CVIndependent

Thu10192017

Last updateWed, 27 Sep 2017 1pm

Brian Blueskye

Twisted Sister frontman Dee Snider is a fiery, creative force—and the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree: The same can be said about his son, Jesse Blaze Snider.

Jesse Blaze Snider has found success in many different areas of the entertainment industry, and is slated to bring his show to the Desert Moon Metal Festival in Morongo Valley on Sunday, Oct. 22.

But first, a note of caution: Sunday’s headliner, Jack Russell’s Great White, pulled out of the festival earlier this week, saying he had not been paid. The promoter, Paul Allen, apologized on Facebook—at one point saying only one or two tickets had been sold—and insisted the show would go on. Pictures posted of the decidedly unconventional festival site have also raised eyebrows. Therefore, you may want to proceed with caution—by watching the festival’s Facebook page for updates, for starters.

Anyway, back to Jesse Blaze Snider: He said that going into music was not a choice, but rather a calling.

“There was no decision, Snider said. “I just love music. I was raised on music, and I was raised with MTV on all of the time in the background, because my dad wasn’t really around at that time of my life. I was born just as the explosion of Twisted Sister happened, so I sort of missed out on the presence of him in my life in the early years. I adored him and loved watching him on MTV. … MTV was just on in the house all the time so I could catch a glimpse of him, and I was exposed to every type of music under the sun. My dad got me (interested in) the Blues Brothers; my mom got me into the Muppets, and I was writing songs since I began to speak. I used to write love songs for all my little girlfriends, and on it went.”

He said he’s made attempts to transition out of music.

“I’m a very successful voiceover actor, and that’s actually what pays my bills,” Snider said. “I’m usually just overexposing myself doing music stuff, because I haven’t wanted to go the corporate route and compromise my artistic integrity. Being independent is expensive, though, and I’ve thought, ‘OK, maybe it’s time for me to be done with this’ a few times. Either the universe seems to pull me back in, or the people around me demand me to change my mind, because they believe I’m good.”

As an independent artist, Snider has put out most of his work himself.

“I’ve recorded probably about five albums at this point, but they’ve all been released mostly online,” he said. “I did a very minor release last year to get it into the ears of my fans who have been waiting for a long time. I don’t even have a big fan base, but I do have a very loyal group of people who have been following me for a long time.

“I’m 35 years old, and I’ve been in the business doing comic books, music, voiceovers and hosting as a VJ on MTV2 when I was 19. Starting from that time, there are people who have become aware of me. I’m not very good at promoting myself, but those who do get to know me, they know I’ll talk to them and get back to them, and that I’m very gracious. … They’ve been asking me for stuff forever. I’ve been sitting on all this music, and I need people to be excited about what I’m doing before getting other people to support me. I’ve put out this album called 16, and it was a nice success, but I didn’t promote it, and it was meant to go to my fan base. That’s been working, and I’m going to be releasing something with Spectra Music called Rock and Roll Ain’t Dead Yet.”

His latest release, Black Light District, came with an entirely different concept.

Black Light District is my favorite, because it’s the only album (of mine) that’s perfect,” he said. “It’s perfect artistic impression. It was exactly everything I was trying to say and how I wanted to say it. Image Comics put out a comic book last year in support of it, and it was perfect. Basically, we did these comic book music videos for each song—we did six mini-comics. I very rarely step off the stage or finish what I’m doing and think, ‘It’s perfect!’”

Melding comics and music has been done in the past—by KISS, for example.

“It’s not easy, but I do see the avenues where they connect. I’ve been trying to connect them for many years, because I write comic books,” Snider said. “I’ve written for Marvel; I’ve written for DC; and I’ve written for Disney/Pixar. I have been in that industry for a long time. I go to these conventions to promote comic books and hang out with friends, and I always want to do a concert while I’m there and do something fun. A lot of these conventions are run by normal, everyday people, and they don’t know how to set up a concert. They’ll run out of money, and there’s no room in the budget for it, and you think, ‘Do I want to go there and do something crappy?’ I’ve thought about going and doing some acoustic things, but that’s generally not my A-game. Black Light District might be that thing, though, and I’m looking to do something with a two-man operation where I can go with a keyboard player and do the songs with a good sound system and a projector showing the animated versions of the song.”

Snider said attendees can expect a great performance from him at the festival—along with a few other things.

“Aggression! Profanity! Energy!” he said.

The Desert Moon Metal Festival will take place Saturday, Oct. 21 and Sunday, Oct. 22 at 51010 Livingston Drive, in Morongo Valley. Tickets start at $25. For tickets or more information, visit dmmf.yapsody.com, or visit the event’s Facebook page.

Monday, 09 October 2017 13:30

Live: Gorillaz at The Forum, Oct. 5

When Gorillaz—a “virtual” band featuring four animated members—released its first, self-titled album in 2001, I didn’t know what to think about it.

Now two decades into Gorillaz’s existence, many people still don’t know what to think about Gorillaz, which was founded by Damon Albarn of the Britpop band Blur, and visual artist Jamie Hewlett, creator of the graphic novel Tank Girl. While the future of Gorillaz seemed bleak after Albarn and Hewlett had serious disagreements in 2012-2013, they patched things up and got back to work on Gorillaz, which is currently on tour to support new album Humanz, the band’s first album since 2010’s Plastic Beach and a surprise release later that year, The Fall.

On Thursday night at the Forum in Los Angeles, Gorillaz played to a sold-out crowd—adults who were probably teenagers when the first album came out; teenagers who have discovered the group; and even children who were probably  turned onto Gorillaz by their parents.

The opening act, Compton native Vince Staples, performed with a plain bright-orange background. The stage was covered in theatrical smoke, which made him nearly impossible to see as he moved around onstage.

The crowd members screamed their heads off when the lights dimmed and the vocal sample of Damon Albarn screaming, “Hellllllllo! Is there anyone out there!” played. The musicians then walked onto the stage, including Albarn; multi-instrumentalist Mike Smith, who has also recorded and toured with Jamiroquai; and lead-guitarist Jeff Wootton, who has collaborated with Noel Gallagher of Oasis, Massive Attack and many others. They started off the set with “M1 A1.”

You may be asking yourself: Wait … how does this work if Gorillaz is supposedly a band with four animated characters? The answer: The live musicians perform onstage as animations play on a screen above them. After an animation flashed on the screen for the character Murdoc, the band played “Tomorrow Comes Today” from Gorillaz’s self-titled debut—which still sounds hypnotic all these years later.

The animation for the character Noodle brought on some of the heavier tracks and several live guests. This portion of the show started with “Melancholy Hill,” which was followed by ”Let Me Out” with Pusha T, “Dirty Harry” with Bootie Brown, “Ascension” with Vince Staples, and ’80s soul-club-style track “Strobelite” with Peven Everett.

Later in the show, De La Soul joined Gorillaz for “Superfast Jellyfish,” as well as “Feel Good” during the encore. At the start of the encore, Albarn mentioned that it seemed like every couple of weeks, the world was becoming a crazier place, and said he remembered when he spent time with Bruce Willis doing some fly fishing; the band then played a song called “Idaho,” which does not appear to be released on any of the group’s albums. This was followed by a performance of “Stylo,” which featured a couple of the animated Gorillaz on the video screen having a Mad Max-style car battle with Bruce Willis.

Del the Funkee Homosapien came out during the encore to thunderous applause for Gorillaz’s well-known track “Clint Eastwood” before the band toned things down to close out with the psychedelic-pop tracks “Don’t Get Lost in Heaven” and “Demon Days.”

The highlights of the set were “Sleeping Powder,” which showed animated character 2-D playing a keyboard in a room with a photo of Liberace on the wall, before showing 2-D in a comical appearance similar to Italian disco videos of the ’70s where individuals had tracers; “Strobelite,” which sounded like an ’80s club anthem with Peven Everett on lead vocals; and the uplifting, positive vibe of “We Got the Power,” with Jehnny Beth sharing vocal duties with Albarn before Beth went crowd-surfing deep into the crowd.

While I admit that I’ve never understood the animation portion of Gorillaz, that does not matter when the band performs live. At times, I felt like I was at a rock concert, a hip-hop concert, an EDM concert, a modern dance club and an ’80s dance club. Blending all of those sounds together cannot be easy, and Gorillaz deserves the acclaim and popularity it has.

In other words, should Gorillaz ever appear in the area again, it’s not, “You should go.” It’s, “You HAVE TO go!” Gorillaz live is an incredible music experience—and coming from someone like me who has seen and heard it all from live music acts, this is saying a lot.


Setlist

M1 A1

Last Living Souls

Saturns Barz

Tomorrow Comes Today

Rhinestone Eyes

Every Planet We Reach Is Dead

Sleeping Powder

19/2000

Melancholy Hill

Busted and Blue

El Manana

Let Me Out featuring Pusha T

Dirty Harry featuring Bootie Brown

Ascension featuring Vince Staples

Strobelite featuring Peven Everett

Andromeda featuring DRAM

Sex Murder Party featuring Jamie Principle and Zebra Katz

Out of Body featuring Kilo Kish, Zebra Katz, and Michelle

Garage Palace featuring Little Simz

Kids With Guns

Superfast Jellyfish featuring De La Soul

We Got the Power featuring Jehnny Beth

ENCORE

Idaho

Stylo featuring Peven Everett and Arthur

Feel Good featuring De La Soul

Clint Eastwood featuring Del the Funky Homosapien

Don’t Get Lost in Heaven

Demon Days

Photos by Guillermo Prieto/Irockphotos.net

As a professional boxer, Mike Tyson had a most interesting career. However, his life after boxing has been downright fascinating.

Despite an impressive boxing record of 50-6 and a stint as the undisputed heavyweight champion, Tyson’s career was marred by controversy—most notably the fact that he bit a chunk off of Evander Holyfield’s ear during their second match, in 1997.

Outside of the ring, his life has been filled with problems, including the death of his 4-year-old daughter, Exodus, in 2009; financial challenges; mental illness; and a three-year prison stint after a rape conviction in 1992.

He’s currently touring with his one-man show, Undisputed Truth, which is coming Morongo Casino Resort Spa on Friday, Oct. 27.

During a recent phone interview, Tyson explained what goes on in his show.

“It will cover a bunch of parts of my life that people don’t really know about,” Tyson said. “This is all during my retirement, after I finished fighting—things in my life that happened. It’s almost like the first (version of his one-man) show, but it’s a lot different.”

In May, Tyson released a book, Iron Ambition, which touched on his relationship with his legendary trainer and surrogate father, Cus D’Amato, who passed away in 1985. I asked him if D’Amato ever gave him advice that he wishes he’d followed better. Surprisingly, he said no.

“I followed most of his advice, but he died early on in my career,” Tyson said. “Any of the advice he gave me, it stuck with me. Everything turned out OK. Even the good, the bad and the ugly—it still turned out OK.”

Tyson said he doesn’t think much about his boxing career, even though he was the youngest fighter to ever win the world heavyweight championship, and was inducted into the Boxing Hall of Fame.

“I never actually look back on my career and think about it from that perspective,” he said. “I’m doing so many other things, but I don’t think my boxing career was too bad.”

As far as those other things go: Mike Tyson has been doing a fair amount of film and TV work. He’s appeared in various movies, most notably the first two The Hangover films. He also has an animated television show on Adult Swim, Mike Tyson Mysteries. In the vein of Scooby-Doo, it features Tyson, an angry pigeon, the Marquess of Queensberry and Tyson’s (not real) 18-year-old adopted daughter, Yung Hee Tyson, solving mysteries. As bonkers as that sounds, the show was recently renewed for a fourth season.

“Warner Bros. came up with the idea for Mike Tyson Mysteries,” Tyson explained. “They came to my house and pitched the idea, and that’s how it happened. But it’s really awesome. I’m doing the one man show; I have Mike Tyson Mysteries; and the sky is the limit. Whatever I can do, I’m ready to do it. In some ways, I feel like I’m going through a resurgence. Kids know me who shouldn’t know me. It’s funny, because kids remember me from The Hangover.”

If you were a kid during the ’80s, you probably remember Mike Tyson’s Punch Out!! on the original Nintendo Entertainment System.

“Now I think that Nintendo was one of the biggest inventions that ever happened,” Tyson mused. “But I didn’t play video games back then, so it didn’t mean too much to me.”

Tyson will probably always be most famous for the ear bite. Not that it in any way excuses the bite, but Holyfield spent much of both matches head-butting Tyson. I asked Tyson if he felt referee Mills Lane should have done more to prevent that.

“It’s funny that you say that, because I haven’t really thought about it, and maybe I should look back on that,” he said. “Maybe he could have stopped some of the head-butts, but that’s back in the past. But those things happen, and you can’t cry over spilled milk.”

I had to ask: Why does a boxer who made $300 million during his boxing career have a tattoo of Chairman Mao on his arm?

“One day when I was in prison, I was reading his book,” Tyson said. “He had an interesting life. I saw his picture in there, and I took notice of it, so I put him on my arm.”

Mike Tyson’s Undisputed Truth takes place at at 9 p.m., Friday, Oct. 27, at Morongo Casino Resort Spa, 49500 Seminole Drive, in Cabazon. Tickets are $55. For tickets or more information, call 800-252-4499, or visit www.morongocasinoresort.com.

The band is called Twin Peaks. Is the name related to that awesome David Lynch show?

Nope. Twin Peaks is named after … a Texas based sports bar and restaurant chain?

Yep. After turning in awesome performances at Coachella in April, the Chicago natives will be performing at Desert Daze in Joshua Tree on Saturday, Oct. 14.

The band’s sound is hard to describe. When I initially heard Twin Peaks, I thought the group sounded like the Rolling Stones meets Bruce Springsteen … but the band is also incorporating garage rock and psychedelic rock.

During a recent phone interview, lead vocalist and guitarist Clay Frankel explained how the band formed.

“We all grew up together and knew each other in high school, and we started a band, playing for a year or two, but none of us really took it seriously until we dropped out of college,” he says.

Twin Peaks puts on a fantastic live show and has released three great albums. However, Frankel said that he doesn’t even fully understand the band’s popularity.

“I don’t really know. I guess we are just energetic. I don’t even know what the appeal is, man,” he conceded.

Twin Peaks’ most recent album, Down in Heaven, was recorded at a friend’s house, and then mixed by John Agnello, who has worked with Dinosaur Jr., Sonic Youth and Kurt Vile.

“(Agnello) is a crazy fucking guy, but it was great,” Frankel said. “We went to New York for two weeks, and we’d wake up every day, spending about 10 hours hearing the same song over and over again and tweaking it until it sounded the way we wanted—but it was a great experience. Mixing is easier than recording. It’s a lot less fun, but it’s definitely easier. Mixing is just turning up and down instruments and putting things in different places.”

The band’s first record, Sunken, released in 2013, is Frankel’s favorite.

“The first one, that’s the best one we’ve done yet, in my opinion. It’s just the carelessness of it,” he said. “We made that when we were in high school, and it was just something we wanted to record, share with our friends, and sell a little bit before we went to college, just to make some money. It was the most unintentional record. After that, you know, you’re making a record for certain reasons.”

Twin Peaks has played at many of the bigger American festivals. Frankel said that while these fests are fun, there is a downside.

“The good side to playing a festival is the hour or so that you’re onstage—and the bad side is definitely everything else,” he said. “The port-o-potty, the intense heat, being drunk in the middle of the day; maybe it’s raining, and maybe there’s shit all over the ground.”

During the band’s Coachella appearances, Twin Peaks played in the new Sonora Tent, which provided a lot of relief to attendees: It was air conditioned and had couches on which to sit.

“That tent was air conditioned?” Frankel asked when I brought it up. “I don’t know, because it must not have been working very well when we played. But it was fun.

“Another thing about festivals is they give you 15 minutes or something like that to set up all your shit, so it’s kind of hard to dial in a good sound before you start playing.”

Frankel said he is personally looking forward one part of Desert Daze.

“I would like to see Iggy Pop. That’s one of my heroes. Raw Power? Now that’s a great record. A year ago, I was listening to Fun House every day like it was my breakfast.”

Desert Daze will take place Thursday, Oct. 12, through Sunday, Oct. 15 at the Institute of Mentalphysics, 59700 Twentynine Palms Highway, in Joshua Tree. Weekend passes are $229 to $450. For tickets or more information, visit desertdaze.org.

This year’s Desert Daze lineup includes a lot of psychedelic-rock and garage-rock bands—but it also features an impressive array of R&B and soul singers.

One of the R&B/soul highlights is Lee Fields and the Expressions, which will be performing at Desert Daze on Friday, Oct. 13.

Fields has enjoyed increasing popularity in recent years—but his recording and performing career goes back to 1969. Over the years, he’s toured with Kool and the Gang, Hip Huggers, Little Royal and many other groups.

When I called Fields and asked how he was doing, he responded: “Good. I love it when people ask me that, and I can say that I’m doing good, because I know there are a lot of people in the world who aren’t doing good.”

Fields explained how his career started as he was growing up in North Carolina.

“I got into singing when I was about 14 years old—on a dare,” Fields said. “I was dared to perform in a talent show. A friend of mine dared me, and I went up. I actually wanted to be a businessman. … I went up on this dare, and the reaction of the ladies was just phenomenal.

“I got hired by a band to sing the night I went up. It didn’t take a lot of science to figure it out, and I liked it. I started from that point, and ever since then, I’ve been in the music business.”

If you look for any of Fields’ material recorded before 2009, you’re not going to find much of it.

“It’s very difficult to find my records,” he said. “I do know they are on the collectors’ list, and they’re very expensive. I’m appreciative that people think so highly of my old music; that’s the only reason I can think of why you can’t find anything. There’s not a lot of it out there. I made songs that I felt, and I didn’t record just for the sake of getting a hit record. I was trying to make something I truly liked and I felt good about. I always believed an artist should be true to themselves—and I wanted to be from the very beginning.

“There are so many people pointing out the comparison of myself to James Brown with my voice, but I wanted to be me, so I recorded songs at that time … showing what I could do instead of imitating James Brown.”

After Fields and his current band, the Expressions, teamed up in 2009, Fields soon found himself in the midst of a career resurgence.

“I knew that there was a certain kind of band that would come. I believed in searching for that band, and I was starting to lose confidence that they were going to come,” he said. “But they popped up, and the name of that band is the Expressions. They’re like my musical sons. I’m sort of surprised that it took 40 years for that to happen, but at the point when I was about to just surrender, they came. That’s the band I was looking for all my life—the Expressions. The audiences that I’m playing to, I’m not surprised that they’re feeling what I’m doing, because if you do something that’s real, people can tell what’s real and what is not real. People can feel what I do and know it’s coming from a real source. … I’m not surprised. The only thing that took me by surprise is that it took 40 years, but I didn’t give up hope.”

Speaking of James Brown: Fields provided vocals for the James Brown 2014 biopic Get on Up. Fields said that in the world of R&B, Brown was king.

“Everybody from Michael Jackson to Prince borrowed from James Brown,” he said. “It’s very difficult to step out of James Brown’s shadow. It’s a good thing, because it made me try harder. I’m pleased with the outcome, because I’m still touring, and people are giving me a lot of love around the world.”

Many of Fields’ musical contemporaries—including James Brown himself—were derailed by drug abuse. Fields explained why that never happened to him.

“You hear about so many artists who were great, who headlined Madison Square Garden, and now they’re sleeping in vans,” he said. “I can’t say how much I believe in the phenomenon of God, but I do believe God is real—and I believe that without a doubt. That’s how I managed not to fall into the things that other artists fell into. It’s my faith, and while I believe God is real, I’m not one of those holier-than-thou guys. … I’ve realized I accept the fact that I’m just a mere sinner as everyone else is.”

Fields’ 2016 album, Special Night, received rave reviews thanks to a variety of great R&B songs. I asked Fields what he would like to do in the future.

“I want to write better songs,” he replied. “… I think that people watch what they eat for healthy bodies, because everybody wants to be physically well-rounded, and they’re exercising and eating the right foods. But there are two entities that every human being is comprised of, which is the physical entity, and the mental state of the body. People don’t pay too much attention to getting good food for their brains; the songs we hear, the shows we watch and the things we see and hear every day are food for our minds. If we see and hear damaging things on a consistent basis, almost to the point where we don’t know what is right and wrong, we lose the concept. That’s when mass hysteria steps in. … I want to make stable music, sticking by good principles, choosing choice words over vulgarity and negativity. We can sing about the negative things, but do it in a way that keeps us thinking positive. … Everything doesn’t have to be about lust, vulgarity and anger, and it can be sensible and said in a sensible fashion. Artists today have to be more responsible for the words they use to keep us civil-minded without limiting thoughts.”

Desert Daze will take place Thursday, Oct. 12, through Sunday, Oct. 15 at the Institute of Mentalphysics, 59700 Twentynine Palms Highway, in Joshua Tree. Weekend passes are $229 to $450. For tickets or more information, visit desertdaze.org.

People who love rock ‘n’ roll should thank their lucky stars that JD McPherson exists and makes records.

The Broken Arrow, Okla., native on Oct. 6 will be releasing his third record, Undivided Heart and Soul—and this album will put to shame those articles on the Internet about rock ‘n’ roll being dead.

He’ll also be performing at Pappy and Harriet’s on Thursday, Oct. 12.

During a recent phone interview, McPherson said he and his band aimed big with Undivided Heart and Soul.

“You’re asking about a Tolstoy-length tragedy right there,” McPherson said with a laugh. “It was a tough one to do, and a tough one to try and cross the finish line with. There was the usual band infighting and drama; there was self-doubt—and two false starts, one of which that burned through half of our budget.”

The recording sessions took place at a legendary Nashville recording space.

“We were out of options, and somebody had the idea of recording at RCA Studio B, which is one of the last really classic Nashville studios,” McPherson said. “It’s where thousands of country hits were produced in the late ’50s and early ’60s. There were some really great rock ’n’ roll moments there, too. It’s what you hear when you listen to Roy Orbison’s ‘Crying,’ and all the post-Army Elvis Presley was recorded there, too—but now it’s a museum and not a commercial studio. We didn’t think we could do it, but I sent an e-mail, and they replied back with: ‘Yes.’

“Every night, even once things started to look up, it was still difficult. We had to load in everything after these tours of the studio were over, set up all of our gear, set up all of the microphones, set up all of the recording equipment, record until 3 or 4 in the morning, and then completely tear down for the tours the next morning. We did that every day. Usually, when you’re making a record, you want to see spaghetti cables everywhere, and some empty cups sitting around so it looks like you’ve been living there for a while. Every single day looked like a brand new setup. It would have been super-daunting, except that it was there, and we were getting such great sounds, and so many cool ideas were happening because we were there.”

The history of the studio served as an inspiration.

“If there were ever a band in the whole world that would appreciate being in RCA Studio B, it would be us,” McPherson said. “We were just flipping out every night. They have a sound system set up in the tracking room for tour people so they can hear songs that were recorded in the studio. Every night when we were tearing down, we would play ‘Crying’ or ‘In Dreams’ by Roy Orbison. It’s the same piano; it’s the same vibrant moments in the room, and we were using those instruments. Times like that, we were really like, ‘Wow!’ In some way, we were part of this room’s story. I don’t like to record unless there’s some old stuff around, and that room—being so loaded with history and loaded with music—if you have any belief in a building as a recording instrument, that place has loads and loads of music in it.”

McPherson said this album will stand out compared to the others.

“It’s a garage-rock record, for sure. It’s a romantic garage rock record,” he said. “There are really loud fuzzy guitars, and there is a lot of up-tempo stuff. I spoke with a guy from German radio recently who insisted it was a punk album—but it’s a rock ’n’ roll album. It’s weird: The first day we started recording, we tried to get in two songs, because we were trying to get done quickly. We tried the title track, ‘Undivided Heart and Soul,’ and we wanted to make it sound like an RCA Studio B recording. It was just not genuine, and didn’t feel genuine. I have to say this: The longer we were there, and the more we worked, the louder and fuzzier things got. It’s like that place wanted it, or maybe we did, but it was like that place was projecting that.”

Many bands and festivals have called up McPherson to ask for his services, yet he said he always feels like an outsider, no matter where he plays.

“I would put money down that we have opened for one of the most eclectic group of bands you could ever imagine,” he said. “We’ve done opening gigs for Bob Seger, Dave Matthews Band, Eric Church, and Queens of the Stone Age. There’s a really weird group of bands! We always sort of feel like they ask themselves, ‘Are you really sure we were supposed to invite these guys?’ We go to the Americana stuff, and I feel like we’re louder than all those bands. We go to Bonnaroo and I feel like we stick out like a sore thumb among some of those bands backstage. We’re just doing our thing, and it’s apparently appealing to a wide range of folks, and I’m very grateful for that.”

To McPherson, rock ’n’ roll is most certainly not dead.

“The people who are saying that rock ’n’ roll is dead. They don’t love music enough to try to find it, or they’re just trying to sound cool—and to me, declaring rock ’n’ roll is dead is the uncoolest thing you could ever do,” he said. “It’s the stupidest thing. It’s lame! There’s a lot of great rock ’n’ roll music out there. As long as no one is trying to make it grow up, it will always sort of be there.

“They say that guitars aren’t selling as much as they used to, but I can’t believe that now. Every band in Nashville is a guitar band. Every band I see has loads of guitars. There’s really cool stuff out there. Anyone who hasn’t ever been to a Ty Segall show needs to go, and they’ll figure it out.”

JD McPherson will perform with Nikki Lane at 9 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 12, at Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace, 53688 Pioneertown Road, in Pioneertown. Tickets are $30. For tickets or more information, call 760-365-5956, or visit www.pappyandharriets.com.

The Hellions have a fascinating history. Both times I’ve gone to interview them, the conversations—usually over liquor—have been a lot of fun. If you haven’t picked up their first official release, Hymns From the Other Side, hit up Record Alley in Palm Desert. Fun fact: Frontman Angel Lua also teaches English at College of the Desert. For more information, visit www.facebook.com/thehellionsofficial. Lua was kind enough to answer the Lucky 13; here are his answers.

What was the first concert you attended?

The first big concert I attended was The Cult at the Orange Show Pavilion in San Bernardino with my uncle. They were on tour for their Ceremony album and Lenny Kravitz was opening. Another band called Stix and Stones, I think, was first. I remember the singer of that band yelling out, “We’re Stix and Stones, and we’re gonna kick your ass!” I’ve been using that when the Hellions open our set, as this clearly reflects our esteemed appreciation of the simplicity of true art.

What was the first album you owned?

The first cassette tape I owned was Eazy E’s Eazy-Duz-It. My grandmother gave me $10 for helping her install some tile in her bathroom, so I asked her to pick up a (pirated) copy of it from the Indio swap meet. She knew nothing about this gangsta-rap thing or what the “Parental Advisory” label meant. My sweet grandmother, though unaware, was complicit in my adolescent corruption (or enlightenment), and my growing and colorful use of expletives.

What bands are you listening to right now?

The Hangmen, Black Lips, Handsome Family, some Arcade Fire and composers like Max Richter, Jóhann Jóhannsson, and Philip muthafucking Glass are in heavy-ass rotation at the moment.

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

Taste in music, like everything else, is fatally subjective. Everyone listens to what defines or inspires them at a specific time in their lives and what they have been constantly subjected to aurally. That being said, fuck pop country.

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

Wish I could see The Cramps perform again. Lux Interior’s live performance was amazing. His onstage antics and hilarious witticisms are still unmeasured—though often imitated. I’m pretty sure he’s wearing his black leather pants and high heels and drinking a bottle of cheap wine in a purgatorial, juvenile-delinquent dance party as you read this (or whatever post-mortal dance party you’re religiously inclined to believe in).

What’s your favorite musical guilty pleasure?

Hmmm. Refer to Question 4. … Actually, ’80s disco, like Stevie B, Exposé and Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam. My uncle was a DJ during the ’80s, and I always hung around him. He used to lay a big piece of cardboard on the lawn and spin records while the neighborhood kids and I would practice breakdancing. Ah, memories …

What’s your favorite music venue?

I would say Pappy and Harriet’s right now. You can’t beat the ambiance, the food or the distance to my family and my comfy bed.

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

Not necessarily a lyric, but a melody and a series of “NA NA NAs” from Pink’s “So What.” Every. God. Damn. Time.

What band or artist changed your life? How?

Every artist I have listened to has had a hand in molding my life. Social Distortion was huge to me when I was a dangerous and young rebellious greaser—you know, always talkin’ about the good ol’ days when there were drag races, sock hops, and greaser-and-socs rumbles, and law-breakin’ was going on, like mailbox jamboree ’n’ such. You know, all the made-up shit TV and movies told us about the past that we believed (and some still do). I still have evidence of this influence on my shoulder in the form of a Social Distortion “skele” tattoo and a scar on my gut from a knife fight. I can’t remember if the knife fight was instigated by someone messing up my pompadour or trying to snatch my lucky rabbit’s foot.

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

I would ask Iggy Pop what the secret to living a long life would be. And he’d better not say heroin, because I am too old and poor to be that reckless, dramatic and fatalistic! He’ll probably simply say, “Go ask Keith Richards.”

What song would you like played at your funeral?

I would like Nick Cave and Warren Ellis to score my life—this includes my funeral song. We can call it, “Finis Vitae: Angel Lua’s Odysseun Requiem” or something else pretentious like that.

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

Favorite of the time is Turbonegro’s Apocalypse Dudes. It seems like a safe answer, but it’s an honest one. Everyone who I had a hand in exposing this album to has never been let down. I heard it in ’98 when the band was kaput. I did not know much about them except for the creepy, black-and-white photos in the CD inlay, where they aimed their made-up and smudged, puckered lips at the photographer. The album was a perfect mix of punk and glam-rock pretentiousness with silly, juvenile lyrics thrown in for good measure. A perfect example of a band gratefully not taking themselves too seriously.

What song should everyone listen to right now?

Black Lips’ “Family Tree.” You’ll be humming the chorus and the saxophone hook over and over again. Oh, and stay away from “NA NA NA NA NA NA NA, NA NA NA NA NA NAH!” (Scroll down to hear it!)

Traffic is increasing on Highway 111. Pumpkin spice lattes (ew!) are here. Yep … fall has arrived, and that means season is here, too—and October has plenty of events great for locals, snowbirds and tourists.

The McCallum Theatre is reopening for the season—and it is opening with a bang. The first event of the McCallum’s season, at 8 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 7, features comedian/actor Bill Murray performing with cellist Jan Vogler, violinist Mira Wang and pianist Vanessa Perez. This collaboration will meld Bill Murray’s love for classical music with the world of literature. Tickets are $57 to $107. At noon, Sunday, Oct. 22, the McCallum will be holding its Sixth Annual Family Fun Day. The event will feature Erth’s Dinosaur Zoo Live. Tickets are $10 to $30. At 8 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 28, get in the spirit (no pun intended) with Dia de Los Muertos Live. The Day of the Dead celebration will feature the Grammy Award-winning Latin band La Santa Cecilia; the Latin tribute to Morrissey and the Smiths known as Mexrrissey; and the Grammy-nominated Mariachi Flor de Toloache. Tickets are $27 to $67. McCallum Theatre, 73000 Fred Waring Drive, Palm Desert; 760-340-2787; www.mccallumtheatre.com.

Fantasy Springs Resort Casino has a very busy month. At 8 p.m., Friday, Oct. 6, get ready to get physical, because Olivia Newton-John will be stopping by. The Grease star is still in high demand and just released a new album, Liv On, with Beth Nielsen Chapman and Amy Sky. Tickets are $39 to $69. At 8 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 7, it’ll be a double bill when The Isley Brothers and The Commodores perform. I’ve seen the Commodores perform before, and I can say this: The group puts on a show that you will never forget. Tickets are $39 to $79. At 8 p.m., Friday, Oct. 20, Fleetwood Mac members Lindsey Buckingham and Christine McVie will take the stage. It appears Fleetwood Mac will be going on a farewell tour in 2018. That’s great … but I don’t believe it will be a “farewell” by any means. Tickets are $49 to $99. Fantasy Springs Resort Casino, 84245 Indio Springs Parkway, Indio; 760-342-5000; www.fantasyspringsresort.com.

Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa has a packed October that includes two sold-out Van Morrison shows, so consider these other great events. At 9 p.m., Friday, Oct. 20, country music singer and songwriter Randy Houser will be performing. He’s known for penning the hit country song “Honky Tonk Badonkadonk” with Jamey Johnson, which was recorded by Trace Adkins. He’s also had success with his song “Boots On.” Tickets are $45 to $65. At 8 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 26, blues guitarist Joe Bonamassa (upper right) will be in concert. Bonamassa is on the list of modern greats in the blues world, and he’s performed with Eric Clapton, Stephen Stills, Buddy Guy and many others. He was opening shows for BB King before he was 18. Tickets are $89 to $149. At 8 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 28, renowned crooner Johnny Mathis will be stopping by. After 65 years in the industry, Mathis is Columbia Records’ longest-signed artist. He’s never had a slump and has continued to perform sold-out shows all over the world. However, this show hadn’t sold out as of our press time, so get your tickets quick! They’re $90 to $120. The Show at Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa, 32250 Bob Hope Drive, Rancho Mirage; 888-999-1995; www.hotwatercasino.com.

Spotlight 29 has some compelling Saturday events in October. At 8 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 14, Latin-music star Espinoza Paz will be performing. In Mexico, they call him “the people’s singer-songwriter.” He’s one of the most popular performers there, and if you’re a Latin-music fan, this is one you won’t want to miss. Tickets are $45 to $65. At 8 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 28, controversial comedian Andrew Dice Clay will do his act. The Diceman is known for his extremely raunchy comedy, and he smokes while offending the masses. Women’s groups have put him on their hit lists, and he’s been banned by many television networks. Warning: His comedy is not for the faint at heart. Clay also believes that Donald Trump stole his comedy routine and used his persona during his presidential campaign. Tickets are $30 to $50. Spotlight 29 Casino, 46200 Harrison Place, Coachella; 760-775-5566; www.spotlight29.com.

Morongo Casino Resort Spa has a busy October—but it seems most of the shows are already sold out. However, at noon, Saturday, Oct. 7, you can get out your lederhosen for Oktoberfest. There will be authentic Bavarian brews and brats, as well as some fun and games. Tickets are $20 to $30. Morongo Casino Resort Spa, 49500 Seminole Drive, Cabazon; 800-252-4499; www.morongocasinoresort.com.

Stop me if I am repeating myself: Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace has a busy October … but some of the shows have already sold out. However, as of this writing, there were still tickets left for some great events. At 7 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 7, jazz organist/pianist and gospel musician Cory Henry and the Funk Apostles will be performing. He’s a two-time Grammy Award winner, and he played the Apollo Theater when he was just 6 years old. His 2016 album The Revival reached No. 5 on the Billboard gospel chart. Tickets are $20. At 7 p.m., Friday, Oct. 20, indie-supergroup The Skiffle Players (below) will visit. This band includes Cass McCombs and members of both Beachwood Sparks and Circles Around the Sun. This is a fantastic-sounding folk project that will be perfect for a night at Pappy’s. Tickets are $15 to $20. At 7 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 28, the Los Angeles string-band Moonsville Collective will play. Plan on hearing a lot of harmonies, mandolin, banjos and upright bass. Tickets are $15. Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace, 53688 Pioneertown Road, Pioneertown; 760-365-5956; www.pappyandharriets.com.

Now, for some shameless self-promotion: The Hood Bar and Pizza is where you will want to be at 9 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 7, for CV Independent Presents Sinner Sinners, Throw the Goat and Dali’s Llama. Sinner Sinners is a fantastic punk-rock band from Los Angeles—but its founders, Steve and Sam Thill, are from Paris, France. They’ve collaborated and toured with Eagles of Death Metal, and recently recorded a new album, Optimism Disorder, at Rancho de la Luna in Joshua Tree. Admission is free. The Hood Bar and Pizza, 74360 Highway 111, Palm Desert; 760-636-5220; www.facebook.com/thehoodbar.

The Purple Room Palm Springs is back in action. Just so you know, at 7 p.m. every Sunday, owner Michael Holmes performs The Judy Show, a comedy-based drag show devoted to Judy Garland. Tickets are $25 to $30. At 8 p.m., Friday, Oct. 6, Kal David and Lori Bono and the Real Deal will take the stage. Kal David has had an impressive career; the native Chicagoan and his wife are residents of the desert and perform locally often. Tickets are $25 to $30. At 8 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 28, Iris Williams will be performing a benefit show for the Love and Love Tennis Foundation. The Welsh cabaret-style singer is well-known for her performance of the song “He Was Beautiful,” and she had her own television series on the BBC. Tickets are $35 to $40. Michael Holmes’ Purple Room, 1900 E. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs; 760-322-4422; www.purpleroompalmsprings.com.

There aren’t a lot of singer-songwriters in the local music scene—but thanks to a new arrival, the desert now has one more.

Meet Andrew Victor. After years of touring and playing in clubs, he is ready to start playing in the local music scene. He’ll be performing at a show in Yucca Valley on Thursday, Oct. 5, at a warehouse space called Hell, with friends Anna Tivel, Claire Wadsworth and Nigel Roman.

During a recent interview at the Ace Hotel and Swim Club before a performance, Victor discussed his music.

“It’s definitely drawn from folk music,” Victor said. “It’s been (formed though) years of touring and meeting tons of people from all sorts of different groups. It is its own thing, especially earlier on, (when it) was a bit more jazzy, but it’s definitely folk-based. Live, it’s starting to turn a bit more gritty, which I like a little bit. I don’t want to be the boring singer-songwriter, so I’m trying to figure out ways to do that. When you play solo, you have to keep it interesting for folks. You have to mix it up.”

Victor agreed when I mentioned Bon Iver and Iron and Wine as singer-songwriters who are trying to do something different.

“It’s almost anything goes right now in music, in all genres,” he said. “They’re all starting to become really mixed, which makes it a really cool and exciting time. It’s a hustle, and it’s hard, but at the same time, it’s so easy to get your stuff out there, or at least try to throw it out there. There’s so much at your fingertips as far as recording and ways to do it.”

Born in Los Angeles, Victor had stints in a few big cities; he spent the most time in New York.

“I was playing clubs by the time I was 18—like really crappy clubs. I’ve kind of maintained that crappy level, like those really small clubs where they would make us wait outside until it was time to play,” he said with a laugh. “I did that whole thing. It just continued, and I was living in Seattle for a few years, and I was getting radio play and playing big venues when I was real young still.

“I got bored and moved to New York in my early 20s. That’s pretty much where I’ve been for most of my adult life until now. I was in Philadelphia for a few years, but I was still New York-based.”

Being a part of New York’s music scene was exciting; he was able to watch as some of his fellow musicians made it big, he said.

“I saw it all happen. I saw The National. I played a show with Grizzly Bear. We were part of that Brooklyn scene, and we were really lucky,” he said. “Just the timing was perfect. I got to be there through all of that and got to watch my friends make it, which was cool, and they still do it because they love it. It was the best time to be there, and it was still affordable to live there in 2004.”

What brought Victor to the desert?

“My wife is from here. She has family out here, and we have an offer right now on a house, which was accepted, but the tenant won’t leave, so we’ve been in escrow for like three months,” he explained. “Hopefully, we’ll get in. It’s a fixer-upper, though.

“I’m still testing the waters here. I played the Joshua Tree Saloon, and it was interesting. I played here at the Ace Hotel and Swim Club a couple of years ago, and it was awesome. I’m a newbie here to this scene, so I don’t know what to make of it yet, but I like it. I have some friends coming through on a tour I’d like to have play some shows. There’s a lot of local support; you can tell.”

Despite not being a big name, Victor said he still loves what he does.

“I have seven albums out officially, but I’ve probably done about 15 albums,” he said. “You can find them if you really dig. I was on a couple of really small labels, and they ran out of money. For the most part, I’ve released them myself. For this last one, I did Indiegogo, so it completely paid for the vinyl.

“I try to break even doing this; it’s just something I love to do. I’m never going to stop, and I’ve always accepted that. When my friends and I saw all of our other friends in New York were making it, and we weren’t, we kept on doing it and never got picked up by huge labels; it was still a labor of love. I love to be able to pay the mortgage with it, and sometimes, you can.”

Andrew Victor will be performing along with Anna Tivel, Claire Wadsworth and Nigel Roman at 8 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 5, at Hell, 55536 Santa Fe Trail, in Yucca Valley. Admission is $8. For more information, visit www.instagram.com/wearehell.

On Sept. 1, 2015, California Gov. Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill 415 into law.

SB 415 was definitely well-intentioned: It mandates that cities and other “political subdivisions” move their elections to the same dates as statewide elections—unless their elections have had a high-enough turnout percentage in recent years. Cities and other political subdivisions are required to have a plan in place by the start of 2018 to move their elections by 2022.

The goal was to increase turnout—often quite low—in elections for seats on city councils, school districts, water boards and other local government bodies, in areas where elections were held on dates that did not match the dates of statewide and federal elections.

Unfortunately… all SB 415 has really done so far is confuse the heck out of everyone.

Three cities in the Coachella Valley have, up until now, held elections on dates different from those of state and federal elections: Palm Springs and Desert Hot Springs have held municipal elections in odd-numbered years, while Rancho Mirage has always held its city elections in even-numbered years—but in April, not November.

Because confusion reigns, the cities are each handling SB 415 differently as of now. Palm Springs isn’t changing a thing; Rancho Mirage isn’t sure what it’s doing yet; and the members of Desert Hot Springs’ City Council voted to immediately switch the city’s election date—generously extending each of their own terms by a year.

California State Sen. Ben Hueso introduced the bill in July 2015. Ana Molina-Rodriguez, a member of Hueso’s staff, explained the bill.

“Starting in 2018, any local government holding an election off-cycle that results in a voter turnout that is 25 percent less than the average voter turnout in the past four statewide elections will have to consolidate,” she said. “When we started looking at the odd-numbered-year elections compared to the gubernatorial elections or the presidential elections, the incredibly low turnout rates were why we drafted this bill.”

The bill’s language that determines whether a city or other political subdivision has to move its elections—“the voter turnout for a regularly scheduled election in a political subdivision is at least 25 percent less than the average voter turnout within that political subdivision for the previous four statewide general elections”—has left elections officials across the state scratching their heads.

The city of Palm Springs has determined its elections have had a high-enough voter turnout to stay right where they are.

“We have elections in odd-numbered years, and at this time, our city is not required to conform to the even-year-number election requirement,” said Cindy Berardi, of the Palm Springs City Clerk’s Office. “For the time being, our elections will remain in the odd-numbered years. Based on the voter turnout, our city does not need to switch to the even-numbered-year elections.”

Rancho Mirage, which holds vote-by-mail elections in April every even-numbered year, is still determining whether or not it will need to change.

“That is something that our city attorney is going to have to determine,” Rancho Mirage City Clerk Kristie Ramos said. “If it turns out that we need to change, we have until January 2018 to determine what we’re going to do. But we haven’t made a decision yet.”

In Desert Hot Springs, the City Council members extended all of their own terms and called off the scheduled 2017 municipal election in favor of an election in 2018 … sort of. The city will still ask residents to come to the polls this November, to decide on Measures B and C, which would extend tax funding for public safety services in Desert Hot Springs.

Desert Hot Springs City Clerk Jerryl Soriano said that because of the city’s low voter turnout for municipal elections, DHS had to comply with SB 415. The City Council members voted unanimously for the change—and the one-year extensions of all their own terms—in March. She said she presented various options to the council.

“The bill goes into effect in January 2018,” Soriano said. “The bill states that the cities need to have a plan by January 2018. Whatever plan the city chooses has to go into effect by the 2022 statewide election. I presented different options to the council. The first one, that they went with, was to move this year’s election to November 2018.”

Desert Hot Springs Mayor Scott Matas explained why he and the City Council members decided to move the election to 2018, and extend all of their own terms by a year.

“We talked about the different options we had,” Matas said. “That was what was decided by the City Council, and there was no opposition from the public on it, so we went ahead and voted on it. We could have had an election this year, and it could have been a one-year term for the mayor and a one-year term (for the City Council members whose seats would have been up for election).”

In Desert Hot Springs, the mayor is usually elected to a two-year term, while four members of the City Council are usually elected to four-year terms.

“Being mayor, I can say it’s hard to get a lot of things done in two years, because that’s what my term is, but to have a one-year term as mayor, it would be a little tough,” he said. “It was something we took to the public, outlining the different options. … We could go to a (one-time) one-year cycle for mayor and three-year cycle for the council. Or we could go backward and extend our terms by a year to make everything even.”

Beyond all of this confusion, the political science on whether there is a true public benefit to moving these elections remains unclear.

Yes, there will be an increase in voter turnout by moving city elections in places like Desert Hot Springs and Los Angeles to the same dates as state elections. On the other hand, lower-level elections tend to get lost in the shuffle when they’re held at the same time as state and federal elections; odd-year city council elections don’t have to compete with legislative, congressional and presidential races for attention. There is also the issue of “voter fatigue”—some voters get overwhelmed by huge, complex ballots during consolidated elections and skip ballot items toward the end.

Putting aside the pros and cons of various election dates, officials from California cities can agree on one thing: SB 415 could have been written a lot more clearly.

“Good luck reading that and understanding all of it,” Matas said. “It was confusing to us, too.”

Jimmy Boegle contributed to this story.

Page 1 of 71