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Josh Fimbres is known for his sense of humor: He’ll often crack jokes and tease you. When he and Josh Hall are onstage as Thr3 Strykes, they are known for putting on a great show, full of aggressive and in-your-face rap music with a punk-rock attitude. Thr3 Strykes recently put out a new album, CMNCTN-BRKDWN. For more information, visit www.thr3strykesmusic.com. Josh Fimbres was kind enough to recently answer the Lucky 13; here are his answers.

What was the first concert you attended?

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. “Mary Jane’s Last Dance” had just debuted. He brought out Dave Grohl to play a few songs, and I went nuts! This is 1993, so Nirvana still existed. That night also coincided with my first beer, and I puked the whole way back. (Thanks, Uncle John!) Mom was screaming so loud in between songs that Tom literally said, “OK, darling! I hear you.” She still talks about it. Pop let me stay home from school the next day, rock ‘n’ roll!

What was the first album you owned?

In the days of cassette tapes, my dad and his brothers kept me laced up with mix tapes, everything from Hendrix and Edgar Winter to King’s X and Judas Priest. But my first tape was the original self-titled Black Sabbath record. I was rocking my little toy harmonica to “The Wizard” at age 7.

What bands are you listening to right now?

My daily playlist is all over the fucking place. Lana Del Fimbres—I mean Lana Del Rey, Suicidal Tendencies, Warpaint, Humble Pie, and a dash of 311 with a splash of Chuck Berry. A Pantera song a day keeps the Top 40 away.

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

I call them “fall down rappers.” You ever notice that shit? It’s sounds like they’re falling as they sing or mumble or whatever you call that bullshit. Then they repeat the hook 83 times, sheesh! More like boraphyll!

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

Led Zeppelin in their prime, or Jimi Hendrix. Early ’90s era Wu-Tang Clan, or Beastie Boys.

What’s your favorite musical guilty pleasure?

I can listen to Elvis’ “Blue Christmas” any time of day or year. It’s kinda musical, but I also have had a severe ASMR (Autonomous sensory meridian response) video habit—these role playing, whispering, tapping audio trips. There’s an English bird I listen to nightly … calms my soul and puts me to sleep.

What’s your favorite music venue?

I still get high on the West Hollywood classic spots, and made my mark on a few, too. (I have a lot) of good memories at Glen Helen (Amphitheater). Locally, The Date Shed; my DNA has been left there on occasion.

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

Sometimes I feel like it’s a curse, but I hear, “Life’s the same, I’m moving in stereooo. Life’s the same except for my shoooes. Life’s the same, you’re shakin’ like tremolooo. Life’s the same, it’s all inside you,” by The Cars, from their song “Moving in Stereo and All Mixed Up,” every fucking day.

What band or artist changed your life? How?

By age 3, I was already jumping on tables pretending my toy rifle was a guitar mimicking Quiet Riot, Ozzy Osbourne and Van Halen. But it was Rage Against the Machine’s debut album and second album, Evil Empire, that became the soundtrack to my life trip. At 15, I scored my first drum set. I wanted to play like Brad Wilk and taught myself to play off those records. Fast-forward to age 18, and they played a small fest called Coachella. I was high on their set for three days and genuinely thought, “I wanna do that.”

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

I’d be asking Dimebag Darrell to not go to that shithole of a venue where he was killed onstage. 

What song would you like played at your funeral?

That’s heavy. For now, I’ll say Suicidal Tendencies, “How Will I Laugh Tomorrow When I Can’t Even Smile Today.” The verses start slow soft and sad; then the fast break-down at the end hits, at which point a pit breaks out around a river of whiskey. The sky rips open, and lightning flashes. My spirit pops up to do the guitar solo; a pterodactyl flies by. The song ends; I moon everybody, and Grandpa Carlos scoops me up in his heaven cruiser. Tip your waitresses; after-party at Morrison’s crib!

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

311’s Transistor. There are a ton of songs, and it takes me back to a pretty far-out era in time. I have to hear it in order; each song sets up the next. I can also smell the high school naivety and reefer.

What song should everyone listen to right now?

Because it’s a Saturday night when I’m doing this, and I’m in a fucking rock ’n’ roll, bang-your-head mood, let’s crank Rainbow’s “Man on the Silver Mountain.” Party on, Garth! (Scroll down to hear it.)

Published in The Lucky 13

When I spoke to the members of Thr3 Strykes in October 2015, they were recording an album that they hoped would be out shortly thereafter.

If 15 months qualifies as “shortly thereafter,” then Thr3 Strykes is on track: [CMNCTN-BRKDWN] will be released in January, and the band is throwing an album-release party at The Date Shed on Friday, Jan. 6.

During a recent phone interview, Josh Fimbres and Josh Hall discussed the new album, including one of the tracks, “Hate Is the New Love.” Fimbres said the track references the fact that privacy is dead.

“The intent was to make it all about this new age of no privacy, and everyone is in everyone else’s business, and are we really believing that it’s really their business?” Fimbres said. “That’s what it was sort of a reference to.”

Hall said he and Fimbres faced some turbulent times while making the record.

“Basically, we lost a member; we had to take lyrics off and put new ones on, and create new energy. We had a bunch of songs, and it would have been released earlier, but we took songs off and put on new songs,” Hall said. “Plus we had daily struggles such as moving, finances, people’s attitudes and all kinds of other bullshit. We really wanted to put some polished stuff together, and this is what we did. I’m an indecisive cat, so I’m not really sure this is our best work, but it’s definitely some of the greatest stuff. But I think the best is yet to come.”

Fimbres said he and Hall were more attentive to detail than they have been in the past.

“We had a conversation one night at 3 in the morning, where it was like, ‘We’ve been at it for this long; we’re not half-stepping it,’” Hall said. “We’re under the microscope a lot more these days and not releasing stuff like we used to. Now, we nitpick a song, which might be a bad thing, but the contents have to be right. We went all-out with this album. It’s our best stuff. Like Josh said, we did go through a lot of bullshit, too.”

Hall and Fimbres made a point to limit the number of special guests on the record. They wanted to include people who they feel are truly family.

“One of my favorite songs for a while was one I didn’t really give a shit about, and it’s called ‘No Alarm,’” Fimbres said. “It has Phillie Mills on it, who has been in the rap scene out here for a long time. It’s a really good song. It has the same vibe that ‘Hate Is the New Love’ has. We have the song we did with Christina Reyes of Caxton and J.Patron called ‘The Colony,’ which we put out last year. … I feel like with the hip-hop game going where it is, it’s stale when you feature this person, this person, this person, and it’s like, ‘Man, is it even your record anymore?’ You want it to be a record, not a fucking compilation.”

Hall said he and Fimbres tried to avoid one mistake they’d made with previous material.

“A lot of the early Thr3 Strykes songs we recorded, we’d have people telling us, ‘We can’t hear your lyrics! It’s too loud,’” he said. “Now, without a doubt, you’re hearing every ad-lib, and you’re going to feel the rhythm, for sure.”

I had to ask: Were any of the songs such as “Hate Is the New Love” or the translation of the muffled title (Communication Breakdown) making any reference to the past election cycle? The answer was no.

“(The election) wasn’t really all that surprising with the way things work and how this world is right now,” Hall said.

Fimbres said American politics don’t mean much to him.

“I try to stay out of that political stuff,” he said. “It really doesn’t mean much, given a president has never really done anything for me. I guess Obama gave me a free phone, so thanks, Obama! That was cool! Like everybody else, I thought for sure that Hillary Clinton was going to take it, and she didn’t. I guess Kanye West can be a president now, or Jon Stewart from Comedy Central, and people would be cool with it, I guess. It is pretty crazy, but I try to stay out of it and drive myself crazy with other stupid shit.”

The release party is going to feature artists including Porsia Camille, Million and Albertini, DJ Amavida, The After Lashes, and J.Patron. Fimbres said they’re excited for the show and that they can’t deny there’s some great talent out there.

“We knew we wanted live music. We’re going to bring out some live players,” Fimbres said. “We’re so stoked, and not to toot our own horn, but the hip-hop scene was really stagnant there for a minute. We just kind of kept on going, doing our own thing. You can take a look at some of these shows at Bart Lounge and see there’s a whole new scene out here now. People are into it, and we’re glad that we’re here.”

Thr3 Strykes will perform with J.Patron and others at 9 p.m., Friday, Jan. 6, at The Date Shed, 50725 Monroe St., in Indio. Tickets are $10. For tickets or more information, call 760-775-6699, or visit www.dateshedmusic.com.

Published in Previews

It’s January. That means the holiday season is over—and it’s a brand-new year! That also means the busiest portion of season is here—and there are some great events going on throughout the month.

The McCallum Theatre has some fine shows in January. At 8 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 9, guitarist/vocalist John Pizzarelli (right) will be performing. Known for his modern interpretations of songs by John Lennon, Gershwin and Antonio Carlos Jobim, he’ll definitely put on a good show. Tickets are $37 to $77. At 8 p.m., Tuesday, Jan. 26, Burton Cummings will be stopping by. As the former lead singer of The Guess Who, he’s known for his golden voice—and for writing some huge rock hits, including “American Woman.” Tickets are $37 to $57. McCallum Theatre, 73000 Fred Waring Drive, Palm Desert; 760-340-2787; www.mccallumtheatre.com.

Fantasy Springs Resort Casino has quite a lineup in January. At 8 p.m., Friday, Jan. 8, the resort will host some much-loved teen idols … from the 1950s. The Golden Boys, consisting of Bobby Rydell, Fabian and Frankie Avalon, are all still big names in the music industry. If you’re a fan of the ’50s and ’60s heartthrob era, you’ll want to be here. Tickets are $29 to $59. At 8 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 9, Kathy Griffin will be bringing her “Like a Boss” comedy tour to Fantasy Springs. Griffin is a two-time Grammy winner and pulls no punches when it comes to her routines. Tickets are $39 to $69. You’ll be thrilled to know that Tony Bennett (first below) will be coming back to Fantasy Springs at 8 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 16. I saw his excellent show last year, and I can say you do not want to miss Bennett when he comes to town. Tony Bennett has truly done it all in the music industry. Tickets are $49 to $99. At 8 p.m., Friday, Jan. 22, Mike Epps (second below) will be bringing his comedy tour to Fantasy Springs. One of my favorite performances by Epps was in Next Friday. I still can’t contain my laughter when his Day-Day tells Ice Cube’s character, Craig, the story of “Baby-D.” Tickets are $39 to $79. If you need another reason to love Fantasy Springs in January, Heart will be performing at 8 p.m., Friday, Jan. 29. Remember during the 2008 election when Sarah Palin stole the song “Barracuda” as her theme? Heart was not pleased. The members of Heart are legends and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame members. Tickets are $49 to $79. Fantasy Springs Resort Casino, 84245 Indio Springs Parkway, Indio; 760-342-5000; www.fantasyspringsresort.com.

Agua Caliente has two excellent events scheduled this January. First, there’s Styx, which you can read about elsewhere in this issue. At 8 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 9, the red-headed stranger himself, Willie Nelson, will be appearing. Willie has made stops in the Coachella Valley in each of the past two years, proving he’s still a fantastic draw. Tickets are $95 to $125. The Show at Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa, 32250 Bob Hope Drive, Rancho Mirage; 888-999-1995; www.hotwatercasino.com.

Spotlight 29 has an excellent January calendar. At 8 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 9, you won’t want to work; you’ll want to bang on the drum all day when Todd Rundgren stops by. I once read that Rundgren was asked by punk band Bad Religion to produce the The New America album. It was not a good experience, according to bassist Jay Bentley. Tickets are $35. At 8 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 23, get ready to honky-tonk harder than you’ve ever honky-tonked before, because Dwight Yoakam will be coming back. After seeing Yoakam perform three times now, I can tell you he’s consistently spectacular. I still can’t stop talking about his performance as Doyle, the alcoholic boyfriend, in Sling Blade. Remember, “Stuart Drives a Comfortable Car.” Tickets are $45 to $65. Spotlight 29 Casino, 46200 Harrison Place, Coachella; 760-775-5566; www.spotlight29.com.

Morongo Casino has some intriguing stand-up shows this month. At 9 p.m., Friday, Jan. 8, Sinbad will be coming back—not too long after a performance a few months ago at Spotlight 29. The star who was all over television in the ’90s is apparently doing stand-up again after hitting hard financial times. Warning: The reviews of his recent shows have not been excellent. Tickets are $29 to $39. At 9 p.m., Friday, Jan. 29, Bob Newhart will be stopping by. Newhart is a legend from the golden era of comedy. Tickets are $35 to $45. Morongo Casino Resort Spa, 49500 Seminole Drive, Cabazon; 800-252-4499; www.morongocasinoresort.com.

The Hood Bar and Pizza has one event worth noting that we know about at this time: At 9 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 23, T.S.O.L. will be appearing. If you’re not familiar with T.S.O.L., it is only one of Los Angeles’ most notorious punk bands. Frontman Jack Grisham has spoken extensively about how much mischief he got into, and how bad of an addict he once was; he tells some truly insane stories about how bonkers he can be when he’s under the influence. At the same time, Grisham’s honesty and sobriety has been an inspiration for addicts; it’s been said that he’s given some talks at the Betty Ford Center and other rehabilitation facilities. Tickets are $12. The Hood Bar and Pizza, 74360 Highway 111, Palm Desert; 760-636-5220; www.facebook.com/thehoodbar.

The Copa Palm Springs has a lineup that will attract American Idol fans for sure. At 8 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 16, and 7:30 p.m., Sunday, Jan. 17, Frenchie Davis will perform. Davis has been seen on American Idol and The Voice. Tickets are $25 to $45. At 8 p.m., Friday, Jan. 22, and Saturday, Jan. 23, former American Idol contestant Melinda Doolittle will be appearing. Tickets are $25 to $45. Copa, 244 E. Amado Road, Palm Springs; 760-866-0021; www.copapalmsprings.com.

The Date Shed has one event on the schedule that we know of: At 9 p.m., Friday, Jan. 29, the acts of Puro Oro will be performing. Puro Oro is the local coalition of artists including J. Patron, Thr3 Strykes, Slum the Resident and many others. Tickets are $10. The Date Shed, 50725 Monroe St., Indio; 760-775-6699; www.dateshedmusic.com.

Published in Previews

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.

Published in Previews