tom smith | make green bay weird | jan. 2019
I start out this month's Make Green Bay Weird with some updates on previous stories. I also must brag that my column in the October issue of Frankly Green Bay was month's early on the Paul McCartney show at Lambeau Field next June. The news of Paul McCartney playing the Vatican of Football has brought much joy and excitement to a town whose community-owned football team did not make the postseason. Trust me, it's the talk of the town (well, that and the Green Bay Booyah) and work this Christmas season will be known as the year I was asked either are you going to see Paul McCartney at Lambeau? Or have you seen “Bohemian Rhapsody" yet? The answer to both those questions is no. I'm not ruling out seeing that movie I just haven't seen it yet.
This Christmas season also is being tabbed by me as the year of Kiss-Lick It Up. A customer who came in near the start of the shopping season at The Exclusive Co. had someone's wish list with that on it in compact disc. We of course had that in stock because lack of that album in a Record Store can cause all hell to break lose.
I of course look forward to my sit down face-to-face interview with Sir Paul or whoever or whatever replaced him in November of 1966. I changed my mind on where the interview will be conducted. I just recently was made aware that Kroll's had a downtown location at one time and it was referred to as Kroll's Downtown. The westside location had not opened yet. So the interview will be now conducted where Kroll's Downtown was located. I'll have some Kroll's East delivered to us. I deem Kroll's Downtown important in the history of the Green Bay music scene because I saw that the Rev. Norb commented on social media that his parents met there. The Paul McCartney announcement also is bittersweet because as you all know I'm currently crusading for The Jesus Lizard to play at Lambeau Field. Yes this has become my Moby Dick (no I don't want Led Zeppelin at Lambeau). I'm not going to let this setback discourage me. In fact, I'm going to double down on the Jesus, wait scratch that I'm going to triple down on the Jesus. How am I going to triple down on Jesus? I'll tell you; I have made the decision to also book at Lambeau Field with The Jesus Lizard the bands Jesus Christ Superfly (Austin, Texas) and Jesus Chrysler (Knoxville, Tenn). There is nothing that can't be accomplished when it's for bands that start with Jesus.
Thank you to Brian Kuklinski of the Green Bay Booyah who provided me with the exact Green Bay Booyah shirt I was asking for in the Dec. issue of Frankly Green Bay. I have worn it a number of times already and have got nothing but positive feedback. Well one guy was asking me if I was wearing it to be a heel. I responded that the Green Bay Booyah are very over with their new name and look. If the Packers hire Josh McDaniels to replace Mike McCarthy, remember I predicted that last year in Frankly Green Bay. I think the Packers should think outside of the box and hire David Yow, singer of The Jesus Lizard as their next coach. I'm sure this won't go over with the average ham n' egger and they will want someone with a football background. OK, have it your way, may I suggest Hue Jackson? Please sign him to a 15-year $200 million contract. That would really show up the Raiders. What happens first: Jon Gruden has better than eight wins in a season with the Raiders or The Jesus Lizard plays at Lambeau? My money is on The Jesus Lizard.
The management and ownership of Frankly Green Bay is very committed to my pursuit of making Green Bay weird. They kind of are like ABC's Wide World of Sports but for weird. Their mantra should be,
“Spanning the globe to bring you the constant variety of weird, the thrill of weird, and the agony of weird, the human drama of weird."
My assignment last month sent me to Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada. My flight to Saskatoon via a stop in Minneapolis was quite expensive. I soon found out why. I arrive at my gate in Minneapolis for my flight to Saskatoon and I notice that everyone waiting for my flight is older white men and a majority have camouflage backpacks and/or camouflage pants. Listening to their chatter I realize I'm on a flight that is mostly American game hunters (one of the hunters was a chap from the UK). I much enjoyed them losing it as they watched the airline luggage folks through a window throw their gun and ammo cases around.
I tried to escalate their panic by bringing up the American Tourister luggage commercial from the '70s and '80s with the gorilla pounding on luggage. I actually said Samson luggage but some research shows that a common misconception is that ad was for Samson. I sure wish I had brought my portable cassette player with me because when the flight started it was total hunter nerd city. When seated on my flight I was treated to lots of talking of shooting this, that, or the other thing. I'm not sure how many times I saw a hunter pull out his phone to show a picture of some animal he shot to another hunter. Do these hunters even care about what the other hunters shot? Kinda like people who play Fantasy Football, none of us really care about hearing about another Fantasy Football player's team. When we arrive at the Bridge City I'm the last person off the plane and the airline stewardesses are wishing everyone happy hunting when they get to me I very loudly interrupt and tell them, “No, not me, I'm the only American on this flight without a rifle!"
This caused an eruption of laughter from numerous people (including the airline stewardesses), even some of the hunters. You might wonder what would bring me to Saskatoon, but since it's in Canada, I must have been going to see the pride of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, The Smugglers. The Smugglers had chosen this site for their 30thAnniversary show because the venue Amigos was also celebrating their 30thAnniversary. Amigos, to me, is if the Concert Cafe/Rock N Roll High School never had closed. I had a great time and I really felt I was at a late '90s show at the Concert Café + (the only thing missing was going next store to Speaks). It didn't hurt that I was treated to blazing performances by two Concert Cafe favorites The Smugglers and Chixdiggit.
I also was blown away by my introduction to Saskatoon's very own The Garrys who had a Jesus and the Mary Chain-ish surf vibe. I could feel the love in the room for not only the bands but for the venue and its ownership and excellent staff. I met so many music loving wonderful human beings at Amigos. The Smugglers once again turned in a performance that riled up the crowd into a dance party frenzy. They had a dance off won by a dude I had met outside named Mr. Awesome and a Limbo contest. This was my third time seeing The Smugglers since May of 2017 and I'm pretty sure this was my favorite performance of the trilogy. The Smugglers are truly Kings of the party. The performance was so inspiring that I have decided to see them Saturday, January 12 in Seattle with The Young Fresh Fellows at The Seattle Pop Punk Festival. My flight the next day gets back in Green Bay very late so I quite possibly will be missing a Bears playoff game, but The Smugglers and The Young Fresh Fellows are worth it.
In September's Frankly Green Bay I predicted a Packers-Texans Super Bowl. I'm staying with my pick of the Texans in the Super Bowl but I'm now picking the Bears to beat the Seahawks in the NFC Championship game. The Bears winning the Super Bowl this year would give them as many Super Bowl wins since the merger as the Packers (2). While in Saskatoon I wandered around and discovered their downtown mall (which appeared to be built inside some buildings). This mall totally reminded me of the Port Plaza Mall of the '80s in Green Bay combined with a little of the Bay Park Square Mall we currently have. I did some Christmas shopping and found a Hello Kitty calendar for my daughter. I also kept up with my tradition of having sushi whenever I visit Canada by eating some at the mall's food court. I purchased for myself a Saskatchewan Roughriders winter hat. The Roughriders are the third oldest professional football team in North America (behind only the Arizona Cardinals and the Toronto Argonauts). The Roughriders are a community owned team in Regina, Saskatchewan. Hanging out in this mall, the support of a community-owned professional football team, and a concert venue that flashed me back to the Concert Café, meeting a bunch of way cool Canadian punk rockers (one of which, Brendo Kolebaba, is a big fan of GB's Boris the Sprinkler), and seeing a city as in love with The Smugglers and Chixdiggit as Green Bay has brought me to the conclusion that Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, is the Canadian sister city of Green Bay, Wisconsin. I plan on someday returning to Saskatoon.
Live Long and Lick It Up.
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.