Where will you be partying when the world ends? That's the question several local bands and venues will be asking when the long predicted "Mayan Doomsday" arrives on Friday.
Though debunked by scholars who argue the ancient Mayan stone calendar has been misinterpreted, you never can count out a good old zombie apocalypse or alien takeover. In fact, any gimmick is a good one when it's all in the name of fun.
Whatever the occasion (or non-occasion), Bakersfield grunge rockers Meditated Assault are up for it and have planned a multi-band blowout titled "The Last Rock N Roll Show On Earth."
"If the world is going to end, let's go out with a bang," said bassist Micah Reeves, 27. "No regrets. Enjoy the moment."
Seated alongside Reeves during a recent interview were drummer Tony Pearce and guitarist and lead vocalist Rico Ponce, both of whom agree if it's time, they'll be ready to go out blazing. Not present at the interview was guitarist Bryan Quick, 25.
"I can't think of anything I'd rather do than play a final show with my best friends and roommates," said Pearce, 23. "If zombies crash the party, I'll be throwing drums, cymbals, and my drumsticks should be nice and splintered to take some out with."
Ponce, 26, who considers himself a doomsday hipster, or "doomster," said it's a moment he's been preparing for since watching "Night of the Living Dead" with his mother at age 7.
"If there's going to be an apocalypse, I hope it's more like that zombie movie than 'The Road,'" Ponce said. "That movie was depressing."
Pearce fired back with his own doomsday cinema pick:
"I saw 'Independence Day.' Alien ships aren't hard to fly. If Will Smith can figure it out, so can I."
Whether you share in end-of-the-world levity or not, there's no denying the impact of apocalyptic scenarios on pop culture with TV shows like "The Walking Dead" and "Doomsday Preppers" promoting hysteria not felt since the Y2K scare of 1999.
And the longer our conversation, the more each band member began to get into the spirit of the big day.
"I always tell people, 'I'm not fat. I really am a doomsday prepper," said Reeves. "I would go to my friend's cabin in the mountains and sustain myself on rice, beans, bread, water, and some other dry goods."
Meditated Assault are some seriously rockin' party guys who formed their group five years ago. The group is opening and headlining shows here and in Hollywood after releasing an independently produced five-song demo circulating with fans and online at their web page, reverbnation.com/meditatedassault. The band also is a finalist in an online battle of the bands at macworldiworld.com after being selected from more than 350 entries. The winning band gets to open the annual Macworld/iWorld Blast party in San Francisco.
"Everyone should come out to Vinny's; don't be afraid. It'll be a blast," said Ponce, adding the group has a special song suited for the occasion, appropriately titled, "The End."
"The lyrics say, 'I'll save tomorrow, if you'll save today. We'll watch the last sunrise before the end of days.'"
Hoping to bring some easygoing vibes at a time of potential crisis are local reggae outfit Amity Flow, which plans to keep it mellow for "Dooms Day Reggae Fest" at On the Rocks.
"It's funny how people are making more of a big deal about this than Y2K, especially since all these shows on TV have been showing up, with the nation tuning in," said Amity Flow vocalist and guitarist Drew Peterson, 24. "I'd like to spread some music and put people at ease with the reggae. It seems like nothing can really beat that. I'm super-excited about it."
It's hard to imagine a reggae band exuding much rage onstage, but given that Amity Flow is preparing for its first headlining show, Peterson said there aren't enough zombies to keep them from having a good time.
"This is kind of a big deal, and we're not really violent. But I work at a pizza parlor and have my weapon of choice picked out to slay zombies. We use it to cut cheese. I could mow some zombies down if they came at me with it. But if I was onstage, I'd just use my guitar."
At Friday's show, band members will be giving away free copies of their latest CD.
"As soon as midnight hits, I'm just gonna be glad this whole thing is over, but I'm also game to believe in it because it's been a fun idea."
Like Meditated Assault, Peterson said his group has a special song to commemorate the moment, titled "Light the Fire," which will make its debut when the clock strikes midnight.
"It's about finding a new brighter day for our country and our people. I think that would go really well with giving people encouragement and hope that one day we'll get rid of all this violence and greed that overwhelms our country. Maybe the build-up of this whole apocalypse thing kind of feeds right into that, where tomorrow we can wake up and find a new way instead of the way that we've been living over the past decade or so. It fits the evening."