Melting in Ryder trucks and Hootenannys

Photo by Jeanne RiceI had heard stories. Bad stories. Bad, sad stories. A fuel pump gone bad 40 miles outside of Kingman, Arizona, carrying seven men, a band's worth of amps and equipment, and the beauteous Kelly O. A Ryder truck rented instead with just five minutes to spare before all the car rental places closed down for the three-day weekend. A drive to Roswell, New Mexico, that took 24 hours instead of 15. And the 15,000-strong audience The Dibs had been promised for the Roswell UFO Festival coming in at more like 50 strong. Not 50,000. Just 50. You know, like the festival in Spinal Tap.

A smaller-than-expected audience ain't no thing when you're getting paid. Shit happens. But the Dibs—one of Southern California's best and rootsiest bands—weren't getting paid. They were like those carwash dudes who get no hourly wage—just tips to stand in the sun, rubbing away the streaks and vacuuming out all the cigarette ash from your late model Civic. The Dibs were counting on CD sales. They sold three.

I got Dibs girlfriend Kelly O on the horn.

"It was everything I thought it would be," she said, with a piquant bitter optimism.

"I brought all these alien ears to sell—and I was bummed out because I'd only brought two dozen! I brought these galaxy beach balls. Didn't sell one. I traded a couple away to another vendor so I could get a picture. I brought my warrior princess top with the pointy boobs, thinking it would help me sell CDs, and there was a costume contest the next day. The top prize was $125, and I figured I'm gonna kick this town's ass! It's this podunk little town! That'd give us gas home and buy us all dinner! So I have to get up at 8:30 in the morning to get ready for this thing, and we go out there and we're standing in the sun, getting sunburned, and I'm this total movie star, everybody's coming up to take their pictures with me. Marty Stuart, the big country singer, is getting all these pictures with me and the band. It's all these kids and, like, two adults. So I figure I'm totally winning!"

Kelly O is famous for her preposterously extravagant costumes, handmade all, that she wears on every possible occasion. Perhaps you rented a Carmen Miranda costume for the Dead Hollywood party at The Space, only to play second banana to Kelly O's far more intricate and glittery Carmen Miranda outfit that she sewed herself. Also, it can be extremely disconcerting to wake up at 10:30 a.m. in your boyfriend's boxers and Packers jersey, and see Kelly O headed off for breakfast in an evening gown.

So did she win the Out of This World Costume Contest? "I didn't even place!" she said with outrage. "I lost to a dog. It was this little wiener dog with pipe cleaners for antennae and a plastic blowup alien taped to its back. And then these kids beat me! They're these scary kids who were jumping the whole time. It was an hour. And they're jumping in circles, going, 'Jump more! Keep jumping!' and squeezing these little squeakers. I swear they were on speed. So I get up there, and I'm doing my warrior princess thing, a couple of kicks and punches. Didn't even place. It was these old fat women judges, and some Miss New Mexico person, and she was just hating me. She kept giving me these looks. 'Cause, you know, the wiener dog was sooo cuuute." Miss New Mexico is on our list. I told Kelly I had to write all this down, but I'd call her back. "I'll be here," she said. It's really hard to sleep in the back of a Ryder truck, with amps. "I'm not going anywhere. Right now, I'm just a pile of flesh."

Speaking of piles of flesh, how has Bob Hope managed to evade the killing week that's been rampaging? Just asking.

And speaking of piles of flesh again, how about the poor Hootenanny girls walking around in 87-degree heat clad in rubber dresses? Their sweat was so great, running down their legs it really looked like they were peeing themselves (see "The Girl Who Peed Herself," March 17, 2000). Did you know that the Weekly's music editor, Rich Kane, who can be a sour little bitch around the office (you should see what happens when someone takes a pen off his desk!), is a delightful pile of clover-infused honey to run into at music festivals? It's true! He gets all happy and starts offering around sunscreen and hugs like he's at an NA picnic just as soon as he gets near a stage. The Hootenanny, by the way, was awesome. At Cal State Fullerton this year, it was opened up to all the normal college kids who would never have known to make the trek to Irvine Lake, and all the butterheads and betties didn't kvetch for a second that their slavish scene had been co-opted by kids who wouldn't have known Carl Perkinsfrom Carl's Jr. Nope, everyone just got along—including the roadie in full Ren Faire regalia, his slouchy velvet hat and tall suede boots marking him as the least slavish dude in the place. The award for most pathetic went to the peeps in the VIP area who clustered for hours at the fence separating the VIP backstage from the dressing area, hoping to get a glimpse of the Stray Cats when they left their trailer. That is not VIP! Twits.

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