Teague Alexy is a Duluth-based musician and writer who grew up in Somers Point, N.J. teaguealexy.com
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Angel D and Sunnyside Turner were days away from graduating Jordan Road Junior High School in Somers Point. Partners in almost everything, it slipped both their minds they had also partnered up for the paper airplane competition. The morning was filled with excitement as optimistic students showed one another the carefully crafted paper planes they had labored over the night before. Sunnyside grabbed a piece of white paper off the floor in the hallway and passed it to Angel.
I don’t know how we talked our moms into letting us go. My best friend, Angelo, and I found our way to the Run DMC/Beastie Boys Together Forever show at The Spectrum in Philadelphia. An advertisement on Lady B’s Power 99 FM late-night hip-hop show mentioned a corner grocery store in Atlantic City selling tickets. Forty-eight hours later, we were in the 12th row.
I can remember the phone being passed to me at Great Aunt Catherine’s family Christmas party in the Germantown neighborhood of Philadelphia. Uncle Frank was calling from his apartment in Southern California. I was only 8 years old and uncomfortable on the phone with my aunties laughing up a riot in the kitchen behind me. I felt sorry for Uncle Frank. His mom, godmother, four sisters, brother, nieces, nephews and cousins were joking, jiving, drinking, toasting, laughing, singing, playing cards, telling stories, all things my Uncle Frank was very good at.
Carmody Irish Pub in downtown Duluth is often home to a small contingent of off-duty musicians, but even some of us road dogs were back in town tonight. The great Jim Hall laughed along with ska wizard Jason Wussow and good-humored bluesman Jamie Ness. The melodious voice of Jerree Small bounced alongside the witty snickers of mandolin ace Erik Berry and the snitty wickers of piano player “Rusty” Sackett. Lefty, the Latin percussionist, tended bar while pedal steel player Lee “Big Country” Martin’s taxi idled out front on Superior Street.
I had assured family and friends in Philadelphia I would stop for a night’s rest at some point, but in my mind I was prepared to drive the 1,200 miles back to my new home in Holyoke, Minn. in one smooth stroke. My last stop in PhiIly was AKA Music on Second Street where I bought “The Basement Tapes” double CD by Bob Dylan and The Band. Something to occupy my mind for the long trek.
I was on a run of winter shows through the ski mountain towns of Colorado with fellow Duluth singer/songwriter, James Moors. I felt hung-over but hadn't a drop to drink. Some sort of flu? Perhaps. Or, maybe Tommy Larson was right. "Two rooms at the best hotel in Steamboat tonight will do you guys some good." Tommy was an administrator at Colorado Mountain College where we had played that afternoon. I had seen Tommy encourage and coddle a few students while we were there. He was now doing the same for James and me.
I was at Jake Larson's Clubhouse Studio on the Duluth hillside overlooking Lake Superior. Eric Pollard and Steve Garrington were producing the sessions for my next album. The story songs and blues I had been writing lately were not what they were looking for. "Just the goods," Eric would say from behind red sunglasses.
Oct. 9, 2010. My brother Ian and I, alongside Dave, Erik, Ryan, Timmy and Banjo Dave of Trampled By Turtles, drove from Fargo to the Whiskey Bones Roadhouse on the outskirts of Rochester, Minn. Our wives, girlfriends, relatives and companions from the previous two nights in Mankato and Fargo didn't drive 320 miles to Rochester. Even Trampled's do-it-all road manager and soul companion, Mike D, was at a family wedding.
Kevin Garnett of the Minnesota Timberwolves announced his retirement last week after 21 seasons in the NBA. At 19 years old, Garnett entered the league with highly touted athleticism. He is leaving the game revered for his intelligence and intensity.
In the summer of 1985 the author and his younger brother, Ian, and their friend, Ronny, infiltrated a celebrity golf tournament in New Jersey, seeking autographs from basketball great Michael Jordan. Part 1 appeared in the July 24 issue. "Hey ya, Nancy," said Mrs. DeRichie. "This is Barbara's kid, Ronny and his little friends. They're gonna hang around a while. They won't be a bother."