Goodnight, Walt Mink

Produced at the commercial jingle house Hest & Kramer by Mike Ruekberg of pop-rockers Rex Daisy, the session found the politician in a pliable mood. "It's not often that a little rock 'n' roll whining pipsqueak like me gets to order around a giant pro-wrestler-turned-politician," says Ruekberg. "When I was pitching ideas to his people, I kept waiting for them to say, 'Oh no, that's too silly,' or 'Oh no, he won't do that.' And the further I went, the more they said, 'Oh, he'll love that.' He was such a pro and such a ham."

This is Ruekberg's first production for the ad house where he's worked as a "junior songwriter" for only a few months. "It doesn't sound anything like this 'Shaft' song people are talking about," he hastens to say.

All goths' and rockers' eve

That Halloween falls on a Saturday might be good for parties, but it's great for clubs, at least judging by this year's array of thrilling nightlife choices on October 31. It seems like every rock club in the Cities has netted a watchable band, from the harrowing Hang Ups at the 400 Bar to the diabolical Odd at Lee's Liquor Lounge.

The truly demonic Three Minute Hero, Minnesota's hardest-working ska-and-then-some outfit, will throw a costume ball at the Fine Line, where they've juiced up crowds well enough to snag a regular Sunday night gig that runs through November. And terrifying local zydeco stompers ZoloGo hit the St. Paul Curling Club, while the eerie Big Wu jam for fans at the Cabooze, and... Oh the hell with it. Instead of suffering through my list of "scary" adjectives and band names, please read City Lights in the back of the paper.

But before you do, one last item of note: Sports-lounge god Vic Volare will be headlining some obscure dive called the Hyatt Regency--a truly frightening locale--with the Vibro Champs and the vampiric Stockcar Named Desire slated to open. Come early for cocktail specials, free dance lessons, and the celebration of Volare's 30th birthday. Is it just me or are white Xers careening toward middle age like Dean Martin on a jet ski?

The party promotes a genuinely wonderful new compilation album of surf, "swing," and rockabilly, The Big Monster Bash (Sci-Fi Western/Mouthpiece). It not only features locals like the Vibros and Jack Knife and the Sharps, but includes the legendary El Vez (yes, "the Mexican Elvis"). Any release featuring more than one band using the word "hillbilly" in its title is fine by me. (Concert is for ages 18 and up; $12 at the door; 7:30 p.m.; the Hyatt Regency, 1300 Nicollet Mall. Call 339-9963 for more information.)

At the other extreme is NachtMusik's "Masquerade Festival" on both Friday and Saturday nights at Ryan's in St. Paul. I've already written a tribute to this goth-dance black hole, which is best known for its hair-metal heritage (see "Back in Black," 8/12). But Halloween weekend should truly bring out the dolled-up weekender ghouls, especially as Gitane DeMone of Christian Death performs on Friday and Clan of Xymox plays with local dark-rockers Autumn on Saturday. (18+. Ryan's. Call the Hardline, 897-9763, for more information.)

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