Rock around the Clock

One of my favorite things to do when I was younger was to go see bands play. Of course, there were the major bands like Rush, Van Halen, Pink Floyd, the Eagles, etc. I went to a lot of those concerts, but what I’m talking about are the local bands that would play at the festivals and bars. In Milwaukee, there were a lot of those bands and they were all pretty good…even better after a few beers.

I was fortunate that the drinking age back then was still 18 years old. That meant I could go see a lot of those bands.

I must’ve seen the band Snopek a dozen times. That band was led by a musical genius (at least I thought so) named Sigmund Snopek. From what I understand, he’s still very involved in the Milwaukee music scene. Besides their original songs which I liked very much, they usually finished their concert with a rendition of “I am the Walrus.” We all waited so patiently for the lines towards the end where we all bellowed, “Everybody smoke pot, smoke pot, smoke pot.” Of course, most of us already had smoked pot before the concert so it became an anthem for our lives…at least at that moment.

Another band I liked to see and saw on at least a half dozen occasions was The Booze Brothers. They were a take on the Blues Brothers and they were a blast to watch and always drew a sizeable crowd. Of course, “Soul Man,” was the biggest hit in their repertoire, but we all waited patiently before trying to time “Rubber Biscuit!” in our drunken states.

For good old fashioned rock, the band to see was Bad Boy. They definitely fit the mold of the late 70s and early 80s of a good rocking band that got the crowd swaying and stomping and clapping. They were an awesome band that released a single called “Disco” that was definitely not supportive of disco at the time. The problem with getting people to listen to the song was always the same…

ME: Listen to this!

OTHER: It’s called Disco, I don’t like disco.

ME: It’s not disco, it’s a song that rips disco.

OTHER: Then why’s it called Disco?

Anyway, it was a good song whether you liked disco or not.

The final band I’ll bring up is the Violent Femmes. They probably became the biggest band to come out of Milwaukee but I remember when they were still small. They are definitely a band that is hard to define with a label. They’re a little bit rock, a little bit punk, and believe it or not, at times sound a little bit country or folk. All I know is that whatever they do, it works. Their most popular song is probably “Blister in the Sun” which was also the theme song for some television show, but I’m not sure which one. I really don’t watch a lot of tv. Good catchy song, however. I just wonder if people actually listen to lyrics? Hmm.

Now for the funny story…

I ran into one member of one of the bands I just wrote about at a bar once. He was shooting pool and I put my quarters down so I could play the winner. He was pretty good and I ended up playing him. Now, before I get into the rest of the story, there have only been two times in my life where I suddenly played incredible pool. Every angle worked, every bank shot worked, every application of English worked, and nearly every shot worked. On top of this, I’m ambidextrous so to have both left and right handling shots work was rare and phenomenal, at least for me. I had a good night shooting pool.

ME: Wow, I can’t believe that shot went in!

BAND DUDE: Yeah…can’t believe it.

ME: Play again?

BAND DUDE: Yes…

A few minutes later…

ME: Wow! I’ve never run the table before!

BAND DUDE: I bet.

ME: Play again?

BAND DUDE: YES!

A few minutes later…

And a few minutes later…

And a few minutes later…

I didn’t bother asking for an autograph. He was pissed. He was so pissed that he let everyone in the bar know that I was some kind of hustler until someone pointed out that we didn’t play for money. That seemed to really make him mad. I left the bar before he could ruin my good time.

We went to another bar and I tried my hand, um, hands at pool again. I couldn’t sink a shot if my life depended on it. I guess the famous guy met me at the wrong bar.

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