Road Blog: Friday September 21, 2018 - Rochester, MN
September 21, 2018
We left Ames around 11am and headed north on I35 towards Minnesota. Fall is definitely in the air with a strong wind and temps in the 40s. Patrick was at the wheel, David was in the back, and I was riding shotgun. We stopped for gas at a massive Pilot Flying J Supercenter Truck Stop and it was all I could do to resist the temptation of the Cinnabon stand, only to realize the futility of my efforts when, a couple miles up the interstate, Dave pulled out a sleeve of mini-bons, in their steaming, gooey, cinnamony glory. Probably the most decadent, wonderful thing I’ve eaten in a while. I was the butt of some vicious ribbing about one thing or the other, as is a constant when dudes spend too much time alone together in a van, and also probably deserved, but I got those f’ers back by playing ABBA Live at Wembly when it came my turn on the music rotation. Patty was surprisingly tolerant, though clearly not impressed.
We landed in Rochester around 2pm and stopped by Rochester Records, a non-descript record store tucked behind a small strip mall a few buildings up from the Red Carpet Inn, a dive of a hotel that we’ve stayed at the last couple times we’ve played here. The store is a work in progress, taking up a small part of a big space they’ve acquired, but steadily bringing in more records as they clear room. They’ve got a great collection, with lots of metal and other rarities. I picked up a couple things, but passed on the original pressing of Saxon (Official) – Denim And Leather, partially because it was a little pricey, partially because of the condition, but mostly because I honestly can’t remember if I already own it. TrooperGirl is generally tolerant of my compulsive record purchases, but has little time for the accidental duplicate acquisition. Dave brought over a copy of a record by a 70s British band called Nutz (dubbed by AllMusic as “one of the decade's most undistinguished second-tier acts”) with an illustration of the rear-view of a girl bent over, revealing her fleshy legs and knickers beneath a big dress, just as Patty bent over to check out a live Blue Oyster Cult CD, revealing a bit of flesh himself. Always the present-minded photographer, Dave scored the great side-by-side photo, but despite Patty’s blessing, I’ll leave it to your imagination (unless there’s a wide public demand in the comments). The owner was a nice dude who we chatted with, and you can now get each of our records there, so stop on in Rochester, and support the only record store within a 70-mile radius.
We checked into our hotel and enjoyed a couple hours of downtime before we had to head to the show. We’re lucky to be staying at a nice joint here in Rochester for both Friday and Saturday night, and it was great to have some chill time. There were naps, South Park episodes, calls home, and general getting-caught-up things happening. We headed towards downtown around 7 and loaded in to Kathy's Pub from the back alley. The place was packed with the early-evening drinking crowd and we were instantly bombarded with “what time are you playing? It’s my birthday – can I play tambourine? What kind of music do you play? Do you know any 3 Doors Down?” Um, “10, No, original rock and roll, and no.” The soundguy Greg, who we’ve worked with here before, was already getting set up so we did the same and blasted out a quick sound check. We parked the van in a nearby lot and walked over to a good Mexican restaurant called Hefe Rojo. I got a carne asada rice bowl that was really good, Dave got a salad, and Patty got tacos. We each ate just a bit too much, but we had a long night ahead and it was a fine meal. We stopped back at the van to grab a couple things (and change my shoes) and back to Kathy’s.
Kathy’s pub is a long room with a medium-sized stage and drum riser at the back and a 3-sided bar near the front. It’s got a blue-collar, townie vibe, but in the best way, with a really diverse set of patrons, a very well-staffed bar crew, and the strongest drinks poured. We’ve played here a couple times now, and we’re used to the in-and-out flux of people throughout the night as they come in to get a drink, check out the band, and either stay for another one or move on to the next tavern. The birthday girl was still there, but her friend who demanded the 3 Doors Down cover had apparently lost her dinner in the same alley we loaded in from and had to be collected by her husband, who was none too thrilled about having his Friday night home grilling interrupted. Her daughter, an attractive blonde girl who seemed to have her wits about her more than the rest of the crew, was showing Patty her fake ID just as one of the dudes in their party loudly proclaimed that it was time to leave and “she’s only 19 anyway”, not realizing that the back door security-guard was standing right next to him. That sparked some furled brows and disappointed sighs as they headed into the night, no tambourine jam, no Detroit rock and roll, and sadly, no 3 Doors Down.
We hit the stage around 10pm, with a pair of double Basil Hayden's on the drum riser next to my amps and a drunken Will Ferrell looking dude already dancing by himself before any music even started. We played four sets to a good, rowdy crowd that grew and shrunk and grew again as the night went on. We wrapped up just shy of 2am, shortly after an inebriated guy sitting at a high-top, stage left, fell off his stool, landing with a thud and a spilled gin and tonic, as the staff helped him up and, with his friends, let him collect his faculties before they headed off. We met some nice folks, talked a lot about our favorite bands from Minneapolis, sold a little merch, said so-long to the staff, loaded out, and headed back to the hotel where it was lights out sometime south of 4am.
This morning it’s hotel breakfast buffet, a run and a swim, and hopefully a little nap before trekking West to Mankato where we’ll play Pub 500 tonight. Once again, Kathy’s Pub was a gloriously wonderful mess of an evening with no shortage of tomfoolery, skullduggery, and general wasted hijinks. They are really good to us there, and Gretchen and the rest of the staff are wonderful, hospitable people. We’ll see you next year! Xo