:::::: 03.17.03: a scorching day at the zoo at play with the many colored beasts of the field and jungle ::::::
what does a bivouacked band do on a day off from rock n roll carnage? spend time with the kangaroos, wallabies, koalas, zebras, baboons, giraffes, bears, penguins and seals.
the Melbourne zoo is sprawling with natural habitats where most of the animals hide in the shade from the heat and the humans. the zebras are my favorite. I'm amazed how nature devised their pattern. it looks like it was evolved more for studio 54 than the African plain. they're probably the animal least likely to look out of place at a rock show.
my first run in with a kangaroo was in '95. I rented a van and was way out in the Australian outback about 3 hours from Perth. I saw a trail and pulled off the road. I walked through the dirt for a while until suddenly a 6 foot kangaroo jumped out of a shrub into the path in front of me. he was decidedly not cute. he had sharp teeth, long claws, the height and stature of a man but more the manner of a monster--he looked like he could rip your arm off! I was envisioning one of those animals gone berserk videos that exploit animal to animal violence. I stood very still. he looked me over, jerking his head around, then eventually hopped back into the bush. relieved, I looked down and realized I was standing in the middle of thousands of spiders and bugs. I decided to retreat from the bush and make my way back to civilization. thankfully, the view of the kangaroos at the zoo was much more relaxed. they seemed domesticated and cute, lazing with their young.
we took refuge from the heat in a gift shop where Justin started berating the stuffed animals. he needed to reassert his dominance over the animal kingdom but in the safety and confines of the gift shop. we amused ourselves trying on masks. this band has a history with animal masks, going back to the white horse heads we used to wear back in '96. (its probably a nod to dada). I remember having to film an acceptance speech when we were on tour and unable to attend the ceremony. we put the whole band in a hot tub wearing the white horse heads, with myself in the middle wearing a cowboy hat, bubbles and steam abounding. the effect created at the ceremony was never known but we felt a certain equine strength in doing it. it probably stirred some deep ethos of the man/horse, the satyr. playing with the flaming lips was natural as they were well acquainted with the animal costumes. though I think Wayne had more of a mutant, island of dr. moreau thing going on (the val kilmer version).
in the gift shop I found a new companion, a rainbow colored chimp we named dong. he hung around my neck all afternoon.
we got popsicles and jello in the concession area and took a rest. our adventures were coming to a close. we had one last stop at the baboons. they were the most fascinating to watch. their butts turn bright red when they are ready to mate (a lot of ruddy asses in that place). I couldn't stop looking at the elderly baboons. they sit alone and look rather haunted. you could almost see how much they remembered.