By Noah Hubbell
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"We really didn't know what to expect, but Coachella was awesome. It was packed, and everybody loved us," offers Winter. "And we got a great spot between the Libertines and Johnny Marr and the Healers. The whole thing was everything we wanted it to be and more."
As a result of all this momentum -- the performance at Coachella, appearances on MTV2 and the Jimmy Kimmel Show, not to mention the strong word-of-mouth buzz after several years on the club circuit -- Rooney finds itself in another great spot. This summer's invitation to tag along at Perry Farrell's reignited alt megafest was gladly accepted.
"From our experiences so far, it seems like the right thing for us," Winter says, "and we seem like the right band to open it up and get the party started. I think fans are happy to have a good, fun, not-too-heavy band to open the show and get everyone in the mood."
Indeed, it seems beneficial for all those involved. A few weeks into the tour, Rooney was moved from the second stage to the main stage. Normally, a relatively mellow new outfit warming up a daylong festival laden with heavier rock might incite a half-hour hailstorm of empty water bottles and shoes, but Winter says the alternative nation has been generally receptive -- at least so far.
"It's definitely night and day between main stage and the second stage. We get to play to about eight times as many people, even early in the afternoon," he muses. "It's a much bigger stage, and everything just sounds bigger. We're just very happy that we get to reach a lot of people who may not have heard us before."
Rooney's first dates with the festival have also offered a chance to rub shoulders with venerated artists like Jane's Addiction and seasoned players like Queens of the Stone Age, providing an opportunity to learn from those with significantly more distance from high school.
"We get to be in close proximity to all of those bands and get to meet them all. So far, everyone seems to be pretty cool and supportive," Winter says. "Mostly, it's nice to watch the other bands and realize there's lots of things we can learn from them."
Isn't that what the brash and ballsy California boys in Rooney have been doing all along? Watching and learning from the masters?