CVIndependent

Sun08182019

Last updateTue, 18 Sep 2018 1pm

Brian Blueskye

It’s September, so that means it’s time for the Campout at Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace.

The ninth annual Campout will be on Thursday through Saturday, Sept. 12-14, and will feature good barbecue, good music and good times.

The history of the Campout begins with Camper Van Beethoven. The members of the band started playing together in Redlands, Calif., in the early 80s, under the name Camper Van Beethoven and the Border Patrol.

“There were a lot of great musicians who came out of Redlands, but there just weren’t a lot of places for us to play,” lead singer David Lowery said during a recent phone interview. “We never really played in Redlands. We played in Los Angeles and sometimes in Riverside. Backyard parties in Riverside were actually all you could do: People would have a big backyard party, have a band over, and invite the neighbors over. We played at some sort of biker party in Muscoy in San Bernardino County, and things like that.” 

In 1985, the band shortened their name to just Camper Van Beethoven, with the original lineup of David Lowery (vocals), Chris Molla (guitar), Jonathan Segel (violin, keyboards, and guitars), Victor Krummenacher (bass) and Anthony Guess (drums). Chris Pedersen eventually replaced Guess.

The band released their debut album Telephone Free Landside Victory the same year, which featured the hit single “Take the Skinheads Bowling,” along with a folk-style cover of Black Flag’s “Wasted.” The band’s mix of folk with ska, pop and several different types of world music has gained them a diverse audience, along with the acclaim of music critics.

Lowery said the eclectic style is both a blessing and a curse.

“It makes it easier that we don’t really have a specific sound, and it’s actually kind of helpful,” he said. “In another way, it’s kind of hard, because it’s not necessarily easy to make a wild, eclectic collection of songs. When we make an album, we’ll record a lot of songs, and we’ll pull out a couple of songs that don’t work with the rest of the batch. Ultimately, I think it makes it a little easier for us.”

In 1990, Camper Van Beethoven went on hiatus, and Lowery went on to form Cracker with his childhood friend Johnny Hickman. Cracker released their debut self-titled record in 1992, which featured the single “Teen Angst (What the World Needs Now).”

“(Camper Van Beethoven) had the usual creative differences,” Lowery explained. “Victor Krummenacher, Greg Lisher and Chris Pedersen went off to do Monks of Doom, and I started doing Cracker. We ended up basically taking about a decade break, and we didn’t make an album for another three years after we got back together. We just kind of went our separate ways for a while, and then eventually came back together.”

Lowery said the band now has a different approach.

“To this day, there’s something about the pace of the band that makes us work in a part-time fashion,” Lowery said. “We’ll get together and write some songs; we’ll go off and do other stuff; then we’ll get together and write more songs, and then put out an album. It’s not like we go out and do a big world tour. We play a few shows here and there; we don’t burn ourselves out. It’s generally been a good thing for the band. It’s not good to treat a band like a full-time job.”

What would go on to become the Campout was not intended to be an annual event. David Lowery and Camper Van Beethoven have ties to the Pioneertown area and the high desert. In fact, Cracker recorded an album in one of the buildings located on the Western movie set in Pioneertown.

“The original intention behind it was that (it was during) my birthday, and a few people who work for us have birthdays around that weekend. We were going to have a combination of a show and birthday party in Pioneertown,” Lowery said. “We have a long history with Pioneertown. We’d rehearse there; we went there to hang out and write songs. It started out in 2005 as this idea that it’d be a birthday party for all of us, but there was also the strategic reason that there was never really a great venue for Cracker and Camper Van Beethoven to play in, in L.A., and we always got shoved into venues we didn’t like. We thought we’d play in what we considered our ‘home turf’ in Southern California and basically have people come to us.

“It just started out by accident and then turned out to be a regular festival event. We didn’t really expect it to become a tradition, but it did.”

While Pappy and Harriet’s is a small venue, Lowery said it’s a great place for this type of event.

“I think it’s a very beautiful spot. It’s the high desert, so it tends not to be as hot as it would be if we played down in the Coachella Valley,” said Lowery. “I don’t really want to play down there in September. With the high desert—the climate, the terrain—the place has a cool vibe. I hope it continues, because it’s a lot of fun.”

Lowery explained what sets the Campout apart from other festivals.

“It’s based on friends and family. It’s either people who have played with us, people who are friends of us, and it’s the side bands that have come out of Camper Van Beethoven,” said Lowery.

The lineup for the three-day event includes some great names, including Gram Rabbit; Foo Fighters guitarist Chris Shiflett and his band, the Dead Peasants; Jackshit, featuring members of Elvis Costello’s backing band; and, of course, Camper Van Beethoven, Cracker, and the Victor Krummenacher Band.

The ninth annual Cracker/Camper Van Beethoven Campout takes place Thursday through Saturday, Sept. 12-14, at Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace, 53688 Pioneertown Road, in Pioneertown. Tickets are $27 for one-day passes, or $68 for a three-day pass. For tickets and more information, visit www.crackersoul.com/fr_home.cfm.

On June 4, the world lost Joey Covington, a former Jefferson Airplane drummer and a prominent valley resident.

On Saturday, Aug. 31, Ross Management and Productions, in conjunction with Alvin Taylor Music, will be throwing a benefit concert in Covington’s name at The Hood.

Originally from Johnstown, Pa., Covington started playing drums at the age of 10 and was entirely self-taught. In his teens, he played professionally in Johnstown, which eventually led to gigs with a number of acts that opened shows for the Rolling Stones, the Dave Clark Five, and others.

In the late 1960s, he joined Jefferson Airplane, along with the Jefferson Airplane spinoff, Hot Tuna. He was also a member of Jefferson Starship.

On June 4, Covington lost control of his Honda Civic and crashed into a wall near Belardo Road and Palm Canyon Drive in Palm Springs. The accident took his life. 

David Ross, of Ross Management and Productions, has fond memories of Covington.

“He was funny, kind and always wanted to be a part of anything going on,” said Ross via email. “He tried to help me with a benefit concert not long before he died. He spent a lot of time helping me, along with his wife, Lauren Taines. Ironically, (the band for the benefit was) going to be called the Joey Covington All-Star Band. Some of the members of this show were going to be in that one.”

After Covington’s death, Ross felt that doing a benefit in his name would be a proper sendoff, and he found ample help in putting the show together.

“He was a well-known and accomplished musician, as well as a nice guy,” Ross said. “It was a must-do for me and those who were close to him; we decided he needed a proper sendoff. I began the hard tedious task of getting a venue, tickets and advertising. It started with the great help of Brian Michaelz at Michaelz Media. He got us the live streaming, created the website, promo videos, etc.”

A portion of the show’s proceeds will go to Lauren Taines to cover funeral expenses; some will go to former Jefferson Starship guitarist Slick Aguilar to assist with the expenses of a liver transplant; and 23 percent will go to Well in the Desert, an organization that provides food to the needy.

Ross said Well in the Desert was one of the organizations that he and Covington had plans to assist.

“I’ve personally done a lot of work with the Well in the Desert,” Ross said. “A lot of hungry and poor people out in this area need help; Joey was helping me with an event for them, so I knew he would have agreed to help them.”

The lineup for the show features well-known musicians from various bands and other figures, all of whom were friends of Covington. Peter Albin and Sam Andrew of Big Brother and the Holding Company will be appearing, as will Lynn Sorensen from Bad Company, and Jimi Hendrix’ cousin, Riki Hendrix—just to name a few.

“(Lauren Taines) handed me a slew of Joey’s friends and their phone numbers, and we reached out to those musicians,” Ross said. “We had a ton of musicians ask to be a part of it. They’re all playing for Joey at no cost. They just want to say so long to a great guy and awesome performer.”

The Joey Covington Tribute Concert takes place at 8 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 31, at The Hood Bar and Pizza, 74360 Highway 111, in Palm Desert. Tickets are $20; only 300 will be sold, and they’re available via the concert website, at The Musicians Outlet in Palm Desert, and at The Hood. The concert will also be streamed via the website for $6. For more information, visit www.covingtontribute.michaelzmedia.com.

Purity Ring is about to wrap up a remarkable year of touring behind their debut album, Shrines—and they’re making a stop at Pappy and Harriet’s in Pioneertown on Friday, Aug. 30.

The Canadian electronic music duo, consisting of Corin Roddick (samples and instrumentals) and Megan James (vocals), has accumulated a lot of success in a short span of time. The duo’s sound echoes that of Goldfrapp, The xx, and Phantogram.

Roddick and James came together in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, thanks to mutual friends within the city’s music scene. When Roddick saw James perform, he was impressed by her creativity; the two of them eventually became friends.

Roddick was touring with the band Gobble Gobble (now known as Born Gold) as a drummer when he began studying electronic music production, not too long before Purity Ring came together in 2010.

“I would say I’m still very much learning,” said Roddick during a recent phone interview. “Making electronic music is still an ongoing journey, and I feel like I’m still scratching the surface. It took me maybe a year to really focus on it (and) to feel comfortable to the point of actually releasing something.”

James had several books of songs that she’d written, but she never had any intention of performing them or putting them to music; meanwhile, Roddick was determined to develop himself in electronic music. The two wound up collaborating, and released their first song, “Ungirthed,” in January 2011. From there, things moved quickly, and in July 2012, 4AD records released their debut album, Shrines.

“We worked on that record for a year and a half. It was very different,” Roddick remembered. “The first couple of tracks I made when I was on tour with Gobble Gobble. I was just working on headphones in a minivan. … The last two tracks we made in Montreal. We didn’t have a consistent environment. We were just kind of all over the place. We were trying to make things sound the best we could with what we had.”

Shrines was well-received by the critics, earning praises and high ratings from Pitchfork.com, NME and ConsequenceofSound.net. The album was No. 24 on Pitchfork’s “50 Albums of 2012” list and was nominated for a Canadian Polaris Music Prize.

Roddick said the critical praise and success of the album were pleasant surprises.

“We just wanted to make an album we wanted to make for ourselves—and then some other people began to take notice of it,” he said. “That was unexpected and a pleasant surprise for us. When it got picked up by other places on the Internet and the media, it was great. We’re definitely happy with how things have turned out.”

Since the release of Shrines, Roddick has been exploring his love of Southern based hip-hop as well. Purity Ring released a free download of a cover of Soulja Boy’s “Grammy” back in February that was well-received; in fact, excited fans crashed the website’s servers. They also collaborated with Danny Brown on “Belispeak II.”

Working with Danny Brown was a great experience for Purity Ring, Roddick said.

“He works really fast, which is amazing,” Roddick said about Brown. “We worked with him a couple of times, and we have a track coming out on his new record. I think his style, his flow and the sound of his voice works really well with Megan’s voice and my production.”

Purity Ring’s live performances have been noted for a large contraption, resembling a tree, which both Roddick and James utilize.

“There are about eight lanterns that are touch-sensitive,” Roddick explained. “They sort of fan out like a tree around me, and I play them with mallets, kind of like you would a percussive melodic instrument or something like that. All of the synth lines and melodies from the songs I perform by hitting these different lanterns. They also light up in a pattern or color or pulse when they’re struck.” 

While Purity Ring has been classified as electronic dance music, Roddick said he doesn’t really see any relation between Purity Ring and the term.

“I think EDM is one of the most vague labels, because it just implies electronic dance music, which really should be a large bubble,” Roddick said. “I guess the term has kind of come to focus on certain types of music made over the last two years. I never really felt we fit into that bubble. We kind of have some crossover here and there. When we make music, we take a very wide influence from a lot of different places. I wouldn’t say we’re an EDM group.”

As for what’s next for Purity Ring, Roddick said they are getting ready to begin gathering ideas for their next album.

“We’re wrapping up shows for the summer and the fall,” Roddick said. “We’ve played a lot of shows, and we only have about eight left. Once that’s done, we’re just going to be focusing on creating the next album.

“We’ll probably go into hiding, and you probably won’t hear anything from us for a while,” he added, laughing. “Hopefully, we’ll re-emerge next year with a new creation.”

Purity Ring performs at 7 p.m., Friday, Aug. 30, at Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace, 53688 Pioneertown Road, in Pioneertown. Tickets are $16. For tickets or more information, call 760-365-5956, or visit pappyandharriets.com.

Many of the crooners and pop singers who started their careers in the 1950s were taken by surprise when rock ’n’ roll took the world by storm—and therefore put a damper on their careers.

However, a handful of singers managed to stay successful—and one of the most successful has been Bobby Vinton, now 78. The “Blue Velvet” crooner is performing at Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa on Saturday, Sept. 7.

Bobby Vinton was born into a musical family in Canonsburg, Penn; his father, Stanley Vinton Sr., was a popular local bandleader. While Vinton was growing up, he was surrounded by music, and his parents encouraged his interest in music from an early age—although music was not his only interest.

“As a kid growing up, big-band music was all I knew,” Vinton said during a recent phone interview. “My mother, of course, was a big influence on me. In fact, when I was about 10 or 11 years old, she wanted me to practice the clarinet. Like most young boys at that age, you want to play ball and play sports. She said, ‘Fine, you can do all that, but if you want an allowance, you have to practice your clarinet. Otherwise, you don’t get an allowance.’

“So I was bribed into show business,” he said, laughing.

Vinton started his first band at the age of 16 and enjoyed some local success. In fact, music earnings allowed him to pay his way through Duquesne University, where he earned a degree in musical composition. He then served two years in the U.S. Army.

In 1960, he signed with Epic Records; however, he struggled to find success, and was nearly dropped from the label. However, he was saved, in part, thanks to a creative idea he had when it came time to promote his 1962 single, “Roses Are Red (My Love)”: Vinton bought 1,000 copies of his own single and had the idea to deliver a dozen roses—with a copy of the song, of course—to local DJs in Pittsburgh.

“No one wanted to play ‘Roses Are Red,’ and we were having a tough time promoting it,” Vinton said. “… The first radio station I pulled up to, I stood outside the eyeglass window where the DJ was, and I’m standing there with my flowers in my hand, telling the DJ I wanted to give him roses. I think he thought I was in love with him. I thought I better try another approach, and I saw a girl walking up the street with the greatest legs, and I asked her, ‘Hey, would you do me a favor? Walk in and hand these roses to that DJ.’ So she did, and she had no trouble getting in, and he played it. It seemed to work, and we did it all over in Pittsburgh. Next thing I knew, it was a hit record across the country.”

After the success of “Roses Are Red (My Love),” Vinton had a few more lesser hits before he released “Blue on Blue” in 1963, followed by a cover of “Blue Velvet”—the hit that would define his career.

“What started ‘Blue Velvet’ was my hit song ‘Blue on Blue,’” he explained. “I was going to make an album called Blue on Blue, with all blues songs,” Vinton said. “I decided to really make it different. I went to Nashville, and I used all country musicians. … They don’t read the music, and they don’t have to—because they play with a feel. I had five minutes left on the album, and I decided I would do ‘Blue Velvet.’”

Meanwhile, rock ’n’ roll was starting to become even more popular, thanks to Beatlemania and the Rolling Stones. When the Beatles arrived in America for the first time in 1964, Vinton took notice of rock’s growing popularity—and knew what it meant for his career.

“My manager at the time was Allen Klein, and when the Beatles and the Rolling Stones came here, they wanted to use him, because he was very smart, and had the right moves in the business,” Vinton said. “I remember one time, Mick Jagger asked me, ‘How do you feel about us guys coming here and taking all the play away from you?’ And I said, ‘Well, in a way, you have eliminated my competition—because songs like ‘Blue Velvet’ sold to the adults as well to the teenagers. So if I sold 2 million records, I sold 1 million to the teenagers, and 1 million to the adults.’ The Beatles came along, and I lost the teenagers, but I still had the adults. I was still able to sell 1 million to the adults.’

“The times were changing, and I had no idea at the time that the Rolling Stones would become as big as they are today.”

Despite the popularity of rock ’n’ roll, Vinton still enjoyed success, in part because he decided to separate himself from the rock acts by focusing on live shows.

“What I did over the years was just develop myself as a live entertainer,” Vinton said. “I have a show that is very versatile, and I figured the record business isn’t what it once was for me, so I focused on being a live entertainer that can put on this show that can compete with anybody onstage. That’s where I put all my efforts and energies.”

Eventually, Vinton stopped recording new material. His last album, As Time Goes By, a collaboration with the late George Burns, was released in 1992; he said has no plans to enter a recording studio again.

“I don’t want to record again, because the music scene is so different,” Vinton said. “I don’t want to frustrate myself. There was a time when I was No. 1 on the charts. You don’t want to start changing what is. I don’t think if I had the greatest song in the world that a pop station playing Lady Gaga would play me or any artist from my generation. You have to accept the time for what it is.”

While Vinton has retired from recording, he still has passion for live performances.

“It’s just something I feel I do very well,” he said. “I’ve played casinos all across the country, and this past weekend, a girl came up to me after the show who was with her mother, and she said, ‘I really didn’t want to come see you. I really enjoyed the show, and … you brought out the teenager in my mother.’ So these things happen—and believe me, there’s nothing else I can do or want to do in my life.”

Bobby Vinton will perform at 8 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 7, at The Show at Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa, 32250 Bob Hope Drive in Rancho Mirage. Tickets are $40 to $60. For tickets or more information, call 888-999-1995, or visit www.hotwatercasino.com.

It’s unfortunate that Ted Nugent is now known more for his political opinions and outrageous statements than his music.

After all, he’s an icon of rock ’n’ roll whose onstage presence is just as powerful as his political presence—and he’s bringing his music to the Aqua Caliente Casino Resort Spa on Friday, Aug. 30.

Nugent wasn’t made available for a phone interview, but he was willing to answer some questions for the Coachella Valley Independent via e-mail.

He’s known as the Motor City Madman, an appropriate moniker given his history as a recording artist and stage performer. His career began in earnest in 1964 as a member of the Amboy Dukes. In 1968, the band—which was undeniably ahead of its time—released Journey to the Center of the Mind, a hard-rock classic which stood out in the era of psychedelic rock.

Nugent is known for his opposition to drugs and alcohol, and he has acknowledged in previous interviews that he didn’t realize the title track of that album was a reference to the psychedelic drug experience. However, he did acknowledge the album’s place in rock history.

“I was certainly very fortunate to be surrounded by dedicated virtuosos far ahead of their time and much better musicians than myself,” Nugent wrote about the Amboy Dukes. “The superior rhythm section of Dave Palmer on drums and Greg Arama on bass guitar was a very powerful musical force to reckon with. Though I came up with some pretty inventive guitar maneuvers and songwriting, the full credit should go to my fellow bandmates for thinking way outside the box at the time.”

The Amboy Dukes came to an end in 1975, and Nugent headed out on his own. He quickly earned a reputation as a high-energy guitar virtuoso who broke out with the songs “Stranglehold” and “Hey Baby.” His songs were beloved within Los Angeles skateboarding and surfing circles, and Nugent became renowned for his seemingly ceaseless energy in his shows.

Nugent credited the venison he was eating (thanks to hunting, one of his big hobbies) as well as other factors for his energy.

“My unbridled love of the music, combined with my athletic, clean and sober mind, body, spirit and soul, gave me Herculean energy and spirit and indefatigable drive to pursue all musical roads less traveled,” Nugent wrote.

Nugent’s success carried on through the late 1970s and most of the ‘80s. In 1989, he surfaced as a member of the supergroup Damn Yankees, with Jack Blades (Night Ranger), Tommy Shaw (Styx) and Michael Cartellone. In 1990, the group released a self-titled debut with the smash-hit “High Enough,” which landed them in the Top 10; the album went double-platinum album. The Damn Yankees also released Don’t Tread, in 1992, which went gold. The group reunited for performances in 1999 and the 2010 NAMM Show in Anaheim; Blades and Shaw also contributed to Nugent’s most recent studio album, Love Grenade, which was released in 2007.

Nugent, who recently announced he'd be releasing a new live album in October, said the Damn Yankees hope another release is in their near future.

“Logistics, timing and scheduling coordinated availabilities is a Herculean task, but with any luck, we should hit the studio in early 2014 for a summer release of a killer CD,” said Nugent. “I know I speak for Jack Blades, Tommy Shaw and Michael Cartellone when I praise the killer music we made as Damn Yankees, and how all four of us would absolutely love to make music again and hit the road together. We all hope it happens someday. One never knows.”

Nugent’s love of hunting and firearms has earned him the scorn of animal-rights activists; in fact, Nugent said he’s received death threats. Still, Nugent lives for hunting, and said that being in nature is his preferred method of relaxation.

“Of all the incredible blessings in my life, the fact that I figured out the physics of spirituality balance and healing powers of nature long ago are the most powerful determination factors for my quality of life,” said Nugent. “I literally get giddy and hyperventilate in anticipation of every tour, every concert, every song, every night, and every hunt and every day. The soul- and ear-cleansing silence of my annual eight-month hunting season prepares me better than anything available to mankind to throttle my style of skull-dusting dance music. God loves me more than he loves others, obviously, and I thank him hourly.”

As for his controversial political statements, don’t expect the right-wing conservative to apologize anytime soon—no matter how outlandish those statements become.

Just a few lowlights: During a radio interview in 1992, he said, “Who needs to club a seal when you can club Heidi?" in reference to the Fund for Animals’ Heidi Prescott. In 2007, during a live performance, he said “(Barack) Obama’s a piece of shit, and I told him to suck on my machine gun.” Nugent earned a visit from the Secret Service after saying at the 2012 NRA Convention: "If Barack Obama becomes the president in November again, I will either be dead or in jail by this time next year.” And most recently, he addressed racial profiling and the George Zimmerman acquittal by saying: “I think when you use the word ‘profile,’ if a Dalmatian has been biting the children in the neighborhood, I think we’re going to look for a black and white dog. At some point, you’ve got to be afraid of black and white dogs if the Dalmatian’s doing the biting.” This came days before he joked about hunting Democrats on Mike Huckabee's radio show.

He acknowledged that his remarks have hurt his record sales, but he has no plans to go silent on political matters.

“There is no question that my record sales took a serious hit for my being so outspoken on such volatile … issues. So be it. I am incapable of backing down, and have no regrets for standing up for what I believe in,” Nugent wrote. “I've always been right, and my haters have always been wrong. I so dearly cherish this glorious experiment in self-government that I will be damned if I will ever be silenced or compromise my spiritual obligation to do my part for all things America. I turn up the heat constantly. My incredible career is far beyond any dream I could have ever imagined.”

As for his current tour, Nugent is still as energetic as ever, and he promised fans a great show.

“The intensity and pure animal energy of my band and music is always a shock to unsuspecting civilians, even after all these years,” he wrote. “We just keep getting tighter and having more fun all the time. I shock (myself) nightly, and nothing shocks me. They will revel in the best all American rhythm and blues and rock ’n’ roll the world has ever known.

“If you're not having fun with me, you're weird and need some serious help.”

Ted Nugent performs at 9 p.m., Friday, Aug. 30, at The Show at the Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa, 32250 Bob Hope Drive in Rancho Mirage. Tickets are $25 to $45. For tickets or more information, call 888-999-1995, or visit www.hotwatercasino.com.

For her DJ pseudonym, Cici Ochoa combined her middle name, Ivanna, with the word that describes her point of view—that music is love.

Ivanna Love will be closing out the American Cancer Society’s 24-Hour Dance Party, during the afternoon tea-dance portion of the event on Saturday, Aug. 3.

Ochoa, who lives in La Quinta, has been DJing publicly since 2011, but she spent many years of honing her skills before she felt up to the task.

“I learned to DJ in my bedroom, and after doing that for so many years, I just was like, ‘You know what? I think I need to get out there,’” Ochoa said. “Music has always been a huge passion of mine. After a while, I knew it was something I had to pursue. The love for music is just so central to my life that I need to be able to get people to feel the rhythm that I hear. I just want to share it with everyone.”

Inspired by trance artists such as Armin Van Buuren, Paul van Dyk, ATB and Tiësto, Ochoa’s sound is energetic, funky, delightful and undoubtedly great for dancing. Ochoa said she believes that while anyone could become a DJ, only great artists can create a signature sound.

“The signature sound is what makes it unique,” said Ochoa. “… For a DJ to take you into another place is remarkable. I think it has a lot to do with the DJ having a symbolic sound to captivate the crowd.”

She admitted that it was a tedious process for her to find her own sound.

“It was nerve-racking,” Ochoa said. “You don’t know how people are going to take what it is you’re playing out there. … It really takes courage to go out there and be original.”

Her first gig outside of her bedroom was at the now-defunct Space 120 in Palm Springs, in January 2011. She’s done DJ gigs at various fashion shows, and for the International School of Beauty. An appearance at the Hue Music and Arts Festival in Coachella back in April may have been her best gig to date, she said.

“For me, being able to close the set for that, it was just inspiring, because I got to see kids just take in an amazing reaction to what I was putting out there,” Ochoa said. “I’ve always said this: Children are the future of music. I think it’s really important for them to get the vibe of Coachella and artists who stick themselves out constantly to make them feel a sensational moment of dance music.

Joining her on the tea-dance bill will be another local DJ, All Night Shoes (Alex Harrington), and Canadian singer Angie Whitney. She is elated and has nothing but accolades for Harrington’s “Tropic Trance” sound.

“I have always been drawn to (Alex’s) style. His vocals and synths are very captivating and soothing,” Ochoa said. “I am so excited to be playing with him at the tea dance. Great energy will definitely be brought to the stage.”

When Ochoa was approached by the American Cancer Society to take part in the event, she was quick to say yes, inspired by her vision that music is love, and because she knows people who have fought cancer—including some who have lost the battle.

I had a strong instinct that this was going to be right up my alley,” Ochoa said. “Overall, I feel like a tea dance (should have) overall feel-good music. Everyone can just get together, dance and have a great time. I do want to say: Prepare yourself; just let go; be free; and go with the rhythm of the beat. It’s going to be a huge success.”

The tea-dance portion of the Relay for Life Palm Springs’ 24 Hour Dance Party begins at 11 a.m., Saturday, Aug. 3, at the Riviera Palm Springs, 1600 N. Indian Canyon Drive. The whole party begins at 5 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 2. Admission is $20; cancer survivors are admitted for free; attendees may re-enter. The event is an alcohol- and tobacco-free event, though cocktails will be available at other parts of the Riviera during alcohol-serving hours. To donate, create a team or receive more information, call 760-568-2691, ext. 3, or visit relayforlife.org/palmspringsca.

If you are a cancer survivor or are currently battling cancer, and need support, services or simply someone to talk to, call 800-227-2345. The line is open 24/7. You can also visit cancer.org for more information.

There’s no better way in the Coachella Valley to cool off and have a good time than a pool party—and Splash House is putting on the biggest pool party of the summer in Palm Springs on Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 10-11.

However, Splash House is not just a pool party; it will also have a music-festival atmosphere. The event will be held at three locations located within five minutes of each other in Palm Springs: The Saguaro, Caliente Tropics and The Curve Palm Springs. Attendees will be able to move between the three venues by shuttle.

The founders of Splash House are Palm Springs locals Kelly McLean and her brother, Tyler.

“Palm Springs is trying to capture this up-and-coming market of young people who are looking for something to do,” said Kelly McLean. “This demographic of people doesn’t mind that it’s hot: They love the music, and they love our Palm Springs culture.”

The McLeans are also working with three Southern California promotion companies to promote the event: LED, Private Label, and Pacific Festival.

“Besides Palm Springs having this amazing, glamorous history of pool parties, as well as being popular because of Coachella, there’s a concentration of hotel pools in Palm Springs to make this type of event feasible—and not feasible anywhere else,” said Kelly McLean. “It actually makes this event possible, and that’s what’s going to be great about it. We can move between these three hotels in less than five minutes’ time; people can pool-hop and do it without having to spend 30 minutes in a shuttle.”

If you need another reason to attend, consider the prominent DJs who will be performing, such as Viceroy, Neon Indian, Poolside, and others.

However, there’s going to be much more to Splash House than just pools and DJs.

“There are going to be food trucks, art installations, different activities and lots of things going on,” said Kelly McLean. “We’re not just putting up a tent and putting a DJ under it. Everything is being designed to provide a unique experience so people feel like they were there and attended something, and not just a pool party.”

The event is gaining the attention of people around the world, she said.

“We have a couple who e-mailed us from Germany who are flying in for the event,” said Kelly McLean. “During the summer time, we have a lot of European tourists who come here because they love the heat. A lot of people are e-mailing us from the U.K. who actually want to come. We’re really excited about it.”

In other words: There’s no need to go to Las Vegas or Los Angeles for a VIP style pool party; Splash House is bringing that here. And who knows? Perhaps Splash House will become yet another popular annual event for the Coachella Valley.

Splash House takes place on Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 10 and 11. Doors open at 11 a.m. each day. Two-day passes are $99; one-day passes are $55; room-and-festival packages start at $247. For tickets, a complete schedule and more information, visit splashhouse.com. 

Skateboarding and punk rock have long been connected—but for the members of GFP, aka General Fucking Principle, they are both ways of life.

The relatively new punk supergroup is scheduled to play at The Hood Bar and Pizza on Saturday, Sept. 21.

GFP consists of former DFL (Dead Fucking Last) vocalist Tom Paul Davis, aka Crazy Tom; skateboarding legend and Dogtown Z-Boy Tony Alva on bass; Bad Religion and Circle Jerks guitarist Greg Hetson; and drummer Grant Garrison, who played with H.R. of the Bad Brains.

Davis originally had the idea for GFP back in 2009.

“We came together after I went to see The Germs and Suicidal Tendencies reunion concert in Los Angeles,” said Davis during a recent phone interview. “I had an itching to get back into music. I skated a pool before with Alva, and it just sort of came to me. I thought, ‘Hey, I should call Alva, and we should get together and do a jam.’ I had a drummer who I was thinking about for a little while, and I kind of worked to put the pieces of the puzzle together from there.

The band has suffered through some lineup changes in its relatively brief time. There were originally two guitarists when the band went into the studio, but Davis had a hard time getting along with guitarist Aime Caron.

“We went to record a demo, and he wanted to kick the other guitar player out of the band,” Davis explained. “He went ahead and did that. He was like, ‘I can handle the whole load by myself,’ and I was like, ‘All right, dude. I’m not going to keep having these brawls with you. If you think you can handle it, go ahead.’ We went to do the demo, and he just kinda bugged out on my idea, which was to go into the recording studio to do our 14 songs live and record them as fast as possible without a whole bunch of overdubs and Pro Tools tracking-style stuff, which he was used to doing.”

That’s when Davis reached out to Hetson. “What happened is we asked Greg to help us produce the demo, and he liked the music a lot. When I called Greg and told him Aime quit the band, and I asked him if he felt like playing guitar, he said yes.”

While the band members are all decidedly unique individuals with independent visions, Davis said there haven’t been any problems.

“Actually, everything is organic between me, Greg and Alva,” he said. “We all come from Hollywood, Los Angeles and beach cities, so we’re all influenced by the same bands we grew up with—Black Flag, The Germs, The Weirdos, TSOL and X. … The rest of the guys are a little older than me, so I look up to them as big brothers.”

Alva is one of the pioneers of skateboarding and was a part of the Zephyr skateboarding team in the ‘70s in Venice Beach. While Alva is known more for skateboarding, he has been involved in the punk scene as the bassist for The Skoundrelz.

“He is an incredible bass-player,” said Davis. “He plays without a pick, which is a really incredible bass-playing style in punk rock.”

While punk rock never died, it did go through a dry spell in the last decade. Today, the drought is over: GFP is one of several newer punk-rock supergroups, while older punk bands are reuniting or recording again.

“Some of the bands I grew up with are Pennywise, NOFX and Rancid. DFL was on Epitaph with all those guys,” Davis said. “When we broke up, those bands just continued to keep playing. They didn’t break up, but they didn’t get any bigger and just kept going. I think a lot of bands just watched what happened and realized it and said, ‘We should get back together.’

“What’s amazing is all these bands are still out there from when I was a kid and when I was on Epitaph. It’s great to see it still going strong. I think a lot of it has to do with skateboarding being a major influence in punk rock. Skateboarding is popular as well.”

The band is currently recording its debut album, which Davis said has been delayed due to the departure of drummer Amery Smith, of Suicidal Tendencies. Davis said that they hope to have the album out within the next six months.

When it comes to their show at The Hood, Davis said he is excited.

“I really enjoy the shows away from Los Angeles,” Davis said. “People here are controlled by stargazing and shoegazing. … I would expect an old-school vibe; we like to bring our skateboards. We like to hang out in the crowd and talk to people. I think it’s going to be really fun.”

Davis did have one concern about playing in the Coachella Valley.

“I hope there’s air-conditioning!” he said.

GFP will play with Year of the Dragon and Throw the Goat at 9 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 21, at The Hood Bar and Pizza, 74360 Highway 111 in Palm Desert. Admission is $5, and there are no presales. For more information, call 760-636-5220, or track down the event on Facebook.

There are currently two versions of Queensryche—but the band’s driving force is undeniably Geoff Tate, and it’s his version of Queensryche that’s stopping at The Date Shed on Friday, Aug. 23.

Queensryche began to develop in the late ’70s in Bellevue, Wash. The original lineup consisted of Geoff Tate (vocals), Michael Wilton (guitars), Chris DeGarmo (guitars), Eddie Jackson (bass) and Scott Rockenfield (drums). They recorded their first demo tape in 1981, which went on to gain the attention of radio stations around the world and led to a record deal with EMI. They released The Warning in 1984, followed by Rage for Order in 1986. In 1987, the band began recording Operation: Mindcrime, a concept album/rock opera that told the story of a drug addict and political radical who was frustrated with the world around him.

“When the album was done, I felt very good about it,” said Tate during a recent phone interview. “I felt I achieved what I set out to do. I wanted to create a concept album that was inspired by the great concept albums I grew up with that were inspirational to me. I feel good about how the music has been received over the years. I like hearing all the wonderful things people say about the album, as anyone would.”

The album went on to reach platinum status, selling more than a million copies in the U.S. alone.

In 1990, Queensryche released Empire, which landed them even more success, thanks in part to hits “Silent Lucidity” and “Jet City Woman.” Empire went on to sell 3 million copies.

Despite the success, Tate said that neither sales nor critical claim were ever his main priority or focus.

“I never think about that kind of thing, honestly,” said Tate. “To me, success is measured on the accomplishment of actually making a record, writing it and performing it. That’s where I get my satisfaction and my pleasure.”

Throughout the ‘80s, when heavy metal was full of bands like Poison, Motley Crue and Ratt, Queensryche stood out, in part due to Queensryche’s unique sound and lyrics content. Tate said his songwriting abilities are due to the experiences he’s had, and due to him being a conversationalist with all sorts of people.

“I don’t know how I do it, exactly,” Tate said. “I try to live an inspirational life and be grateful for what I have and what I’ve experienced. I take a lot of pleasure in experiences. I like to travel and meet people. I’m kind of an experience junkie. I was recently in Malaysia on a motorcycle trip through the jungle that was really, really incredible. It was one of the high points of my life as far as experiences go. Life is really interesting to me. The relationships I have in my life are where I find a lot of inspiration.”

The band enjoyed success through the ‘90s, they were also one of the ‘80s metal bands who found themselves accepted among Seattle’s grunge scene. Tate has an interesting point of view on that era.

“I guess if you’re talking about bands like Soundgarden, Nirvana, Pearl Jam and Alice in Chains—a lot of those bands toured with us,” said Tate. “It was a focus on a certain area of the country at the time and their music; it was Seattle’s time. The whole moniker of grunge—if you ask the bands I just mentioned if they would call it grunge, they’d probably punch you in the face. Everybody hates that term. It was just a marketing term designed to separate a certain band’s music from another band’s music.”

Recent years have been tough on the band. In the spring of 2012, the other remaining original members—Wilton, Jackson and Rockenfield—alleged that Tate’s wife was mismanaging the band’s finances; the three also fired Tate’s stepdaughter from running the band’s fan club. Before a show in Sao Paulo, Brazil, the argument got heated, and security officers had to separate Tate from the rest of the band.

Ever since, Tate and the other members have been engaged in a heated legal battle over use of the Queensryche name; a judge said that the two versions of the band are both allowed to use the name until a hearing in November. (The other version of the band, featuring former Crimson Glory vocalist Todd La Torre on vocals, is also active.)

Tate said that he doesn’t see him and his former bandmates ever being able to put aside their differences to reunite. He also said he understands that some people are baffled about the fact that there are currently two bands called Queensryche.

“I suppose it’s probably confusing to some fans,” he said. “But you know, in today’s world, you can really find out anything that you want to find out: The Internet is a great and powerful tool, and all it takes is a couple of buttons to push. You can do a lot of research. I think for, perhaps, lazy people, it could be confusing. For most of us, it’s pretty easy to find out the difference.”

Tate’s version of Queensryche released a new album, Frequency Unknown, back in April. Tate’s version includes guitarist Kelly Gray, a member of Queensryche from 1998 to 2002 who returned in 2007 and stayed with Tate during the split.

“Kelly and I have been friends for going on 40 years now,” said Tate. “We played in bands together; we wrote a lot of music together; his kids have grown up with my kids; we’ve gone through divorces together; and he’s been a good friend. He was working with Queensryche when the split happened, on the technical side of things, working our monitors. Next thing you know, he and I are standing on the stage together.”

When it comes to the show at The Date Shed, Tate said he is happy to be returning to the Coachella Valley.

“I love playing live and I love touring. I might be one of those rare people who like to be on the road,” he said. “I look forward to playing there, seeing what the audience is like, and it should be a great time.”

Queensryche with Geoff Tate will perform an 18-and-older show at 8 p.m., Friday, Aug. 23, at The Date Shed, 50725 Monroe St., in Indio. Tickets are $20. For tickets or more info, call 760-775-6699, or visit www.dateshedmusic.com.

The members of local band Pssstols are serious about their music. But that doesn’t mean they don’t love to party—and they’re bringing the party to the Date Shed with a free show on Saturday, Sept. 7.

When the band showed up for a recent interview in Rancho Mirage, they had plenty of stories to tell. Among the topics of discussion: a tale of two of the members partying with DJ Day some years ago, with one of the band members winding up in a children’s car seat; a recent radio interview they did in Los Angeles while intoxicated; and various hijinks with other local bands.

Victor Aguirre (vocals), Joel Guerrero (drums), Jesus Escarrega (guitar), Salvador Gutierrez (guitar) and Nicholas Hernandez (bass) are longtime friends. Inspired by bands such as The Clash, Joy Division, Gang of Four, Foals and the Arctic Monkeys, Pssstols is a relatively new band that has found success after playing shows at The Hood in Palm Desert, Bar in Palm Springs, and the AMFM Fest.

They jokingly refer to their sound as “post-desert rock.” They started playing music together in late 2011, and they officially came together as Pssstols in January.

“It was back in summer 2011, and I asked Sal if he just wanted to jam,” said Guerrero. “At the time, I was living in L.A. and going to UCLA; we didn’t think it was really going to go anywhere. I started driving down every weekend, and we just started finishing stuff that Sal had written before. After that, we got Jesus in September 2012, and we were just a three-piece. We just kept at it, and eventually, we got Victor.”

They are still riding high following their show at AMFM Festival, which the group believes was their best show to date.

“I didn’t know what to expect from it,” said Aguirre about the June event. “We thought the festival was going to be a lot bigger than it was, and it ended up being really good for us, personally. A lot of the other bands didn’t have a good draw or big crowd, but we had the biggest crowd there, and we were blown away. We had really good live energy. The band was giving the energy and the crowd was giving it right back.”

The band is also getting ready to enter the recording studio to make their first album; Escarrega said they have nine songs ready to record.

“I think given the opportunity and given the chance, we can approach it to where we’ll come up with things that are completely original,” said Escarrega. “There’s this comedian named Reggie Watts, and he said something about how if you gave him the same instrument as another person … he could guarantee if they both took the same approach, they (still) wouldn’t play the same thing, and it would sound completely different.”

Said Gutierrez: “All I know is that you have to keep moving forward. You have to keep moving until you find that sound that makes the band and the people who hear it go ‘WHOA!’ and then it works.”

Guerrero said that while all the members of the band are Latino, they enjoy playing their music.

“We’re all Mexicans, but this is what we love to play,” said Guerrero. “I grew up listening to Spanish music. The first music I heard was Spanish music. Anything that was from the early ’90s, that’s what I grew up listening to. We have a song called ‘Eyes Like Rain’ where we tried to incorporate our roots, to some extent.”

While the band loves a good live performance, they also love the partying that comes with being in a band.

“I’ve always said the performance doesn’t end when you get off the stage; you still have to perform for the people who want you to go to parties with them,” said Escarrega. “They want to be like ‘PSSSTOLS ARE HERE MAN! THOSE GUYS ARE FUCKING COOL!’ Partying is about 50 percent of the business—seriously. It’s cool to kick it with your mates, but meeting the girls is awesome”

When asked about their favorite alcoholic beverages, they all agree on Rumple Minze and Patron.

And then there’s their wine of choice: “Space wine,” Gutierrez said, referring to the grape goodness of Franzia or Carlo Rossi boxed wine—minus the box. “It comes in a bag, and it’s like what the astronauts would drink.”

Added Aguirre: “We don’t hang out with people who are too sophisticated to tell us it’s cheap wine.

The band said they’re excited to be returning to The Date Shed.

“Kids out there are more passionate about finding things to do,” Aguirre said. “The east valley is more boring than anywhere else in the valley. When there’s a show, those kids are fired up for it. When it’s a free 18-and-over show, there’s no excuse for not showing up.”

The Pssstols will join Machin, Giselle Woo and the Night Owls, Tribesmen and the Desert DJ Entertainment Group for a show at 9 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 7, at The Date Shed, 50725 Monroe St., in Indio. Admission is free. For more information, call 760-775-6699, or visit www.dateshedmusic.com.