High-desert ska band Spankshaft put out the long-awaited album Beasts and Goddesses earlier this year—and it was well worth the wait. Despite a series of recent lineup changes, including the departure of drummer Russel Waldron and bassist Brent Simpson, Spankshaft is soldiering on, including shows at Record Alley in Palm Desert on Saturday, Nov. 24, and The Hood Bar and Pizza on Friday, Dec. 28. For more information, visit www.facebook.com/spankshaft. Speaking of soldiers: One of the new members is Joel Daniel, a music educator, bagpiper and former Marine who now plays trombone for the band. He was kind enough to answer the Lucky 13; here are his answers.
What was the first concert you attended?
Sounds crazy, but (despite) being a performing artist for my entire adult life, I never really could find the time to go to any major performances until just last year. So I guess you could say that the first “real” concert I attended was Green Day’s Revolution Radio show in San Diego.
What was the first album you owned?
Too-Rye-Ay by Dexys Midnight Runners. I was 12, I think.
What bands are you listening to right now?
The Interrupters, The Dollyrots, Mad Caddies, Less Than Jake, Madness, Mustard Plug, Suburban Legends, My Chemical Romance, Green Day, and Evanescence.
What artist, genre or musical trend does everyone love, but you don’t get?
Today’s “popular” music. It’s over processed with benign lyrics and is simply too easy to digest. Gimme something with a little meat to it—something with chord progressions other than I-IV-V-I, challenging and inspiring instrumental solos, and meaningful poetry in lyrics.
What musical act, current or defunct, would you most like to see perform live?
I would love to not just see, but to share the stage with The Interrupters and The Dollyrots.
What’s your favorite musical guilty pleasure?
Playing sousaphone in polka and Dixieland bands or rock ’n’ roll bagpipes.
What’s your favorite music venue?
That I’ve played in? I’d have to say the indoor venues would have to either be The Cave in Big Bear or Big Rock Pub. For outdoor venues, it’d be really hard to top the Empire Polo Grounds, where Spankshaft played for Rhythm, Wine and Brews, as well as the Desert Oasis festivals. Maybe we can make the lineup for Coachella sometime in the near future!
What’s the one song lyric you can’t get out of your head?
“She. She’s figured out, all her doubts were someone else’s point of view,” Green Day, “She.”
What band or artist changed your life? How?
Van Halen. The 1984 album was the first time I discovered music of my own rather than just listening to whatever my parents were always playing. It would’ve been my first album purchase, but my brother had already bought it.
You have one question to ask one musician. What’s the question, and who are you asking?
“What would you like to learn first?” as asked to the rookie band student in high school who has very limited skill, but has the drive, determination and passion to take it all the way.
What song would you like played at your funeral?
Being a professional bagpiper, I most definitely do not want “Amazing Grace” played. So with that being said, I’d have to say the slow version of “The Marines’ Hymn” played by a Marine Corps band.
Figurative gun to your head, what is your favorite album of all time?
Van Halen, 1984. You never forget your first love.
What song should everyone listen to right now?
I think you misspelled the word “album.” I know this is going to sound like a shameless plug, but Spankshaft’s Beasts and Goddesses is absolutely wonderful! I used to think that listening to your own recordings made you a narcissist. However, I can honestly say that Brandon Simpson’s songwriting is just so powerful that I honestly listen to Spankshaft’s music just for the pure enjoyment of it—even the album they recorded before I joined the band! After all, it was the music that inspired me to join them in the first place.