Letter from Rusty Jones

Dear Mr Hicks,
            This is Rusty Jones, founding member of NNB, and bassist on the
now classic (thank you) single, "Slack", and currently found toiling away in
the Front Porch Swingin' Liquor Pigs (w/ old friend Jim Tollefsrud, also an
NNB alumnus, as you know), Safety Last (there's Jim again!), and the Rockin'
Pinecones. Should I mention my occasional jobs w/ Curtiss A? Anyway, I
certainly don't blame you for getting the history and line-up of NNB wrong,
as Mark Freeman always did try to shroud the band in a mystery that would
belie our suburban roots. And I'm always happy to see credit given to the
second, third, and fourth bassists of NNB - my friends Dave Blessing and
Wayne Hasti, and, lastly, Chuck Hultquist, who I believe served the longest
tenure in the band, and can be seen in the M-80 movie that played at the
Sound Unseen Festival a year or so back.
            But here's a bit more history for you...Dick Champ, Jimmy T and
I were Edina grads, class of '73, and found each other through Ziggy
Stardust...really! Early on we all went to the Lou Reed show in St. Paul,
Dec of '72,  where we met a mutual fanatic, a Mr. Peter Jesperson, who we
befriended and we began to journey out to his Minnetonka house on a regular
basis to be treated to a "tour" of his incredible record collection. Our
tiny circle began to expand into the mysterious Minneapolis music
underworld. Then at some point during our college daze, Dick Jim, and I came
to a crossroads - were we going to go wholly into record collecting? Or
start playing the music we loved to obsession? Within a short while we had
formed our first band, the Regenerates, but had also had scored jobs at the
Wax Museum record stores, though Dick had already had a gig being a clerk at
Oarfolkjokeopus, in the era of Andy Schwartz and the legendary Barry
Margolis. Andy was really *the* instrumental guy in town that a scene formed
around. He was always organizing, or supporting some event or band that had
grabbed his interest. It really is hard to describe the unity of the scene
that began developing in the mid 70's, but I'll just say, we had our club,
and we were there all the time, no matter who was playing, all in the belief
that we knew better, dammit, and this was really, honestly, truly, fucking
rock 'n' roll, and it was right here in Minneapolis! From Thumbs Up and
Prodigy, to Spitfire and the Boys, and on to the Commandos (oh, how we
laughed!), the Suburbs, Fingerprints and the Pistons, it was quite a fine
run for our little burg.
            Some time in '77, Dick, Jim and I met Mark Freeman. Mark was
also a clerk at the Wax, and he had a vision of a band beyond anything we'd
been messing around with, and so we decided to join forces to form NNB. Soon
after, Twin/Tone Records had formed, and their first three EPs hit the
stores. So cool!!  And then there was us, lowly NNB, with not even a gig
under our belt, though we'd logged hundreds of hours of rehearsal time. How
were we ever gonna get noticed? Well hell, we thought, let's just make our
own record. And so we did. And we're still noticed - thank you!
            As per your request, I want to nominate two records that fall
between the Soma and Twin/Tone eras that were, in my mind, among the best
from Minneapolis during a pretty bleak era. First there's the 1972 single
"The Butler Did It" b/w "I Won't Be Pushed Away" by Skogie, who was led by
Rick Moore and another classmate of mine, the legendary lost boy, Mark
Goldstein. Double A side, a real pop smash, you can listen to it here:

Secondly, there's "Lindy Hop Bop" by Bob Ivers and Ice Stars, the band that
later developed into Fingerprints. A dandy little number that still sets my
toes tapping, it was a real shining light in those days.
            Well, I hope that gives you a bit of background to those times
30+ years ago. I'd be happy to give you anymore info Dylan. Thanks for all
the good music writing, esp as you deal with the most important thing, the
local stuff!

Best Regards,
Rusty Jones

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