Minnesota's early rock 'n' roll star
In the late 1950s, a new sound shook, rattled, and rolled the swing-music scene that had
sustained Minnesota ballrooms. Rock 'n' roll brought centerstage a teen culture with new dance
steps, clothing styles and attitudes. Suddenly, the ballrooms' house swing bands, dress codes
and sit-down dining seemed, well, square. Within a decade, ballrooms either went out of business or
began showcasing rock groups.
Augie Garcia, from St. Paul's West Side, was known as the "godfather of Minnesota rock 'n' roll." In
he opened for Elvis Presley in the St. Paul Auditorium, but his high-energy show in his trademark
Bermuda shorts was too much for Presley's manager, Col. Tom Parker. The crowd became
frenzied, Garcia later recalled, and Parker pulled him from the stage, citing a clause in Garcia's
contract that barred competition with the headliner. The shorts were a Garcia trademark. He recalled that he
had 38 pair of them that he wore in both summer and winter.