Recently I met a Wisconsinite who was wearing cut off blue jean shorts, drinking Miller Lite, and eating stacks of raw hot dogs. After a polite greeting he instantly referenced his shorts which were “a little shorter than I am comfortable with.” They were dangerously short, and I don’t expect that anyone would’ve been comfortable in them, including Daisy Duke or any of the People of Wal-Mart. It was a bold choice, especially with the sheer numbers of mosquitoes that have been attacking people in the woods of Wisconsin with particular abandon this summer.
Eric Vondra was in the process of attempting to eat 50 hot dogs over a 24 hour period. He didn’t wind up making his mark, but he did “eat the length of my boat in hot dogs, if that counts toward anything.” It certainly does in my opinion. Especially since his boat is 14 feet long.
Not only is Vondra the inventor of Beer Can Beer, but he is also one of the main members in a band called Poop Muskie. I asked a number of questions about this band, which his friends were quite familiar with, but the answers Vondra gave never gave me a clear picture of what exactly Poop Muskie is. I left wondering if it was reference to the musky scent of human solid waste, something he found in a toilet after a hellacious night of drinking, or an undocumented specie of feces.
Vondra informed me that “Poop Muskie formed 5 or 10 years ago. The founders were Jeff, Greg, Nappy, Zach and me. It’s not quite a family business because Zach is more of an outside consultant.” He took a drag off his cigarette, looked at me with a 1000 yard stare and said, “We’re not even real, or are we?”
He continued. “We’re world renowned. We’ve sold out venues like mine and Zach’s house. We sold them bitches out.”
When asked who plays what instruments, Vondra said, “No one can play an instrument. Well, come to think of it, my brother can play guitar. He‘s the only musically talented member of the band. We don’t even know who is really in the band sometimes. Me, Nick, and Zach are 'for sure' members. I know that. Basically anybody can be in the band. When I say anybody, I mean that. It helps to have a pulse though because that's kind of like keeping a beat.”
“We’ve been gearing up for years for our reunion tour. Our first tour was our greatest hits tour. Our first album was called Fisting Mother Nature. You spend that many years on the road it becomes a battle to come up with quality songs. We took a lot of time off for drinking and smoking. Our creed is kind of We’re in it together, but we’re not in it at all if you can wrap your melon around that. Tool had the 10,000 Days Tour. They pretty much ripped off our 10,000 Beer Cans Tour.”
“Poop Muskie and Beer Can Beer kind of go hand in hand. I was sitting outside on my porch, looking at the Cobb Canning Factory, and I hatched a plan to turn it into my own beer can factory. Our signature label is a blank can design. My cousin Greg made a website. He’s the resident owner and CEO and actually brews it.”
The Beer Can Beer Myspace page is http://www.myspace.com/beer_can_beer. It has a lot of interesting information that includes a Shatner video, a bikini video, and Beer Can Beer’s General Interests which are "fermenting, fishing, burritos, and traveling." The page has 12 devoted friends. Vondra finishes a beer, stands up, stretches, and puts the empty beer can in a nearby eaves trough on his friend’s garage. He sits back down and cracks another. “Man," he says, "the last time I was prodded for this much information was when I was at the Grant County Jail. Or was it Iowa County? I mix them up.”
“So to answer your question, no, Poop Muskie has never played a show, but we’ve played everywhere. We also do not play anywhere where there are bikers. We will play at a biker bar so long as there are no bikers there. There is A LOT of things we discriminate against, but publicity is not one of them. Please emphasize A LOT in that statement.”
“Some of our song titles are Fingerprint My Fist, Sloppy Spooning, Power Cranking, Jiggin’ Holes, Caught Under a Mower, Drown Your Babies in This—that’s our political song about the oil spill in the gulf. It’s pretty much like taking Congress and slapping them in face--hard. There’s a bunch more songs but I forget.”
Soon after that, the interview was terminated because a troubled man in the neighborhood who has a problem with oxycontin addiction pounded on the door and asked in an aggressive tone if anyone had picked him up a case of strawberries in Paoli on their way home from work. No one had, and no one wanted to get stabbed. So most of the talking stopped.