Out Loud

They scream. They wear tacos for underwear. Meet Faggot, rock's next big gay thing.

Before the music begins, Carroll climbs a mound of tar gravel to play boss man. "Get to work," he tells his dancers. They include two "hot girls" in tattered fishnets, as well as (inexplicably) a man in a full Batman Begins costume. A passing trucker honks at Carroll, to cheers from the crowd. Then the singer yells, "Break time!"

But Wade breaks a string on the first song, and Nielsen breaks his snare drum soon after. Forced to sing through the bass amp, Carroll is barely audible. Yet he's an instrument of the music, and a dramatic one. A dancer spanks him with a shovel. The group yells "AIDS." By the end of the band's set, at least a few fans are brought to a frenzy. Spotting a little girl in a faerie hat perched on top of one gravel mound with her parents, Carroll rushes up and says something to her that makes her giggle uncontrollably.

After the set, I learn that Annabel is the daughter of one of Carroll's best friends, Molli Slade, the one who suggested Carroll move here in the first place. As scavenger hunters bike on to the next stop, "Uncle Tim" teases the young faerie princess.

"Am I better than Madonna?" he asks.

Annabel thinks this over. "You're bigger than Madonna," she says. Then she wonders aloud who was dressed up as Batman.

"What do you mean? That was the real Batman," Carroll says.

"No it wasn't. That was not the real Batman," says Annabel.

This goes on for some time, as other members of Faggot load up the '82 Dodge van, and meanwhile I talk to Molli Slade, who smiles when I tell her that I'm writing about Carroll. "Did you get him to open up?" she says. She's joking, of course.

Slade did performance art with Carroll in Phoenix, so she knows what Faggot means to him. "I'm so glad," she says. "This is perfect for him."

"I don't want to leave!" yells Carroll from some distance away. "I love my dirt pit!"

"He's gone through some hard times," Slade continues. "And this is cathartic. He's been needing to be a rock star for a while."

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