Tow Truck Story

The artist formerly known as Krypton with Dr. Demento 
(photo by Kimberly Cope)
In September 1985, I moved to Minneapolis, Minnesota with the intention of pursuing a music career. By purchasing a synthesizer and a four-track cassette recorder, I put together my own home recording studio. When I wasn’t going to school or working as a disc jockey, my free time was devoted to making demo tapes. One song I recorded out of anger became an underground hit.

During my first nine months of living in Minneapolis, I had my car towed three times for various parking violations. The first time occurred in October 1985 during a late afternoon job interview. I had parked my car by a meter and put money into it without noticing the sign that read "NO PARKING 4-6 PM." I was forced to pay an expensive towing charge to get my car back plus a parking ticket.

Just over a month later, my car got towed again days after a snowstorm hit the Twin Cities area. Whenever a heavy snowfall occurs in Minneapolis, city officials declare a “snow emergency” so that the streets can be plowed. People who don’t move their parked cars off the street in time will have to make a trip to the impound lot. One night I parked my car on the street thinking it was okay. The street had already been plowed but I didn't know the snow emergency was still in effect. The next morning I had to shell out more money to retrieve my car.

Despite being even more careful in parking my car, it got towed a third time the following summer. I had been out of town for two weeks doing National Guard annual training. My parked car violated a 72-hour parking ordinance.

After making that third trip to the impound lot, I was infuriated enough to write and record "Let's Blow Up the Tow Truck.“ The initial reaction I received with this song was overwhelming. Everyone loved it...except people in the music business that could have helped give the song more local exposure. Many radio stations resisted playing "Tow Truck“ and the song was eventually turned down by over 40 record companies.

As a last resort, I sent the song to Dr. Demento, a disc jockey who hosts a syndicated radio program specializing in novelty songs, comedy tracks, and other unusual recordings. As an unreleased tape, "Let's Blow Up the Tow Truck" made its national debut in December 1986. Three months later the song was the #1 request on Dr. Demento’s show.

Despite the national exposure, Twin Cities radio stations still resisted playing "Let's Blow Up the Tow Truck." One key reason was an unusually mild winter. Two major radio stations told me they would play my song “when the snow hits.” But during the winter of 1987, not once did it snow hard enough for the city of Minneapolis to declare a snow emergency. I now believe that was divine intervention. Had my song become more successful, it would have been harder for me to recognize my need for God years later.

Nevertheless, "Let's Blow Up the Tow Truck" has continued to be a seasonal favorite on "The Dr. Demento Show." Over the years I have received numerous fan letters. One e-mail sent from a man in California really touched my heart...

“The reason I am contacting you is because of your old music under the name Krypton…I used to listen to 'The Dr. Demento Show' during some really hard times in my life. I had set down a knife and went to the radio for one last laugh before ending it all. The song that I heard was the last part of 'Let's Blow Up the Tow Truck.' Obviously, I decided not to pick the knife back up. Between the Lord for strength and Dr. D. for a laugh, I made it through and am very happy now…Please allow me to thank you for your role in my continued existence.”

As 1 Corinthians 1:27 (KJV) says, “God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise.”