“Wild” Mick Brown walks into The Hideaway Grill in Cave Creek and he immediately elicits smiles.
With his blond, spiked hair and his black leather vest emblazoned with “Wild Mick,” Dokken’s 39-year drummer is the mayor of motorcycling in this North Valley town.
Accompanied by his modified custom big dog, Sweety, Brown is constantly approached by fellow bikers—and he remembers all of their names. Just like a great politician.
“See how these people are?” Brown says with his bright smile. “You know what? Right back at them. I love them.”
Brown—who also played in Lynch Mob and with Ted Nugent—retired from touring April 5, 2019. He is dedicated to spending his time in the Arizona sun.
“I just don’t need to do it anymore,” he says about touring. “I wish I could, but I had a lot of pain. I’ve been playing drums since I was 8 years old. I was in my first band at 10. I’m 63 now. Now I’m relaxed, and when I ride my motorcycle, that’s awesome.”
The beginning of the story
Brown is looking forward to Cave Creek Bike Week, Friday, March 27, to Sunday, April 5. The Hideaway and The Roadhouse’s owner, Mark Bradshaw, is just as passionate about bikes. He founded Cave Creek Bike Week in 1998, as one of three motorcycle events in the town.
“I’ve been in the motorcycle community my whole life,” Bradshaw says. “As a kid growing up, we’d dump our dirt bikes at Seventh Street and Bell and come out to Cave Creek. Later, I opened my bars up here because it was a destination. You come out, have a hamburger and listen to some music and head home. The first day I was open, I had 600 motorcycles here.”
Bradshaw has a knack for attracting celebrities. Brown and his music peers Mark Gus Scott of Trixter and Bobby Mason of Warrant hang out on Sundays. Dan Haggerty and Dan Aykroyd have stopped by as well.
“They come and sing at my place and it’s a damn good time,” Bradshaw says. “You never know who’s going to show up. We do about 75,000 people in 10 days for Bike Week.”
Bradshaw has a simple reason for the success of his bars.
“There’s nothing special about it,” he says. “It’s very basic. It’s the best way to be. There’s nothing hoity toity about it. It’s clean and there are good people. The customers are the best.”
Brown is one of those customers. He moved to Cave Creek in 1985 and he noticed it was void of motorcycles.
“I would ride to all these places, and with the town as small as it is, I got to know all the owners of these places,” he says. “They would all tolerate me, but they said, ‘Listen, why do you park your bike here?’ Some of the places said ‘no biker attire’ on top of the door.
“Why did I park my bike right out front? I am damn proud of it. They giggled. Over time, I went, ‘What am I missing?’”
The state was recovering from motorcycle gangs that ruined the fun for others.
“They didn’t want bikers in this town,” he says. “And then I show up proud and loud. The owner of this bar said if I parked mine out front, then another guy might come by and see that and he’s going to park out front. I said, ‘Isn’t that the idea?’”
Fifteen years went by and nobody except for him and a few others flexed their motorcycle muscles throughout the town.
“I kept saying this seems like a great destination. Even if you’re just a weekend warrior from Phoenix who wants to come up and have a good burger and ride your bike to somewhere, it’s worth it,” he says through drags of his cigarette.
Thousands of bikes line Cave Creek Road, with foot traffic going between The Hideaway, The Horny Toad, The Roadhouse and Buffalo Chip Saloon and Steakhouse.
“This is just a normal weekend,” Brown says. “Cave Creek Bike Week is coming up where this turns into a miniature Sturgis, but that’s fantastic. I’m really pleased to have others around.
“People discovered this, and the town was open minded enough to let everybody come in and have their time,” he says. “Do you know how much money is coming into this town? For 15, 20 years I was looking for someone to ride with, and no one would come to this town on a motorcycle.”
Scott, Mason and Brown all agree that riding motorcycles is relaxing, cathartic and therapeutic. Brown’s parents bought him a minibike when he was 10, and a Honda at 12. In 1985, he bought a Harley-Davidson, and now he has a chopper.
“I enjoy the actual feeling of riding one. There are some feelings about going down a road on two weeks,” Brown says. “It’s the weightlessness, the smells, the seeing, the feeling, the hearing. If you have something on your mind that’s bothering you, all your troubles come out through your handlebars and to the exhaust pipe and out. You get a fresher look. It’s very relaxing.”
Cave Creek Bike Week
Throughout Cave Creek, hideaway-usa.com/cave-creek-bike-week, Friday, March 27, to Sunday, April 5.