Memories

WHEN YOU THINK of music and summer together, what do you remember the most? Everybody's got a tale to tell about that certain song, or band, or summer experience that still resonates years later. Here are a few we stumbled across.

I was 18 years old, working as a waitress at Jolly Roger's Flying Dutchman Supper Club--we just called it the Dutchman--on Shingobee Island near Walker, Minnesota. It's a little resort town about 60 miles north of Brainerd. My friend, Michelle, and I would get off at midnight and meet our friends, Wayne and Kelly. We'd go to the wayside rest and dunk our feet in the channel and drink beer. These guys would always play this song, "Catholic Girls" by Frank Zappa, because we were Catholic and they knew they could get a rise out of us. They were in a band--the name of it was Ramona Fritz, they might still be playing. This was when we were cruising around listening to Pablo Cruise and the soundtrack from Grease; so for somebody to come up with "Catholic Girls," they brought the outside world to us. I had to drive 40, 45 miles to the nearest record store and buy that album. That same summer, the big hit song was "I Love A Rainy Night" by Eddie Rabbit. Do you know he sings "I love a rainy night" 27 times in that song--we counted. That's the sort of thing you do when you're 18 years old in Walker, Minnesota.

--Helen Harbo, voice talent

I'm going to say Judas Priest's version of Joan Baez's "Diamond In The Rough" and being about the age of 15, right at the end of the school year. God, of all those heavy metal classics, that's the one that comes to mind. I'm stumbling up the hillside with a beer in my hand, somebody's crankin' the Priest on the east side of St. Paul at night. That song is a Joan Baez standard. Jesus.

--John Kass, runs Prospective Records

Music hasn't meant as much to me since the early '80's. We used to live in Big Falls, a small little hick town up north. We probably would have been better off on a reservation. We were desperately poor; there were eight of us and my mother died when I was young; my father, who was white, was alcoholic and disabled. We never had a car or anything. There were only two radio stations, one out of Canada and WLS in Chicago, which came on after dark. It sounded very urban; they were giving away tremendous prizes like cars and trips to Disneyland. The music they played was our only connection to anything civilized. It was more than an escape, it was a lifeline.

In the summer, we used to swim all day and smoke a lot of dope. My friend Stanley had a newspaper route so he had enough to buy a bag. We'd go into this abandoned old mechanic shop across from the laundromat and kitty corner from the church and get high. We lived about a mile out of town and I'd stumble home, go upstairs and put on a Fleetwood Mac tape. Stevie Nicks had just joined the group and there was this bubblegum kind of flavor to the music that I like but it was just cool enough that my brothers would let me listen to it. Listening to it was personal; I enjoyed it the most by myself, the room was kind of a sanctuary. Those were some of my best memories. I'd come home from swimming and smoking dope and pass out on the bed listening to "Monday Morning." I'd wake up and back then if you didn't turn off the tape recorder the tape would still be running, clicking in the machine.

--Mark Rollo, writer

My name's Warren and I grew up on a farm. The song that reminds me of summer is the old Iggy Pop song "Dirt," since I used to have to go work in the fields and stuff. But now I'm living here; I'm a declared schizophrenic. The song goes, "I feel like dirt." Yeah.

--Warren, interviewed outside the
downtown Minneapolis Public Library

It was the summer of 1970 and I was bummed because I'd missed Woodstock--and everything that went along with it--because of my advanced age, 30. So I decided to have a "hippie party," with black lights, posters, and acid rock. I asked my brother, a "true hippie," to provide the music. When I asked him to play my one request, "In The Year 2525," he all but retched, but included it in his playlist anyway.

The evening was terribly hot, and indoors the black lights were highlighting everyone's underwear through their sheer summer clothes, so everyone migrated outdoors. We sat on the lawn listening to music and sharing memories, and I heard my song all night long. Whenever I hear "2525," I think of the hot summer party.

--Wally Norlander, banker

"Surfer Girl" by the Beach Boys was the first time I can remember thinking about girls and having any kind of sexuality. What would I have called it then? Being sweet on girls? It was pure Wisconsin summer--trees, water, bugs, Bible camp. I was 9 years old and out somewhere in Wisconsin at Bible camp. I was ready for love. I remember vividly, memorizing the words to "Surfer Girl" because I was going to stand outside a girl's cabin and sing "Surfer Girl" to her, and we would fall in love. I could see it so clearly, pine trees, standing outside the cabin, her swooning inside. Holding hands, being in love. Unfortunately, it never happened. That summer still comes back to me clearly.

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