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Recovered Notes From the SS Coachella, Lost at Sea

Humor Entertainment
by Josh Heller Dec 19, 2012

[Several months ago, a group of young tastemakers boarded the SS Coachella for what was supposed to be three days of cruising around the Bahamas while listening to the music of Pulp, the Black Lips, Grimes, and many more indie darlings. Three days into the journey, the boat lost all communication with the mainland; they were never heard from again.

Rescue efforts went on for weeks, but no sign of the ship was ever discovered. Several weeks later, another cruise ship carrying jam-band aficionados went missing. The twin disappearance of these cruise liners dominated the headlines for several days, until all media attention was turned to Justin Bieber’s new face tattoo.

Nothing was known about what happened to the ships…until now. Our offices have acquired an iPad 2 that washed up on the Bahamian shore. We believe it contains the answers to the fates of the SS Coachella and Jam Cruise. We’re republishing the notes as we found them.]


I’m really psyched to be on the SS Coachella. A ton of chill people came here from cool neighborhoods like Echo Park, Bushwick, and The Mission. There are so many great tattoos and awesome beards. I want to start a fashion blog about everyone I meet. Maybe I’ll even get a book deal! JK, I don’t have service.


I think it’s been about six weeks now that we’ve been lost at sea. I definitely haven’t written since we first boarded. Things have gotten increasingly stressful…thought I should keep tabs on what’s happening.

The first couple of days on the boat were fun. I saw some good bands (James Murphy had an awesome set), I met some cool people (a bunch of Instagram-famous peeps), and I ate some good food (love that all-you-can-eat Tiramisu bar.) At some point the captain said we lost contact with the mainland and that we were “floating aimlessly.”

Most people weren’t concerned — more free days to get drunk at sea — though a growing number of people think we might have lost communication on December 21st. Maybe we’re alive after the world ended.


A few days ago the captain spotted a small island. He docked us near another boat. There was initial excitement that this other boat could help, but they too were stranded. This bummed out everybody on the SS Coachella, especially when we found out the ship we’d encountered was the Jam Cruise, a boat for Phish fans.

The first skirmish happened in the dining room.

Nobody on my boat really seems to care about the island. Most people just stay aboard because the ship still has amenities (booze) and a place to plug in your iPad 2. 85% of the people on the SS Coachella are too focused on documenting everything that’s happening to them in the moment to actually think about their own survival. I’m more interested in investigating the island, and finding a way home.

The Jam Cruise hangs out on the beach (for fire dancing and drum circles) but nobody seems up for exploration.


The captain unexpectedly disappeared, which really freaked out most people aboard the boat.

Factions are starting to form. The Goth/Witch-House crew have been hanging out with Grimes in the western dining room. The DIY/Punk/Garage fans are spending their time drinking bottles of Jack Daniels with the Black Lips in the western ballroom. The Chillwave and Electronica guys are still affixed to the only room where power is consistent, a conference room near the front of the ship. They spend their days playing with a synthesizer.

Off the boat, I’ve met a few cruisetys…what our boat is calling those hippies on the Jam Cruise. They are very, very articulate on a number of topics. Most notably, they all seem to have an encyclopedic knowledge of Phish tours, from the mid-80s to the present.

I’m having a conversation with an old hippie who says he was the “acid connection to the ghetto in the 1960s.” Then he instantly forgot what he was talking about and said “– well brother as you get older, remember the nouns are the first thing to go…you still remember what happened, but can’t remember what, where, and who it happened to.”


Over the loudspeaker, the Grimes faction have now admitted to throwing the captain and crew overboard. Everyone from Pulp is missing.

I’m spending most of my days away from the increasingly frightening SS Coachella, on the island. I’m starting to get worried about my own survival, so I’m slowly moving supplies to the other side of the little landmass. I’ve met a few cruisetys who are doing the same. They’ve invited me aboard, too.

Things don’t seem as futile on the Jam Cruise ship. Everyone seems to be in good spirits, even though they have to listen to six-hour DUMPSTAPHUNK jam-sessions. Over a “mega fatty bombastic joint,” I tell them that people on our boat speculate we’re all dead. That the world ended by Mayan prophecy on December 21st.

A guy who goes by Jah’s Son (but I’m pretty sure his parents call him Jason) said the Jam Cruise left in the middle of January. December 21st was a fluke, the world didn’t end…. “Though now that I think about it there’s a Soundtribe Sector Nine jam where they mentioned a possible end to the world, and it was supposed to occur around January 29th, 2013.”

These guys are nuts.


The first skirmish happened in the dining room. The staff ran out of Cherries Jubilee, and Grimes wasn’t able to get any. Infuriated, she knocked over the flaming cart and set fire to a table. She pulled the maitre’d over and burned his face…to prove a point. Grimes has now decreed that everyone must listen to Luigi Russolo and the Futurists over the loudspeakers.


I’ve been trying to avoid the fighting on my boat. I’m thinking of jumping ship and hanging out with the Jammers.

Jam Cruise’s political triumvirate of Medeski, Martin, and moe (surviving members from each of the bands) are trying to make peace with Grimes. She says she plans to disregard their truce and declare an all-out war for the resources the other cruise ship has.

Listen, even though I hate jam bands, their approach to our situation seems better than that of the denizens of the SS Coachella. They’re too busy taking “past-life regression workshops” to fight over resources.

What does Grimes want next? Once she takes over this ship, she’ll execute a dozen more people. Will I be able to survive?

Today the SS Coachella officially declared war on Jam Cruise. We’ve been ordered to create makeshift weapons from plastic shampoo bottles. Members of the Chillwave faction have been tasked with reverse-engineering a Roland Juno-106 to send electromagnetic pulses that can be used to shut down operations on the other boat.

Someone suggested we make molotov cocktails from the remaining vodka bottles. That person was immediately forced to walk-the-plank. Booze is the last thing we can get rid of.

Grimes and everyone on this boat believe that, “Victory comes to those who Do It Yourselves and none of this Trustifarian Trust Fund Hand-Out Bullshit.”


Grimes’ lieutenants still allow me to go to the island to scavenge for food. We’ve pretty much decimated the place, but there’s a grove of coconuts that remains untapped.

I’ve met members of the Jam Cruise, and despite their being cruisetys, we’ve become friends. Everyone on their boat is sedated, as they cast off with what has been estimated as $1.5 million worth of the dankest buds in all of North America. Will they be too stoned to realize an attack is pending?

What does Grimes want next? Once she takes over this ship, she’ll execute a dozen more people. Will I be able to survive?


Grimes decided we should attack at night, without warning. In the dark, we boarded our life boats and headed over to the Jam Cruise. The hardest-core members of the tribe (now featuring members of Yeasayer, Pulp, and the Black Lips) jumped aboard with their homemade weapons and slaughtered hundreds of hippies as they napped between ultimate frisbee games.

I stayed away, and along with a handful of others found shelter on the other side of the island. Nobody realizes we’ve gone. Now we’re alone with members of jam bands Steel Pulse and Galactic…we’re sitting, waiting to figure out what we’ll do when they discover we’ve abandoned both ships.


This morning on the horizon we noticed a new ship. As it moved closer, we could read the banner across its side: Soul Train Cruise.

I will no longer live in fear. I’m going to abandon this island and all of these maniacs. The Soul Train Cruise is my only ticket to security, shelter, nourishment, and, I’m pretty sure, Kool & the Gang.

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