Somehow, Ryan Adams has never played Coachella, the big annual springtime music festival in California. Neither have Regis and the Philbins, Obesity Epidemic or Get the F*ck Out of My Pool; but the difference is that Ryan actually exists, while those bands don’t. Jimmy Kimmel has been getting lots of online mileage this week out of an inspired little bit that his Lie Witness News crew pulled off at Coachella, in which they asked hipsters about these and other non-existent bands. Not wanting to appear out of it, said hipsters replied that of course they knew about the Chelsea Clintons, Dr. Schlo Mo and the GI Clinic and all the rest; even played ’em on community radio back home in Canada.
Very amusing, and it reminded me of a little personal history from a long time ago. Way back in the summer of 1984, I was going to graduate school at the University of Texas while working for the student paper, the Daily Texan — in which capacity I had a fondness for the sort of mishievous, ill-advised dumbassery that college kids often indulge in. One week, we were compiling club listings and idly wondering if anybody actually read them. So we concocted a fake band and club name to slip in, just to see if anybody would notice:
Flamin’ Globs of Vomit Death
appearing at the
Rock Daze Inn Cocktail Lounge
Near as we could tell, no one noticed because we didn’t hear a word. Over time, we grew bolder and started putting FGoVD into listings for actual clubs. We even listed them as one of the opening acts when the Dream Syndicate came to town, went to the show and asked our fellow attendees if they’d gotten there in time to see the Globs’ set. A few actually said yes. When we asked how they were, answers ranged from shrugs to “I dunno, pretty decent.”
That inspired my friend Ron, who was one of the Texan’s other music columnists, to take it to the next level. Ron wrote a several-paragraph item that I wish I still had (this was long before the days of electronic archiving). But I do remember the beginning — Accounting majors by day, neo-fascist skinheads by night — and that he claimed their instrumentation consisted of drums, multiple basses and no guitars. That should have made them highly rhythmic, but the Globs were just a mess due to basic lack of competence.
We had a pretty good laugh over that, and it seemed like no harm no foul. Until a month or so later when the phone rang in the office one day and it was someone from Newsweek, wanting to get in touch with this band of UT skinhead business-school types for an item in the magazine’s fall “On Campus” supplement. That induced a bit of panic, as we pondered options. For a brief moment, we even considered actually forming a band to see just how far we could take the ruse.
But while we figured we could pull off the rank incompetence that the FGoVD experience called for, none of us really wanted to shave our heads. That being the case, it seemed best for us to put the Newsweek guy off and shut down the Globs. We retired the name, for good, and it never saw the light of print in the Texan again.
In retrospect, however, we might have quit too soon. Maybe we could have been one of the non-bands playing Coachella this year, in the ’80s reunion division.