The Zippin Pippin was Elvis Presley’s favorite ride. The King rented Libertyland August 8, 1977 from 1:15 a.m. until 7 a.m. to entertain a group of guests. Decked in a blue jumpsuit with a black leather belt, huge belt buckle with turquoise studs and gold chains, the King rode the Pippin repeatedly during a two-hour period. Presley’s late night joyride was his last public appearance. He died eight days later.
40 years later, Milwaukee singer-songwriter Trapper Schoepp celebrates that rollercoaster and the other classic rides at the Bay Beach Amusement Park in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The six-song collection, Bay Beach Amusement Park, takes listeners on six different rides, each song named for its respective ride (“Zippin Pippin,” “Bumper Cars,” “The Scat”). The album was released June 2, 2017 on Xtra Mile Recordings/Kay Bank Recording with a U.S. tour to follow.
Located on the shores of Lake Michigan, the historic park is celebrating its 125th anniversary this summer. The spark for the concept album was Trapper riding the Pippin. The ride, one of America’s oldest wooden roller coasters, was relocated from Libertyland in Memphis to Green Bay in 2010. “My first ride was a total thrill. I got right back in line wanting to set lyrics to the rhythm of the roller coaster,” Trapper says. “It reminded me of the innocence of childhood and the great escape a ride can give you.”
“The shrieks and mechanical noises all have a very musical quality,” Trapper says of his favorite park. “There’s a charm and modesty in the atmosphere that is absent from modernized, mammoth parks like Six Flags.” After writing “Zippin Pippin,” Trapper listened in on kids’ humorous conversations at the park. Some utterances, hastily transcribed as iPhone notes, appear verbatim in songs. The jazziest tune on the album, “The Scat,” takes lines from a boy exclaiming a nightmarish experience on the spinning gravitron ride: “I feel weird, I feel numb, I wish that this would end,” Trapper sings.
Colin Campbell & The Shackletons are a rock and blues band out of the Twin Cities writing and playing songs rooted in the rich influence of the “Minnesota Sound.” The band at its core consists of Colin Campbell (vocals/guitar), his older brother, Cameron (Bass), and younger brother Evan (Drums/miscellaneous screaming). Living a double life as both a knee-buckling indie rock band as well as a stomp-your-foot-through-the-floor blues band, Colin Campbell & The Shackletons have been generating buzz throughout the Twin Cities area.