The Dreamboats may be from Canada—but they’ve been adopted as locals by many Coachella Valley music fans.
The four-piece rock ’n’ roll revival band has become a Modernism Week staple, and has performed at all over desert, bringing a nonstop rockin’ show with ’50s/’60s vibe. They’re set to perform at 7 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 13, in downtown Indio as part of the Second Saturdays Center Stage series.
During a recent chat with guitarist and lead vocalist Chris Hummel, aka Ritchie Hummins, he explained how The Dreamboats first made their way to the Coachella Valley.
“It started back in 2017, when we got hired, sight unseen, to be the opening band for the Modernism Week party,” said Hummel. “We came here through our sponsor Mike, who works for (Canadian home/interior design company) Willis, one of the major sponsors of Modernism Week. He saw us playing at a bar or a venue down in Toronto, and he’s like, ‘I’ve got to get you guys to Palm Springs.’ … The next thing you know, he’s calling us up. We went to the gig, knocked it out of the park, and developed such a great reputation. … The following year, we were the first band ever to get invited back two years in a row to perform the opening party. They weren’t going to give us three years, even though they considered it, so they built us a stage which became The Dreamboats stage, and we became a staple band in Modernism Week from 2017 onward.”
Modernism Week celebrates all things midcentury modern. Considering the band’s sound and style—down to the matching suits—The Dreamboats are a perfect fit.
“When we play, it’s four matching dudes, kind of like the Rat Pack,” Hummel said. “It just goes well with the whole theme of Palm Springs. … The image and the idea of The Dreamboats itself goes hand in hand with the valley.”
Modernism Week started a domino effect for the band that has yet to stop.
“So many cool things have happened since playing here, and things have happened really quick,” Hummel said. “You don’t know who you’re going to meet. We played the open mic at Pappy and Harriet’s, and the sheriff of Yucaipa saw us perform there, and all of a sudden, we were the first band to open up the Performing Arts Center in Yucaipa, and open up for Foghat. We’re not the perfect band for every occasion, but we’re definitely the perfect band for the occasion. There was a ’50s/’60s night that Agua Caliente Casino tried to do. They hired us in February, and we drove down in January. We performed at the Agua Caliente Cathedral City stage when it was still fairly new, and then the following day, they locked us down into a seven-month residency contract every last Saturday of the month moving forward. … We just hope to kind of piggyback these really cool moments from one to the other. It’s just all love.”
So much has happened for The Dreamboats in the Coachella Valley that they’ve decided to become desert residents, at least temporarily.
“We have our work visas until February 2023, so we’re staying in the area here, and we’re going back and forth to Canada just to finish up some obligations, and to do a little bit of touring, because a lot of our connections and whatnot have been in Toronto,” Hummel said. “Since 2009, we’ve been playing a lot in Canada, so we’re not trying to completely turn our back on a lot of the cool gigs and opportunities that we have back home. We do a lot of juggling and driving and flying, and it’s been cool. It’s quite the experience.”
Navigating back and forth between two countries can be taxing, especially as costs continue to rise.
“Logistically, it can be a nightmare, but at the same time, we want to just make sure we’re playing as much as possible,” Hummel said.
Beyond The Dreamboats’ popular live show, their singles and EPs are equally impressive and nostalgic. Sounds span from doo-wop on “Water Under the Bridge” to twangy country rock on “Fool for You,” while the band’s latest single, “Hello Josephine,” is a blistering-fast 12-bar blues jam.
“Thankfully, we have someone in-house here who does recording, and we’re working on our next EP,” Hummel said. “Recording can be tricky, because there are a lot of things that we’re doing, and we’re always just trying to make sure that the stage show is where it should be when we’re performing. That takes a lot of time and rehearsal. … We look at the calendar and kind of prioritize what’s coming up and schedule a little bit of how we plan on releasing content, and how to go about doing that. Inspiration can spark up; ideas happen, or if certain things need a certain type of video, that dictates which direction we go with.”
Like all people who play music for a living, The Dreamboats need to consider their finances, too.
“Coming here now, we’re doing our best to make sure that we’re taking good gigs, creating opportunities, and really making sure that our financial buffer is in order,” Hummel said. “Right now, we’re putting a lot more time into doing private events, and the odd public event, and promoting it that way. We’re just looking to try to work as much as possible right now. We do have stuff in the pipeline that we’ve been recording and producing; it’s just right now, we’re trying to do our best to just kind of play as many summer parties and events as possible.”
The Dreamboats will perform at Second Saturdays Center Stage, at 7 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 13 at 82868 Miles Ave, Indio. The event is free. For more information, visit eventspalmsprings.com.