Hudson Wisconsin Nightlife

Be a part of The Memories, and the Wild dancing, as bands come to county fair

July 19th, 2016

(All the Seasons are fair game for HudsonWiNightlife, and read about some of the action in this web site’s Notes From the Beat Department).

Twenty-nine years of memories again come to Glenwood City this weekend, and it promises to be a wild and fun party. The St. Croix County Fair will again be held July 20-24.
As far as music headliners, country rock band Coyote Wild plays at 7 p.m. Friday in the Croix Court, The Memories, a musical variety show, at 8:15 p.m. Saturday and their offshoot, Ole and Elmer, musical comedy, at 11 a.m. Sunday.
Some of the men who make up the party known as Coyote Wild are known to sport three different kinds of hats and another has dreadlocks, a bit different for a country rock band, and their music also has variety. A pair of women round out the seven-member group’s lineup. Coyote Wild played a recent local show as a recurring gig, and had some different takes on the country format. They definitely are not heavy metal, but the bass player was wearing an Exodus T-shirt. And that dreadlocked lead guitarist rocked through Sweet Emotion by Aerosmith, doing the vocals as well, as part of their format where these duties are exchanged. To wrap up the night, there was a combination of introductory plinky guitar and power chords to a Journey song. Those same type of guitar stylings were present on my drive home, to Gimme Shelter by the Stones.

Country music has had a massive influence in the history of rock music, and rock music has changed the direction of country. You can enjoy both with Coyote Wild, whether you are a devotee of classic rock or a true country fan at heart. This band brings you the best of both worlds, performing an eclectic mix of both classic and current rock and country. With their blend of talent and creativity, this band has a professional sound without losing the energy that audiences would expect from a performing rock band, they say. Built around strong vocals and great harmonies, their set list is a diverse mix, meaning there is something for everyone.

Their show is high energy and fast-paced, great fun and sure to inspire dancing and singing along. With the raw and gritty edge you would expect from a seasoned band, and a female front line that rocks the room with their intoxicating harmonies and electrifying performance, this is the “go-to” country rock band in the Midwest, they say.
As far as The Memories, they were inducted to the Wisconsin Association of Fairs’ Hall of Fame in 1995.
As many groups do, The Memories got their start singing and playing music while in high school choir and band in Boyceville. In summer 1972, they were asked to perform for a friend’s wedding dance and 44 years later Warren Petryk and Tim Stevens are still making music together. They now have performed at the county fair for 29 straight years.
In what started out as a very part-time adventure, Warren and Tim, along with classmate and fellow founding member, John Lynch, performed anywhere and everywhere they could: village halls, golf courses, high schools, community festivals, wedding dances, night clubs, bowling alleys, street dances, ballrooms, barn dances, supper clubs and ski resorts included.
There have been many highlights through the years. Among them are:
– In March 1975, the group won first place at a regional talent contest held at the Black Steer Supper Club in Eau Claire, the first of many such contests captured.
– In 1979, they performed the entire six-day run of the Northern Wisconsin State Fair, serving as its Goodwill Ambassadors.
– Appeared as the opening acts for several nationally known artists, such as Merle Haggard, Alabama, The Oak Ridge Boys, Ricky Nelson, Ray Price and a special show with Barbara Mandrell at the 1979 Barron Farm and Feather Fest.
– In 1983, they took first in the country band contest of the Rhinelander Hodag Country Music Fest, and the same year were winners in the Wisconsin Country Music Band Contest sponsored by Wrangler Jeans and Dodge Trucks.
– Produced over 30 different recordings, which include 45s, albums, eight-track tapes, cassette tapes and compact discs.
– Performed annual Christmas concerts at the Mabel Tainter Theater in Menomonie for 30 years, and counting.
And, the seed that planted the whole entertainment bug: Being runnerup in the Boyceville Cucumber Festival talent contest in 1971 for a cash prize of $10.
At their peak, “The Boys from Boyceville” were full-time entertainers and traveled from coast to coast for 200 days a year. In 1995, they scaled back to a part-time schedule, and in September 2000, Tim and Warren began a new phase when they started performing as a duo — as they will on Sunday. Today, they continue the tradition of their trademark, “Music, Laughter and Wonderful Times,” by appearing at a select number of events each year, obviously including the county fair.

“I think there a few things that make us ‘different.’ We try our best to make sure our shows feature great
songs, performed well from a musical standpoint. But also, that our shows are entertaining, interesting and fun
for our audiences,” Tim said, adding that the band members were fortunate that they were best friends before
they started performing together. “We have been told many times through the years that our friendship really
comes across to our audiences when we are on stage.”
Growing up together in western Wisconsin, they not only know each other extremely well, but also their
audiences and the people and history of the area. “We bring that to the stage with us,” Tim said.
“As far as what is different with our show as a duo, it may sound basic, but I think we have continued to
develop a tighter performance ….and that comes from being on stage with the same guy for thousands of
performances for nearly 44 years,” Tim said, adding that for the last 16 of those years, there was actually the
involvement of “two friends – Warren and myself.”

Other fair highlights that have an entertainment aspect are: Thursday — a horse pull and the Fairest of the Fair Coronation, both at 7 p.m.; Friday — tractor pull at 6:30 p.m.; Saturday — Divas Through the Decades, a female trio, at 1, 3 and 6 p.m.; Looney Lutherans act, at noon and 2 and 5 p.m.; Jared Sherlock, magician and illusionist, 4 p.m.; four-by-four truck pull, 6:30 p.m.; and comedy hypnosis, 10 p.m.; Sunday — mud volleyball, 11 a.m.; talent show, 1 p.m.; and ATV and four-by-four mud races, 10 a.m. and 1 p.m.

For more information, visit

The Fourth found a flurry of funky fun, from fireworks to featuring other festive fanfare

July 14th, 2016

Get a leg up on The Captain, who you can bet watched more scenery than the fireworks as The Fourth unfolded:

– It would only happen at Booster Days that occurred that weekend. A bunch of young adults at a packed Dick’s Bar and Grill were messing harmlessly with the three-foot-high statue of Captain Morgan, propped up next to the ATM machine, so it was moved across the room to an area by the dartboards. Guess they had some captain in them. Once the holiday was over, the rum-renowned statue was shuffled back to its original place. And while we’re ruminating on rum reporting, the local people who run Demon Rum, who are captains of their own ship, had just hours earlier been present giving away samples of their own new brand, which is getting more and more popular.
– Some of that same Dick’s crowd debated whether to enter based on the $1 cover charge. Dudes, it’s just a buck. It could only get you a few more ounces of beer. Others kitty-corner on Second Street wondered aloud just where you could get food after midnight. In the spirit of It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere, maybe they’d consider a late liquid lunch. And over in the Pier 500 parking lot, an older man with a grey mane and patriotic colors was dancing a jig to yet another rendition of Prince’s Purple Rain, this time done by Chris Lawrence over nextdoor in the Booster Days bandshell.
– Judging from female attire over the Fourth of July, it appears to be a (partial) re-trend that the bare midriff look is (partially) back, even if the actual skin shown is (partially) limited in height to the area around the belly-button.
– Walking to watch the fireworks on the Fourth, on County E next to the old Guv’s Place, a dad educated his kids on the three-additional-street-route that it takes to get to the Stillwater lift bridge below. Above them, there were not one but two sky-kiters competing for attention normally given the fireworks. On signs at a nearby intersection, if you get a little lost in Houlton, is literally the meeting of the streets Church and State.
– This seen even prior to the Fourth, a bar patron all duded up in stars and stripes clothing — and also a whole bunch of tattoos, some with skulls. Odd bedfellows? Trying to be patriotic, what would Trump say? As far as the level of being interesting as a jerk, it would probably Trump anything coming from Hillary.
– Over the Fourth, drink coasters sprouted up around town that said “I am thankful for my libeerty.” And no, that’s not a typo, and underscoring that is the beer that’s sponsoring the coaster campaign, it being Samuel Adams Boston Lager. Can’t get much more patriotic than that, with the historic namesake.
– Right around the holiday, when fireworks went off over the St. Croix River and slews of boaters watched from a perch on the water, a tow truck late at night hauled a vehicle away from the boat launch near the freeway. It was a stalled car, not a swamped boat! Just thought that was ironic.

River Falls Days: Wide-ranging bands come to play from New Richmond, southeast MN and metro and provide a whole ‘Chunk’ of quality music, so also Car Cruze on in

July 6th, 2016

River Falls Days is all about the music, among other attractions, and it is kicked off by the technically solid sounds of Uncle Chunk, which cross all popular genres, then goes more country, first with a band hailing from just up the highway, Rural Route 5, then finally, a group with another hit-the-road-type name that got its start in the winding byways of southeast Minnesota, Lost Highway.
Now, with summer in full gear and these three bands congregating in River Falls, it might be time to rock the Kinni. The theme for this year’s River Falls Days — which runs the weekend of July 7-10 — is Adventures on the Kinni, referring to the noted local trout stream. An addition draw for the festival, this year, is Sunday’s smokin’ Car Cruze-In, where everything from classic cars to your hot rod or cycle can take center stage.
The fest is in its 42nd year and is seen as something that people from a wide area make it a point to see and hear, and is viewed by many as a Homecoming of sorts, especially by former students of UW-River Falls.
Each year, the community celebration is held in spacious Heritage Park, darn near the banks of the scenic Kinnickinnic River.
The live music in the park includes the pop, rock and country sounds of Uncle Chunk on Friday, July 8 from 9:30 p.m.-1 a.m. (with no cover charge), and then it steers more to country in particular with Rural Route 5 on Saturday from 7-9:30 p.m., and then Lost Highway from 10 p.m.-1:30 a.m. There is also other live music to be found around town, at various bar and grill venues, during River Falls Days, so you can make a night of it.
These are bios of the headlining musical acts:
– Uncle Chunk is a popular and regular headliner of many local and area fests, and a fan favorite. The band lists covers of more then 80 different bands on their 115-song play list, which is heavy on Green Day and also includes a trio of songs each by Nickelback, Creed and Good Charlotte — both their tried and true favorites and some from deep in the vault — and even seven originals. Other groups that appear on the set list multiple times are Maroon 5, 3 Doors Down, Zac Brown Band, INXS, Seether, Weezer, Matchbox 20, All American Rejects, Finger 11, Kid Rock, Jet, Bowling for Soup and Blink 182. For more than 20 years now, they also cover the best from all genres such as rock, pop and country, they say, and back it up by virtue of the gigs they get.
– A self-described rockin’ county band out of neighboring New Richmond, Rural Route 5 plays everything from Merle to Miranda, from Cash to Aldean. There are more than two dozen artists on the premium selections part of their play list, and they include their own country twists on old favorites such as Fishin’ In The Dark and Sweet Home Alabama.
Rural Route 5 debuted to a packed crowd in May of 2013 at The SPACE in New Richmond. Since that gig, the band has been, again, rockin’ out to packed crowds all over from saloons to shed parties, and from private parties to summer festivals like River Falls Days, where it has played before. You will hear everything from country classics to modern country hits, and even a few songs that weren’t country before, but they are now, they say. The up-tempo set lists will get crowds off their feet and on the dance floor, they add as hey, they bring the party despite being a whole range of ages.
– Since their inception in 2009, Lost Highway has proven to be one of the Upper Midwest’s top country bands. From opening shows for national acts such as Hank Williams Jr., Clay Walker and Josh Thompson, to playing many outdoor festivals such as this weekend in River Falls, or entertaining capacity crowds in the hottest venues in the area, Lost Highway’s commitment to country music and electrifying the audience is evident, they say.
Lead vocalist Jesse Steberg has learned not to take things for granted, as is reflected in their songs, as seven years ago he broke his neck while snowmobiling. The accident left him stunned and silenced, and it took him two years to get his singing-voice back. But get it back, he did.
As if on cue, at one point Steberg crossed paths with high school classmate Matt Schwake, who was refining his guitar playing, and they literally started a garage band. Within a week, a freshly formed group of comrades began to play and soon uploaded videos of their acoustic performances recorded in — you guessed it — a garage for YouTube.
The band was officially formed seven years ago and named after Hank Williams’ 1948 croon “Lost Highway,” written by Leon Payne. Performing eight or more times a month, Steberg says the six-piece band is busier now than ever. From sharing the stage with a group of national acts, to playing outdoor festivals We Fest and Country Fest, the group has continued to grow its group of fans from the Midwest. We suggest becoming one of them this weekend in River Falls.
– Also gaining attention in conjunction with River Falls Day is the Car Cruze-In 2016 on July 10 from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. All cars and cycles are welcome, and if you’ve seen peoples’ rides on the local highways and byways, you know there are a lot of creative design twists to by taken on anywhere from two to four wheels. It’s recommended that you take the afternoon and enjoy a summer ride as you “cruze the loop” in downtown River Falls. The Cruze-In is hoped to draw some of the many fans who go from such car show to such car show and exhibit or spectate all through the summer — and some might even be from Lost Highway country — as well as some new lovers of classic cars. They can then also go from event to event and take in the duration of the fest.
River Falls Days is a free, family-friendly event that has a carnival-like atmosphere (a few roadies included) with tons of food and entertainment. Festivities include a 6:30 p.m. Friday parade from Main to Second streets with floats having the river-based theme in mind, Saturday morning 10-K and two-mile races and Kid’s Fun Run, live music acts and outdoor dancing, food vendors and Miller Beer Garden, Sunday fireworks at dusk at Hoffman Park, carnival rides and more. The tradition is seen as a great event to celebrate the city of River Falls.
For more information on the various activities, visit this website:

Blues, rock, indie, funk, hip-hop, jazz, alternative, its all Booster Days country

June 29th, 2016

(For more Booster Days-related activities, in addition to music, see this web site’s Picks of the Week department).

Although its heavy on blues and classic rock, the soul of Hudson Booster Days music may be its diverse line-up, which also swings toward indie-rock, funk, hip-hop, jazz, alternative, and of course country.
The music acts at the annual celebration have been largely changed up from many previous years, giving listeners a wider range of entertainment to revel in. There is no cover charge for any of the live music during the festival at Lakefront Park, which runs June 30-July 3 and has lots of music acts — count ‘em, a total of eight — in the band shell. There also are other featured activities, some old and some new, such as the bean bag tournament, magic show at two different times, and kid’s pedal tractor pull.
The bands that will play, on order of appearance throughout three days of music, are the Alex Rossi Trio, Chris Lawrence, Kingsview, Cadillac Kolstad & The Flats, Paisan, The Sixes, Ross William Perry and of course, Uncle Chunk. Two of those bands are on Friday, and three each on Saturday and Sunday.
These are the bios of the bands:
– The Alex Rossi Trio is made up of blues, soul and funk music, with a twist.
Rossi has been performing professionally for over 15 years. With strong roots in the styles mentioned, Rossi has created what’s called a unique and recognizable sound from his diverse musical background, filling the dance floor. The band has been a mainstay of the Minneapolis music scene for a over a decade, for years holding down a popular gig at Gluek’s. Rossi’s talents were recognized when he was picked a finalist in the International Songwriting Competition. He has shared the stage with notable artists including Chicago, Steve Miller Band, Johnny Lang, Eric Hutchinson, Jimmie Vaughan, Blues Traveler, Morris Day & The Time, The Funk Brothers, Susan Tedeschi, Los Lonely Boys and others. Rossi has recorded five albums.
– Chris Lawrence is one of a number of singers with Hudson connections to go deep into the American Idol contest — twice, with his sultry R&B, soul, funk and a hint of hip-hop.
Lawrence, age 25, has been signed by Pitbull’s label imprint Mr. 305 Ent., and he’s already generated a buzz with his tender heartbreak single “Withdrawal,” as the song was on the nationally syndicated radio show “The Weekend Top 30,” which airs on KDWB. MTVhits, MTVu and VH1 have also aired the video, which includes a nod to Mobb Deep’s “Shook Ones.” The single was produced by Kay Gee of Naughty by Nature, and Lawrence recently finished off his full-length album with the help of Gee.
– Kingsview boasts alternative and indie-rock with catchy lead melodies and infectious harmonies, they say. The group is active in the local music scene and brings a new style to live songs, mixing original music with unique covers and a blend of today’s popular music. The set list played is often referred to as “a breath of fresh air” by staff and patrons during shows. The group prides themselves on energetic concerts tailored to the venue and the audience — like the band shell. The band has been writing and practicing material for their second record, due out mid-year.
– Cadillac Kolstad & The Flats features throwback rock and blues with a bit of boogie-woogie, especially on the piano. Kolstad says the name was “awarded” to him because he owns three 1964 Cadillacs, and he considers himself a history fan, which fits with his traditional roots style and the older and historic venues he often plays. Kolstad has released three albums — one with the band to be seen this weekend, one a solo album and one with Cornbread Harris. He performs his versions of roots and jazz standards, along with his own songs, and includes some subtle political commentary or views on current events — at times playing both impromptu and planned concerts in pubs around Ireland and in hotels in China.
– Paisan plays high-energy, hard-charging rock and roll, and although you may have heard that before, they’ve been doing it since 2006, starting as an impromptu get-together for a local festival much like Booster Days to fill an open spot on the main stage. Since then, they’ve performed classic rock, country new and old, and of course oldies. They are best known for showcasing well-known artists’ less-known songs. However, the young group still plays the greats that everyone can recognize.
– The Sixes and Ross William Perry start off the next day, with first-off acoustic blues, followed by gritty blues and guitar. The Sixes play that acoustic music with an edge, bringing a very intimate atmosphere that is also engaging to songs about life, love, and everything in between. No particular genre defines them, as there are soft melodies and “moments of intense in-your-face bluesy rock.” The duo from both ends of Wisconsin is led by Dwayne Thomas and yes, they play the cajon, too.
Ross William Perry has been doing his homework since age four and it shows. Focused on a lifetime of playing his music, Ross has been a rising star on the Midwest blues scene since graduating high school in 1998. Blending blues, rock and jazz influences, Ross has created a sound that is distinctively his own.
– Uncle Chunk is a popular headliner of local fests and a fan favorite. They perform covers of more then 80 different bands on their 115-song play list, which is heavy on Green Day, among others, and also includes seven originals. For more than 20 years now, they also cover the best from all genres, they say, and back it up by virtue of the gigs they get.
Sponsors of the acts are, Demon Rum (two bands on Saturday) and Mallory’s Restaurant and Rooftop Bar (two Sunday bands). The Village Inn in North Hudson is sponsor of the bean bag tourney, The Giggle Factory Inc. is sponsor of the magician, and Frontier Ag and Turf is lead sponsor of the kid’s pedal tractor pull.
Two other featured events will find you in luck if you are in any of the first three places.
The new bean bag tourney, with players trying to slide their tosses to just the right spot, has registration from 11:15-11:45 a.m., ($20 per person, double elimination). There are cash prizes awarded to first, second and third place winners, with the other half of the money raised going to youth sports. Competitors are given two drink tickets each with entry.
The kid’s pedal tractor pull is an officially sanctioned event, which is demonstrated by the long-stretching girth of the competitors, taking place just south of the band shell. There are five divisions, boys and girls mixed: four years and under, five and six, seven and eight, nine and ten, and 11 and 12 years of age.
Registration is at 1:30 p.m. and pulling starts at approximately 2 p.m. There are trophies for first, second and third places, and a free treat for all participants. Places 1-3 in each division are eligible to move on to the State Pull. The event is run by Roger and Laurie Neumann of New Richmond.
These are the bands and other selected entertainment activities among the dozens available for people to enjoy at Booster Days:
Friday, July 1 — 5-8:15 p.m., Alex Rossi Trio; 9-12:30 p.m., Chris Lawrence Band.
Saturday, July 2 — 1:30-4:30 p.m., Kingsview; 1:30-3:30 p.m., kids’ tractor pedal pull; 5:15-8:15 p.m., Cadillac Kolstad & The Flats; 9-12:30 p.m., Paisan.
Sunday, July 3 — noon, bean bag toss tourney; 1:30–4:30 p.m., The Sixes; 3-7 p.m., Booster Days car show; 4:30-5 p.m., Acme Magic Factory magician, (new this year); 5:15-8:15 p.m., Ross William Perry; 8:15-8:45 p.m., Acme Magic Factory magician; 9-12:30 p.m., Uncle Chunk; at dusk, fireworks over the St. Croix River, sponsored by the city of Hudson.

Sports bar TV headlines take a header when it comes to unintended humor

June 23rd, 2016

For Dad’s Day, he was given a whole bunch of things to be a curmudgeon about, including some absurdities about bad sports headlines as done by those great big networks. (You know dad is always right).
– In honor of the just celebrated Father’s Day, comes this ironic tidbit from the world of sports bar TV: Shown were the faces (mug shots?) of three young male athletes with also famous fathers who were sport stars, with survey results of who was the most prominent given by percentage, although that was buried deep on the wording on the screen. More prominent was the headline that blared “Who’s Your Daddy?” Ouch … is this Maury?

– Heading a short list of other sports bar TV snafus, is a reference to the Madison stadium that hosts Badger games. It was called the Cohl Center. Might want to change that C to a K. The prominent Wisconsin family that funded it might be annoyed.
– More humorous than annoying was the announcement on the Big Ten Network that Rutgers had named its new sports video coordinator. Must have been a slow news day. Except for the fact that the item was headed with the tag line “Big News.”
– This could be bigger news. A whole raft of NHL awards were announced the other day, and one even was for sportsmanship. Pro hockey and being a good sport? They must have looked the other way (like the refs) during that one-time punching flurry.
– Also, a Minnesota rock radio station had a commercial for Big Guys BBQ Roadhouse that said it was located in “North Hudson.” Might want to move that geographical reference even a bit farther north, closer to Houlton-Stillwater.
– The rock station also had a promo for its July 1 very popular Booze Cruise on the St. Croix River, saying that might even be topless women. Some guys I know say they recall the also popular good old days when boaters were allowed into Dick’s Bar and Grill not topless per se, but wearing only bikini tops.
– With the Fourth of July that’s coming being all about hot fun, it was interesting to see the goings-on a week or so ago when the weather finally got sultry and summer-like. It was super busy at some venues, and dead at others, about half and half. There were, get this, a whole bunch of guys in tuxes for a bachelor party, one of many such limo-lounging groups that night. Really … Not dressed in anything more radical?
Also, at the Village Inn in North Hudson: “Fresh fruit drink specials.” Now that’s more like it for the summer trove of party buses. One of those buses was noteworthy for doing a U-turn … In of all places, not the north sector, but the parking lot by the boat landing at the far south end of Lakefront Park. Also, electric car was seen doing a U-turn on Locust Street, with cars parked on both sides. It only could pull that off because it is so tiny.
– For the Fourth especially, a street-corner near Dick’s, in a private business along First Street, again has its huge, trademark Old Glory flying. It is positioned pointing down and that means the stripes of this Stars and Stripes take in a full Baker’s Dozen of 13 feet from top to bottom.
– Is The House in the house? Minnesota yet again considered, then failed to enact, a law to allow liquor store sales on Sundays, after the House of Representatives took up the debate. Maybe they should all go out for a beer and kick the idea around somemore in what might end up being a more productive legislative session.
– The Dweebs also are in the house, that venue being the WESTconsin Credit Union, where the iconic band stumped for their account monitoring program to prevent fraud. The ad ran on a regional TV channel. As far as other prominent local engagements, they had played the Smilin’ Moose earlier in May and in what could be seen as a coup for a smaller venue, also had done a gig at Not Justa Bar in Bayport, one of two such places in the Minnesota village that are expanding their operations outward to a second area location.

They knew causes about Prince pronto: medical examiner’s findings predicted

June 10th, 2016

(For other local brushes with fame, the death of squared circle stalwarts Ali and Dusty Rhodes — and a Hudson man at a Cemetery Walk where actors went back well over 100 years — are revived for posterity in this web site’s Notes From The Beat department).

How did Prince die? An overview of that cause was well-known by certain musicians with local ties only days after his death — well before the local Medical Examiner recently made his reports.
Between sets at a concert within a week after Prince was found dead at his Paisley Park home, a musician source who plays locally and who requested to remain anonymous, said that Prince had been taking large amounts of painkillers to deal with the toll that years of spinning stage moves had taken on his 57-year-old body. The one that was mentioned as being the crux was Percocet — far more benign then the accidental overdose by self-injection of Fentanyl that was later listed as the cause of death.
The same source said he’d been in touch with a third musician, who knew Prince, by phone about two weeks before the death, and who said that he and the superstar musician had recently experienced a falling out. The reason for the disagreement was not broached.
It also was said at that time that Prince had been checking out several metro area chain-store pharmacies shortly before his death. His reason for doing so was not certain.
It should not be surprising that Prince was found in an elevator after he died, as sources said that his home was sprawling and consisted of more than one studio used for recording, making it a chore to get around, especially for someone who is ailing. One source who is a contractor said similarly, that almost 20 different shower heads were specially installed in its bathrooms to meet specifications of the sometimes quirky musician. The contractor said that Prince, true to his reputation, didn’t speak as much as he sings, and upon meeting someone would only be addressed by name if he was the one introducing the greeting. You didn’t call him by name (Symbol?) or talk directly to him.
All this is not to throw Prince under the bus after his untimely and unfortunate death. Indeed, this view is based on my own medical history, specifically Tourette Syndrome and its accompanying symptomology. I understand both the need to take medication for chronic pain — to the point where you occasionally say to yourself that you need to DO SOMETHING within a few seconds to get relief or you will have no choice but to kill yourself, as many with my medical circumstances eventually do — and the way it feels to be a bit different, misunderstood and thusly analyzed by people where if they knew the back story would not be nearly so suspicious.

However, Prince’s demise underscores the wisdom of holding off as long as feasible before resorting to taking pain medication, gutting it out for a while first.

I suspect that the reason Prince overdosed was that he’d been in too much pain, with too little medication, for too long and when he finally found a way to remedy it, erred on the side of relief and took too much. So it may be our society and government’s partial paranoia concerning drug usage — and inability to distinguish between use and abuse — that eventually killed Prince, or at least contributed to his death.
– First there were the round of tribute shows and memorials to Prince, and then came the special magazine editions. One of them, from an Indie publication in Minneapolis, talked and memorialized about one of Prince’s first bands, interestingly enough called 94 East. How far east on the freeway one might add? Hudson, perhaps? It was during that era, as was mentioned earlier on this site, that a friend Jean saw Prince play at a rally at her high school. “He looked like any other teenager,” she said. However, the aformentioned publication, Insight News, said that especially at that point early in his career, he stood out because of his flamboyant style of dress and hair.
– This is a new take on “Raspberry” Beret. Indeed, it involves a horse of a different color. A longtime local bartender — you’ll know her from various venues — is in the latter stages of beating breast cancer through undergoing chemo. She looks just great in her new beret. You go girl!

Variety from various decades, along with killer music resumes, make Good Neighbors

June 1st, 2016

For a relatively small town, Roberts has some big-time bands with extensive resumes that feature a lot of variety and draw from various decades, when it puts on Good Neighbor Days from June 2-5.
The main thrust behind the annual festival in the middle of St. Croix County is the Roberts Lions Club, which has celebrated its 50th anniversary of service.
The bands in order of their performance are: The marching band from St. Croix Central High School starting at 7 p.m. Thursday, Maiden Dixie at 7 p.m. Friday, The Drop at 7 p.m. Saturday, Rock Godz at 9 p.m. Saturday, and Thorns and Roses at 3 p.m. Sunday.
– Minneapolis-based Maiden Dixie has toured for a year in support of UNSAFE & SOUND, their critically acclaimed sophomore studio project that spent two weeks on the featured release list for iTunes New and Noteworthy Contemporary Country. Notable tracks Honest Man’s Wage, Bullets In The Gun and The Road became programmers’ favorites on radio outlets across the U.S. and Europe.
In addition to a full slate of YouTube videos, the band released two music videos. The Road, Maiden Dixie’s first full-length concept video, was directed by Zack Dyer, programmed on multiple music video channels and outlets across the country and viewed more than 100,000 times on the Maiden Dixie YouTube channel.
Maiden Dixie performed over 100 live concerts on their UNSAFE & SOUND Tour, and even got praise for the regular guy appeal of having a man on a garden tractor happen into their video shoot and shoot the breeze.
The band’s first Christmas single, O Come, O Come, Emmanuel, got extensive country radio airplay and accolades, including a DisCovery Award from Robert K. Oermann in his Music Row Magazine DISClaimer column.
Maiden Dixie still found the time to return to the studio for their latest release, Wrecked (NAV10026). Working with producer Makoa Johnson and engineer Eric Blomquist, the EP again highlights the songwriting of Channing Himes and Jonathan Krentz, the vocals of Jesse Becker and the musicianship of Zachary Scanlan, Tyler Kloewer and Andrew “Tank” Sherman. Wrecked takes the “signature kinetic blend” of country, pop and rock that Maiden Dixie unveiled on UNSAFE & SOUND and packs it with new songs.
It begins with Freedom Feels Like, then ventures into the first notes of the haunting The Whiskey’ll Miss Me, then moves into the lighthearted commentary on surrendering to the addiction of love in Today Ain’t It, and at last slides into the searing guitar and soaring vocals of Wildcard. Wrecked takes the fans of real music on a ride through the human condition. And they ask, what other country band gives you songs with bongos and a theremin?
– As co-headliners, the group Rock Godz are dressed like ’80s glam rockers, and their all ages show is billed as taking the audience “on an over-the-top, wildly fun trip through the best eras of rock and pop music.” The ’80s-focused production, which is combined with classic and current rock and pop, lets listeners sing along to Def Leppard, Bon Jovi, Motley Crue, Journey, Guns N’ Roses, AC/DC, Poison, Prince, Bryan Adams, Led Zeppelin, Theory of a Deadman, Quiet Riot, Buck Cherry, Steel Panther and more.
Rock Godz is made up of veteran musicians who have toured regionally and nationally with acts such as Jonah and the Wales, Wild Side, Mortal Chaos, Shameless Desire, Hollywood Blvd, 13th Step, Si6ks, A:POD, 80-D and Driven By Design. Their extensive experience as rockers has let them share the stage with national acts including Dokken, Great White, Ratt, Slaughter, Firehouse, Jackyl, Saliva, Joey Belladona, Sevendust, Candle Box, Seether, Skid Row, Alice In Chains, Shinedown, Vince Neil, Brett Michaels, Krokus, American Head Charge out of Minneapolis and others. Members have rocked some of the biggest stages around including Target Center, The Myth, First Avenue and Whiskey a Go-Go in L.A.
– As essentially their warm-up band, all the young dudes in The Drop look a little grungier and steer more toward modern rock.
– Rose ‘N Thorns also is a sextet and also is known for Eagles songs, just like Maiden Dixie. What started as a laid back trio of acoustic pop has grown into a six-piece high energy band that mixes up genre styling from rock and blues, to country and folk. Rose n’ Thorns covers the music of their generation (Baby Boomers) with a blend of humor and enthusiasm that even excites those who can’t name the four Beatles, they say.
The members come from backgrounds so diverse, and cover so many genres, that it’s impossible to fit Rose n’ Thorns into a single style. Whether it’s the soul needed for a Lucinda Williams ballad or the throaty wailings to pull off Neil Young, someone in RNT rises to the challenge, they say. In addition to over 100 cover songs, the group has produced many originals that are now as readily requested as the old standards. But names you might recognize are Jimmy Buffett, Van Morrison, The Band, Bob Dylan, Jackson Browne, Creedence Clearwater Revival and the Grateful Dead.
Among the other events you can check out at the fest include the Friday evening tractor pull, the Saturday 5K and fun run, as well as the car show, truck pull and coronation pageant, and the Sunday demo derby and parade through the middle of town, which has a new starting time of 11 a.m.
But its not all music and fun. The Lions invite listeners to stop by the park building and drop off used eye glasses and hearing aids so they can be refurbished and donated to those in need.
For more information, visit the Good Neighbor Days and Lions online sites and their Facebook page.

After Northern Invasion, thrash band Beowulf invades local haunts. Did they howl?

May 27th, 2016

Did Beowulf ‘pick up their guitar and play, just like yesterday,’ not at First Avenue, but on Second Street? Is NHMOY ‘steppin’ right on time?’ A wrap-up on what happens after Ozzfest:

– In homage to the Ozzfest days where bands such as Twisted Sister would be out on the prowl at Hudson clubs after their Somerset shows were done, and they’d be filtering back to the Twin Cities through Hudson, Beowulf was seen at the Agave Kitchen, then a block up at Stone Tap, on a recent Friday night after the opener of the Northern Invasion heavy metal tour. The band has been around since long before their was an Ozzfest. No word if once here, they picked up their guitar and played, like Dee Snyder and the boys did with a cover band a few years back at the current location of Stone Tap (then Dibbo’s). Beowulf’s crossover thrash metal, which has gotten more into blues rock over time, would have been a new sound to Hudson concert-life. The source close to Beowulf, (kidding), a cook downtown, added he got the (morbidly spine-tingling?) thrill of seeing Rob Zombie’s tour bus driving away from the village grounds.
– Along the route, in what is billed as the most important election of the year, Sunday is the last day to vote for the North Hudson Man of the Year, as they are steppin’ right on time with their typical end-of-May timing for crowning a winner. As a campaign twist, signs last weekend were posted in the middle of the ditch in front of Kozy Korner for both Brian and Joe, but alas they were only temporary signs, up for a couple of days. Wonder if there were right of way restrictions …
– Similarly placed were signs outside of Shiner’s in Lakeland, which advertised signup for their Tuesday and Thursday beanbag leagues. You’d see at least a couple of these big, bright yellow placards before getting anywhere near the front door.
– Concerning Beyonce’s show, a bartender at the Green Mill said she used to live in that area of Minneapolis near the stadium, so could relate to people having a tough time not only with the rain, but getting around in it while looking for a parking spot. And the Queen Bey was expected to pay tribute to her Prince, pouring out her rendition of Purple Rain, as the tributes continue both locally and in the Twin Cities.
– One of the five summer drink specials at Dick’s Bar and Grill is, fittingly, a Raspberry Kiss. While not specifically meant as a tribute to Prince, it’s hard not to notice the comparisons that could be made: (1) The name reads much like one of his Iconic songs, Raspberry Beret, and (2) Prince was well-known for the references to sexuality in his songs, kisses or otherwise.
– They didn’t wait very long. While the highlights of a Twins game played shortly before midnight on sports TVs at Dick’s, a woman was sporting her St. Paul Saints sweatshirt, presumingly after attending their opener that day. At least it wasn’t like dress for the fishing opener, with guys and their dorky hats.

In studio with guitar, with Prince in the wings, is all part of Symbol of our affection

May 19th, 2016

The Love is shared by recording done at Paisley Park, with Prince in the house, and a Prince tribute locally.
– One-man bander Jeff Loven had a guitar student who got to know Prince, and early in his career also became part of perhaps the first band to record at Paisley Park. It was a cold winter night, and it was suggested that Jeff could even park his vehicle inside the garage there so it would start after the session, which was at one of the multiple studios at Prince’s place. Loven entered, guitar in hand and full of bravado, and was told when hearing the screamed licks of someone else on that instrument to knock at the door to be let into the recording room. He eventually did so and didn’t find a full band playing, just Prince off in the distance wailing on his instrument of choice.
– There was a North Hudson memorial to Prince on the same weekend as one in the Twin Cities, and this one was not by invitation only. Word has it that the Prince remembrance that started at 3 p.m. and featured all his classic songs was well attended and a highlight was seeing the movie Purple Rain all the way through. That also was the song that wrapped up the evening in a stellar vocal performance there by Mystic Funk back in their pre-Thanksgiving Day party, (so maybe there is something to his lyrics, at least as done by some cover bands, foretelling events of his death).
– Prince isn’t the only short in stature, but not vocals, deceased singer you can meet in the Twin Cities. A former Dibbo’s bartender said she met the late Ronnie James Dio at the Mall of America and also in a separate encounter had her photo taken with the Marshall Tucker Band.
– Now that it’s growing season, a couple I know who have run karaoke and also run a farm near Roberts say they have an unusual crop being raised — hops, you know the kind they use to make beer. (Maybe being Wisconsin this is not so unusual). They also add that they might do some bottling of it in the future.
– In a recent revisiting at the Village Inn, there was a tribute this time around not to Prince, but to chain saw art. Out where the driveway meets Hwy. 35, a man from Cape Cod who travels the country had his stump-size, wood-carved pieces, of things such as bears, eagles and owls, on display and available for purchase.

Memories of ‘chasing’ Prince while with blues band are triggered by mom

April 28th, 2016


Mothers Day is coming soon, but when I talked to her recently, we talked not of that, but she reminded me of a near-Prince-encounter I had near New Ulm.
Mom doesn’t get all the celebrity worshiping thing, and noted that even as far away as Milwaukee, Prince’s death was all over the TV news.
She said the banner headlines made her recall when I joined members of a blues band and made a road trip to the other end of Minnesota, where they were going to play a big gig associated with the Minnesota Music Awards. Rumor had it that The Purple One himself, who was getting an honor in conjunction with the awards, was going to make one of his impromptu appearances and maybe even perform.
When we got there from Hudson in mid-afternoon, word had it that Prince had already been cited, and that’s where mom comes in. She remembered us joking at that time about it being hard not to notice a 5-foot-2, flamboyantly dressed black man in that part of Minnesota. Be that as it may, the group of us soon were part-taking in a whirlwind limo trip through the city to check on an alleged Prince citing — without really knowing exactly where we were going or why.
It would be awhile before my traveling mates in the Brandon Scott Sellner Band would take the fittingly big, theater-style stage, as they’d been asked to be a featured act in this annual festival. But during that time, there were phone calls made back and forth to various locations and assurances made that yes, Prince was in the area and would be stopping in.
It wasn’t until close to midnight that all involved fully realized that Prince would indeed not be in the house.