Things are different now for Rafa Reyes, the heavily inked former gangbanger from Sherman Heights who many of us know from the days when he slung veggie burritos at Pokez.
“We got to meet the Princess of Greece,” says Reyes about his chic weekend in the desert.
Singer Reyes and his techno-programmer partner Dave Parley form Prayers, the “Cholo Goth” duo who played last weekend at Coachella. They return to the sold out music fest again this Sunday.
“We had our own trailer backstage, we had our own driver, our own liaison, gourmet catering for breakfast, lunch, and dinner,” Reyes tells the Reader by phone two days after his first Coachella show.
“They had a lounge for the artists...people giving massages. It was almost like being at a resort but then you have to perform.”
Reyes says their management hooked them up with lodging. “We had our own mansion in Palm Springs. When we get back at night they had this box of goodies with headphones and Nike clothing and stuff on my bed. I think Nike hooked up all the artists at Coachella.”
Reyes says one of the posh Palm Springs party appearances they were invited to will be featured in an upcoming magazine. “We went to a photo shoot at Vanity Fair’s party. It was kind of like a socialite thing.”
They now have a publicist who directs them to events and makes introductions.
“There’s all these celebrities we meet. We have no idea who they are. Afterwards, it’s like, ‘That was such-and-such and that was such-and-such.’ We’re like ‘Okay, cool.’ We never had a publicist before. But for our new record, Baptism of Thieves, we got a publicist.”
And Prayers is getting media juice. “On Friday night we were interviewed by KROQ and played three songs for them on the air. On Sunday we were interviewed from the minute we got there by Rolling Stone and Billboard…”
Just like last Sunday, Prayers play at 1:15 p.m. in Coachella's Mojave Tent. The afternoon slot may be the one part of their Coachella experience they wish was different.
“We’re a nighttime band. That's our aesthetic. We’re vampires. Hellooo! What were they thinking?”
Reyes estimates there were about 1000 fans to see the Prayers’ mid-day set. “They were yelling ‘We love you!’ That I’m their king…that I’m their master…that I’m their god… I’m just like, ‘Thank you.’ It humbles you. ‘We love you too.’”
To anyone going this weekend Reyes says: “Bring a bandana, an umbrella, and sunblock. That weather will kick your ass. I almost passed out on our third song. I dropped to my knees. People thought it was part of the act. I got on the mic and said, ‘I need water.’ They brought it over. Someone just forgot. These things happen.”
While Prayers was billed by some as San Diego’s only contribution to Coachella, Reyes says, “We are pretty much living in L.A. now.” He says he and Parley share a house in L.A. “We live with the High Priestess of OTO. [Ordo Templi Orientis is an order with secret rituals and ceremonies]. I now just come down on weekends to see my mom. My family keeps me grounded. I make time for my family every chance I get.”
Reyes shared some Coachella news that was not widely shared in the media. “I did hear that a 16-year-old girl was killed. She was run over by someone working there who was driving and texting.”
Reyes says Prayers are set to play the upcoming Afropunk Fest in Brooklyn but have no San Diego dates at this time. “We don’t play San Diego that much anymore. Maybe the demand isn’t as great. Maybe they don’t want to see us as much as everywhere else. But we love San Diego to the core. We want to keep that torch lit.”