Monday, July 20, 2009

Captain Eleven and props to A.J.

Hi all.

For those who contributed to the 30-plus comments on the Meat Puppets review below, or for those who read it, we've all made up. I sat down with the Captain Eleven guys for a couple of hours, Blue Bricks patio, nice breeze, lovely, and hashed it all out. I also got several great stories out of it. Lots for you all to look forward to! ; )

Anyhow, the Captain Eleven story, which has evolved into a Captain Eleven story plus the DIY band culture in Mankato, will come out in early August. That gives the guys time to shoot pictures involving pink frosted doughnuts. (You'll understand when I post the article.)

In Green Day news, don't forget about us. There is momentum ... : )

Hey, and also, sounds like a local kid named A.J. was the one called up to play "Jesus of Suburbia" at the Target Center. That's the song Billie Joe askes for a guitarist in the audience at every concert. Kinda cool!

Monday, July 13, 2009

YouTube video of Billie Joe's Mankato mentions

Here's the clip, folks, courtesy of my sister, Kristina Dyslin, who searched the Web and e-mailed YouTube people to find it for me. What a girl! Billie Joe talks about Mankato quite a bit!

Click here!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Transcript of Billie Joe's Mankato mention

This from a Mankatoan who went to the show:

Yah, he definitely did mention you by name. My jaw hit the floor when he started talking about it. Sorry, I don't have any video or audio of that moment so we'll have to rely on my memory, which admittedly, ain't as good as it used to be.

So, let me try to recall the whole sequence here.
Goes something like this:
"OK, so there's this girl, Amanda, trying to get us to play a show in Mankato."
"Anybody here from Mankato?"
He, of course, couldn't here us shouting about being from Mankato despite the fact that there were at least a dozen people around us yelling.
Then I can't exactly remember what else he went into, but he said something like this:
"I met this girl there, Adrienne, well she's actually from NE Minneapolis."
"I remember playing Mankato. Our manager didn't book us there. We just kind of showed up and played in some guy's basement. It was a good show. I have a good memories of Mankato."

So, all in all, it was quite a lengthy little speech as far as rock and roll time goes. Billie Joe really does sound pretty sincere when talking to the fans. He certainly didn't go all "rock star" and forget about your work, or Mankato, or the fans from Mankato. It really was pretty cool. They even paid homage to the hometown boy, Prince, and did a cover of "Let's Go Crazy."

On the campaign, not sure if their stage show could fit in our little building though. The pyrotechnics were unbelievable and might not work in the Alltel Center. But they could leave that stuff on the trucks. At any rate, he never said we can't do that. Of course, he didn't say they would either. It was just cool to hear Mankato mentioned at the show. All due to a grassroots campaign that you started. Think of that.
Have a great day!

Billie Joe mentioned the campaign!

Holy know what!

I keep getting all these e-mails today from Green Day concert-goers. Apparently, during last night's Green Day concert at the Target Center (while I was at my weekend job waitressing : ( ...) Billie Joe Armstrong said a girl from Mankato (me!) has been trying to get Green Day to play a show in Mankato. I'm still trying to figure out what exactly he said, but apparently he didn't say he wouldn't come. So there's a chance!

This actually makes me infinitely more sad than I was when I got home last night from work to receive an e-mail from Adrienne Armstrong offering me tickets to last night's show. ...sigh.

Click here for the Strib review.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Project Runway blog will continue

Hey guys. As the new season of "Project Runway" approaches, I've gotten e-mails wondering if the "PR" blog will continue this year. Absolutely. I think it'll be fun to see what changes on the new network and in a new city. Hopefully they won't rehash the same tired old challenges and take the big changes as an opportunity to amp up the show.

I hear the new designers have been decided on. I'll be sure and post them when they're announced on the wire. Sounds like the first show is Aug. 10.

The blog posts will be here, unlike last year when they were posted on the home page. So be sure and bookmark and check back!

Meat Puppets still got it

I had plenty of time to wonder what the Meat Puppets would be bringing to the table, or to the stage, as it were, last night at the What's Up Lounge. Nothing against opening acts, Machine 22 and Captain Eleven, but I was on duty for the paper with the mission of reviewing the Puppets, so, knowing the show started at 8, I left my house at 9:30 hoping to get there as the second act was finishing up. No such luck. The first act wasn't even nearing its end.
So for a couple of hours I mingled a bit and watched as Cris Kirkwood of the Meat Puppets wandered in and out of the room of 150 people or so, dressed for a book club meeting, or a jaunt to the mall, in faded gray jeans and an even more faded button-up shirt, his long gray hair tied loosely back in a ponytail. In this room of mostly 20-somethings, with a few easily identifiable Meat Puppets fans from way back (sitting calmly in skirts and slacks toward the back of the room), Cris stood, sipping a drink, bothered by only one fan for an autograph. Otherwise, it was unclear if I was one of a handful who knew who he was.

Twenty-nine years. That's a hell of a long time to be doing this. I sat with the band's tour manager, who informed me this tour was about getting back to the band's roots doing club gigs. More contact with fans. This was the first time the band ventured outstate in Minnesota, having played only in the Twin Cities. In addition to Mankato, Duluth and Rochester were also on the roster.

It's a cool idea. After all this time and experience, with a great new album of material to play, the band would choose to play smaller, more intimate gigs for the fans. Of course, one has to wonder if they had other options. I wondered if the trouble in the band's past had caught up with their fame, overshadowed the music. Cris's terrible drug addiction and prison time for assault, which drove a temporary wedge in the band. Would this show simply be a band going through the motions? Surviving on name recognition?

Hardly. Halfway through their first song, "Sewn Together," the title track to the new album, it was clear these guys were here for themselves as much as the fans. The sound was much lighter than the first two bands that went on. The Kirkwood brothers sang in harmony. They weren't shredding their guitars and screaming into the microphone. In fact, if anything, their vocals were a bit subdued, with the intricate guitar work taking center stage. But they had an incredible energy, so obviously happy to be on stage playing together. There was a spirit about them, like they were grateful to be alive and to be a band.

I commented to a friend of mine I bumped into during the show about that energy. He said something like, "Compared to other bands that play here, though?" Immediately I thought of what Cris said on the phone when I interviewed him a couple of weeks ago. The Meat Puppets had taught Kurt Cobain that a band's energy isn't about volume. It comes from the music. They proved that to be true last night. There was even some crowd surfing going on, which I certainly didn't expect from a band touring a quiet rock album filled with vocal harmonies.

Improv seemed to also be a big part of the show. Songs stretched on twice as long as the album versions, with the brothers playing off of each other to keep the music going. Even songs from "Meat Puppets II," made famous from the "Nirvana Unplugged" concert, were stretched almost beyond recognition. To Nirvana fans, songs like "Plateau" and "Oh Me" from "Unplugged" became Cobain songs with the success of that album. It was nice to see the Kirkwood brothers reclaim them.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Head to the Target Center

We worked for weeks on Campaign Green Day to try and get through to the band and somehow convince them that playing a show in Mankato would be an awesome thing to do. But I think we need to face the very real possibility that they'll never set foot on Mankato soil again. I know, I know. It's hard for me, too.
But, come on, the band's performance at the tour opener in Seattle on the 3rd was likened to that of Bruce Springsteen and U2 by The Seattle Times.
It's really not news that they are way out of our league, and it would take quite the miracle to bring them back to sleepy Mankato. That's why I think you've got to head up to the Target Center Saturday night and see them while you can. The reviews of the live show have been outstanding. Pyrotechnics, a setlist that includes career-spanning material, and the little extras that make an arena show feel like a club gig (inviting a fan up to play guitar during "Jesus of Suburbia," inviting others to dance on stage, and he even apparently kissed some dude full on the lips).
In a recent interview, frontman Billie Joe Armstrong said he wants to give Springsteen a run for his money on his live shows. I've seen the Boss live four times, and I certainly scoffed when I read that. But, then again, Springsteen is pushing 60, and the last performance I saw in May seemed to lack a tad of the usual energy. ... I'm just sayin'.
Anyway, there are promises of T-shirt guns, getting sprayed in the crowed by Billie Joe with a water pistol, and hey, maybe you¹ll be that dude who gets kissed this time.
Here are a few songs likely to be a part of the setlist:
Song of the Century, 21st Century Breakdown, Know Your Enemy, Holiday, Geek Stink Breath, Jaded, Longview, Basket Case, She, 21 Guns, Jesus of Suburbia and Boulevard of Broken Dreams, among many others.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Awwwww ...

I think this is cute ...
In the few days since I announced I'm out of ideas and Campaign Green Day is going into neutral, two parties have come forward to try and save things. Both parties have power in the entertainment industry here in Mankato, but with a band like Green Day, I'm not sure it'll be enough. Still, it's nice to know so many people are on board with us! Thanks you guys.

Monday, July 6, 2009

The tour has commenced

Wow! The Adrienne Q&A got 17,800 hits (so far) on our Web site. That's a good 15,000 more than our usual top stories get. I guess you guys were interested! We joked about launching a campaign for a new band every month to keep this readership momentum going. ; )

I must admit, there is a tiny, tiny part of me that is hoping the band might just show up on July 12 between their Minneapolis and Chicago dates. Maybe I'll be chillin' at the Barmuda and all of a sudden I'll see people tearing down the street, running as fast as they can toward something. And so I'll follow, too, and there they'll be! Playing on the street right in front of Choppers until the cops come and bust it up. Maybe, just maybe.

In the meantime, don't forget to check out the Meat Puppets Thursday night at the What's Up. The story is running Thursday. It was supposed to run last week, but then Adrienne popped up and the Meat got bumped. Hope to see everyone there.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Adrienne and Announcement

Hi everyone.
The story came out today on Adrienne.
Here's the link.

And here is our announcement on Campaign Green Day. In a nutshell, we feel like we've explored every avenue and done all we can. We've gotten through to the band through Adrienne, so at this point, the campaign is going into neutral. I wouldn't call it quitting or giving up, but it's up to fate now. Otherwise, we're always open to new ideas or avenues to explore. Thanks to everyone for their support in getting us this far! You have to admit that it's pretty cool we got through, at least to the point where we were able to deliver our message to them. Even if it didn't work out, that's pretty neat.