Paul Jeannotte and I met in the year we turned twenty-two, at a summer internship in Washington, D.C. We started coming to the College World Series during the summer we turned thirty-six. This year we turn fifty-four. It’s like we’ve grown up together. Which is odd, considering we didn’t become friends until we were adults. And also considering that at times, it feels like we never grew up at all. We still laugh at decades-old inside jokes. We go on […]
Like many 1970s classic rock artists, Steve Miller has made the rounds in own personal approval ratings. He was a mainstay in my 8-track player as a teenager; was demoted to “I’m too cool for this” in my 20s; and resurfaced to “I don’t know if this is cool or good, but I like it” in my 40s and 50s. Open your mind and dig around, you may learn that some of your guilty pleasures have interesting roots. Yesterday, my […]
It’s been five years since the unexpected passing of one of my favorite people. When I arrived at college, Tony Radka was one of the first people I met. He was scurrying about, excited about some project or idea. That was Tony. He was always blazing a trail, on a path that no one else had considered. He lived in the land of “what if,” and he lived it in good cheer. For Tony, half of the fun was getting […]
Country-pop crossover was at its peak in the late ’70s and early ’80s, and our tape cases were populated by Charlie Daniels, Dolly Parton and “Urban Cowboy,” alongside Blondie, Queen and Meat Loaf. Strange bedfellows, it seems, but it worked for us. Nowhere was this broad appeal more evident than in the seat of a pick-up, traveling for hours to a livestock show. We jammed three, four of us, along with our ag teacher, into the truck, and off we’d […]
Among a certain group of friends in Tulsa, I became known as the St. Patrick’s Day Grinch. There was a drunk at every corner bar, it seemed, sporting an accent and claiming Irish blood from “me grandmudder.” It just seemed a bit much. And so my friends had some fun. One year I received a St. Patrick’s Day card in the mail from a casual acquaintance. Then a few more. And then dozens: “Russ: Although we’ve only met once, this […]
With this week’s news that Prince’s music will soon be on major streaming platforms, now seems a good time to drag out this nugget. In the late ’80s and early ’90s, a band out of Austin, Minnesota, made a minor splash in the Upper Midwest, riding the wave all the way to an appearance on Letterman. When I lived in Minneapolis during that time, my friend Paul Jeannotte and I spent many a boozy night swaying and cheering with the […]
Our Friday nights are typically short, a happy fact after a long week of work and travel and scurrying and kid-chasing. And then tonight while walking Charlie, up pops this song, a throwback to the 1990s and 2000s with my friends Steve Higgins, Linda Strong and Matt Aingell, nights that started with wine and dinner, and continued with records and laughter and more drinks, Friday nights that went on forever, a happy fact for all of us.
My introduction to ’60s garage rock came 20 years after it happened, usually with one arm clutching a pitcher of beer and the other around a friend’s neck. And standing on the tables and chairs. It wasn’t a complete night at Eskimo Joe’s unless the entire crowd was near the rafters by midnight. By then, the music, the joy, and the friendship were all at a fever pitch. Today we met my long-time Joe’s comrade Brenda Detten and her children […]
Twenty-odd years ago, my friend Paul Jeannotte sent me a CD sampler from the Cities’ 97, a radio station based in Minneapolis. Tucked between songs by the Gin Blossoms and the Indigo Girls was “In a Daydream,” a gliding, floating number that draws inspiration from U2, Counting Crows and a whole cadre of early ’90s folk-rock. It was my favorite track on the album, and the only place I’d ever heard it. And it had been lost from my consciousness […]
Luke’s newfound affection for the phrase “rock ‘n roll” has definitely opened a floodgate for introducing him to music. I keep a Spotify playlist entitled “Running,” currently about 90 songs, reserved especially for organized runs. It spans from Bowie to the Beastie Boys, but every song runs at a get-up-and-go tempo. This was our road-trip music today to and from Tulsa, for a play date with Bea.