Well it has finally happen the elusive Ranch Bowl in Omaha has met it's fate.. demolished to become another super center. This hot spot for bowling, sand volleyball and music was an icon in Omaha Nightlife. This WAS the spot to see new bands and artists that might not otherwise have come to town. This was the spot that the radio station KROCK was born, and now it's gone.. I can remember as a teen ager the excitement I would feel as we drove down 72nd St waiting to see that Ranch Bowl sign and who was coming in concert. Most of the time it would be a new band that I hadn't heard of, but every now and then there would be some one who I was dying to see.
One of these such times, was when I was a Junior in College. One of my favorite bands - THE BEAT FARMERS came to rock the RANCH BOWL.
Now let me say that I was not the typical Beat Farmers fan. Being the thrifty college student I was, I used to visit Homer's and raid their 1.99 cent cassette tape bin. Looking for something different I purchased the Beat Farmers' album Pursuit of Happiness. After listen to this album I knew I needed to hear more from this group. The more I heard the more I loved this bands music. So when my boyfriend at the time told me the would be appearing at the Ranch Bowl. I HAD to go. Now understand I was going cause I loved their music, their lyrics, I didn't realize that the rest of the ppl attending the show were there for a TOTALLY different reason.
They were their for Country Dick Montana and could careless about the rest of the band and their music. For those of you who don't know Country Dick was the founder of the band - Wikipedia describes him -"Country Dick Montana was known for lying on his back and drinking his beer using only his feet, like a grizzly bear and bantering with his audiences, whom he often sprayed with beer. After performing a show, he would often walk around the club, shake hands, sign autographs, and chat with fans. " Now as I said before I wasn't the typical Beat Farmer fan, that's because I didn't know anything about the crowd appeal of Country Dick.
So we got there early and got a table close to the stage. The concert started and the music was great, but most ppl didn't seem to care. They keep chanting "Happy Boy" - a song Country Dick sang. I couldn't figure out why no one else seemed to be enjoying the concert. Then it happened, Country Dick took the mic. The crowd surged and we are surrounded by ppl and pitchers of beer.
As Country Dick sings he keeps looking at us sitting at the table enjoying the show. Ppl keep give him beers. Taking a cup of beer he leaves the stage and heads straight for our table. PPl surge around, engulfing him. That didn't stop him, he kept coming until he is sitting right on top of our table. Someone hands him a pitcher, and he starts pour beer for everyone. I'm in shock. Country Dick is sitting on MY table right in front of me pouring me beer. Needless to say that was soo cool.
Song over, he returned to the stage and Joey bursts back into song. They finish the show and were going to do an encore when we had to leave. As we departed we ran into the band at the door. They wanted to know where we were going and said we should say. I touched Joey on the shoulder and told him, you guys rock. I love your music.. something to the idea of I love you with or without Country Dick. I just couldn't believe the only reason ppl had come to seen the Beat Farmers was because of Country Dick. Their music was awesome how could Country Dick be the only attraction?? Guess that shows how young I was. How I wasn't the let's go party and get drunk college kid. That's a different story for a different time though.
I digress though.. the whole point was this WAS the venue for independent music acts and I wouldn't have ever had the chance to see a band such as this without the Ranch Bowl. So that's why my heart, along with others throughout the city, is broken. Corporate America has come in and demolished our Rock n Roll haven. IT"S GONE!!! My kids won't have the opportunity to listen to great new indie bands in this once hot spot.
I just too distraught.. I can't even figure out to end this post :( .. so I will just say May the Ranch Bowl rest in peace.