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Last updateFri, 16 Sep 2016 12pm

Music News and Features

23 Feb 2016
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After almost two decades of making music in the Coachella Valley, the Hellions are finally releasing what the band is calling a “proper Hellions record.” On Friday, March 25, the Hellions will play at a show featuring for former Misfits frontman Michale Graves at The Hood Bar and Pizza, ending the band’s recent break from live shows. During an interview the band members dubbed “Tacos With the Hellions” at Pueblo Viejo Grill in Palm Desert, I tried to nail down how long the album has been in the works. “Two months,” said frontman and guitarist Angel Lua. “A week,” said guitarist Jamie Hargate, before changing his answer: “18 years.” The joke answers kept coming as the drinks started to arrive. For Angel Lua, it was a Michelada; for Travis Rockwell, a non-alcoholic beer; drummer Bob Llamas stuck to Budweiser; and Jamie Hargate went all in with not only a michelada,…
17 Feb 2016
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On April 1, Dennis and Kathleen Ford will celebrate the third anniversary of their purchase of Schmidy’s Tavern in Palm Desert. Under the Fords, Schmidy’s has become one of the Coachella Valley’s most welcoming local-music venues, and has developed a great reputation among beer-lovers thanks to its impressive selection of craft beers and good food. That’s why it’s heartbreaking to many that on that third anniversary—barring a miracle or sudden change of plans—Schmidy’s Tavern will close. “As of April 1, 2016, Schmidy’s Tavern will be closing our doors for good,” Dennis Ford said in a Feb. 8 statement on Facebook. “We do not have a lease and have not had one for a year now. Our landlord wants to raise the rent 112 percent, and we simply cannot afford that. We have been paying 50 percent more for the past year, and it has taken its toll. “We cannot continue…
12 Feb 2016
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It’s been a rough decade for Gabby Gaborno, of the legendary SoCal bands Cadillac Tramps and Manic Hispanic. He’s battled diabetes, liver problems and renal failure. He’s suffered a serious stroke and a heart attack. And shortly after his 50th birthday, late last year, he was told he has liver cancer. To help the much-loved musician pay his medical bills, some friends have set up a GoFundMe campaign. During a recent phone interview, Gaborno said doctors initially missed the cancer at the Orange County medical center where he was getting treatment. He’s now being treated at Cedars-Sinai in Los Angeles. “My stomach was getting jacked up, and I was puking for days at a time,” Gaborno said. “I had gotten CTs here in Orange County, and they missed (the cancer). They missed it for a while, and I went to Cedars-Sinai to start treatment—and they said I had a baseball…
25 Jan 2016
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Here in the desert, we take our punk rock and stoner rock pretty seriously. We take pride in the cutting-edge musicians who carved a place out for themselves in the international music marketplace—and put our area on the international music map. Bands like Kyuss, Queens of the Stone Age, Yawning Man, Fatso Jetson, Unida and others boldly explored new territory with their musical instruments and gave birth to their own brand of original rock. Back in the ’80s and early ’90s, these then-underground bands were drawing influences from punk, grunge and metal—yet in each instance, they created a sound that was all their own. Palm Desert's Nick Oliveri—multi-instrumentalist, singer and songwriter—made a name for himself playing bass-guitar in Kyuss (which just so happened to be Oliveri’s very first band). The group caught the ears of A&R people quickly, and it wasn’t long before the members were cutting a record and…
16 Jan 2016
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Local DJ Alex Harrington had a big year in 2015. He played at the Dome at the Coachella campground. He returned to ever-growing summer pool-dance party Splash House. He played some out-of-town shows—including an appearance with Vanilla Ace. The longtime Independent contributor is starting off 2016 with a bang, too: He’s releasing a new EP, Tru Groove; is starting a record label; and is beginning a residency at the soon-to-open WTF and Buzz Bar, in the old Dink’s location in Palm Springs. During a recent interview, Harrington talked about his new EP. “The new EP is three tracks, and the inspiration behind it is UK garage music,” Harrington said. “A lot of the old-school UK garage music, I got into it, but I wanted to give it a current touch. Everybody knows I like disco music, so what I did was make an album where the beat is garage music;…
15 Jan 2016
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Alfa Cologne is an under-the-radar gem in the Coachella Valley music scene—perhaps because all that Alfa Cologne does was, at first, not meant to be taken that seriously, nor did he intend to become a musician. It just sort of happened. During a recent interview, when I asked about the moniker “Alfa Cologne,” he joked with me and said: “If you want to interview him, I can arrange it. He’s a good guy.” He also talked about his love for music videos and mentioned skipping school to watch Daft Punk videos when they were due to premiere; eventually, he began making music videos of his own. Originally from Algeria, Alfa Cologne spent some of his childhood in Paris before moving to the Coachella Valley. The music of Alfa Cologne is quirky—but in a fun, good way. “I just disconnect myself from the musician part of it and go to a…
23 Dec 2015
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The ultra-heavy psych-rock music scene that is associated with our California desert took root in the mid-’80s. The music of bands like Fatso Jetson, Kyuss, Throw Rag and Unsound helped shape the budding underground local music scene; today, a slew of aspiring musicians are borrowing from punk, acid rock, grunge and metal-new sounds. Today, type “stoner rock sub-genres” into your computer’s search engine, and a dozen varieties will come up. Black metal, doom, sludge, psych (combined with any other genre, i.e. psych-rock, psycho-billy, psycho-punk), fuzzrock, spacerock, grunge and old-school metal seem to have knocked speed metal and death metal off of the list … or were they perhaps selected by Mother Nature for extinction and rebirth? The Mojave Desert has been a breeding ground for original hard rock and provides an environment that is ripe for exploring the darker, less-conventional forms of musical expression. In the ’90s, Zach and Erica…
18 Dec 2015
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After five years together, Latin/rock band Elektric Lucie is branching out well beyond the group’s devout Coachella Valley audiences. In fact, the band recently signed with a record label in Mexico. Elektric Lucie’s ever-evolving lineup currently includes Viktor Estrada (guitar, vocals), Jorge Carrillo (bass), Jose Lopez (guitar, keyboards) and Hernan Hernandez (drums). “We’ve played as a three-piece; we’ve played as a four-piece; and we’ve played as a five-piece,” Estrada said during a recent interview at the band’s practice space at Estrada’s house in Indio. “It’s been like a coalition of musicians. … We’ve been working, working and working, and that’s how we landed a record deal.” Lopez is the band’s newest member. “I’ve been in bands since high school,” Lopez said. “I’ve known Viktor for years. I used to play in metal and punk bands, and I was also in a ska band, which is where I met Viktor 15…