Beer-Busted Bladders & Honky Tonk Highs

Trashing motels and crashing wheelchairs with the White Iron Band

"Dude, how the fuck did we get here?" Pudas wonders aloud as he and Jan sit on a ratty couch, finishing off the last two Budweisers in the house. Pudas doesn't know where his keys are.

We pile into Juntunen's truck, head to the Tap Room, and load up the gear. Pudas discovers his keys under an amp, but now he can't find his vehicle. Last he remembers it was parked in a handicapped spot near the bar's entrance. He fears it's been towed--the fact that it's filled with empty, crumpled beer cans seems unlikely to win any legal sympathy. Pudas finally discovers the Chevy Blazer farther down the ramp. Apparently Mitchell had the foresight to park the vehicle legally.

We head to the Green Mill for burgers and bloody marys. "I'm hungry, but I think I might puke," Mitchell says, speaking for all of us. The general conversation flow at the bar goes something like this:

Darin Back

Sammy: "North Country was good last night."
Pudas: "Which song?"
Sammy: "North Country Bandit."
Pudas: "We played it?"

I sleep during the ride home, only to be awakened by Pudas and Mitchell screaming "You've Lost That Loving Feeling." They're drinking cans of Grain Belt. I give up on sleep and groggily join them. The dope is gone, but Pudas tries to squeeze a last hit out of the pipe. "When you've got a hangover there's nothing better to do than catch a light buzz," he instructs. "Get a light buzz and go from there."

At a a gas station, he's purchased some oversized sunglasses with lenses the color of whiskey and he now looks like some washed-out remnant of the '70s. I spill my beer on the floor of the truck and wipe it up with Mitchell's Wild jersey. The windows are open and the digital thermometer inside the truck reads 70 degrees--the first beautiful weekend of a false spring.

"A lot of bands are all about the pussy," Pudas muses. "We've always been all about the drugs and the alcohol."

We enter the Twin Cities 27 hours after departing. Pudas has to piss again.

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