Figures my favorite tune that mentions North Dakota has another state’s name in the title – “Dani California” by the Red Hot Chili Peppers:

North Dakota man was a gunnin’ for the quota / Down in the badlands she was savin’ the best for last / It only hurts when I laugh / Gone too fast…” 

But, hey, what the heck. Like they say, any publicity is good publicity, especially if you’re not the headliner.

Parquet Courts is the latest act to get in on the North Dakota act. One of the Brooklyn, N.Y.-based punk rock band’s recent song gives us more than a shout out.


N. Dakota

Train death paintings, anti-meth murals
Color the ghettos of N. Dakota
Bismark (sic) tractor association, coffee and toothpaste
This was vacation
I saw, while squinting, the hidden layer
In those lost-era grain elevators
Feudal beginnings, amber wave looseness
Post-Nordic grinning tired and toothless

Cigarette advertisement country
Wild and perfect, but lacking something
In Manitoba they called it boring
At night we hum to Canada’s snoring
Westbound taken, exiled Texan
From a former Dutch trade encampment
Former slave quarters tucked by the alley
Serf population too high to tally


I saw, while squinting, the hidden layer / in those lost-era grain elevators” –  Absolutely, and well said, too. There’s definitely more than meets the eye out here on the prairie, both in the landscape and the people.

“Feudal beginnings, amber wave looseness / Post-Nordic grinning tired and toothless” – This rings somewhat true; many of us are descendants of seekers who escaped socioeconomic oppression. And, yeah, we’re lacking something, but depending on what it is – crime, for instance – that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

But when it comes to chompers, it’s not like dentistry saw North Dakota as fly-over country.

Regardless, Parquet Courts joins several other bands, some well known, with songs that contain a N.D. shout-out:

Dolly Parton – “Highway Headed South”

Gavin DeGraw – Best I Ever Had”

Harry Chapin – “Mail Order Annie”

Joni Mitchell – “Song for Sharon”

Kid Rock – “I Am”

Lyle Lovett – North Dakota”

Lynyrd Skynyrd – Truck Drivin’ Man”

New playlist? With the exceptions of Dolly and Lyle, who definitely are not my style, sure. Even when the shout outs aren’t exactly positive, why not? We’re proud and mostly don’t care what others say. (Well, actually we do but we definitely would never let on.) Besides, any mention’s a good mention…


Martin C. Fredricks IV logo

Categories: The Way It Is

Martin C. Fredricks IV

Martin C. “Red” Fredricks IV here. I’m husband to an amazing woman who is also my best friend, dad to three outstanding kids, Fargoan (North Dakota, that is), proud introvert, veteran messaging strategist/copywriter, blogger ( nonprofit founder ( and big-time reader. As they say, if you're gonna write good stuff, you have to read good stuff. A ginger, too - ergo the "Red" - although some of it's going white. Cinnamon-Sugar, I call it. Tattooed to boot; seven so far. At age 54, I'm stilling crankin' AC/DC & Metallica, but now and again I spin some Eric Church and Black Uhuru, too. I love hanging out with my (much) better half, spending time with our kids, writing, hiking, riding my mountain bike and reading.


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