Hijinx and Hearsay: Scenester Stories from Minnesota's Pop Life

Hijinx and Hearsay: Scenester Stories from Minnesota's Pop Life


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In the summer of 1979, while disco was dying and new wave and punk were rising from the underground, two twenty-something guys were thrown together on a new music monthly ignobly called Sweet Potato. One had a Canon camera, the other a thirty-six-pound Royal typewriter. Over the next several years, the two chronicled the Minneapolis scene and the cultural landscape of the Twin Cities, covering some of the most influential artists, musicians, writers, comedians, and entertainers of the past forty years. They profiled legendary musicians from across the globe and across musical genres—Paul and Linda McCartney, Bob Marley, U2, James Brown, John Lee Hooker, Devo, and more—as well as homegrown talents ranging from Dylan and Prince to the Replacements and Hüsker Dü. They covered such disparate writers as William Burroughs and Dr. Seuss, and young, up-and-coming comedians like Jerry Seinfeld, Louie Anderson, and Lizz Winstead.

In Hijinx and Hearsay, writer Martin Keller and photographer Greg Helgeson are at it again, offering a delectable, fun, and fresh perspective through Helgeson's photography (much of it never seen before) and new stories and insights by Keller that shed fascinating light on a singular, influential era in popular culture in Minnesota.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781681341323
Publisher: Minnesota Historical Society Press
Publication date: 04/01/2019
Pages: 256
Sales rank: 1,156,096
Product dimensions: 7.90(w) x 9.90(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

Martin Keller is a professional journalist, author, screenwriter, pop culture critic, editor, and columnist. For the past 25 years, he has served as a veteran public relations specialist. Keller covered the arts, business, and cultural affairs for several Twin Cities publications, including Minnesota Monthly, the Star Tribune, the St. Paul Pioneer Press, City Pages, and Twin Cities Reader, and his worked has appeared in such national publications as Rolling Stone, Billboard, the Washington Post, and the Boston Globe. He is the author of Music Legends: A Rewind on the Minnesota Music Scene and Storms: Tales of Extreme Weather Events in Minnesota.

Expertly working with Canon and Leica cameras for more than 40 years, Greg Helgeson has fervently documented some of the most renowned artists and public figures in a variety of disciplines, from international superstars to local legends. His work has appeared in a range of periodicals, including Rolling Stone, the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, the Village Voice, Du Monde (Paris), Mojo (England), the Star Tribune, City Pages, and Mpls.St.Paul Magazine, as well as in numerous books and on album covers.

Bob Mehr is an award-winning reporter covering music for Memphis’s daily newspaper, the Commercial Appeal. He is also the author of Trouble Boys: The True Story of the Replacements. A New York Times best seller, the book earned the ASCAP Foundation Deems Taylor/Virgil Thomson award for outstanding musical biography. Selected as book of the year by NPR, Rolling Stone, and Amazon, it was also named one of the “100 Greatest Music Books of All Time” by Billboard.

Read an Excerpt

Bob Dylan admitted in a 1983 interview with me that Bob Marley was one of the artists in his lifetime that he regretted never meeting. Later, in 2017, David Letterman, who has interviewed nearly everyone under the big marquee, including Mr. Zimmerman, made the same confession.

During the 1979 Survival tour, Helgeson and I got a rare and fortunate opportunity to spend a considerable amount of time with Marley over two to three days around the band’s gig at the University of Minnesota’s Northrop Auditorium, including an interview session with Marley the day after the concert. Greg even accompanied him and a local Warner Bros. rep to a record store for a meet-and-greet. But despite the access, it hadn’t been an easy interview to set up....

...The next day, as we began the interview, I casually mentioned that ethereal soundcheck moment to Marley, trying to pinpoint the effect it had. I got a small grin and a “Yeah, mon,” but nothing more. After introductions, the interview quickly became a smoke-filled dialogue clouded with the exotic vapors of the sacrament being shared, a slow-burning joint the size of a nice banana. It gave a whole new meaning to the expression “high atop the Radisson Hotel.”

The Jamaican superstar was gregarious and generous, giving us two and a half hours of his time. Subjects ranged from friendly, informal chatter about music and the tour to the esoteric and apocalyptic. Bob talked seriously in his island patois, almost as thick as the smoke in the room, about “the black Bible,” the reading of the Bible as a sort of living, historical cosmic horoscope. Asked to explain, he said if I was born in December, I would read the good book from the perspective of Joseph, sold into slavery by his brothers, in the Old Testament, that his storyline was my storyline into the rest of the good book.

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