CVIndependent

Thu12122019

Last updateTue, 18 Sep 2018 1pm

Readers of the Independent voted for Avenida Music as the Best Local Band in the 2018-2019 Best of Coachella Valley. Behind the drums of Avenida Music is Sean Poe, who also plays in the Hive Minds. Poe is a fascinating drummer to watch, given his technical prowess and jazz-inspired style. For more information on Avenida Music, visit www.littlestreetmusic.com or www.facebook.com/littlestreetmusic. For more on the Hive Minds, visit www.hivemindsmusic.com. Sean Poe was kind enough to answer the Lucky 13; here are his answers.

What was the first concert you attended?

I went to a bunch of concerts growing up, but the first concert I chose to go to was Avenged Sevenfold.

What was the first album you owned?

Green Day, American Idiot.

What bands are you listening to right now?

I’ve been listening to the Gorillaz, The 1975, Young the Giant, Dave Matthews Band, and a lot of Miles Davis.

What artist, genre or musical trend does everyone love, but you don’t get?

I don’t really understand the whole mumble-rap thing.

What musical act, current or defunct, would you most like to see perform live?

I would love to have seen Queen with Freddie Mercury.

What’s your favorite musical guilty pleasure?

Definitely emo music! Panic! at the Disco, Fall Out Boy, and Thirty Seconds to Mars—stuff like that.

What’s your favorite music venue?

That’s a tie. I love the Big Rock Pub for the sound clarity when I perform there, but I love the La Quinta Brewing Company for the intimate vibe. You’re in a room and can really look all the fans in the eye. That’s really cool.

What’s the one song lyric you can’t get out of your head?

I wish they all could be California girls,” The Beach Boys, “California Girls.”

What band or artist changed your life? How?

The most life-changing artist is actually a Southern California cover band called Helicopter. I went to the bar and saw them playing, and they let me get up and play with them, even though I didn’t play drums yet. It was the first time I played anything other than marching-band or orchestra music, and it completely shifted the direction of my life! We played “Rocky Mountain Way” by Joe Walsh. I’m forever grateful to those dudes.

You have one question to ask one musician. What’s the question, and who are you asking?

I’d ask Dave Matthews: “How do you keep every show fresh and different after all these years and countless relentless tours?”

What song would you like played at your funeral?

Oingo Boingo, “Dead Man’s Party.”

Figurative gun to your head, what is your favorite album of all time?

Miles Davis, Kind of Blue.

What song should everyone listen to right now?

The Dave Matthews Band covering “All Along the Watchtower.” I saw them play it live recently, and it gave me chills. (Scroll down to hear it!)

Published in The Lucky 13

There are only a few local musicians who are able to make a living via music—and that rather short list includes Derek Jordan Gregg.

The Hive Minds frontman plays gigs throughout the valley in hotels and restaurants, and that inspired him to make his first batch of solo recordings while The Hive Minds was on a short hiatus.

During a recent interview in La Quinta, Gregg said his solo material has more of a folk sound.

“I think when I play by myself, I’ve always gravitated toward that sound,” Gregg said. “I’ve always been a fan of Bob Dylan since I started writing songs. It’s not necessarily a new endeavor, but Hive Minds wasn’t the place for me to let this stuff out, and we were doing so much that that was where my creative energy went. It’s something I’ve always loved, and it’s a lot easier to do by yourself.

“The big difference between this and the Hive Minds stuff is the lyrics are so much more personal. I didn’t worry about any of the songs being upbeat or catchy, and they all cut really deep. They’re the heaviest lyrics I’ve written in my life.”

Gregg said these songs would probably not go along with the Hive Minds’ indie-rock sound.

“I think that Sean (Poe) and Sam (Gonzales) really like my folk stuff,” Gregg said. “I have a whole catalog of folk material, but I’m really more protective of these songs. If I did put these in a band, I wouldn’t want to play them as a trio; I would want a huge Americana band. I don’t know if that would change the trajectory of the Hive Minds songs or the Hive Minds sound, but it would mess with the cohesiveness of the album, because you’d have really mellow, slow and depressing indie rock.”

Gregg plays solo in a wide variety of venues, some of them rather challenging—ranging from clubs to restaurants to hotels.

“It takes a lot of energy just to come into these shows with a positive outlook and never look at it like a job. I’ve been in those head-spaces where I’m like, ‘Ugh! Time to go to a gig!’ and I have to snap myself out of it,” he said. “I do a fair amount of covers, and I make those covers my own, but the minute that it starts to feel like a job to me, I’ll quit, and I’ll go wash dishes. I’d rather wash dishes and hate it than hate playing music.

“Where I’m at now, it doesn’t hinder my creative process. I play a ton, and I’ll even create stuff on the spot at these gigs. If I get into a negative head space or a depression and start to look at this as work, I either need to learn a lot more stuff and make it my own, or I need to start doing more original music at these shows. That’s the tightrope that I walk.”

He even went so far as saying that a scene in the movie Fight Club—during which Edward Norton goes into a meditation and sees a penguin that says the word “Slide”—inspires his views on being a musician.

“I almost want to get that tattooed on my arm,” he said. “I think that it’s more about the place that he goes, and it’s like when you’re spacing out at work, and it takes you out of the moment. You’re pissing on the moment if you’re just chugging through your chords and letting the words come out.”

He’s recently been using a looper during his shows.

“When I bought it, it was supposed to be for me to practice at home with. Once I got it out of the box and started dicking around with it, I used it for the show I had that night,” he said. “I don’t think I have as good of chops as Calvin Williams—who plays with Eevaan Tre—Bobby Nichols or Kal David, but my rhythm (is just as good). It’s all about rhythm, which has never been an issue for me. I play with a really simple looper. I’ve never been much of a guitar nerd, which is why the folk music thing works for me.”

The Hive Minds have had some local success, including a few high-profile shows, but Gregg expressed humility regarding the band.

“When we first started, Patrick Mitchem was on bass, and then we went to being an acoustic duo with Sean and I, and then playing with Sam Gonzales … playing TED talks, and playing the Bernie Sanders rally,” he said. “It’s almost like it doesn’t feel like it’s happened. I don’t know if that’s how people feel when they do something they’re really proud of. … I’ve always believed if you’re living in the past, you’re living on memories or anxiety. If you’re living in the future, you’re existing in your imagination. But now that I’m thinking back on it, it is pretty crazy.”

For more information on Derek Jordan Gregg and the Hive Minds, visit www.facebook.com/thehiveminds.

After Andrew Allan-Bentley was appointed the rabbi at Temple Sinai in Palm Desert, the Hive Minds was without a bassist for live shows—that is, until Matt Styler came along. Styler’s bass-playing has definitely given the Hive Minds sound a boost. Visit thehivemindsmusic.com for a list of upcoming gigs. Styler was kind enough to answer The Lucky 13.

What was the first concert you attended?

Tom Petty, but I wasn’t quite born yet. I was still in the womb.

What was the first album you owned?

My first album was All Killer, No Filler by Sum 41. I got it when I was in third-grade, and I distinctly remember that the parents of my friend who lived across the street wouldn’t let him listen to it.

What bands are you listening to right now?

I’m always listening to Primus. Besides that, I’m really digging Vampire Weekend, Tame Impala and Glass Animals.

What artist, genre or musical trend does everyone love, but you don’t get?

Lil B. I really don’t get the appeal at all.

What musical act, current or defunct, would you most like to see perform live?

If I could somehow see Pink Floyd, I’d probably lose my mind in the best way possible.

What’s your favorite musical guilty pleasure?

Tough one. I’d probably say Gotye or Hozier, but I don’t feel too guilty about it. They’re talented!

What’s your favorite music venue?

The entirety of the Coachella festival. Best venue on the planet!

What’s the one song lyric you can’t get out of your head?

“I’m a joker, I’m a smoker, I’m a midnight toker,” from “The Joker,” Steve Miller Band. I just learned how to play that song on the bass, and now it absolutely will not leave my head.

What band or artist changed your life? How?

I would say that goes to Flea and/or the entire Red Hot Chili Peppers. Listening to them and hearing Flea’s basslines are what got me into playing bass. I wanted to re-create those funky lines.

You have one question to ask one musician. What’s the question, and who are you asking?

I’d ask Flea if he could hook a fellow bassist up with a fast-track to success! Ha.

What song would you like played at your funeral?

Definitely something that I’ve written. As soon as I write something good enough to play at my own funeral, I’ll let you know.

Figurative gun to your head, what is your favorite album of all time?

Disclaimer: This answer will probably change in the morning. Pork Soda by Primus.

What song should everyone listen to right now?

Everyone should go listen to “Hazey” by Glass Animals. It’s a great song. (Scroll down to hear it!)

Published in The Lucky 13

It’s been a busy couple years for Derek Gregg and Sean Poe—better known as the Hive Minds.

Their group has gone from being a three-piece to a two-piece. There was a name change, a battle of the bands win, and numerous local shows. And finally, there’s an album.

The Independent recently sat down with Gregg (guitar/vocals) and Poe (drums) to discuss The Hive Minds’ new, self-titled album. They began working on it in October 2013, with Jimmy Heil.

“It was just not a good fit. We were working on it for a while, and we made a lot of progress, but things weren’t really clicking,” Poe said.

Gregg agreed.

“A lot of the guitar tones were weird,” Gregg said. “We have nothing bad to say about (Heil). He had a lot of great stuff, like these expensive old mics, reel-to-reel, and stuff like that, but we weren’t able to get into the studio often enough, and we really wanted to spend a lot of time in there.”

They began working instead with Andrew Allen-Bentley.

“When we started working with Andrew, the feel was right,” Gregg said.

Allen-Bentley also began joining The Hive Minds for gigs, playing bass. However, Gregg said that Allen-Bentley is not an “official” member of the band.

“The Hive Minds will always be a two-piece. He’s in our band, but he doesn’t want to be a full-time member,” Gregg said. “It’s like the Black Keys: It’s a two piece.”

Gregg noted that Allen-Bentley had a lot on his plate. He wasn’t kidding: Shortly after the interview with Gregg and Poe, Allen-Bentley was named the rabbi of Temple Sinai in Palm Springs.

“Every once in a while if he’s available, he’ll come play a show with us,” Poe said.

The songs on the album were written over a long period of time—even before Gregg and Poe started performing together.

“It’s all Derek’s stuff that he’s been writing since he was back in high school,” Poe said. “When we got together and started working on this stuff, we thought these were great songs that we should get out. Derek had all the basic forms, the lyrics, and the riffs, and then I just came in with the drums.”

Gregg said that while they recorded these older songs, they were able to write new material for their next album.

“The next album will have riffs on it,” Gregg said with a laugh. “This record has more jam-band-style guitar on it, but it was mostly acoustic stuff played on an electric guitar. The songs were already there, but the next album is sweet, because it will have riffs and a completely different feel to it.”

Gregg said that he is most proud of his song “Firewater.”

“When I wrote ‘Firewater,’ I had just really started to get into Bob Dylan,” Gregg said. “I had just gone through a lot with ex-girlfriends. I was drinking a bit more, and that song is about coping with things the wrong way. That song taught me how to write without censoring myself or holding back. ‘Firewater’ is just so naked that it’s true.”

Poe said that during the recording process, they would go back and listen to songs they had already recorded, and find imperfections.

“In the studio, there were a lot of times when we’d record a song and then go on to record another song, and we’d go back and listen to that first song, and we didn’t like it. So we’d start over and record it again, because we wanted it perfect. With ‘The Gemini,’ we recorded the whole thing, and we went back and listened to it, and it wasn’t up to par with what the other songs were. So we completely scratched it, and we had to find a way to make it work. We ended up making it acoustic.”

“The Gemini” is now the album’s closing track; the acoustic sound and percussion make it a perfect closing song.

Gregg admitted the band has made some mistakes over the last couple of years. Gregg and Poe stopped playing many of the covers for which they were known, and whereas they used to play a lot of shows at bars, they now play once a month or so at Wolfgang Puck Pizza Bar on El Paseo in Palm Desert.

“Playing bars for people who don’t know any of the material … it’s not that fulfilling,” Gregg said. “At the end of the night, you come away feeling really unfulfilled, like you just spent time at work. Our sets have about 10 percent covers now. We noticed it, and my dad (local musician Mark Gregg) told me we’re not a very good cover band. When we play one of our original songs as opposed to a cover, we get a standing ovation. When we play at Wolfgang Puck’s now, no one likes our covers as much as they like our originals.”

Poe agreed.

“We are more happy now playing the originals,” he said. “We have fun doing it, and we have more energy doing it. I think people have picked up on that.”

For more information on The Hive Minds, visit the band's Facebook page.

The month of December is full of holiday magic—and many of the local venues are bringing in great holiday-themed shows, along with other worthy acts.

The Palm Springs Festival of Lights starts at 5:45 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 7. It’s a huge parade on Palm Canyon Drive featuring floats, marching bands and other special participants. Past guests have included the Budweiser Clydesdales, Snoopy and the Gang, and Mickey and Minnie Mouse. Attendance is free. 760-323-8276; www.psfestivaloflights.com.

The newly formed Modern Men, the Coachella Valley Men’s Chorus, is holding an inaugural concert at 7 p.m., Wednesday, Dec. 4, at Temple Isaiah in Palm Springs. There will be a second performance at 2 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 7. Tickets are $20. The chorus is also asking those who attend to bring a nonperishable food item to donate to the LGBT Community Center of the Desert’s NestEggg Food Bank. Temple Isaiah, 332 W. Alejo Road, Palm Springs; 760-992-5109; www.modernmen.org.

The Classic Club in Palm Desert will host a special fundraiser thrown by Opera Arts and the Steinway Society for their children’s music programs in the Coachella Valley. For the Children starts at 6 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 8, with a wine-and-cheese reception; it’s followed by a sit-down dinner at 7:15 p.m., and a musical presentation at 8:15 p.m. with Shana Blake Hill and Gregorio Gonzalez. Tickets are $125. 75200 Classic Club Drive, Palm Desert; 760-323-8353; www.operaartspalmsprings.org.

The Palm Springs Gay Men’s Chorus will be performing their holiday concert “With Bells On” at 8 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 14, and 3 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 15, at the Palm Springs High School Auditorium. They say they’re going to be performing a mix of sentimental, spiritual, humorous and classical songs. Tickets are $25 to $50. 2401 E. Baristo Road; www.psgmc.com.

The city of Palm Springs is hosting yet more special events at Forever Marilyn. The free Forever Marilyn Holiday Concert Series will take place at 7:30 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 21, and 6:30 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 22. The performers include Celine Dion tribute performer Brigitte Valdez, Just Like That and local band New Sensations. 101 N. Palm Canyon Drive; www.visitpalmsprings.com.

The McCallum Theatre certainly is the place to be during the month of December. The McCallum will host The Ten Tenors for five shows, Friday through Sunday, Dec. 6-8. The Australian musical ensemble is well known for choral covers of Queen’s “Somebody to Love,” as well as other pop and rock classics. Here, they will be performing an all-new show of holiday classics. Tickets are $25 to $95. Willie Nelson will be making a stop at 8 p.m., Tuesday, Dec. 17. The Red Headed Stranger is still going strong at 80 years of age; he’s still doing what he can to help out farmers through his Farm Aid concerts; and, yes, he’s still advocating for the legalization of marijuana. Tickets are $60 to $100. McCallum Theatre, 73000 Fred Waring Drive, Palm Desert; 760-340-2787; www.mccallumtheatre.com.

Of course, the Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa has some fine holiday shows on tap in December. Jazz saxophonist Dave Koz will be performing a Christmas show at 8 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 14. He’ll be bringing special guests Oleta Adams, Jonathan Butler and Keiko Matsui. Tickets are $40 to $60. If you’re suffering from a Christmas hangover, Chris Isaak can help at 9 p.m., Friday, Dec. 27. While Isaak is a well-known actor with roles in Little Buddha, The Silence of the Lambs and The Informers, he’s also a brilliant recording artist with a music career that goes back almost 30 years. Tickets are $40 to $75. At 9 p.m. on New Year’s Eve, Agua Caliente will be hosting Danny Bonaduce’s ex-wife, Gretchen Bonaduce, and her band, The Fatal ’80s. I don’t know what to make of a woman who divorces Danny Bonaduce and continues to keep that last name, but more power to her! Tickets are $25. The Show at Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa, 32250 Bob Hope Drive, Rancho Mirage; 888-999-1995; www.hotwatercasino.com.

Fantasy Springs Resort Casino will be hosting Mannheim Steamroller (right) at 8 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 7. Not to be confused with the near-heavy-metal, prog-rock Trans-Siberian Orchestra, Mannheim Streamroller is also known for holiday shows full of MIDI-sounding keyboards and an electronic-symphony sound. Tickets are $39 to $69. America’s Got Talent star Jackie Evancho will be appearing at Fantasy Springs at 8 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 14. Evancho, now 13, won the hearts of America during the fifth season of the show and finished as the runner-up—sparking outrage among her fans who felt she should have won the competition over Michael Grimm. Tickets are $49 to $89. Fantasy Springs Resort Casino, 84245 Indio Springs Parkway, Indio; 760-342-5000; www.fantasyspringsresort.com.

Spotlight 29 Casino is hosting the Winter Gathering Pow Wow from Friday through Sunday, Dec. 6-8. The pow wow will include Native American tribes from across the country sharing clothing, dances, songs, arts, crafts and food. There will also be a drum and dance contest. Hours are 7 to 11 p.m., Friday, Dec. 6; 1 to 11 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 7; and 1 to 7 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 8. Admission is free. The Spinners, a legendary Motown R&B group, will be making a stop at Spotlight 29 at 8 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 28. Most of the original members of the Spinners are not active, but original member Henry Fambrough remains. Tickets are $25 to $45. At 8 p.m. on New Year’s Eve, Stayin’ Alive, a tribute to the Bee Gees, will ring in 2014. Tickets are $20. Spotlight 29 Casino, 46200 Harrison Place, Coachella; 760-775-5566; www.spotlight29.com.

Morongo Casino Resort Spa has a solid schedule for December. At 9 p.m., Friday, Dec. 13, Charo will be performing. The Spanish-American actress known for both her campy comedy and her flamenco-guitar music is still going strong—and she’s a huge hit in the LGBT community. Tickets are $20 to $29. Hiroshima plays at 9 p.m., Friday, Dec. 20. The Japanese-American act was a hit in the ’70s in the electric-jazz scene, and even performed as the opening act for Miles Davis. While the band has gone through several lineup changes, Dan Kuramoto, June Kuramoto and Danny Yamamoto are still around. Tickets are $15 to $20. Morongo’s Vibe Nightclub will host a New Year’s Eve Party at 10:30 p.m. The Dazz Band will be performing their high-energy R&B to bring in 2014. Tickets are $25, or $40 on the day of the show. Morongo Casino Resort Spa, 49500 Seminole Drive, Cabazon; 800-252-4499; www.morongocasinoresort.com.

Pappy and Harriet’s will be hosting Dengue Fever (the band, not the virus) at 9 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 7; the show is one of the highlights of an absolutely packed month for the Pioneertown venue. The Los Angeles band is known for combining Cambodian pop music with psychedelic rock—a unique and eccentric combination. If that wasn’t enough, Jesika von Rabbit from Gram Rabbit will be the opening act, performing under the moniker JVR. Tickets are $10. Pappy’s will be throwing a New Year’s Eve concert featuring the blues-rock sound of the Paul Chesne Band. Doors open at 6, and tickets are $5. Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace, 53688 Pioneertown Road, Pioneertown; 760-365-5956; pappyandharriets.com.

The Hood Bar and Pizza in Palm Desert has established itself as a hot place to be, especially after November’s show with Jello Biafra and the Guantanamo School of Medicine. Rick Thorne and his band Thorne will play at 10 p.m., Friday, Dec. 6. Thorne is one of the most-recognizable BMX riders around today—but he also puts on an excellent show as a punk-band frontman. Attendance is free. At 8 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 21, The Hood will host Strung Out. The Simi Valley band has been performing its brand of punk since 1992 and has been on Fat Wreck Chords since its debut, Another Day in Paradise, in 1994. There’s talk of a new record coming out in 2014. Given the intimate size of The Hood, Strung Out should be another wild show. The cost is $10 at the door for those 21 and older; or $15 for those 18 to 20. The Hood Bar and Pizza, 74360 Highway 111, Palm Desert; 760-636-5220; www.thehoodbar.com.

Clinic Bar and Lounge in Palm Springs is picking up steam with a regular schedule of music nights. On Thursdays at 9 p.m., Symara Stone hosts Spotlight, a local talent showcase. A variety of performers bring their own instruments, and it’s guaranteed to be a good time. On Wednesday nights at 10 p.m., Derek Gregg and Sean Poe, now known as the Hive Minds, are putting on a show. Considering the quality of Derek’s originals, it’s not a surprise he’s continuing to make a name for himself in the local music scene. Clinic Bar has a lot more to offer with regular DJ sets by talented people including Independent resident DJ Alex Harrington (aka All Night Shoes) and various other music nights. Admission is free. Clinic Bar and Lounge, 188 S. Indian Canyon Drive, Palm Springs; 760-864-4119; www.clinicbarps.com.

The Purple Room in Palm Springs is back, and the Rat Pack-inspired lounge is now hosting a regular schedule of shows. The Judy Show, a comedy and song show, will take place on Sunday nights at 9:30. Tickets are $20. The Gand Band will perform on Friday and Saturday nights at 9 p.m. The cost is $10. The Michael Holmes Trio will perform on “No Cover Wednesday” nights from 6:30 to 9 p.m., and Machin’ will be bringing the Spanglish Jive every Thursday at 7 p.m.; there is no cover. Watch the website for yet more shows. The Purple Room, 1900 E. Palm Canyon Drive; 760-322-4422; www.purpleroompalmsprings.com.

Below: Strung Out: The Hood, Dec. 21.

Published in Previews