The Vibe is known primarily as a cover band—but the band members are in the process of changing that.
They are currently at work on their debut album, and they now play regularly at Palm Springs’ Fireside Lounge.
Patrick “Tricky” Mitchem, the band’s bass player, said multiple circumstances led to them forming as a group back in October 2012. Mitchem played in much-loved local band Dude Jones from 1999 to 2001 with Mark Gregg, and he’s known Mark’s son, Derek Gregg—who sings and plays guitar for The Vibe—since Derek was a kid.
Mitchem left the valley for Florida, touring the country with various independent bands before moving back two years ago—around the same time Derek Gregg moved back to the valley from Oregon. The two spent some time playing and writing music, and decided to put a group together.
Back when downtown Palm Springs’ Village Pub used to have Sunday jam nights, Mitchem met the person who would become The Vibe’s drummer, Sean Poe.
Despite The Vibe’s brief existence, the band has been successful in landing shows at the Palm Canyon Roadhouse in Palm Springs, and The Grill on Main in La Quinta. While the band plays covers, they are generally covers that you don’t hear other bands play; one of their more unique covers, for example, is Tool’s “Sober,” which Gregg performs with an acoustic guitar.
They are now including original songs written by Derek Gregg, just 23 years old, in their sets.
“Derek has had so much passion since I’ve known him,” Mitchem said. “I’ve heard songs he wrote 5 years ago, and I’ve heard songs he wrote two weeks ago. It’s always been impressive and amazing. He’s a fantastic songwriter.”
Mitchem describes Gregg’s songwriting as a blend of folk with a hint of Dixieland jazz. Gregg—who plays guitar with the unorthodox finger-picking style—also has the ability to create melodies with a lot of emotion.
Thanks to The Vibe’s mixture of Gregg’s melodies, and unique takes on alternative and reggae covers, the band has no problem playing to diverse audiences. However, that does not mean it’s been easy for them to find their footing; after all, it can be tough to be a local band in the Coachella Valley.
“I’d say the challenge is getting your foot in the door,” said Poe. “A lot of these places already have built-in crowds and built-in bands. They’re playing the same stuff over and over again. You bring to the table that we’re playing something different, and you have to get (venue managers) to embrace the change in music.”
Regardless, the band is enjoying both their songwriting and their regular shows at the Fireside Lounge.
“It’s one of those places that only the locals would know about right now. I wish a lot more people knew about it,” Mitchem said.
The Vibe play regularly at the Fireside Lounge, 696 Oleander Road in Palm Springs; 760-327-1700.For more on the band, find them on Facebook.
(Editor’s note: The original version of this story mentioned that the band plays regularly at The Grill on Main in La Quinta. However, since the article was originally posted, the band was apparently removed from its regular gig there. We apologize for the confusion.)