The life of a touring musician can be pretty unglamorous, but those who know where to look can find ways to wreak some havoc in every city where they park their van. Cole Alexander, co-frontman of Black Lips, is an old pro at finding mischief in burgs throughout the United States. Here, Alexander shares stories of mayhem from two of his favorite cities—as well as his favorite place to raise hell in his hometown of Atlanta.
New Orleans: “I like to go down to the Lower Ninth Ward. You might see someone like Big Freedia play at Siberia. They have good Polish food. You’ll see more face tats per square mile there than you’ll ever see in your life. There’s also Saturn Bar, which I love. They paid this old Korean War vet who was an underwater engineer to paint all the murals on the wall. I think he got oxygen poisoning in the war or something. The murals are a mix of Eastern fantasy, like dragons and stuff, mixed with a Sailor Jerry tattoo. Apparently when Katrina happened they barely saved all the paintings. I heard Tommy Lee Jones came in and offered them five grand and they turned him down.”
San Francisco: “I like going through the Mission. There’s ethnically diverse food, great for stores and stuff like that. It still feels electric, alive. Insane people wandering the streets. I mean, San Francisco is so expensive, but there’s still people sleeping on the street at night. Or the Tenderloin: I could wander through the Tenderloin and just people-watch.”
Atlanta: “I go to a place called Southern Comfort on Sundays. They have a karaoke night hosted by a local rock and roll legend named Tommy Lee—just a coincidence—and it’s owned by a guy named George Jones—also a coincidence. You’ll see weird urban cowboy guys, like redneck truckers; it’s just a real weird mixed bag. It’s almost like a Harmony Korine movie. People do line-dancing. There’s this mix of Southern culture, but it’s so close to the city that there’s a refreshing progressiveness about it.” FL
This article originally appears in the FLOOD Festival Guide presented by Toyota C-HR. You can check out the rest of the magazine here.