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Music News and Features

23 Dec 2015
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The ultra-heavy psych-rock music scene that is associated with our California desert took root in the mid-’80s. The music of bands like Fatso Jetson, Kyuss, Throw Rag and Unsound helped shape the budding underground local music scene; today, a slew of aspiring musicians are borrowing from punk, acid rock, grunge and metal-new sounds. Today, type “stoner rock sub-genres” into your computer’s search engine, and a dozen varieties will come up. Black metal, doom, sludge, psych (combined with any other genre, i.e. psych-rock, psycho-billy, psycho-punk), fuzzrock, spacerock, grunge and old-school metal seem to have knocked speed metal and death metal off of the list … or were they perhaps selected by Mother Nature for extinction and rebirth? The Mojave Desert has been a breeding ground for original hard rock and provides an environment that is ripe for exploring the darker, less-conventional forms of musical expression. In the ’90s, Zach and Erica…
18 Dec 2015
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After five years together, Latin/rock band Elektric Lucie is branching out well beyond the group’s devout Coachella Valley audiences. In fact, the band recently signed with a record label in Mexico. Elektric Lucie’s ever-evolving lineup currently includes Viktor Estrada (guitar, vocals), Jorge Carrillo (bass), Jose Lopez (guitar, keyboards) and Hernan Hernandez (drums). “We’ve played as a three-piece; we’ve played as a four-piece; and we’ve played as a five-piece,” Estrada said during a recent interview at the band’s practice space at Estrada’s house in Indio. “It’s been like a coalition of musicians. … We’ve been working, working and working, and that’s how we landed a record deal.” Lopez is the band’s newest member. “I’ve been in bands since high school,” Lopez said. “I’ve known Viktor for years. I used to play in metal and punk bands, and I was also in a ska band, which is where I met Viktor 15…
07 Dec 2015
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Earlier in 2015, Burning Bettie parted ways with frontman Giorg Tierez. His former bandmates began a new band called Hollace, replacing him with Deadend Paradox frontman Alex Antonio. Meanwhile, Tierez has also bounced back—with a new band called Monreaux, with Deadend Paradox bassist Chris Dub. During a recent interview in Indio off of Monroe Street, Tierez joked about the interview being “held on Monroe about Monreaux” while describing the issues he had after he was fired from Burning Bettie. “It was a struggle to find players again that I was compatible with—people who were interested in a similar style and similar goal,” Tierez said. “I’ve always linked up with our bass-player, Chris Dub. We’ve always talked, and we’re really good friends. As it happened, at the same time, we were removed from our bands. It’s funny, because when you get around the local music scene, you sort of have a…
20 Nov 2015
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Friday the 13th of November 2015 will forever be remembered by fans of desert rock. Of course, we all know what happened on that day: Armed gunmen shot and killed 89 concert-goers, and wounded more than 300 fans, at an Eagles of Death Metal show at the Bataclan in Paris. It was the worst of a series of deadly terrorist attacks in Paris that night. The hard-edged pop band features frontman Jesse Hughes, with Josh Homme—frontman of the platinum-record-selling Queens of the Stone Age—on drums; both grew up in Palm Desert. The band also includes guitarist Dave Catching, who resides in Joshua Tree at his world-famous recording studio Rancho de la Luna. While Hughes and Catching were on the Bataclan stage on Nov. 13, Homme was not; he had been on the European tour but had returned home to be with his wife, who is expecting their second child. It…
27 Oct 2015
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The Royal Teens, Herb Alpert and Bobby Hart have something in common: They were all discovered by Lee Silver. Silver started in the music business as a singer-songwriter and producer in New York in the early ’50s. Today, he calls Palm Desert home. Before entering the music business, Silver served in the Army, and he worked as a mechanical engineer. However, it was hard to deny his first love—music. He’d been a performer since the age of 6, when he began singing and dancing onstage. During a recent interview at his Sun City home, he discussed his start in the music business. “When I was in the Army, I was stationed in Nashville. I fell in love with country music, and I’m a boy from Brooklyn,” Silver said. “There was no country music in Brooklyn during that time period. I remember producing a record in New York with an engineer…
05 Oct 2015
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The Stagecoach 2016 lineup was released today—and it marks a huge improvement over the 2015 slate. That’s not to say the lineup for the 10th Stagecoach festival does not include a lot of performers that have taken the Stagecoach stage before. Eric Church headlined Friday night in 2014; Luke Bryan also headlined in 2014, on Sunday. With two headliners returning just two years later—on the same nights to boot—one has to wonder if there are a limited amount of artists from which festival organizer Goldenvoice can choose. That’s also not to say that many people weren’t disappointed in the absence of one, big rumored name: Garth Brooks. While there don’t seem to be too many complaints about the lineup on the Stagecoach Facebook page as of this writing, there are some comments about how it seems the list of headliners and performers seem to be repeating. There are also complaints…
28 Aug 2015
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In October, Eagles of Death Metal will release a long-awaited new album, Zipper Down. It’s been almost seven years since Eagles of Death Metal released Heart On, heretofore the Palm Desert group’s latest album. What in the heck took so long for Jesse Hughes and Josh Homme to record Zipper Down? “We had a lot of bodies to bury. No, I’m kidding,” Hughes said, with a laugh, during a recent interview. “We’ve been asked that question, and it sort of took Josh and me by surprise, because we hadn’t realized it had been that long. It seemed like it was a couple years, but then it was like, ‘Holy shit, it’s been that long.’ We don’t really believe in a concept of a certain time. … Josh made the Them Crooked Vultures album and a Queens of the Stone Age album, and I made a solo record, and the right…
24 Aug 2015
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Ruben Romano has had success with every project since he founded his very first punk band, Virulence, back in 1985. He is a world-class drummer whose ambition has taken him around the world. But first and foremost, he is a songwriter. Fearless and dedicated to creating new sounds, Romano will pick up any instrument, regardless of whether he knows how to play it—and he’ll find his way to music. He founded veteran stoner-rock groups Fu Manchu and Nebula, and he’s now put down the drumsticks, picked up the guitar and built one of the hottest stoner-rock bands to come on the scene in recent years: The Freeks. Ruben Romano talked about his musical beginnings. “Before Fu Manchu, there was Virulence,” he said. “We did a couple of demos and then actually put out If This Isn’t a Dream on Alchemy Records. … We were tadpoles in a pond of heavyweight…