Three fine musicians, formerly members of well-liked local bands, have joined forces to create something new.
Karr features drummer Russel Waldron (formerly of Spankshaft), guitarist and vocalist Paul Karr (Unheard) and bassist Andy Gorrill (Machin’, Warsaw Poland Bros.), and the group will be making its low-desert debut—and playing its second show, period—at The Hood Bar and Pizza on Saturday, Sept. 1.
During a recent interview in Yucca Valley, Waldron said he was looking to play music again after leaving Spankshaft—and found chemistry with Gorrill and Karr.
“I consider it like the band Chickenfoot of the desert,” Waldron said. “We all come from these big bands of the desert—Warsaw Poland Brothers, Spankshaft and Unheard—and we decided to go our separate ways from them. As far as Spankshaft goes, I still love those guys like brothers, but it was time for a change.
“Me and Paul (Karr), who is my brother-in-law, got together. I jammed with everyone I could in the desert, but with Paul, it just clicked, and it felt like a heroin feeling. … After three practices, I was like, ‘Oh my god, this is where I belong.’ It’s been awesome, and it’s a huge breath of fresh air.
“We were on the prowl for a bass player, and I’ve played with 90 percent of the bands in the valley, and I never thought about hitting up Andy Gorrill; I always thought he was busy. I remember he texted me saying, ‘Totally interested!’ He came over, and after the first practice, Paul said, ‘He’s in!’ We’ve been practicing two to three times a week.”
For Paul Karr, the band marks a return to the rock world.
“I’ve been doing acoustic sets here and there, but nothing in rock for several years,” Karr said. “I didn’t really think I was going to do it again; my first intention was to get together with other guys and do stuff acoustically. That didn’t happen. I put an ad out on Craigslist, and it was while Russel was still in Spankshaft. I got all these replies and booked all these practices. But Russel said, ‘Hey, let’s get together!’ So I canceled all those. … I had been playing mostly benefit stuff because my mom is involved in a lot of charities.”
Gorrill said that while being part of Machin’ was fun, he and frontman David Macias didn’t always see eye to eye.
“I definitely had different life goals,” Gorrill said. “David (Macias) wanted to go one way, and it was different than what I was up for doing. … I played ball for a long time, but it got to a point where I needed to do me. It left a sour taste in my mouth, but it was good for me, because it let me not have to worry about shows, not worry about gigging, and it let me sit in my garage and play what I wanted to play, which was loud rock ’n’ roll. … In this band, it’s, ‘Let’s try this,’ or, ‘Let’s try that,’ instead of, ‘Learn how to play it is this way!’ There’s a lot of freedom now, and we’re not focused on perfection. Music should be fun, and when it becomes a job, the fun starts to peter out.”
Waldron said he understands it’s not easy to run a successful band.
“You have to keep the momentum going,” Waldron said. “You have to keep up with your publicity and all that. It can become a second job, but as long as it’s fun, and I’m happy like I’ve been, and it stays this way, I could play music for the next 20 years with these guys. It’s super-fun, and it’s exciting, and we’re just going to grow. It’s not perfect right now by any means, but it’s pretty damn awesome.”
Only a short demo for Karr has been released so far, but all three members agreed that coming from different music backgrounds was a positive.
“Genre-wise, I came from a ska band,” Waldron said. “We did a lot of ska, reggae and pop-punk. I’m still a huge reggae and ska fan at heart, so I’m going to bring a lot of those roots with me. It’s really cool to blend these different backgrounds together and see how it goes. I bring a lot of my roots with me, but playing with Paul and Andy’s different styles brings a lot of new stuff out of me I didn’t know I had.”
Karr said the creative atmosphere works well for him.
“Way back in the day in my band, it was way more catchy and riff-driven. As time went on, it became harder and harder, and it felt like it was becoming depressing metal,” Karr said. “But for me now, I’ll bring something in, and I never leave bummed out, because we’re continuously creating. I feel like they’re more open to working on a song and giving it their best shot.”
Gorrill said Machin’ should not define him as a musician.
“In Machin’, there was the cumbia, the ska and the gypsy jazz—which was all cool. It’s great to have that background, but it’s not what I listen to when I’m at home,” he said. “I’m listening to Foo Fighters and stuff like that, so it’s nice to be in a guitar band.”
There’s no doubt that Karr will offer some surprises during the show at The Hood.
“We have some studio time … and we’ve been putting it off, because we’ve been working on our set, but we want to go in there and get some records done hopefully by the end of the year. Everybody has been seeing our posters everywhere, and we have no music to show them yet—so the only way you’re going to hear us is to come to the show.”
Karr will perform with Sunday Funeral and Sticky Doll at 9 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 1, at The Hood Bar and Pizza, 74360 Highway 111, in Palm Desert. Admission is free. For more information, visit www.karrband.com.