UNIVERSAL CITY, California — The monitors backstage at KROQ-FM's Almost Acoustic Christmas festival on Sunday were broadcasting the performances nearby, but discussion in the dressing rooms centered on what was unfolding on TV screens everywhere else.
Saddam Hussein had just been captured (see "Bush To Saddam: 'Good Riddance' ").
"Today's a good day," said Mark Hoppus, singer/bassist of Blink-182, who recently traveled to the Middle East to perform for U.S. troops.
"We think it's funny that a big turd like him got caught as a coward in a little hole with rats and lice," added singer/guitarist Tom DeLonge, whose brother serves in the Navy. "He's not ever coming back [to power]. I think it's a good day for [Iraqis], us as Americans, and the president can't be too sad about it either."
Hussein, who was found hiding in a hole near his hometown of Tikrit, is now a prisoner of the U.S. government.
"Someone just told me, and I was like, 'Whoa,' " a relieved Jonathan Davis said. "The guy's an evil man ... gassing his own people and all that stuff. If all those things I've heard are true of him and his sons — or at least if half of it is true — he needs to pay."
The Korn singer was especially interested to learn Hussein was carrying a pistol but surrendered without a fight. "He pussed out, of course he did," Davis said. "It's just how it goes. I hope they fry his ass."
Some members of Staind caught the footage of the Iraqi leader, bearded and being tested for lice, before arriving at the Universal Amphitheater for the second day of KROQ's annual holiday concert.
"It looked like they dragged him out of the gutter, it was rough," Aaron Lewis said.
"And you know what, it's good to see him like that," Mike Mushok added.
"From his multiple billion-dollar mansions and palaces all over the place to a hole and looking like a bum," Lewis said. "It works for me."
Across the hall from Blink-182, fellow punks Rancid were less enthusiastic about the news. "I don't really care," Lars Frederiksen said. "It's like, every year, every other year, it's a different madman. And my opinions are my opinions. If you listen to a Rancid record, I think you'll know where we stand politically."
Frederiksen did find one reason to be excited about the capture. "Hopefully it will mean that all our boys will come home, 'cause we got family over there," he said.