Photo taken from Uncle Randy’s Facebook
Festival season is upon us and with that comes exciting reunions of friends from near and far. Whether your festi fam rounds up the troops for local shows each weekend or treks from across the country to the next big event, it’ll be great grooving together yet again. But we know fest family extends beyond close friends, it’s the strangers you share emotional sets with and the pizza guy cracking jokes at late night. For those in the Midwest scene, it also means Uncle Randy!
You might’ve seen him getting down in that cute little pink tutu at a set or you’ve seen him featured on MTV’s Ridiculousness. If you have yet to meet this seasoned farmer and full-time rager — please allow me to introduce you to our favorite uncle, Randy Stach!
Festival Squad: Now those who know you, know you can get down with the best of them but how did you first get into the music scene?
Randy Stach: Probably back when I saw the Grateful Dead when Jerry Garcia was still alive. I wouldn’t say I was a dead head. I liked them but I was into a lot of different bands, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin. But see there wasn’t a lot of music festivals around back then.
FS: Very different from the music culture today. You could go to a music festival every weekend if you wanted to!
RS: Yeah actually, last year for my 60th birthday in August I went to a music festival every weekend for three months. That’s how I rang in my 60th, it was pretty fun.
FS: Anyone who’s seen you at a festival knows you’re usually with Colin. How did you guys meet?
RS: Aah yes, my ratchet little cheerleader! Colin is great, he’s like a brother to me. We met over 10 years ago through a band called Human Aftertaste. I didn’t even play an instrument, but the band liked my craziness and invited me to tour along with them. Colin was filming for them at the time and that’s how we met.
FS: What EDM artists do you like?
RS: I really like Excision, his shows are amazing. Bassnectar and ODESZA are really cool too. I honestly find most of my music through Colin actually. I’m an old fart; I know all the great rock and roll but he shows me what’s new in electronic music.
FS: How did the Uncle Randy persona begin?
RS: I went to this festival in Southern Illinois at Shawnee Saltpetre Cave. I went with three younger guys and on the way down one of the guys said he was going to call me his uncle that weekend. They were telling everyone all weekend, “hey meet my Uncle Randy, isn’t he great?!”
FS: How did the costumes come about?
RS: One of the guys in Human Aftertaste lived in a big old building and it had a huge storage closet with donated clothes. Before their shows, people would come around to pick out costumes to wear that night. The guys would dress as girls and the girls as guys. I found that pink tutu, probably made for an eight-year-old it’s so small, and rocked it. It just stuck after that.
FS: That sounds like fun! Takes some guts to rock a little pink tutu, were you always so outgoing?
RS: No, I was kinda shy actually. I was a cheerleader in college for a basketball team and would dress up for that. That was probably the first time I was really in front of people in costume. Then I found Human Aftertaste and we just had so much fun. The shows were absolutely crazy. We’d be making bacon on stage and squirting ketchup and mustard at the crowd. I definitely wasn’t shy at those.
FS: How do you feel about being a persona in the music scene?
RS: I have a big responsibility! But I love it, I really do. All I ever want is for everyone to be having fun, that’s why I do it. I might be crazy but I care so much about people. I’ll help anyone and so will Colin. I can’t tell you how many people we’ve helped find their campsites, lost items, etc. I never had any kids, so I feel like all of you are my kids. I’ve got one hell of a family!
FS: And now you have pins and stickers being made of you!
RS: Colin and I wanted to make them before, but we didn’t know how to go about it. So when we were at Electric Forest we met this guy from New York who wanted to make the pins. We touched base after the festival. I sent him some pictures of my costumes and he made it all happen.
FS: Can we look forward to any new costumes this year?
RS: Yes, A friend of mine has made me a couple of new ones. She actually just found the same material as the original pink tutu so she’s remaking it. I just about ran that one into the ground, but at least the new one will be made my size!
FS: Do you have a favorite music festival?
RS: Well it has to be Summer Camp! That’s the festival that made me famous. It feels so great to be there, everyone’s giving me hugs and asking for pictures. It can be a bit overwhelming but I love it.
FS: Are there any artists you’re looking forward to seeing this summer?
RS: Well I always look forward to seeing Les Claypool, he’s my favorite. But most of the time I don’t have a set agenda of artists I want to see. I really like to wander around festivals and stop at sets that catch my eye. There are times where the set will end and I’ll be like, “wow who were those guys?!” That’s why I love festivals because I’m always finding new music. But Colin makes sure I don’t miss certain artists and I’ll always go out of my way to support my friends playing.
I know we’re looking forward to seeing good old Uncle Randy around fest grounds this summer. Until then, in the wise words of our main guy, “Do what you want. Be who you want. But don’t be an asshole, be nice to people!”