April 24, 2007
The Brewery, Downtown Los Angeles
Nobody’s running around freaking out here at the Umlaut Haus. People have been awake since 9:30, not one soul got drunk last night, and the crew worked smoothly all evening and went to bed around midnight or 1am. Aside from all the electrical wiring, Johnny Amerika’s project is finished.
What we’re used to in the days before Coachella is: Swarms of clowns invading the drunkyard, acting hectic and drinking beers and cracking wise and scrambling around like geeked chickens and losing their shit occasionally and packing and re-packing and re-re-packing the bus and the trailer.
Nobody here in Johnny Amerika’s crew in Los Angeles has raised their voice once. Not that we in the Heavy Pedal Cyclecide Bike Rodeo verbally abuse each other and have shitty times on the road. Nope. We’re a red-nosed family of fools who like to get together to create and float in a heightened atmosphere of surreal, frenetic chaos. We’re 2 DUM 2 DIE.
Hanging out with Cyclecide can be a little much to take. Ask anyone who’s gone on tour with us. Sometimes it drives more squirrelly people to cognitive dissonance. Sometimes violence.
It’s quiet in here. Too quiet. Especially considering how many people live here, and that they all have a really big art show this weekend.
T-minus 3.5 hours to departure for the Coachella Valley Music Festival in Indio, CA. It’s a three-day camping-trip rock’n’roll blowout of epically organized and awesome proportions. Sure, we’d never go as ticketholders — like most everyone else we roll with to this thing each year, we’re way too used to working while everyone else plays. We’re used to being the assholes who are uncomfortable unless we’re working – slash – making a spectacle of ourselves.
The show is sold out. Tickets are rumored to be going for $300 — for one day’s attendance — on Ebay. When we add up how much it would cost to get out there to the desert, to camp, to buy waters for $4 all day long inside the gates … well, we wonder why people don’t just go to Thailand instead. Of course, many people probably wonder the same thing about folks who attend that dirt rave in that other desert every year.
Most of the artists in Coachella’s midway are dirt-rave vacationers, after all. We know each other from that Burning Ham thing, and from the larger scene surrounding it. We’re bringing some of that to this. Some PLAYANETICS ™.
The truck will get here to Los Angeles soon. Everything’s already lined up in Tirzah and Johnny Amerika’s shop/garage, right by the roll door, ready to go. People are snacking and chatting quietly, and getting the last of their things together.
No shouting, no wrestling, no drinking at 10am, no last-minute rehearsals, no blaring heavy metal or circus music, no millions of dogs barking and getting in the way.
No herding cats.
This is weird.
Follow Summer Burkes on Twitter.