Orion Music + More
McPhail called me a couple of weeks ago and told me about a show in Atlantic City on June 23rd called the Orion Music And More Festival. Essentially, it’s some kind of Rock Festival with all kinds of side attractions like skate boarding, art shows, surf exhibitions, and even a custom car and hot rod show. Oh, and Metallica is headlining the deal.
It sort of feels like I’m writing a promo for something that would air on MTV at like 3am on a Tuesday morning. They would probably call it “Xtreme Fest” or something along those lines… and they would follow around a group of teenagers full of angst and illegitimate babies as part of the coverage.
No thanks. I’d rather cruise some country roads listening to vintage Napster downloads than get anywhere close to anything like that. I’m certain Jersey rock crowds aren’t my bag.
But here’s the thing – some real car guys, Beatniks even, are totally stressing out about making this a good car show. Rick Dore called McPhail, “Hey you know that guy that runs that H.A.M.B. thing on the computer? Will you ask him to promote us a bit? I know he’ll do anything you ask.”
And then, of course, McPhail calls me. “Hey man. I know how you are. You don’t gotta do this. And I know you won’t if you don’t want to, but… Could you give us a plug on this deal? We are working pretty hard to make this happen and I think it’s gonna turn out pretty good.”
Dore was right. I’d do anything for McPhail and so here I am. And here is the information for the Orion Music + More Festival. What might sound like a freak show judging by the promoter’s attempt at marketing is actually an effort by some really passionate guys to put on a custom car show on the east coast. Lots of Beatniks are involved, so I’d expect to see lots of Beatnik cars and if that is the case, you know the quality will be there. Plus, if you wanna get your car in the show and you actually make the cut, you get free admission to the whole deal – freak show and all. How about that?
A Sidebar Of Sorts: Me And James Hetfield.
I was never a “hard rock” guy. It just isn’t my thing. But about 15 years ago, I was in LA for the Ratfink Reunion. The night before the show I got into all kinds of shenanigans with both Jimmy White and Skinny Jeff. It was a long night and made for a miserable next day at Mooneyes. At around 3pm or so, I decided to call it quits and went back to Rob Fortier’s house for a nap on his couch. I woke up at around 6pm or so to find some dude I’ve never seen in my life sitting in a chair beside me casually watching TV. Startled, I got up and kind of stumbled around towards the restroom only to meet Rob halfway there.
“Hey man, there’s some dude in your living room. You know that, right?”
Rob looked at me like I was crazy and said, “Uh yeah. That’s James Hetfield.”
I had no idea who James Hetfield was, but was relieved to know that Rob did. I’d hate to think I had been sleeping next to some kind of daytime urban squatter.
Anyway, a few minutes later it was decided that we all needed dinner. By this time more fellas were back from the show and we all hopped into a car and headed towards a Mexican Food joint. An obscure Blues song played on the radio and McPhail asked me who it was. “I dunno,” I said. “But I have this track. I downloaded it from Napster.”
You’d think I shot the pope or something. The entire car went silent. I don’t think another word was spoken for the rest of the ride, but we did manage to get to the restaurant. And when we walked in a Metallica song played on the PA. Everyone laughed and I think it was McPhail that asked James if that sort of thing happened often.
It was then that I put it all together. James was the lead singer of Metallica. And, of course, Metallica was one of the driving forces in bringing down Napster. Shit. Shit. Shit.
I crossed paths with James again a few years later. A good pal of mine, Robert Rolling, built an Oldsmobile for James and Coonan asked me if I would write an article about the car for The Rodder’s Journal. I did so under the condition that the article be about the car and not the man or his music. Nobody objected and my interview with James was cordial and smart. Afterwards, I invited him to the Hot Rod Revolution which we were hosting in Petaluma, CA a few weeks later. Sure enough, he showed…
I remember being a bit skeptical. What if he doesn’t like the parking spot we give him? Does he realize that we don’t really do the VIP treatment thing? What if he remembers that whole Napster snafu? There was potential for some really bad shit to go down and I wasn’t sure of what to expect.
I shouldn’t have judged a rock star by his cover. He melted into the crowd and was just another hot rodder at a damn good show. At one point, I noticed James getting pestered by his young kids. They wanted to dance. They wanted to dance in public right now. They wanted to dance in public right now to the really shitty band that Tardel and I had hired.
For close to an hour, James Hetfield danced around like a complete idiot to his kid’s delight. It went against everything I had ever heard about rock stars and I decided then that he was alright in my book.
So yeah, check out that show in Jersey on June 23rd. Some pretty good fellas are working hard to put it together.