by Nicole Gluckstern
What would you do to convince Ur-punk icon Iggy Pop to come play your low-key garage rock festival, a stone's throw away from Oakland’s Temescal district? If you’re Total Trash Production’s lead wrangler, Marc Ribak, you’ll sell your own car, and keep your fingers crossed that you'll get a "yes." (Spoiler alert: you do).
But although Iggy Pop represents the pinnacle of what the Burger Boogaloo has to offer this year, he's by no means the only draw. The inimitable John Waters will be MC-ing for his third year in a row; 70's British punks, the Buzzcocks, top Sunday's bill, along with Los Angeles' X; and a formidable array of the Bay Area’s finest freaks — from Nobunny to Glitter Wizard to Shannon and the Clams — will be rocking the park from noon on, all weekend long.
Born from a quirky, Burger Records lineup at the Knockout on July 4, 2009, the Burger Boogaloo moved to Mosswood Park in Oakland under Ribak’s wing five years ago, and has been growing in size and spirit ever since. We corralled Lee Rickard at Burger Records and Ribak himself to get the insider scoop.
SFist: It looks like Iggy Pop had given Burger Records a shoutout on the radio couple of years ago, and I was wondering if that helped lead his being at the festival?
Lee Rickard: Iggy’s definitely one of our favorite rockers of all time. And so when we did get on his radar we were like, holy shit! I sent him packages and wrote little Post-it notes on them, and then he’d play them on his radio show, and I’d be, like, ‘Oh my God, he’s getting them, he’s reading my Post-it notes.’ (In short) Iggy rules, and it was meant to happen, and kudos to Marc for making it happen.
The lineup morphs a lot, but one constant seems to be Shannon and the Clams. Has she performed at every Boogaloo?
Marc Ribak: Every one at Mosswood, yes. In my opinion, Shannon’s band was the band that united Oakland. It’s not like there was a big rock-and-roll scene like there was in SF, it was just people showing up to house parties with beer and BBQ, and Shannon and the Clams were the embodiment of that. I definitely think she's one of the most important people in underground music in Oakland.
How did you get connected with John Waters, and get him to be part of the festival?
Marc Ribak: Amy [Carver, Marc's long-time partner] claims that she planted the seed for us to have John come to the Boogaloo. We'd met him a couple of years before that, and we were like, let’s see if we can find him, and see if he would want to come to the Boogaloo, because these are his people: the whole Oakland, trash-rock culture. And I feel like when John came to the festival, and started making the announcements... it really [brought] the whole thing together.
What was your original vision for the Boogaloo and how has it evolved?
Marc Ribak: Well, the Rock and Roll Riot theme is kind of the meat of the Burger Boogaloo. My Dad is a huge Rolling Stones fan... and there’s this really cool old footage of a Rolling Stones concert in a theater that I later found out was in Ireland, or somewhere. Anyway, the Rolling Stones start playing, and the crowd starts getting rowdy... they ripped the shit out of the theater...throwing the seats up onstage, running up onstage, dancing with the band, and at some point the band just gets chased offstage. For me, that’s a rock-and-roll riot!
So last year, I’m watching while the Trashwomen are playing, twenty people jump up onstage, on top of the stage monitors, straddling the stage monitors, and I run down the amphitheater just to witness this total and complete rock-and-roll riot happening. And those are the most exciting moments for me at the Burger Boogaloo, when I see people just totally and utterly losing their shit. It's like a freak party in the best possible way!
Burger Boogaloo happens this weekend, July 1 and 2, in Oakland's Mosswood Park. Find tickets here.