Life’s A Risk
By Derek Obregon
The world of four beer-fueled musicians playing a show in the depths of the desert can be summed up by their band name; F*%k It Dog, Life’s A Risk (or simply, FIDLAR for short). This is the motto they live by and one that lead singer and guitarist Zac Carper will always remember because that acronym is tattooed on his leg. FIDLAR is all about taking risks, and I’d say it’s doing pretty good so far because it opened up for The Hives. Most of us have heard of The Hives, but what about FIDLAR?
The music is fast and care-free with most songs lingering around that two-minute mark. The lyrics are easy to understand and I don’t know if they have a song that doesn’t mention drugs at one point or another. “Cheap Beer,” “The Punks are Finally Taking Acid” and “Wake Bake Skate” are some song titles that emphasize this feeling. One thing the band does besides making music and getting trashed (as the song titles have clearly pointed out) is skate. Carper mentioned having a skate sesh not that long before this show, and apparently guitarist Nicholaus Arson from The Hives is a really good skater. The skate punks were few and far between at the bands’ show at Pappy and Harriet’s earlier this month because that would’ve been a long and bumpy ride on a skateboard to Pioneertown.
The official name of this venue—tucked away from the fast-paced life of us city dwellers—is Pappy & Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace, but most will refer to it as Pappy and Harriet’s or just affectionately Pappy’s. Whatever you choose to call this western-themed bar/restaurant/venue, there’s no denying that it is a one-of-a-kind place that everyone should experience at one point or another in their lives. It is amazing that people will even make the trip out to the middle of nowhere, but somehow this venue remains a popular destination for both artists and audiences. It’s hard to explain, but something about Pappy’s just invites you in and makes you feel at home.
If it wasn’t for the all-inclusive mix of people, the faux western front of Pappy’s could have you thinking you had arrived on the set of Back to the Future III. You may not run into the Doc Brown at Pappy’s, but you could very well see someone similar because it is a place where you’ll see it all: T-shirts, flannels, polo shirts, cocktail dresses, casual skirts, hair dye, cowboy boots and practically anything else you can think of. And the amazing thing is . . . everyone gets along. Who wouldn’t in a place where the music is great, the beers are cheap and you have a good chance of running into a celebrity or two who have also been known to frequent—and sometimes perform—in this intimate venue.
Breaking the tranquility of the desert, FIDLAR took the stage and exploded with youthful energy. Carper was falling down and
rolling around on stage while drummer Max Kuehn and guitarist Elvis Kuehn rocked more reserved and steadily to the beats. Bassist Brandon Schwartzel rounded them out as he bounced around and sported a Lakers flag over his amp. You must work up quite a thirst after a few songs because Schwartzel is the first to swig from a flask that is passed on stage by someone in the crowd.
I asked FIDLAR before its set if the band knew that Josh Homme (singer from Queens of the Stone Age) records a lot around that area and if the group planned on doing a “desert session” recording. The guys from FIDLAR told me that they were hanging out with members of Eagles of Death Metal (where Josh Homme also has a hand) a few shows back, and that they were hoping to get a tour of the desert studio while they were out playing Pappy’s. That unfortunately didn’t happen, but they said they’d love to do a desert session if the opportunity arose. Interesting people and celebrities can’t be the only allure of this place, so what is it about Pappy’s that so many people find attractive?
Maybe it’s the fact that you feel like you’re walking into an Old West town because nothing but Joshua trees, rocks and tumbleweeds surround you. It’s probably a combination of all of these things, but one thing is for sure . . . you instantly know you’re in for something special when an old wooden building with sloppy cement work and bottles crafted right into the wall are the first thing to greet you.