The Twin Cities has had a vibrant music scene since the 1960’s. My first friend in life was Scott Sansby, who played drums in several of the local bands of the era. Minnesota Hall of Fame guitarist Bobby Schnitzer played in each of the local bands with Scottie. I followed them all. Scottie made it out to Los Angeles and played with Leon Russell’s wife Mary McCreary in the early 1970’s. Back in town he played in the late Doug Maynard’s band.

In high school Scottie and I went all over town to hear the bands he didn’t play in. I thought the Underbeats were the best of the local Twin Cities bands. They moved to Los Angeles in 1968 and landed a gig as the house band at the Whisky a Go Go. Both Atlantic and Metromedia made recording offers to them. They signed with Metromedia in 1970 and recorded the double album Gypsy (as they were then calling themselves) for their debut. Guitarist Rico Rosenbaum wrote some terrific songs for that album. My favorite was “Dead and Gone.” You can check it out on YouTube. Rick Shefchik tells their story in Everybody’s Heard About the Bird, the excellent history of the 60’s Minnesota rock scene published by the University of Minnesota Press.

The biggest hit to come out of the Twin Cities must be the disco-era worldwide number 1 hit “Funkytown,” by Lipps, Inc. Lipps, Inc. was the brainstorm of my old friend Steve Greenberg, who wrote and produced the song. Steve had a high school band along with my classmate Chuck Berde.

Chuck was the smartest guy in my high school class by a long shot. Beyond his studies and our required three-season sports participation — Chuck was a serious wrestler — he somehow found time for the band. I believe he invented the field of pediatric pain relief after he was graduated from a combined Ph.D./M.D. program at Stanford. Chuck is now Senior Associate in Perioperative Anesthesia and Pain Medicine, Department of Anesthesia, Critical Care and Pain Medicine at Boston Children’s and Professor of Anesthesia (Pediatrics) at Harvard Medical School.

With the arrival of Prince in the 1980’s more or less everyone became aware of the Twin Cities scene. Prince’s first manager was Owen Husney. Husney’s memoir of the early days with Prince is Famous People Who’ve Met Me. The writing could have used an editor, but the account is invaluable and entertaining.

To turn this series in a socially useful direction, I want to post a few more songs of the day featuring Minnesota musicians who are still active. Last week I posted a track from the New Standards. John Munson plays bass in the New Standards. Munson’s first notable group was Trip Shakespeare, with brothers Matt and Dan Wilson and Elaine Harris (on drums). Twin/Tone Records has posted a brief history of the band here.

Their best album title was Are You Shakespearienced? (Twin/Tone, 1989). Their best album was Lulu (A&M, 1991). Lulu was an artistic success that proved a commercial disappointment. Coming in from deep left field, “Bachelorette” is my favorite track on the album.

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