In a car more suited to light grocery shopping or picking the kids up from soccer practice, our friends Conor Creighton and Kendall Waldman are travelling across the bottom half of the USA on a road trip from South Carolina to California. They’ll be trying to swerve the cliches to send us updates on all the cool stuff they come across. The series' name is From Sea to Shining Sea.
Marfa is a town with a population of about 2,000 people way, way out in the Southwest Texan desert. The ground is dry, the fast food options are limited to Dairy Queen and in March, when the wind picks up, it can feel colder than a snow-capped mountain top. Still, people choose to live out here and pretty much all of them end up loving it. No one loves Marfa more than the band LBS (and that's "LBS" as in the abbreviation for pounds).
They live in a cute cottage that used to belong to the holiest lady in Marfa. She built a grotto out front. The statue of Mary is long gone but the space is a nice windbreaker for drinking a beer or taking a group shot. LBS have been playing together for just about half a year. They’d like to have a home in the metal scene but don’t really feel they have one yet, so in the interest of classification, if you’ve ever wanted to know what West Texas, stonerdoom, pervcore sounds like, click here:
The band take their inspiration from the town and the desert around them. Not much grows out here but stories.
Like the Marfabator. This unsolved mystery centred around a guy who would break into people’s homes then wank over personal objects. Remote controls, clean laundry, plants. With only 2,000 people in town, pretty much anyone who could get an erection came under suspicion. Petitions were signed, Texas Rangers were called in but the sticky-fingered culprit was never caught.
Another time, back in the 1990s, Marfa played host to about two thirds of the cocaine being trafficked across the border. Mexico is less than an hour away. The drugs were warehoused in and around the village. The local sheriff from that time is still in prison for possession of over a billion dollars worth of coke. He’s sharing a yard with the boy’s elementary school teacher who, fittingly for a teacher of younger kids, was just handling weed. Nowadays, the boys tell us, Marfa is more or less a police state. There are border patrols, Texas rangers, DPS, National Guard and Customs all keeping watch for cartel activity on the border.
“But that’s fucked up,” says Tyler. “Sixty miles from the border and we still have to pay 80 bucks for an ounce of shitty weed that smells like diesel fuel.”
Marfa has many things going for it. But an ideal place to do drugs sits high on that list. It’s spectacular in its emptiness. All the architecture looks tiny, dwarfed by sky and desert. It’s actually kind of spooky.
“Most people can’t handle it,” says Mark, “Everyone moves to Marfa and two weeks into their stay they’re like, 'It’s Monday night, I’ve got nothing to eat but a corndog and my wife is banging someone else.' Marfa really cycles through people.”
Some of them come for the Marfa Lights. They’re an unexplained natural phenomena that is basically different coloured lights dancing out in the desert. They’ve been known to chase people, but no one’s come close to catching them.
“The best explanation I heard for it is two rabbits rubbing their tails together,” says John.
LBS have plans. They want to record an album, play more gigs and even open up a strip club: Donald Jugs, a tribute to the artists Donald Judd who helped put Marfa on the map. But most of all they plan on sticking around.
“There are no secrets in this town,” says Tyler. “There’s always someone doing something strange in Marfa. Yes, it sucks growing up here. All you want to do is get out. But then it hits you that, as soon as you leave, everywhere else is gonna be way worse. It sucks here, but it really sucks everywhere else.”
And it's optimism like that glues the Marfa stoner pervcore scene together.
Thanks to the Paisano.
Follow Conor on Twitter: @conorcreighton