It’s been a rough summer for Palm Springs band Forfeit Your Skies.
The five-piece band—consisting of Justin Lopez (vocals), Garrett Piens (guitar/vocals), Alex Sanchez (guitar), Eli Hernandez (bass) and Cody Piens (drums)—were shocked to learn on July 2 that their Ramon Road practice space, a former Yamaha motorcycle shop, had been burglarized.
About $4,000 worth of equipment was stolen—and it couldn’t have come at a worse time.
The Piens’ sister, Niccole Holly, was killed in a car accident on June 16 near Twentynine Palms. Amelia Miller, a U.S. Marine stationed in Twentynine Palms, reportedly was driving recklessly and crashed into Holly head-on. Miller also died in the collision.
The members of the group, who describe their sound as “electrocore,” came together a year and a half ago. While the band calls the desert home, they’ve experienced most of their success outside of the desert: After playing local house shows and gigs in their practice space, they eventually started playing at the legendary Chain Reaction in Anaheim, and the Whisky a Go-Go on the Hollywood strip. They also won a battle of the bands, which the members laugh about, given they won it without Sanchez, who had injured his arm at work.
The band has gone through a series of lineup changes, and have been tweaking their sound. They recently added Lopez on vocals and were getting ready to record a new album. However, the theft of their equipment has obviously set them back.
“We got a phone call from our mom, and she said she was at the bank near the practice space; she was crying and said that someone broke into the shop and took all of our stuff,” said Cody Piens. “When we got there, everything was gone except part of the drums. Just in musical equipment alone, they stole about $4,000. They stole a lot more stuff that isn’t included in the list, including our dirt bikes, which are about $6,000. They even took 100 shirts we were going to take to get printed with our band logo.”
“They even stole our recycling,” added Garrett Piens.
In a bizarre twist, the burglars left something behind—a pair of bolt-cutters, which the Palm Springs Police Department took as evidence.
At this point, the band is unable to perform live, since they are without amplifiers and a PA system. At this time, the band lacks the funds to purchase new equipment, and the insurance on the building, owned by the Piens’ grandfather, does not cover the theft of the band’s personal property.
“They said because it wasn’t our grandfather’s stuff, they won’t cover it,” said Cody Piens. “At this point, the police said we’re probably not going to get anything back. The police also said they weren’t going to check out any of the pawn shops. They said we can search Craigslist, but then again, if we find it, we can’t really prove that it’s ours.”
While the band members are trying to stay optimistic, they can’t help but feel frustrated and angry.
“Honestly, it just hurts,” said Cody Piens. “We’re young, and we were kids when we first started playing music. It took us years to save up to get our equipment. They stole our tools which we use to turn our passion into music. It hurts a lot when they take something from us, and we can’t easily replace it at all. It’s not like we all have extremely well-paying jobs to where we could buy new equipment so easily.”
The band is hoping to collect cash donations or equipment donations.
“Anything that could help would be much appreciated,” said Cody Piens. “They’d be our biggest fans if they could help us out. We really need them during this time for us right now.”
If anyone would like to donate to the band, they can do so at the band’s PayPal account, registered under Cody.L.Piens@gmail.com.
A list of the band’s equipment that was stolen:
- Two Crate half-stack amplifiers with amp heads
- Ampeg Classic bass cabinet
- Crate bass head
- Two Cerwin Vega PA loudspeakers
- Behringer PA head
- Sennheiser wireless guitar system
- Yamaha mixer MG 4-16.
- Ibanez Gio electric guitar (white)
- Ibanez Gio bass guitar (white)
- Crate bass guitar
- PDP Z5 rack drum-tom
- PDP cymbal stand
- Pearl drum-tom mount
- Sabian B8 thin crash cymbal
- Pearl heavy-duty snare drum stand