Xtra Mile Recordings, in partnership with Kay Bank Recording, will release Trapper Schoepp's Bay Beach Amusement Park, a six-song concept EP centered around the 125-year-old attraction located in Green Bay, WI on the shores of Lake Michigan.
Produced by 18-year-old Minnesotan Eliot Skinner and recorded mostly live over a weekend at Pachyderm Studios, Bay Beach Amusement Park serves as Schoepp’s creative and wildly fun follow-up to Rangers & Valentines.
Perhaps the park’s most historic and notable attraction is the Zippin Pippin, a wooden rollercoaster and famously Elvis Presley’s favorite ride. "The King" rented Libertyland on 8 August 1977 to entertain a group of guests. Presley’s late night joyride was his last public appearance. He passed away eight days later.
40 years on, Schoepp celebrates the Pippin and other classic rides with these six songs that take the listener on six different adventures, each song named for its respective ride (“Zippin Pippin,” “Bumper Cars,” “The Scat”). This musical joyride is suitable entertainment for both adults and children. “Come mothers, daughters, fathers and sons/You’ll feel a lot better after you’re done,” Schoepp sings in the first single “Bumper Cars,” where pop culture rivalries such as Jerry Seinfeld and Newman and the Jedi and Sith collide on the ride.
“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 of his first time riding The Zippin Pippin. “It reminded me of the innocence of childhood and the great escape a ride can give you.” After writing his ode to the famous ride, Schoepp 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,” he sings.
The lyrics merge the exciting, romantic, and surreal aspects Schoepp attributes to the park. “Ferris Wheel” is a story song of two brothers whose wildest wish comes true. After screaming “we wish this never ends” in unison, the ferris wheel becomes an anthropomorphic, unstoppable ride – despite the best efforts of the FBI and the brothers’ meddling mother to shut it down. “Tilt-A-Whirl” is about a high school senior’s crush on the ride’s operator, who’s spending her last summer in Green Bay before college.
While the scope of the six songs is specific, Trapper notes that the entertainment value amusement parks offer is universal. “In a world of derivatives, Bay Beach is an original,” Trapper says. “It’s a happy place for me to return to in song and in real life.”
Additionally, Schoepp recently recorded 'On, Wisconsin', a hat-tip to both his beloved home state as well as his appreciation for Bob Dylan. Recorded for Milwaukee Day, 'On, Wisconsin' uses the lyrics taken from a 1961 set of unpublished verses from the legendary songwriter that also incorporates mentions of milk, cheese and the Dairy State, along with the state's slogan. Schoepp created a mash-up by writing the music around the lyrics that were scrawled onto a piece of notebook paper by a then 20-year-old Dylan. Listen to the track below.
Schoepp – who has already crisscrossed the country sharing stages with The Wallflowers, The Jayhawks and Old 97’s – will be back on the road throughout 2017 in support of Bay Beach Amusement Park, starting with a three-week run throughout the U.S. supporting Ha Ha Tonka. Dates below with more to be announced soon.
04/22 - Milwaukee, WI @ Estabrook Park
05/18 - Kansas City, MO @ recordBar *
05/19 - St. Louis, MO @ Off Broadway Music Venue *
05/20 - Chicago, IL The Empty Bottle *
05/31 - St. Paul, MN @ Turf Club *
06/01 - Green Bay, WI @ Lyric Room Live Music *
06/02 - Milwaukee, WI @ Anodyne Coffee Roasting Co. *
06/03 - Indianapolis, IN @ The White Rabbit Cabaret *
06/04 - Cleveland, OH @ The Beachland Ballroom and Tavern *
06/06 - Ferndale, MI @ The Loving Touch *
06/07 - Toronto, ON @ Horseshoe Tavern *
06/08 - Rochester, NY @ Abilene Bar and Lounge *
06/09 - Providence, RI @ Firehouse 13 *
06/10 - Philadelphia, PA @ MilkBoy *
06/11 - Brooklyn, NY @ Knitting Factory Brooklyn *
06/14 - Washington DC @ DC9 Nightclub *
06/15 - Columbus, OH @ Rumba Cafe *
06/16 - Newport, KY @ The Southgate House Revival
07/16 - Sheboygan, WI @ Midsummer Festival of the Arts
07/21 - Cedarburg, WI @ Summer Sounds
08/03 - Green Bay, WI @ Green Bay Botanical Garden
08/04 - Appleton, WI @ Mile of Music Festival
08/10 - Oshkosh, WI @ Waterfest
08/12 - Shell Lake, WI @ Potter’s Shed
08/31 - Wauwatosa, WI @ Tosa Tonight
* = supporting Ha Ha Tonka