Back in the day old age of 1999, it coulda been 2000 (memory fades), a girl I was dating pulled the greatest rock n’ roll heist on me that had ever been pulled to that point. It’s the greatest heist that’s ever been pulled on me period. I’d even argue it tops many heists any gal would pull on any guy that loves, LOVES, LUSTS, music.
I met this gal through a friend, one of two best friends in life I’ll add, who said you’re gonna like this girl, her brother is Weasel _______ …. from the Flying Luttenbachers. All it took was a punk rock band with Rockford, IL ties— and I was SOLD.
How wrong I was. How wrong Joe was.
You see, the Flying Luttenbachers were a great DIY punk band, that combo-ed jazz and metal and NOISE into a freaky form of punk right outta Chicago, IL. Not many people knew that their roots laid in Rockford, center of the armpit universe, IL.
Sister of Weasel, head/leader of the Luttenbachers, and I dated for about 7-8 months. It started great but things really became suspect when I spotted an ‘Incubus’ record in her collection along with some Aerosmith cds. She (and Weasel’s parents) didn’t know much about their own immediate bloodline’s musical path he was on and had been on. To them, he had vowed to have nothing to do with Rockford, IL, so they could not understand his form of music as being anything other than Punk- er, noise. They were supportive of he, the punk legend to many local young idiots like me, but in my ex-girlfriend’s mind he was just a brother that, I don’t know very well.
Getting back to the girl I was dating (just to get to meet Weasel). In the summer of 2000….1999, one of those, Weasel’s sister pulled the greatest swindle on me to this day. Around June of that courting year, she had asked me to keep a particular date free. This date came with a catch. I said, this better be good, Wilco is playing a free show in Chicago, block party for the Chicago Tribune. Keep in mind, this is before they, Wilco- in all of its band formations, became somewhat complacent. This is also way before the YHF/ Fire Jay Bennett fiasco. So I agreed to Weasel’s sister’s offer but I did mention, this better be good, Wilco is playing a free show in Chicago that day. She agreed to drive, pay for everything- as long as I just said yes and didn’t complain. Personally, the latter agreement to not complain is harder than anything in life, period, for me.
The day comes around, early to mid August if I remember right, dead of summer. Weasel’s sister comes to pick me up and we head out towards 90 West, opposite of Chicago. There goes my hopes of being tricked into a trip to the free show goin’ on in downtown Chicago I knew about months earlier.
We approach that bullshit exit towards Alpine Valley, Wisconsin, and my darkest most negative instincts start to creep in. Sweating in a car is pretty hard to top when you’re already hot from the heat on a mid August’s drive. I felt helpless. Imagine you’re the passenger, and the drunk person is driving but they can’t hear you. That kind of helplessness.
We approach that magnificent sign that announces why I’m stuck in a long line of cars approaching some midwestern mystical parking spot in the middle of nowhere. TONIGHT, CREED! 3 DOORS DOWN! 8PM!
Really? ARE YOU F*CKING KIDDING ME?!
The moment I read that sign I forgot my end of the bet, You see, I had agreed to this day, months ahead of time. I HAD AGREED TO NOT COMPLAIN. But I did. I lost it, in a car seat.
Andrea told me I had agreed to not complain— that all was paid for and I had to shut up. I lost it. Meanwhile, the offspring to my now defunct early 90s collegiate musical road map, Uncle Tupelo, were playing a FREE show in downtown Chicago.
We parked, we walked, we ate, I drank…. and then,, ‘oh no, is that Joe and his wife?! One of my best friends and his wife were in on this too. What a f*cking farce, a Creed show.
Joe, Andrea (his wife), Andrea (my future ex-girlfriend) and I found our spot on the Alpine Valley, WI lawn. To this day I have never drank so much, ate so much, and laughed so much FOR FREE. At some point in Scott Stapp’s shirtless pose during some song I remember him yelping, Can you take me higher? I started laughing and begging Weasel’s sister for a cigarette lighter. She told me to behave, you promised not to complain. I lied. The few times I have lied in life occurred righteously at a Creed show.
There were fireworks and lighters and I just couldn’t stop laughing. I ate so much free food that night. I did make her pay— but the WHOLE TIME I couldn’t stop thinking about the free Chicago Tribune block party show featuring Wilco, free.
I’ve never quite survived that day. Not even the NYE’s party in Chicago at Weasel’s apartment he shared with his hot a*ssed, short haired, brunette gal (a Chicago Reader journalist at that time) could spare me the cloudy fragments of that awesome joke his sister pulled on me. Thing was, she wasn’t joking., she really loved Creed and 3Doors Down. That NYE’s night in Chicago, Weasel’s sister got so tanked on cheap beer and offended many of her credible brother’s musical friends that he gave up DJ-ing and I got to spin vinyl for Al Johnson of U.S. MAPLE (great band), Jim O-Rourke (the Jim O’Rourke), and his Lounge Ax staff friends while Weasel and galfriend took care of his shitty drunk Creed loving sister and a bunch of Chicago indie dare to be different hipsters. That night summed up the greatest swindle for me.
On our drive home, it was complete, the relationship over. We dumped ourselves and moved on, on that January 1st. She got back together with her frat boy boyfriend and I got back to nothing. She, having pulled off the greatest rock n’ roll swindle ever on an a*shole indie music lover, and I, finally getting to spin vinyl for a bunch of other midwestern indie music loving assholes who accidently ended up in a John Cusack movie.