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Last updateWed, 27 Sep 2017 1pm

When Jackass first aired on MTV, it not only made stars out of its cast; it brought attention to the band CKY.

The music of CKY (Camp Kill Yourself) was featured on the show, and the band played the Warped Tour this summer. On the final tour date, yesterday in Pomona, members Matt Deis (bass) and Jess Margera (drums; the brother of Jackass star Bam) sat down with the Independent for a brief interview.

One subject: The release of the new album The Phoenix, which was recorded at Rancho de la Luna in Joshua Tree.

“As an East Coast boy who grew up in winters with 4 feet of snow on the ground all the time, being able to go out there where it was almost 120 degrees each day, that was pretty nice,” Deis said. “It was beautiful. There’s this energy that just seems to hang over Joshua Tree and that whole area.”

The album was engineered by Jon Russo; Rancho de la Luna owner David Catching was not on hand for the recording of the album.

“He was out on tour with Eagles of Death Metal,” Margera said. “That was a real bummer, because I’ve heard what a great cook he is.”

CKY is no stranger to the Warped Tour, having played it before. On Sunday, however, I could tell Margera was happy it was finally ending.

“It was awesome to come back, but it was really hot for a lot of it,” he said. “I’m pretty burnt out. I had a real blast, but I’m spent! It’s like a rock ’n’ roll summer camp. You just get to hang out with a ton of cool bands, barbecuing with them, and it’s a cool vibe. You hang out with bands that you might not ever get to hang out with, like American Authors, which is a band my kids love, but I’ve never heard of.”

Deis agreed about the summer-camp vibe.

“You become friends with the least likely of people; 40-something shows in, and we’ve become great friends with Save Ferris, which is a ska band,” he said. “Now we’re all friends for life, and once you’re here living it, you get it. It’s a secret club that you become a member of.”

Margera shared one downside of the Warped Tour.

“We have about 20 years of music to play in about 30 minutes. That’s challenging!” he said. “When it’s 118 in Phoenix, though, 30 minutes is a good amount of time. I probably would have died if it was 40 minutes.”

Deis said the 30 minutes per day of performing leads to challenges.

“The hardest part is the 23 1/2 other hours that happen—trying to not go crazy during that,” he said. “But the 30 minutes onstage? That’s what you look forward to each day.”

It’s been almost two decades since Jackass debuted on MTV in 2000.

“I think it was a perfect storm of events, and I’m really grateful for it,” Margera said. “We built a fan base without going through the traditional routes. We had a video on MTV through Jackass, and we didn’t even have an album in stores. That was different: You had to go find it in a surf or skate shop. Spike Jonze and Jeff Tremaine took our videos and the Big Brother videos and pitched them to MTV, and they were like, ‘Whatever you want, sir!’”

Right now, CKY is in the midst of promoting The Phoenix, which dropped in June.

“We’re coming back around with the H.I.M. Farewell Tour, and we’re going to be the support for them on the entire North American run,” Deis said. “We’re excited about it. For some reason, we never toured with them before. Sadly, they’re going away, but it’ll be a lot of fun.

“We’re going to be working on a new EP within the next month or two.”

Margera laughed as he explained why they were recording an EP.

“Our new label said (The Phoenix) is great, but it’s only eight songs,” he said. “We’re going to need more than that, so we’re going to get to work right after this. We had years off, so it’s good to be busy again.”

Haunted Summer can mean one of two things:

• A truly bad ’80s movie based on Lord Byron.

• A fantastic band to come out of Los Angeles’ indie-music scene.

Haunted Summer—the band, that is—will be performing at Deserted at the Palms event, to be held at the Palms Restaurant in Twentynine Palms on Saturday, May 21, with acts such as Bloody Death Skull, The Dead Ships, The Garden and many others.

Formed in 2012 by married couple John and Bridgette Seasons, Haunted Summer’s psychedelic pop sound caught on quickly and landed the band high-profile gigs at the El Rey Theatre and a tour with the Polyphonic Spree. The group released a five-track EP titled Something in the Water and has been working on a new album while consistently touring. The band performed in Palm Springs not too long ago—at the Independent’s Nov. 17 benefit for gay-bashing victims George and Christopher Zander.

During a recent phone interview from Chicago during a break in the current U.S. tour, John and Bridgette Seasons discussed recording at the local Rancho de la Luna studio, owned by Eagles of Death Metal and Mojave Lords guitarist Dave Catching.

“That was such a great time,” Bridgette Seasons said. “This guy we work with is friends with Dave Catching. There was a week where we found some time to do some recording there, and it was incredible. Dave Catching is the coolest guy ever—and Rancho is my dream studio.”

Catching didn’t just record while Haunted Summer was at his studio.

“We got Chris Goss on guitar for a song, and we got Dave Catching on bass for a song,” John Seasons said. “Everybody had a good time hanging out, and it was just an awesome experience.”

John Seasons said they hope to have the album out in the fall.

“We’ve been recording it at different studios, too,” John Seasons said. “It’s going to have a feel of different studios and different kinds of songs. Something in the Water was more one-toned, and this next one is going to be all over the map.”

All the touring has exposed Haunted Summer to new audiences across the country—playing in decent-sized venues wherever the group goes.

“We’ve played all over, and it’s been amazing, given we’ve been touring off that EP for a few years,” John Seasons said. “We’ve had a lot of support from bigger bands and venues trying to nurture us, bring us back and build our audience on our own. This time, we’re going to Toronto and doing a lot of East Coast and Middle America on this tour.”

This past spring, Haunted Summer played SXSW in Austin, Texas. Some musicians say the huge event has lost its focus on music, because the technology portion of the festival and corporate sponsors overshadow everything else. However, both John and Bridgette said SXSW is still important for independent bands on the touring circuit.

“A lot of bands go to SXSW with that dream of being discovered or whatever,” John Seasons said. “But I think the most precious thing you can take from something like SXSW is networking—meeting bands from around the country, meeting promoters and making friends. It’s important, because you end up getting people to support you from different parts of the country.”

Bridgette Seasons added: “It’s like music boot camp.”

It’s always been said that working with one’s spouse can be fraught with danger. John and Bridgette conceded that they have had their moments while touring and working together, but they said that overall, being able to do what they do as a married couple is a beautiful experience. 

“To be pretty honest, I think it’s the only way it could work,” Bridgette Seasons said. “We’re really happy to be doing this together, and we know what a strain it can be when two people are on two very different paths. The path we’re on is very demanding, and neither one of us could do this alone.”

While they’ll be playing as Haunted Summer at the Palms Restaurant, they are also members of Bloody Death Skull, fronted by journalist and music promoter Daiana Feuer. Bloody Death Skull is known for covers of various psychedelic rock songs, with Feuer playing a ukulele, and the members wearing various types of wacky costumes. Also worth noting: A member of the band sits on the floor and plays with action figures and dolls during the live performances.

“It’s a fun, wacky and exploratory band,” Bridgette Seasons said. “Haunted Summer doesn’t take itself too seriously, but it’s nice to let go and do some really funky and fun shit with them.”

The Palms is a strange place. Having seen two shows there myself, I can say it is probably the perfect place for a psychedelic music festival. Both John and Bridgette Seasons said they are looking forward to it.

“We’re all about the desert and being in that kind of atmosphere,” John Seasons said. “I think that’s where we learn the most. It’s a great lineup, and Daiana has been doing this for a few years. It’ll be cool, and we’ll do a Haunted Summer set—and, of course, the collaboration with Bloody Death Skull.”

Deserted at the Palms takes place at 2 p.m., Saturday, May 21, at 83131 Amboy Road, in Twentynine Palms. Tickets are $30. For more information, visit the event’s Facebook page.

Published in Previews

Sinner Sinners is one of those bands you really should be listening to—even though you’ve probably never heard of them.

Thanks to tours with Eagles of Death Metal and the reunited Refused, however, the group is starting to get some much-deserved attention.

Sinner Sinners will be playing on Saturday, April 16, with the Mojave Lords (featuring Eagles of Death Metal guitarist Dave Catching), Boots Electric (featuring Eagles of Death Metal frontman Jesse Hughes), Fatso Jetson, Chris Goss and others at Pappy and Harriet’s. It’s very likely this show, co-presented by Rancho de la Luna, will sell out.

Originally from France and the Netherlands, Sinner Sinners now call Los Angeles home. The brutal punk-rock sound has earned the band accolades, and both the video for the song “Modern Man” and the album Cardinal Sins have received write-ups in publications like Rolling Stone and Maximum Metal.

During a recent phone interview shortly after returning home to Los Angeles from a European tour with Eagles of Death Metal, Sinner Sinners frontman Steve Thill said the fact that the band is not currently signed to a major label has not been a problem.

“When we released the first demo, almost right away, we got a deal with Universal Publishing in France,” Thill said. “They signed us, and they were looking for a label for us, and they couldn’t find one. So Universal couldn’t find us a label, and we figured that finding one ourselves would be even harder. … We just figured we’d put (our album) out ourselves, and it’s been doing good. I think the one thing a label can really do for you is help financially to record and (with) PR stuff, but we pay for recording, and we have a PR agent to help promote the album when it came out. We don’t get all of the cool magazines, because it’s a self-release.”

Thill’s wife, Sam, has incorporated the keyboard into their brutal sound, which reminds of another well-known punk band.

“When we started the band, we were really into The Damned, and I think that’s where it comes from,” he said. “We’re more into their goth era, or more like the Machine Gun Etiquette album. It’s one of my favorites, and when we first started, we were playing some of their covers. It was going to be like Sisters of Mercy kind of stuff, with a drum machine, but during the first rehearsal, we (realized we) wanted a drummer.”

How did the Thills choose Los Angeles as their new home?

“We came over for vacation first, and came back to record a few times,” Steve Thill said. “We began staying longer each time, and we figured we should be here, because there’s more happening here musically. We eventually moved here. We come from a really small town in France. It’s cold all the time, and it’s raining all the time. Los Angeles was pretty appealing to us.

“We were in our hometown in France last week while we were on tour, and it was so fucking cold.”

Both Steve and Sam were shocked when they heard about the Nov. 13 terrorist attack in Paris—and horrified that it happened during a show by some of their friends.

“Nothing like that ever really happens there, and you don’t ever hear about gunshots or anything, because it just doesn’t happen,” Steve Thill said. “When we heard about it—that it was an Eagles of Death Metal show, that our friends were there, and we had just played with the Eagles a month before—it was completely insane. It’s one of those things you think only happens to other people. You hear about things like that on the news, and you never think it would happen to your friends.”

It is no surprise that Sinner Sinners are taking part in the Play It Forward campaign, which features various bands recording a cover of the Eagles of Death Metal’s song “I Love You All the Time,” to help raise money for the victims of the attack.

“We thought about it, and we thought—especially being friends of Jesse Hughes and his girlfriend, Tuesday Cross; the fact we’re neighbors and have been friends for the past six years; and we’re from France—there’s no way we couldn’t do it,” Steve Thill said. “It would be fucked-up and insulting if we didn’t do it. We got together, and we did it, and it was the first time we were playing music after it happened.

“For us French people after that whole thing happened, especially being here, we couldn’t really get a feel for what was going on, and we were watching the news as much as we could to figure out what was happening. It was probably not the best idea, because the news channels here are always pushing everything and keep showing the same videos all day, and ‘Terror! Terror! Terror!’ According to our friends there, people never really stopped going out and stopped going to bars or clubs, even after the first few days after the events. The attacks were as bad as they were saying, but the state of Paris wasn’t as bad as they were saying. When we went back three weeks ago, people were actually going out of their way to go to shows and were super-pumped about going out.”

While the Sinner Sinners are currently working on a second album, Steve and Sam are happy to be returning to the desert for a performance at Pappy and Harriet’s. The last time they played in the desert was in September 2014, at the Palms in Wonder Valley, with Jello Biafra and Spindrift.

“It’s weird, because when we started the band in France, we were following the whole desert-music scene and listening to those bands we’re playing with,” Steve Thill said. “We’re the outsiders, and it’s really an honor to be on that (Pappy and Harriet’s) show—and scary at the same time.

“Last time we played in the desert was really weird with Jello Biafra and Spindrift. It was definitely a strong memory, and I remember we saw some scorpions when Jesika Von Rabbit was playing. It was a really rad experience. You hear about the desert on TV and never think you’ll find yourself in one, and even though we’ve been here a few years, it’s really strange for us.”

Sinner Sinners will perform with the Mojave Lords, Fatso Jetson, Chris Goss, Alain Johannes, Boots Electric and Strawberry Smog at 8 p.m., Saturday, April 16, at Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace, 53688 Pioneertown Road, in Pioneertown. Tickets are $25. For tickets or more information, call 760-365-5956, or visit www.pappyandharriets.com.

Published in Previews

Jam in the Van is an Internet music program that’s taking the music world by storm. It is quickly becoming as recognizable as the giant music festivals to which it travels. What MTV was to music videos in the early ‘80s, Jam in the Van is to music festivals and independent artists today.

The van is a moving piece of art, covered with colorful portraits of rock legends and wallpapered in memorabilia from shows gone by. It is also a solar-powered recording studio that travels to the hottest music festivals. Parked outside of Bonnaroo, High Sierra, SXSW and Bottle Rocket, JITV entrepreneur Jake Cotler and his crew invite performing artists inside for a three-song set, documented with state-of-the-art recording gear by pros who are passionate about capturing the magic.

The concept was born in 2011 in the expanded consciousness of Jake Cotler. In a psychedelic haze at the Bonnaroo Music Festival in Manchester, Tenn., beneath the starry sky on top of their rented RV, Jake and his and partners, Dave Bell and Louis Peek, thought, “What if we could bring the music to us?” The young festies had been attending Bonnaroo since 2002, and each year, they rented an RV to the tune of a couple of grand. They began contemplating what would happen if they bought an old RV, loaded it with recording gear, and got the bands they were traveling to see to record live sets inside the van. They bought the first jam-van off craigslist for $800, parked it in the alley behind Cotler’s Venice Beach home, and began inviting bands to come play.

Cotler remembers the first time they were invited to park the van backstage at Bonnaroo in 2012.

“Everything but the engine is powered by the sun,” he said. “The studio is fully solar-powered, amps and all. We use four-domestic sized solar panels on the roof of the van to run everything. That’s why we can pull up literally anywhere and film our sessions.

“… The first Bonnaroo we worked at was pretty surreal for us. That was probably the last year that Bonnaroo was really awesome, 2012. Just three months prior, we’d been on the side of the road in Fort Stockton, Texas, broken down in a 1984 Jam Van that died on us on the way back from SXSW. We had to sell the van to a sheriff on the side of the road who was going to use it for storage and to let his nephew sleep in. We packed everything up in a U-Haul and drove back to L.A. with two choices on our minds: Throw in the towel and say it was fun while it lasted, or crowd-fund a new van, and make shit happen. We went with option B, because we don’t quit shit, and we succeeded.

“In the midst of our crowd-funding venture, we signed a deal with Bonnaroo to be part of the festival and film bands backstage. So that first time we … got to be backstage at the festival that started it all. That was really a good feeling.”

The show has picked up sponsors and has filmed hundreds of live music segments. The crew visits major music meccas and music festivals. In April, the crew visited our high desert for a two-day shoot before making their way down to Coachella to record some of this year’s best acts, wrapping things up with desert-based War Drum.

Day one took place outside the van at desert rock icon Brant Bjork’s Low Desert Punk studio in Joshua Tree. The shoot started off with several songs by Brant’s band Low Desert Punk, fresh off this year’s Coachella stage. They included a track from his recent release, Black Flower Power. Next up was DRUG, a surf-punk trio featuring Jamie Hafler on guitar and bass (using a custom built double-neck guitar, allowing him to pull off the feat), and the dramatic impassioned vocals of frontwoman Cristie Carter. A last-minute addition to the lineup was Gram Rabbit songstress Jesika von Rabbit, who took the intimate route with her vocals and guitar. The grand finale featured The Atomic Sherpas.

Day two occurred inside the van at the world renowned Rancho De La Luna Recording Studio in Joshua Tree, where the cream of the desert rock crop gave the crew a taste of what our underground music scene is all about. Guitarist Bobby Nichols (Inner Planetary Monks), drummer Rob Peterson (The Pedestrians) and bassist Armando Flores (The Pedestrians, Blasting Echo) recorded as Sundrug Experiment. They set the mood for the day with fiery psychedelic jams. Next up was Americana indie-band Gene Jr. and The Family, making Joshua Tree proud with its polished pop-infused rock. Waxy then delivered an authentic set of desert stoner rock; Fatso Jetson made the trek from L.A. and blew EVERYONE away with a flawless set of pounding compositions. The evening ended with punk-laden power pop by desert bad-boys, Eagles of Death Metal. Dave Catching and Bingo Richey were going over new tunes that are part of their latest project, the Mojave Lords, predicted to be the desert’s new supergroup.

Visit Jam in the Van at www.jaminthevan.com. Read more from Robin Linn, including an expanded version of this story with video imbeds, at www.desertrockchronicles.com.

It’s March … so we all know what’s comin’, weather-wise. We strongly recommend getting out and enjoying some fantastic events before the broiler gets turned on.

The McCallum Theatre’s schedule is full of music events in March. While Johnny Mathis’ March 7 and 8 performances are sold out, here are some other shows to consider: At 8 p.m., Tuesday, March 17, singer-songwriter Don McLean will be stopping by. McLean wrote the 1971 hit single “American Pie,” for which he’s widely known; however, he’s written many other great songs, too. After catching his performance at Stagecoach last year, I can say he’s worth seeing. Tickets are $25 to $65. At 8 p.m., Friday, March 27, Chinese classical pianist Lang Lang will be performing. Tickets are $65 to $125. McCallum Theatre, 73000 Fred Waring Drive, Palm Desert; 760-340-2787; www.mccallumtheatre.com.

Fantasy Springs Resort Casino has some great stuff going on in March. At 8 p.m., Saturday, March 7, Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter Melissa Etheridge will play. Etheridge won an Academy Award for her song “I Need to Wake Up,” for Al Gore’s documentary An Inconvenient Truth. Tickets are $29 to $59. At 8 p.m., Saturday, March 14, R&B superstar Ne-Yo will be stopping by. Ne-Yo has won multiple Grammy Awards; this is one you don’t want to miss. Tickets are $49 to $109. I was very excited when I heard about the next event … but there’s a twist: At 8 p.m., Friday, March 27, ’60s pop group The Monkees will perform. Here’s the twist: The show is slated to include only Micky Dolenz and Peter Tork. Michael Nesmith, with whom Tork and Dolenz reunited with after the death of Davy Jones in 2012, will for some reason not be taking part in this show, barring a change in plans. Tickets are $29 to $59. Fantasy Springs Resort Casino, 84245 Indio Springs Parkway, Indio; 760-342-5000; www.fantasyspringsresort.com.

Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa has a couple can’t-miss shows scheduled, too. At 8 p.m., Saturday, March 7, comedian Kathy Griffin will be returning to The Show for what should be a very funny performance. After a successful run with her reality show Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List, Griffin is still going strong. Tickets are $65 to $85. At 8 p.m., Saturday, March 28, the ’90s-swing-revival band Big Bad Voodoo Daddy will take the stage. If you don’t remember, swing music enjoyed a very brief comeback in the decade thanks to acts such as the Brian Setzer Orchestra and the Cherry Poppin’ Daddies. Big Bad Voodoo Daddy has continued on successfully since then. Tickets are $40 to $70. The Show at Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa, 32250 Bob Hope Drive, Rancho Mirage; 888-999-1995; www.hotwatercasino.com.

Spotlight 29 had a strong February—and that strength continues into March. At 8 p.m., Saturday, March 7, you’ll be happy to find a night of “country music without prejudice” with Big and Rich and special guest Cowboy Troy (pictured above right). During the ‘MERICA! years of the previous decade, Kenny Alphin and John Rich rode the charts, and also had several successful collaborations with Cowboy Troy, an African-American artist who does rap country music. Tickets are $80 to $100. At 8 p.m., Saturday, March 28, plus-size comedian Ralphie May will be performing. May was the runner up on the first season of Last Comic Standing. He was also a contestant on Celebrity Fit Club. Tickets are $25 to $35. Spotlight 29 Casino, 46200 Harrison Place, Coachella; 760-775-5566; www.spotlight29.com.

Morongo Casino Resort Spa has one event in March that leads to this question: Are you ready to rock? OK, just joking: At 9 p.m., Friday, March 13, Kenny G (pictured below) will be stopping by. That’s right: The smooth-jazz sax man will be performing here! Despite harsh criticism from some of bop-jazz’ notable musicians, Kenny G has captivated audiences while selling millions of records around the world. Haters gonna hate! Tickets are $60 to $70. Morongo Casino Resort Spa, 49500 Seminole Drive, Cabazon; 800-252-4499; www.morongocasinoresort.com.

Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace will host some amazing musicians in March. At 8:30 p.m., Saturday, March 14, Dave Catching and Rancho de la Luna will be taking over Pappy’s with performances by Earthlings?, Dinola and Rancho de la Lunatics. Tickets are $10. At 8 p.m., Friday, March 27, there will be a much-anticipated performance by Gang of Four. The English post-punk outfit just released a new album. Tickets are $25. Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace, 53688 Pioneertown Road, Pioneertown; 760-365-5956; pappyandharriets.com.

Copa has several interesting events booked for March. At 8 p.m., Friday, March 6 and Saturday, March 7, Copa will be hosting performances by actress Molly Ringwald. Actually, she’s more than just an actress: Ringwald is also a decent vocal jazz singer! Her 2013 album Except Sometimes included a jazz-style cover of the Simple Minds’ “Don’t You (Forget About Me)” from her ’80s film The Breakfast Club. Tickets are $45 to $75. Copa, 244 E. Amado Road, Palm Springs; 760-322-3554; www.coparoomps.com.

Be sure to watch the websites and social-media presences of venues not listed here for newly announced events. Have a great March, everyone!

Published in Previews

The term “desert rock” defines a genre of music and bands, all from the local scene, that changed the face of music—and one of the most important musicians within that genre is Dave Catching, the owner of the Rancho de la Luna recording studio and the guitarist for Eagles of Death Metal.

Catching will be celebrating his 53rd birthday in style with a two-day concert extravaganza on Friday and Saturday, June 6 and 7, at Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace.

Beyond the Eagles of Death Metal, Catching has also been associated with Queens of the Stone Age, Tex and the Horseheads, The Ringling Sisters, earthlings?, Mondo Generator and other bands.

During a recent phone interview, Catching told his back story.

“I started playing music when I was 15 back in Memphis, Tenn.,” Catching said. “My brother was a musician, and I used to sneak his guitar out from under his bed. He caught me, and he showed me a few chords so that I could actually play stuff. That was the first time I started playing music.”

Catching said his brother and his uncle played in bands together, including a band that played covers of songs by Alice Cooper, Jimi Hendrix and David Bowie.

“I used to go to their rehearsals and hang out with them. They were both really great musicians and singers who inspired me.”

Catching never had any plans to own a recording studio or to live in the High Desert. However, that began to change in 1994. Fred Drake was interested in purchasing Rancho de la Luna; at the time, Catching owned a restaurant in New Orleans.

“(Fred Drake) called me when I owned my restaurant and asked me if I wanted to be partners,” Catching said. “It was so cheap that I sent him the money to buy it. I had no intentions of ever living in Joshua Tree. I thought I was going to be in New Orleans for the rest of my life. But it was such a great deal, and I loved Fred so much, so I just said ‘Yes,’ and we started the studio then.”

Drake, a founding member of earthlings?, died in 2002. He was beloved in the local music scene.

“He was in several bands, and he worked in another studio called Dominion Way. It was a rehearsal studio, and I used to rehearse there. Iggy Pop used to rehearse there back in 1988, and I started rehearsing there. (Drake) was an established figure around that part. It’s amazing what things he could do with the little equipment they had. It was incredible.”

After an electrical fire at his restaurant in New Orleans, Catching found himself living at and working out of the studio. Shortly after Catching moved, the Rancho de la Luna recorded a band called Kyuss, featuring Josh Homme. The rest, as they say, is history.

“I got a phone call from my best friend Hutch, who did sound for Kyuss; he now does sound for Queens of the Stone Age and Jack White. I called him to check in and say hi, and he told me Kyuss was going to Europe and needed a guitar tech,” Catching said. “I’d already met those guys through him before. … I needed something to do to get out of town. I became their guitar tech for a couple of tours, and we all became friends.

“Kyuss broke up, and Josh got a phone call from Roadrunner Records to do a song for a compilation record. He asked me and a couple of friends to be a band to do the song, and we called (the group) Queens of the Stone Age. Their producer, Chris Goss, had always told Kyuss, ‘You guys sound like Queens of the Stone Age.’”

As the Queens of the Stone Age began to rise, Rancho de la Luna became more established and has since become a prime recording spot for numerous well-known bands, including the Arctic Monkeys and, more recently, Foo Fighters. Catching said he never expected Rancho de la Luna, co-owned by Teddy Quinn, to become what it is today.

“We were just doing our thing,” Catching said. “(The members of Kyuss and Queens of the Stone Age) were just kids, and I was older than those guys, and we were just having a great time. They just wanted to come up and check out our studio, and did some recording. I didn’t really think about anything other than just having a good time at my place.”

Catching today splits time between New Orleans and Joshua Tree.

“I get the best of both worlds living in Joshua Tree and New Orleans: The driest place on Earth, and the wettest place on Earth,” he said, exaggerating slightly. “I’m pretty much sober when I’m in the desert, and I’m pretty much not sober when I’m in New Orleans. I think both places save me and keep me sane.”

The former restaurateur said he still loves to cook, too.

“It’s one of the best ways to bring people together,” Catching said. “It’s an enjoyable time to gather around the kitchen, throw a bunch of things together—and you have to eat. If it’s really good, it makes everybody a little happier.”

As for the local music scene circa 2014, Catching said it’s increasingly diverse—and he’s including a lot of those local-music friends, old and new, during his birthday celebration.

“A lot of the bands I like such as Parosella, Jesika von Rabbit and many others are playing,” he said. “We’re also going to do the Rancho de la Lunatics, which is a bunch of us just jamming. It will showcase a lot of bands that I like that are around the area now.”

Dave Catching’s Incredible Pappy and Harriet’s Birthday Spectacular takes place on Friday and Saturday, June 6 and 7, at Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace, 53688 Pioneertown Road, in Pioneertown. Friday tickets are $15; Saturday tickets are $20. For tickets or more information, call 760-365-5956, or visit pappyandharriets.com.

When it comes to pre-Coachella shows, Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace almost always has some of the best—and such was the case on Thursday, April 10, when the Afghan Whigs put on a fantastic outdoor show.

Distillers frontwoman Brody Dalle (right) took the stage as the sun began to set. During a set of mostly Distillers songs, Dalle opened with “Die on a Rope.” Dalle explained that earlier in the day, she had been in some sort of accident with a Joshua tree, and that her left leg was a little numb—but she never showed any signs that it hindered her. When Dalle and the band (which includes Distillers and Spinerette guitarist Tony Bevilacqua) played “Sick of It All” and “I Am Revenant” toward the middle of the set, she was on fire, belting out the lyrics and playing her guitar masterfully. It’s been said that Dalle’s voice is not that attractive; however, she is a punk-rock frontwoman, after all, and her voice suits the themes of her songs quite well.

Toward the end of her set, Dalle pointed out two young kids standing in front of the stage and asked how old they were; when the boys said they were 13, she cheered them on. One of the boys screamed out that it was his birthday; Dalle then wished him a happy birthday.

One of the last songs in her set was a cover of the Misfits’ “Hybrid Moments,” before she closed out with “Underworld.”

The Afghan Whigs broke up in 2001, with a temporary reunion in 2006 before reuniting again in 2012—but the band played like they’d never left. After an instrumental intro, the band blasted into a song that will be on their upcoming album, Do the Beast, called “Parked Outside.” Their second song, “Matamoros,” is also on the upcoming album, and the songs prove that Greg Dulli and the rest of the guys still have their songwriting abilities. Do the Beast marks the band’s return to Sub Pop Records, and is one of the most anticipated albums of 2014.

A special moment occurred when the Whigs played “When We Two Parted”: Some members of the audience noticed during the mellow instrumental that the moon in the Pioneertown sky had an aura around it. People immediately took out their phones and started photographing the remarkable sight; the band seemed a little lost as to what was going on before Dulli began to sing.

Before playing two more new tracks—“Royal Cream” and “I Am Fire”—Dulli announced that the new album was recorded “right down the road” at Rancho de la Luna, and dedicated both songs to Eagles of Death Metal’s Dave Catching, the owner of the Rancho de la Luna, who was in the audience.

The band returned to the stage for the encore with a cover of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “Heaven on Their Minds” from Jesus Christ Superstar, and immediately followed with “Somethin’ Hot,” which was played with such intensity that everyone was moving along to the music, including Pappy’s security man, Big Dave Johnson, who was caught headbanging to the song.

Before the Afghan Whigs left, the band said they had been virgins to playing at Pappy and Harriet’s, and thanked the crowd for “popping their cherry” and “going easy on our hymen.” They then closed with a great performance of “Faded.” Throughout the entire show, the vocals were flawless, and the guitar solos were extraordinary.

After the Afghan Whigs were finished around 10:30 p.m., it was time for Pappy’s second show, this one indoors, featuring GOAT. Many people were curious about the mysterious band which claims to be from a village in Sweden that was pillaged by Christians who accused the villagers of practicing witchcraft. The members perform in costumes and masks, concealing their identity.

Before GOAT took the stage, Holy Wave, a psychedelic rock band from Austin, Texas, performed a short but impressive set consisting of a sound as if someone took the Doors and combined them with Moby Grape. The band members of the band, with the exception of the drummer, rotated instruments, moving between keyboard, bass and guitar.

Cell phones came out the minute that GOAT, minus the two female vocalists, walked in from the patio behind Pappy’s onto the stage and began to tune their instruments. After what seemed like a 10-minute-long tuning session, the band began to play rather suddenly. The two female vocalists seemingly came out of nowhere, dancing and chanting vocals over the psychedelic-rock-meets-Afrobeat sound. They then performed an incredible live set that included their jams “Goatman,” “Let It Bleed” and “Run to Your Mama.”

Pappy and Harriet’s owners Robyn Celia and Linda Krantz deserve applause for assembling the best Coachella celebrations, and things are only getting better: The Pixies are playing at Pappy’s next Thursday night.

Below: The Afghan Whigs. Photo by Guillermo Prieto/Irockphotos.net.

Published in Reviews