“The day that we found out I was super, super sick and really under the weather,” says Phil Pirrone, recalling the moment he found out Iggy Pop confirmed a headlining spot at his festival, Desert Daze. “I yelped like a wounded animal—it was the only sound my body could produce. I called everybody that I love to tell them Iggy was headlining… and there were people basically in tears.”
Desert Daze, the small, DIY festival that’s earned the reputation as the “anti-mega fest” and the “music lovers festival” is returning to the Institute of Mentalphysics in Joshua Tree on October 13-15—and with one of the season’s best line ups. This morning Desert Daze announced that rock n’ roll royalty, Iggy Pop, will close out a night of the festival. “[Iggy] crosses over a certain boundary that the festival has yet to cross because our bands have been so niche,” says Pirrone, who refers to Iggy Pop as “the Source.” "To be honest, it's still kinda hard to believe," he laughs. "I mean theres literally no words to describe how excited we are. I can’t. I can’t even begin to articulate how much it means to us."
According to unanimous reports from last month’s FYFFest, Iggy Pop shook the Earth’s core. Despite the leather derma-jacket the rock n’roll life has bestowed upon him, the 70-year-old is still as charmingly in-your-face as he was when our parents were going to his shows. Because Iggy’s still got it, he’s played a number of performances this year. So it can be argued that his headlining spot at Desert Daze isn’t that wild. But we beg to differ. Sure he’s played a lot, but that doesn’t take the magic away from experiencing his royal highness in a venue laden with mystical, extraterrestrial energy and under a galaxy of stars. Stars you wouldn’t be able to see in any city. The energy of the Institute of Mentalphysics combined with authentic rock will surely make for a doozy of a night.
"The fact that he's playing so well at other festivals makes us even more excited," says Pirrone. "His performance is going to be some real fucking shit. It’s going to be no bullshit and everything you want it to be. I think that's just how [Iggy's] camp does it."
But the head Stooge isn’t the only impressive name added to the line up. Ty Segall, BadBadNotGood and Cigarettes After Sex were among the acts added to the bill. Sleep, the rock / doom metal outfit from San Jose who profoundly influenced ‘90s heavy metal, will also perform Sleep’s Holy Mountain in full, too.
Already boasting a line up with smokin’ acts like: Budos Band, Black Moth Super Rainbow, John Cale of the Velvet Underground, Terry Riley—the composer who launched the Minimalist movement with his 1964 record IN C and influenced The Who and Tangerine Dream; Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth, Tortoise and Eagles of Death Metal, Pirrone has curated a line up that’s not only anti-electronic music snob approved, but it’s also a collage of bands whose styles have likely influenced each other.
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“[Some of] these people have influenced everybody on the line up— I think that goes without saying,” says Pirrone. “So for all of the big names to be on the same bill with all the other bands… and for the big artists to play with people that they’ve directly influenced. I mean, Jesus... That kind of exchange of generational musical experience is so special and something I’m very excited about.”
You can expect a heavier influence on art installations and a much larger Mystic Bizarre this year, too. Located in the camp grounds, last year's Mystic Bizarre was the place to go if you were looking to get metaphysical. This year's set up will be an expanded version with a stage and a late night retreat for campers. "There’s going to be bands doing stripped down sets like kind of before the doors open and after the doors close," says Pirrone. "So there will be some good entertainment for the campers out there."
We're calling it now: Desert Daze is going to be the festival of the year. It's going to be the polar opposite of a parking lot festival or a fest that hosts 80,000 people. It's not going to be a place where people set up refugee camps and are forced into survival mode for 10 days. It's going to be the festival equivalent of a desert barbecue—with Iggy Pop, Budos Band and John Cale hanging out. What Coachella and Burning Man have in common is that they can drain you emotionally, spiritually, physically and financially. Desert Daze, the diamond in the rough festival, promises a much different experience.
"Desert Daze is a whole different kind of adventure," says Pirrone. "This year is going to be magical...The stars have aligned."