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Tue01162018

Last updateWed, 27 Sep 2017 1pm

It’s that wonderful and crazy time of the year again: The holiday season is upon us, and you’re probably looking to celebrate with some fun events. With that in mind, here’s your final Blueskye Report for 2017.

The McCallum Theatre always brings great holiday cheer in December. At 3 and 8 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 2, the mostly instrumental prog-rock-meets-pop-meets-synth-meets-classical project known as Mannheim Steamroller will be returning with its holiday show. Mannheim Steamroller has selling out venues doing this for 30 years, so don’t miss it if you’ve never seen it before. Tickets are $47 to $87. At 7 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 3, don’t miss All Is Calm: The Christmas Truce of 1914. This is one of the best-known true holiday tales in history, about the Christmas when Allied and German soldiers decided to call for a temporary truce during World War I. Tickets are $27 to $67. At 8 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 9, comedian Tom Dreesen will be performing his show An Evening of Laughter and Memories of Sinatra. As Frank Sinatra’s opening act for 14 years, Dreesen has stories that will be great to hear. Tickets are $27 to $67. McCallum Theatre, 73000 Fred Waring Drive, Palm Desert; 760-340-2787; www.mccallumtheatre.com.

Fantasy Springs Resort Casino is definitely in the holiday spirit. At 8 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 2, Alaskan folk-singer Jewel will be performing as part of her Handmade Holiday Tour. She’s put out two albums’ worth of Christmas music that have been well-received. Tickets are $39 to $69. At 8 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 9, jazz-legend Tony Bennett will return to Fantasy Springs. What can be said about Tony Bennett that hasn’t been said already? This show will most likely come with Christmas tunes as well! Tickets are $49 to $99. If you want a little more swing in your Christmas step, you’re covered: At 8 p.m., Friday, Dec. 22, the Brian Setzer Orchestra will be performing. This is the 14th year that Brian Setzer has set out on his famous Christmas tour. I caught his Christmas show a couple of years ago, and I can tell you that it’s a lot of fun, featuring Christmas music as well as the Brian Setzer classics that you love. Tickets are $39 to $69. Fantasy Springs Resort Casino, 84245 Indio Springs Parkway, Indio; 760-342-5000; www.fantasyspringsresort.com.

Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa has a solid schedule during the month. At 9 p.m., Friday, Dec. 1, Australian comedian Jim Jefferies (upper right) will take the stage. Expect the outspoken Jefferies’ career to continue to rise while Trump is president; his Comedy Central talk show was recently renewed for a second season. Tickets are $45 to $65. At 5 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 3, Dance to the Holidays will take place, featuring Dancing With the Stars Mirrorball champions Tony Dovolani and Karina Smirnoff. The event will also include finalists from American Idol and So You Think You Can Dance. This is one big mess of holiday awesomeness! Tickets are $45 to $75. If you’re looking for a festive way to bring in 2018, look no further, because at 10:30 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 31, KC and the Sunshine Band will be performing. With disco hits you know and love such as “Get Down Tonight” and “That’s The Way (I Like It),” you’re guaranteed a great time. Tickets are $75 to $95. The Show at Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa, 32250 Bob Hope Drive, Rancho Mirage; 888-999-1995; www.hotwatercasino.com.

Spotlight 29 has some fine shows on the schedule. At 8 p.m., Friday, Dec. 1,’70s rock band Ambrosia will be performing. The group has been nominated for five Grammy awards and is responsible for hit songs “How Much I Feel” and “Biggest Part of Me.” Tickets are $20. At 8 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 16, country music superstar Clint Black will take the stage. He’s had more than 30 country-music hits—ְand performs some Christmas music as well, so expect to hear some of that country Christmas twang. Tickets are $35 to $55. Do you like to party? Of course you do, so you won’t want to miss the New Year’s Eve celebration at 8 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 31 when Gap X—The Band performs. The group includes six original members of the Gap Band, famous for songs such as “You Dropped a Bomb on Me” and “Outstanding.” Tickets are $35 to $55. Spotlight 29 Casino, 46200 Harrison Place, Coachella; 760-775-5566; www.spotlight29.com.

Morongo Casino Resort Spa has a couple of holiday offerings for December that aren’t yet sold out (at least as of our press deadline). At 6 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 9, enjoy a holiday “sleigh ride toy run” with ’80s metal bands Slaughter and Great White. Tickets are $17.50 to $20. At midnight, Sunday, Dec. 10, the “sleigh ride toy run” continues with Vixen and Autograph, both from the ’80s metal world. Vixen is an all-female band that proved they could play metal just as good as men. You might remember Autograph for the song “Turn Up the Radio,” which was featured on the Hot Tub Time Machine soundtrack. Tickets are $17.50 to $20. Morongo Casino Resort Spa, 49500 Seminole Drive, Cabazon; 800-252-4499; www.morongocasinoresort.com.

Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace has some good events to consider. At 9 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 9, singer-songwriter Terry Reid will be performing. When I interviewed Terry a couple of years ago, he told me a variety of hilarious stories, including one about the time when Chuck Berry stole his amplifier while he was on tour with the Rolling Stones. Yes, Terry is a legend—and tickets are just $15. At 9:30 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 16, stoner-rock band Fu Manchu will take the stage. If you’re a fan of desert rock and love fuzzy guitars, sweet riffs and that funny stuff kids are smoking, you’ll love Fu Manchu. Advice: Don’t forget your ear plugs. Tickets are $15 to $18. At 8:30 p.m., Friday, Dec. 22, the Supersuckers (below) will be returning to Pappy and Harriet’s. Eddie Spaghetti seems to have won his battle with cancer, so the band is still kicking ass and taking names. Tickets are $25. Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace, 53688 Pioneertown Road, Pioneertown; 760-365-5956; www.pappyandharriets.com.

The Purple Room Palm Springs will have a fun month full of holiday events. At 7 p.m., every Sunday in December, Michael Holmes will be doing his holiday themed Judy Show. Tickets are $25 to $30. At 8 p.m., Friday, Dec. 1, enjoy a holiday show by Kate Campbell and the Martini Kings. I chatted with Martini Kings frontman Anthony Marsico last year on the patio at the Paul McCartney show at Pappy and Harriet’s, and enjoyed his stories about playing with Bob Dylan. Tickets are $25 to $30. At 8 p.m., Friday, Dec. 22, get out your blue suede shoes when Scot Bruce performs his Elvis-themed Blue Suede Christmas! show. Tickets are $25 to $30. Michael Holmes’ Purple Room, 1900 E. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs; 760-322-4422; www.purpleroompalmsprings.com.

The Copa Nightclub has some fun shows slated for the month. At 8 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 2, and 7:30 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 3, Steve Grand will take the stage. He’s the young gay singer who rocketed to stardom when his song “All-American Boy” went viral on YouTube. Tickets are $35 to $55. At 8 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 9, Ty Herndon will perform. The country star enjoyed big success with a couple of gold records in the 1990s, and came out of the closet in 2014. Tickets are $25 to $35. At 8 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 23, Frenchie Davis will return to the Coachella Valley. Fun fact: The alumnus of both American Idol and The Voice has had several successful singles, but has not yet released a full album. Tickets are $25 to $45. Copa, 244 E. Amado Road, Palm Springs; 760-866-0021; www.copapalmsprings.com.

Published in Previews

Eddie Spaghetti of rock-country band the Supersuckers is used to the middle finger—in fact, he encourages his audiences to flip him off and then photographs the occurrence during his live shows.

But over the last year, it’s the Supersuckers frontman who has been flipping the bird—to cancer, that is.

Spaghetti returned to stages last year after his battle with Stage 3 oropharyngeal cancer—right after the disease was declared to be in remission. He’ll be back at Pappy and Harriet’s for a performance on Friday, Aug. 12.

During a recent phone interview while touring in Europe, Spaghetti said he’s almost back to feeling normal.

“I feel so much better than I did when I was at the darkest part of it, for sure,” Spaghetti said. “I always felt fine before I had the cancer. I felt that fine was kind of the way I always thought of myself as feeling.

“It’s good to be feeling close to that again,” he added with a laugh.

As friends, family and fans raised more than $68,000 via YouCaring.com, Spaghetti went through a radical tonsillectomy and had all of the lymph nodes on the left side of his neck removed.

“It was hard, a lot harder than I thought it was going to be,” he said. “The pain and wanting to sleep all the time—I didn’t feel like doing much of anything—was very difficult for me, because I’ve always been a regularly active dude.”

He was afraid that his vocals might not sound the same after the surgery and treatment, but he’s been kicking ass ever since returning to the stage.

“It was super-rewarding, and I was super-grateful that I had a job I wanted to get back to,” he said. “It made me feel really good about my life’s work, which is something I really hadn’t felt in a while. It was one bad thing after another for this band for so long. To feel grateful about it after all this time—that’s one of the things I’m thankful for after getting cancer. It’s not like I had this religious epiphany or anything like that. My belief system is still largely the same, and all that sort of basic DNA hasn’t started to unravel yet—but, yeah, I definitely feel grateful for the things I do now.”

The last couple of Supersuckers records—Get the Hell in 2014, and Holdin’ the Bag in 2015—have contained a lot more of the Supersuckers’ country music side. While the Supersuckers have always included a country sound and were once labeled as “cowpunk,” Get the Hell is genuinely a country album.

“We just wanted to make a solid country record. We don’t hear a lot of good country that turns us on anymore,” Spaghetti said. “We wanted to make something that we wanted to hear with songs we liked that definitely had the spirit of the band, but were laying down the country angle of things. I feel like there’s so much crappy country music out there that to make a good country record is an achievement these days.”

The Supersuckers are definitely more comfortable doing country music today than the band was in its earlier days; the band was formed in 1988.

“The first time we really dove into it with Must’ve Been High (in 1997), we thought we were on to something special,” Spaghetti said. “It turns out we were, but when the record came out, everybody hated it, and it was totally, roundly booed. Revisionist history has changed that perspective: Now it’s this great influential success story, but at the time, it was a bad experience, and it was horrible to go through that.”

Their band’s four albums, concluding with Must’ve Been High, were released on Seattle-based alternative label Sub Pop Records, famous for bands such as Nirvana, Mudhoney, Beach House, Low and others.

“It was amazing. It was a thrill of a young kid’s lifetime to be involved in that scene,” Spaghetti said. “It happened for us when we were so young. As soon as we moved to Seattle, we attracted the interest of Sub Pop, which was amazing. We went to Japan on their dime, and all the stuff we got to do because we were on Sub Pop was great. I feel we owe our career and legitimacy to the label being such a legitimate force in music, and I appreciate that.

“That’s something new for me as well (post-cancer)—appreciating that whole period. There were some negative things toward the end involving over-expectations and spending too much on the band, and the disappointment that lingers after that happens.”

What’s in the future? A new record, Spaghetti said.

“I’m going to start polishing the turds for that sucker here soon, and I think we’re going to get in the studio next year at some point and forge on,” he said.

Will there be a new Eddie Spaghetti solo record? “Not currently, but I’m sure I will at some point, when we get some down time. I’ll fill (the time)—that’s what I do!”

After Spaghetti plays a song live, he’s been known for him to end by singing, “Cha cha cha.”

“I really don’t know how that started, but it started as a way to get the crowd to react after every song when it was over,” he said. “It’s sort of become a thing, and it’s steamrolled out of control, and I think we need to bring it in a bit. It’s getting obnoxious, but it is a fun thing to motivate the crowd to cheer after the song. But it works, right?”

On the bill at Pappy’s with the Supersuckers will be local band Throw Rag and Los Angeles-based group The Hangmen.

“Dude, I’m so stoked! I couldn’t be more excited for our drummer (Christopher “Chango” Von Streicher), who used to play for Throw Rag,” Spaghetti said. “He’s going to play with them again, and I’m beyond excited that it’s actually going to happen. The Hangmen are on the bill as well, who are another legendary and influential band in my life, so it’s going to be a good time.”

The Supersuckers will perform with Throw Rag and The Hangmen at 8 p.m., Friday, Aug. 12, at Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace, 53688 Pioneertown Road, in Pioneertown. Tickets are $25. For tickets or more information, call 760-365-5956, or visit www.pappyandharriets.com.

Published in Previews

On what promises to be a night of acoustic mayhem, Supersuckers frontman Eddie Spaghetti and former Custom Made Scare frontman Charlie Overbey will play at The Hood Bar and Pizza on Thursday, Dec. 5

The Supersuckers formed in 1988 and have appeared on many indie-band “best of” lists. The band’s combination of rock and country has led many to list them in the “cowpunk” subgenre. The Supersuckers have toured with bands such as Pearl Jam, Motorhead, Reverend Horton Heat and many others.

Eddie Spaghetti, the frontman of the Supersuckers, is also a solo artist. He’s touring behind his latest album, The Value of Nothing. For Spaghetti, this is his first solo album to offer originals instead of covers.

“(The album) was kind of more my views on things, I guess,” Spaghetti said. “… I just worked hard at making up some good songs, and didn’t think about what should be a solo song or a Supersuckers song. I think there are a couple of songs that could have been Supersuckers songs pretty easily, but that’s not always the case.”

Spaghetti said he has one goal. whether he is performing with the Supersuckers or at a solo show.

“I just want people to hear the songs and come out to the show. The music has kind of become the advertisement for the live show,” he said. “It’s the one thing left that you can’t download, and you can’t experience a live show any other way besides going out to see it. It’s the one thing we, as artists, have left that’s still enjoyable.”

The Supersuckers were involved in the campaign to free the West Memphis Three, three teenagers who were apparently wrongfully convicted of the murder of three young boys in West Memphis, Ark. The case received national attention after the documentary Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills aired in 1996 on HBO. The band auctioned off items to support the legal defense, and Spaghetti produced a compilation album to raise awareness.

They were released on Aug. 19, 2011, after reaching a deal with prosecutors, following 18 years in prison.

“I was elated. I was in Germany when I heard, and I just couldn’t believe it,” Spaghetti said. “It was such a phenomenal experience; to think you had anything to do with it at all is super-gratifying. To see them getting out of prison was great.”

When asked what attendees can expect from his set, he replied that his show will be entirely acoustic.

“You’ll laugh; you’ll cry; you’ll become a part of it,” he said. “I think what differentiates an Eddie show (from) a Supersuckers show is how the audience gets to participate in an Eddie Spaghetti show. They’ll shout out a song they think I might know; if I even kind of know it, I’ll give it a shot. It’s a good chance for me to flex my entertainer muscle and not try to be some boring singer-songwriter guy up there.”

For Charlie Overbey—who has opened shows for both the Supersuckers and Eddie Spaghetti before—the art of songwriting runs deep. You can hear Springsteen, Cash, Haggard and other influences at play in his from-the-heart songs.

He released an album in 2011 with his former band the Valentine Killers, and he just finished recording another album.

“I come from the school of ‘a good song is a good song,’” he said. “If it makes you feel something, it’s good. As long as it’s coming from the soul, and it’s real, people are going to feel that. If it makes you feel sad and remember something you don’t want to necessarily remember … it’s good to remember that kind of stuff—to remember the good times.”

In recent years, Overbey has gone through the breakup of the Valentine Killers, a divorce, the death of his father and the death of several friends via suicide. It’s no surprise, then, that he wrote some dark stuff—but he said he didn’t want that to taint his new album.

“I thought, ‘I don’t want to make this dark, depressing record right now,’” he said. “I rehashed the whole thing and busted out a bunch of tunes and wrote some new stuff that’s upbeat, and it’s positive.”

In an interesting twist, Overbey recently performed a live Neil Diamond tribute show after friends—who know about his love of early Neil Diamond songs—suggested he do so. He’s also hosted a jam session at the Slidebar in Fullerton that featured regular guests such as Steve Soto of Adolescents, Zander Schloss of Sean and Zander, and Chris Shiflett of the Foo Fighters.

“Usually, I pretty much stuck to playing my own material. I did know some cover tunes, but I’m not the greatest guitar-player in the world. (I’m) kind of like Bob Dylan: not the greatest songwriter in the world, but wrote some great songs,” he said. If someone wanted to play something simple, I could pretty much do that. Most of the guys who came in and played it were great musicians and would follow what I would do and play anything.”

Overbey said he enjoys performing with Spaghetti.

“Eddie is a standup, solid dude. We have a good time together and have a lot of laughs,” Overbey said. “I have a lot of respect for him as a writer and an artist. He’s just an all-around strong talent. I always feel blessed to share a stage with Eddie.”

Eddie Spaghetti performs with Charlie Overbey, as well as The Hellions, at 10 p.m., Thursday, Dec. 5, at the Hood Bar and Pizza, 74360 Highway 111 in Palm Desert. Admission is free. For more information, call 760-636-5220, or find the event’s page on Facebook. Below: Charlie Overbey.

Published in Previews