Sunburned guys ruining a friend's wedding. Photo by Don Harney
Vermont’s Sunburned Hand of the Man are not fucking hippies. Yes, they come from a hippie state and yes, they are more or less unwashed, but these guys are as far removed from peace and love as the Taliban. At a recent show at New York’s Tonic nightclub, they took the stage well past 1 AM, picked up instruments seemingly at random from the huge assortment scattered across the stage, and proceeded to play the most satanic set I have ever heard. This music had such intense black magic power that I couldn’t close my eyes during it. Every time I did, I saw those fucking demon things from Jacob’s Ladder doing the Deadhead dance. After Sunburned finished playing two long, totally improvised pieces, chucked a creepy lifesize plastic skeleton into the crowd, and managed to both fully blow away and bad-vibe the whole room, I approached the stage and talked to percussionist/vocalist/other-stuff-guy Phil. Of course he knew about drugs that I never even heard of… VICE: What’s the weirdest trip you ever took? Phil: I worked on that umbrella project by the Christos out in California. We set them up for two weeks and camped at this place called Pyramid Lake. This girl who called herself Panacea Thariad and her boyfriend told us about this flower called Datura. It has these purple and white seeds that you dry out, mash up, and drink in a tea. We found it growing right by the highway. It was a wild trip. It was a real physical and natural thing. How’d it compare to acid? I hate that shit at this point. Totally different thing. On the way home from that job, I dropped some acid on the plane back to Boston. I landed in Vegas on a stopover, by myself, peaking on acid. Man, I will never do that again. Didn’t one of those Christo umbrellas blow over and kill someone? Like three days after I got home, yeah. This woman had a terminal illness and had been given six months to live, many years prior. She always felt like she was on borrowed time. Wow—the finger of God snapped on her. Totally. Anything else? What’s the most underrated drug? I always say it’s ketamine. Oh, yeah. I used to shoot that shit intramuscularly. You stick the liquid into your butt or your arm. Your head gets disconnected from your body. You’re like on a boat in the middle of the ocean. I was doing it with this girl. We’d just hang out and play doctor. Go to Sunburnedhand.com.