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Hundred Forms has been getting consistent local gigs lately, and I’ve been trying to come up with a proper description of the band’s sound. The best I can come up with so far: “something fascinating.” The band includes elements of punk rock, desert rock and ’90s underground alternative. For more information on Hundred Forms, visit www.facebook.com/hundredforms. Larry Ellison, the band's guitarist—not to be confused with the guy from Oracle—was kind enough to answer the Lucky 13. Here are his answers.

What was the first concert you attended?

AC/DC. I got invited to join some friends of mine our sophomore year in high school. I believe it was The Razor's Edge tour.

What was the first album you owned?

Michael Jackson's Thriller. I became obsessed with the dancing zombies in the video and had to have the song at my disposal.

What bands are you listening to right now?

Hey, that's my line! I really like what Puscifer has put out recently. Royal Blood has captured my attention. Lately, I've been on a Subhumans and Silversun Pickups kick. Them Crooked Vultures are good long drive companions.

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

Rap.

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

Tchaikovsky. That sounds so pretentious. Either way, I'm just a sucker for moody and dramatic music. Maybe I should say Kyuss (with the Reeder, Hernandez, Homme and Garcia lineup). Or Crash Worship—yes, definitely Crash Worship.

What’s your favorite musical guilty pleasure?

Oh boy, time to come out: Lady Gaga. I want to crawl inside her vocal chords and marinate myself for a lifetime.

What’s your favorite music venue?

Nowadays, almost anything in a theater type setting. I saw Puscifer at the Fox Performing Arts Center in Riverside and loved it.

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

“I know the pieces fit …” from “Schism” by Tool. That goes really well with my day job.

What band or artist changed your life? How?

Jello Biafra of Dead Kennedys. I had never heard punk rock music before that. Let me just say I haven't been right since.

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

Jim Morrison of the Doors: “Me first or you?”

What song would you like played at your funeral?

Ooh, I don't know where to start. Perhaps “The Wind” by the Zac Brown Band. Hopefully that will get the party started.

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

Neurosis, Souls at Zero.

What song should everyone listen to right now?

“Three Days” by Jane’s Addiction. (Scroll down to hear it!)

Published in The Lucky 13

It is the biggest local sports event of the year, bringing thousands of visitors and millions of dollars to the Coachella Valley—and the BNP Paribas Open will return to the Indian Wells Tennis Garden March 6-19.

The event is a Masters 1000 event—meaning it’s one of the nine most prestigious tourneys after the four Grand Slam events and the ATP World Tour Finals—on the men’s ATP Tour, and one of the esteemed premier tournaments on the women’s circuit. Those designations ensure that the top players in the world come—including Serena Williams, who returned in 2015 for the first time since a controversial exit in 2001. Total attendance could hit the 500,000 mark this year; only the four Grand Slam events have more visitors.

Last year, the event was again marred by controversy when then-tournament director Raymond Moore made what some considered to be disparaging remarks about female players during a press conference. Moore was forced to resign as tournament director, and in an unusual move, the tournament’s owner, billionaire tech guru Larry Ellison, last June selected Tommy Haas—an active German pro player who now lives in Los Angeles—as the new tournament director. Haas is currently getting ready to play in the Australian Open (taking place Jan. 16-29). This creates the intriguing and highly unusual possibility that Haas could play in a tournament that he’s directing come March.

“Tommy is definitely excited (about) joining the team, and it has been a nice transition to the other side of the game for him,” said Steve Birdwell, the chief operating officer of the BNP Paribas Open. “Tommy is focused on learning as much as he can. He will concentrate on strengthening existing relationships to create more meaningful interactions between players, sponsors and fans.”

There have been major renovations to the main stadium at the Tennis Garden, which first opened in 2000.

“We have upgraded concessions as well as all our luxury suites,” Birdwell said. “There are new restrooms as well. The walkways and concourse have been enclosed, freeing up over 100,000 square feet of space.”

Birdwell said that despite the worldwide appeal of the BNP Paribas Open, locals are important to the tourney organizers; in fact, locals receive discounts (along with seniors, students and military personnel), and Birdwell pointed out that admission is free on March 6 and 7, the first two days of the tournament.

While American men’s tennis has been in decline for a while, the BNP Paribas Open continues to grow—in part because it has become more of a festival-type event, with many ways to entertain tournament-goers both inside and outside of the main stadiums. Plans for a tennis museum are also in the works.

For more information on the BNP Paribas Open, visit www.bnpparibasopen.com.

Steve Kelly can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Follow him on Twitter @skellynj.

Published in Sports

There was no Indian Wells Tennis Garden back in 1996. That’s when I started covering what’s now known as the BNP Paribas Open. Back then, the tourney was held at the Hyatt Grand Champions.

The tournament’s champions come and go, but some of the folks responsible for what the tournament has become are here to stay. In this case, a hippie tennis star from South Africa, and a girl from Boston who taught herself tennis by hitting a ball against a backboard, were instrumental in bringing what is now the BNP Paribas Open to its current glory.

The hippie is Ray Moore, the Tennis Garden and tournament CEO, and the girl is Dee Dee Felich, assistant tournament director and the former senior VP.

In 1981, Felich, then 23, arrived in Palm Springs to meet her new boss, Charlie Pasarell. He was working on a new tennis tournament at Mission Hills. The tourney was called the Xerox Grand Champions.

“Everyone was on their hands and knees sorting out numbers and letters for the scoreboards, so I joined the group and did whatever needed to be done,” remembers Felich.

When the tourney moved to the La Quinta Resort, Pasarell and Felich had a miniature office. She’d have to go under the table to pick up a call when they were both working the telephones—and they’d back into each other every time they had a visitor!

When the tourney moved to the Hyatt Grand Champions, Felich used her lunch break to breast-feed her newborn son in a hotel room. There was no time to go home.

Once, she recalls, the desert wind was so strong that it was knocking the advertisement plaques off of the courts.

She asked: “What now?!” Pasarell told her: “Hold on!”

She’s still holding on, decades later.

“I may not be doing as much facility ops, as we have a whole team for that, and they’re the best in the business, but we still pitch in whenever we are called upon,” says Felich.

In the mid ’80s, Ray Moore became Pasarell’s partner in what would become the fifth-largest tennis tourney in the world. Over the years, the Indian Wells event climbed up right behind the Grand Slam tournaments: the Australian Open, the French Open, Wimbledon and the U.S. Open.

In 2009, Pasarell sold his dream tournament to billionaire Larry Ellison. The package included the Tennis Garden as well. The rumored price, never confirmed, was $100 million.

Today, Moore is the man in charge, reporting only to Ellison. Moore is an impressive businessman—with a surprising other side.

The first time I walked into his Tennis Garden office, some 10 years ago, there was a sign at the door that read: The Hippie. Hanging on the wall was—and still is—a John Lennon self-portrait!

“Lennon signed it,” Moore proudly grins while gesturing toward the framed drawing. “I bought four autographed pieces; the other three are up in my house.”

During his career as a tennis player, Moore was heavily into music, as well as Zen and other spiritual stuff. He was introduced to meditation by his tennis pal Torben Ulrich.

Years ago, Moore took Torben’s son Lars to a Deep Purple concert. It left a lasting impression on the kid. Years later, that kid, Lars Ulrich, co-founded a band called Metallica.

There is a framed picture of Metallica in Moore’s office, too. Lars Ulrich dedicated it to Amanda, Moore’s daughter. He wrote: “You know, your dad is indirectly responsible for all this!”

There is one thing Moore hasn’t yet accomplished, he told me: He has not yet played tennis with Larry Ellison. The flamboyant owner of BNP Paribas Open is an avid tennis player.

For time being, Moore is a happy CEO, because Ellison has poured tons of money into the tourney’s infrastructure. As a result, according to Moore, the BNP Paribas Open may soon surpass the French Open and Wimbledon in attendance.

“My goal is to get a half-million people to attend our tournament during its two weeks in March,” Moore says.

If the Indian Wells tennis tournament were to eventually surpass all four Grand Slams in size and attendance, what would happen then? Only time will tell.

The BNP Paribas Open takes place Monday, March 3, through Sunday, March 16. For more information, visit www.bnpparibasopen.com.

Published in Features