Voodoo Experience Highlight: Los Angeles Bands

Voodoo Experience Highlight: Los Angeles Music, X, Snoop Dogg, Social Distortion, Ozomatli. Illustration by L. Steve Williams.

Illustration by L. Steve Williams.

She had to leave Los Angeles / sippin’ on gin and juice / it’s the story of my life / just work the angles the city I’m from is Los Angeles.


A boy can dream, can’t he? It’s just so tantalizing, the thought of an L.A.-in-LA extravaganza at Voodoo in which four iconic Angeleno acts might get it on New Orleans style. Snoop Dogg rapping with X? Social Distortion churning with Ozomatli? Why should that be any different than Dr. John with Monk Boudreaux, Trombone Shorty with Bob French, George Porter, Jr. with anybody?

It’s not really so far-fetched. Each has shown community spirit aplenty. X brought neo-Beat poetry and rockabilly riffs to the L.A. punk scene and spun off such collaborative ventures as the old-style countrybilly Knitters—three-fourths X plus the Blasters’ Dave Alvin. Inspired by that world, Social D started as snotty OC punkers (remember “Mommy’s Little Monster” from 1983?) and then—after leader Mike Ness dealt with some serious rehab—reemerged as roots-rock mentors to a new generation of surf-skate kids (the Offspring et al). Snoop, the hip-hop Ggod Dogg, got his launch bringing Long Beach to Compton via his showcases on Dr. Dre’s The Chronic. And Ozomatli? The term “polyglot” doesn’t even cover this East L.A.-Chinatown-South Central-Westside omni-culti conglomeration.

L.A. is just a bunch of interchanges and intersections anyway, right? It’s not just the freeways and streets; it’s the cultures and communities. And that’s where the fun happens. With these four acts sharing the bill on Voodoo’s Saturday, it’s an opportunity to show Louisiana what L.A. is made of—the whole panorama, not just four snapshots.

In all seriousness, any (or all) combinations of these artists could come up with something remarkable, a real statement about their city in the spirit of the host city. It’d be fine if Snoop added a few lines to an X song, or if X drummer D.J. Bonebrake joined the Ozomatli drum line, or if Ness traded his “Prison Bound” wisdom with occasionally-incarcerated Snoop, or if Snoop’s and Ozo’s DJs teamed up on one or the other’s sets for a little turntable battle.

But as long as we’re fantasizing, let’s go big: How about all of them teaming for a one-time-only blow-out? Not the mere mash-up imagined at the top of the story, but something built by the artists from the ground up. Start with all the percussionists laying down a groove—a little bit East L.A.

Latin, a little Doggy lope, a little punk fire, all blending together. Then have the DJs mix some iconic Angeleno voices: Marilyn Monroe, Eazy-E, Vin Scully and his en español counterpart Jaime Jarrin. Zoom starts channeling Tommy Collins of the Collins Kids, the Ozo horns take a collective stroll down Central Avenue circa 1957, Exene Cervenka and Snoop alternate lines from Bukowski and the Watts Prophets, with John Doe and Ness coming in to rhapsodize about Angelyne and the comparably massive burritos of El Tepeyac.

Oh heck, let’s throw in Dr. John, Trombone Shorty and, yeah, George Porter, Jr., too. L.A., meet LA.

But wait, you say. What about Blink-182, another Saturday headliner?

San Diego, dude. Totally different.


Ozomatli plays Saturday, October 29 at 3:15 p.m. on the WWOZ Stage. Social Distortion plays Saturday, October 29 at 5:45 p.m. on the Voodoo Stage. X plays Saturday, October 29 at 7 p.m. in the Bingo! Parlor. Snoop Dogg plays Saturday, October 29 at 7:15 p.m. on the Voodoo Stage.