Mike Mad Dog Adams Celebrates 40 years at the Round House Bar

If there was a Put-in-Bay Hall of Fame, Mike Mad Dog Adams would have a whole exhibition dedicated to him. Those who know the name know of his afternoon shows at the Round House Bar during the summer. This year marks the 40th anniversary of Adams playing
at the Roundhouse, but his dedication to Put-in-Bay is only a sliver of what makes Mad Dog the enjoyable, comedic entertainer he is.

From a young age, Mike Mad Dog Adams knew he wanted to be an entertainer.

His mother has a beautiful voice and sang quite often, and his father was known to sing as well. Adams formed his first band in elementary school, and by the time he was 14, Adams was going from venue to venue asking for auditions. His career began to pick up around the age of 18 when he was written about in a newspaper about an upcoming show.

That article is what popularized the stage name and persona “Mad Dog.” The stage name “Mad Dog” originated in high school. When the newspaper journalist asked his name, Adams’ longtime friend gave “Mad Dog” and Adams gave his actual name. When he couldn’t make a decision, the journalist wrote down Mike Mad Dog Adams, and the stage name has stuck ever since.

As an entertainer, Mike Mad DogAdams has accomplished extraordinary things.

He’s entertained globally, in countries such as Italy and Mexico. Adams recalled his first performance in Italy to a non-English speaking crowd. He opened the show with a joke he thought was hilarious, but he got no response from the crowd. “It was so quiet I could hear the cigarettes burn,” Adams reminisced, laughing.

Another time in Mexico, Adams cleverly chose to cover John Denver’s “Take Me Home Country Roads” because he knew how popular the song was. Adams’ ability to adapt to each audience is one of the reasons he is so successful as an entertainer. When performing in other countries, he chose to adopt a stereotypical Western American by belting country classics like Johnny Cash. Adams knew that’s the kind of American entertainer they wanted to see.

Mike Mad Dog Adams career has taken him to impressive places.

Picture of Mike Mad Dog Adams

He has opened for legendary artists like Johnny Cash and Loretta Lynn. “[Opening for Johnny Cash] seemed like a big deal at the time, and now, it’s an even bigger deal,” Adams said. Although he explained he didn’t spend a lot of time with them, he spoke highly and admirably about the two.

It was in 1979 that Adams first came to Put-in-Bay after a friend asked him if he’d ever been. The Roundhouse was the first place he auditioned, and he’s been there ever since. “I don’t have one bad memory at the Roundhouse.” Adams smiled. “It’s a wonderful place to work. They have let me do what I like creatively.”

When asked what made him stick with Put-in-Bay, Adams gave a list of compliments.

“[Put-in-Bay] is incredibly unique, and there is nothing like it,” Adams said. The fact that the island has history is one of the most enjoyable things for Adams. Generations of people have been coming to hear his ribald, bawdy humor. He has seen the audiences of the Roundhouse shift and changes over the years.

When he began at the Roundhouse, it was more blue-collar workers and fishermen from Cleveland, but especially in the past two years, the audience is getting younger. Impressively, Adams is able to keep all forms and generations of audiences entertained. Mike “Mad Dog” Adams has become a part of the Put-in-Bay history and remains a part of it. Every islander knows his name and of his kind soul that continues to make a great impact on the island. His performance dates and times can be found on the Put-in-Bay Entertainment Schedule.

Written by Sarah Barney