By Craig Finn
This lie has gotten completely out of control.
When I started writing songs about living in Minneapolis, I was just a kid. My parents split up and my father moved to Minneapolis. When I’d talk to him on the phone he would tell me about how great it was. The Charlie Brown cartoons, the big spoon, even the Washington bridge all seemed like something from a fairy tale. He always promised that he’d pick me up and take me there one day to see it all for myself. So excited to see this magical city, I wrote a short song about it. People loved it. I thought at the time Minneapolis just inspired that sort of thing in folk, everyone just seemed to love the place so much. I couldn’t wait for my father to take me there, but he never would. Got too busy with his new family, I suppose. I don’t blame him, they seemed nice. One thing I did get from him, though, was a lifelong love affair with the idea of Minneapolis.
I’d been writing songs since I was a little kid, but nobody liked them until I started singing about Minneapolis. I’m not really sure why. I guess before then most of my songs were about either taking a dump or playing on my tire swing, so I guess maybe society just wasn’t ready for that kind of stuff yet. Either way, folks loved my new songs. In the summer of ’89 I’d finally saved up enough money to take a bus to Minneapolis. Unfortunately, the bus would be attacked by either a roaming gang of super-criminals or meth heads, depending on who you ask. Personally, considering they all smelled like pee and looked like the corpse Steve Buscemi is planning to leave behind, I’m leaning toward meth heads. I ended up being taken home by the police.
That was my first attempt to get to Minneapolis, but it wouldn’t be my last. The next summer, I would hop on the back of a train and made it seven hundred miles before it was derailed by a tornado. When I woke up I was lying face down in a pile of blankets surrounded by the crumpled bodies of my transient traveling mates. I would again return home without seeing the legendary Minneapolis, with its America sized mall and its Taco Bell. The next year I would make one more attempt, this time via a plane ticket I bought with my babysitting money. When the time came to get on the plane, however, I suffered a very serious paper cut and saw it as an ill-omen. Perhaps I was never meant to go to Minneapolis? I mean, two unfortunate incidents I can understand, but three? That’s witchcraft if I’ve ever seen it. The only problem was that I had all these songs about living there. People were going to expect me to show up, and I had an idea.
I found another balding man with glasses who could yell/sing lyrics like the best of them and convinced him to play all of Lifter Puller’s and then later the Hold Steady’s Minneapolis shows. It was a perfect switcheroo, even the band didn’t seem to notice it wasn’t me. Everything was great. The guy I got to play me was so into the role that he even changed his name to “Greg Funn” for some reason. I didn’t ask him to and I didn’t even get what the point was, but on some level I guess I appreciated it. But Greg had an accident last week and I’m just not sure I can keep this charade up anymore.
Greg apparently thought it would be a good idea to see what happens when you put your penis in a pencil sharpener. I’m sure you can guess what happened. I can’t have him going around pretending to me with a penis that pointy. It would completely ruin my image. Now, I’m mostly known for the guy that has a penis where the head is three times bigger than the rest of it, with a shaft bent at a ninety degree angle, and I intend to retain that image. I love being that guy! They call me “weird dick” around the Pitchfork offices and let me tell you, I just wouldn’t have it any other way.
So Greg’s just not going to work anymore and I’m going to have to finally go to Minneapolis. To be honest, I’m pretty excited. Even if it is almost a certain death sentence for me to step foot in that wonderful city, it will all be worth it. This was always how it was going to end, it was just a matter of when. That time is now. My journey is over. It’s time for me to take this ship down while it’s still a ship worth sailing. I won’t just fade away a fraud. I will go to Minneapolis, I will play a show there, and an unjust God will likely take my life, but you know what?
I’d rather be dead in Minneapolis than alive anywhere else.