The Return of the most unique festival of it's kind!
Stoned & Dusted Festival w/ The Melvins, Fu Manchu & more - May 25th-26th - Pappy & Harriet's - Pioneertown, CA
The SOLD OUT Stoned and Dusted is presented by the California Desert Wizards Association at the desert’s premiere roadhouse and one of the world’s favorite music venues. The outside event of the year featured Melvins, Fu Manchu, Brant Bjork, REZN, Jesika Von Rabbit and (Big) Pig with lights by the Mad Alchemy Liquid Light Show.
BUT - I almost missed it because I was completely unaware of it's existence until literally just a few days before the event. How could that be?!?!
This will take some unpacking:
Ok, a few things you'll need to know to get this - I have a long tenured history in the High Desert in Southern California and a lifelong love affair with it's music & artists. A stalwart of this unique collective is my friend of over 25 years Dave Catching who lives at & operates Rancho De La Luna studios in nearby Joshua Tree. Dave & Rancho are ground zero for this incomparable community.
However, I live in Dallas, TX - Get out to LA a few times a year for biz, family & pleasure and do my best to make it out there at least once a year to see Dave if he's in town or to an event at Pappy's.
This year I've been making frequent, almost monthly trips to Pasadena for the King's X recordings of their first new LP in over 11 years. I'm currently in production on a feature length documentary to tell their story and footage of the new recording is vital to this project. So I've been consumed with this film that when I'm in Pasadena I'm not looking into local entertainment, the studio might as well be in Wyoming as far as that's concerned.
However just a few days before this event, I was in fact scheduled to fly to Tulsa from LAX for Rocklahoma & then back to Dallas. Suddenly they were reports of the tornados that pummel Oklahoma every year and the event was in trouble + King's X were thinking of having a party that Sunday. So it was only THEN I just happen to look into trying to hang with Dave or see what else was going on that weekend and couldn't believe when I heard about the fest and literally shit myself when I saw the lineup. The Melvins are like my religion and Fu Manchu doesn't have a song that I don't know EVERY lyric to + so many more at perhaps my fave venue ever. The chance to see this IN THE DESERT was intoxicating, now I just had to get my ass out there.
Fri - May 24th
I film all day at the studio in Pasadena & the plan is to leave to beat Friday California nightmare traffic to make it out to Anaheim for more filming but also as I was looking up fun stuff I saw the NKOTB Mixtape tour with my girl Debbie Gibson & more were hitting the Honda Center. My wife got us front row seats for the show in Dallas for my birthday and it was seriously some of the most fun I've ever had ever so I couldn't resist hitting it up again since the fun kismet of being in the same town again. I'm quite sure I'm the only person that was actively pursuing that tour & this festival haha.
Sat - May 25th
Another bonus of being in Anaheim already on Saturday morning is that I only had a 100 miles to go and could take a leisurely fun day drive on a beautiful Saturday afternoon out to the desert.
The event fittingly was being put on by legendary Kyuss drummer Brant Bjork who was also performing. Kyuss is my THING ever and have been friendly with Brant for years and he was so kind to honor my late request to come to the show after it'd been long sold out. So to honor that & something that I've always wanted to do but never have is pay a visit the Welcome to Sky Valley sign that graces the masterpiece Kyuss LP of the same name.
My additional motivation was that just a few days prior some idiots tried to steal it and damaged it's foundation pretty severely, but this community is like no other, so a group of great fans called Kyuss World came to the rescue (along with Kyuss member Scott Reeder who still lives nearby) to restore it.
I text Reeder on my way to there for food recomendations & he steered me perfectly to the Station Taphouse in Banning.
Ok finally arrived at P&H - You may wonder "Well why didn't you eat at P&H?" = I did and I love their authentic cuisine but I knew it would be awhile till I got there and I also knew that once I did, getting a table might be impossible (which it was) and I ate while standing at a crowded bar that took over an hour to get. I finished eating & got outside just in time to see a few songs from REZN.
There is literally ZERO cell service out here so Catching & I were doing our best to find each other but alas it never happened (I had to drink your gorgeous new Mezcal alone at the bar Davey Jo! haha) - Next up Brant Bjork.
Swagger & Sway
Nation of Indica
Freaks of Nature
Lazy Bones / Automatic Fantastic
Great set as always & have nothing but profound respect for his work ethic and prolificy & the magic of all of this had his signature all over it.
I hung in the back for Brant's set but now I was making my way front & center for the mighty Fu Manchu.
While you would forever equate their aesthetic to 70's Southern California Skate/Van culture, their sound is right there with the heavy groove & mysticism of the High Desert. And they STARTED with Pigeon Toe. Could you imagine if I had made to Rocklahoma and lamenting that I was having to watch some washed up Clear Channel band & finding out that this was happening at the same time??
Clone of the Universe
I Can't Hear You
Hell on Wheels
Hung Out to Dry
King of the Road
Il Mostro Atomico
They only played 11 songs (however finale El Atomico is almost 20 mins long) as in the words of Singer/Guitarist Scotty Hill "The Melvins are up next & trust me I wanna get the fuck off this stage!" Which he meant as the highest compliment as he couldn't wait to see them perform as well as a welcome depricating nod to the peerless Melvins.
It was bassist Stephen Mcdonald's birthday and he came to celebrate decked out in a white linen suit which was the perfect canvas to reflect Mad Alchemy Liquid Light Show that was gorgeously being projected onto the stage.
For me this was the freaking Moon Landing seeing three of my all-time faves HERE & Summer hadn't even started yet!
Their set was cut a bit short due to a curfew (which might be the only law I saw enforced here haha) & drummer Dale Crover announced "I'd say Fuck the Man, but instead I'm a law abiding citizen, so Good Night everyone" - Classic.
That did it for the outdoor portion but I didn't realize that their was more awesomeness to come inside as I saw Jessika Von Rabbit setting up.
Jessika Von Rabbit
Fun as always & I wanted to stick around but I had to get back to Pasadena & it was late & I had a long drive ahead of me.
The festival continued the next day, this time for some even more legit DIY punk style with the performances being staged in an unnamed/known to only ticket holders & performers & organizers somewhere in the High Desert w/ ????
Now that would have been a bucket list moment for me to attend a generator party produced by Brant Bjork in the Mojave Desert reminiscent of the legendary parties that gave Kyuss their early formation. Even though I couldn't make it to the second day here are some photos to share:
Desert Legend Mario Lalli & Co kicking things off:
Mark Lanagan & Friends
This is really interesting as Mark originally had to cancel due to a family emergency but showed up anyway & surprised everyone. He's joined here by an all-star cast including my buddy Dave Catching, Josh Klinghoffer (Red Hot Chili Peppers) Kyuss producer & Masters of Reality's Chris Goss & Jonathan Hischke.
Thanks again to Brant & everyone who put this thing on - long may it wave - Cheers!