The Dead Milkmen's 'Stuart': A legendary West Lafayette trailer park, punk rock story
Finding Frescas: How a trailer park punk rock promoter became part of Dead Milkmen lore on one infamous, West Lafayette Fourth of July. Now he’s building psychedelic chemical compounds in Canada
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Programming note: I’m turning today’s edition over to Tim Brouk, an old Lafayette music scene reporting pal, for a bit of Greater Lafayette music scene history and a story I’ve heard told only in bits and pieces through the years. Meet Stewart … or, “Stuart” … immortalized in song after a Fourth of July trailer park show in the ‘80s in West Lafayette.
The Dead Milkmen’s ‘Stuart:’ ‘I’ve gotten more mileage out of that song, man’
By Tim Brouk / For Based in Lafayette
“Ya know what, Stuart? I like you. You’re not like the other people here in the trailer park.”
The opening ramble to The Dead Milkmen’s 1988 track, “Stuart,” was inspired by an actual man named Stewart — spelling changed to sort of protect his identity — in an actual West Lafayette trailer park.
The bizarre song among other bizarre songs on the album “Beelzebubba” stands out as one of the scrappy west Philadelphia punk band’s more memorable tunes — after “Punk Rock Girl” and “Bitchin’ Camaro.”
But let’s rewind to July 4, 1985, one of the most infamous dates in Greater Lafayette rock ‘n’ roll history.
Old Purdue University pals Stewart Frescas and Dave Schulthise had kept in touch since their running around days, which included attending Dow Jones and the Industrials and other punk rock shows around West Lafayette in the early ‘80s, primarily at the Family Inn (long gone at the site of the Faith West Community Center) on Northwestern Avenue. Now going by the name Dave Blood, Schulthise called Frescas for a gig for the first national tour with his then new band, The Dead Milkmen.
“I lived in a pink 1957 trailer,” said Frescas from his home in Calgary, Alberta, in Canada.
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