Kevin Fitzgerald
Shawn Mafia and the band formerly known as the 10-Cent Thrills. Credit: Kevin Fitzgerald

Shawn Mafia is a well-known figure in the Joshua Tree music scene. He recorded an album at Rancho de la Luna, has played many shows at Pappy and Harriet’s, and recently changed his band’s name from Shawn Mafia and the 10-Cent Thrills to Gutter Candy. There’s a long-standing rumor about his day job—that he’s a funeral director in Yucca Valley. Get more info at Shawn was excited to take the Lucky 13; here are his answers.

What was the first concert you attended?

My parents took me to see the Beach Boys when I was a kid. The only thing I really remember about the concert is people carrying around lawn chairs. Perhaps that is where my phobia of lawn chairs developed.

What was the first album you owned?

Jim Croce, Greatest Hits; the Johnny Cash “Ring of Fire” 7-inch; and the Elton John “Crocodile Rock” 7-inch were the first actual records I owned. I was 5 or 6 years old. From there, it was all Weird Al Yankovic and skate rock.

What bands are you listening to right now?

Mighty Jack, Steel Panther, Gogol Bordello, Public Image Ltd., Suicidal Tendencies, Angry Samoans, DER, X, Rocket From the Crypt and Gojiro Island—all of these bands, I’ve listened to this week. However, that doesn’t mean that I endorse them for public office.

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

Turning on guitar amplifiers at live gigs. It’s super cliché and overdone. It takes a real man to play without sound!

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

The Clash, only because it can never happen. RIP, Joe Strummer.

What’s your favorite musical guilty pleasure?

Lifting weights at the gym while listening to Bob Seger performing “Shakedown.” (Insert your favorite pre-workout supplement here.)

What’s your favorite music venue?

I performed at the Wherehouse in Palm Springs years ago. That was an awesome venue. They set you up right in the middle of the store and let you go at it while unsuspecting CD buyers flipped through the racks. It was super uncomfortable … but that is why I got into show business. 

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

“Try to catch the deluge in a paper cup” (from “Don’t Dream It’s Over,” Crowded House).

What band or artist changed your life? How?

Tom Waits taught me that it can lyrically mean something. You can tell stories—sordid tales that can be wild and exotic, violently beautiful and horrifically sweet. It can have weight and integrity and not just be a silly pop song, even when it is.

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

2 Chainz: Why just two? Why not six or seven chains? Or better yet, 2,000 chains, so your neck snaps!

What song would you like played at your funeral?

Falco’s “Rock Me Amadeus” on kazoo.

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

The Sex Pistols, Never Mind the Bollocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols.

What song should everyone listen to right now?

Stephen Lynch’s “Down to the Old Pub Instead.” (Scroll down to hear it!)

A native of Cleveland, Ohio, Brian Blueskye moved to the Coachella Valley in 2005. He was the assistant editor and staff writer for the Coachella Valley Independent from 2013 to 2019. He is currently the...