Letter from Coachella

Photo by Rich KaneMaybe it was our newly awakened allergies that got the better of us not long after we pulled into Indio Saturday afternoon for the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival (though there wasn't really much in the way of “art,” unless you count a bunch of shirtless, stoned oafs beating sticks against a grotesque metal sculpture in the middle of the Empire Polo Field). But we were in a funk for the entire two-day multi-act affair. Don't get us wrong—Coachella is great; Coachella is wonderful. Still, while we were excited to see many bands on this year's bill, we opted to blow most of them off due to the exhaustive, dehydrating overwhelmingness of it all. We did have fun grooving to G Love N Special Sauce, Pete Yorn, Ozomatli, OC's own Fairview, and the fantastic Cornershop, but our appetite for Oasis, Galactic, Foo Fighters, the Mars Volta, Zero 7 and Jurassic 5 was severely waning by the time sunset rolled around each day (we did catch the Strokes, but really, who over age 30 hasn't seen a variation on that theme before?). And then there was that soft, comfy leather sofa we commandeered in the shady VIP area, which made us feel even more like severe fest-slackers. Sadly, age was also a factor: a decade ago, we did Lollapaloozas from the first note to the last. Now, these kinds of day-and-night-long mega-fests only seem to try our patience, time, health, feet and eardrums. Sure, we can say we were at Coachella III someday when we're living in the LowBallAssChatter Home for Cranky Rock Critics, but ultimately, our longest-lasting memory of this desert odyssey will be the two girls we met on our hike back to our car. They were sitting there, bleary-eyed and blitzed, in the middle of the parking lot. As we passed, they asked if we could help find their car, and as if attempting to seduce our Big Queer Selves, one young lass rolled back on her butt, stuck her legs up, grinningly slobbered, “Look!” and thrust her naked, moist vagina heavenward. “So that's what those things look like,” we muttered. It's moments like this that make a Coachella 2003 worth hoping for. (Rich Kane)

What ought one do when a compilation CD of local bands comes out, the sales of which benefit the very good cause of the Children's Hospital of Orange County, but the music on said CD just . . . isn't very good? Often so not-good, in fact, that we have to work really, really hard to restrain ourselves from painfully mocking certain bands included on it? Such is the case with Because We Care, which came out in late April on Glue Factory Records, available at better record stores and all 10 OC Tilly's stores. It's not that we hate everything—we do like the tracks from Campground Effect, Suburban Legends, Fairview's pretty acoustic “Telegrams,” Reel Big Fish (but aren't they a bit old to be on here with all these kiddie bands?), Gameface's “Doctor My Eyes” cover, and Ozma's “Los Angeles” (mostly because it—like everything else they do—reminds us of Weezer). There are way too many bands here doing mundane pop/punk, though, and the ultrabland versions of what's passing for emo these days weigh it down even further—stop singing through your noses, already! Jesus! But still, everybody involved with the thing means well, and hey, maybe you'll love it more than our sensitive ears did. A benefit show/release party happens Saturday night at Chain Reaction, with Longfellow, Codename: Rocky, Death On Wednesday, Gameface and Mind Driver performing. So go! Or don't. (RK)

News that President George Bush II invited corridista Lupillo Rivera to sing at the White House on Cinco de Mayo reminded me why Republicans make up the bulk of my punch lines. Rivera—whose voice has dominated the Southern California Spanish radio market for the past couple of years—has the proper sales figures, youth appeal and surname to make the appearance seem like an artistic coup in Bush's Sisyphean efforts to woo the Latino vote. But have Pretzel Boy's sycophants done enough research to know that they're coming off as ignorant pendejos? Does the family-values-spouting presidente know that Rivera's clan owns the Long Beach-based Cintas Acuario label, which produces narcocorridos so violent and icky they make fellow LBC-er Snoop Dogg's talk of bitches and hos sound like Raffi? Does the staunchly anti-drug Bush know that Rivera glorifies the crack pipe with lyrics like “It [cocaine] is a very good vitamin to get you stirred up/And a toke of marijuana will serve to relax you” on “El Pelotero (The Drug Dealer)”? Of course not; all Bush sees are votes that will never materialize because Latinos know better than to be impressed by a Pedro Infante wannabe. Advice to Jorge: next time you foray into Latin music, stick to Ricky Martin. (Gustavo Arellano)


A full-page ad for Absolut Vodka titled “Absolut Pistols” from the April 11 issue of Rolling Stone. We hope Mr. Lydon at least got a new hot tub out of the deal. (RK)

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