CVIndependent

Sat11232019

Last updateTue, 18 Sep 2018 1pm

Season is finally here! As you make plans for Thanksgiving and prepare for the other big holidays just around the corner, you should also plan on attending some of these great shows.

The McCallum Theatre has an amazing variety of events booked solid through the month. One show that definitely won’t disappoint music-lovers is an appearance by Crosby, Stills and Nash’s Graham Nash at 8 p.m., Monday, Nov. 18. While he may be best known for his work with Stephen Stills and David Crosby, he’s had a long and successful solo career; his 1971 solo debut album, Songs for Beginners, was critically acclaimed and reached No. 15 on the Billboard albums chart. Tickets are $35 to $75. Herb Alpert will also be stopping by the McCallum, at 8 p.m., Friday, Nov. 22, along with his wife, singer Lani Hall. The jazz trumpeter, known primarily for his years with Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass, was a pioneer in jazz because he mixed Latin, funk, pop and R&B styles into his sound. While jazz has been on the decline with audiences over the years, Alpert is still going strong. Tickets are $35 to $75. The Kingston Trio will be appearing at 7 p.m., Sunday, Nov. 24. Before folk music became political in the 1960s, putting the genre on the path to a major revival, The Kingston Trio was paving the way for that revival. One downside: The original three members are long gone from the group, so the trio continues in a “third phase” with collaborators who worked with the original lineup or were otherwise affiliated with the trio. That shouldn’t stop you from going to see them and taking in some of the songs that inspired the folk revival of the 1960s. Tickets are $25 to $45. McCallum Theatre, 73000 Fred Waring Drive, Palm Desert; 760-340-2787; www.mccallumtheatre.com.

Aaron LewisAgua Caliente Casino Resort Spa is hosting some big events, too. Theresa Caputo, aka the “Long Island Medium,” will be there at 9 p.m., Friday, Nov. 15. What can be expected from Caputo? Well, it’s a safe bet that she’ll be communicating with the spirits and talking directly with their living relatives in attendance. Tickets for the event were $60 to $100, but we received word just before our deadline that the show is sold out. (I do NOT suggest shouting out a request for “Freebird” to her.) The following night, Neil Sedaka will take the stage; the “Breaking Up Is Hard to Do” crooner will be performing at 8 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 16. Sedaka was a pop icon before the British Invasion and rock ’n’ roll took America by storm. He’s still a success today; he’s been involved with American Idol and had his first big-hit album in two decades in 2007 with The Definitive Collection. Tickets are $50 to $75. For those who remember the band Staind from the infamous nu-metal era: Aaron Lewis, the frontman of the band, will be there at 9 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 30. Lewis became a hit after he did a live duet at Korn’s Family Values Tour in 1999 with Fred Durst of Limp Bizkit of a song Lewis penned called “Outside.” He turned in solo acoustic performances in the later part of the last decade and has now transitioned to country music while Staind is on hiatus. Fun fact: In July 2012, Lewis had a bitter feud with Carrie Underwood after she released her song “Last Name,” which he said “made her sound like a complete whore.” Whoa! Tickets for the event are $25 to $55. The Show at Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa, 32250 Bob Hope Drive, Rancho Mirage; 888-999-1995; www.hotwatercasino.com.

The Fantasy Springs Resort Casino has two big music events booked this month. Modern R&B superstar Ne-Yo will be performing at 8 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 16. The three-time Grammy Award-winning artist is currently touring behind his latest album, R.E.D., an acronym for Realizing Every Dream. He has crossed over into pop and dance-pop; his recent single with Sia Furler, “Let Me Love You (Until You Learn to Love Yourself),” was well-received and even included a successful music video—in an era when the music video isn’t appreciated much any more. Tickets are $49 to $109. Burt Bacharach will follow in Ne-Yo’s footsteps a week later, at 8 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 23. Like Sedaka, Bacharach was part of the pop scene that came before the British Invasion and rock ’n’ roll, but he always stood out because of his unique songwriting. With 73 Top 40 hits in the U.S., Bacharach has also won Grammys, Academy Awards and pretty much every other award a singer-songwriter can win. Tickets are $29 to $69. Fantasy Springs Resort Casino, 84245 Indio Springs Parkway, Indio; 760-342-5000; www.fantasyspringsresort.com.

Spotlight 29 Casino has a light music schedule for the month of November; however, the resort’s Free Friday Concert Series kicks off with a Johnny Cash tribute by Rusty Evans at 8 p.m., Friday, Nov. 15. Admission is free. Also, the venue will be hosting The Ultimate Michael Jackson Experience: Moonwalker at 8 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 9. With a live band and a cast of singers, the show is a must-see for Michael Jackson fans. Tickets are $15. Spotlight 29 Casino, 46200 Harrison Place, Coachella; 760-775-5566; www.spotlight29.com.

Morongo Casino Resort Spa has just one big scheduled November event: The Cabazon resort will host comedian and TV host Craig Ferguson for a standup performance at 9 p.m., Friday, Nov. 8. Ferguson has established himself as the host of The Late Late Show and is a possible replacement for David Letterman if The Late Show host ever decides to step down. We’re dying to know: Will Ferguson bring along his robotic skeleton sidekick? Tickets are $55 to $65. Morongo Casino Resort Spa, 49500 Seminole Drive, Cabazon; 800-252-4499; www.morongocasinoresort.com.

Pappy and Harriet’s has booked Cass McCombs for a gig at 9 p.m., Tuesday, Nov. 12. McCombs blends folk, rock, blues, country and several other different styles into one big, awesome mess. He’s toured with the likes of Band of Horses and Cat Power—and he’s definitely someone you should see live at least once. Tickets are $15. (Read my review of his latest album at CVIndependent.com.) The following evening, at 8 p.m., Wednesday, Nov. 13, Bill Callahan will take the stage. The underground rock artist, who has also performed under the moniker of Smog, continues to push the boundaries of simplicity in songwriting; it’s said that he can repeat the same chord progression throughout the entire song. He’s another musician who has tried his hand in writing, releasing a novel, Letters to Emma Bowlcut, in 2010. Tickets are $15. After an appearance earlier this year at The Date Shed, Reverend Horton Heat will be playing Pappy and Harriet’s at 8 p.m., Sunday, Nov. 24. The Texas trio and warriors of the road never disappoint and always put on a great show. I saw them on the same night as the 2009 Academy Awards when they played the House of Blues, right down the street from the awards ceremony and Vanity Fair after-party; the show was packed despite the traffic and all the Oscars craziness. They’re truly one of the hardest-working independent bands in the business today. Tickets are $25. Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace, 53688 Pioneertown Road, Pioneertown; 760-365-5956; pappyandharriets.com.

The ExpendablesThe Date Shed hosts The Expendables at 8 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 16. No, this group does not include Sylvester Stallone, the Governator or any of those guys; it’s the Santa Cruz surf-rock band that mixes reggae and punk. The resulting sound is similar to that of Sublime. Tickets are $15. The Date Shed, 50725 Monroe St., Indio; 760-775-6699; www.dateshedmusic.com.

The Hood Bar and Pizza continues to get some great bands thanks in part to their booking genius, Brandon Henderson. At 8 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 9, the Palm Desert venue hosts a retro-themed show going back to the big-band and rockabilly eras featuring Vicky Tafoya and the Big Beat, the Jennifer Keith Quintet and the Deadbeat Daddies; the show will include a pinup contest. Admission at the door is $10. Guttermouth plays at 8 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 16. Guttermouth’s shockingly humorous and offensive lyrics reportedly got them booted from the 2004 Warped Tour; you never know what to expect from the Huntington Beach group. Antics aside, they’re a great punk band that shouldn’t be underestimated. Admission to the 21-and-over show is $10 at the door. The Hood Bar and Pizza, 74360 Highway 111, Palm Desert; 760-636-5220; www.thehoodbar.com.

Azul Tapas Inspired Lounge and Patio features a November party that is not to miss—Bella Da Ball’s Star Dedication. It will take place at 4 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 9, in front of Azul, followed by an all-star concert at 7:30 p.m. with food and drink specials. Performers such as Allison Annalora, Doug Graham, Keisha D, Marina Mac and others are all scheduled to perform. Admission is free, and the full menu is available, but reservations are suggested. Azul Tapas Inspired Lounge and Patio, 369 N. Palm Canyon, Palm Springs; 760-325-5533; www.azultapaslounge.com.

The Hard Rock Hotel is open for business and moving forward with events. The hotel will kick off an entertainment series titled The Edge at 8 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 9, with repeats on Friday and Saturday the following two weekends. The Edge is variety show that brings together actors from the screen and the stage in a production of rock classics, similar to Rock of Ages and other Broadway productions that include classic rock and stage performance. November’s show is titled “Top Rock.” Tickets for the event are $45. Hard Rock Hotel, 150 S. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs; www.theedgepalmsprings.com.

Neil Sedaka

Published in Previews

Many bands meld politics with their music. However, no one does it quite like Jello Biafra.

The former Dead Kennedys frontman is coming to Palm Desert for a post-Coachella encore at The Hood Bar and Pizza on Friday, Nov. 8, with his band, Jello Biafra and the Guantanamo School of Medicine.

Dead Kennedys formed in 1978 in San Francisco as part of the hardcore punk scene that was sweeping America. When Dead Kennedys guitarist East Bay Ray put out a newspaper advertisement for band mates, Jello Biafra (vocals), Klaus Flouride (bass) and Ted, aka Bruce Slesinger (drums), joined together and took the hardcore punk scene by the horns thanks to their psychedelic, surf-guitar-infused sound, and Biafra’s political satire-based lyrics. Songs such as “Holiday in Cambodia,” “California Über Alles,” “Too Drunk to Fuck” and “Police Truck” became their most recognizable anthems. The band released its albums on its own label, Alternative Tentacles; Jello Biafra presides over the label to this day.

The band quickly drew the attention of police in San Francisco and other cities—as well as, most notably, Tipper Gore and the Parents Music Resource Center. When the band put out the album Frankenchrist in 1985, the Dead Kennedys members found themselves in a world of trouble over the H.R. Giger-designed poster insert showing rows of penises and vulvae. They were charged with distributing harmful material to minors and faced a criminal trial. While the trial ended in an acquittal, the controversy and the ever-changing punk scene led to a breakup in 1986.

Biafra’s fascination with music and politics came in part from his parents, who encouraged him to take an interest in current events as well as music. During a recent phone interview, he said his music was a product of the times in which he grew up.

“In a way, even the music that didn’t have political lyrics back then scared people. Even liking … the harder-edged, garage-rock side of rock ’n’ roll, or even the Beatles—or long hair, for that matter—was all kind of an outlaw act, and therefore, political,” Biafra said. “It was a real struggle, though, to find music that rocked as hard as I like it (and that’s) a tad overt with political lyrics instead of the same old sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll with a little Satan thrown in.”

Biafra said his parents’ tastes in music led to his diverse tastes.

“My parents were mainly classical-music listeners. At that point, they were still listening to a fair amount of folk music, too—Pete Seeger, Joan Baez … Gateway Singers, who were a local group back there that they saw perform live a lot. My dad had this Japanese kabuki record with kabuki musicians. By the time I was a teenage pothead listening to Hawkwind, among other things, I dug that kabuki record out of his collection and thought it was really cool. It had some of the same driving feel to it. My pothead friends agreed. I traded (my father) an Erik Satie album to get the kabuki record.”

After the Dead Kennedys split, Biafra stayed active in music while he also made spoken-word appearances. He made records with Mojo Nixon, D.O.A., The Melvins, and his previous band, Lard. However, he didn’t return to material that was as hard-hitting until he formed his current band, the Guantanamo School of Medicine.

“It was never my intention to not ever have another band. I just kept getting derailed on good and bad adventures. When I saw the Stooges on Iggy Pop’s 60th birthday, I thought, ‘Oh shit! I’m turning 50 next year. I’d better get this band thing together one of these days.’ So I finally had a deadline.”

Since forming in 2008, Jello Biafra and the Guantanamo School of Medicine have put out two albums and toured the world—including an appearance at Coachella in April.

The band’s most recent album, White People and the Damage Done, released in April, includes a song called “The Brown Lipstick Parade” that references some of the Tipper Gore/PMRC fiasco.

“I got the term ‘brown lipstick’ from Frank Zappa when he testified at that Senate hearing that Al Gore had arranged for his own wife to investigate evil music—you know, how Ozzy makes you kill yourself, AC/DC causes crime to increase, and later on, if you listen to political hip-hop written by African Americans, you might turn into some kind of gang-banger or something. One of the things Zappa said in a prepared statement to those pompous senators was, ‘No one looks good in brown lipstick.’”

“What he meant was the way things are done from City Hall to Washington: People get themselves elected—or should I say selected—not to do anything for the voters or the public good, but to prove themselves to be as corrupt as possible, as quickly as possible, and put on as much brown lipstick as possible, so when they leave Congress or the Pentagon or whatever, they can get on corporate boards of directors and rake in millions of dollars through lobbyists.”

When it comes to Tipper Gore, he expressed an amusing point of view.

“Let’s put it this way: I think Tipper Gore had more to do with costing her husband the 2000 election than anything Ralph Nader or the Green Party would have hoped to have done. Where was the youth support for Al Gore in 2000?”

While Biafra has earned success and praise from the punk-rock community, he isn’t without critics. Punk-rockers with a libertarian ethos, as well as foes of the punk-rock ethos in general, have chided Biafra for being a hypocrite, in part because he makes money from his political works.

“They’re people who have their heads firmly up their asses and never bothered to research any fact, that’s for damn sure,” he said. “It’s not as though I’m rolling in mountains of money. I’ve never made a dime off Alternative Tentacles, either, and I think in any society where the mass media continues to be corporatized, censored and dumbed down, it’s that more important for the artist to speak out and tell people what’s really going on. For some reason, because I’m a musician, I shouldn’t speak out on anything besides shop talk on the punk-rock scene? That sounds as boring as talking to anarchists about anarchy all night long.”

Biafra made it clear that he is no fan of libertarianism and its influence on punk rock.

“As far as I’m concerned, Libertarians are Republicans who smoke pot. I have a very different attitude about what they do—not just about guns, but also about taxes,” he said. “I don’t think taxes should go down; I think they should go up, especially on people who have made so much money that they can’t figure out what to do with it all.

“Drug addiction causes enough problems in the world, but the far worse addiction is wealth. The only way to put wealth addicts into rehab is to follow the suggestion of the California Green Party and enact a maximum wage. The first six figures are free—OK, I’ll compromise—the first seven figures, and then it’s payback time.”

And speaking of the Green Party, of which Biafra is a member: He offered the 1992 election as a history lesson when asked if the country will ever see a third-party president.

“It depends on which kind of party it is,” he said. “I mean, the closest in this lifetime was clear off the scale, Tea Party, right-wing, and that was Ross Perot. He got something like 15 percent of the vote (actually 18.9 percent) when Clinton defeated daddy Bush in 1992. Michael Moore made the point later: How disillusioned are Americans with their lack of choice in the electoral process if that many millions of people voted for someone they knew was crazy?”

He’s also no fan of former U.S. Rep. Ron Paul.

“He’s good on pot and good on pulling the military out of our stupid wars. Beyond that, he should just go back to being some exhibit of a crackpot under glass who looks way too much like E.T.’s grandfather. Some of his comments about race, a woman’s right to choose … and taking an issue with the Civil Rights Act—he strikes me as far-religious-right and quite possibly a white supremacist.”

While fans have hoped for a Dead Kennedys reunion that includes Jello Biafra, it’s unlikely to happen. Biafra fought a bitter legal battle with some of his former band mates, who have since began performing again under the Dead Kennedys name. They’ve gone through a cycle of replacements for Biafra, one of whom was Brandon Cruz, a former child actor (The Courtship of Eddie’s Father). Currently, Ron “Skip” Greer is the lead vocalist.

While bad blood remains, Biafra does agree with East Bay Ray’s position on royalties and online streaming companies such as Spotify and Pandora.

“I know Ray is kind of on a crusade against file-sharing, and he’s not very good at communicating his point of view to the public,” Biafra said. “I probably agree with him to some degree that … (it’s not) cool for Google to be running ads on illegal file-sharing sites. As an independent artist and especially an independent label, I’m experiencing firsthand when people would rather file-share than support an underground independent artist, and buy the album or song. Of course, our crashed economy feeds into this, because people want to listen to music and have something to cheer them up when they don’t have any money. … Sharing major-label files is no big deal to me, because (the big labels) go so far out of the way to rip off their artists that I don’t really feel like the art itself is being ripped off.

“For a smaller, independent artists and labels like myself and some of the others, it’s very different. We have had several really good bands break up prematurely on Alternative Tentacles, because they couldn’t make a go of things. … Eventually, people decide, ‘I just can’t do this any more,’ especially when they have a family to feed. What happens when you lose some of the stuff when it’s really good?”

When it comes to political action, Biafra encouraged people to become engaged.

“People should show up and vote, especially in local elections, because that’s where people can really make the most difference,” he said. “It really matters who’s mayor, who’s sheriff, who’s on the school board, who the county commissioners and who the city council members are. They are the ones who decide how to spend our money that gets taken in taxes. Do we need to build a shelter for the homeless people? Or do we put up another golf course? Things like that—those things are important and have direct impact on our lives.”

Jello Biafra and the Guantanamo School of Medicine performs with Death Hymn Number 9, You Know Who and Fatso Jetson at 8 p.m., Friday, Nov. 8, at The Hood Bar and Pizza, 74360 Highway 111, in Palm Desert. Admission is $10, and there are no presales. For more information, call 760-636-5220, or find the event’s page on Facebook.

Published in Previews

The Town Troubles are a developing local band—but their signature sound has already made them a new jewel of the Coachella Valley music scene.

Take a listen to their Bandcamp page, and you’ll find a delightful sound, similar to that of Radiohead’s OK Computer era.

Formed in 2010, the Town Troubles consist of Bolin Jue (guitar, vocals), Derek Timmons (bass), Bryan Garcia (drums) and Rafael Rodriguez (drums). They can’t deny that they were influenced by Queens of the Stone Age and the White Stripes.

During a recent interview, Jue and Garcia explained that the band members have been friends for years.

“I was in another band, and then I just happened to break up with that band, and Bryan called me up. So, it was like an old girlfriend calling me back,” Jue said.

Said Garcia: “And I was the rebound.”

While the Town Troubles have been around since 2010 and have played a handful of local shows, Jue and Garcia insist their sound is still a work in progress.

“We’re still forming our sound right now. We’re in the middle of it. It’s very wet cement right now,” said Jue. “As far as live shows go, every live show is different, or (else) I get bored very easily. We try to make each show very different, and every show is a new set—a new song, a new member—and we’re always trying to change it up.”

Both Jue and Garcia laughed when asked how the two-drummer setup works during live shows.

“It doesn’t work,” said Jue. “It’s still a headache, and we’re still trying to get it to work.”

“It’s adding a little spice to the percussion, I think,” said Garcia.

“The idea isn’t necessarily to get them to play different rhythms. We want them to be in sync, and not in sync at the same time. It’s really weird,” said Jue.

They have played at The Hood Bar and Pizza in Palm Desert, Bar in Palm Springs, and the Whisky a Go Go in West Hollywood. Jue admitted there’s been some hesitation at times to play live shows.

“I don’t like to play live shows too often,” said Jue. “We play once a month if we’re lucky. There aren’t a lot of places in the desert that I’m really trying to get into that we haven’t been able to. We used to play a lot of backyard shows.”

As for those backyard shows: The element of surprise and the suspense regarding potential trouble makes backyard shows more entertaining, Jue said.

“You don’t know if the cops are going to show up, which makes them more fun. The crowds are hit or miss. Sometimes, backyard shows are packed; sometimes, it’s just a few underage kids,” said Jue. “The cool thing about backyard shows is a lot of people go, because there’s nowhere to go and see bands play if (music fans) are under 21. The kids just really like the music, and they want to see a band play.”

Added Garcia: “Word gets out, and they want to go see somebody play. It’s better than just sitting around at home.”

Jue said the band is working on new material for a limited-print vinyl release sometime in the near future. Jue explained that he tries to keep his songwriting at a high creative level.

“I try to take different approaches,” Jue said. “Lately, I’m on this thing where if you write a poem, a lot of the time, the form matches the content of the poem, or at least it’s aiding the content. So I believe in writing songs where the music is the form, and the words are the content of the song. In other words, (I’m) getting away from verse, chorus and verse, chorus—and it’s sort of flowing together.”

The band’s apprehensiveness regarding live shows has nothing to do with laziness or a poor work ethic. What material they have released has caught on, and they are becoming one of the better-known local acts in the Coachella Valley—and when they do play a live show, everyone knows it won’t be like a previous show.

“Basically, I like to keep it fresh. I like to keep our shows changing, and it takes a while to make that happen sometimes—sometimes longer than I would like,” Jue said. “I’m a fan of the process of writing and recording. I think the main reason I would want to play live shows is to not only travel, but get the music out there. It’s the best way to get music out. I feel there’s only so much more we can do in the desert—but I feel that we haven’t done as much as we can actually do.”

For more information, visit thetowntroubles.bandcamp.com or www.facebook.com/TownTroubles.

Published in Previews

A growing segment of country music is going against the genre’s mainstream—and one of those rebels is Joe Buck (real name: Jim Finkley).

Buck has been playing obscure country music since the beginning of his music career as the guitarist for Th’ Legendary Shack Shakers, and as the upright-bass player for Hank Williams III. Now he’s bringing his one man show, Joe Buck Yourself, to The Hood Bar and Pizza on Thursday, Oct. 10.

Joe Buck’s involvement with Th’ Legendary Shack Shakers and Hank Williams III included punk-rock attitude, outlaw country and even tinges of early Americana. Hank Williams III sounds more like his grandfather than his father—only with lyrics that are similar to those by David Allan Coe. Joe Buck brings a similar attitude and performance style to Joe Buck Yourself.

When asked about his music career, Joe Buck responded with a laugh.

“Have I had a career?” he asked. “I’ve been playing since I was a kid. I thought I could be an athlete when I was a kid, and I hurt my leg. I saw Eddie Van Halen in 1980, and I thought, ‘That looks like a good job.’ I got myself some gear, and I went to town.”

He joined Th’ Legendary Shack Shakers in 1998 as a founding member, but left in 2003 after meeting Hank Williams III in a bar in Nashville.

“It was a good time in my life,” he said. “I thought the music we were doing was important. I didn’t think ‘it’ so much or ‘us’ so much. For us, it was all about Southern kids having something that didn’t suck.”

Buck said mainstream country music has become somewhat of a sideshow act.

“I grew up with the old country guys, along with the punk-rock bands,” he said. “But the old country dudes … they were very strong, proud men and great writers. You listen to Hank Williams Sr., and there’s a reason why they call him ‘The Hillbilly Shakespeare,’ man, and we’re left to believe in our world today that these are illiterate hillbillies. Yet none of our kids going to public schools these days can fucking read or write.”

He also feels that the country music of today is largely missing the art aspect.

“It makes me physically ill,” he said. “I believe that art is important to our culture. If music is music, it’s art. If it’s not art, and it’s not music, it’s math, and that’s what (mainstream country musicians) got. It’s like giving a cancer patient a salt tablet: It doesn’t heal their soul, and it doesn’t do anything to them. … (Old music) is the reason why I dedicated my life to music—because it did something to me.”

The Independent spoke to buck shortly after Miley Cyrus’ infamous performance at the MTV Music Video Awards.

“I’ve been doing this my whole life, and playing thousands of shows—and I’m in the same business as THAT? I don’t know what that is with the Smurfs, or whatever the hell those things were, and the post-adolescent bit. Any time when goodness happens, it’s corrupted immediately and used in devious terms for commercial value.”

Buck said that he never sacrifices his independence or artistic vision.

“Yes, I need to make a living making music to go around and play shows. I have to put gas in my tank; I have to eat; and I have to buy T-shirts to sell. There’s an economy of this, but when it becomes strictly for-profit, then it has nothing to do with music.”

Buck is also working on a book, and he talked about his recovery from a near-fatal car accident.

“I had this car wreck that almost killed me,” he said. “My little hometown people at the hospital were great at putting me back together. My legs were crushed, along with one of my arms. They put me back together great, but they gave me Demerol during six days of being in an induced coma; when they got me off of that, they tried to give me an OxyContin—when I’m a recovering drug addict and alcoholic. I was mad at them. I got all this shit drilled into me and a halo in my leg. They’re really good at fixing you, but they wanted to send me to a psychiatrist, because I had a tour with Hank in three months, and they thought I was delusional about going back to work.”

During his recovery, he went to Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville for physical therapy.

“I had to go to Vanderbilt for physical therapy, where everybody is an invalid. … Everybody has shit getting drilled into them; you have your own special wheelchair, and the whole thing. What they saw with me was dollar signs. They pushed dope harder on me than drug-dealers do. I’ve never been to medical school, and I just wanted to go back to work. I refused their dope, did it my way, worked out for eight hours a day, and went back to work in 3 1/2 months. Had I done it their way, I would have been on dope for the rest of my life; I would have made minimal progress; and I never would have gotten better.”

Joe Buck said that when it comes to making a living, he’s one of the fortunate ones.

“I’ve been lucky, and I’m pretty sure I know what I’m doing when I play,” he said. “I hear this every day about how I have inspired people. I know what they’re saying. I love what I do, and when they see people reveling in their jobs and doing what they’re supposed to be doing in life—they don’t see that very often.

“When I go to the store, I don’t see the people there reveling in their jobs. What I’m trying to do for people with my songs is convince everyone that they can do whatever the fuck they want. Lose the fear, and there’s nothing to be afraid of. Failure is how you learn your most valuable lessons.”

Joe Buck Yourself will play with Shawn Mafia and the 10-Cent Thrills at 10 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 10, at The Hood Bar and Pizza, 74360 Highway 111, in Palm Desert. Admission to the 21-and-older show is free. For more information, call 760-636-5220, or track down the event page on Facebook.

Published in Previews

Machin’ has only been around for about a year—but in that short amount of time, the band has already gained a fair deal of respect in Coachella Valley and the high desert. The “Spanglish Jive” band is playing several gigs in September—including one at Palm Desert’s Hood Bar and Pizza, on Friday, Sept. 27.

The three-piece band from the high desert is fronted by David Macias (vocals, guitar), and includes Briana Cherry (violin) and Andy Gorrill (bass/accordion). The band’s name, Machin’ (Ma-Cheen), is Spanglish slang for “supremely excellent.” The band formed after David Macias completed eight years in the U.S. Navy; he served as a corpsman during two deployments to Iraq.

Machin’ takes pride in mixing various Latin-music sounds together with rock.

“When I was in high school, I played trumpet in mariachi; I played guitar in jazz band and in a salsa band,” Macias said during a recent interview. “I grew up listening to rock music—The Beatles, The Doors, and Jimi Hendrix. At the same time, I also grew up listening to Mexican music. I was born in Chihuahua, Mexico, so I have a deep appreciation for Latin music.”

Since the band formed, Macias said, the band has faced a welcome challenge—keeping up with all of their gigs. They’ve played the Joshua Tree Music Festival, the Hue Festival, AM/FM Fest, and even the Kraft Nabisco LPGA golf tournament, where they were the backing band for Robby Krieger of The Doors. They also opened for Ozomatli’s 2013 appearance at the Date Shed in Indio. 

“I grew up listening to Ozomatli, so opening up for them was a dream come true,” said Macias. “More like, ‘Oh wow, I’m on the right track. This is cool!’

“We became the backing band for Robby Krieger, and we played a couple of Doors songs—‘Back Door Man’ and ‘Break on Through.’ The Doors are one of my inspirations. Playing with Robby was amazing. He just walked up to me and was like, ‘Hi, I’m Robby,’ and I was like, ‘Man, you don’t have to tell me that.’”

Machin’ is currently in the process of recording a demo—and Macias is a big believer in the DIY ethic.

“We don’t have the privilege and the money to pay people to do all the work for us,” Macias said. “We’re focusing on the mission ahead, which is creating a fan base. Pushing material to labels and all of that is a waste of time rather than doing the ground work, going and playing the streets, playing the music, and having a one-on-one interaction with people.

“Creating a fan base is the idea of the music militia. You start creating a fan base, (and) you start creating an army. Take over little sections where people will recognize you and know who you are, and once you have that section, you move on to another place to create a fan base. I think everything will come from that. It doesn’t matter what record label you’re on. If people don’t come to see you, what does it fucking matter?”

Macias said the band currently has 12 original songs and is working on more, including instrumental pieces and other songs that have developed through jam sessions. While Machin’ has been a six-piece bands at times in the past, Macias said he’s focusing on the three-piece element for right now.

The band has played outside of the desert at times—in Los Angeles, Northern California, Oregon, and Washington.

“Most people’s reactions are, ‘What is this?’ at first. We haven’t had any bad comments so far, and people have been reacting positively,” Macias said.

Macias said he and his fellow members of Machin’ believe that music brings people together and creates a positive impact.

“We have a saying of ‘revolution through music.’ There’s no separation. … There’s no discrimination in music. As an artist has a canvas with different colors and can make different colors, we can do the same with sound waves.”

Machin’ plays at 8 p.m., Friday, Sept. 27, at The Hood Bar and Pizza, 74360 Highway 111 in Palm Desert. Tickets are $10; the bill will also include Metalachi, Los Mysteriosos and Giselle Woo. For more show info, find the event listing on Facebook. For more on Machin, visit www.facebook.com/Machinmilitia, or www.reverbnation.com/machin.

Published in Previews

On June 4, the world lost Joey Covington, a former Jefferson Airplane drummer and a prominent valley resident.

On Saturday, Aug. 31, Ross Management and Productions, in conjunction with Alvin Taylor Music, will be throwing a benefit concert in Covington’s name at The Hood.

Originally from Johnstown, Pa., Covington started playing drums at the age of 10 and was entirely self-taught. In his teens, he played professionally in Johnstown, which eventually led to gigs with a number of acts that opened shows for the Rolling Stones, the Dave Clark Five, and others.

In the late 1960s, he joined Jefferson Airplane, along with the Jefferson Airplane spinoff, Hot Tuna. He was also a member of Jefferson Starship.

On June 4, Covington lost control of his Honda Civic and crashed into a wall near Belardo Road and Palm Canyon Drive in Palm Springs. The accident took his life. 

David Ross, of Ross Management and Productions, has fond memories of Covington.

“He was funny, kind and always wanted to be a part of anything going on,” said Ross via email. “He tried to help me with a benefit concert not long before he died. He spent a lot of time helping me, along with his wife, Lauren Taines. Ironically, (the band for the benefit was) going to be called the Joey Covington All-Star Band. Some of the members of this show were going to be in that one.”

After Covington’s death, Ross felt that doing a benefit in his name would be a proper sendoff, and he found ample help in putting the show together.

“He was a well-known and accomplished musician, as well as a nice guy,” Ross said. “It was a must-do for me and those who were close to him; we decided he needed a proper sendoff. I began the hard tedious task of getting a venue, tickets and advertising. It started with the great help of Brian Michaelz at Michaelz Media. He got us the live streaming, created the website, promo videos, etc.”

A portion of the show’s proceeds will go to Lauren Taines to cover funeral expenses; some will go to former Jefferson Starship guitarist Slick Aguilar to assist with the expenses of a liver transplant; and 23 percent will go to Well in the Desert, an organization that provides food to the needy.

Ross said Well in the Desert was one of the organizations that he and Covington had plans to assist.

“I’ve personally done a lot of work with the Well in the Desert,” Ross said. “A lot of hungry and poor people out in this area need help; Joey was helping me with an event for them, so I knew he would have agreed to help them.”

The lineup for the show features well-known musicians from various bands and other figures, all of whom were friends of Covington. Peter Albin and Sam Andrew of Big Brother and the Holding Company will be appearing, as will Lynn Sorensen from Bad Company, and Jimi Hendrix’ cousin, Riki Hendrix—just to name a few.

“(Lauren Taines) handed me a slew of Joey’s friends and their phone numbers, and we reached out to those musicians,” Ross said. “We had a ton of musicians ask to be a part of it. They’re all playing for Joey at no cost. They just want to say so long to a great guy and awesome performer.”

The Joey Covington Tribute Concert takes place at 8 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 31, at The Hood Bar and Pizza, 74360 Highway 111, in Palm Desert. Tickets are $20; only 300 will be sold, and they’re available via the concert website, at The Musicians Outlet in Palm Desert, and at The Hood. The concert will also be streamed via the website for $6. For more information, visit www.covingtontribute.michaelzmedia.com.

Published in Previews

Skateboarding and punk rock have long been connected—but for the members of GFP, aka General Fucking Principle, they are both ways of life.

The relatively new punk supergroup is scheduled to play at The Hood Bar and Pizza on Saturday, Sept. 21.

GFP consists of former DFL (Dead Fucking Last) vocalist Tom Paul Davis, aka Crazy Tom; skateboarding legend and Dogtown Z-Boy Tony Alva on bass; Bad Religion and Circle Jerks guitarist Greg Hetson; and drummer Grant Garrison, who played with H.R. of the Bad Brains.

Davis originally had the idea for GFP back in 2009.

“We came together after I went to see The Germs and Suicidal Tendencies reunion concert in Los Angeles,” said Davis during a recent phone interview. “I had an itching to get back into music. I skated a pool before with Alva, and it just sort of came to me. I thought, ‘Hey, I should call Alva, and we should get together and do a jam.’ I had a drummer who I was thinking about for a little while, and I kind of worked to put the pieces of the puzzle together from there.

The band has suffered through some lineup changes in its relatively brief time. There were originally two guitarists when the band went into the studio, but Davis had a hard time getting along with guitarist Aime Caron.

“We went to record a demo, and he wanted to kick the other guitar player out of the band,” Davis explained. “He went ahead and did that. He was like, ‘I can handle the whole load by myself,’ and I was like, ‘All right, dude. I’m not going to keep having these brawls with you. If you think you can handle it, go ahead.’ We went to do the demo, and he just kinda bugged out on my idea, which was to go into the recording studio to do our 14 songs live and record them as fast as possible without a whole bunch of overdubs and Pro Tools tracking-style stuff, which he was used to doing.”

That’s when Davis reached out to Hetson. “What happened is we asked Greg to help us produce the demo, and he liked the music a lot. When I called Greg and told him Aime quit the band, and I asked him if he felt like playing guitar, he said yes.”

While the band members are all decidedly unique individuals with independent visions, Davis said there haven’t been any problems.

“Actually, everything is organic between me, Greg and Alva,” he said. “We all come from Hollywood, Los Angeles and beach cities, so we’re all influenced by the same bands we grew up with—Black Flag, The Germs, The Weirdos, TSOL and X. … The rest of the guys are a little older than me, so I look up to them as big brothers.”

Alva is one of the pioneers of skateboarding and was a part of the Zephyr skateboarding team in the ‘70s in Venice Beach. While Alva is known more for skateboarding, he has been involved in the punk scene as the bassist for The Skoundrelz.

“He is an incredible bass-player,” said Davis. “He plays without a pick, which is a really incredible bass-playing style in punk rock.”

While punk rock never died, it did go through a dry spell in the last decade. Today, the drought is over: GFP is one of several newer punk-rock supergroups, while older punk bands are reuniting or recording again.

“Some of the bands I grew up with are Pennywise, NOFX and Rancid. DFL was on Epitaph with all those guys,” Davis said. “When we broke up, those bands just continued to keep playing. They didn’t break up, but they didn’t get any bigger and just kept going. I think a lot of bands just watched what happened and realized it and said, ‘We should get back together.’

“What’s amazing is all these bands are still out there from when I was a kid and when I was on Epitaph. It’s great to see it still going strong. I think a lot of it has to do with skateboarding being a major influence in punk rock. Skateboarding is popular as well.”

The band is currently recording its debut album, which Davis said has been delayed due to the departure of drummer Amery Smith, of Suicidal Tendencies. Davis said that they hope to have the album out within the next six months.

When it comes to their show at The Hood, Davis said he is excited.

“I really enjoy the shows away from Los Angeles,” Davis said. “People here are controlled by stargazing and shoegazing. … I would expect an old-school vibe; we like to bring our skateboards. We like to hang out in the crowd and talk to people. I think it’s going to be really fun.”

Davis did have one concern about playing in the Coachella Valley.

“I hope there’s air-conditioning!” he said.

GFP will play with Year of the Dragon and Throw the Goat at 9 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 21, at The Hood Bar and Pizza, 74360 Highway 111 in Palm Desert. Admission is $5, and there are no presales. For more information, call 760-636-5220, or track down the event on Facebook.

Published in Previews

People are often amused (or bemused) by Jeremiah Saint’s “goth” appearance. However, Jeremiah Saint is even more amused by those people’s reactions to his appearance.

He’s playing at The Hood on Thursday, Aug. 15, as a member of DieSineGration, a band which is playing its final show that night. Saint’s newly formed solo project, DECAYEDen, will open for DieSineGration. They will be followed by metal-band Sinister X.

The 32-year-old Palm Desert resident refers to himself as a “band whore.” He’s been a part of several local groups, including Phase Theory, Regenerator (as a touring member) and DieSineGration. He has also worked as a producer and sound engineer, and has even written a book that can be found on Amazon.com. In other words, he’s a workaholic who stays busy.

As for his new project DECAYEDen, he explained that he got the idea from a personal hardship.

“It’s been in the back of my mind for five years: I was going to be a father, and the child passed away in the womb,” said Saint. “I took the first name of what I was going to name my son, which was Decayeden. I took that, and I wrote it into an industrial, dark-wave format.”

He recently self-released a new album, Dead Angels and Forgotten Ghosts.

“It’s really hard to classify,” said Saint. “Almost every song on the album can be classified as a different genre. To keep it simple, I call it ‘electronic, experimental dark-rock.’ The project (includes) a lot of how I see myself, how I see society, how I see the government, and the relationships and friendships that I have been through.”

Despite Saint’s goth-like image, he hates the term and refutes the stereotypes that are given to people with similar appearances.

“I don’t view myself as goth,” Saint said. “I’m a dude who wears makeup, who doesn’t always wear black, and who has a dark life, but I almost view it as an insult. I’m not emo; I’m not into Twilight; and I don’t worship Satan. I’m an atheist, and I’m a vegan. As a kid, I was always obsessed with the study of dark arts, magic, Aleister Crowley, H.P. Lovecraft and Edgar Allan Poe. It’s stereotypical, but it’s enthralled me and inspired me. For me, it’s just my artistic being.”

Does pain make great art? Saint would have to say yes.

“Pain makes beautiful art,” said Saint. “It makes some of the most beautiful art we’ve ever seen. It’s void of multimedia facets trying to sell it and without the sham of ‘everything is going to be all right.’ A lot of people skip over that.”

As a local musician, Saint noted the many changes that have occurred over the years in the local music scene.

“I just see it different now. Everything has changed so much,” said Saint. “I remember sneaking into the local clubs here, going to Peabody’s to see local bands, or being in one those local bands. It was so much different. Everybody wanted to be there to see the shows. People wanted to play, and no one cared back then about getting paid: It was just about the shows.”

On the subject of being both the opening act (as DECAYEDen) and playing as keyboardist in DieSineGration’s last show, Saint said the pairing simply made sense.

“We were looking at the lineup, and I figured since I had my sequences ready that I could do a DECAYEDen show,” said Saint. “I can open that up and then play in DieSineGration, and I figured, ‘Why the hell not?’ I’m looking forward to it: Put on one more amazing show with DieSineGration, and maybe get some new people to hear DECAYEDen.”

DieSineGration, DECAYEDen and Sinister X will play on Thursday, Aug. 15, at The Hood Bar and Pizza, 74360 Highway 111, in Palm Desert. Doors open for the 21-and-over show at 9 p.m. Admission is free. Call 760-636-5220, or track down the event’s Facebook page for more information.

Published in Previews

Hide the kids! Hide the wife, and take cover! The Dwarves are coming to The Hood on Friday, Aug. 16.

Formed in 1982 in the suburbs of Chicago, the Dwarves came together playing garage rock. As they crafted their early hardcore-punk sound, they became one of the first bands to use samples and drum loops.

Their live performances later became notorious for onstage acts that included violence, drug use and GG Allin-style self-mutilation. The band’s frontman, Blag Dahlia, had an infamous violent altercation backstage at Los Angeles’ Dragonfly club with Queens of the Stone Age frontman Josh Homme in 2004. It earned Homme a court-ordered trip to rehab and anger management classes.

When asked whether the violence might be taken too far someday, Blag says the day has already come.

“I’ve been stabbed. I’ve been beaten over the head, and I’ve had my throat slit,” said Blag, during a recent phone interview from Los Angeles. “All the guys in the band have suffered various violent altercations. We’ve given in to the goodness of God sometimes. It’s all part of what rock n roll is: You don’t exactly know what’s going to happen, and it just goes. The music is very energetic, and it kind of inspires those kinds of responses. Shit happens.”

Blag added that people who say “Blag got his ass kicked at the show” have it all wrong. “Anyone who ever tried to kick my ass got it back just as bad as they thought they were giving it out,” said Blag.

In another controversial episode, the band issued a press release in 1993 that stated their guitar-player, HeWhoCannotBeNamed, was stabbed to death. Turns out that was a hoax, and the incident led to the band being dropped from Sub-Pop Records.

However, Blag has a different point of view on the events.

“(HeWhoCannotBeNamed) is the creature who transcends life and death,” said Blag. “At times, there are those who believed he was no longer among us. He’s like a very material sort of entity, and he’s an icon of rock and roll. So these concepts of life and death sort of have a different meaning for him.”

Through all of the controversy, the band has had a successful recording career. Blag has also produced albums for the Swingin’ Utters, The God Awfuls, and former Queens of the Stone Age bassist Nick Oliveri’s group Mondo Generator. (Oliveri is also a member of the Dwarves, playing under the alias of Rex Everything.) He’s written two novels: Armed to the Teeth With Lipstick and Nina.

In what some would call an unexpected move, Blag also recorded “Doing the Sponge” for an episode of SpongeBob SquarePants.

“One of our former members, Salt Peter, has written a lot of material for SpongeBob,” said Blag. “He wrote a bunch of novelty songs that they do in there. So early on in the first season, he had written a song for them. They wanted somebody who sounded like Lux Interior of The Cramps, and he’s one of my favorite singers; I said, ‘I can go in there and sound like Lux,’ and so I did. It was a lot of fun, and it makes me popular with those in the 8-years-old crowd.”

Blag said he looks back on the band’s musical accomplishments with unapologetic pride.

“We’re undoubtedly more known for the controversy, but that’s not because we haven’t left a bunch of great music behind,” said Blag. “We’re the only punk band that gets better with time, and the only one anyone can conceive of … (that) continues to be great. This is a band that makes classic record after classic record. We just keep pushing the boundaries of genres. We’ve had outstanding musicianship, outstanding production with Top 10 producers, and great studio players. The Dwarves are one of the best-recorded bands in history. The fact that people don’t know that has a lot more to do with marketing (than) the quality of the music.”

What does the future hold for the Dwarves? They’ve been in the studio recording and are hoping to release a new album within the next year. (Their most recent studio album was 2011's The Dwarves Are Born Again.) In the meantime, they’ve booked some shows (including the one at The Hood) to keep them busy. Blag also does a podcast called Radio Like You Want.

They’re also no strangers to the Coachella Valley.

“We played there with Kyuss when they didn’t have a club there, and there was a nudist colony that people used to do shows at,” said Blag. “We just got done doing some recording in Joshua Tree. I’m looking forward to going out there and seeing some of our friends in the desert. We’ve always loved the desert.”

The Dwarves will play with the Hellions, the Atom Age and Hot Beat Acoustic at 8 p.m., Friday, Aug. 16, at The Hood Bar and Pizza, 74360 Highway 111 in Palm Desert. Admission is $10, and there are no presales. For more information, call 760-636-5220, or visit thehoodbar.com.

Published in Previews

After 25 years and nine albums, the Voodoo Glow Skulls aren’t phased by changes in the music industry—and are still going strong with thanks in part to their DIY work ethic.

The band will return to the desert to perform at The Hood Bar and Pizza on Thursday, July 18.

The Casillas brothers—Frank (lead vocals), Eddie (guitar) and Jorge (bass)—formed the Riverside punk/ska outfit in 1988.

“Back in those days in Riverside, backyard parties were the only gigs you could get,” said Frank Casillas during a recent phone interview. “Shortly after, we learned how to play our instruments and had enough songs; it led to us playing at the only local club, which was Spanky’s Café.”

At Spanky’s Café, which was a historic venue in Riverside, the band started getting booked to play with headliners like The Dickies, fIREHOSE, and Mighty Mighty Bosstones, just to name a few. The group eventually found themselves with an increasing following throughout Southern California. They signed with Dr. Strange Records in 1993 and released Who Is, This Is?. They then went on to sign with Epitaph Records and released four albums with the label, the first of which was Firme, in 1995.

“We sold a lot of records on Epitaph,” said Frank Casillas. “It just got us to the next level. We were able to go to Europe for the first time. For us, the first time traveling abroad and playing our music to an audience overseas was pretty cool. We were this little band that started playing out of a bedroom in Riverside, and all of a sudden, five or six years later, we’re playing these big festivals in Europe.”

After their contract was up with Epitaph in 2000, they decided signed with Victory Records, which was at the time an exclusive punk/hardcore music label with a controversial reputation. However, that soon began to change.

“We felt Victory Records was becoming the next Epitaph at the time we signed with them. But they were starting to attract the demographic of the emo, post-hardcore crowd. We were on the label when it was cool, but it just seemed they were going through the motion with us. We didn’t fit in with that crowd of bands,” Frank Casillas said.

The band left Victory Records in 2007 for Smelvis Records, and after four years of recording in a home studio, put out Break the Spell in 2012. Alternative Press hailed the album as “kick-ass in both tone and message.”

The band values their creative freedom; they shun the idea of having business managers. They book their own dates, are in control of their own merchandising, and continue to do well financially.

In part because they continue to succeed, Frank Casillas doesn’t believe in the saying “punk rock is dead.”

“I think things are going back to full circle. It’s also going back to the roots of the underground,” he said. “A lot of the older bands are starting to come back and play again. You have two different versions of Black Flag out on tour right now, and a lot of the old British bands are coming back.”

Frank said the band loves playing in the desert. Having performed one show at The Hood before, they’re excited to be coming back.

“It’s very similar to Riverside,” said of the Coachella Valley. "It’s not a big city, and it seems that any of the bands that go out there are more appreciated, and the shows are always pretty good. It’s a cool place for us to play.”

Voodoo Glow Skulls play at 8 p.m., Thursday, July 18, at The Hood Bar and Pizza, 74360 Highway 111, in Palm Desert. Spankshaft will open. Admission to the 21-and-older show is $10, and there are no presales, so attendees are advised to arrive early. For more information, visit thehoodbar.com.

Published in Previews

Page 11 of 12