Sticky Doll recently moved to the high desert from Los Angeles—and the band’s first couple of local shows have proven the group is definitely an oddity … in a good way.
There’s a shock-rock element to Sticky Doll’s brand of punk, and frontwoman Cynna Luchia is a show all by herself. Bassist El Sancho plays through both a guitar amp and a bass amp.
On Saturday, Nov. 10, Sticky Doll will be putting on Sticky Fest at the Palms Restaurant in Wonder Valley, and has invited local bands such as Instigator, Karr, Throw the Goat, Sleazy Cortez, Drop Mob, Ormus and others to take part.
During a recent interview in Yucca Valley, El Sancho (Greg Gendron) discussed what brought Sticky Doll to the high desert.
“We found out how cheap it was to buy a house, and we thought, ‘Why not move out to the desert?’” Gendron said. “It happened within a few months, and we fucking love it. I grew up in Eastern Washington in a town called Yakima. There’s a sign on the freeway that says, ‘Welcome to Yakima, the Palm Springs of Washington.’ It’s real similar to here. … It’s good ol’ boys with pickup trucks and guns. The climate and the small-town vibe are the same. I feel like a kid living here, and I love it. Cynthia (Cynna Luchia) grew up in East Los Angeles and lived in Los Angeles all her life.”
However, when it came to the music scene … Sticky Doll was not thrilled.
“We were excited, and we thought we were coming into something really exciting—and we were really let down immediately,” he said. “We went to some open-mics, and we were surprised at how it was just a hippie vibe, and everyone was a Bob Dylan singer-songwriter wannabe. (There’s a) certain artist around town who thinks she’s an alien; it was just weird and a real letdown. We thought we were coming to Queens of the Stone Age and Eagles of Death Metal. … Everyone said the same thing to us: ‘You have to create a scene up here. There are people here who love metal and love punk, but a scene has to be made for it.’ That’s why we put together Sticky Fest.”
As for El Sancho and Cynna Luchia … what’s their story?
“We put out our first album on Christmas Day in 2015. We’re due for a new one, and we do have a new one coming out. People always ask if Cynthia and I are married or if we’re a couple, and my blanket response is, ‘I fuck her … .’ But yeah, we are a couple. We had the same kind of taste in music, and we’re both sober. We were going to this musicians’ AA meeting, and it was a place where you could play and not do traditional ‘shares’; The ‘shares’ were you went up and performed.
“We’ve been together for about five years now. I play guitar, and I play bass, and I went on this mad hunt for a pedal effect that could do what we have now, and I finally found it. I bought it and I thought, ‘This is fucking killer!’ I could send it into a bass amp and have a bass sound, and through the guitar amp have killer power chords. Once I got that in the mail, I thought, ‘Let’s do it!’
“If you would have asked me five years ago if I’d be in a band with a girl, I’d say, ‘Hell no!’ Especially with a girl I’m dating? I would think you’d be out of your fucking mind! The fact that I’m doing what I’m doing now is funny to people who knew me back then, but I love what we’re doing now.”
Gutter Candy drummer Dani Diggler was recruited into the band before Sticky Doll started playing local shows.
“We’ve gone through some real shitheads, but Dani fits us real good,” El Sancho said. “We kind of dialed his playing in a bit. We’re almost industrial to where it’s just kick drum, snare and high hat. He’s coming from Gutter Candy playing ’80s, ’90s and Guns N’ Roses; he’s a typical drummer. He didn’t come in and say, ‘We have to play my style!’ He was like, ‘Whatever you guys need.’ But Dani is cool, plus we actually pay him.”
El Sancho hopes this is just the first Sticky Fest.
“It came into fruition back in June,” he explained. “I had never heard of any of these bands. I’d heard of Throw the Goat, because they played shows down our way. But I was pleasantly surprised when I learned there was a scene down the hill. This is a first-year thing; it’s out of my pocket, and I’m not going to book a big-name band, because there’s not a budget. So I started looking for local talent.
“When I first talked to the Palms, it was going to be a two-day festival. I had put out an open call on Facebook for punk and metal bands for a festival. I got inundated with responses; I had 40 to 50 responses. A few weeks into it, I was having an in-depth conversation with the Palms, and given their concerns, I wasn’t thrilled, but we agreed to do it for one day.”
Sticky Fest takes place starting at noon, Saturday, Nov. 10, at the Palms Restaurant, 83131 Amboy Road, in Twentynine Palms. Admission is $12-$15; members of the military and attendees 16 and younger (with a parent) are admitted for free. For tickets or more information, visit www.facebook.com/events/588237201548978.