“Live” and let die

Minneapolis’ “Six Months to Live” project offers one night of fresh local music. Just don’t expect to hear it ever again.

Andrew Penkalski

 

What: Six Months to Live

When: Fri. 7:00 p.m. 

Where: Triple Rock Social Club (629 Cedar Ave S)

The musicians in MinneapolisâÄô âÄúSix Months to LiveâÄù are too old, grizzled and/or busy to aspire to stardom. Besides, they wonâÄôt even have a chance; the annual event is about putting a band together, playing one show and then breaking up.

This project isnâÄôt about the piss and vinegar that may run through the veins of an aged rocker. ItâÄôs about collaborating in a way that liberates the big visions many of the participants had back when they were playing air guitar to Poison decades ago. 

Since 2004, founder Josh Gunderson has organized an annual draft each fall. The participating musicians come, submit their ideas and develop their band rosters. The bands practice twice each month until June, when they play their first and last show at MinneapolisâÄô Triple Rock Social Club.

âÄúThe show date is supposed to be the breakup date as well,âÄù said Gunderson, who will be playing with the country rockers of Battle Whiskey this year. âÄúA few projects have tried to keep it going, but we try to keep that six-month structure in place, so nothing has really lasted.âÄù

The projectâÄôs brevity almost takes a friends-with-benefits approach to creative collaboration. That rock âÄònâÄô roll void is satisfied without the intrapersonal and collaborative baggage. At the same time, the throwaway sensibility behind the six-month experience has provided an avenue for many artists to dream big. Guitarist and songwriter Jay Krueger, who has been involved since the eventâÄôs first year, put together a tried-and-true hair metal band for the 2008 season, a group he pitch-perfectly titled MegaMuff.

âÄúYou can do something that you would never try,âÄù Krueger, who will be playing in Safety Meeting this year, said. âÄúYou can go out and say, âÄòHey, weâÄôre going to do a hair-metal band, and its all going to be in the style of Ratt.âÄôâÄù

For most, the simple joy of the event seems to be an exercise in self-indulgence, a personal pause amidst the soccer practices and nine-to-five life. Gunderson works in Marketing. Krueger is an account manager for Capitol Records. However, there are members like drummer and guitarist Bob Meinzer who seem to just bleed and breathe rock âÄònâÄô roll.

âÄúMy dad was a big-band drummer, so I had drumsticks in my hand about as early as I could hold a spoon,âÄù said Meinzer, who joined the project last year.

At 66 years old, Meinzer is the oldest participant. His artistic resume is hard to keep up with in conversation. He mentions drum ensembles, folk gigs and jazz trios. Most notably, he played with The Orphans in New York around 1965, one of many cover acts sailing on the waves of the British Invasion. However, his collaborative endeavors lulled when he came to Minneapolis in 1996.

Meinzer played in the bluesy Mississippi North during his Six Months to Live debut last year, and heâÄôll join Gunderson in Battle Whiskey for this yearâÄôs show. Unlike most of the day-jobbers in Six Months to Live, Meinzer simply refers to himself as âÄúhalf-ass retired.âÄù However, his attitude towards creative futures still seems to resound the projectâÄôs manifesto.

âÄúMaybe someday down the road when I get fully retired IâÄôll get together with a bunch of old guys who are retired and start a working band,âÄù he said. âÄúBut not a working-too-hard band.âÄù