Photo by James BunoanHootenanny
Oak Canyon Ranch, Irvine
Saturday, July 3
If Hootenanny was all-jail-bait-all-day—we hadn't seen psychobilly in such a long time, but now she's all growed up! And look, she's got her boobies!—then that must make me really old. So listen to me wheeze, kiddies: I remember 10 years ago, when Hootenanny first started, when it was actually about the music, not the shaved-sides psychobilly pompadour that someone in the Meteors stole from Vanilla Ice. And I also kinda wonder why it was two huge days last year with a buncha great acts, and this year—the 10th anniversary—it wasn't.
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If you've been living in a cave or under that bridge in Santiago Canyon with all the bats, you've missed some great music on the past nine July 4 weekends. I'm not saying Jerry Lee Lewis, Chuck Berry, Buck Owens and Scotty Moore are always great; Owens, Lewis and Berry, in particular, have been known to suck, especially after they've sucked down a few Jack-and-Cokes. I'm just sayin' they're better than the Horror Pops. Imitation isn't always the sincerest form of flattery; sometimes it's just not trying hard enough. (Free pass to the Cramps, though: this year they adopted stylish Blasters' drummer Bill Bateman and redid their set with all the sinister oldies you could wave an Ace comb at—yeah, they're good again!)
It's partly my fault for growing up and learning to taste the water in my watered-down Michelob. But was it just me, or were people waiting in traffic out on the highway because the parking geniuses couldn't take their money fast enough? Yeah, people were. And then after we all hiked down the gravel slide past the lake, did they really forget to unlock the big ranch gate? Yes. Yes, they did. And were people really dumb enough to try to get their chain wallets and birth-control pills past security? They sure were 'cause I saw a big pile of chains and pills on a table at the gate. "Dames, Boots, Chains and Pills"—isn't that a Cramps song? Almost.
There weren't any hidden-gem bands at this year's Hoot, and that was the worst. The car show was good as always; Anthony from the Shifters brought his roadster, and a bunch of guys had nice shoeboxes. But there were two stages of music going at all times—and yet after the Blasters played, I literally couldn't find anyone I halfway wanted to watch. Sure, you had your James Intvelds, your Russell Scotts—he having mended fences with guitarist Archie—your Deke Dickersons, your Big Sandys. But, gaaack, Intveld has stopped dying his hair or something, and he looks like Kenny Loggins, and my wife doesn't think he's cute anymore. And they all played the same songs again.
It's all really sad, but saddest is the fact that I just know what makes this cool if you're 24. The Horror Pops may be wankers, but they're not Good Charlotte. And this is still a little better than the Warped Tour. Blame Green Day, right after you mentally chew out a bunch of baby bands like the Millionaires, Hellbound Hayride, the Hellbillies and the Dragstrip Demons for squandering practically the best musical legacy ever. I think I'll will my collection of Johnny Cash Sun Records EPs to somebody who knows what to do with them—like the Library of Congress. (Old Man Douglas)