Monterey Rock and Art Festival number 10.
Thursday, July 20, 2006
Egos. Guitar solos. Booze. Hair. Art. Tattoos. With nine years of rocking under its belt, the Monterey Rock and Art Festival has it all, including its fair share of choice stories.
It all started back in 1997, when local promoters/musicians Brad Mallory and his former wife Susan Collins unveiled an impressive two-day festival with 72 bands. That first year featured national touring acts, like notorious junkie rockers Royal Trux, California Americana heroes The Mother Hips and The Brian Jonestown Massacre—a drug-addled San Francisco band chronicled in the superb music documentary Dig!
With so many characters onstage, the first Monterey Rock and Art Festival ended up generating a lot of stories.
Mallory remembers when the lead singer for the theatrical rock outfit The Gun & Doll Show jumped up on a 10-foot wall onstage and fell over the other side headfirst. Another tense moment went down when headliners Royal Trux refused to play their set. Mallory says the band misread their contract, thinking they were going to get paid a grand instead of $100. Somehow, Mallory convinced the band to play despite their displeasure.
According to Mallory, Jennifer Herrema, the band’s frontwoman, stalked the stage kicking stuff, and tried to get destructive members of the audience to join her onstage.
It was during those early days that Mallory discovered that he would have to scale down the festival or it was going to drive him into financial ruin. So for the next year’s outing he secured 42 bands and solo performers along with headliner The Hutchinsons, a semi-famous band from Los Angeles.
In recent years, Mallory has gravitated almost exclusively to local and regional acts when booking the Monterey Rock and Art Festival. The memorable moments continued. Four years ago, a member of the Darktown Rounders allegedly stole a maintenance cart, which she drove around the Fairgrounds until being chased down by the Fairgrounds’ maintenance crew.
Another truly rock ‘n’ roll moment occurred after a concertgoer broke his leg while moshing to a punk band in the Turf Room. After getting a cast over the broken bone at a local hospital, the injured rocker returned and promptly started slam dancing for the rest of the evening.
Averted catastrophes have been upstaged by other highlights of late. Paul Hastey, a local vocalist who has played the festival for the past five years as a member of Liquid 8 and Plaster, says that he and other local bands now look forward to the festival every year. “It’s just one big local party,” he says.
Mallory says he’s inspired by how much local bands have evolved over the past few festivals. “A lot of these bands have grown with the Rock and Art Festival and are at the top of their game,” Mallory says.
Though Mallory has a great time the day of the event, planning for the Monterey Rock and Art Festival consumes a lot of his time and money. “I probably work on the Rock and Art as much as I work at my day job,” says Mallory, who also tends bar at Knuckles.
This year, Mallory has 30 music acts ranging from local favorites like THE SUBORBITALS and RETRIBUTION to Lake Tahoe’s LAVISH GREEN. Other Garden Stage highlights include:
—Back in the late ‘90s and early ‘00s, local pop rock band Trial By Fire was always playing around town. Now, they’re reuniting for today’s Monterey Rock and Art Festival. TRIAL BY FIRE plays 1:30pm to 2pm.
—Also back in the late ‘90s, female rocker Rayko used to perform at the old Doc’s. Rayko returns to the area today with a new LA-based quartet called Dig Jelly. Like popular hard rock act System of a Down, the band is able to fuse punishing riffs and screams to spacey Eastern-sounding music on songs like “Faka Laka Rocksta.” DIG JELLY plays 2:15pm to 2:45pm.
—After a stint in Huntington Beach, Santa Cruz band Riby's Nickel recently returned to their hometown. Their latest CD, Going For Broke, features the New Wave rock of “She Was a Good Year” to the light reggae and rock hybrid of “Missing You.” RIBSY’S NICKEL plays from 6:45pm to 7:15pm.
—Santa Cruz hair metal quartet Antidote is trying to resurrect the cowbell, androgynous vocals and extended guitar solos with songs like “Number One Thriller.” Last week, the band performed at the Whiskey-a-Go-Go’s Cruefest, a celebration of Motley Crue. ANTIDOTE plays from 8:15pm to 9pm.
—This year’s headliners are the Santa Cruz rockabilly group The Chop Tops. The band is currently gaining serious momentum due to a slot on this year’s Warped Tour. THE CHOP TOPS play from 9:15pm to 10pm.
THE 10TH MONTEREY ROCK AND ART FESTIVAL takes place at the Monterey Fairgrounds, located at 2004 Fairgrounds Rd. in Monterey, this Saturday from 11:30am to 11:30pm. $13/advance; $18/at the door. 899-1007.