Jeremy Messersmith on Martha's Cookies, Mark Wheat, and the MN State Fair

Jeremy Messersmith on Martha's Cookies, Mark Wheat, and the MN State Fair
Photo by Darin Back

Jeremy Messersmith is the darling of MPR, so it seems fitting to include him in the lineup for the Grandstand show featuring MN Music On-a-Stick on MPR Day. Ahead of his Supper Club tour, where he will be taking over willing people's yards and living rooms around the country, the singer will be making his debut at the MN State Fair for his largest audience to date.

Gimme Noise spoke with Jeremy about his first MN State Fair experience and what to expect at the State Fair show on August 31.

Being a transplant to Minnesota, Jeremy didn't attend his first State Fair until 2005 when he figured he should see what the hype was all about. He recalls his first time as a patron, "I remember being surprised at how big it was. I was in 4H as a kid; I raised pigs, and I did gardening stuff on a farm. We only had the county fair in Washington state where I grew up and it was very small. I had never been to a state fair until I moved out here, and I just remembered thinking, 'The parking lots here are as big as the entire fair that we had back home.' That was the first thing I stuck out. The other thing was that you see everyone from Minnesota there. It really is the Minnesota get together -- be it race, class, whatever demographic it is -- maybe it's for different reasons or maybe everyone is brought together by their love of deep-fried foods."

Messersmith has since attended many MN State Fair, playing at the MPR booth, and he has integrated his annual food traditions as do many attendees. "My customs changed a bit a couple of years ago, since I became a vegetarian. It used to be these pork cheeks that you could get. They were so delicious. The deep-fried Twinkie. I think now I'm just happy with a corn on the cob." When prompted to what foods he is looking forward to this upcoming fair, he shares, "It's so hard to think of just one. Basically all of the things I'm gonna get: the honey ice cream with the sunflower seeds and one of those apple freezies -- that's the best thing you can buy with your money. They're a dollar, and they're delicious. I've done the whole Martha's Cookies thing with the bucket -- then you drink all of the milk you can, but I don't really feel like throwing up this year. Most of the time with those cookies, it's a sociological thing, 'Hey, look at me. I'm the dude walking around with a pile of cookies -- more than I could possibly eat.'"

If you keep your eyes peeled, you may be able to spot the singer outside of his performance this year. He affirms that he will be at the Miracle of Birth Center to watch the birthing of the baby pigs and at the ski darts. "If you want to go to the pulse of the fair, you go to the ski dart," he says. Also, catch him at the The Current booth where you can see a rendering of Mark Wheat made out of wheat.

Seating 17,000, the Grandstand can be daunting for any performer. Jeremy has never seen a show at the large venue before, which has got him a little nervous. "I normally like to see a place before I play there. It's like a mental preparation to do some kind of imagining of how a show would go." Even after all his performances, the singer still admits to jitters before heading onstage. He shares, "I'm nervous before every show, so I'll try and do some jumping jacks or something to work off the nervous energy. Usually I don't get over it until the third song. Then, I'm like, 'Yeah, ok, I've done this before.' Before that, it's like, 'I wonder if the crowd is even listening to me.' I feel if you're not nervous before something, it just means you're being lazy -- you're not growing as a musician. It's normal to have a little healthy terror, otherwise you're not really pushing yourself."

Jeremy will be performing pieces with his eight piece band from prior albums and also songs from his upcoming album, which he has just finished recording and is slated to release in the new year. There are some surprises in store for those in attendance that evening, maybe even a collaboration amongst all of the artists performing that night that Jeremy was not able to elaborate too much on. "There's been a slurry of emails between the bands over the last week, and I will say that we will be getting together to do a song, although I have been basically selected to sing the line that no one else wants to sing. Because no one wants to sing it, they're like, 'I don't really feel comfortable singing this. Jeremy, do you mind doing the line about the condoms?'"

Jeremy Messersmith and his band will be joined at the MN Music On-a-Stick MN State Fair Grandstand on Friday, August 31, 2012 with Semisonic, The Jayhawks, Dessa, and Lucy Michelle and the Velvet Lapelles.
AA, $35, 5 pm

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