Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Puking in the parking lot and other memories of the Black Lemon + updates on Rusty's and the Bunny Hop

My previous post about Rusty's and the Bunny Hop elicited a flurry of comments, some from frequent commentators and one from WJE (Class of 1967), who may have been on the swim team and who drank beer at the Union before he was 18.

Marlene reported that "I Wanta Do It" is no longer on the jukebox at Rusty's. She also reports that, "There isn't much of anything on their jukebox. The bar is still the same horseshoe shape and they are still using the original old time cash registers. The dance floor has been long gone. Now there are pool tables and tables and chairs in its place."

Notice that I wrote "wanta" instead of "wanna." I made a quick trip to library to check out "Do You Hear That Beat," Gary E. Myers book about Wisconsin pop/rock bands in the 1950s and 1960s, and discovered the correct spelling of this well-known song. I also learned that , as Janet had already advised me in an e-mail, there were only three hoods. The band, according to Myers, was called Robin & the Three Hoods -- and sometimes Marrell's Marauders. Band members were Dave Reed, Jim Schwartz, Bob Bernhagen, Bruce Benson, and Mike Warner. Benson and Warner are both listed as drummers, so there must have been at least one personnel change during the band's history.

"I Wanta Do It" was recorded four times on two different labels (Fan Jr. and Hollywood). The B side was either "The Marauder" or "That's Tuff." If you have a copy, let me know. I'd love to hear it again (and so would lots of other people).

Nancy reminded us about the Black Lemon: "A straight shot out East Wash to Sun Prairie....151? Cars parked juxaposed, fake ID's and lotsa kids over served and found puking in the parking lot around 12:30-1:30 AM..."

Marlene didn't remember the Black Lemon, but Doug sure does:
"I can't believe that you never heard of the Black Lemon A-GO-GO, Marlene. That proves you're not an East Sider! It was just like Nancy described with the puking and all. For some reason, everybody got a little drunker there than at Rusty's. I got in there under age once and thought I was really getting away with something. The Black Lemon even sponsored a baseball team that some Central guys, e.g. Harold Ellington, played on in the summer leagues!"
Janet (in an e-mail, not a comment) remembers it too, but her memories are a bit tamer:
"I hung out at the Black Lemon A-Go-Go quite a bit. It wasn't any rougher than any other 18 year old beer bar. Terry Volk owned it. David Lulling (Charles David Lulling, Junior) was the manager. Marlene Romano was the DJ and every night she closed the evening of spinning records with Percy Sledge's "When a Man Loves a Woman." To this day, every time I hear the song I think of her."

"By the by, the building where the Black Lemon was is still there: A cheese market and store near the parking lot of Eastgate Theaters."
And let's let Janet have the final word: In yet another e-mail, she wrote that:
"The Bunny Hop was called the Bunny Hop because Jack Hare owned it. Hare. Bunny. Jack also owned Chesty's on State Street. Jack converted the Bunny Hop to a bowling alley when Class B/18 y.o/beer bars bit the dust. It may still be a bowling alley."
Notes about links: I've just excerpted some of the comments. Click HERE to read the full text. And if you can't remember what "When a Man Loves a Woman" sounds like, turn on your sound and click HERE. These links also appear in the post, but some of you seem to need very specific directions before you indulge in links.


D Strand said...

Janet, how do you know that the Black Lemon wasn't any rougher than any other 18 year old beer bar?? How many can you list? I only went to a couple until later on. I never went to Chesty's even though it was across the street from the Pub. What was that bar next to Chesty's that Governor Tommy Thompson was a bar tender at? That must one certainly couldn't have been as tough as the Black Lemon!

D Strand said...

Art Masshardt and I went in cognito to Rusty's won night. I was dressed as a hippy and he as a farmer. Noone recognized us. We were rummaging through my basement and we found some rather bizarre stuff such as hippy looking wire rimmed glasses with one thin red and one thick blue lens and that gave us the idea. I wore the glasses and couldn't see a thing but we had a great time. We strutted around the outside of the dance floor. Everyone thought I had some kind of grass in my pipe, but it was just a prop. Of course, I didn't know what a prop was then.
A couple of guys told us they would dress up, but would always get in fights. We didn't have any trouble.

M McCarthy said...

I have personal knowledge of the Black Lemon. Kay Milward and I sang back up for a group called the Continentals. We did that for several weeks. This group of guys used to practice at the music store (whose name escapes me now) which was right on State Street just down from Central. Kay had more freedom then me, so when we were doing "our thing" I stayed at her house, like a good girl. Black walls and lots of weird lighting. My recollection was not of a rough bar but just a whole lot of fun. Mary Jo

transoniq said...

I'm not from Madison (or even Wisconsin), but I stumbled on this blog trying to ascertain the year Robin & The Three Hoods' "I Wanna Do It" was released. I'm guessing 1966 (can anybody confirm?).

Anyone still checking comments on this post after 10 months is in for a little treat: there are three Robin & The Three Hoods songs (downloadable) and a small write-up on the band at http://www.garagehangover.com/?q=node/84. Enjoy!

Anonymous said...

hey so i just thought you would like to know that Bruce Benson from Robin and the three hoods is my grandpa so if you want to hear their music just let me know cuz i know he has a copy.

onemat said...

Hello. My wife Karen (Luedtke) was from Sun Prairie. We live near Nashville but Karen spent a lot of time.singing in bands in the seventies and early eighties in the Madison area. I am in a band called The Black Lemons, which prompted her to tell me about The Black Lemon A-Go-Go. I'd love to see pictures of the exterior and interior of the club if any one has them. I would love to see any and all if anyone has them. THANKS, Matt
Matt Josephson