A conversation with the Indigo Girls.
New York’s Governors Ball Music Festival has only been around for five years, but it has already established itself as a formidable player in the festival scene. Can the trio behind its success bring a country music festival to the Big Apple?
[Not single-page] A look at tour bus drivers, who hold the lives of musical acts in their hands on a daily basis, and what it’s like to drive around music’s biggest stars:
“Providing a band with a smooth ride, free of sharp turns and unexpected pit stops, isn’t just a matter of comfort. Good drivers get work because band members trust that they can go to sleep at night knowing they’ll wake up in one piece. Ben Kitterman know this better than most, having driven for Tom Petty (‘Favorite gig ever. Extremely professional.’), Motley Crue (‘Tough gig. They’re a little bit rougher.’), Creed (‘Fuck every minute of that! Those guys thought they were such a big deal.’), and John Legend (‘Not a whole lot of interaction. He just likes reading and chilling out and doing his own thing.’). He recently made the unusual transition from driver to rider when he became Aaron Lewis’ full-time pedal steel player.
“‘Driving smoothly is really an art form,’ he says. ‘I’ve ridden with a lot of pretty well-known drivers and was surprised at how shitty the ride was. Once, I was rolled out of my bunk and dislocated two ribs. Going into four shows in a row with dislocated ribs is not a pleasant experience.’ Driving, though, is only a small part of a driver’s job. Buses must be cleaned, inside and out, on a regular basis. And as Ron Ward — who’s driven for Sean Combs (‘He lets me do whatever I want. If I need Ciroc, I can get bottles from the distributor.’), the Wu-Tang Clan (‘I have to get a new damn lung every time I come off the road with them’), and Chris Brown (‘He don’t tell me nothing but, “You want to go partying? Clubbing? Let’s go!”‘) — makes clear, there are certain things he doesn’t abide.”
[Not single-page] A new lab-brewed drug epidemic has law-enforcement officials scrambling to contain it.
“The last four decades have seen plenty of whipped-up hysteria about various fad intoxicants of the moment. But the fear generated by bath salts seems well earned. Dr. Mark Ryan, director at the Louisiana Poison Center, called bath salts ‘the worst drug’ he has seen in his 20 years there. ‘With LSD, you might see pink elephants, but with this drug, you see demons, aliens, extreme paranoia, heart attacks, and superhuman strength like Superman,’ Ryan has said. ‘If you had a reaction, it was a bad reaction.’
“Starting in late 2010, an influx of violent, irrational, self-destructive users began to congest hospital ERs throughout the States. A 19-year-old West Virginia man claimed he was high on bath salts when he stabbed his neighbor’s pygmy goat while wearing women’s underwear; a Mississippi man skinned himself alive while under the influence. Users staggered in, or were carried in, consumed by extreme panic, tachycardia, deep paranoia, and heart-attack symptoms. (Perhaps the most infamous incident tied to bath salts is Rudy Eugene’s horrific naked face-eating attack in Miami in May, although conclusive toxicology reports have yet to be released; still, the fact that this feels like the closest thing to a credible explanation for chewing a homeless man’s head for 18 minutes speaks volumes about the drug’s reputation.)”
The Dogtown kids started applying their surfing techniques to concrete, riding low to the ground with their arms outstretched for balance, skating with such intensity that they often destroyed their homemade boards in a single session. “We were just trying to emulate our favorite Australian surfers,” Tony Alva says, explaining the genesis of their new low-slung, super-aggressive style. “They were doing all this crazy stuff that we were still trying to figure out in the water—but on skateboards, we could do it.”