Throwing Muses
Kristin Hersh
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"Leon, Guanajuato" by Kristin Hersh, August 1 2008 (originally published on

Leon, Guanajuato is a city of bright colors and happy children. We spent three inspiring days there with some right-minded people who believe in making art with a lowercase “a”. Simply put: beauty for people. The FIAC festival is one that celebrates many different mediums and invites the whole city to attend.

Placed in the hands of three young men who laughed often, spoke freely of “magic” and sang at the top of their lungs, we let Mexico wash over us. Food, people, land, architecture, language..all of it astonishingly beautiful.

With 50Foot Rob on drums and my oldest son, Doony playing bass, we created a patchwork set list of Throwing Muses and solo songs as well as some 50FootWave and Appalachian folk songs, of all things. It sounded interesting: atmospheric tremolo guitar sections erupting into pounding instrumentals. It’d be a cool band except that it isn’t a band. We needed a name.

Since we make up band names all the time, we set some parameters: a band name suggestion must be something you’ve actually seen and it must be something you’ve seen in Mexico. We narrowed the ever-lengthening list down to these contenders:

“Iron Cobra” (a foot pedal)

“Wax Jesus” (a wax Jesus)

“Hover Jesus” (I don’t know how they did this)

“Commando” (Rob swears he saw one)

“Canary Room” (Billy asked for a canary to be put in our room, but they smiled and said no)

We never officially settled on a name, though Wax Jesus sort of stuck. It could be a working title, I don’t know; but speaking of working, my little baby Doony busted his little baby ass and rocked everyone’s world. After the show, he signed his first autographs and posed for pictures with entire families. Then he hosted an almost all-night tequila party in his hotel room (I’m so proud!).

We hated leaving Mexico. There’s something they have figured out there that one rarely sees elsewhere and it’s hard to put your finger on. Humanity maybe?

We left Los Angeles in an earthquake, flew through electrical storms and into a hurricane to end up in a particular kind of paradise; one in which people of all ages participate in a shared aesthetic experience. Children danced while we played, rads pumped their fists, parents and grandparents clapped and cheered. It was humbling.

This may never happen again, but during the set, I looked at my smiling drummer and beautiful son and felt honored to have done this in my life.