Copyright 2017, The Middle Spunk Creek Boys.
All Rights Reserved. Last updated 01/22/2022
|Middle Spunk Creek Boys News Archives|
Alan Lyle Jesperson 1947-2021
Jerry Flynn 1949-2013
(by Alan Jesperson)
On December 20, 2013, Jerry Flynn passed suddenly in his home. He was 64 years old.
He was one of the finest people I have ever known. We met at a Doc Watson concert in 1964 and remained fast friends since. He was unbelievably honest; he wouldn't even make a U turn.
He began singing and playing bass in the Middle Spunk
Creek Boys in 1973 and continued until he resigned in 2001. He said he had
done everything he ever wanted to do: recorded five albums, played on
television and radio, performed at dozens of colleges and festivals, played
after a dog act in
He always loved a challenge, both in his work and his play. He could watch sitcoms and read a biography at the same time; how did he do it?
We all suffered a great loss. We will miss you.
The Middle Spunk Creek Boys -- Magazine Cover
Photographers caught the Middle Spunk Creek Boys at our performance at the (then brand-new) Maple Grove Town Green bandshell on July 14, 2010. Band members L-R are Bruce Jaeger, Ken Sherman, Alan Jesperson, Barry St. Mane (subbing for Jim Tordoff on banjo) and the late Andy Thompson on bass (his last performance with the band). The pavilion was designed by HGA Architects and Engineers, and is located on Maple Grove's Main Street next to the new library.
Architecture magazine link
MP3.COM bites the dust
MP3.com was a site that hosted songs from thousands of artists that could be played or downloaded. They've recently been bought out by CNET and closed down. We had lots of songs posted there; we're searching through the dozens of would-be successors to see where to post our music online.
MSCB and Free Range Pickin' jam it up at The Whole 5-8-2003
SELLOUT PLUS in Clifford, ND Concert!
"Laughing Waters" Festival another HUGE success!
From Jim Whitney:
"Finally, congrats and my bug-eyed amazement for the fabulous
Waters Bluegrass Festival that has grown to be one of the best and most
important events of the summer in the Upper Midwest. Free Range Pickin',
Tangled Roots, Becky Schlegel Band, Middle Spunk Creek Boys, and the Buffalo Gals played
to a huge, sprawling crowd (3-4,000?). I watched the summer fade out as the dancers glided
onto the stage fringe to the music of the Buffalo Gals. The evening chill added emphasis
to the fact that summer is over when the Buffalo Gals magically draw the autumn dancers
onto the fringe and shoo away the summer lawn chair listeners.
"Consider this: Laughing Waters Bluegrass Festival has become one of the largest one-day acoustic music events in Minnesota. LWBF outdraws any event at the State Theatre, Fitzgerald, Guthrie, the Zoo Amphitheatre, or
O'Shaughnessy at College of St. Catherine. I started to call it the largest, but remembered the Down From the Mountain show at Excel Energy Center, and then there were the Dixie Chicks at Excel . . . Regardless, Al Jesperson and the Boys have created an event that I spend the entire summer looking forward to, even if it does ring down Summer and usher in Fall; it does so with musical style and dancing grace."
BIG Crowds at Lindstrom, Coon Rapids Dam! 7-2003
Wow! Big turnouts June 25th and 26th, in spite of the rain. The Coon Rapids Dam performance was outdoors, and we were rained on pretty heavily for about a third of the show. Need proof? CTN Studios was there recording a four-camera video of the concert, which we suspect will get the usual two-to-four year play on cable TV.
Nice Article About MSCB in the "Villager" 3-2003
The August 28th edition of the Villager had a nice article about the Middle Spunk Creek Boys. Adobe Acrobat version of article.
Upcoming Great North Bluegrass Tour! 3-2003
The Middle Spunk Creek Boys and the Platte Valley Boys have a three-city tour of northern Minnesota planned for mid-March (see schedule). Joining us in Nisswa will be Lonesome Tradition. The third band in Grand Rapids will be the Not Necessarily Bluegrass. In Duluth, the third band will be The Fish Heads.
"Bluegrass in November" Concert a BIG Success! 11-2002
Our fifth annual "Bluegrass in November" concert in Savage November 9 was a HUGE success! We were reduced to selling standing-room-only tickets by the third act! Any more people and there would have been a stern lecture from Mr. Fire Marshall! Wotta turnout! Thanks to all, including co-performers The Platte Valley Boys and Becky Schlegel.
"Spirit Island" selected for inclusion on MS Charity CD! 10-2002
Our recording of "Spirit Island" has been selected to be on the next MP3.com "Artists Supporting MS Research" Compilation CD (Vol 2). Proceeds from the CD, due out in November, go to the Montel Williams MS Foundation.
"...And I want you to know that I just love your song! I
listened to a lot of
bluegrass at MP3.com looking for just that perfect something for the CD.
And that song has it! That's why I am so happy and proud to have you aboard." Gloria Jean Mattox
"Laughing Waters" Festival HUGE! 9-2002
The fourth annual "Laughing Waters" bluegrass festival was a HUGE success! Park officials estimated the crowd at 3500! Thanks to all sponsors and the audience, and a BIG welcome to all you new bluegrass fans!
From the GOOD SAM CLUB: (about our recent performance there) 6-2002
"Just a word of thanks for the performance you gave at our Good Sam Jamboree, at St. Peter, Minnesota. You had 800+ people glued to their chairs. You were thoroughl enjoyed by all."
Arvid (Red) Johnson, Entertainment Director
See the "Pumpkin Cannon" Video!
The air-powered Pumpkin Cannon at Pinehaven Farms impressed the heck out of us during our performance there last year (2001), with shots of 1700-1800 feet! The video of it is at the StarTribune web site--click here. (RealPlayer or RealOne required.) We are playing the background music for the video.
Oh, and we've already booked next year's performance.
Old Photo Tyme:
(L-R Barry St. Mane, Andy Kozak, Bruce Jaeger, Jerry Flynn, Alan Jesperson)
MSCB 1975: 5/2002
The above photo of the Middle Spunk Creek Boys was taken by Bruce in 1975 when he was writing for the old music magazine Countryside. (The film was so poorly exposed that he had to write about something else for that issue. Oops!) L-R Peter Ostroushko, Jerry Flynn, Al Struthers (in front of Jerry), Rudy Darling, Alan Jesperson. (Lake Nokomis?)
MBOTMA Winter Weekend 3-1-2002, 3-2-2002
Both nights (Friday showcase and Saturday opening act) went VERY well at the Minnesota Bluegrass and Old Time Music Association's great Winter Bluegrass Weekend event at the Radisson Hotel. See Photographs.
Cheapo Records 1/2002
The Cheapo Records chain just ordered 30 copies of each of our four albums, "to keep from running out!" The neat thing is that these are probably going to the general public, as opposed to the fans who see us on stage all the time.
"Boys" picked as opening act for MBOTMA concert! February /2002
We're pleased to announce that the Middle Spunk Creek Boys have been selected to be the opening act for Mark Schatz & Friends at the Minnesota Bluegrass and Old Time Music Association's great Winter Bluegrass Weekend event at the Radisson Hotel & Conference Center (I-494 & Highway 55 in Plymouth, MN). These concerts are held on Saturday evening--we are also doing a showcase there on Friday evening. It's a great event!
New songs in the works... 2/18/2002
It happens to every band now and then, that urge to take a step back and learn some "new" songs from the bluegrass tradition. Since we're giving Chuck more and more of the tenor parts, we've actually started working on some Bill Monroe (and Monroe Brothers) duets. (Hey, we got a set of brothers too!) There's some cool "new" stuff coming!
Once More, Beyond the Gates*, Midnight on the Stormy Deep, The Sky Above, the Mud Below*, Little Glass of Wine*...
(* Already road-tested at Dulono's)
The "Boys" at the 2001 Minnehaha Falls "Laughing Waters" festival. (Photo by Ken Dugan. Chuck Kreitzer is hiding off to one side.)
The band sweltering in the 100-degree-plus heat index at the 2001 MBOTMA summer festival. (You can see why we normally have a strict band rule against shorts on stage! To quote ace guitar picker Joe Campbell, we look like "Sweathogs on bird legs!")
We are usually too modest to say we had a really hot performance...
"Bluegrass in November" concert another success! (November 2001)
The FOURTH annual "Bluegrass in November" three-band concert November 10 was another rousing success, thanks to the three bands and, of course, you the audience. This year the Homestead Pickin' Parlor didn't almost sell out of advance tickets--because we gave them twice as many! More were sold than last year's surprising total.
It must be the mix of bands (Becky Schlegel, the Platte Valley Boys, and, of course, the Middle Spunk Creek Boys) and the friendly location at the Savage Legion that keeps people coming back year after year. (This year we ran the restaurant out of food! No kidding!)
"Boys" at Red Cross Fundraising Event
The fundraiser will be held Sunday, November 18, 2001, 4:00 PM to 10:00 PM at Dulono's
Pizza (Lake St & Lyndale Ave in Minneapolis).
Featured performers are Monroe Crossing, Backroads Junction, Middle Spunk Creek Boys, 'Sotagrass, and The Barn Cats. Additional groups to be announced. (The MSCB will perform the first show, at 4:00 p.m.)
Free Admission; free will donations welcome. All proceeds will go to the Red Cross 9/11 Disaster Relief Fund
Art Blackburn of Monroe Crossing shows off our new red tee-shirt at the world-famous Middle Spunk Creek rest stop on I-94 northwest of St. Cloud, Minnesota. (Back in the early 70s, we played for the grand opening of the Men's Room--it was Standing Room Only.)
Our Song "Table for One" included on OASIS
Oasis CD Duplication, the company who pressed our last CD "Table for One" has included the title song from that album on their four-disk compilation CD "OasisAcoustic" that they send out to hundreds of radio stations. (We're cut #5 on Disk 2.)
Minnesota treated us to the first decent weather in weeks for our concert there August 9th
(2001). A great crowd!
MBOTMA summer festival was its usual well-run self, except for being HOT! HOT! HOT!
We feel we performed pretty well, considering the genuinely dangerous conditions.
The ancient rule against wearing shorts onstage was broken both Saturday and Sunday! (We
hope no photos exist of this...)
Photos of the near-equally scorching "Old Kitchen Rug Brewery House Concert" from July 21st (2001) are available. See photos.
Robyne Robinson (KMSP TV, UPN 9) mentioned us briefly (but ever so nicely!) Monday night April 16th (2001) in her popular news segment "The Buzz," talking about the Middle Spunk Creek Boys putting some of our music on MP3.com.
She gave a short history of the band, with graphics of this web site and the www.mp3.com/middlespunkcreek site (NOW DEFUNCT) for downloading MP3 files. A recording of Mark Kreitzer's "Gone Before She Left" (recorded live at the Winter Bluegrass Weekend and downloaded by KMSP from MP3.com) was playing all the while in the background.
And now that we're "discovered," a larger story on the Middle Spunk Creek Boys is promised for later in May or June!
|MSCB at Winter
Greetings to all who heard us at MBOTMA's Winter Bluegrass Weekend! It was Chuck Kreitzer's first appearance with us on bass*, and he done us proud! The auditorium was packed, and the crowd was just how we like 'em--sophisticated enough to understand our humor, yet uncouth enough to admit it and laugh right out loud! It was one of our best sets ever.
"Gotta say once more what an excellent show the MSCB
put on last Friday night at the WBW. You guys were hitting every note, lick and
punch line. One of the most memorable performances by a regional band in memory, and
you can quote me."
|Photos from MBOTMA Winter Weekend
Oasis selects "Table for One" to be part of promotional CD
Our album manufacturer Oasis Duplication has selected our latest album's title song "Table for One" top be part of the next Oasis Sampler CD that they send out to radio stations. More information will be passed along as we get it.
|Jerry Flynn Retires from the
Middle Spunk Creek Boys!
After only 27 years with the band, MSCB bass plucker Jerry Jim "Jerome" Flynn ("Gervaise") has decided to call it a gig. Reasons range from him "wanting to spend more time with his family," and "pursuing other interests" to "I'm gonna teach journalism at an Ivy League school" and "I can't take you guyses breath any more." We suspect that Jerry was just tired of the pressure of performing in the intense pressure-cooker like atmosphere of Minneapolis bluegrass, and wanted to start collecting that $2.98 a year MSCB pension. (We know he's not leaving town, because that would viiolate the terms of his parole...) His last performance was February 23-24 2001 at Dulono's.
Jerry will be replaced--if the word can even be applied here--by Chuck Kreitzer, who
has a name startingly like his brother Mark, who already plays in the band. Chuck is still
arranging the financing for the MSCB initiation fee, and will start performing with the
band at the Winter Bluegrass Weekend (see below). Chuck's official email address is, of
Jerry, whose hobby other than holding up a bass has always been photography, is really looking forward to taking band photos of the MSCB where he doesn't have to trip the timer on the old "Hassle-bad" and then run like crazy to appear in the picture.
Old MSCB Album Reviews Found
We recently found reviews of our first two albums. There are links to them in the album description section, or you can click on "The Middle Spunk Creek Boys (1976)" or "I'm With the Band."
From January 2001:
Minnesota Historical Society adds The Middle Spunk Creek Boys
|The Middle Spunk Creek Boys are now
included in the permanent music collection of the Minnesota Historical Society!
We think that this is an honor, unless it's because we're the oldest entity in the state not to have a county named after us.
("Spunk County? Py golly, I tink it's up der by Beltrami, you betcha!")
From December 2000:
The reviews of "Table for One" are piling in!
MIDDLE SPUNK CREEK BOYS, TABLE FOR ONE
"Table For One" is the band's latest recording endeavor and consists mostly of band originals set in a contemporary motif. The 14 selections include "Over In The Glory Land," the James Monroe/ Jake Landers collaboration "Girl In My Dreams," and Steve Gillette's 'The Erlking."
Mark Kreitzer's "Little Willie's Return" and "He
Died Alone" are topical compositions that could have been snatched right from the
headlines of today's newspapers. Other prominent entries include Bruce Jaeger's
instrumental "Spirit Island," along with "Luther And Angie,"
"Picture On The Wall," and "Right Way To Say Goodbye."
Okey-Dokey Records, 5721 39th Ave S Minneapolis MN 55417, Web <www mscb com>
Bluegrass (Minnesota Bluegrass and
Old-Time Music Association)
By Adam Granger
In the early Seventies, when I lived in Arkansas and Nashville, I
used to read in Bluegrass Unlimited about this joint called Dulono's and a band that
played there called The Middle Spunk Creek Boys. When I moved up here in 1974, they were
the first band I found (I went to hear them play at Hamline University). In short, The
Middle Spunk Creek Boys have been around since Demosthenes was gargling rocks. Well, okay,
not all of them, but I defy you to guess which ones are the originals.
Middle Spunk Creek Boys set a 'Table For One'
By Keith Lawrence, Messenger-Inquirer
Copyright 2000 Bluegrass World Music
The Middle Spunk Creek Boys
From November 2000:
These are online vendors listed by our distributor as carrying "Table for One" and "No One Else." Not all have the albums.
West Coast Video.com
From June 2000:
Middle Spunk Creek Boys Around the World
|From Dominique Lemarechal, Radio
RCF Rivages, Plabennec, France:
"I like the songs, they are fantastic! The CD is in my 'Rocking Chair' program. The listeners love the songs; the ones hosted so far are: Time and Time Again, Seeking a Far Off Home, A Long Time to Love, and Dark Day."
|From the Netherlands: http://www.nl.vitaminic.net/country/bluegrass/
Spunk Creek Boys (Verenigde Staten)
(Which Mark translates as: Bluegrass is a genre that doesn't know a middle way, either you like it or you don't. If you don't like it (but what are you doing here then?) you ought not listen to the Middle Spunk Creek boys, because they are without doubt in every aspect the personification of the genre.) The same text was found on a related site in Italian: Il bluegrass � un genere che non conosce mezze misure, o piace o non piace. Se a voi non piace (che ci fate in questa sezione?) non ascoltate i Middle Spunk Creek Boys perch� sono senza dubbio l'incarnazione di questo genere in tutto e per tutto.
|From Italy: Various MP3
sites, pretty much the same as above:
Bluegrass is a genre [of music] that doesnt go halfway you like it or you dont. If you dont like it, dont listen to the Middle Spunk Creek Boys because they are, beyond doubt, the incarnation of this genre in every respect.
|From Ray Stiles' review of the 1999 Mill City
I also saw one of my favorite bluegrass bands, The Middle Spunk Creek Boys who have been playing for over 32 years. I remember watching them perform at the old New Riverside Caf� back in the late '60s. In fact an old college fraternity brother of mine, Steve Block, played upright bass with them at one time in the early '70s. If you ever are driving on Hwy. 94 up toward St. Cloud you just might see a highway sign that reads, Middle Spunk Creek (could this be the origins of their name)?.
(Yes, Ray, that's where the name came from! Ron Colby, our original banjo player back in 1968, used to drive by the sign all the time on his way to and from Alexandria.)
From February 2000:
A Visitor from Kazakhstan
On February 7th, the Middle Spunk Creek Boys were honored by a visit by Mr. Mukthar Uteuov, director of the Zhambul Kazakh State Philharmonic in Kazakhstan. Mr. Uteuov was on a State department-sponsored tour of the United States and its different musical venues and styles. He and his interpreter Vadim Erent spent several hours with us, sharing musical viewpoints, knowledge and anecdotes. Mr. Uteuov's musical interests are classical, jazz and folk; rest assured that we gave him a full share of our version of the latter!
Alan, Mark, Vadim Erent, Mukthar Uteuov, Jerry. (Bruce behind camera)
From September 1999:
MILL CITY MUSIC FESTIVAL
We just played a set for the Mill City Music Festival, a three-day event with five outdoor stages of loud rock 'n' roll acts. Loud? The stage manager gave us all earplugs when he saw the four of us standing in the green room with our fingers in our ears. It was an experience. We all agreed that we'd like to do it again, although a good idea might be to pre-record a show and lip synch it!
(The checks to almost all the bands bounced, ours included.)
MBOTBA SUMMER FESTIVAL
We just finished a couple of days of performances at the Minnesota Bluegras and Old Time Music Association's fabulous summer bluegrass festival, where we were well received both by the appreciative audience and backstage by the other bands, both national and local. Loads of fun!
From August 1999:
|Our third album, "No One Else," just got a rave review from Bluegrass
Unlimited and is getting lots of airplay. If you haven't got a copy yet, it's
available from us on stage, from Alan Jesperson at 612-727-2489 (or ), or from the Homestead Pickin'
Parlor in Richfield. Also see MSCB Recordings for
complete MSCB album information.
"No One Else" is really representative of the Middle Spunk
Creek Boys all-inclusive style, as it has everything from the hard-core Bluegrass of
"Don't Laugh" to the reggae feel of Mark's "A Lifetime Shared." Mark
contributed eight of the other songs, Bruce one, and ex-Spunker Peter Ostroushko told us
to "have at it" with his popular "Red Dancing Shoes." (Listen for the
mandolin-mandola duet parts.)
If you turn up the volume and listen real close, you can hear Alan mutter "Nice!" at the end of "Time and Time Again." If you turn up the volume REAL load, you can hear Jerry's baritone part on the gospel quartet number "Seeking a Far Off Home." But if you have the volume up too high on "When You Look at Me that Way," the slap-back echo of this bluegrass rocker will rattle your neighbors' windows and make them dig out all their old Sun 45s to hold a neighborhood Sock Hop. Be warned!
From August 1998:
The Middle Spunk Creek Boys bluegrass band are celebrating our 30th anniversary this year. Since 1968, we've appeared at just about every university, college, trade school or detention hall in Minnesota, and most of the clubs, honky-tonks and coffee houses that have ever featured bluegrass. And if a radio or TV station has had live bluegrass performances, weve probably done it. (There's also a "cable access" video, recorded on July 7th in Plymouth, that's quite good.)
We've got a couple of CDs out there: "The Middle Spunk Creek Boys" (live, 1976) and "I'm With the Band" (25th anniverary get-together, 1993). A third album is in the works so we can feature the current Band and our new (and largely original) material.
Part of our 30 year activities will be a November festival/concert with two other fine bands, the Platte Valley Boys and True Blue. (See November Bluegrass Festival!.) We three bands are doing this mostly because it promises to be loads of fun, and also the local bluegrass association can only seem to find our telephone numbers when they want something for free.("So, guys, let's put on our own show!")
This festival/concert will be a blast! Six hours of bluegrass from three bands of very distinctive styles, and, among other things, the Dan Patch American Legion post we're having it at has a real kitchen and a real bar! Get your tickets soon, because the Platte Valley Boys are from around there and their friends alone will probably fill the place up!
From July 1997 (earliest web page):
Greetings from the Middle Spunk Creek Boys! We have been performing Bluegrass music in Minneapolis/St. Paul and the surrounding region since 1968, and have shared stages with dozens of nationally-known acts. We recently recorded a 25th anniversary CD "I'm With the Band" to celebrate that milestone. A 30-year album is in the planning stages.
Yes, there is a real Middle Spunk Creek. Near Avon, Minnesota, it bubbles cheerfully out of a rusty Pepsi can, creeps guiltily under Interstate 94, then staggers drunkenly into a storm sewer. The town of Middle Spunk Creek was razed in 1962 to build a freeway rest stop. When we play there, it's "standing room only."
|Our current recording, "I'm With the Band," is a
25-year anniversary project featuring as many of the former Boys who could participate.
We decided to use new recordings over archival tapes, which were of varying quality. Besides, it was more fun this way! Rudy Darling flew in from California, Al Struthers from New Jersey, and Steve Block from North Carolina. (Only John Bellville, a busy Doctor of Psychiatry in Alaska, and Craig Anderson, a busy ex-American in Greece, couldn't make the recording sessions, although they did appear in the album release concert..) A total of nineteen songs were finally decided upon--this wasn't any cheap ten-cut project!
For the most part, we kept the musicians on each song in pretty much the groups that used to play together, but were willing to make exceptions for what we thought were special cases. That's how we got twin banjos (Jim Tordoff and Barry St. Mane) on "June Apple," Ron Colby and Bruce Jaeger (separated by 15-20 years as members of the band) together on "Live and Let Live," and Barry St. Mane and John Niemann doing some amazing picking together on "Gray Eagle."
"I'm With the Band" has gotten an excellent response from local and nationwide bluegrass radio programs.