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D'oh! It's a rock festival

Matt Groening curates this weekend's All Tomorrow's Parties.

November 05, 2003|Richard Cromelin | Times Staff Writer

Alt-rock patriarch Sonic Youth (which curated ATP's U.S. premiere last year at UCLA) and the reunited Iggy & the Stooges join such indie-rock stalwarts as Modest Mouse and rising force the Shins as strong draws for the festival, which has a capacity of 5,000 each day.

The lineup also includes such current rock bands as Mars Volta, Built to Spill and Black Heart Procession, innovative elders (Terry Riley, James Chance) and unclassifiable mavericks (Daniel Johnston). A tribute to the late Elliott Smith, who had been scheduled to play Sunday, will be performed by his backing band with singer Lou Barlow.

"I suppose it could be described as indie-oriented," says Hogan, "but there's definitely elements of the avant-garde which have been influenced by the Magic Band.... I think it's a nice balance."

"It's just fun to explore the history of music," says Groening, who served time as a rock critic for the L.A. Reader in the late '70s. "At Amoeba yesterday I bought a two-string African guitar album.... I'm always looking for something that I haven't heard, something that surprises me.

"I like quite a variety of music that is not reflected in this lineup," he says, "but I don't think that Inuit throat singers and Balinese gamelans and barking seals would bring in the kids."



The Parties' guest list

Matt Groening had a warning for musicians he was inviting to the festival: Just because you're playing All Tomorrow's Parties does not mean you're gonna be animated on "The Simpsons."

Many came on board anyway. Here are Groening's comments on a few of them.

The Magic Band "The No. 1 reason I wanted to do the festival was the honor of having Captain Beefheart's Magic Band reunite, and to be associated with presenting them. I drove up to the desert and heard them rehearse and record their album.... I like the album, but it barely captures the power of them live. I can't wait to see them on the stage."

Sonic Youth "My philosophy in agreeing to this was to take the name of the festival, All Tomorrow's Parties, a Velvet Underground song, and draw a through line [from that band] to Sonic Youth, who curated the festival at UCLA last year, and try to stay true to that spirit."

Daniel Johnston "My all-time favorite singer-songwriter, whose emotional turmoil is reflected in songs that are both funny and heartbreaking, and so much more authentic than any other songwriter I've heard. He's like a Neil Young who's been kicked around the block."

The Danielson Family "They're Christian, sort of avant-garde rock 'n' roll with a Christian philosophy. It's an unusual mix. They're great."

Terry Riley "One of my heroes, the composer of "In C" and landmark minimalist compositions."


All Tomorrow's Parties

Where: Queen Mary, 1126 Queen's Highway, Long Beach

When: Saturday-Sunday, 1 p.m.

Who: Performing Saturday: Sonic Youth, Built to Spill, Modest Mouse, Mike Watt, John Wesley Harding. Performing Sunday: Iggy & the Stooges, Mars Volta, Cat Power, Carla Bozulich, Har Mar Superstar

Price: $50 each day or $85 for a two-day pass

Contact: (562) 435-3511 or

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