Friday, October 19, 2012

It's My Own Fault -- Willie Murphy and The Bumblebees

In high school I danced to the beat of my own drummer.  Instead of following the pack and listening to Billy Squire, April Wine and REO Speedwagon, my friends and I forged our own path listening to DEVO, Gary Numan and The Specials.  However, after high school I drifted away and entered my Blues phase.  It was another way for me to consciously differentiate myself.  I was trying to make a statement, right?  I needed to show the world how cool I was.

Anyway, it was sometime in the late 80’s when I tried to comeback to my original alternative rock roots.  After all, pretty much every friend I had was still into it.

It was around this time that a big local Minneapolis band was playing at the premiere showcase in the Twin Cities, First Avenue.  That band was Soul Asylum.  I hadn’t really heard much of their music but my friends kind of liked them.  Besides this was the biggest show to hit the Minneapolis music scene that year.  All the other big Minneapolis alternative bands like The Replacements, Husker Du and The Suburbs had kind of hung it up by this time.  Soul Asylum was the only big act still around. 

The place was packed.  We could hardly move.  We were boxed in from all sides.  It took like 30 minutes to get a drink. 

First Avenue was an old Greyhound Bus station.  It had an upper level and two big, semi-spiral staircases that wound down to the main floor.  Since it was senseless to try and roam around, we stole a spot by this railing that looked down upon the staircase.  My friends and I watched this young lady who was wasted out of her mind.  She was stumbling and falling all over the people packed on the stairs.  Then she just flat passed out.  She was out cold.

Somebody got the attention of one of the staffers and he came by to help.  I should note that First Ave didn’t have huge, roid-raging and ominous bouncers all over the place.  It was a more peaceful environment and the staff were these Alternative Rock characters with pierced tounges and all that shit.    This particular guy was pretty wimpy.  He probably weighed 140 pounds wet.

The girl, on the other hand, was a biggum.  She wasn’t fat really, she was just thick and muscular like you might generalize a girl softball player to be like.  She must have weighed 180.  

God bless this guy.  He took on the responsibility of getting her out of the way.  He thought about dragging her down the stairs by her legs but she would have bonked her head all the way down.  He finally took the daring, albeit misguided, action of trying to pick her up.  His body spasmed as he struggled to lift this girl to his chest.  

Hell if that guy didn’t do it.  

Once he had this broad cradled in his arms, he started gingerly walking down the stars.  It became apparent about three steps down that he wasn’t going to make it.  FLOP!  She fell from his grasp and bonked down on the cement stairs.  He finally got a clue and went for help.  

Why do I tell this story in a blues blog?  Because the place was such a drag and the music wasn’t my style.  It had no down beat.  My friends weren’t all that excited either.  Most of all, we couldn’t get a damn drink it was so crowded.  So we decided to leave.

We ended up going over to the West Bank to The Five Corners Saloon and took in Willie Murphy and Bumble Bees.

So it all ties back.  Below is a recording of the great Willie Murphy.

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