The discount bin of history
There's nothing quite like walking in to a bookstore and seeing your book on the discount rack, marked down so low that the paper of the book costs more than the cover price. This happened to my husband and me just the other day, when we stopped into Half Price Books.
There they were, right by the front door: about 30 copies of "The Insider's Guide to the Twin Cities" being sold for two bucks apiece, a far cry less than even what the publishers were charging us to pick up extra copies after our contributors' pile ran dry.
It bugged me all day long and even now, obviously. All I could think of was all the fun we had had writing the book, all the madcap rushing around to visit every single interesting place in the area we could think of, and then all the days spent writing from sunup until 4 or 5 in the morning, strung out on caffeine and adrenaline.
Oh, and then the day when the book hit the stands, and all the rushing around we did with our son to visit every single bookstore in the area to see if copies of the book were there, and every time it was, my son (who was very young at the time) would say, "I want to see Mommy's picture again!"
It's funny how, until now, I'd never thought about how it must be for musicians to go into a record store and see a copy of their own albums in the discount rack, marked down to a dollar after sitting in the bins, untouched, for months. Luckily, none of the members of the already mournful-sounding Betty Serveert were in that Half Price Books with me that day because their newest record, "Attagirl," was also there in the discount bins - marked down to a measly dollar.
We could have had a great sob session, vocalist Carol van Dijk and I, although I imagine the fact that thousands of adoring fans constantly accost the Dutch superstar would soften the blow significantly for her.
M, Feb 14, at 9 p.m. 7th St Entry, 701 1st Ave. $8 in advance, $10 at the door. 338-8388, www.first-avenue.com
Hank Williams III has followed his pappy and grandpappy's footsteps both in the way he makes a living and the way he's lived his life. Luckily, it looks like this Hank might live a lot longer than the first Hank did - at 33, he's already getting pretty close to passing that milestone. Musically, the rough rider may sound a lot different than his forbearers, drawing more on the punk tradition than trad country, but there ain't a punk rocker on the planet who can beat Hank Williams the original for raw, gritty lyrics like those in "Hey Good Lookin'" and "Cold, Cold Heart."
Su, Feb 19, 6 p.m. First Avenue, 701 1st Ave. $13 advance, $15 at the door. 338-8388, www.first-avenue.com
Pass the grits
What do you get when the guys from Lynyrd Skynard, Molly Hatchet, Blackfoot and the Outlaws get together to jam? An amalgamation called Classic Southern Rockers. Yes, all in one night, '70s freedom rockers Bob Burns, Mike Estes, Cris Snyder, Blain Deaton and Ted Patton will take the stage together, along with other artists, to bring forth an exact, more or less, recreation of the classic Skynyrd band, right down to the double lead signature licks of the late Ronnie Van Zant. Sure, you won't be able to make out on a picnic blanket, get tattooed, smoke or tap beer from an aluminum keg at the State, but I'm sure the staff won't mind some impromptu lighter-waving and the requisite cries of "Freebird!"
Sa, Feb. 19, at 8 p.m. State Theater, 805 Hennepin Ave. $27.50. (651) 989-5151, www.hennepintheatredistrict.com