I celebrated my own independence day last Thursday by getting down with my favorite peeps at the Warped Tour in Ventura. As I bummed a smoke off Vandals' singer David Quackenbush, I realized the all-day punk rock festival is more than just a national music concert. It's a movement, a way of life.
Like an old-school carnival, there are minstrels, freaks, amazing feats of athleticism and an overall sense of musical rebellion. Damn near every other kid had shelled out eight bucks to sport a Fat Wreck Chords T-shirt with a photo of George W. on it and the words, "Not My President." Yeah, it was punk, but the event was also sponsored by Target--a fact I love because it proves just how mainstream we be illin'.
Now in its seventh year, the Warped Tour is like family. After savoring performances by Pennywise, the Vandals and the Bouncing Souls, I caught up with my favorite Foo Fighter, guitarist Chris Schifflet, who's touring with Me First & the Gimme Gimmes. Chris tells me that our mutual pals, Joe Sib and Bill Armstrong of the label Side One Dummy, are both expecting baby girls. Speaking of little homies, Vandals drummer Josh Freese whipped out a pic of his new bambino, a cheeky 4-month-old boy. On Pennywise's tour bus, guitarist Fletcher Dragge--always a rock-solid gentleman--treated me to some Southern Comfort, while Key Club booker Damian Brawner and his gorgeous new bride, Karina, invited me to their upcoming wedding reception at the Rainbow on the Strip.
Next, I sought shelter in the camper of the Bouncing Souls, who loaned me a sweatshirt as the cool ocean air washed over the affair. After an impromptu game of backstage soccer, Bouncing Souls bassist Bryan Kienlen invited me to stay for Madcap's barbecue. Madcap, a young L.A. band, is this year's designated barbecue band and for the record, this is one pit I moshed in. I also saw my homegirls, Lo-Ball, rock the house, even posing for pics with Flea and a buncha cutie teen girls. As always, I was amazed at singer Pauley P.'s poise. She's the only rocker who can look hot at 2 p.m. in direct sunlight.
As the sun went down and the moon came up, I thanked my lucky stars for a beautiful day of music and energy. Yo, if the Bouncing Souls had one more bunk, I'd probably be their fifth-wheel punk.
Heard the Roxy was one sweaty love-in on Thursday, as Stone Temple Pilots attracted such devotees as Heather Graham, No Doubt and Sugar Ray. Sweet .... My favorite scene hottie, the Fabulous Ashleigh, tells me it took her four hours to get to the Ozzfest on Saturday, where she was greeted by some bloodied losers and a gang of firestarters. Sounds about right .... All right lovers, it's time to don my pimp suit because Brooks from the Southern group Rehab is getting married at the Chateau Marmont, and I'm on the list! Boy howdy.