Erik and Gretchen Funk met in the fall of 1993, right as Erik’s band Dillinger Four were taking off. Five years later, they opened a business together that helped define the Minneapolis, and American, punk scene.

Seven of the people interviewed for this oral history, unprompted, used the word “clubhouse” to describe the place.

The Triple Rock Social Club opened near the end of 1998 as a bar and restaurant with oversize plates of food—for vegans, vegetarians, and carnivores alike, at a time when places like that, as Erik puts it, “didn’t basically exist at all” in the Twin Cities. “And we wanted to be able to do live music,” he adds. When they took over a bar called Blondie’s on the Ave. in the West Bank neighborhood, near the University of Minnesota, they decided, “Two out of three we can do here, and if it goes well, we can add the third. Which is exactly what we did,” Erik recalls.

Opening its doors at the beginning of summer 2003, the Triple Rock’s 380-capacity stage room had been built with care, with great sight lines and a sound system that many still remember for its vibrancy. But it wasn’t just the promise of a good show that kept musicians coming back: The Triple Rock had a half-off policy on the menu for traveling musicians, and Erik and Gretchen—not to mention Dillinger Four bandmates Patrick Costello and Billy Morrisette, who also pulled shifts there, alongside a largely loyal staff of local punks—were instantly friendly faces.

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