Wolfmother: An interview with Colby about his first Bonnaroo experience
I ran into Rick and Colby at a bar next to 9:30 Club a few weeks ago. I was there for the Lone Bellow concert. They were there for Wolfmother. One of us showed up on the wrong day... and it wasn’t me.
Colby works for a government agency and Rick is a corporate recruiter. Their jobs may sound stuffy and boring, but these two certainly were not that and they have the stories to prove it. These fun-spirited fellas made the most of their mistake. While passing time until the show, I spoke with Colby about his first ever Bonnaroo experience.
And in case you were wondering, they went back to 9:30 Club the very next night to catch Wolfmother on the right date.
Rick had been to Bonnaroo about three times before I had ever been and has tried to get me to go every year. My wife had just passed away from cancer, so I finally let him convince me to go. Rick, our friend Craig, and one other friend from NY were all on board for Bonnaroo, back in 2007.
One of the bands we wanted to see was Wolfmother and they were on the last day -- Sunday afternoon. We made plans to get there at the earliest time possible on Wednesday. Rick and Craig debated about whether we were going to drive or fly. I finally say to Craig, "Dude, we've been talking about buying motorcycles and driving there for years. Why don't we do that?" So, Rick and our buddy fly there, while Craig and I buy motorcycles and ride. We had a huge plan to do all these rides beforehand and get all this experience, but the night before the show, we had done nothing. Just one drive to Middleburg, VA and back.
We were like "Holy shit, can we do this?" Bonnaroo is about 8-10 hours away from northern Virginia, but we wanted to do the Blue Ridge Parkway and Skyline Drive. Taking that route made it more like 14 hours. We debated it though. He even went so far to put his bike and the tickets for sale on Craigslist. But, finally, I convinced him that we should just start riding.
So, long story short - we do the ride and we make it there. We arrive to a line of cars that is about three miles long. And because we were on bikes, when we ran into some locals who took us across a cornfield to skip the line! It was awesome.
We started partying immediately. I think Sting was headlining, which was terrible. These two other guys had gone to Walmart and stocked up on liquor and bought a tent shelter. It was so hot it was basically 101 degrees everyday, even in the shade. My saying for the weekend was that I felt like I was trapped on Mars, but with music. The one fountain that was supposed to cool us down was so dirty by the second day, that you wouldn't dare touch it -- plus it was 90 degree water. Warm and dirty- no thanks.
Anyway, we had a great time: we partied; naked painted girls came by our tent; there were drugs everywhere. By Sunday, we were all kind of burnt out, but we had to see Wolfmother- that was the whole reason we were there. That's when Craig got hammered and started throwing beers around on people. It was hot as hell so they didn't mind the beer. We were moving closer and closer to the stage, jammin' out with this young band, Wolfmother. By the time it was over, Craig was cradling multiple bottles of Budweiser and he fell down in the field. People were walking by taking pictures and stuff.
I went off and did my own thing and our two other buddies somehow drag this guy -- all 350 pounds of him -- back to camp, maybe a mile away, through a huge field that went on forever. I didn't get back too much later, but he was out cold... in the space that we had designated as a pee spot. He kept murmuring that he was using his safe word, 'pineapple.’ People were lighting off full-blown fireworks over our tent. A lot of people were packing up and leaving. But, he stayed passed out; in the pee spot.
The next morning, we jumped on our cycles and we started riding. We had to stop for Red Bull and Motrin for Craig. We didn’t make it all 14 hours in one trip. We road for 6 hours and stopped at a cheap motel in rural Virginia. We finally made it home the next day, no one got hurt and we had a ton of fun.
And now, after telling this story, I'm fully absorbing the fact that I'm not going to see Wolfmother tonight. Dammit.