By admin | March 17, 2006

Rich Wilkes has a dream common to many men around the world. He wants the fame, adulation and celebrity involved with being a rock star. Fortunately for Rich, much like his name says, he has enough cash and cache to pull it off. Rather than start a band and work at it, Rich takes initiative the American way, he lies and buys his way onto the Vans Warped Tour. Using his connections, he convinces the tour he’s writing a piece for Rolling Stone magazine and wants to do it undercover style. The tour agrees but the only problem is, Rich doesn’t have a band or any real musical talent. No problemo, Rich calls a few friends, takes out some ads online and soon forms a punk band called “Carne Asada.”

I have to admit I have some biases against guys like Rich. He’s a successful screenwriter who thinks he’s cool and hip because he has a bumper sticker of the band Fugazi on his BMW. Any fan of the band Fugazi didn’t buy their bumper sticker at the mall as Wilkes surely did. Furthermore, any fan of Fugazi would realize they rail against capitalistic, non-thinking rich people who try and exploit America and the world for their own financial gains. In short, Fugazi would hate you, Rich.

In a similar vein, Wilkes becomes (in his mind) an instant punk rocker because he gets a mohawk and some converse shoes. It’s such narcissistic bullshit and I couldn’t get past it to enjoy what seems to be a lighthearted adventure. I mean, I of course can’t stand how punk music and lifestyle has become co-opted by corporations and fashion, and it’s not all this guys fault. But seeing someone transform he and his friends into a self proclaimed “joke band” because punk is “so easy to play” is insulting to punk rock. It also pisses me off that they got on the Warped Tour when thousands of other more deserving bands couldn’t get a slot.

Wilkes and his band are funny guys. They’re drunk about 90% of the time and seem to really get along great. Yet this all feels like a midlife crisis caught on tape and force fed to audience through lame reality show techniques and annoying graphics voiced by, you guessed it, Rich “lookit me! I’m 40 and have a mohawk!” Wilkes. I wish I could have just enjoyed the ride, but it just seems like Wilkes has and continues to pull of a great punk rock swindle as he flogs this crappy excuse for a band.

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