What’s that song?
When Holly George-Warren was researching her “A Man Called Destruction: The Life and Music of Alex Chilton,” she, of course, wanted to talk to Paul Westerberg, who had famously penned the Replacements’ “Alex Chilton.” But the reclusive Minneapolis singer-songwriter wasn’t available. George-Warren did speak with ‘Mats bassist Tommy Stinson and manager Peter Jesperson. The night Chilton opened for the Replacements at New York’s CBGB’s, the ‘Mats were on the cover of the influential Village Voice and they watched the Memphis rocker’s set. “The band was so excited and they probably had more to drink than they needed to, so by the time the Replacements got onstage … it was just a debacle,” Jesperson told George-Warren. Not only did Westerberg play a version of Chilton’s “I’m in Love With the Girl,” but he taunted the audience, “You may have guessed tonight that we don’t want to play any of our own songs.” Chilton loved it and said hello to Westerberg afterward. Wonder if Westerberg will say “hello” to George-Warren when she reads from her book July 15 at Magers & Quinn in Uptown?
Big Apple Fringe
Minneapolis will be represented by “The Princeton Seventh” at the New York International Fringe Festival. The juried event, opening on Aug. 14, is the nation’s largest Fringe. James Vculek wrote and directed the play about a literary gang that gets together in a hotel bar. It played the Minnesota Fringe twice, the last in 2010, when it drew great notices and audiences. Ari Hoptman, Alex Cole, Richard Ooms and Alayne Hopkins will be acting in the New York production. They did the show in ’10 here.
Planes in Spain
Not exactly the kind of band you’d expect to see enter a music contest run by a corporate restaurant chain, Twin Cities indie-rockers Enemy Planes shrugged off any hipster ideology and have been duly rewarded as a result. The Radiohead-flavored sextet is headed to Barcelona later this month entirely at the expense of Hard Rock Café after being named one of six regional finalists — out of a purported 13,000 entries — in a battle of the bands taking place July 23 during Spain’s Hard Rock Rising festival, featuring Kings of Leon and Avicii. Some of the judges the group will face include Little Steven Van Zandt, Mumford & Sons bassist Ted Dwane and Poison frontman Bret Michaels. Time to start working on that “Believe/Reason to Believe/Something to Believe In” mash-up.
When the Minnesota State Fair officials announced their final grandstand concert this week and it wasn’t the anticipated fourth annual MN Music on a Stick, local music fans were puzzled. State Fair deputy general manager Renee Alexander, who books the grandstand talent, called I.W. to say that MN Music on a Stick starring Minnesota-connected acts will probably return next year. “We couldn’t find a headliner that would work with scheduling and a variety of other things,” she said. “It’s a one-year hiatus, and we’ll revisit it next year to determine if it can happen.” Meanwhile, North Carolina’s Avett Brothers will headline what’s being billed as the Current’s Music on a Stick concert on Sept. 5.
Friends in need
Friends and fans are raising money to help Twin Cities poet and spoken-word artist J. Otis Powell, who is recovering from a recent health crisis. They’ve started a Give Forward campaign online, at http://gfwd.at/1cVfoYJ, and will hold a fundraiser at 7 p.m. July 15 at Intermedia Arts, 2822 Lyndale Av. S., Mpls. Tickets are $20 and the evening will feature writers Alexs Pate, Sha Cage, Mankwe Ndosi, Lynette Reini-Grandell, and many others. Winner of a McKnight Fellowship and other awards, Powell was a founding producer of Write On! Radio and has worked as communities liaison at the Loft Literary Center.
It started in 2000 as a way for the Twin Cities musicians who played on Bob Dylan’s “Blood on the Tracks” album to get some local recognition. It has evolved into an annual summer salute to Dylan’s music by a bunch of Minnesota music long-timers that doubles as a benefit for Guitars for Vets, a Milwaukee nonprofit helping veterans suffering from PTSD. One of those Dylan stalwarts and organizers, singer-songwriter Billy Hallquist, is battling colon cancer. His friends have set up a Give Forward campaign, http://gfwd.at/1zuj6Da, and will pay tribute to Hallquist on July 29 at Town Green in Maple Grove and Aug. 1 at Wolfe Amphitheater in St. Louis Park. Kevin Odegard, Gary Lopac, Bobby Z, Jeff Dayton, Patty Peterson, Mary Jane Alm, Lonnie Knight and others are hoping Hallquist will be strong enough to join them.