Last updateMon, 20 Apr 2020 1pm

When three friends involved in the San Francisco punk-rock scene moved to the desert, they decided they needed to get together and have some fun.

The result of that fun is the Hot Patooties, a newly formed band that consists of former San Francisco musicians Nettie Hammar (vocals), Beth Allen (guitar) and Shawn Smith (drums), as well as Yucca Valley bassist and former Gutter Candy member D.D. Gunz.

We chatted at Beth Allen and Shawn Smith’s home in Morongo Valley after an alcohol-infused dinner party.

“We’re from Morongo Valley, where the morons go,” Allen joked. “Shawn and I are in a band together called the Wastedeads, and we’re a two-piece. Nettie also moved to Morongo Valley. Nettie and I are old friends from way back, and I thought, ‘Oh shit, we need to be in a band together.’ The Hot Patooties were born after that.”

D.D. Gunz was recruited after the others decided to form a band here in the desert.

“(D.D.) sent me a response to the Craigslist ad, and asked, ‘Are you still looking for a bass player?’” Allen said. “This ad has been up for over a month. I was being really sarcastic on my phone, and I said, ‘Actually, we’re looking for an old punk-rocker; are you an old punk-rocker?’ I was about to give up. … He said, ‘Actually, yes,’ and then he sent me a photo of himself with his huge Charged GBH mohawk standing next to Pete Shelley of the Buzzcocks. I was totally joking and didn’t expect to find anyone like this.”

D.D. Gunz said his time rehearsing with the Hot Patooties has been a lot of fun and even rejuvenating for him as a musician.

“I don’t want to sound cliché, but when I found these guys and played with them for the first time, I thought it was just real music,” Gunz said. “More so than Gutter Candy, who I used to play bass for; there were no influences or anything. It was just, ‘Who gives a shit? Let’s just play!’ Back in the late ’80s and early ’90s, that’s how it used to be for me, but it hasn’t felt that way since.

“I’m 43, and I’m playing good music, and that’s a true story. It’s raw, and it’s real, and it’s cool.”

Back in the SF music scene, Hammar was in a band called the Mighty Slim Pickins, and Beth Allen was in a band called the Meat Sluts before they joined forces.

“We were a dyke-abilly band,” Hammar said about the Mighty Slim Pickins. “We were all rockabilly gay-wads, and we played with the Meat Sluts, who were an all-girl punk band, and it just worked. The shows were always packed. We played for a lot of years together before my band broke up and the Meat Sluts broke up. But it was a lot of fun.”

Allen and Smith are a couple; Smith told a story about how he met Allen after a Meat Sluts concert.

“I was in San Francisco for six months at the time and went in to talk to my band and said, ‘OK, who knows Beth Allen?’” Smith said. “My bass player, my guitar player and lead singer all raised their hands and said, ‘We all know Beth.’ I said, ‘OK, she’s going to be my girlfriend within three months!’ And it happened!’”

The Hot Patooties are entering the local music scene with no big intentions.

“We’re all a little older and have done our time,” Allen said. “I’ve toured and have done all that shit. We just want to show the desert how to have some fun.”

Hammar told me a story about touring Europe and making no money.

“We’re all comfortable with ourselves,” Hammar said. “We’re old people. We’re rocking our shit, and we all just got together to have fun. What we’re doing is having fun.”

For more information, visit Disclosure: Beth Allen is an Independent contributor.

Cover bands can be boring and repetitive.

Then there’s Gutter Candy

The band that used to be known as Shawn Mafia and the 10 Cent Thrills renamed itself Gutter Candy in 2014 and is as hilarious and fun to watch as ever.

During a recent phone interview, high desert singer-songwriter Shawn Mafia, aka Jersey Dagger (aka Shawn O’Connor), talked about the name change.

“Basically, I went by that moniker of Shawn Mafia for a decade,” O’Connor said. “I decided to go in a different direction. I lost a few members of the band, and I wanted to give it a new identity. I have a schizophrenic nature, anyway, when it comes to art and creativity, and I thought I’d just become a totally different dude and go by Jersey Dagger.”

When O’Connor was performing as Shawn Mafia, his material was completely different than that of today’s Gutter Candy. However, he isn’t afraid to revisit his old material from time to time.

“I played a Shawn Mafia show a few weeks ago in the high desert and brought it back to me, with the acoustic guitar—(keeping it) singer-songwriter oriented, and doing all that material,” he said. “It’s night or day now, and I keep the personas separate.”

Gutter Candy performs some originals, including “God Doesn’t Like Me Very Much” and “Adult Movies on DVD,” along with a slew of glam-metal and punk-rock covers.

“Growing up through the late ’80s and early ’90s, in junior high and high school, we listened to all the punk-rock stuff, all the underground stuff, and because of the MTV generation, you were basically exposed to all the Sunset Strip glam metal,” O’Connor said. “Just to be cool, we professed to like the punk-rock stuff, but we secretly liked Motley Crue, Poison and Guns N Roses. … (I knew) some of the members of Gutter Candy back then, and we always wanted to have a band that sort of crossed the lines between Sunset Strip hard rock and punk rock, stealing from both. That was sort of the genesis for Gutter Candy.”

O’Connor explained where he got the new name. “I added the words ‘Gutter’ and ‘Candy’ and put them together, and it sort of solidified what we were: ‘Candy’ being that glam rock and Sunset Strip rock element, and ‘Gutter’ being the more punk-rock vibe. I thought it fit and sounded good. Music is so segmented and rigid, and actors can play different roles in different movies, so why can’t musicians have different personas and do different genres? I figured, ‘What the hell? I’ll just go out and do it and see what happens.’”

O’Connor explained that the band members don’t always agree on the covers they perform.

“I want to do Rancid. We haven’t had a Rancid song in our setlist yet—maybe ‘Time Bomb’ or ‘Ruby Soho,’” he said. Lixxx Candy, our guitar player, wants to do Van Halen’s ‘Panama,’ but Sin Balls, our drummer, doesn’t want to. There’s all this conflict over what to cover and what not to cover.

“We do have one Van Halen song we do, and Lixxx has a real hard-on for Van Halen, so there might be another.”

Late last year, Gutter Candy released a five-song EP, Come Guzzling.

“We’ve actually got a couple of new originals that haven’t been recorded,” O’Connor said. “We definitely want to get those recorded and add to what we did for our last EP, Come Guzzling, and we want to do an official full LP. Whether or not that happens, we’ll see. It all comes down to money.”

Gutter Candy plays every second Saturday of the month as part of a residency at Tryst in Palm Springs.

“Those live shows at Tryst are a lot of fun. At the last one we did, there were a lot of people who showed up throughout the whole night. The later it goes, the more drunk people and homeless people stumble in,” O’Connor said. “(We have in our audience a range from) homeless guys to hot younger girls who dig the ’80s and ’90s covers we do. There was this new wave guy who came with this girl. I don’t want to say she’s a midget, but she’s definitely a small girl, and they stayed through the whole three hours and were totally digging it.

“We’re all about those shows at CBGBs and Max’s Kansas City back in the ’70s and then the Sunset Strip in the late ’80s. It’s all about that vibe, living in that moment—and nothing is out of bounds at a Gutter Candy show.”

Gutter Candy not too long ago played a memorable show in Banning.

“We did some shows at a place called Boondocks, and the owner there is a crazy motherfucker named Diego, who is actually a pretty cool dude,” O’Connor said. “We were playing there last February outside, and he had these outside heaters, and the crowd was really digging it. It got so amped up during our song ‘God Don’t Like Me Very Much’ that people started smashing the heaters on the ground and jumping up and down on them. Our bass player almost got hit by one.”

Of course, Gutter Candy continues to evolve. After bassist Big Dave Johnson left the band, O’Conner recruited an old friend who goes by the name D.D. Gunz. The band also recently added a surprising new element—a second guitarist, Shawn Smash.

“I’ve known D.D. since high school, and we go way back, and back when there wasn’t any Internet in the pre-cell phone days, we’d hitchhike to L.A. to go see shows,” O’Connor said. “We finally had a chance to get together on this project. We added our second guitar player, Shawn Smash, and he’s the lead guitar player of Total Chaos.

“A long time ago, D.D. and I moved to Texas. We packed up my Ford Fiesta with a P.A. system and went to Houston, and that’s where we met Shawn Smash. Shawn moved to Palm Desert awhile back, and we recruited him for Gutter Candy.”

For more information on Gutter Candy, visit

Remember Shawn Mafia and the 10 Cent Thrills? That band is now known as Gutter Candy. Fronted by Jersey Dagger (aka Shawn Mafia) on vocals, and featuring Lixx Candy on guitar, Sin Balls on drums, and newest-member D.D. Gunz on bass, Gutter Candy plays regularly at the Joshua Tree Saloon and recently performed at Schmidy’s Tavern in Palm Desert. Gutter Candy performs a blend of heavy metal and punk with a lot of comedy thrown in. D.D. Gunz was kind enough to answer The Lucky 13 to introduce himself to all five of the Gutter Candy fans who recently downloaded the band’s new single on iTunes.

What was the first concert you attended?

That is really difficult to recall, as I am 40 and have been going to see shows since I was about 13. The first few were just some local punk-rock bands in the L.A. area. My first memorable show was the Ramones in 1989. It was a great show from an iconic band that will never be duplicated by anyone.

What was the first album you owned?

Suicidal Tendencies’ “Institutionalized” was the first record in my possession that was not borrowed or a sixth-generation home-recorded cassette tape.  

What bands are you listening to right now?

Gutter Candy, The Ramones (always in the rotation), Social Distortion (regularly), Faster Pussycat, The Clash, The Buzzcocks, Hank Williams, Sham 69, and a little Guns N’ Roses for good measure.

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

All this electronic garbage, I don’t get. It’s so popular, and there are no instruments. I said the same thing about hip-hop back in the day, but this new age of electronica boggles my mind. Pick up a guitar, for God sakes!

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

The Ramones again! Guns N’ Roses in 1988 with all the original members and before Axl started wearing those tight white bicycle shorts.

What’s your favorite musical guilty pleasure?

I am a sucker for country music. I can put it on and kill a 30-pack, no problem.

What’s your favorite music venue?

When it was open, The Back Room in Austin, Texas. Texas knows music, and they also know how to put a good venue together. All of my favorite venues are in some part of Texas. There’s nothing like loud music and a little down-home Southern alcoholism to set you free.

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

“Shake It Off” by Taylor Swift. Man, I hate that fucking song!

What band or artist changed your life? How?

The first and second waves of British punk rock changed my life. Bands like The Clash, The Exploited and The Partisans just gripped me and still have a hold on me today. Those bands really made me look at music differently and changed my whole outlook on life. They also contributed to me dropping out of high school and various other nonprofitable decisions.  

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

I already asked him. When I auditioned for the bass-player position in Gutter Candy, I couldn’t help but notice the killer pair of pants that Jersey Dagger was wearing. I had to know where he got them. I asked; he told me; I bought a pair; and all is well in rock ’n’ roll.

What song would you like played at your funeral?

“Country Boy Can Survive” by Hank Williams Jr. But more importantly, what song would I like to have Angelina Jolie strip to? “Sweet Little Sister” from Skid Row.

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

That’s a tough question. I have many favorites. I will go with White Light, White Heat, White Trash from Social Distortion, only because I like every fucking song on that record.  

What song should everyone listen to right now?

“Put it Right Here” from Gutter Candy. Grab a 12 pack, and pop it on; when you get to beer No. 9, turn it up to 10, and enjoy. (Scroll down to hear it!)

Published in The Lucky 13