Friday, January 18, 2013

Rock ‘n’ Roll All Night

It was Friday morning at Koos Inc. and later that night I would be attending my very first Rock concert with Harry, Munk, Weber, Sluga and several other Koos luminaries. We were going to see KISS at the MECCA Arena in Milwaukee. The only problem was getting our supervisor to allow us to leave two hours early at 3:30 so we could cash our checks and wash off the Koos stink before the show. After much pleading and a promise that we would definitely be at work at 6:00 a.m. the next day, we finally got the okay. We were going to see KISS!

I wanna rock and roll all night and party every day…

Weber picked me up promptly at 5:00 in his small blue sub-compact with Harry and Munk already stuffed into the backseat with a case of Pabst Blue Ribbon. As I attempted to squeeze my large frame into the small vehicle, Munk shouted at me, “Where’s your wine Puddles?”

Smiling, I reached inside my jacket and produced a chilled flask full of Boone’s Farms finest. “Oh, you already put it in the flask!” was the response I received. With that, we made our way up I-94 with Munk and Harry attempting to pour wine into their flasks as we all chugged ice cold PBR.

I wanna rock and roll all night and party every day…

Forty minutes later, with the all the flasks filled and the case of beer consumed, we pulled into the enclosed parking structure just west of the MECCA Arena. With all that beer in my bladder, I needed to make quick work of the three-block journey that separated me from a restroom in the Arena.

That problem was immediately eliminated when I noticed that Weber, Munk and Harry were standing over a drain in the corner and were in the process of unzipping their jeans to relieve themselves of their Pabst. I instantly followed suit, shrugging my shoulders, wondering what I had gotten myself into.

I wanna rock and roll all night and party every day…

Feeling much better, we made our trek to the Arena in record time and found our seats just as a nondescript opening act started playing some rather mediocre music. That was okay; this gave us an opportunity to get to the concession stand to buy some  (you guessed it) more beer!

Back from the concession stand, we eased back into our seats, with the strong aroma of Cannabis permeating the air, and were bombarded with extremely loud music, brilliant pyrotechnics and Gene Simmons’ bloody tongue. Enjoying the show, we filled our now empty beer cups with the wine we had smuggled in. Beer, my first concert, more beer and now wine. What more could an 18 year old guy ask for?

I wanna rock and roll all night and party every day…

After the show ended we stepped out into the cool Milwaukee night and met up with Sluga and his “uncle”. After a quick critique of the concert, it was decided that it was much too early to go back to Kenosha and that we were going to a trendy local nightspot. Having no say in the matter, I wondered to myself how we were going to make it work the next day.

The club was an enormous 2-story structure whose name escapes me. Hey, it was 34 years ago, what can I say? I do remember Sluga’s “uncle” challenging another guy to a game of foosball and ripping his shirt open, causing the buttons to fly everywhere. Oh yes, and we also drank some more beer.

I wanna rock and roll all night and party every day…

After a couple of hours, the four of us had had enough and we said good-bye to Sluga and his “uncle”. Glancing at my watch I noticed it was 1:30 a.m. hopefully I could get three hours of sleep before work. That idea was quickly put to rest when Harry announced we need some more beer for the ride home. I just shook my head as Weber obediently pulled off of the Interstate in pursuit of a new supply of alcohol.

Finding a neighborhood tavern, Weber hopped the curb parking on the sidewalk just outside the front door of the establishment. He quickly jumped out and ran inside. With a six-pack under his arm, he ran out just as quickly, screaming, “They’re rednecks! They’re going to kill us!” Our small car sped away into the darkness just as a large contingent of angry locals emerged from the bar, shaking their fists.

I wanna rock and roll all night and party every day…

Relieved that we had escaped the wrath of the hayseeds that didn’t appreciate our ‘70s hairstyles, we laughed at our good fortune. There was only one problem – we didn’t know where the hell we were!

Trying his damnedest, Weber could not find his way back to I-94. He turned left and we nearly ended up in Lake Michigan. When he turned around and headed west we ended up in Greenfield, but we still could not find the Interstate. Something told me the chance of me getting any sleep before work was rapidly diminishing.

I wanna rock and roll all night and party every day…

Realizing that we needed help getting our bearings, we pulled into a George Webb restaurant complete with its two clocks on the wall. Inside there was a cook, a waitress, a truck driver and a young couple who promptly departed when they saw us stumble in. We opted to get something to eat as long as we were getting directions.

Harry, Weber and myself chose to have breakfast. So did Munk. Along with breakfast he ordered a double cheeseburger, French-fries, a chef’s salad, a milk shake and a large bowl of chicken soup. Evidently he was hungry. Unfortunately he didn’t like the shade of green that the soup was, because he threw it all over the front window of the diner.

The rest of the “meal” must have agreed with Munk because upon completing it he proceeded to emit one of the largest belches that I have ever been witness to. The colossal burp obviously impressed the truck driver because he responded with, “That’s nice.”  To which Munk sprung up from his seat and barked out, “Oh ya! If you don’t like it, step outside with me and my friends.” Where were we, the old West?

I wanna rock and roll all night and party every day…

Luckily cooler heads prevailed and armed with our directions we were finally heading back to Kenosha. We were going home. Or so I thought. Even though we had just filled our bellies at George Webb’s, we had a more than an ample supply of alcohol sloshing around in us as well. The ride home was going to be adventurous to say the least.

It was at this point that I realized that I was the only one not in some various stage of unconsciousness. Regrettably, I wasn’t behind the wheel, Weber was. At one point he came to long enough to see me looking terrified, clutching onto the small grab bar located above the passenger door. He merely mumbled that if we crashed, that wasn’t going to save my ass. I knew he was right, I just prayed that I didn’t die.

I wanna rock and roll all night and party every day…

Well, happily I didn’t die and we miraculously made it home safely sometime after 4:00 a.m. As you can imagine, none of us made it to work. Not me, not Munk, not Harry, not Weber, not Sluga. Not even Sluga’s “uncle” made it. Wait, he didn’t work at Koos, so he was okay. We all caught hell and because of our irresponsible actions, nobody was allowed to leave work early for the next thirty years. Management at Koos was tough.

However, when I eventually did wake up (sometime around noon), I make it over to Midtown Records and purchased the KISS Alive album.

I pulled this one from the Koos Vault because JJ Steinhoff requested some Koos. And because I’m working on my book while fighting off the “illness”. Until next time…from the booth.

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