R.I.P. EARL ROOT, 1962-2008

I am saddened to hear this.

I remember the first time I heard the Root Of All Evil. It was in March of either 1989 or 1990. Pat Harrington, Lee VanNyhuis and myself had traveled down to "the Cities" (with Lee's parents) for the Minnesota Boys Sate Basketball Tournament. On a late Saturday night we were laying in our hotel room-each of us with our Walkmans on. Being in the big city, and coming from the land of the horrendously bad WTBX, it was a requirement to scan the local radio stations. Mostly, because we were Bigfork High School's resident wiggers, it was hip hop that we wanted. So we'd tune in to "the Power Station", 89.9-KMOJ. Lucky for us (or at least me) just a few clicks away, at 90.3, we happened upon Earl Root and his band of misfits. These guys were jokingly talking shit on the metal that they were playing (a trend that I adopted while hosting a punk rock show-aptly titled 'Puke Rock'-many years later) and laughing at the drunkards that were calling in. I think we all landed on it at the same time but individually listened to it without letting the others know. Then, when we couldn't contain ourselves any longer, in unison, the three of us looked around at each other with facial expressions that were equal parts confusion, intrigue an disgust and someone spoke. The conversation probably went something like this:

"Dudes, are you hearing this shit?"
"Yeah. What the fuck is this?"
"What the hell are the callers saying?" (The callers would gargle same gibberish words over and over. I would later come to learn that this was affectionately referred to as a 'Gore Check.' I do not posses the literary skills required to explain it any more in-depth here, but if you ask me in person, I'll give you my best Gore Check and a proper definition of the term.)

I was aware of Speed Metal and crossover thrash, and of course I owned Metallica, D.R.I. and Megadeth cassettes. However that night was probably the first time I had ever heard Death Metal. I chose to hide the fact that I was fascinated by this show from my buddies and kept on listening while they probably tuned back to KMOJ. I've been listening to the Root Of All Evil ever since. Periodically, over the years, I'll throw in a blank cassette tape during the first hour and pass out on the couch. Later, around 4am or so, I'll wake up, flip tape over and hit record again. (That's when all the Black Metal gets played.) I still have all those cassettes. One of my favorites was one from the early 90's that was taped while Earl had the (long since defunct) local rap-rock band Mondo Trasho in the studio with him, taking phone calls from listeners. My brother and I damn near wore that tape out trading it back and forth. Some of my favorite parts of the Root were when Earl interacted with callers. And the man had unparalleled production skills, as evidenced by his on-air spots and promos. I have been disappointed in recent years that Earl has (understandably) been on the show less, but of course I've kept on listening...and will continue to do so. This week I'm going to dig out those cassettes and pay my respect to the man. Rest in peace Earl. "It's six, six, six big minutes past the big hour....."

"I'm going to put Sweet Baby Rays on everythig I eat this weekend."

...A quote said by yours truly on Friday afternoon.

In a last minute decision, I decided to stick with the tradition of Memorial Weekend as the opening of my camping season. All of the usual suspects had to bail this year, so Courtney and I decided to put our friendship to the test this weekend, and go it alone...or together...or...you know what I mean...just the two of us. There was hiking, stinky armpits, a capella versions of classic rock songs, a little rain, lots of deer, and an encounter with a wild pack of dog trainers...and their dogs. When it was all said and done, our friendship had passed the test with flying colors. Oh yeah, and I finished about two-thirds a bottle of Sweet Baby Rays.


Shine on..

...because yes, everyone is looking.


The Collective

Saturday morning found me slightly hung over from the previous night's Tecate fueled extravaganza at the El-P show. It's not terrible by any means, but enough to get me up at quarter to eight ON A SATURDAY. See, I'm one of those that can't sleep when I'm slung. Apparently I passed out on the couch watching an old CZW dvd. The bike was laying on the kitchen floor and there was evidence of a late night 'Cool Ranch' session and perhaps one more beer. I turn on some some tunes and read a bit before dragging my ass of the couch. Breakfast time. I've got huevos rancheros on the brain, so I ride to the Global Market and get my fix. It's so nice out. Gardening and house cleaning keeps me busy the rest of the day until Jase and Lora arrive for our previously planned bike trip. Much to my delight they show up with a twelver of PBR.

Jase is riding a 1964 Scwhinn 'Fiesta' that his grandfather recently gave him. Lora is red on red with her Felt 'Propaganda' war machine. I'm, of course, on the singalized LeTour; sometimes referred to as 'Bubblelicious' due to its color scheme. We take our time riding throughout the city streets and eventually hooking up with the green way for a short stretch. It's beautiful out and everyone is all smiles. Eventually we arrive at our destination-the Oak Street Cinema. It's the Minnesota premier of a brand new mountain bike film done by the Collective called Seasons. Before the film there is giggling as we stock up on free Redbulls and somehow spill an entire bucket of popcorn. Funny. The movie is really good. The riding is amazing and the cinematography-mind blowing. We're cracking PBRs (which we are now referring to as 'Redbulls' in code) throughout the duration of the film.

After the flick is over, there are a ton of giveaways. None of us win anything, so by the end we are claiming that it must be rigged. In a humorous moment, a little girl sitting with her family not far from us, wins a giant fake bottle of Canadian Club whiskey. Afterwards we head for a bite to eat at the Seward Pizza Luce. Then with full bellys, we ride into the night, on our way home. It's fun to watch Jase-primarily a mountain biker-hucking of curbs and stuff. Even on a rusty (but trusty) old cruiser from the 60's, he can't help but innovate. He's actually really good on a bike and it's inspiring to ride with him.

As if we hadn't seen or talked or done enough bike related shit today, we throw on the MASH dvd back at my place for a bit and have one last beer. Great day, great ride, great friends. Let's do it again!

"The Collective." The beautiful accessories that you can't quite see in this pic are Jason's Frontier Sports hat (Reppin' Marcell ya'll), my Hot Doug's tee shirt that says "There are no two finer words in the English Dictionary than 'Encased Meats' my friend" on the back (Thanks Jen.), and the Ramones beer couzy my uncle Robert gave me for Christmas. Okay, I'm officially a geek for pointing this out.