When Juli Crockett of the Evangenitals called, I asked her how she felt about the band returning, yet again, to Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace.
“We can only go so long without returning to the source!” she replied.
The Evangenitals band has become a Pappy and Harriet’s regular due to its popularity among the crowd, and will be returning on Saturday, June 29.
Crockett explained the mutual love between Pappy’s and the Evangenitals, a self-described “folked-up genre-bending good time band.”
“We try to keep it on a schedule of at least once every three months, or at least once a season,” Crockett said. “Every time we play, we kind of start the process of, ‘When is the next time we can come back?’ Robyn (Celia, Pappy’s co-owner) loves us, and we love Pappy’s.
“It’s funny, because people in Los Angeles ask us where we play locally, and we always say, ‘Um, Pappy and Harriet’s?’ We’d always rather take the trek to the desert and play there than play in Los Angeles.”
In 2014, the Evangenitals released Moby Dick; or, The Album. Since then, there have no new Evangenitals recordings.
“After you do an album on Moby Dick, the question is, ‘OK, now what?’ You’ve taken on a literary epic,” Crockett explained. “One of the jokes that we have is (our) repertoire is so gigantic. We have so many songs, and we’re so behind schedule in releasing them. We’ve been trying to catch up. The working title that we’ve been talking about forever for the next album is The 100-Song Demo. Everybody asks us, ‘What kind of music do you play?’ And we’re like, ‘Hmm, I dunno.’ We can always say, ‘Well, you can listen to our demo; it’s 100 songs!’ We figured that should fulfill the requirements for an epic follow-up and give people a real overview of the things we do.”
How, exactly, would a 100-song demo work?
“How do you release such a thing? Are we really going to release an eight-volume album?” Crockett said. “I recently gave a CD to a millennial artist who I met on the Melissa Etheridge Cruise, but she’s like, ‘I don’t own a CD player! Who owns a CD player anymore?’ So … our idea is to release the 100-song demo as a podcast, so every episode is another song, but then after 20-odd episodes, we’ll release these in albums, and call (the first one) Season 1. I also want to do the 100-song livestream where we actually play them all over a span of 24 hours. We’ll move from being a band into performance artists.”
Wait, the Melissa Etheridge Cruise?
“It was amazing. It’s ruined cruises for us forever. It was incredible,” Crockett said. “Her cruise is its own floating country. It was such an incredible experience. For one, just the demographic: The cruise was 93 percent women, so it was just the energetic difference of not being in a patriarchal society, (but instead a society) dominated by women. It was like being in the Amazonian culture for a week.
“It was such a bad-ass, loving, supportive, talented group of people, from the artists to the fans. My husband, Michael (Feldman), who plays keyboards in the band, said it was such a weird experience, because of the 7 percent of men on the cruise, 1 percent of them were in the Evangenitals. He said it was an interesting experience to see every conversation and every important decision made between women. Women were the deciders of everything. I got to kick off the ’80s-night show in a metallic thong singing Prince’s ‘Let’s Go Crazy.’ I’m still having a hard time coming back from that experience.”
One of the obvious influences of the Evangenitals is Ween.
“We’ve been playing ‘Alone’ from The Pod album a lot lately. That’s one of our favorite things to play right now, period,” Crockett said. “Sometimes we do ‘Cold Blows the Wind’ from The Mollusk album. It’s a Chinese poem that they sing that goes into our sea-shanty aquatic theme. We’re actually going to license ‘Alone,’ because we’ve been working on a recording of that.”
I asked Crockett what the best part of an Evangenitals show is.
“I have no idea what it’s like to see our band, because I’m in it, so I’m always asking, ‘What is this like for a human being to come to Pappy and Harriet’s and be like, What the fuck is happening?’ The feedback that I get that I love the most is that it’s so different than what anyone’s expectation might be. If you think it’s going to be a punk band, it’s like, ‘Yeah, but there’s this other stuff.’ If you think it’s going to be a country band, it’s the same thing. People tell me how life-affirming it is, because it’s so open, so dynamic, and so full of love and humor—which I feel is what the world needs right now. That’s why we keep it so open in terms of genre and everything else.
“There’s a Kierkegaard quote that says (paraphrased), ‘Either God is everything, or God is nothing.’ Part of the Evangenitals is, ‘God is everything, including the fucking shit on the ground, anal sex and anything else you can think of.’ You don’t have to exclude parts of yourself to be alive or have an experience.”
The Evangenitals will perform with The Shadow Mountain Band at 8 p.m., Saturday, June 29, at Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace, 53688 Pioneertown Road, in Pioneertown. Admission is free. For more information, call 760-365-5956, or visit www.pappyandharriets.com.