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.