Brian Blueskye
Little Red Spiders got the Tachevah crowd moshing. Credit: Brian Blueskye

To some, the success that Little Red Spiders enjoyed in April—the band won a slot at the Tachevah block party, and played on the Coachella stage during Weekend 1—seemed like it came out of the blue.

However, the band has actually been around for a while, and two members are in the well-known Desert Hot Springs band Slipping Into Darkness.

During a recent phone interview, bassist Nigel Dettelbach talked about Little Red Spiders’ origins.

“There was a band a few years back called The Dead Suites. Our former lead singer, Anthony Taboada, passed away last year, and Jesse (Williams), who is now the singer of this band—they would sing together. We had a different drummer at the time, and now we have Nigel Carnahan. So it’s basically the same band with a different lineup. We play one or two of the songs from back then in dedication to our former lead singer. … It feels like a new band, but it’s not, given we’ve been playing together for a long time.”

During Tachevah, the group’s psychedelic rock sound stood out and got people moshing. It reminded me a bit of the music of Ty Segall.

“We all like the ’60s and ’70s psychedelic rock ’n’ roll, blues, and all that stuff. So it just comes out naturally; it’s not contrived at all,” Dettelbach said. “It’s not like we’re trying to fit within a certain genre. If we make a song, we just put our color on it, and it turns out that way. We don’t go out to shoot a certain sound. It’s just all part of our natural writing process.”

Dettelbach said the band went into the Tachevah contest thinking the slot was already theirs.

“You kind of have to go in there thinking you’re going to do it; otherwise, it’s not even worth it,” he said. “I can speak for myself and the rest of the band when I say we’re not into the whole ‘pay to play’ and ‘battle of the bands’ thing, but for something like this? We weren’t going there to lose. We figured that the judges would be hip to what’s going on, and that our sound is a likable sound—catchy, good and relevant.”

Dettelbach said he and his bandmates were never nervous about playing in front of the judges. “For us, it just felt like another show. We didn’t go into it with any butterflies. It didn’t feel much different at all.”

Dettelbach and Carnahan had played Coachella before—in 2013, with Slipping Into Darkness—and they enjoyed their return to the Coachella stage with Little Red Spiders during Weekend 1. The band played with Terry Reid, a vocalist and guitarist who was almost made a member of Led Zeppelin, and who was a judge in the Tachevah contest.

“Nigel (Carnahan) and I were talking about that, and we were really happy and appreciated it,” Dettelbach said of their Coachella return. “It’s great to know even though we’re in different projects that we could do something like that.”

The Slipping Into Darkness crowd has welcomed Little Red Spiders with open arms; in fact, the two bands’ fan bases overlap quite a bit.

“Technically, it’s half the band and the rhythm section of Slipping Into Darkness,” Dettelbach said of Little Red Spiders. “Everybody that’s into the Spiders is also into Slipping, and it’s one big community.”

Dettelbach said a debut Little Red Spiders album is in the works.

“We’ve already started working on the tracking; we’re working on more songs,” he said. “We have a recording facility that we’re able to work in, and we don’t have to worry about paying people to record us, and we can spend as much time as we want on it. It’s a great thing to have. We’ll have something out fairly soon—within the next few months, to be honest.”

Dettelbach thinks both projects can achieve national success through hard work and independent promotion.

“Technically speaking, we are a local band, but we don’t think of ourselves as just a local band,” he said. “…  We plan on leaving the country and being gone for a while. We want to be a national act.”

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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...