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If you have not seen local band Drop Mob before, you’re really missing out. The group’s metal and hip-hop sound is unlike anything you’ve ever heard. Simply put, they kick ass, thanks to a talented M.C., Gabe Perez; amazing guitar-playing from guitarists Dave Burk and Curtis Hendrix; drums by John Camacho; and bassist Steve Zepeda, who serves as the band’s driving force. Catch the band in action on Sunday, Nov. 6, at The Hood Bar and Pizza, 74360 Highway 111, in Palm Desert. For more information on Drop Mob, visit the band’s Facebook page. Steve Zepeda was kind enough to recently answer the Lucky 13.

What was the first concert you attended?

Drowning Pool.

What was the first album you owned?

Beastie Boys, Licensed to Ill.

What bands are you listening to right now?

System of a Down.

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

The new rap style. You just can’t understand the lyrics. Ha ha!

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

Led Zeppelin.

What’s your favorite musical guilty pleasure?

The musical Grease, and the band Extreme.

What’s your favorite music venue?

The Date Shed.

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

“Stressed Out” by Twenty One Pilots.

What band or artist changed your life? How?

There are so many bands and artists who changed my life as I was learning how to play bass. Learning to play bass and then joining bands has kept me busy and out of trouble.

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

Victor Wooten: “How do you slap the bass?”

What song would you like played at your funeral?

“Tears in Heaven” by Eric Clapton.

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

Pearl Jam, Ten.

What song should everyone listen to right now?

“Imagine,” John Lennon. (Scroll down to hear it!)

Published in The Lucky 13

Slipping Into Darkness is known for its wild reputation—but the popular local band wants you to know it has a mature side, too.

The group is currently working on a follow-up to 2014’s Shurpadelic. See what the members have been up to at The Hood Bar and Pizza on Friday, Oct. 21, when the band performs with Chicano Batman.

Nigel Dettelbach explained where the band stands in the recording process.

“It’s currently in the works,” Dettelbach said. “We were contemplating different studios to go into, and different offers and ways to go about it. With Adrian (Carreño) living out of the country, it’s harder for us to get together. We have about three or four songs recorded, and we have another six to record. Then it’s off to mixing and mastering. This album is Slipping Into Darkness, but a lot more mature.”

Dettelbach said the Desert Hot Springs band has learned a lot over the last several years.

“We’ve definitely matured,” he said. “I think we’ve realized that we’ve gotten older; we’ve learned what we want and what we don’t want, and we want to make the deals we want to make.”

Dettelbach said Slipping Into Darkness’ sound basically remains the same. The band members always like to throw in different genres, however, and the upcoming album steps that up a notch.

“It’s a bunch of different things. It’s doo-wop; it’s rock ’n’ roll; it’s punk rock. There’s some Latin in it, but this one has a lot of different elements. It’s more musically mature, too, which you’ll hear when it comes out.”

Slipping Into Darkness has gotten around. The group played Coachella in 2013, and has toured, performed at festivals in Mexico, and opened for a lot of bands that have come through Southern California. In fact, the group will soon be opening for another legendary band.

“We were talking to a booking agency that books in Mexico City, where we’re planning to go to do some touring,” Dettelbach said. “So that’s the one thing we want to do, but we’ve been focused on trying to release the record first. But we’ve been invited by The Adicts to open up for them for their Halloween show at the Observatory (in Santa Ana), which is a really big deal for us, because it’s a cool place, and we’ve always wanted to play there. They handpicked us.”

Regarding Chicano Batman, Slipping Into Darkness has performed at shows with the band before, and Dettelbach explained the relationship between the two groups.

“They’re definitely one of our favorite bands. We’re one of their favorite bands as well,” he said. “We both have a strong love for each other, and we’ve gotten to go on tour with them. They’ve hit the big time and have been down to help us release our record. They’re one of the most professional bands I’ve ever seen. As we were waking up in Vegas to go to Phoenix, they were already (in Phoenix) doing the soundcheck. It just goes to show their level of professionalism. We have a lot of respect for those guys.”

As for the new album, Dettelbach said he hopes the record is out by early 2017.

“I’d say within the next 6 months. That’s just giving us some time to get it finished,” he said. “The songs are coming along. They’re kicking ass, and I can’t wait for everyone to hear it.”

When Shurpadelic was released in 2014, the cover featured an old photo of a small child smoking a joint. Frontman Michael Durazo said the photo was of a relative of his, taken in the ’70s. The picture made many music fans laugh—although one person wrote to the Independent to complain.

“I’ve never had a negative response, other than the one you mentioned to me,” Dettelbach said. “I’ve always had heard people tell us, ‘That’s really bad ass!’ and, ‘That’s really cool!’ But when they hear what it represents and who that kid is, it’s a deeper thing—and not just a kid smoking or a random image pulled off Google. It’s a real photo.”

Slipping Into Darkness will perform with Chicano Batman at 6 p.m., Friday, Oct. 21, at The Hood Bar and Pizza, 74360 Highway 111, in Palm Desert. Tickets are $15. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit chicanomovement.eventbrite.com.

Published in Previews

It’s been a remarkable year for The Flusters. The band has taken the stage at both Coachella and Echo Park Rising, after being voted the “Best Local Band” by Independent readers.

Now the band is releasing its first EP. On Friday, Sept. 30, the Flusters will celebrate the release at The Hood Bar and Pizza with The Yip-Yops, Brightener and a special performance by Cakes and Brains.

During a recent interview in their new practice space in Palm Desert, guitarist/vocalist Doug Van Sant, guitarist Danny White, bassist Mario Estrada and drummer Daniel Perry all talked about the new EP.

“It took three days to record—two days in North Hollywood, and one day in Palm Desert,” Van Sant said.

Added White: “There were also about two months of pre-production in getting the songs right.”

Much of the recording was done at ReadyMix studios, with Paul Horabin in North Hollywood, while the vocals were recorded with Will Sturgeon, of Brightener, in Palm Desert; he served as the mixer and co-producer.

“He’s really easy to work with,” Van Sant said of Sturgeon. “I’d be interested to see how he’d work with a band that didn’t have as complete of a vision as we did. His producing was less vision creation and more nuts and bolts. When it comes to the fifth corner of the sound you hear in the EP, he produced it fully and wrote all the keyboard parts.”

White said all the pre-production work meant the band was truly ready when it came time to enter the studio—and even then, the recording process was trying.

“We learned it was very tiring,” White said. “I actually had a caffeine overdose and had to sit down for two hours because I thought I was going to throw up or die. We were so fried and trying to find the energy to get this stuff done within the two days we had to do it.”

Estrada said the band underestimated how tough the recording process would be.

“We’d be playing all day and thinking, ‘We’ll play; we’ll do everything during the day; and we’ll go out at night,’” he said. “We finished the first day, and we went out once just to get pizza together. We were that fried.”

While Daniel Perry is The Flusters’ current drummer, Chris O’Sullivan was the drummer during the recording process. Van Sant said they decided to keep O’Sullivan’s drumming on the album.

“It would be manipulation by omission to not credit him, and I’m not here to do that, and we’re not here to do that,” Van Sant said. “There’s zero ill will toward Chris. He did an excellent job on the album and was in the studio with us the entire time, doing his thing. … We’re not shy to give praise to people who had anything to do with this record.”

The title on the EP art is simply Extended Play No. 1. That hints at the fact that The Flusters are already working on the second EP. Perry said he’s enjoying the band’s writing process.

“It’s so comfortable, so easy, and so fluid,” Perry said. “Mario and I have known each other for quite a long time. We’ve jammed together before and have a sense of how each of us plays. He already knows how Doug and Dan work; I just kind of adapted to it. Their style is what I actually grew up on—that dream/surf feel. It’s everything that embodies me as a musician. I’ve never felt so fluid with a band like I do with these guys.”

However, the writing process is not always easy and fluid.

“It gets heated in this room sometimes,” White said.

It’s clear all of The Flusters’ hard work has paid off. The band has had some nice out-of-town shows and is gaining respect within the Los Angeles independent-band scene. The Flusters have found a kinship with Haunted Summer, who shared the stage with The Flusters at Chill Bar last November during the George Zander benefit show put on by the Independent.

“Beyond the artistic part, they’ve become really close friends,” White said about the members of Haunted Summer. “Anything we get to do with them, we love. We’re huge fans of them as musicians and people, and John Seasons has gone above and beyond for us. We are extremely grateful for that and for them to care and be fans of theirs.”

Van Sant said The Flusters have achieved success because the members work together as a team.

“It’s all done by delegation. Everybody in this band has a job beyond their instrument,” Van Sant said. “Danny is a great liaison to our Los Angeles circuit. Mario has a great relationship started with the East Valley. Daniel is good with gear management and knows a lot about electronics, sound, music and production.

“I’ve taken the manager’s reins. (At night in bed, I ask myself), ‘Have I done everything today that I possibly could do with the hours in the day with this band?’ If I can’t answer that, I can’t sleep. I have had many sleepless nights: ‘If the bass trap over there in the corner falls down because it’s too hot, it has to get fixed now, not tomorrow—right fucking now!’ The other guys have been on the ass end of that mentality from me, and I’m sure it hasn’t been pleasant.”

As for the album release show on Sept. 30: It’s going to include something that should bring back memories for anyone who has followed the Coachella Valley music scene over the years—a reunion of local band Cakes and Brains.

“People are going to get the flashbacks and say, ‘I remember those guys from high school! They’re still doing stuff? Let’s go check them out!’” Perry said. “I know I would. It would give me the nostalgia feels and want to experience that again. Their shows were so fun.”

The Flusters will perform with Brightener, The Yip Yops, and Cakes and Brains at 9 p.m., Friday, Sept. 30, at The Hood Bar and Pizza, 74360 Highway 111, in Palm Desert. Admission is free. For more information on the Flusters, visit www.theflusters.com.

It’s always nice to be inside with air conditioning and cold beverages during the sweltering August heat. Well, here are some upcoming events where air conditioning and frosty drinks are abundant—as is great music.

Fantasy Springs Resort Casino is hosting some big names this month. At 8 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 20, rapper Pitbull will be performing. It seems like every other hit pop song these days includes Pitbull on the track. After selling millions of albums and racking up numerous music awards, Pitbull is showing no signs of slowing down. Tickets are $69 to $129. At 8 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 27, former Van Halen frontman Sammy Hagar will be performing with a group that he’s calling The Circle. Joe Satriani and Chad Smith of the Red Hot Chili Peppers are currently unavailable to perform with him as the supergroup Chickenfoot, so Hagar has recruited Michael Anthony (who also played with him in Van Halen and Chickenfoot), Jason Bonham and Vic Johnson. Tickets are $49 to $109. Fantasy Springs Resort Casino, 84245 Indio Springs Parkway, Indio; 760-342-5000; www.fantasyspringsresort.com.

Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa has one notable event taking place in August. At 8 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 6, British reggae band UB40 will be performing. UB40’s reggae credentials are incredible, and the band has had about 50 hit radio singles in the United Kingdom, with several here as well—many of which are reggae covers of songs, such as “Red Red Wine” by Neil Diamond and “I Got You Babe” by Sonny and Cher. Tickets are $55 to $75. The Show at Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa, 32250 Bob Hope Drive, Rancho Mirage; 888-999-1995; www.hotwatercasino.com.

Morongo Casino Resort Spa has suddenly become the place to be! At 9 p.m., Friday, Aug. 5, Flogging Molly (right) will be performing, right on the heels of a European tour. One of the two best-known Irish punk bands in America (the other being the Dropkick Murphys), Flogging Molly falls a little bit more on the traditional Celtic music side—and isn’t afraid to slow things down to tell an Irish hard-luck story that will bring a tear to your eye. Fun fact: Frontman Dave King was in heavy-metal band Fastway in the ’80s, and that band did the soundtrack for the terrible horror film Trick or Treat. Tickets are $55 to $65. At 9 p.m., Friday, Aug. 12, there will be a show by Flo Rida. Flo Rida is a fascinating figure in the sense that he’s been combining house music with hip-hop. He’s been highly successful, in part due to terrific collaborations with artists such as Sia, T-Pain, Fresh Kid Ice and others. Tickets are $65 to $75. Morongo Casino Resort Spa, 49500 Seminole Drive, Cabazon; 800-252-4499; www.morongocasinoresort.com.

Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace continues to fill the Monday Open-Mic Night with local music figures as guest hosts. On Aug. 1, Big Dave Johnson, Pappy’s security man and bassist for Mojave Sky, will be hosting; on Aug. 8, it’ll be Stew Heyduk from the Pappy’s Sunday Band. On Aug. 15, Lisa Lynn Morgan of R. Buckle Road and Lisa Lynn and the Country Gentlemen will be hosting; on Aug. 22, the hosts are local musicians Nigel Roman and Jennifer Irvine. On Aug. 29, Brent Simpson from Daytime Moon and Spankshaft is in charge. Admission is free. At 9 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 13, Joshua Tree musician Gene Evaro Jr. (below) will be celebrating his album-release party. Gene has been on a fantastic run, playing a national tour with Elle King, and performing at various big events including the Joshua Tree Music Festival. His music has also made recent appearances on various soundtracks, including that of The Deadliest Catch. Every local-music lover should support Gene—and buy his album! Tickets are $12. At 8:30 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 20, there will be a performance by Diane Coffee, featuring Foxygen drummer Shaun Fleming. Diane Coffee is sort of a Broadway-meets-’70s-psychedelic-rock project. It’s definitely different … in a good way. Tickets are $10 to $12. Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace, 53688 Pioneertown Road, Pioneertown; 760-365-5956; www.pappyandharriets.com.

Splash House will be returning for Round 2 this year, from Friday, Aug. 12, to Sunday, Aug. 14, at the Riviera Palm Springs, The Saguaro and the Palm Springs Air Museum. The lineup features headliners Gorgon City (performing a DJ set) and Snakehips. Other performers will include Hudson Mohawke, Bondax, DJDS and many others. General admission tickets are $120—and as of now, the event is listed as sold out. For more information or to purchase tickets, should any others become available, go to www.splashhouse.com.

The Hood Bar and Pizza has one scheduled event that’s a must-see: At 9 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 6, catch great triple-bill of Jesika Von Rabbit, The Yip-Yops and Herbert. This is the one local show in August you don’t want to miss. The Yip-Yops are back and performing under the band’s original name, after losing the IIIZ name to former record label Hood and Associates earlier this year. Meanwhile, Jesika Von Rabbit just performed a kick-ass show at Pappy and Harriet’s with the Death Valley Girls. Folks, this is the Low Desert’s chance to party with the cool kids from the high desert. Admission is free. The Hood Bar and Pizza, 74360 Highway 111, Palm Desert; 760-636-5220; www.facebook.com/thehoodbar.

Photo below by Guillermo Prieto/Irockphotos.net.

Published in Previews

The band Sunday Funeral has seen numerous members come and go since 2007—and frontman Justin Ledesma is the only member who has been a part of it all along.

Earlier this year, Sunday Funeral parted ways with guitarist and vocalist Brian Frang, and is now performing as a trio, with new bassist Andrea Taboada, and drummer Grant Gruenberg.

The list of Sunday Funeral’s former members is impressive, including Dali’s Llama drummer Craig Brown, Flusters drummer Daniel Perry, singer/songwriter John Robbins, and many others. So what is it that makes Ledesma keep forging ahead with Sunday Funeral?

“Not wanting to see it fall apart, I suppose,” Ledesma said during a recent interview at the band’s practice space. “I started it and have tried to keep everybody. But people shift in and out, and people change.”

It was hard for Ledesma to remember how many members have come through Sunday Funeral through its various iterations.

“Originally, we started as a trio,” he said. “We’ve been a three-piece, a four-piece, a five-piece, and a six-piece.”

According to Ledesma, Sunday Funeral currently has 3 1/2 members … sort of, if one includes keyboardist Jason Obando.

“I still consider Jason semi-in,” Ledesma said. “The next time we need a keyboard part, I’ll probably hit him up.”

Not surprisingly, each of Sunday Funeral’s albums has a different sound.

“Yeah, it’s a pretty eclectic mix,” he said.

Gruenberg said the band is running a lot more smoothly than it had before.

“The communication is a lot easier now,” Gruenberg said. “We don’t have to go behind each other’s backs to talk about one person because one person is upset.”

Ledesma explained why the band decided to part ways with Brian Frang.

“With Brian, it was differences in opinion when it came to style,” Ledesma said. “He’s doing his own thing now and writing his own songs, and I think he’s getting a group together. He lives with me, and we’re roommates, and we’re still like brothers. It was a little weird when it happened, though, but it is what it is.”

Sunday Funeral has been through various ups and downs; for starters, Ledesma was in a near-fatal car accident and endured a bitter divorce. On the up side, Ledesma looks back with great joy on one event: a live show with the Valley Strings Community Orchestra, in 2014.

“That was so much fun,” Ledesma said. “I don’t know how many people it was, but 40 or 50 people were playing something that I wrote. It was like, ‘Wow! I don’t know if I deserve it, but they’re doing it!’”

Taboada and Gruenberg both say they’re enjoying the band as it stands now.

“(This) month, I will have been in the band for a year now,” Taboada said. “I was the last one to join the band after Grant joined. I had never heard the music until I started playing with them, but I clicked with Justin’s guitar-playing. There have been times I don’t click with guitarists I’ve played with, or I don’t like my bass lines. I like Justin’s style.”

Gruenberg came to Sunday Funeral after stints in several other bands.

“I was talking to John Robbins, and he and I were trying to do something at the time that fell through,” Gruenberg said. “I went over to his apartment, and Brian was his roommate at the time, and Brian introduced me to some of the music, and I was like, ‘OK, I can do this.’ That fell through for two or three months, and then they hit me up, asking me to come over. I came over; I jammed a bit; and I was a little rusty, given it had been four or five years since I last played. But I liked the music, and I was happy.”

The members of Sunday Funeral are hoping to record a demo showing off a new, tighter sound.

“It would just be four songs for the time being,” Taboada said. “The only recordings Grant and I are on are the live videos on Facebook and YouTube. It’d be nice to have something that the three of us recorded.”

The band members played for me a cover of a Great Depression-era song they’ve been working into their routine. Ledesma said he’d like to include it on the demo, too.

“I was thinking about a cover of ‘Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?’ because that’s the direction I’m trying to take things in, and go down that path a little bit,” Ledesma said. “I like to think our direction now is more built-upon. I like parts of ’30s and ’40s culture, and it’s something I have passion for. I figured I’d try to work it in.”

Sunday Funeral will perform with the Sweat Act and The Hellions at 9 p.m., Saturday, June 25, at The Hood Bar and Pizza, 74360 Highway 111, in Palm Desert. Admission is free. For more information on Sunday Funeral, visit www.sundayfuneral.com.

Published in Previews

Ever since the Adicts formed in England in 1975, they’ve been an enigma within the punk-rock world.

Frontman Keith “Monkey” Warren wears face paint during live performances similar to that of The Joker in Batman. Shows include streamers, confetti, toy instruments, bubbles and other various surprises.

In other words, the group is truly unique. See for yourself when the Adicts perform at the Hood Bar and Pizza on Monday, June 20.

“I don’t know if we’re that original,” said guitarist Pete “Pete Dee” Davison during a recent interview. “We took a lot of things from everything. We took things from cabaret; we took things rock ’n’ roll bands that influenced us; we took it from cartoons; we took it from Batman—you name it.

“When we started, we didn’t know what we were fucking doing. We were just a bunch of kids, ruffians sitting around drinking beer, throwing ideas out. (We) were kind of at the end of the glam-rock thing. We had been through it and enjoyed that era. It just happened. We sat in a pub one night, and I drew the face and showed it to everybody. Monkey said, ‘No, I’m not doing that!’ I think it was about five days later when he called me up and said, ‘OK, I’ll do it!’”

Davison said Monkey is quite different onstage and off.

“It’s amazing what it did to transform (Monkey) as an entertainer. He’s a very introverted person,” Davison said. “He’s a very quiet guy. Put a mask on him, and he became a bit of a monster. I’ve heard the same thing about David Bowie: He created a monster with Ziggy Stardust. We sort of became Ziggy’s bastard sons, and we’re stuck with it.

“We tried to take the makeup off, given Monkey got tired of wearing it, but it didn’t work.”

The Adicts did not have an easy time when the group started out.

“We got everything thrown at us in the old days. Even the old music press didn’t know what to think of us. The punk-rockers didn’t take kindly to us,” Davison said. “You either got it, or you don’t, and I think the same thing applies now. I don’t really care about who likes us and doesn’t like us; it’s what we do, and what we do is what we do. We attract a really diverse audience.”

Anericans didn’t fully catch on to the Adicts for years; the band’s albums didn’t even get formally released domestically until the early 1990s.

“We don’t have money behind us, and you can’t really get our records anywhere, really,” Davison said. “So many different record labels, so many shit deals. It’s very hard to find our records anyway. America is so vast and big. You can advertise it all you want, and you’ll get lost. Twenty four hours later, and they’ve forgotten all about you. We’ve toured America more than most bands have. … It’s a very, very hard place to tour and there’s a lot of traveling involved, as well as a lot of different cultures and I really love that.”

The Adicts have found fans through the skateboarding culture in America. In fact, when pro-skater Kevin Staab appeared at the El Gato Classic in Palm Springs in 2015, he skated the vert ramp in a purple Adicts shirt.

“None of us can skateboard, which is amazing. None of us can surf, which is amazing. Yet for some reason, we’ve got along with all of these people,” Davison said. “I don’t understand it, but maybe it’s good music to skateboard to; I don’t really know.

“We just did a private show for Kevin Staab for his birthday. Everybody was there from Tony Hawk to Steve Caballero. You name it—they were all there, having a good time, and singing all the words.”

The Adicts have gone through several periods of inactivity over the years. Davison said there are good reasons for that.

“I’ve had health problems and operations; I’ve been out of action for some time and spent over a year in bed,” he said. “We have private lives, and we like taking rests after touring too much. You have to take a break from it. We’ve been doing this for a very long time.”

Davison revealed that he’s not a fan of the Adicts’ most recent album, 2012’s All the Young Droogs. However, he promised the next album will be nothing short of spectacular.

“We’re actually working on it right now. We’re about 80 percent of the way through it. We’re just trying to get people together to get it finished,” he said. “It’s a good album, let me tell you. Personally, I think it’s going to be our best one. A couple of the tracks right now are shit, but that’s normal, and we’ll make them damn good. We jammed as we did it, which was nice, and we recorded everything within three takes. We have a real album instead of rehearsing it and rehearsing it and having a producer suck the life out of it.

“The last album we did, I can’t listen to it, unfortunately. But this one will be very lively, very loud and very eclectic. If someone wants to criticize the album because they only like one song, tough shit. I like how it’s coming along, and I’m really enjoying what I’ve heard up to now.”

Davison now living in the United States.

“I live here, so I enjoy it full-stop,” he said. “I love living in California. I like the diversity of it all—meeting people with different mindsets or meeting people who are very uneducated in some places. It’s weird when you get to the Midwest, and there are a lot of people who know nothing about the rest of the world. Then there’s the food, the mixed cultures, the different political views, and the Christian belt—it’s all fascinating, really. Then you have the East Coast and you have the West Coast, which are very similar in their mindsets.”

Davison, like many, is not thrilled with the presidential race thus far.

“I think it’s a bit of an embarrassment to see what’s been going on over the past few months,” he said. “This reality-TV guy is taking all the headlines, and he’s a fruitcake, as far as I’m concerned—a sandwich short of a picnic. It’s what it is. He’s stirred up a lot of bad shit, and I don’t like it at all.”

The Adicts will be kicking off a U.S. tour at The Hood Bar and Pizza before moving on to two other dates in California, plus some shows in Canada and on the East Coast.

“We just finished a few gigs in Mexico, and we’re rocking,” he said. “We’re really playing great. It’s hard work, and we’ve been all over the world, and we’re exhausted by the time we play the next gig. It’s going to be the same for this tour: The boys will fly in from England the day before; they’ll be jet-lagged; we might make a lot of mistakes onstage, but who cares? We’ll have a good time, and it’ll be a nice little starter as a small show. We like to do that: We like to do a smaller gig just as a warm up, and you’ll never know what you’ll get.”

The Adicts will perform with Bridger, Facelift and the Sweat Act at 9 p.m., Monday, June 20, at The Hood Bar and Pizza, 74360 Highway 111, in Palm Desert. Tickets are $20. For more information on the show or to purchase tickets, visit the event’s Facebook page.

Published in Previews

The kids are getting out of school. The temperatures are consistently reaching triple figures. There’s far less traffic in the valley. Yep, June is here—but that doesn’t mean things are going to be boring, because there are some amazing shows coming during the month.

You can always depend on Fantasy Springs Resort Casino to keep bringing in great entertainment during the summer. At 8 p.m., Friday, June 3, country music star Billy Currington will be stopping by. Considering the guy has nine No. 1 singles under his belt to go along with multiple Grammy nominations, you definitely don’t want to miss this one. Tickets are $39 to $79. At 8 p.m., Saturday, June 18, get ready for Madonna … the Mexican Madonna, that is. For more than 30 years, Yuri has stayed consistent, putting out 34 albums with a ton of hit singles. Expand your horizons, and go check her out! Tickets are $39 to $69. Fantasy Springs Resort Casino, 84245 Indio Springs Parkway, Indio; 760-342-5000; www.fantasyspringsresort.com.

Agua Caliente Casino Resort has a must-attend music event in June. It’s that time of the year when you need to get those dedications to your boo ready, because at 7 p.m., Saturday, June 4, it’s time for the Art Laboe Summer Love Jam. This year’s performers will be Thee Midnighters with Little Willie G, Deniece Williams, Malo, Amanda Perez and MC Magic. Tickets are $45 to $65. The Show at Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa, 32250 Bob Hope Drive, Rancho Mirage; 888-999-1995; www.hotwatercasino.com.

Morongo Casino Resort Spa is hosting some intriguing events—and one of them in particular is quite a big deal. At 9 p.m., Saturday, June 4, country superstars Lady Antebellum (right) will be stopping by. The group has won eight Grammy awards, four American Music Association awards and numerous varied country-music awards. Lady Antebellum has also been a headlining act at Stagecoach. Tickets are $100 to $200. At 9 p.m., Friday, June 24, a band from the late ’90s-early ’00s you may have forgotten all about, 3 Doors Down (below), will be stopping by. Who can forget that tour the group did with Creed after shortly arriving on the scene? Who can forget how many times that “Kryptonite” song played on the radio, ruining it for us all? I’d prefer to forget all about it, but if don’t want to forget, I won’t judge you for going. Tickets are $65 to $85. Morongo Casino Resort Spa, 49500 Seminole Drive, Cabazon; 800-252-4499; www.morongocasinoresort.com.

Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace, per usual, has a fantastic slate of shows. At 9 p.m., Saturday, June 4, Nick Waterhouse will be coming back. The Los Angeles based singer/songwriter/producer is a purist regarding ’60s rock ’n’ roll and vintage music. It’s been two years since he released his last album, Holly, so hopefully he has something new in the works. Tickets are $15. At 9 p.m., Saturday, June 18, Los Angeles psychedelic rock group Mystic Braves will be appearing. The album Days of Yesteryear was one of my favorite albums of 2015. This group has been selling out venues across the country and is one of the hottest new bands you’ve probably never heard of. You definitely should go check them out; I promise you won’t be disappointed. Tickets are $15. Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace, 53688 Pioneertown Road, Pioneertown; 760-365-5956; www.pappyandharriets.com.

The Hood Bar and Pizza has some pretty good events coming up … wait, make that some awesome events. At 9 p.m., Saturday, June 18, desert-rock legends Dali’s Llama will be performing. I have a confession: I somehow had never seen the band perform until earlier this year. Well, I was missing out. If you’ve never seen Dali’s Llama, get your ass to The Hood, and show some hometown love. If you have seen them before, be sure to go anyway. Admission is free! Now, for the really big event … on Monday, June 20, get ready to rock harder than you ever have before, because The Adicts will be stopping by. Yes, The Adicts, the legendary British punk band! However, as of our press deadline, that’s all we know; we could find no more details beyond the date appearing on The Adicts’ tour schedule on Facebook. Stay tuned to The Hood’s Facebook page for more details, because this going to be awesome. The Hood Bar and Pizza, 74360 Highway 111, Palm Desert; 760-636-5220; www.facebook.com/thehoodbar.

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Ruben Romano is the drummer and part of the creative force behind two of the most beloved stoner-rock bands in America, Fu Manchu and Nebula.

But Romano then put down the drum sticks, picked up the guitar, and built one of the hottest stoner-rock bands to come onto the scene in a decade: The Freeks.

With two albums under the members’ belts and a third on the way, the band is one of the most engaging live psychedelic-rock bands in the country.

The first, self-titled album had a guest cast of musicians that included Jack Endino and John McBain (Monster Magnet), Bernie Worrell (Talking Heads/Parliament) and former Kyuss bassist Scott Reeder (Nebula/The Obsessed/Sun and Sail Club). The self titled album takes listeners on a transcendental journey woven by beautiful instrumentation that leaves psychedelic trails.

Full On, released in 2013, became an instant classic. It draws on Romano’s hard rock and psychedelic rock roots and delivers psychotropic compositions that melt the mind.

The permanent lineup includes bassist Tom Davies, Romano’s former Nebula bandmate; keyboardist Esteban Chavez (Smoke in Sunshine); guitarist Jonathan Hall (Backbiter); and the newest Freek, drummer Bob Lee (Mike Watt/Backbiter).

The group’s show is impressive, with the group pulling off the intricate, energetic compositions with absolute intensity—and locals will get to enjoy that on Friday, May 27, when The Freeks will be playing a desert show at The Hood Bar and Pizza, 74360 Highway 111, in Palm Desert, along with local stoner rockers Waxy, and Albatross Overdrive. Tickets are $10.

Romano promises The Freeks will be playing several songs from the new record, which is being mastered now and slated to be released sometime soon.

“We have recorded a full-length record,” explained Romano. “We did 12 songs in 10 hours with Matt Lynch at Mysterious Mammal Recording and are now ready to start mixing it. We are free to move about this cabin at our own pace; there is no deadline until its done. Tom is freely controlling the mix again. (There is) no working title, no release date, but you bet we will be playing it live at our upcoming shows for sure!"


14th Annual Joshua Tree Music Fest Features Dumpstaphunk

The 14th annual spring edition of the Joshua Tree Music Festival will be the second to feature Ivan Neville’s Dumpstaphunk at the top of the bill. Dumpstaphunk’s live show is off the hook and one that you shouldn’t miss.

This micro-festival is warm and welcoming and features music from all over the world, including South African recording artist Robbi Robb and Third Ear Experience. Tickets are available at the box office, and it promises to be another captivating live music event.

The festival takes place Thursday, May 12, through Sunday, May 15, at the Joshua Tree Lake Campground, 2601 Sunfair Road, in Joshua Tree. A four-day pass is $220, with discounts. Get more info at www.joshuatreemusicfestival.com.

Read more from Robin Linn at www.desertrockchronicles.com.

Published in Previews

Blag Dahlia is more than just the frontman of the notorious punk rock band the Dwarves. He is an author, actor, music producer and aspiring film producer.

He has two novels under his belt, Armed to the Teeth With Lipstick and Nina, and a follow-up to Nina is in the works. He has scored films—and once did a song for an episode of SpongeBob SquarePants. He hosts an online radio program, Radio Like You Want, and has expanded beyond punk to make both bluegrass and pop records. He has produced 15 full-length albums with the Dwarves over a 25 year span—and he has no intention of stopping.

In 2004, the band released The Dwarves Must Die, marking the first time former Queens of the Stone Age bassist Nick Oliveri made an appearance with the band. Since then, Oliveri and Dahlia have been musically intimate: Besides recording five Dwarves records together, Dahlia produced several Mondo Generator records, Oliveri’s project that often includes Josh Homme.

Today, Oliveri’s Uncontrollable picks up where Mondo Generator left off. Uncontrollable’s latest release on Schnitzel Records, Leave Me Alone, was recorded at Thunder Underground Recording Studio in Palm Springs.

The Dwarves, with Oliveri in tow, will be playing at The Hood Bar and Pizza on Friday, March 18; tickets are $15. In advance of the show, an email chat with Blag Dahlia seemed to be in order.

Who does the majority of the songwriting?

For the last few records, it’s really been a group effort. That’s been the really fun part of it for me. It’s actually been that way since the beginning of the band, with various guys contributing songs or co-writing stuff. I usually like a band better if it has a more three-dimensional songwriting process like that, but sometimes, you get a really unified vision for a batch of songs, and that can work, too.

What do you think about the music industry today, as opposed to when you started?

The more decentralized it is, the better it works. That’s what allows something new to develop. When the music-making is all concentrated in one place, they make the same thing over and over again. There used to be more money spent making records both big and small. On the other hand, even in today’s dismal musical climate, how can guys pushing 50 get their cocks sucked if not by playing rock ’n’ roll music?

I read that you would like to do a musical someday.

I have always loved musicals; I can’t help it. The older and cornier, the better, but I watched Glee all the time, too. Yeah, it’s pretty fucking gay—but someday, I’ll do it!

Who inspires you musically?

Initially, it was Frank Zappa. He was always so eclectic and funny. Also, (I’m inspired by) great frontmen like Iggy, Lux and Stiv Bators. I like people like Lady Gaga who go from dance-floor queen to the new Barbra Streisand in a couple years. Also, it would be nice to fuck Ariana Grande.

Who have you worked with that really blew you away?

I’ve been really lucky with my band members. Some bands are totally dominated by one guy who writes everything and calls all the shots. We’ve never been like that. Since the earliest days, all the Dwarves write songs, and that makes for a way more interesting body of work. … We even play songs that our drummers write!

How do you like doing the acoustic set live? Did you co-write the Uncontrollable material with Nick?

I like to play acoustic, because it gives me a chance to sing some funny songs I’ve written. The downside is my guitar-playing, which kinda sucks. For Uncontrollable, that was Nick’s name and his thing, but sometimes I get invited along, and he’ll play my songs on guitar, and we’ll sing together. Nick is so incredibly talented. No one sings like him; no one writes lyrics like him; and he’s the best rock bass-player there is, period.

Do you have any musical aspirations apart from what you do with the Dwarves?

I want to write a big hit song just to make my dad happy. He collects sheet music and hasn’t heard a new record in 50 years, but I think he’d love to see my name as a songwriter “on top of the hit parade.”

I know you did that pop album with Angelina Moysov (Candy Now) and a bluegrass record. Are there any other styles or genres you wish to visit as a recording artist?

I love punk rock, and I always will. It’s the most fun thing to play, and I’ve been doing it steadily since the mid-’80s. But I never listen to it—I just play it. When I’m not playing punk, it’s the last thing I want to hear. Candy Now was an international retro pop kind of a thing; the blackgrass record was a dark modern country kind of a thing. I love to get out of my comfort zone and into all kinds of weird music.

What is the live show like today compared to the early shows?

I’m fatter now, but I can actually sing, so that makes up for it. Also, we get paid now!

Read more from Robin Linn, including an expanded version of this story, at www.desertrockchronicles.com.

Published in Previews

Before I dive in to all of the great February goings-on around the Coachella Valley, I want to pay tribute to two big names in music we just lost.

Rest in peace, Lemmy Kilmister and David Bowie.

The Ace Hotel and Swim Club will be holding a Modernism Week-themed event at 7:30 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 13: There will be a screening of Visual Acoustics in the Commune. The film is a celebration of modernist architecture and a joyful portrait of renowned architecture photographer Julius Shulman. Admission is free. Ace Hotel and Swim Club, 701 E. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs; 760-325-9900; www.acehotel.com/palmsprings.

The McCallum Theatre is fully booked with great stuff in February. At 8 p.m., Friday, Feb. 5 and Saturday, Feb. 6, Frank Sinatra Jr. will be performing. The son of the Chairman of the Board is a great singer and will be singing in celebration of his father’s 100th birthday. Tickets are $61 to $111. Continuing with the Sinatra centennial celebration: At 7 p.m., Sunday, Feb. 14, crooner Steve Lawrence will take the stage. Lawrence was a close friend of Sinatra—in fact, when Sinatra retired, Sinatra gave Lawrence a book of his arrangements. Tickets are $67. At 8 p.m., Wednesday, Feb. 24, get ready for a night of awesome country music: Wynonna Judd will be performing. After starting out as part of a smash-hit duo with her mother, Wynonna has been quite successful on her own. Tickets are $47 to $77. McCallum Theatre, 73000 Fred Waring Drive, Palm Desert; 760-340-2787; www.mccallumtheatre.com.

Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa obviously made a wise choice when it booked with Johnny Mathis, considering his Feb. 13 show is sold out—but cheer up, because at 9 p.m., Friday, Feb. 12, you can rock out to Air Supply, or whatever it is crazy fans of Air Supply do. The Australian duo of Graham Russell and Russell Hitchcock has been soft-rocking since the ’70s and recently had a hit with “Desert Sea Sky,” which was remixed and played in dance clubs. Tickets are $40 to $60. The Show at Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa, 32250 Bob Hope Drive, Rancho Mirage; 888-999-1995; www.hotwatercasino.com.

Fantasy Springs Resort Casino has a fine slate of February events. At 8 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 13, the original Jersey Boy himself, Frankie Valli, will be performing. He was a member of the Four Seasons, and he had a spectacular solo career, so you won’t want to miss this one. Tickets are $29 to $59. At 8 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 27, there will be a double bill with The Commodores and The Jacksons. Both groups have continued on without their famed frontmen, and to an extent, it’s worked for them both. The Jacksons’ reunion since Michael Jackson died in 2009 has come with mixed live reviews, though. Lionel Richie is currently not joining The Commodores, and it doesn’t look like he will anytime soon. Nonetheless, if you’re a real fan, you will enjoy both. Tickets are $39 to $89. Fantasy Springs Resort Casino, 84245 Indio Springs Parkway, Indio; 760-342-5000; www.fantasyspringsresort.com.

Spotlight 29 has a couple of great events worth mentioning. At 8 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 6, easy-listening superstar Engelbert Humperdinck will be coming back. The ballad singer has spawned numerous legends, including one that claims he’s bagged an impressive number of women—a number that puts Lemmy Kilmister of Motorhead and Gene Simmons of KISS to shame. Whether or not that’s true, there’s one thing he gave to us millennials … Fly with me, lesbian seagull! Tickets are $45 to $65. Are you a fan of the ’70s? Did you live through the ’70s but don’t remember it? Either way, at 8 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 20, the ’70s Time Machine Tour will take you back. Featuring performances by Mark Farner of Grand Funk Railroad, Chuck Negron of Three Dog Night, and Denny Laine of Wings, the show will happily invoke the decade of leisure suits, pet rocks, shag carpet, van living and waterbeds. Yay! Tickets are $35. Spotlight 29 Casino, 46200 Harrison Place, Coachella; 760-775-5566; www.spotlight29.com.

As for Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace: I’m sure we’ll be hearing some very big announcements soon regarding outdoor shows for the spring and summer, especially with Coachella right around the corner. But in the meantime, the February schedule is wonderful. At 8 p.m., Friday, Feb. 5, Joshua Tree locals Gene Evaro and the Family (right) will be appearing. Gene is one of the most talented musicians in the Coachella Valley; Alf Alpha has told me stories about Gene’s production skills in the studio as well. Tickets are $10. At 8 p.m., Sunday, Feb. 14, it will be time for local rock fans to rejoice and celebrate Eddie Spaghetti’s victory over throat cancer, because The Supersuckers are back! Funny story: I saw The Supersuckers in 1995 in Cleveland; the band was opening for White Zombie and the Ramones. Let’s just say The Supersuckers didn’t get a welcome reception that night—and I was one of the hecklers. But over time, The Supersuckers grew on me; they’re an excellent rock ’n’ roll band. Also worth mentioning: My friend Charlie Overbey will be opening. His new record The California Kid is awesome. Tickets are $20. Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace, 53688 Pioneertown Road, Pioneertown; 760-365-5956; www.pappyandharriets.com.

The Hood Bar and Pizza has one event we know about worth mentioning. At 8 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 13, celebrate Valentine’s Day weekend—at a prom out of a John Waters film, that is—with Shannon and the Clams (below). Desert Hot Springs’ finest, Slipping Into Darkness, is also on the bill. Shurpadelic, dude! Admission is $10 at the door. The Hood Bar and Pizza, 74360 Highway 111, Palm Desert; 760-636-5220; www.facebook.com/thehoodbar.

Published in Previews