Music from Chris Mars; Owl City's collaboration
Sixteen years after he unplugged his music career to focus on painting, ex-Replacements drummer Chris Mars released his first new song last week as a tribute and fundraiser for his former bandmate Bob "Slim" Dunlap. The single, "When I Fall Down," is available for 99 cents via www.ChrisMarsPublishing
.com. Dunlap suffered a severe stroke in February and has endured complications since then. "The idea for the song comes from thinking about those among us who exhibit unwarranted drama relative to small things," Mars said, "and here was Slim going through something really profound, and the bravery he showed when I saw him."
CHRIS RIEMENSCHNEIDERGet Savaged
Got a burning question for sex-advice columnist Dan Savage but too embarrassed to see it in print? Before his appearance Friday at the Pantages Theatre, the syndicated "Savage Love' writer will mingle with VIP patrons as part of a fundraiser for Minnesotans United for All Families (the folks who oppose the amendment to ban gay marriage). So if you've paid $104 for your tête à tête with Savage, you can finally ask him about "monogamishy," "frottage" or "cake play." If you stump him, it won't be the first time. "People who write advice columns sometimes appear omniscient because we have all the answers," Savage told I.W. "We only have answers to the questions we print."
SHARYN JACKSONNo Maynard is an island
It was news to Maynard James Keenan that his band Tool -- headlining the River's Edge Music Festival on Saturday -- had been booked to play Harriet Island once before. The arty metal giants were part of the Lollapalooza III tour in 1993 that got moved off the island at the last minute due to flooding. Tool performed on a stage outside the old St. Paul Civic Center instead. Since then, the band has worked with independent Chicago promoter Jam Productions on most of its Minnesota concerts, but Keenan did not have any qualms about teaming up with the big kahuna Live Nation for River's Edge. "Generally speaking," he told I.W., "any concert company that has been around a while is doing something right." Let's hope so.
Owl and the pussycat
Owl City hasn't been near the top of the Billboard charts since "Fireflies" flittered to No. 1 in 2009, but the Owatonna hitmaker -- also known as Adam Young -- did at least snag the current No. 1 pop star to duet with him on his new single. Carly Rae Jepsen of "Call Me Maybe" fame guests on the emphatically bubbly "Good Time," from the third Owl City album, "The Midsummer Station," due Aug. 14. While the new single sounds as Disney-ready as all his other songs, "Good Time" does feature some dance-clubby lines that could be construed as -- gasp -- partying lyrics from the Young: "Hands up if you're down to get down tonight." He also drops in a reference to a fellow Minnesotan: "Woke up on the right side of the bed / What's up with this Prince song inside my head?"
CHRIS RIEMENSCHNEIDERRembrandt mania
Add "Rembrandt fan" to the many enthusiasms of Scottish mystery writer Alexander McCall Smith. Author of the popular "The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency" series, Smith is an emeritus professor of medical law at Edinburgh U, author of more than 30 children's books and co-founder of the Really Terrible Orchestra. In the Twin Cities to promote his latest book, Smith dropped by the Minneapolis Institute of Arts for a preview of its new show "Rembrandt in America." "He loved the show," gushed Anne-Marie Wagener, the MIA's Scottish-born press honcho. "We had quite a few Edinburgh chums in common so it was all very fun."
Getting electrocuted is the fear of most musicians who play amplified guitar in the rain. Not Brandi Carlile, who was protected by a roof from the drizzling rain at the Minnesota Zoo on Wednesday. "I don't even care if I get electrocuted," she told the soldout crowd. "It happened to me once at the Minnesota State Fair. I walked up to the mike -- it was the free-stage, not the grandstand -- and said, 'How's everybody doing tonight?' [Then she got shocked.] And I just ran off the stage."
JON BREAMRock the ballpark
Maybe they should have just moved Rock the Garden into Target Field last weekend and made it a little easier on the bands. The Hold Steady's Twins-faithful frontman Craig Finn headed over to the ballpark between sound check and showtime on Saturday afternoon. "I wish I was spending more than 16 hours in town this time, but at least I saw a Twins game," he later commented on stage. Then Trampled by Turtles ended their home-run weekend -- they played to their biggest local crowd yet at RTG -- by singing "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" and two of their own songs at Sunday's Twins-Brewers match-up.
CHRIS RIEMENSCHNEIDERCrashing the ball
The Minnesota Orchestra might want to rename "Crash the Ball," its annual party aimed at the young and affluent. The $150-a-head soiree was held Saturday outside the Minneapolis Depot in conjunction with the orchestra's main fundraiser, the Symphony Ball (minimum $375), which took place inside. Both events offered a dance floor for their guests -- a live band for the upper crust and then DJ Jonathan Ackerman for the younger set. But after the Symphony Ball's formal entertainment ended, it was the older crowd that crashed "Crash the Ball" for House of Pain's "Jump Around." Afterward, Ackerman tweeted: "That got way crazier than I expected."