Flip Your Gig: Leading The Post-Rock Lifestyle

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When Hüsker Dü officially ended in January 1988, bassist Greg Norton was 29, decidedly unwealthy and unemployed. He ended up in the restaurant business, first as a server, then as a chef. “I had some natural ability and a good palate, so I dove into that,” says Norton. “My only training was just on the job.” By 1995, Norton had attained the position of head chef at Staghead in Red Wing, Minn., where he met his second wife, Sarah, in the kitchen. In 2003, the couple opened their own place, The Nortons’, in Bay City, Wisc., about 60 miles from Minneapolis. The Nortons’ serves contemporary American cuisine and boasts an award-winning wine list. Says Norton, “It’s not a novelty act: ‘Ex-punk rocker becomes chef.’ We actually know what we’re doing.”

After leaving the Replacements in 1990, drummer Chris Mars continued making music: From ’92 to ’96, the “quiet” member of the Mats released four solo records. What might’ve begun with creating his album covers has blossomed into a full-blown visual-art career for Mars, who now paints full-time. “Some call my art surrealist, because I like to work with lots of detail,” says Mars, who still lives in Minneapolis. “But I think of the work as closer to expressionist, except perhaps that I’m not investigating the self as much as the world outside of me.” According to Mars, the imagery in his paintings is also informed by his older brother Bill’s battle with schizophrenia. His artwork is on permanent display at the Minneapolis Institute of Art and has been purchased by celebrities such as Prince, Tom Petty and Michael Stipe, not that Mars cares very much. “My mom and my wife own some of my work,” he says. “That makes me most proud.” Mars declined to speak about the Replacements, saying, “I’m just not living in that space anymore. It’s been so long, I feel more and more removed as time goes by, and I’m on another path.”

Chris Osgood—pioneering punker, guitar teacher and benevolent godfather of the Minneapolis scene—has continued to be a paternal figure around town since the Suicide Commandos called it quits in 1978. “We were the only band I knew that broke up with assets—stuff to sell, a PA,” says Osgood. “We cashed out for a few hundred bucks each.” As director of artist services at Springboard for the Arts, Osgood counsels artists, musicians, writers and actors on how to manage their assets and market their work.

Key To The City: A Minneapolis Glossary

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All Shook Down: the Replacements’ last album (1990)
Jello Biafra: Dead Kennedys frontman
Candy Apple Grey: Hüsker Dü’s first album for Warner Bros. (1986)
Creepers: thick-soled, often two-toned, rockabilly-style shoes; an ’80s fashion staple
Bob Dylan: the best writer from Minnesota
Everything Falls Apart: Hüsker Dü album (1983); reissued with “Statues” and other bonus tracks as Everything Falls Apart And More (1993)
First Avenue: nightclub made famous by Prince’s Purple Rain
Flip Your Wig: Hüsker Dü’s last album for SST (1985)
Greg Ginn: Black Flag guitarist and co-owner of SST
Jay’s Longhorn: punk/rock venue
Land Speed Record: Hüsker Dü’s first album (1982)
Let It Be: the Replacements’ last album for Twin/Tone (1984)
Loud Fast Rules: Soul Asylum’s first moniker
Macalester College: liberal-arts college attended by Bob Mould
Mats: shorthand for Replacements
New Alliance: Minutemen-run label that released Land Speed Record; it was later bought by SST
New Day Rising: Hüsker Dü album (1985)
Oar Folk: record store (a.k.a. Oar Folkjokeopus)
Pleased To Meet Me: Replacements album (1987)
Punker: slang for a punk; a punk rocker
Reflex: Hüsker Dü-run label (1980-1985)
7th Street Entry: smaller venue attached to First Avenue
Sire: Warner Bros. subsidiary; home to the Replacements (1985-1991)
SST: seminal hardcore/punk label; home to Hüsker Dü (1983-1985)
“Statues”: Hüsker Dü’s seven-inch debut (1981)
Seymour Stein: president and co-founder of Sire
Stink: Replacements mini album (1982)
Tim: the Replacements’ first album for Sire (1985)
Twin/Tone: the Replacements’ label (1981-1984)
Warehouse: Songs And Stories: Hüsker Dü’s last album (1987)
Warner Bros.: home to Hüsker Dü (1985-1987)
Young And The Useless: early-’80s NYC hardcore band featuring Beastie Boy Adam Horovitz
Your Flesh: Minneapolis-based fanzine
Zen Arcade: Hüsker Dü album (1984)

Q&A With Moby

moby62qa550Like fellow one-named, slightly built, narcissistic workaholics Prince and Beck, Moby (the most charming and humanistic of that club) has slowed his output in the new century. Almost three years have passed since he released 18, a bloated album that still managed to soak up a wave of critical backlash. Moby’s new, sample-free Hotel (V2) is scarcely slimmer, even without its bonus ambient disc. While the first half of the record is stripped-down and kinetic, much of the second half—the primitive, sex-with-an-Atari-2600 burble of “I Like It,” the Vangelis-flying-too-close-to-the-ground “Homeward Angel”—never comes into focus. But even on 1995’s Everything Is Wrong and 1999’s Play, Moby’s industry trumped his inventiveness. His sense of economy—not no-wasted-gesture economy but rather bargain-basement, wow-it-has-a-shitload-of-tracks economy—holds up here as ever. Moby’s bang-for-the-buck philosophy seems tied to his relationships with various commercial users of his music. He revealed as much in a recent entry in his online journal, which cited childhood poverty as a possible reason for his shrewdness. Does the guy get a bad rap for issuing more licenses than a Las Vegas justice of the peace? Even he doesn’t know, and Moby is an expert on himself first. Hotel is another chapter of Moby’s meta narrative on the succor he finds in, well, being Moby. He can check out any time he likes, but he would never leave.

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The Wedding Present: A Career Overview

“It’s not quite as romantic anymore, is it?” asks David Gedge, who, with the Wedding Present and Cinerama, has made a career of describing the travails of romance. But this time, he’s talking about the state of the music industry, not love. “Downloading files onto your laptop is not quite the same as going into the shop and buying a single.”

Gedge has been sending people into record stores to buy singles—and EPs, albums and Peel Sessions—for two decades. His conversational tales of jilted suitors and helpless love slaves made the Wedding Present one of the best-loved bands in Britain, post-Smiths and pre-Blur/Oasis. Now, after an extended hiatus—his Cinerama years—Gedge has resurrected the Wedding Present with the new Take Fountain (Manifesto).

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John Davis: God Only Knows

john-davis350Growing up in a devout Baptist household in Knoxville, Tenn., John Davis also worshipped deities like John Lennon and Pete Townshend. He was conflicted, believing true salvation might not be divined from the word of Jesus but rather the lyrics of musical gods.

Davis did find glory, if it can be measured by Superdrag’s outstanding albums, critical success and fan adulation. He wasn’t saved by rock ’n’ roll, though. In fact, its excesses nearly killed him.

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