Anna Rosa Calkins
Garrison Calkins. Credit: Anna Rosa Calkins

Local thrash foursome Instigator has quickly gained cult success among valley residents and beyond. Seemingly every venue in town has had speakers blown by the long-haired rockers; the group’s first EP, Built to Defy, gained them fans around the county. On April 3, the band released debut album Necessary Evil, which shows a high level of thrash-metal bad-assery; learn more at On bass is Garrison Calkins, whose intricate and over-driven bass riffs are the backbone of every track—especially “Atom.” He is the latest to take the Lucky 13; here are his answers.

What was the first concert you attended?

Van Halen with David Lee Roth at the Glen Helen Amphitheater in 2015. I was 14.

What was the first album you owned?

Too hard to remember. My mind is telling me that I got The Black Album by Metallica.

What bands are you listening to right now?

Right now, I’ve got Led Zeppelin, Rush, The Police, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Primus and our new album.

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

I don’t get the new wave of rap that’s come in the last decade. There are a few artists I let slide, but as for the vast majority of current rap, I just don’t understand it all.

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

I’d love to go back and see Metallica during either the “Damage, Inc.” or Damaged Justice tour.

What’s your favorite musical guilty pleasure?

Anything super-’80s; whatever most people consider to be “weird”; and classical music. Oingo Boingo, Michael Jackson, ABBA, Bach, Mozart and John Williams soundtracks.

What’s your favorite music venue?

Locally, I’d say The Date Shed, but as a general venue, I’d say The Forum.

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

“And we’ll bask in the shadow of yesterday’s triumph, and sail on the steel breeze,” “Shine on You Crazy Diamond,” by Pink Floyd.

What band or artist changed your life? How?

Metallica. Their music spoke to me like nothing else ever did—especially those first four albums. By listening to them, I found out who Cliff Burton was, and he further changed my life by being the inspiration to pick up the bass and start playing music.

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

I’d ask Geddy Lee how to show people that there are more important things to be worrying about on this Earth than power and trade. I’d ask how to ensure that humanity and life come before all else.

What song would you like played at your funeral?

“Hallowed Be Thy Name” by Iron Maiden.

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

Black Sabbath’s self-titled album. Such a masterpiece.

What song should everyone listen to right now?

“Red Barchetta” by Rush. This is one of the very few songs that when you hear it, you also see it being played out. All the lyrics with the music just take you somewhere else—which is nice, since we’re all trapped inside for a while. (Scroll down to hear it!)

Avatar photo

Matt King

Matt King is a freelance writer for the Coachella Valley Independent. A creative at heart, his love for music thrust him into the world of journalism at 17 years old, and he hasn't looked back. Before...