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Miley Cyrus: Confessions of Pop's Wildest Child

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Back in the car, Cheyne opens his GPS and plots a course for one of their favorite fast-food spots, a SoCal-only chain called Baker's Drive­Thru. "It's like a Mexican White Castle," Cheyne says. "It's so good," says Miley. She orders a taco burger with everything and a giant soda. "We just jumped out of a motherfuckin' plane!" she says. "You can't tell me nothin'!"

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On the way back to L.A., Miley's phone buzzes. "This is why I love Pharrell so much," she says, then reads a text that he sent her out loud. It's at least 1,000 characters long; she scrolls forever. "The VMAs was nothing more than God or the Universe showing you how powerful anything you do is," he says at one point. "It's like uranium – it has the power to take over lives or power entire countries. Now that you've seen your power, master it."

"You're not a train wreck," he says later. "You're the train pulling everyone else along."

Back at the crib, Miley, drained from all the adrenaline, goes upstairs to take a nap. When she comes back down a few hours later, she still feels funny. "Have you been having any shakiness?" she asks. "I just started getting dizzy – I had to sit for a second." She takes a deep breath. "My heart is going a thousand miles per hour. I think maybe it gave me a little vertigo!" In the kitchen, Cheyne makes her a drink – Gatorade and Malibu – and Miley gets her bearings. She checks her phone and reads a text from Lil' Kim out loud: "My little pumpkin, I just had to tell you you're so fucking smart. I love you and all the press you are getting. Sad I didn't run into you at the VMAs. Keep killing it, boo." Miley laughs. "My little pumpkin!"

Miley goes back upstairs to change. When she comes back down, in a punky black-leather miniskirt and big black Chanel boots, two of her friends have shown up: Thom, a young Australian actor on an NBC summer show (he's also Cheyne's roommate), and Janelle, his jewelry­designer girlfriend.

Miley doesn't actually go out very much. ("I call myself Rapunzel with a mohawk. Standing by my window, looking at the paparazzi, just wanting to leave the crib.") But tonight we're going to what she promises is the best club in L.A.: Beacher's Madhouse, at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel.

Everyone piles into an SUV, with Miley checking her lipstick in the passenger seat. Cheyne leads the way, and our whole crew blows past the line in the lobby and gets escorted to a prime corner booth, which Miley calls "the birdcage." The promoter gives her a hug and sends over a bottle of vodka. The club, which features a twisted, live-action roving variety show, feels like something out of Stefon's wet dreams: There's an old male stripper in leather hot pants, fishnet­wearing go-go dancers, a miniature Psy dancing to "Gangnam Style." Amazon Ashley, the six-foot-seven burlesque dancer whom Miley mimed anilingus on at the VMAs, comes over, topless, except for pasties, and gives her a massive hug. "I Believe I Can Fly" plays on the PA, and a bummed-looking Oompa-Loompa, who is attached to a cable via a hook on the back of his overalls, gets hoisted up to the ceiling and dropped down to a table of girls, where he delivers a bottle of liquor.

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We stay until the club shuts down, and then some. Miley spends the whole night dancing on a banquette and drinking Malibu. Afterward, Cheyne orders a couple of Uber cars, and about a dozen of Miley's friends pile in and head to their friend Ryan's house in the Hollywood Hills. The afterparty feels like something out of Miley's "We Can't Stop" video: a bunch of hip, pretty young people partying in a house that's way too nice. Suddenly, Miley gets excited. "This is actually the house!" she says. "The 'This is our house, this is our roof' house – this is the place! And these are the homies!" She can't stop smiling. "We're really living that life!"

This story is from the October 10th, 2013 issue of Rolling Stone.

To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here

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Song Stories

“Santa Monica”

Everclear | 1996

After his brother and girlfriend both died of drug overdoses, Art Alexakis -- depressed and hooked on drugs himself -- jumped off the Santa Monica Pier in California, determined to die. "It was really stupid," said the Everclear frontman, who would further explore his personal emotional journey in the song "Father of Mine." "I went under the water. Then I said, 'I don't wanna die.'" The song, declaring "Let's swim out past the breakers/and watch the world die," was intended as a manifesto for change, Alexakis said. "Let the world do what it's gonna do and just live on our own."

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