Friday, August 16, 2013

France -- Frank Zappa

It was the summer of 1987.  My frat brother and Blues brother Kent came up with a great idea.  Let’s get some guys together and road trip to Milwaukee.  Two significant things were going on in Milwaukee that beautiful summer weekend.  Milwaukee’s infamous Summerfest and the Minnesota Twins were in town to play the  Brewers.  This was significant because the Twins were good that year and eventually went on to win the World Series.

A half-dozen of us packed a backpack and we hit the road across the beautiful Wisconsin countryside.  Once in Milwaukee, we all crammed into Kent’s 1972 Buick Skylark and headed for the festival down by Lake Michigan.  As we entered, there was this huge wooden map of the festival grounds.  I couldn’t help but notice all these big red dots all over the map.  Are those all the bathroom locations? I thought to myself.  I checked out the map legend and all those red dots indicated beer tent locations.  I guess we didn’t have to concern ourselves with access to beer.

Anyway, we roamed around the grounds and ended up and far southern end.  In this empty swath of asphalt was a makeshift stage.  It was just a simple platform no more than a foot off the ground.  It was covered with a tent so the band wouldn’t get scorched by the summer sun.  Duck taped to one of the tent poles was a rectangular end of a cardboard box.  Someone had scribbled on the cardboard box with black marker the words, “Blues Stage.”

By now you should know that this was right up my alley.  I knew I could count on Kent so we persuaded the rest of the guys to stay and listen.  We just stood there soaking in the warm sun and sipping beer.  We had a good buzz going and these dudes play some mean Blues.  I don’t in anyway recollect who they were, but they were pretty good.  They had a good harmonica player and the guitar player had some good leads.  Not only that, they had a very light hearted nature about them and it was really relaxing and fun.

Eventually their set ended and the gang moved on and continued to tear up Summerfest.  However, the day was not over.  We had a baseball game to go to.

We squished back into Kent’s Skylark and headed for Milwaukee County Stadium.  We took our seats.  Kent, being the only one of us from Wisconsin, was planning on rooting for the Brewers.  Shortly after we took our seats along the third base line, this fellow walks up the steps wearing a T-shirt that said, “Fuck Minnesota.” A fairly classless act by anyone’s standards I would venture to say.  Even our frat brother Kent was put off by it.  So much so that he did an about-face and started rooting for the Twins.  

Unfortunately for this schmuck, his seats were a couple rows ahead of ours.  As the Twins proceeded to trounce the Brewers, we made sure the “Fuck Minnesota” guy knew about it.

As we sauntered back to Kent’s car after a convincing Twins victory, our fellow frat brother Pete declared that we had to come up with some kind legend behind our conquest of Milwaukee.  “We need to come up with a name or something,” he said.  We all started bouncing around ideas.  Pete then declared that we were the “Drunk Minnesota Muthas.”  

OK.  You probably had to be there to truly enjoy it, but my good buddy Jerry and I thought it was one of the funniest things ever.  We giggled like teenage girls for the rest of the night.  We proudly embraced the moniker of Drunk Minnesota Muthas.

Now the song below has almost nothing to do with the story, but my good buddy Jerry requested this story.  Therefore, I thought I would honor him by playing one of his personal favorite Bluesy tunes, “In France” by Frank Zappa.

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