Cory Courtney
Raefer Finnegan. Credit: Cory Courtney

Will Sturgeon returned to the desert a couple of years ago and kicked his band Brightener into full gear—and ever since, it’s been one of the valley’s most talked-about bands. Brightener won last year’s Tachevah Music Showcase and was the local band to play at Coachella 2016’s first weekend. Catch them in action this Friday, Feb. 3, at the Coachella Valley Art Scene’s 19th Hole Block Party in Old Town La Quinta. For more information on the band, visit Raefer Finnegan, the band’s bassist, was kind enough to answer The Lucky 13.

What was the first concert you attended?

The Sounds at House of Blues in San Diego. My cousin Bonnie took us for my sister’s birthday, and it was such a new thing to me—a bunch of “cool kids” packed together, sweating and dancing to indie rock. I fell in love.

What was the first album you owned?

Nirvana’s Nevermind. I remember saving my money and going to Borders and buying it. It was like $18. I remember it feeling like a lot of money, but I didn’t care—I needed it.

What bands are you listening to right now?

It’s always changing, but the constants are Touché Amore, Joyce Manor, The Smiths (forever and always) and a lot of Little Dragon and Title Fight. Also, Tony Molina!

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

Mumble rap. Let’s leave it in 2016, please. Alsom Iggy Azalea can stop what she’s doing.

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

I’d have to say Nirvana, but current would be Fleet Foxes or Little Dragon.

What’s your favorite musical guilty pleasure?

Hmmmm. I’m not guilty about the music I love; everyone has different tastes, but (there are some things) I listen to that I don’t throw on at parties or for other people: bands like Knocked Loose, Expire and Bracewar, which is harder stuff. On the softer side, I love me some Eurythmics/Annie Lennox and Sade. I loooove Sade.

What’s your favorite music venue?

The Gilman in Berkeley, Calif. Every time I went, it felt like the room vibrated with energy.

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

“Oh take me to the haven of your bed, was something that you never said. Two lumps please, you’re the bees knees but so am I,” from “Reel Around the Fountain,” The Smiths.

What band or artist changed your life? How?

The Smiths, because Morrissey is a genius, and the individuals shine through like no other band back then or that’s out there today. (It was a) highly skilled singer and musicians making highly refined music. It’s perfect.

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

I’d ask Morrissey if I could take a picture with him, and if he could sign a copy of The Queen Is Dead for me. Maybe Meat Is Murder as well if he had enough time.

What song would you like played at your funeral?

“Rest in Piss” by Brotha Lynch Hung.

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

The Queen Is Dead by The Smiths. Second would be Menos el Oso by Minus the Bear.

What song should everyone listen to right now?

“Lovers’ Carvings” by Bibio. (Scroll down to hear it.)

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Brian Blueskye

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...