We already had plans to spend the weekend in Minneapolis (because who doesn’t want to fly to Minnesota in January?) before my father passed last week, and my mother insisted that we still go – frankly we’d been spending so much time together recently that I think we both needed a few days apart to take a break, reflect, and regroup, so it worked out well.
My friend and one-time blog post contributor Tristen just hit a milestone birthday (ironically he shared a birthday with my dad) and we flew out to Minnesota for a surprise party his wife threw for him. Plus we were also the “excuse” to get him out of the house for the day while she prepared.
We opened our day visiting the Prince museum at Paisley Park, which just opened for tours. Now, I like prince, but I”m far from a super-fan. And I’ll freely admit I went in with marginal expectations. But I’ll tell you what, the folks that put this tour together hit a home run. All the tours are guided, which normally isn’t my deal, but they did a great job taking us through the property over the course of roughly 70 minutes, giving us the opportunity to see some of Prince’s personal space, his main recording studio, memorabilia from his music and film career, and the impressive venues on the property. They even play one of the whispered about “vault tracks,” a never-before-released jazz-funk number that The Purple One recorded and produced prior to his passing. If there was one disappointing thing it was the lack of Prince music for sale in the gift shop, something that I’m sure will be rectified at a later date.
Minneapolis has a fantastic music scene – it easily could have been Seattle before Seattle pulled off the move if just one of its many bands blew up at the right time. And that scene is evident by the number of record shops in the city. Unfortunately we only had a chance to hit two of them on this visit.
There are a few Cheepo locations in Minneapolis, and this time we visited the one on Nicollet and W. 26th Street. Tons of vinyl and CDs, including a New Arrivals vinyl section that would take you a minimum of 30 minutes to get through (maybe 15 bins), and that’s assuming you were digging fast. I picked up some odds and ends here, perhaps most notably the recently released Sleater-Kinney live album that Sub Pop just put out, but nothing too spectacular.
Extreme Noise Records
Our first night in town we scooted over to the punk/metal collective shop over on Lake Street called Extreme Noise, and man, this is a must-visit location. A medium sized indie shop with a huge vinyl section (plus a strong helping of tapes), I found some well-priced gems here including an unofficial Bolt Thrower release, a couple of records by the local band Mystery Date, and an OG copy of The Meatmen’s 1985 nugget War of the Superbikes. Extreme Noise had everything from Judas Priest to Joy Division to JFA, so if you’re into something that needs to be played loud, there’s a chance they have it.
We didn’t get a chance to make it to Prince’s favorite shop, Electric Fetus, on this trip, but time was short. And there are a number of other decent shops in the Twin Cities, so should you find yourself out that way, you’ll have no trouble filling up your record bag.