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16 Oct 2015

The Granddaddies of Local Rap: Thr3 Strykes Enjoys Its Not-So-Overnight Success

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Thr3 Strykes. Thr3 Strykes.

Thr3 Strykes is best known for hip hop, although the group sometimes includes a punk-rock set in a show. Catch Thr3 Strykes at The Date Shed on Friday, Oct. 16, the STREET party at the Westfield Palm Desert on Saturday, Nov. 7.

During a recent interview, Josh Fimbres and Josh Hall talked about how much Thr3 Strykes has changed since its formation.

“During high school and after high school, I was in a lot of punk bands and played drums,” Fimbres said. “Anywhere we could play when I was a teenager, we played. I was in one band, and we even did a little mini-tour and had Island Records interested in us for a little bit.

“I did that for a long time, and our friend Jesse—who doesn’t even fuck with us anymore—we started rapping. We all grew up in La Quinta, and we’d do parties and other shit. We had the little 8-track analog recording, and we did ridiculous shit with cheap microphones from Toys ’R’ Us. We went from party to party with nothing else to do but memorize each other’s shit.”

Hall said, with a laugh, that the group became known for being “white guys who rap.”

What are some of Thr3 Strykes’ songs about?

“Some are political, and some are about partying,” Hall said.

Fimbres offered a different answer: “Some are just stupid shit we say to each other at 3 in the morning playing FIFA Soccer, over and over.”

There are not a lot of local rap acts in the Coachella Valley, beyond local rap artist J. Patron and Thr3 Strykes. Fimbres said he remembers when the hometown crowd wasn’t showing them a lot of love.

“When it’s all said and done, and we’re 45 and still fucking rapping, or not rapping: We were doing it back when people were rejecting us, and venue owners we’re saying, ‘No, you can’t play here.’ Years later, we’re still doing it, when venue owners are telling us they don’t want anything to do with our scene or our crowd—and we’re still doing it. No matter where we went, people didn’t want to hear it, and it wasn’t cool.

“All of a sudden nowadays, with J. Patron, who is a close friend of ours, we’re getting noticed. That’s what I’m going to hang my hat on.”

Hall remembered one of the first shows that helped the group get noticed.

“It was underground, and we were different. We were influenced by punk rock,” he said. “People wouldn’t accept us for years and years—and then we realized people were starting to come to our shows. They started accepting us more and more, and trying to be our friends. I remember one year, they invited us to play at Chicago Freddy’s, which is now Cactus Jack’s, and we were super hyped up. It was cool, and it was one of our premieres. But we had (a person) who is now an ex-member jump off stage and punch a guy in the nose. It probably wasn’t the best first impression. But we came back in; people loved it and went insane, even with the little bit of drama that happened.”

While sitting in The Hood being interviewed, Fimbres remembered when Thr3 Strykes was not welcome there, either.

“We’ve been kicked out of a lot of places,” he said. “For a lot of years, they didn’t want us here at The Hood. Neither one of us were allowed here because of pre-show things or after-show things. We’re not crazy, and we’re not the first fucking band to deal with a crazy following or crowd. It’s always been someone stepping on our neck … but then we get these huge shows, opening for Bone Thugs-n-Harmony.”

Said Fimbres: “We opened for (Bone Thugs-n-Harmony) twice. We’ve done enough shows where we can judge each show on the vibe and how good the set was, and both times we played with them, it was the best it could fucking get. The first show, and we’re talking in Indio, there were a lot of hard motherfuckers, and they were there to see Bone. They paid good money too—those tickets were 40 bucks!”

Thr3 Strykes has always had a DIY approach.

“We used to make little six-song EPs,” Fimbres said, “just burning them on CDs with CD burners. We’ve also done stuff over Myspace back in the day, and things like that. Actual full length records—we just have the one that we put out in 2012 that’s 15 songs. All of those were good, but they’re all over the place with reggae, hard shit and real heavy rap shit. In the middle of making this new one, we had seven or eight songs with Jesse (Brown), who isn’t playing with us anymore, and who we have some bad blood with, so we dropped those songs.”

That new record, Communication Breakdown, will be out soon.

“Josh and I have 15 songs for Communication Breakdown,” Fimbres said. “In actuality, this feels like our first record to me. This is us at the core of what we do. All 15 of these songs are cohesive. They all go into each other. It’s our proudest shit to date right now.”

Hall agreed.

“Our producer, Tariq Beats, told us he loves it and says it’s one of the best albums he’s done, and he messes with a lot of big names in Los Angeles like French Montana and Xzibit.”

Thr3 Strykes will perform with Calico Wonderstone and Drop Mob at 9:30 p.m., Friday, Oct. 16, at The Date Shed, 50725 Monroe St., in Indio. Admission is $5; visit www.dateshedmusic.com for more info. The group will also play during STREET, which takes place from 5 to 10 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 7, at the Westfield Palm Desert, 72840 Highway 111, in Palm Desert. Admission to the all-ages event is free; visit www.westfield.com for more information. For more information on Thr3 Strykes, visit www.facebook.com/3STRYKES.

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