Derek Jordan Gregg has been a force in the Coachella Valley music scene for years. Whether it’s through his indie rock band The Hive Minds, or his one-man acoustic guitar-looper show, Gregg seems determined to continually create music.
The pandemic and the stay-at-home order have been looming over everyone—but Gregg took the situation as an opportunity to create more. The result: a new single, “House of Cocaine,” as well as regular live-stream performances in collaboration with Jetta King.
“House of Cocaine” is a heavy, bluesy and downright-kick-ass tune. Gregg’s yells and intense guitar riffs lead to a ’70s rock feel on steroids. (Check it out here!)
“I’ve got a demo’s worth of these new classic-rock-type vibe songs under my belt that I’ve been holding on to now for about 10 years,” Gregg said during a recent phone interview. “I wrote them with just my drummer at the time, in Oregon, in 2011. We cranked out a couple of these songs, which just came from out of nowhere, totally different from the solo, acoustic, white-boy R&B stuff I was writing.”
Indeed, most of us in the valley—myself included—know Gregg for his sweet, soft-rocking tunes, both from The Hive Minds and his solo work. Hearing “House of Cocaine” for the first time blew both me and my ears away.
“Obviously it’s inspired by Zeppelin and Sabbath, but I think there’s a punk-rock sensibility to it—classic rock played by people who don’t know how to play classic rock,” Gregg said about the song. “It’s a familiar formula, even though I do it a little bit differently. Some would say I do it wrong.
“A lot of the song structure and lyrical content are similar between my solo stuff and The Hive Minds. This stuff has been around forever and has always been a part of my heart and soul, just as much as my folk solo stuff.
“I’m also working on my debut solo album, which will sound nothing like this song. I just wanted to give everyone a taste—in a time where it’s very important to be putting music out.”
As for how the song was recorded, Gregg said it came about thanks to the Palm Canyon Roadhouse.
“Greg LaRiviere, the owner of the Palm Canyon Roadhouse, has been supporting local music ever since the bar established itself,” he shared. “They do jam sessions every Sunday, which I have hosted sometimes. Greg has the longest-running jam in the desert, and put out the money to record an album of all of his favorite regulars and locals and their original music. I did that with David Williams of Melrose Music, and Greg footed the bill for it. I play ‘House of Cocaine’ at the Roadhouse all the time, and it’s Greg’s favorite song.”
People wanting to hear more of this new sound from Gregg will need to wait just a little bit longer.
“Now that things are opening up, we are eager to get back to work,” Gregg said. “I’m trying to release a solo demo in the next two or three months. As soon as the virus limitations are lifted a bit more, I’m going to get back together with the band I recorded ‘House of Cocaine’ with—Sean Poe on drums, and Gene Beavers on bass—and knock out a full demo with David Williams.”
Gregg has gotten some recent attention for his live-stream performances with Jetta King. In normal times, Gregg is one of the valley’s busiest performers. But these are not normal times, so in an effort to make up for some of his lost revenue, Gregg has run a weekly Facebook live show—with a Venmo tip-jar link.
“That right now has been Jetta’s and my main outlet,” Gregg said. “It’s been the way we can feel like we can actually help when we feel so helpless. It’s been the one good, positive thing that we can give to the world in need. When you’re in hard times, everyone needs to come together and give their talents.
“I didn’t have that much of an online presence before all of this started, so this was kind of a kick in the ass to get myself in gear to having a presence. The response has been great, and we’re also part of another Facebook group with thousands of viewers. I’m actually making a decent amount of tips, enough to keep a roof over my head. It’s been amazing; people have been watching and sending love, and I definitely plan on trying to maintain a reach in this avenue and continue streaming.”
What’s next for Derek Jordan Gregg? It’s becoming apparent that this pandemic has elevated his already impressive work ethic.
“I’m going to be releasing solo stuff, basically re-branding myself and trying to get more recognition that way,” he said. “I’m gonna be dropping a second EP with The Hive Minds, and this new classic-blues stuff has a demo on the way. I’m also working on duet stuff with Jetta, who has been adding so much to my music. Keep an eye out for literally anything.”
For more information, visit www.facebook.com/derekjordangreggmusic.