go to one of her gigs, there’s a large percentage
of her set that are her original songs. Very good songs at that, by the way.
Personally, I think that this is something that really sets a songwriter out
from a performer, as being a songwriter, and not just a performer. Over the
years I’ve seen some locals in this event and I said to myself when I saw them
on the list “They’re a songwriter?” because the only thing I’ve ever heard them
do are covers. At the Festival they’d do a few originals, but the next week
those originals are put back in mothballs and they are back to playing only
covers.While they may have written a few songs over the years, those folks are more geared as performers than songwriters.

 Someone like Adrienne is willing to walk out on that high wire without
a net, at all of her gigs and take the chance. Sure, she’ll do cover songs,
that’s part of what we all do and truly love. However, a songwriter lives to
write songs and that’s what we do. We’re creators of stories and our canvas is
music. I know at my gigs  30 – 50% is my original material,
depending on where I am and the crowd. I always get a great reception on them
from the crowd, I’m pleased to say. It’s like I mentioned in a previous blog,
If one goes to Jamaica, Mexico, Puerto Rico, one expects to hear music native
of the country. The Conch Republic is no exception. Visitors love to hear music
that originates from here.

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International Meal Co. to buy Margaritaville

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Brazil-based company is already a franchisee of the chain
Apr 7, 2014

Brazil-based International Meal Co., a franchisee of the Margaritaville casual-dining brand, is buying the 10-unit Margaritaville and two-unit LandShark Bar and Grill chains from Orlando, Fla.-based Margaritaville Enterprises.

Sao Paulo-based International Meal Co. Holdings S.A. owns and operates Margaritaville franchise units in the Puerto Rico and Panama airports and has worked with Margaritaville since 2010. IMC also owns 386 casual and quick-service restaurants in Brazil, the Caribbean and Mexico, emphasizing units in airports, shopping malls and along major highways.

Musician Jimmy Buffett, who initially developed the company around his song “Margaritaville,” said in a statement that his relationship with IMC chief executive Javier Gavilan and chairman Juan Carlos Torres over the past several years set the stage for the deal.

“I only see good things for our friends, our employees and, most of all, our customers happening as a result of this arrangement,” he said. “To paraphrase a song I am a little familiar with, we are taking our attitudes to new latitudes.”

IMC is purchasing the domestic restaurant assets of Margaritaville, including a notable location in the Flamingo hotel in Las Vegas. Exact terms of the deal were not disclosed, and officials from IMC were not available for an interview by press time.

The company said in a statement that it planned to add new locations later this year in the Brazilian cities of Sao Paulo, Brasilia and Viracopos.

“As part of this strategic alliance, IMC will have exclusive rights to develop and own Margaritaville venues in the United States and Latin America,” the company statement said.

“This strategic alliance is about growing a powerful brand, in segments where we have a lot of experience and a proven track record,” Gavilan said in remarks. “Airports will be our first priority to develop this great brand, and we have already found some very exciting opportunities.”

IMC’s flagship brands in Brazil are Frango Assado and Viena. Since 2006, IMC has worked with Advent International, a private-equity firm with more than $24 billion in cumulative capital, to fund its expansion, the company said.

Margaritaville Enterprises, which also includes retail shops, consumer products, casinos, resorts and a SiriusXM radio station, was founded with its first restaurant in Key West, Fla., in 1987. It has Margaritaville units in Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, New Jersey, Nevada, Ohio, South Carolina and Tennessee. Its LandShark units are in Atlantic City, N.J., and Myrtle Beach, S.C.

New Margaritaville locations will open this summer in Pigeon Forge, Tenn., and Sao Paulo, Brazil.

Margaritaville Hotels and/or Casinos are located in: Biloxi, Miss.; Bossier City, La.; Las Vegas; and Pensacola Beach, Fla.

Contact Ron Ruggless at
Follow him on Twitter: @RonRuggless

Seven Mile Bridge, Moving, Amazing Musician Blunder

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Music and events that happen in Key West as observed by Chris Rehm. “What Happens in Key West Stays in Key West” Wrong! Everyone wants to know what’s happening in Key West!

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Seven Mile Bridge, Moving, Amazing Musician Blunder, I’m in a novel!

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Remarkable really.


Glasgow, Scotland based author Jon Breakfield has just released his latest book, Key West part II. This of course follows Key West, his first, in what perhaps will become a series? We’ll see! Jon also has three other books out, “Death in Glasgow”, “Naked Europe”, and “Liverpool…. Texas? London… Arkansas? A Short Story”. In Key West part II You’ll find me in the book! What a combination of a hoot and an honor! Thank you Jon!

I have no doubt that you’ll find Jon’s books quite entertaining! One amazing thing that all of Jon’s characters in the book are real people! You never know, you may even be in it! Be sure to check this one out at Amazon!

And a link to all of Jon’s books at Amazon:

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MOTM 2014

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Having said all of this, I will say PHIP are trying to make the event at the Casa Marina work.They also do give a lot to the community as far as various charities go. They are actually attempting to stay out of the red, so to speak. I respect that. However I also feel that the musicians who play for them also deserve the right to stay out of the red as well, so I think that another solution must be looked into.

Several have told me that this was attempted last year, but shelved. There were plenty of events last year that were held by PHIP Casa Marina musicians outside of the Casa. I know in my three events that I held, I had Casa musicians at every one.

I strongly suggest that PHIP revert to the older formula for 2014.

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Mishka The Journey Tour 2014

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Mishka’s New Album, The Journey, Now Available!

The Journey Continues

“Unplugged and Fully Connected”

Mishka is bringing his Journey back to the US. Join him for a very special night of music.

Tour Dates
March 27:      The Knitting Factory, Brooklyn, NY TICKETS

March 28:      FTC StageOne, Fairfield, CT  TICKETS

March 29:      Milly’s Tavern, Manchester, NH  TICKETS

March 30:      The Middle East, Cambridge, MA  TICKETS

March 31:      The Wonder Bar, Asbury Park, NJ  TICKETS

April 2:           Montego’s, Virginia Beach, VA  TICKETS

April 3:           Jammin’ Javas, Vienna, VA  TICKETS

April 4:           World Cafe Live, Philadelphia, PA  TICKETS

April 5:           The Abbey Bar, Harrisburg, PA  TICKETS

April 6:           Pour House Music Hall, Raleigh, NC  TICKETS

April 8:           The Grey Eagle, Asheville, NC  TICKETS

April 9:           Ziggy’s By The Sea, Wilmington, NC  TICKETS

April 14:         The Pour House, Charleston, SC  TICKETS

April 16:         Work Play Theatre, Birmingham, AL  TICKETS

April 19:         Smith’s Olde Bar, Atlanta, GA  TICKETS

April 20:         Jack Rabbits Live, Jacksonville, FL  TICKETS

Visit for more information and additional dates as they are added.  Mishka’s Journey will take him all over the World this year.  Come and join The Journey. #MishkaLive

Mishka’s first full length studio album in over 3 years is now available.  This new collection of songs is a travel log of roots, soul, and enduring love.

The Journey – Mishka on iTunes

The Journey – Mishka on Amazon



“Worth The Wait”



Playing Original Music in the Keys and The newest Bar Tending With Boris

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Music and events that happen in Key West as observed by Chris Rehm. “What Happens in Key West Stays in Key West” Wrong! Everyone wants to know what’s happening in Key West!

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