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When former Angel Hair and the VSS vocalist Sonny Kay moved to San Diego in 2001, he never thought his Gold Standard Labs record label would begin the ascent to become one of the most respected in the country. Kay's distribution company had collapsed and he could no longer afford the high rent prices of San Francisco; here he found refuge with some local bands whose albums he had released.

Soon after the move, Kay entered into a partnership with Omar Rodriguez-Lopez from the Mars Volta, which helped pay overdue bills and brought national attention to the label. When the All Tomorrow's Parties festival asked the Mars Volta to curate its 2005 Christmas weekend, Gold Standard Labs -- now based in L.A. -- stepped a little further into the limelight.

"It was kind of like the company Christmas party after a year of breaking our asses," Kay says. "All Tomorrow's Parties was out of control. I saw a lot of people letting their hair down, so to speak, who normally don't."

Though he fought a cold that weekend, Kay did perform with his latest band, Year Future. He says he heard about some of the fun everyone else was having.

"I was in bed by one or two each night, but I heard late in the night, after their performance, the entire Volta crew got served by security for creating havoc in [Los Angeles's] 400 Blows' chalet. Actually, the most amusing and potentially damaging stories have to do with [another band]: ecstasy, mushrooms, alcohol, and free love of many varieties. The Volta dudes couldn't come close."

According to a journal post by Ralph Darden, who performed with his Chicago-based outfit the Jai-Alai Savant, members of the Locust got themselves into trouble by trashing a chalet so badly that they were physically threatened by security.

"This weekend was turning into a seriously crunk event," Darden wrote. "Someone stole the men's room bathroom stalls in the venue. The whole fucking thing. People are animals when they get into the spirit of an event."

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