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05 Dec 2014

A Whale of a Band: They're Smart. They're Funny. Head to Pappy and Harriet's and Meet the Evangenitals!

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The Evangenitals The Evangenitals Photo by JC Penney/Thanks to Groupon

The Evangenitals are known for their funny name and their amusing songs. Now they’re known for their genius: The band’s Moby Dick; or, The Album is an amazing collection of songs based on Herman Melville’s 1851 classic.

See them bring the smarts and the funny when they stop by Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace on Friday, Dec. 26.

Juli Crockett Feldman has done a lot of different things in her 39 years. She’s been an amateur boxer and a theater director. She’s pursuing a doctorate in media and communications. She’s a wife and mother—and, oh yeah, she fronts the Evangenitals.

During a recent phone interview from Los Angeles, she talked about how the idea for the band was originally sort of a joke.

“Our very first show was Christmas night in 2003. It was our first open-mic appearance that we measure it from,” Crockett Feldman said. “It was at Mr. T’s Bowl in Highland Park, and it was sort of a joke. We did two Christmas carols and our song ‘Queequeg’ at the open-mic.”

Whose idea was all of this?

“(Vocalist/percussionist Lisa Dee) and I worked together … at a company in Silver Lake. It was an Internet-based company, and we spent a lot of time on computers. I did the marketing, and we were actually trying to come up with a name for a manufacturing wing for the company, and I was just being random and shooting out crazy words, and I came up with ‘Evangenitals.’ We were all cracking up and said, ‘That should be a band!’ So we actually bought the website and made a fake website for a band called the Evangenitals. Lisa had a background in opera, and I had a background in theater, and she was in a play that I wrote.”

Crockett Feldman said she found some notebooks in which she had written some silly songs while living with an ex-boyfriend in New York; they had the idea to craft a song and play it at the open-mic. They wound up forming an entire band for the show—and everyone in the crowd loved it.

“If anyone would have told us in the first six months that we sucked, I probably would have quit,” Crockett-Feldman said. “I was so scared and nervous. I wore big flannel shirts and a trucker hat, looked at the floor and played my guitar. We’d sing these totally dirty songs and songs about these random things. This guy saw us at the open-mic and asked if we wanted to play a real show at El Cid in Silver Lake. I said, ‘Sure, but I have to write more songs.’”

They began recording and put out We Are the Evangenitals in 2005. Through the years, they’ve had some well-known musicians in Los Angeles’ music scene come through the band, including a drummer for Dwight Yoakam. Crockett Feldman joked about the band’s lineup.

“The people who end up on Evangenitals records are completely random,” she said. “The joke here is that one in 10 people in Los Angeles have been in the Evangenitals. Lisa and I are the core, but we have this huge company of folks who keep it flexible, so the lineup is never really solid.”

Several Evangenitals songs are usually saved for the last set of the night, given their raunchy subject matter: “The Vagina Song” and “Fuck ’Em All,” for example. When it comes to their favorite subject about which to write, Crockett Feldman didn’t hesitate.

“We’re interested in sex,” Feldman Crockett said. “It’s funny that four out of five songs are a love song in some manner, and that’s true in most music—maybe nine out of 10. People literally laugh and cry at our shows.”

The new album Moby Dick; or, The Album has an amusing back-story. She credits that aforementioned ex-boyfriend in New York, who was taking a literature class.

“He’d come home and tell me these stories from Moby-Dick, and I generated my own version of Moby-Dick in my head based on someone else telling me the story of the book; I had never read it yet. I’ve always had a love affair with the idea of the book. We broke up, and I went off to school, but when I was getting my master’s in directing at CalArts, we had a project that we had to do at the end of the year, and I said I wanted to make a spoken-word opera about Moby-Dick. The school finally approved the project, and what very few of the people at the school know is that I still had never read Moby-Dick. So I read the book, and I loved it even more, and I wrote a play.”

The Evangenitals are no strangers to Pappy and Harriet’s. Crockett-Feldman explained why she loves the venue.

“Other than it’s just the greatest place on Earth and a musician’s dream … it is the perfect balance of a listening audience who is truly there to listen to music, and the good-time audience who is there to tie one on and dance,” she said about Pappy’s. “We’re in L.A. and we’ve been playing these shows at the Coffee Gallery here, and people are really listening and engaging in what you’re doing. But … you start to miss the bar atmosphere, where people are totally losing their mind, and (you miss) what you can get away with in that environment. Pappy’s is the perfect balance between those two things.”

The Evangenitals will perform at 8 p.m., Friday, Dec. 26, at Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace, 53688 Pioneertown Road, in Pioneertown. Admission is free. For more information, call 760-365-5956, or visit pappyandharriets.com.

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