I grew up in Hopkins, the suburb known as Cheese Town back then. Typical small-town life: cruising the main drag, Burger King as the epicenter of activity. You had to drive a long ways to find trouble, though sometimes we found it right there.
I’d ride the No. 12 bus into downtown and drink phosphates and stare at the Foshay Tower, tallest building around until 1972, just 32 stories. That Minneapolis is never coming back, there’s so much more now: the riverfront, the cultural institutions that are knit into daily life like few places I can think of. In most cities, they’re amenities, like furniture. People in other midsize cities like Indianapolis or Pittsburgh are quick to rave about the splendors of where they live, to keep the cognitive dissonance at bay. But I’ve never met anyone from the Twin Cities who honestly disrespected the place — I’d think they were a douche. It makes sense: If you didn’t truly love a place where you have to wear a spacesuit to go outside for a whole season, you wouldn’t stick around — it’d be way too much cognitive dissonance.
It all makes for a general absence of BS. That’s true in music, theater, business, politics — even the talk-radio guys are exactly who they say they are. I don’t think a bullshit artist could get very far in this part of the country. Authenticity will get you much further.
The great rock bands from here — the Replacements, Hüsker Dü, Soul Asylum, Babes in Toyland — were quick to call BS on something inauthentic. Think about the Gear Daddies singing about a Zamboni, or the Replacements singing about skyways. It’s hard to think of another place in the country where someone could do that and not come off as arch or ironic. That’s this place. These are my people.
Our interview with David Carr was conducted shortly before his passing in 2015 and is published here for the first time with the permission of his family.