If you like music at all, you've probably had one of those days when a specific song became embedded in your brain and you simply couldn't shake it.
It could be the opening line, or the chorus. It could be a favorite song, or one you hate. It might the last song you heard on the radio before getting out of the car. Or, it could be a song that has special meaning for a particular day.
That's what Peter Jest is experiencing today.
Jest, the owner of Shank Hall, can't help thinking about the opening line of the Beatles' classic "St. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band."
"It was 20 years ago today..."
"It was 20 years ago that I signed the papers to start operating Shank Hall," Jest says of the club that he owns at 1434 N. Farwell Ave.
"I'm really proud of that. I think it's hard to stay in any business for that long, and it's especially tough in the music business. I was 24 years old when I started. A lot of places -- clubs and other businesses -- have opened and closed since then and I'm proud to still be going."
In celebration of the 20th anniversary, which draws its name from a reference to a fictional Milwaukee venue in the movie "This is Spinal Tap," Jest announces a special slate of shows that include a wide variety of newer acts, old favorites and a handful of "reunion" shows by Milwaukee area bands like Bon Ton Society (Aug. 15), Loyal Order of Water Buffalo (Sept. 4) and Semi-Twang, which performed the first show at Shank on Nov. 3, 1989.
"I've been bugging John Sieger for years for this show and I'm glad he was able to get everyone together for this very special night," Jest says of Semi-Twang's Nov. 6 reunion show, a smoke-free affair that will cost $12.
"We've had a ton of great shows by local and national acts over the years," Jest says. "I was trying to come up with a list of my favorites, but there have been so many.
"Warren Zevon and Michael Hedges were personal favorites of mine and had many remarkable shows at Shank Hall. It was an honor having John Paul Jones, the bass player for Led Zeppelin, at the club and some of the biggest names in music like John Entwistle of The Who, Mick Taylor of the Rolling Stones and Ray Manzarek of the Doors.
"We had shows by Alanis Morissette, Smashing Pumpkins, No Doubt, the Wallflowers, Goo Goo Dolls, Sara McLachlan, Jewel and legendary performers like Arlo Guthrie, Leo Kottke, Tito Puente, Jimmy Cliff, Stanley Clarke, Stanley Jordan, Sun Ra, Ian Hunter, Robin Trower, Thin Lizzy, Carl Palmer, Soul Asylum, Robert Fripp, Adrian Belew, King Sunny Ade, John Mayall, Townes Van Zandt, Violent Femmes, Greg Koch, Daryl Stuermer, Sammy Llanas, Kurt Neumann and so many more."
Some highlights from Shank Hall's anniversary slate:
Aug. 14 -- U2 Zoo (free show for Jest's birthday).
Aug. 15 -- Bon Ton Society and The Bottom Line, $15.
Sept. 4 -- The Loyal Order of Water Buffalo with The Carolinas, $10.
Sept. 11 -- Junior Brown with Altered Five, $20.
Sept. 17 -- Stephen Kellogg and the Sixers with Carbon Leaf, $20.
Sept. 18 -- The Duhks, $12.
Sept. 19 -- Hugh Cornwell of The Stranglers with Couch Flambeau, $15.
Sept. 23 -- Marshall Crenshaw, $15.
Oct. 2 -- The Basement Boys, featuring Bob Babisch, Michael Short, Mark Krueger, Kevin O'Toole and Rico Pirri, $6.
Oct. 3 -- Pat McCurdy, $6. (McCurdy, who has played more shows at Shank than any other performer, also will play Nov. 28, Dec. 26 and Jan. 1).
Oct. 4 -- Legendary rockers UFO return for a rare show in an intimate setting, $30.
Oct. 8 -- Leon Redbone, $25.
Oct. 16 -- E*I*E*I*O, $10.
Oct. 23 -- Spank! The James Brown Tribute, $8.
Oct. 24 -- Will Hoge, $15.
Oct. 30 -- Tribute night with Substitute (a Who tribute), KindaKinks (Kinks tribute) and Shattered (Rolling Stones), $8.
Oct. 31 -- CPO5 (formerly Chapman Part of Five), $7.
Nov. 6 -- Semi-Twang, $12.
Nov. 7 -- Blue in the Face and the Squares, $12.
Nov. 10 -- Trampled by Turtles, $15.
Nov. 13 -- The Sandcarvers with Wild Colonial Bhoyz, $10.
Nov. 19 -- Savoy Brown, featuring Kim Simmonds, $20.
Nov. 22 -- Steve Forbert and Ian McLagan, $20.
Dec. 5 -- Think Floyd USA, $20.
Dec. 19 -- Sprecher Beer presents The 5 Card Studs Holiday Show, $10.
Dec. 21 -- The Sleighriders charity show, $10.
Host of “The Drew Olson Show,” which airs 1-3 p.m. weekdays on The Big 902. Sidekick on “The Mike Heller Show,” airing weekdays on The Big 920 and a statewide network including stations in Madison, Appleton and Wausau. Co-author of Bill Schroeder’s “If These Walls Could Talk: Milwaukee Brewers” on Triumph Books. Co-host of “Big 12 Sports Saturday,” which airs Saturdays during football season on WISN-12. Former senior editor at OnMilwaukee.com. Former reporter at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.