Keeping It Weird

tom smith | make green bay weird | april 2017

The name of this column is Make Green Bay Weird, and that applies to not only the arts, but to all aspects of life. Yes, that includes sports, and thanks to a person who I would have thought would not have been an ally of mine in this quest, Ted Thompson, the Packers are helping to make Green Bay weird.

I, of course, am referring to the Packers' free agent signing of Super Bowl-wining tight end Martellus Bennett. I've been following the NFL career of Bennett since he was a rookie with the Dallas Cowboys, and from the get go, it was quite obvious that this man dances to the beat of his own drummer. A number of his YouTube postings and tweets landed him in hot water with the top brass of the Cowboys. Bennett went from the Cowboys to the New York Football Giants, and from there to my beloved Chicago Bears. Unfortunately for Bennett, he had to work with Jay Cutler. Bennett's exit from Chicago might have been greased by Bennett's frank comments about Cutler's quarterbacking ability. Can you blame a person for taking a shot at Jay Cutler? Bennett went to New England last season, worked with an elite quarterback and earned some bling that says World Champion. The Super Bowl champions have a tradition of visiting the White House. When asked about this, Bennett said he believed he wouldn't go because he's not a fan of the guy in charge. I'm curious how that will play out in this market. Then again, I don't remember many people around these parts getting upset when Tom Brady declined a White House visit. In regards to the football field, this may go down as the best free agent signing by Thompson since Charles Woodson. Bennett having Rodgers as a quarterback leads me to believe Bennett is going to be stellar in the red zone. Bennett might double the seven touchdowns he scored last season in this upcoming season. I've pretty much decided in my TD only keeper league, where we protect three players, that I will protect Bennett. The other choice to protect would have been Alshon Jeffrey, and I'm positive Bennett will score more than Jeffrey. I kind of also hope that Bennett likes to buy vinyl because with the loss of the ultra-versatile Micah Hyde, I'm not aware of any current Packers who are shopping at the Exclusive Company. Don't worry folks; I still see legendary Packers' running back Eric Torkelson in the store from time to time. Yes, I made sure the rumor wasn't true that he is related to Peter Tork of the Monkees. Remember, I said current Packers. This flashes me back to the days at the Exclusive Company when we regularly saw players such as Sterling Sharpe, who I soon realized to not talk to about football, (talk to him about music and you'll get along fine with him). I still chuckle to myself about the time when a customer asked Sterling for an autograph and the response was a stoic “It's my day off."

The first time Reggie White came in, I informed him that since his signing with Green Bay, I had been beefing up the gospel section. Reggie thanked me and walked out with a huge stack of gospel CDs that day. I also asked Reggie how he heard about us, and he told me from guys in the locker room, part of me was hoping he was going to say that God told him about us.

Brett Favre was in countless times, the first time being two weeks after he was traded from the Falcons. Brett actually looked surprised when I asked him if he was Brett Favre. Then, of course, I babbled to him about the Run and Shoot, June Jones and Jerry Glanville. Another time he almost stepped on Domenic Marcantonio of Beach Patrol when he was a little kid. One story I won't forget is when Brett's wife, Deanna, told me that Chris Elliott actually got hives when filming “There's Something About Mary" and they just wrote it into the script. On a side note, life was much simpler when Chris Elliott was still living underneath the steps on David Letterman.

When former Packer running back Steve Avery, and no, I'm not referring to the guy from Manitowoc who was the subject the Netflix documentary “Making A Murderer," introduced me to Bryce Paup as the steal of the draft, Steve was 100 percent correct with that statement, but unfortunately for Steve, Bryce stuck with the Packers much longer.

Other Packers I enjoyed conversing with over the years were Clarence Weathers, Earl Dotson, the late, great Harry Galbreath, who died way too young and was awesome enough to take my copy of Rolling Stone with Jim McMahon on the cover and Jim's autobiography and bring them to the Packer facilities and have Jim sign them for me. Ty Detmer (speaking of BYU), Mark Brunell, Don Majkowski and Mike Tomczak. All threw passes for the Packers and all shopped at the Exclusive Company. Being that Mike Tomczak was a former Bear, I even got my picture taken with him. I've kept this picture to myself because it's kind of embarrassing. What, Tom, is it because you look like too much of fanboy? No, that's not it. It's because I'm wearing a promo Social Distortion t-shirt.

The wide receiver Charles Wilson came in a lot, and he took over for Clarence Weathers, who had been the player who brought a lot of the new players by the store. Charles was actually the player who brought Brett Favre in the first time. If my memory serves me correctly, Clarence was the person who brought New England Patriots receiver Irving Fryar in one summer when the Patriots were scrimmaging the Packers. Irving Fryar was the closest I've ever seen a professional athlete spend almost as much money as Reggie White on gospel in one visit. Can't forget Vai Sikahema or Chris Jacke. Chris Jacke still comes in occasionally, as does Rob Davis who is now the director of player development for the Packers.

Come on, really? Chuck Berry and Chuck Barris die within days of each other? Did the grim reaper forgot to cross Chuck Berry off his list and then he was buzzed reaping and looked at the list and thought it said Chuck Barris? Chuck Berry truly laid the foundation for rock and roll. My life could be completely different right now if Chuck Berry never existed. For all I know, I could have applied myself, became a criminal defense lawyer and could be defending horrible, poor excuses for human beings. Thank you, Chuck Berry. Chuck Barris didn't change my life, unless I finally do become a game show host, but he engineered hours and hours of after school entertainment for me. I loved it when celebrity D-listers appearing as judges on “The Gong Show" would fight amongst themselves for the privilege of gonging a contestant. Mr. Barris also gave us one of the greatest rock and roll songs of all time, “Palisades Park," originally done by Freddie “Boom Boom" Cannon, not to be confused with Sweathog Freddie “Boom Boom" Washington, the song was also performed in an exemplary manner by Depo Provera (the Rev. Norb was the singer in this band before Boris the Sprinkler) and also by the Ramones.

Scott H. Biram

“The Bad Testament"

Bloodshot Records

Timebomb Rating: 13 of 13

Chuck Berry's death has sparked rhetoric along the lines that rock and roll is dead now. To that I respond: “Hello, Jerry Lee Lewis and Little Richard," but more importantly, there are artists out there that truly embolden the essence of rock and roll. This goes for other genres of music also. Yes, we no longer have Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, George Jones and Merle Haggard, but so what? We still have Willie Nelson and Rex Hobart. There are some artists whose presence, in my opinion, are torch carriers in multiple genres. Scott H. Biram is one of those artists, and his new album “Bad Testament" is all the ammunition I need to prove my theory. My theory is Scott is a shining light of many styles including rock and roll, country and western, blues, heavy metal, Americana, one-man bands (Heath Slater a close second), and most importantly, punk rock. Scott, not to rest on his laurels, has delivered a new album that has upped his game from Reposado to Añejo musical mayhem. I'm very excited to see these songs performed live when Scott makes his second appearance at the Lyric Room Wednesday, May 3. This show is made even greater because the Hootin Hollars and Dig Deep are opening.

Live long and Hail! Hail! Rock 'n' Roll.


Since 1984, when he first began selling records at Galaxy of Sound inside the Port Plaza Mall, Tom Smith has been part of the Green Bay music scene. Promoting his first show in 1986 and hitting his stride with the Concert Café (1995-2001), Smith continues to promote shows in Green Bay. He first honed his journalistic chops while serving as a student DJ at WGBW, interviewing such icons as Motörhead and the Ramones. Today you can find him championing live music and managing The Exclusive Company in Green Bay.

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