This basic Avocado Sandwich is the fuel for music and art travel of pop culture teaching professor Matt Donahue, Ph.D.
“This sandwich has fueled a thousand projects. It’s readily accessible, affordable, quick and easy to make. It’s also healthy,” Donahue said.
Constantly on the go, Donahue throws the sandwich in his backpack when he travels. Whether it’s to the Hines Farm Blues Club in Swanton or the Funk Music Hall of Fame or Hyderabad, India, Donahue will have these sandwiches with him.
He makes them up at home before hitting the recording studio in Toledo, or driving up to Detroit Metro Airport. He also brings some of the ingredients in his bag. Avocados and ranch dressing are at every grocery store in Dayton, but not Amsterdam or little industrial towns in England.
Donahue is conscious of the health factor involved in his diet. He is not a fan of fast food, although he considers this sandwich to be fast food — because it doesn’t take a lot of time or skill to make.
To go with his sandwiches, he recommends what he drinks at home, water or coffee. He has definite opinions on water.
He uses an Alexapure Pro Water Filtration System. He gets his water at the WaterShed, by the Northwestern Water and Sewer District, then he filters it.
“It wasn’t cheap, but it was worth every penny,” Donahue said.
You might see Donahue around his Bowling Green home — Avocado Sandwich in one hand — or driving his art car, a white 1971 Dodge Dart that looks like it got in a fight with a paint bucket-wielding Jackson Pollock. He could be on his way to the next gig, domestically or internationally.
“It really is my sandwich of choice. I don’t know where I came up with the idea. I guess, like the veggies, it was kind of organic,” Donahue said.
Donahue has three projects going right now, each of which started in different countries.
“I work late nights in the music studio and I don’t want to take time away from my work, but I need to be healthy and have energy. These sandwiches provide that,” Donahue said.
He is working on songs with the band Tackhead. The band includes Bernard Fowler, Doug Wimbish, Keith LeBlanc, Skip McDonald and Adrian Sherwood. They may not be well-known names on Top 40 radio, but those guys have worked with the likes of the Rolling Stones, Living Color and Sinéad O’Connor.
The Tackhead band members have each recorded on the On-U Sound label, which is owned by Adrian Sherwood, in England.
While Donahue is most well known in Wood County for his day job, teaching pop culture at Bowling Green State University, his love of travel started in the 90s with his band Universe Crew. They were signed for a record deal with Sherwood.
Donahue became fast friends with Sherwood, who introduced him to guitarist McDonald. While McDonald also lives in Ramsgate, England, he’s actually from Dayton.
The second project is a documentary about Donahue’s life. He’s the blues player that wrote the licks for many of the Sugar Hill Gang hit songs. That’s his guitar work on “The Message” by Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five.
While traveling for his music, Donahue fell in love with Amsterdam, the capital of the Netherlands. Piggybacking off his award-winning documentary travel film “The Amsterdam T-Shirt Project,” he did the “Amsterdam Sign Project.” The more than 3,000 photos of business signs have been turned into an art exhibit, shown locally at BGSU’s Jerome Library and Grounds For Thought.