Wrigleyville: Where bartenders skip Johnny Cash songs

This weekend, my good friend Jason and I went to an unnamed bar in Chicago’s Wrigleyville neighborhood. I will not name the bar because I at least attempt to have at least some level of class. Our first impressions were low, but after all, we were there to begin with so they couldn’t be too high.

Our conversation included music and tattoos as usual, so that naturally lead to the recently deceased photographer, Jim Marshall. Marshall shot many an iconic photograph in his day, including famous shots of Hendrix setting his guitar on fire and Cash flipping his middle finger. John Mayer did a great write-up of Marshall and the Chicago Tribune featured the photographer in this Sunday’s edition. 

Now on the plus side, Wrigleyville has a lot going for it being the home of the famous Chicago Cubs and likewise the significant landmark, Wrigley Field. On the downside, it’ known for being a landing zone for recently out of college ex-frat boys.

So here we were, enjoying our beer and the company of our very polite waitress, when we notice another patron has left the jukebox up on a page with a Johnny Cash album. The choice to spend a dollar to play 3 Cash songs in tribute to Marshall and Cash was obvious. About an hour passed and finally Cash song came on the jukebox, but not one of our selections, rather Cash’s cover of NIN’s “Hurt” as selected by the previous jukebox patron. 

And then, abruptly, the bartender skipped the song. Now, maybe it was because this was a sports bar or maybe it was just because it was filled with a trolly full of drunk guys that offset the male-female ratio by at least 5:1. All was fine, and we enjoyed our selections, Cash’s 1996 cover of Soundgarden’s “Rusty Cage” and his classic “Walk the Line”. Then on came our final pick, “Ring of Fire” when it happened again. The bartender skipped the song.

So in the end, this is why I have no intent to return to this bar. I will now add my voice to the seemingly loud chorus of those in Chicago who give it the reputation it has. It certainly deserves it.