Come with us now, a short jaunt up the 94 from Chicago, to a wonderland of all things Dairy and Curdled!
Yes, yes, I’m talking of the Museum of Lactose-Tolerance, it’s the
Mars Cheese Castle!
Listen, what the fuck you think we’re gonna do when we see this palace off the side of the road, hmmm?
We pull the swanky Lincoln MKX rental off in Kenosha and approach the forboding complex.
Oh, sure, I’ve been to Versailles, and wandered those stodgy grounds imagining the Rennaissance body odors and itch of heavy brocade….. but c’mon man! this is the Cheese Castle we’re talkin’!
After taking a few clandestine licks at the stately block walls and confirming– sadly— that the Castle wasn’t actually made of cheese, we sit down to lunch at the Mars Tavern.
We are delighted to find a community vat of creamy sharp cheddar stationed on the bar and wonder aloud why we can’t have one of these, say, at Alex’s Bar, hmmm?
I’ll tell ya why—Probably because you goddamn hipsters would dose it with X or defile it with American Spirit butts, that’s why!!
We can’t have anything nice back home!!
We waddle back to the car, dizzy from fromage overload, and prepare for the rest of the ride up to Green Bay.
We do these little target weekenders, and it’s one anchor night that starts the ball rolling.
And then we unfold the road map and draw a 300 mile radius arc, try to find another town that’ll have us for a second show—
Milwaukee, Madison, Detroit, Indianapolis….what lucky town will get us this time around?
What fearless promoter, he of faith and vision, will book us with wild dreams of a packed house and after hours handjobs, only to have to tearfully pay us the guarantee despite the shameful turnout?
Some guidance from the Destroy Everything boys lead us to contact Mr. James up yonder, and he assures us this is a town we should play.
He tells us of sincere fans, some of them actually preferring the Enigma releases to the hardcore stuff!
This we gotta see.
We’ve never been, and the fact that the Packers are playing the Vikings on this date seals the deal.
So we put the game on the radio and watch the Cheese Castle growing smaller in the rearview mirror, like a block of Velveeta suffering in the bowels of a microwave.
We aim for Lambeau, the plan to meet up with James by halftime.
Driving North, with the Fall colors bursting from the trees, and the inevitable raindrops starting to baptize the windshield, we listen to an uneven first half.
The Vikings score again in the 2nd, and our boys can only respond with a FG.
We fear going into a town that has just seen its beloved team drop its first game of the season.
They will be in no mood for our shenanigans, surely!
The Packers are down a TD going into the half, but a late 45 yd field goal pulls them within 4 by halftime.
We pile into Lambeau with high hopes, and though the game is being played in Minnesota, the stadium is still alive with adrenaline…..
It is a stunning complex, and we are amazed to find free parking and an open atrium that—get this—actually welcomes its fans!
Say, what do ya think would happen if you tried this at Dodger Stadium or the Coliseum, eh?
Go ahead, stroll around those joints on a game day without a ticket and you’re gonna wake at the USC Medical Center with the ‘ol LAPD resisting arrest knot throbbing on forehead!
We check the Mall sized Packers Store, and the usual hijinks ensue:
And now we’re talking! They have their own Sportsbar right there in Lambeau, and we skip in merrily as the second half starts.
We meet with our gracious hosts James and Chris, and we are promptly sat down before buckets of fried cheese and icy pints of Pale Ales……we would rather be no place else.
The Packers catch fire, and score 20 unanswered points in the 3rd.
James regales us with stories of the bands that have passed through town, the shows he’s put on and what it’s like to live in Green Bay.
These guys are proper gentlemen, and it’s been worth the drive just to meet them.
Of course, the Packers get the win, and we celebrate by crashing the Kiddie’s game arcade and acting like the happy fools we are!
But what was that? Oh right, we’re here in town to do a show!
So we make our way across town to Phatheadz and reunite with our beloved knuckleheads in Destroy Everything to start the night rollin!
We meet a dozen great people right away, and James wasn’t kidding:
These guys know good music when they hear it, goofy haircuts or not!
It feels like a magical night, and we hear stories, flattering stories of how much they enjoyed the records and how they wished certain friends could be here with them.
But it is our pleasure-truly-to be allowed into their town, and as the Destroy boys roar into their set, we toast the night and this town all over again.
The cheese, the beer, the football—It’s been a grand weekend!
And it’s the perfect capper, to be able to climb onstage and play a few songs for these people.
Tomorrow, we’ll be back home, back to the realities of sitting in motherfuckin’ LA traffic or sighing through a stack of meaningless papers next to a searing computer monitor.
But for now, tonight, we’re a continent away and playing to a decent crowd of new friends on a rainy cold night in Green Bay.
You wish you could freeze certain times of your life, don’t ya?
You wish that you could keep them in your pocket for a time when you need a reminder of how good it can really be.