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Sun03292020

Last updateMon, 23 Mar 2020 12pm

January is bringing a brand-new festival to the land of festivals!

4xFAR, presented by Land Rover, is a brand-new music, food and adventure festival coming to Empire Grand Oasis in Thermal on Saturday and Sunday, Jan. 18 and 19. It will feature music with headliners Anderson .Paak and Mark Ronson, as well as a plethora of adventure activities, such as mountain biking, climbing, fly fishing and off-roading! General-admission tickets are $95 for one day, or $185 for both; head to 4xfar.com to get ’em.

The illustrious McCallum Theatre is featuring wonderful events throughout January. At 8 p.m., Friday, Jan. 10, double-trouble actor and singer Jack Jones will grace the McCallum stage. He has more than 50 years of jazz and pop performances under his belt, so it’s no wonder The New York Times said that “he is arguably the most technically accomplished male pop singer.” Tickets are $40 to $90. At 8 p.m., Tuesday, Jan. 14, put on your green duds, and head to the McCallum to enjoy the Derina Harvey Band. This Celtic-rock group is described in press materials as being like “a rockier version of Canada’s Great Big Sea, if fronted by Adele.” Whoa! Tickets are $25 to $55. McCallum Theatre, 73000 Fred Waring Drive, Palm Desert; 760-340-2787; www.mccallumtheatre.com.

Fantasy Springs is hosting a plethora of big acts to start off the New Year. At 8 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 11, George Thorogood and the Destroyers will bring 45 years of hard rock to Indio. While the weather may be freezing you to the bone, come and get “Bad to the Bone” with bona fide rock legends. Tickets are $39 to $59. If you’ve been missing the classic sounds of the Motown era, you’re in for a real treat on Saturday, Jan. 18, at 8 p.m., as both The Temptations and The Four Tops are returning to town. Both groups’ hits have been tugging on your heart strings for more than five decades. Tickets are $39 to $69. At 8 p.m., Friday, Jan. 24, the legendary Tony Bennett will bring his “I Left My Heart” Tour to the Fantasy Springs stage. He’s been performing for nearly 70 years, with more than 50 million records sold; come witness one of music’s living icons while you still can. Tickets are $49 to $109. If you don’t want to bother paying for heat in your own home, come out at 8 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 25, when 98° promises to set the stage on fire. If the ’90s is what you’re longing for, both music-wise and temperature-wise, this show is for you. Tickets are $39 to $69. Fantasy Springs Resort Casino, 84245 Indio Springs Parkway, Indio; 760-342-5000; www.fantasyspringsresort.com.

Spotlight 29 is showcasing a few festive events in January. At 8 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 11, Mexican singer-songwriter Pancho Barraza will return to Coachella. Do you really need more of an excuse to go dance? Tickets are $65 to $85. At 8 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 25, Spotlight 29 is featuring a very unique event titled ¿Y Si Me Caso? This “musical wedding” promises to be as musical as it is dramatic, as one man decides which woman he should marry. Tickets are $25 to $65. Spotlight 29 Casino, 46200 Harrison Place, Coachella; 760-775-5566; www.spotlight29.com.

Agua Caliente intends to turn the heat up on those cold winter nights.At 8 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 11, the one-and-only D-O-double G is coming to town. That’s right, Snoop Dogg, with openers O.T. Genasis and Warren G, is bringing that West Coast gangsta rap to Rancho Mirage, and you’d be a fool to miss out. Tickets are $85 to $115. If R&B is more your speed, then on Saturday, Jan. 18, at 8 p.m., make sure you catch Boyz II Men. Since the ’90s, the boyz have been putting audiences in their feelings with emotional ballads and sweet harmonies, so be there! Tickets are $65 to $85. At 8 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 25, the Long Island Medium herself, Theresa Caputo, will return to The Show. This night will include Caputo’s stories about her experiences as a medium, and will feature interactions with some of the audience members. Tickets are $75 to $120. Agua Caliente Resort Casino Spa Rancho Mirage, 32250 Bob Hope Drive, Rancho Mirage; 888-999-1995; www.hotwatercasino.com.

At Morongo, you can catch a few fun performances this month. At 8 p.m., Friday, Jan. 10, enjoy Baby Bash performing for Jimmy Reyes’ Birthday Bash. Come get your 2000s rap fix and celebrate a birthday at the same time! Tickets are $10. At 8 p.m., Friday, Jan. 24, Hollywood Medium Tyler Henry brings “An Evening of Hope, Healing and Closure” to Cabazon. This is a brand-new live show, that, of course, includes an audience Q&A and readings. Tickets are $69. Morongo Casino Resort Spa, 49500 Seminole Drive, Cabazon; 800-252-4499; www.morongocasinoresort.com.

Pappy and Harriet’s is the home of more than a few rockin’ shows this month. At 9 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 11, Pappy’s will host the Americana-folk of Justin Townes Earle (below). The son of Steve Earle, who was named after the legendary Townes Van Zandt, has more than lived up to his impressive musical pedigree. Jonny Two Bags opens, and tickets are $25. At 8:30 p.m., Thursday, Jan. 16, indie surf-rock group Surf Curse will jam the night away. This is one of my favorite bands right now, offering an extremely dance-y and catchy vibe across songs that are sure to make any one with ears wanna jump around. Tickets are $16 to $18. Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace, 53688 Pioneertown Road, Pioneertown; 760-365-5956; www.pappyandharriets.com.

Toucan’s has some appealing LGBT-slanted events on the January docket. At 7:30 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 4, country-music man Ty Herndon returns to Palm Springs for a night of country hits from his late ’90s heyday, with newer songs as well. Tickets are $30 to $40. At 7:30 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 11, Jai Rodriguez kicks off his 2020 cabaret tour with “Tales of an Aging Twink.” He’s appeared on Broadway in Rent, and was part of the original Queer Eye cast, so it’s safe to say this night will be one to remember. Tickets are $25. And on Friday, Jan. 31, at 7:30 p.m., drag queens Jackie Beat and Sherry Vine will bring their comedy show “Best Frenemies” to Toucan’s. Tickets are $25. Toucans Tiki Lounge and Cabaret, 2100 N. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs; 760-416-7584; www.reactionshows.com.

The Purple Room promises to entertain with a packed January schedule. At 8 p.m. Friday, Jan. 10, catch two-time 2018 Grammy nominee Clint Holmes sing both hits and originals with his jazz vocal stylings. Tickets are $60 to $65. At 8 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 25, Amanda McBroom will return to the Purple Room—this time performing songs from noir films! Tickets are $35 to $40. And on Friday, Jan. 31, at 8 p.m., witness the Black Market Trust combine jazzy hits with Django Reinhardt-style guitar-playing into one magnificent show. Tickets are $35 to $40. Michael Holmes’ Purple Room, 1900 E. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs; 760-322-4422; www.purpleroompalmsprings.com.

If you’ve been itching to support local talent, get thee to The Date Shed at 8 p.m., Friday, Jan. 10, to catch local rappers Provoked Poetry, Willdabeast, Thoughts Contained and DJ ODC for Provoked Poetry’s album release. Tickets are $10. And on Saturday, Jan. 25, at 8 p.m., you can see three of the valley’s best young rock groups: Pescaterritory, Israel’s Arcade and Instigator, at Pescafest. Tickets are $10. The Date Shed, 50725 Monroe St., Indio; 760-775-6699; www.facebook.com/dateshed.

Published in Previews

It’s been a rough decade for Gabby Gaborno, of the legendary SoCal bands Cadillac Tramps and Manic Hispanic.

He’s battled diabetes, liver problems and renal failure. He’s suffered a serious stroke and a heart attack. And shortly after his 50th birthday, late last year, he was told he has liver cancer.

To help the much-loved musician pay his medical bills, some friends have set up a GoFundMe campaign.

During a recent phone interview, Gaborno said doctors initially missed the cancer at the Orange County medical center where he was getting treatment. He’s now being treated at Cedars-Sinai in Los Angeles.

“My stomach was getting jacked up, and I was puking for days at a time,” Gaborno said. “I had gotten CTs here in Orange County, and they missed (the cancer). They missed it for a while, and I went to Cedars-Sinai to start treatment—and they said I had a baseball sized tumor. I don’t know how they missed it here, but they caught it up there.

“You know, it’s a good thing that they found it, and we’re addressing it—but radiation sucks fucking ass, man. They put these radiation beads up in your liver. But I’ve been through worse in my time. I have to go in for an MRI, and they’ll tell me how it’s going from that point.”

While the Cadillac Tramps don’t have the mainstream rock legacy the band deserves, the Tramps are one of the best-known punk bands to come out of the Orange County scene. Later on, Tramps guitarist Jonny Wickersham (Jonny Two Bags—playing tonight, Friday, Feb. 12, at Pappy and Harriet’s) went on to join Social Distortion, while Gaborno went on to start Manic Hispanic with Steve Soto of the Adolescents. During a recent interview with the Independent in January, Wickerham talked about how the Cadillac Tramps were formed while he and Gaborno were trying to get clean and kick their drug habits.

Gaborno elaborated on that time.

“I met Jonny many years ago, and we were both from this place called the Hampton House, and we were kicking dope and trying to get clean at the time. There was this beat-up guitar—like someone punched a hole in it—and Jonny picked that guitar up, and I was like, ‘Man, this kid can really play!’ We sat down and started writing songs at that recovery center, and the winos would look at us and go, ‘Ha ha! There goes the Cadillac Tramps!’ Friday night, we’d take our fucking beat-up jeans and try to iron them, and the old winos would start laughing. That’s how we got our name.”

Gaborno and Wickersham would have the last laugh: They soon found themselves on tour with Pearl Jam and traveling throughout the country. Gaborno expressed pride in what the Cadillac Tramps have managed to accomplish.

“If these are the end of days for me—which I don’t believe they are—but if they are: Wow! What a good life.”

Manic Hispanic, a group of Latino punk-rock musicians from various well-known bands such as Agent Orange and the Adolescents, performs Latino-themed spoofs of punk-rock hits. For instance, Rancid’s “Ruby Soho” is “Rudy Cholo,” and The Ramones’ “The KKK Took My Baby Away” is “The INS Took My Novia Away.”

“Me and Steve Soto were starving musicians, and we were working in the back of a warehouse at a record company,” Gaborno said. “We would laugh, because we would get the mail from a lot of different characters who wanted to get signed. We noticed the kids were starting to wear Pendleton shirts at that time and starting to grab on to that old neighborhood look. For us, it was the funniest and greatest thing to see. That’s how Manic Hispanic formed. Steve came up with the idea—because it was punk-rock kids dressing like cholos.”

Has any punk band ever been upset by the parodies of their songs?

“Not one band! As a matter of a fact, Social Distortion was like, ‘Hey, man, how about doing a Social D cover?’ That’s when we came out with ‘Mommy’s Little Cholo.’ If Manic does a cover, the band (being covered) goes, ‘OK, we’re in the book!’

“I’m working on one now called ‘Beso,’ which is basically ‘KISS’ in Spanish. Imagine KISS makeup and a mariachi outfit: ‘I Want to Tuck and Roll All Night and Metal Flake Every Day.’ Oh, and ‘T.J. RockC ity.’”

While Gaborno is a punk-rock wild-man onstage, he’s also a born-again Christian. He said his faith is even stronger since his cancer diagnosis.

“It was kind of like a backroom deal,” he said. “I was at UCLA and had a lot of health issues. The doctor back then said, ‘Hey, man, why don’t you just go and enjoy the rest of your life?’ He said it very bluntly and plainly. So I’m driving back, and I’m kind of in shock. My sister said, ‘I’ve been seeing some of your old (music) friends at my church.’ She goes, ‘I just really want you to come check this place out.’ The band was really kicking, and really good, and it just kind of hit me. Christian Hosoi, the professional skateboarder, was there, and I’ve spent a few lonely nights with him.

“The funny thing is since I started going to that church, I’ve lived three years beyond what the doctor told me. With my faith, I used to be a closeted believer, but when the homeboys are around, you don’t talk about it much. I’m still that way, and I’m not a pusher, but man, I do love God. I love what he’s done to the inside of me.”

Gaborno reiterated his intention to keep battling—hard—for his life.

“It’s a rough diagnosis to hear: Stage 3, baseball-sized tumor,” he said. “It’s not the easiest thing to hear, but the last time I heard news like that, it contributed to me becoming the kind of father I am. I live my life now thinking, ‘If I open my eyes, let’s live life to the fullest: Laugh, love, taste food, and grab your kid and hug him like it’s the last time, because you never know.’ … I’ve been fighting like that my whole life. The way I fight this is I put my dukes up—and fuck cancer! I love God, and I depend on him, and he’s pulling me through, and I’m lucky to be at Cedars-Sinai now. I’m also juicing like a fool, and I’m doing OK, man. I’m hanging in there.”

I asked Gaborno if there’s one thing he wants to be remembered for, should it be his time to go—and hopefully, it’s not. He was modest in his response.

“I just want to be remembered as a good father and a good front man who made a lot of people smile.”

The Gabby Gaborno Fund has been set up to assist Gaborno with his medical bills. To donate, visit www.gofundme.com/ysbdz8xz.

Orange County’s Social Distortion is one of the world’s biggest punk bands. The group has played the big stage at various festivals—including Coachella—and has enjoyed sold-out tours over the years.

Jonny Two Bags (Jonny Wickersham) helped the band pick up the pieces after the death of original guitarist Dennis Danell in 2000. He’ll be performing as the opening act for Brian Fallon and the Crowes at Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace on Friday, Feb. 12.

During a recent phone interview, Wickersham said replacing Danell in Social Distortion was not easy.

“It was really uncomfortable,” Wickersham said. “On the other hand, I was really happy for the opportunity to play with Social Distortion. My main concern was I didn’t want to make it about me. … I remember Social Distortion when I was a kid, and Mike Ness and Dennis Danell were equally the face of the band back then. They were both always together. They started it together, and I felt like I’m filling in for Dennis, even though he’ll never be here again. I’ve always tried to maintain that perspective on it—I’m subbing for Dennis.

“Dennis kept things together when Mike was just out of control and when Mike was in no shape to run a band.”

Wickersham also played in the Cadillac Tramps, another Orange County band that found a degree of success after Pearl Jam invited the group to tour. However, the Cadillac Tramps never caught on in the mainstream.

“Like Mike, during those days, I was a mess,” Wickersham said of his pre-Cadillac Tramps days. “There was no way I could even be in a band or hold on to a guitar. … I’d sell stuff all the time, borrow a guitar and sell that, and that kind of bullshit. I was in this band in Costa Mesa, and I never even played a live show with them and didn’t make it to anything.

“The Tramps were my first band, and by then, I had gotten cleaned up. That whole band came out of a bunch of guys trying to get their shit together, and we were together for about eight or nine years. We started off playing around, and we started playing clubs, and it sort of built a local following, and we got on an indie label. We basically lived in a van for five years and toured and toured and toured. Besides Pearl Jam, the Beat Farmers from San Diego were the only ones who did us a solid.”

Wickersham said he doesn’t understand why the Cadillac Tramps were not more successful.

“We’d see all these other bands get hooked up on tours, especially getting into the ’90s, when Fat Wreck Chords or Epitaph Records would have this business model in place, and it was, ‘We’re going to put out these bands, and they’re all going to sound the same as the owner of the label’s band, and we’re all going to tour together,’” he said. “It was just like a machine, and these bands would get huge really fast, and it never happened for us. Besides Western Canada and the West Coast, we never got a following anywhere else. But it was a great time, and I got my shit together. I had a feeling that I had a new lease on life.”

Wickersham also spent a stint as a member of the U.S. Bombs—during which frontman Duane Peters tested Wickersham’s sobriety. Wickersham said he remains concerned about Peters, who has long battled drugs, including heroin.

“It’s really unfortunate. That is one fucking exceptional human being, man. He is a survivor and a genius, and he’s much more intelligent than he lets people believe, which is his hustle,” he said about Peters. “I remember one time we were in the van, and he was on a fucking bender, and it was hard to tour with him. He used to get all pissed off at us, and we’d try to ditch him and avoid him. But we had to travel together, and he said one time, ‘You motherfuckers! I’ve lived more life by my fucking pinky nail than any of you have.’ I fucking fully bought into it for a second. I was like, ‘He’s right! I punked out and got clean and got out of that game. But he’s lived by adventure and pirate.’ Then the next thought was, ‘All the people that you hurt living that way, and the people’s lives you barreled through ... fuck that; I’d rather be doing what I’m doing now. I’m accountable; I don’t hurt people; and I live an honest life.’

“I love Duane, and I hope the best for him. I’ve tried to get a hold of him for the past year, and he doesn’t even hit me back, which is not like him.”

Wickersham’s first full-length solo album, Salvation Town, was released in 2014.

“I didn’t steal the title, but I borrowed it from Joyride, which is Steve Soto of the Adolescents’ band,” Wickersham explained. (“Salvation Town” was the name of a Joyride song.) “They did a couple of records on the same label as the Tramps. Joyride was awesome, and it was Steve’s vision of really good solid songs. At the time I was recording these songs, I didn’t want to do a solo thing and wanted a band together where I could be the songwriter and calling the shots for once according to my vision—but all the band names are gone. It’s like anything cool has been used, and you can find out immediately these days with Google. I also have a revolving cast of people I play with, and I put the record out as a solo act.”

Around the time of the interview, Wickersham took part in a benefit show in Orange County for Cadillac Tramps frontman Gabby Gaborno, who is currently suffering from liver cancer.

“It was awesome. Gabby couldn’t make it, and he wasn’t feeling good at all. He was there in spirit, and it was cool,” Wickersham said. “There were 13 artists, and we kind of blasted through it and played short sets. At the end of the night, the Beat Farmers played.”

Jonny Two Bags will perform with Brian Fallon and the Crowes at 8 p.m., Friday, Feb. 12, at Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace, 53688 Pioneertown Road, in Pioneertown. Tickets are $20. For tickets or more information, call 760-365-5956, or visit www.pappyandharriets.com.

Published in Previews