By V. Paul
April 15, 2004 | Duluth
Geeky is changing the lyrics to your favorite songs to something
sillier -- all the time.
Geeky is teaching yourself to play guitar so you can accompany
yourself as you sing your silly rock cover tunes.
Geeky is wearing a cook's apron and curly blonde wig on stage
when it doesn't match anything else you're wearing.
But when you're the Trailer Park Queen, being geeky is a good
Berni Sarazine has been gigging in the Twin Cities as the
Trailer Park Queen since 1994. Her claim to fame is her ability
to sing rock 'n' roll covers with humorous lyrics that highlight
her perspective on life. She's the Weird Al Yankovic of the
"I was always parodying life in general. I don't do things
normal. I do them abnormal because that's more fun,"
said the 45-year-old singer/songwriter. "I just did (song
parodies) as a kind of joke. I had no idea I could get paid
Sarazine grew up just outside of Cook, where she and her siblings
passed the time by making a ruckus with their parents' instruments.
Their nearest neighbors were two miles away, and yet they'd
still come over because of the noise, she recalled.
It was only a matter of time before Sarazine started copying
her favorite bands on her mom's piano.
Sarazine was inspired to start playing her music publicly
after a coworker brought in a tape of a Minneapolis musician
doing comedic song covers. She thought she could do better
and recorded a scratchy demo on a four-track cassette tape.
That tape earned Sarazine solo gigs at coffee shops around
Now the Trailer Park Queen is a backed by four other musicians.
The queen and her consorts will headline the third annual
Geek Prom at 10 p.m. Saturday in the Great Lakes Aquarium.
Doors open at 8 p.m. for the Grand March, a geek showcase.
The Duluth gig coincides with the release of the band's debut
album, "Wrong Side of the Four Track."
Sarazine's show works because she performs music that most
people know and love to sing along to and her lyrics make
"It's kind of nice because most bands take themselves
too seriously and try way too hard," said Tony Zaccardi,
a five-year Trailer Park Queen fan from St. Paul. "Not
At a benefit concert Saturday in Minneapolis' Uptown Bar,
Trailer Park Queen performed for more than 100 people, some
first-timers and others longtime fans. Sarazine premiered
her version of The Who's "Pinball Wizard," this
time about a foosball player.
The songs that got the loudest cheers tackled the Catholic
Church sex abuse scandals with "Should I Pray or Should
I Blow," a parody of The Clash's "Should I Stay
or Should I Go"; feminism and sexually liberated women
with "More Than A Penis," a parody of Boston's "More
Than a Feeling;" and the fast-food lifestyle with "Welcome
to McDonald's," a parody of Guns'N'Roses' "Welcome
to the Jungle."
"I'm usually the kind of person who listens more to the
music and not the words," said Mike Rupert of Maple Grove.
"I find myself tonight listening to the lyrics.... It's
all about the lyrics. It's funny."
Trailer Park Queen closed out the night with "Bye, Bye
Dead Alternative Guy," sung to Don McLean's "American
Pie" to mark the 10th anniversary of Kurt Cobain's death.
"One of the things about Trailer Park Queen is that I
try to express the woman's point of view," said Sarazine,
the band's lyricist. "When I first started doing this,
guys would say, 'Guys won't come to your show, Berni,' and
I'd say, 'Yes, they will because girls will.' "
Sarazine's humor and the surprising depth to her lyrics have
earned the band a following in the Twin Cities.
Trailer Park Queen is a cover band, no doubt, but the twist
Sarazine adds to the tunes makes the shows stand out. Sarazine
admits the band used to be sloppy because they didn't take
themselves seriously enough. But now she thinks they've found
the right balance between being straight-laced and being loose
The band recently played its biggest gig at the Mall of America
and has been invited back for two more shows. With "Wrong
Side of the Four Track," Sarazine hopes to start some
"I was a big Dr. Demento Fan and Weird Al and all of
that," Sarazine said. "I just never thought I could
ever get to the realm that I would get any kind of notice
for what I was just doing for fun."