CVIndependent

Sun08252019

Last updateTue, 18 Sep 2018 1pm

Matt King

Avenida Music is the reigning Best Local Band per the Independent’s Best of Coachella Valley readers’ poll—and with good reason.

Not only is Avenida Music one of the top cover bands in the valley, known for putting exciting new twists on tunes we all know and love, with hundreds of songs ready to go at any given moment; the band members are setting their sights on something bigger: For the past few months, Josiah Gonzalez, Samuel Gonzalez, Vince Gonzalez and Sean Poe have been hard at work transforming a vacant space in the heart of downtown Indio into an oasis for artists.

“This is our headquarters,” said Josiah during a recent interview with him and his brother Samuel. “This is going to be a combination of office space, rehearsal space and lessons (space). We’re going to be renting out rehearsal space to other bands and acts, (and offering) lessons for every instrument in order to be able to pay for the location,” located at 82713 Miles Ave.

“We want it to eventually be a space for showcases of the music and art in our community. A big part of that is developing programs and events that highlight the artistic community of the valley. We’re sticking to making it all-ages, so that everyone can show up. It’s not going to be a bar; it’s going to be a place dedicated to music and the arts for everyone to access. Along with having bands play here, we’re going to activate the location for educational events, such as teaching creatives how to take their art and turn it into a business. We’ve been meeting with people within the city government in order to make that happen, so the city can help the artistic community have a voice and find a place for their skills.”

Samuel added: “It’s been cool seeing it all come together, much quicker than we expected. This definitely isn't something that came about by accident; we’ve wanted to have our own space for a while, a place where we’re able to provide more opportunities to people of the valley. We want to create an environment that is positive and that fosters people instead of looking down on them. That’s what’s big for us. We want this place to be as supportive as possible, so that people can take what they want to do and turn it into a living.”

I’ve witnessed nothing but sheer generosity and selflessness from the Avenida Music guys—and these character traits are influencing the new space in amazing ways.

“We’re working right now on a couple of partnerships with nonprofits—the AMP (Academy of Musical Performance) program as well as Desert Arc,” Josiah said. “With Desert Arc, we are working to bring in people with developmental disabilities, and they’ll be able to partner up with local musicians to do music lessons. We’re going to be donating the space for them to use, and helping them find funding to employ musicians—who wouldn’t otherwise be playing during the day—to come and teach. We’re also going to be putting a ramp on the stage, to allow people with disabilities to be able to perform. We hope to be able to partner with more nonprofits in the future.”

Few local bands have ambitions as large as this one, but Avenida Music is not your average local band. I was curious how this determination developed.

“The dream has always been to get out of our parents’ garage,” Josiah explained with a laugh. “The vision wasn’t anything beyond just needing a practice room, though. As we started to build out our business plans, and plans for the future, the vision developed into what it is today. We thought of ways that we can use our space to help develop the community and build the infrastructure that helps other musicians build a career and have a place in a welcoming community.”

Of course, the members of Avenida Music are already looking ahead to the next phase of development for the new space.

“Our next step will be putting a recording studio in here,” Josiah said. “We want it to be capable of doing live recording sessions with both audio and video. We’re already looking toward the future, and are looking at ways to develop cost-effective music production that will be accessible to people in the Coachella Valley. We’re working toward what essentially will be a ‘music incubator.’ We want to help out with every facet of someone’s career—bringing them in, recording them, producing the music, helping with merchandise, and helping with booking and management. We need space for all of that, and our reach will evolve as opportunities arise.”

While the exact date for the opening of the Little Street Studio had not yet been finalized as of this writing, it’s coming soon.

“We’re looking to be launching in mid-September,” Josiah said. “We’re going to be partnering with the Greater Coachella Valley Chamber of Commerce to have a big ribbon-cutting grand-opening event where people can see what will be available to them here. I’m on the board for the Indio (branch of the Greater Coachella Valley) Chamber, and we’ve had a lot of support from the city. We want to be up and running fully in October; we’re going to be partnering with the city for a couple of events. Opportunities are going to show up as we continue to do what we’ve set out a vision for.

“If people have any ideas … we’re open to talking to people about how we can be a resource or point others in the right direction. We want to start that conversation, building a network of advocacy starts when people come together.”

For more information, visit facebook.com/littlestreetmusic or www.littlestreetmusic.com.

The Zombies are one of classic rock’s greats—and one of classic rock’s great paradoxes. Even though the band has been wildly successful—the British Invasion made “She’s Not There” and “Time of the Season,” with its famous opening riff and echoey vocals, big hits in the United States—the name is unbeknownst to many.

The reason? While the band is approaching its 60th anniversary, it’s been active for less than half that time.

The Zombies will perform alongside musical genius and Beach Boys legend Brian Wilson at Fantasy Springs Casino Resort on Sunday, Sept. 1, as part of the “Something Great From ’68” tour. I was able to speak to lead vocalist Colin Blunstone about this opportunity.

“I’ve always listened to Brian Wilson’s music with awe. I think he’s absolutely wonderful, and the guys in his band are great too,” Blunstone said. “I think it’s going to be a wonderful experience to tour with him and his band—from a musical point of view, but also just to be traveling with brilliant musicians and fantastic people. It’s going to be a truly wonderful show!”

Earlier this year, the Zombies were at long last inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, alongside Radiohead, The Cure, Stevie Nicks, Def Leppard, Janet Jackson and Roxy Music.

“It was so exciting to get that kind of award in the autumn of your career,” Blunstone said. “It’s a recognition from both your fans and from the music industry that they’ve appreciated what you’ve been doing all of these years. It’s a wonderful feeling and still very exciting.”

The band’s momentous achievement was well deserved, as the Zombies’ career has been full of hard work and sacrifices.

“It was nonstop craziness in the ’60s,” Blunstone said. “When we first came over, we played in New York for the Murray the K’s Show at the Brooklyn Fox on Christmas 1964. We opened on Christmas Day and played for about 10 days, and did six or seven shows a day! Most of the artists did one or two songs, and there were about 15 acts on the bill: Dionne Warwick, the Shirelles, the Shangri-Las, Chuck Jackson, Ben E. King, Patti LaBelle and the Bluebelles, and more. That was our first experience on a stage, and it was absolutely brilliant. We were a little apprehensive since we were only 19 and came to the land of rock ’n’ roll. Every British musician wants to play in America, because this is where the blues, rhythm and blues, and rock ’n’ roll originated. We came in awe of the history of American music, and there was a very good backstage camaraderie, because we were all away from home over Christmas, so there was a great team spirit feeling there.”

The Zombies went on to tour relentlessly. The conditions were not ideal.

“It was quite physically demanding,” Blunstone said. “We were doing huge distances, and often not staying in hotels after shows. We did the Dick Clark Caravan of Stars and played with Del Shannon, Tommy Roe, the Shangri-Las, and Velvelettes. Since some of the artists lower on the bill weren’t earning as much, we would have to sleep on the bus every second night: They would drive slowly through the night so we didn’t have to get a hotel. We would arrive as late as possible in hopes that our rooms would be ready, and we could catch a bit of sleep before the show. We were all very tired at the end of that particular tour.

“Dick Clark had a few different tours out in the States, and the top acts would meet up at the end of the tour. We went up to Canada and got to play with Tom Jones, Peter and Gordon, Herman’s Hermits and a whole host of other artists at the end, which was very exciting. We played very big, sold-out venues, and there was still that ’60s hysteria. It even got a bit scary sometimes, because the audiences got a little bit out of control sometimes. It was a very strange phenomenon to witness.”

Feeling frustrated over what they perceived as a lack of success, the members of the Zombies parted ways in 1967. The band wouldn’t truly reunite until 2000.

“We had been together since 1961, and our first record was in 1964. We had only been together professionally for three years, but we worked very, very hard. I think we all needed a break,” Blunstone said. “In 1967, the band finished. Maybe if we had taken a break, we could’ve got back together. We perceived ourselves as being unsuccessful, and it is only years later that we realized we’d always had a hit record somewhere in the world. Without the internet, we didn’t realize what was happening. We would get the chart positions from countries around the world almost two years later!

“In ’67, we saw ourselves as unsuccessful, but really we weren’t. Everyone thought it was time to move on, and so we did, but then we found ourselves in a very strange position when ‘Time of the Season’ reached No. 1 on the Cash Box (magazine) chart (in 1968), and there was no band. We were all committed to other projects, and it was just too late to put the band back together. … It’s very unusual that we didn’t get back together to promote and exploit the hit record, but it was never even talked about between us.”

The members of the Zombies stayed close. They frequently collaborated on projects, including Blunstone’s debut solo album, One Year, in 1971.

“(Fellow Zombies members) Rod Argent and Chris White produced many of my solo albums, which were quite successful in the U.K. and Europe, but never in America,” Blunstone said. “People think that I just stopped and didn’t start working again until recently when we regrouped, but I was always working; I just had no chart success in America, so there’s really no reference for it.”

What finally led the Zombies to reunite after more than 30 years?

“There was a band put together with Don Airey, who was in Deep Purple and played with Whitesnake, Ozzy Osbourne and many other rock groups,” Blunstone said. “He called me quite often and encouraged me to get out on the road. He put a band together, and we started touring in 1997. … Eventually, Don and the guys moved on, and we had six shows left with no keyboard player. I rang Rod Argent, who had established himself as a successful producer and had been in the studio for a long time. I didn’t think he’d want to get out on the road again, but he said he’d do those six. … Here we are, almost 20 years later, still playing. I try not to make too many plans, because nothing works out the way you think it will. But 20 years on, and here we are, in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

“It’s always been the same with the Zombies—we’ve always played because we just enjoy playing; there was never any thought of hit records or awards. We just really love music, and that’s always what’s driven us. The music business is very tough, and if you’re not in it because you love performing, writing and recording, then it’s incredibly hard to keep any level of enthusiasm.”

The Zombies will perform with Brian Wilson at 8 p.m., Sunday, Sept. 1, at Fantasy Springs Resort Casino, 84245 Indio Springs Drive, in Indio. Tickets are $49 to $89. For tickets or more information, call 760-342-5000, or visit www.fantasyspringsresort.com.

Take rock music out of a 1970s time capsule; add rock ballads with memorable riffs, blazing guitar solos and commanding vocals with sweet three-part harmonies—and you have Pescaterritory.

Pescaterritory includes four high schoolers: vocalist Aiden Schaeffer, 16, a senior at Shadow Hills High School; drummer Nick Willman, 16, a senior at La Quinta High School; bassist Gavin Lopez, 14, a freshman at Palm Desert High School; and guitarist Jason Zembo, 15, a junior at Palm Desert High School. Despite having only eight performances under their belts, the band’s music is being heard around the world: Pescaterritory’s first two singles, “Better Off Dead” and “King Street,” were recently broadcast on the US10 Radio Show, hosted by Barry Tomes, in the United Kingdom.

How did that happen?

“Pappy and Harriet’s has an open-mic night on Mondays, and we decided the night before to go play there,” explained Zembo. “We had played there before, and it really helped us grow—we gained a lot of followers on Instagram—so we decided to go again. It just so happened that … there was a radio host from Birmingham named Barry Tomes in the audience. He thought our band was really great and invited us on his show. My father exchanged emails with him, and he asked us to send over some recordings. We didn’t have any recordings yet, so we went right into the studio.”

Before Pescaterritory came along, the boys took part in the Academy of Musical Performance program.

“We’ve been all band-hopping for a really long time, and we were all finally ready to make a band that’s gonna be the band,” Schaeffer said. “We were all on the same page and wanted to work together. We’ve only been together for a year.”

Zembo added: “We started practicing in late July (2018), but it was very on and off due to our other bands and summer school. Eventually we came together and decided to make Pescaterritory a priority. Our first show sounded really good, and we were very tight. Right away, we knew that it was a good decision to keep going with this band.”

While some bands play their first show at a birthday party or open mic, Pescaterritory’s came at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden during the Garden Jam Music Festival, supporting acts including Lukas Nelson and Promise of the Real and blues legend Buddy Guy. Pescaterritory has also performed at Whisky a Go Go in West Hollywood.

“We did a cover of ‘Comfortably Numb’ by Pink Floyd and turned it into an 11-minute jam,” Zembo said about the Tennis Garden gig. “It was our first ever show, and our improv went so well; it was really eye-opening. Pappy’s open mics were also huge for us. They only give you two songs each night, but the people gave us very good responses for only playing two songs.”

Lopez added, “The first night we played at Pappy’s was Coachella weekend, so there was a really big gathering of people up there.”

As for that Whisky a Go Go show: “We were actually able to sell out of all of the pay-to-play tickets,” Zembo said. “We had a lot of family members wanting to go, and Gavin always brings a crowd; he’s a party animal! The only bad part was the three-hour drive to Los Angeles.”

While their music is reminiscent of classic rock, the members of Pescaterritory want to be defined by their own sound.

“We all have our influences, but we’re really just doing our own thing,” said Zembo. “We’re not trying to bring out one sound, but mending a bunch of sounds that are working well together. We want to bring back rock ’n’ roll in terms of the instruments, the feeling, the improv-filled live shows. Most music nowadays is to tracks, which takes away from the heart and soul of the music.”

The Pesca boys laugh and goof off like any group of great friends. They told some hilarious stories—there was that one time when Willman’s dog pooped on Zembo’s Les Paul—and joked about the fashion sense of rock ’n’ rollers.

“I do wear women’s clothing from time to time onstage, because of my smaller figure, but I do not wear panties at all,” Zembo said. “No women’s bottoms—only from the waist up. … Actually, I think I do have a pair of women’s jeans, but I wear them like a badge of honor, like the old rock ’n’ rollers. Robert Plant wore women’s jeans!

“I’m not really shooting for sex appeal; I’m shooting for rock ’n’ roll. Most shows, I wear a jacket with no shirt, showing the six pack,” Zembo continued as his bandmates laughed. “I wouldn’t go totally shirtless. Nick would, but I have class, mixed with some rocker tint of ‘I just don’t care.’ Usually, Gavin has a tuxedo on; Nick is shirtless; and I’m somewhere in between.”

Schaeffer added: “I’ll show up with nipple piercings and be suspended from the ceiling.”

While the boys know how to have fun, they take their music very seriously. Schaeffer talked about his relative inexperience and rewarding growth as both a vocalist and a music writer, and all of the members discussed their goal—to make music for a living.

“Popularity is all up to chance, but as long as we keep working hard, and people dig us, we’ll be able to make enough to keep making the music,” Zembo said. “I just want to continue making music for life. We’re all young, and there’s so much potential, but we still have a lot to grow. The music business is a hard business to crack, but as long as we’re doing enough to make a living, that’s all that matters.”

Schaeffer added: “We’re very passionate. That’s what makes us a lot better as musicians. We all want the same thing. It’s truly what we love in this world.”

For more information, visit facebook.com/pescaterritory.

Jetta King has gained a lot of attention within the last year thanks to her extremely powerful voice and tight backing band (featuring Nick Hales, Carlyn Park Basore and Tyler Ontiveros). Her next performance will be at Bear Claw Tattoo during the Idyllwild Strong festival, at 1 p.m., Sunday, Aug. 18. For more information on the festival, visit www.idyllwildstrong.com. Jetta King recently agreed to answer The Lucky 13; here are her answers.

What was the first concert you attended?

Either Tool or (the) Wango Tango (festival).

What was the first album you owned?

Hanson, I think? Wow, that’s embarrassing, but I was, like, 7. I used to get out pots, pans and chopsticks to make drums, and I would play along to the CD. I would actually invite my “neighbros” over to watch my “band.”

What bands are you listening to right now?

There’s this band called 3. They’re the band that Coheed and Cambria copied, except 3 is WAY better. The album Wake Pig is on repeat quite often. I really connect with the song “Alien Angel.”

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

Mumble rap ... it’s “terribad.” I really don’t understand why everyone is obsessed with Billie Eilish, either.

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

I would have loved to see Metallica (perform) S&M back in the day. That was such a powerful, awesome combo of classical and metal.

What’s your favorite musical guilty pleasure?

Halsey. I’m not usually into that sort of music, but she’s rad.

What’s your favorite music venue?

I have so many memories of going to Chain Reaction in Anaheim, because it’s a small, all-ages venue, and I love to get really close to the stage and meet the band afterward!

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

Lately, it’s been all local-band songs! I’ve had Mega Sun, The CMFs and Order of the Wolf songs stuck in my head for days! “Just a little bittle this! And a little bittle that!”

What band or artist changed your life? How?

August Burns Red. There’s just something really special about what they put into their music. It’s spiritual. Every time I see them live, it fills me with incredible energy. Also: I have grown up watching Sia’s career from the beginning, and she is so powerful. She’s a huge influence in every way. They both have a way of bringing me out of a funk and back to the light. They inspire.

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

“Hi, August Burns Red! Can I be in your band?” Ha ha, just kidding. But I really want to collaborate with my favorite artists. That’s the dream. I would love to guest-vocal on a track with them.

What song would you like played at your funeral?

“The Imperial March”! Yeah! Bury me to Star Wars. Can you imagine that playing as the casket is lowered into the pit!? EPIC!

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

Metallica’s ... And Justice for All was an album that I would listen to as a kid on repeat with my Walkman and headphones. It really kept me from going to a dark place at a dark time.

What song should everyone listen to right now?

“Alien Angel” by 3. (Scroll down to hear it!)

Chelsea Sugarbritches is a massive supporter of the Coachella Valley music scene. When she’s not belting her heart out on stage with 5th Town (www.facebook.com/5thtown)—currently in the studio recording its debut album—or kicking it ‘80s style with cover-band Long Duk Dong, her unique and ever-changing brightly colored hair can be spotted in the audience at many local shows. Catch 5th Town live at the Idyllwild Strong Festival at 2 p.m., Sunday, Aug. 18; visit www.idyllwildstrong.com for more info. She was kind enough to answer The Lucky 13; here are her answers.

What was the first concert you attended?

Technically, The Beach Boys at College of the Desert. But my first big, big concert was Pearl Jam at the (Empire Polo Club).

What was the first album you owned?

My parents have an extensive album collection, so I was pretty much listening to albums out of the womb. I think the first one I personally went to Record Alley (in the Indio mall) and bought was Michael Jackson’s Thriller.

What bands are you listening to right now?

Mostly local bands right now: Mikey Reyes, Blasting Echo, The After Lashes, Reborn by the Sunshine, and FrankEatsTheFloor. Oh and I’m pretty obsessed with Lizzo right now.

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

I wish the overly auto tuned vocals trend would quit already.

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

Big Brother and the Holding Company with Janis Joplin.

What’s your favorite musical guilty pleasure?

You shouldn’t feel guilty about any music you listen to. You like it; listen to it. No shame in my game.

What’s your favorite music venue?

Anywhere that has live music.

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

This week? “Let it go before it breaks; you know it’s got to be that way,” “It Breaks,” by Blasting Echo. That song is fuckin’ killer. I can’t wait for their new album!

What band or artist changed your life? How?

Every band and artist that I connect with changes my life. That’s what’s so cool about music: It’s personal; it’s emotional. Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, Aretha Franklin, Janis Joplin, Nirvana, and Snoop Dogg.

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

How do you ask someone one question? How about 13? I would love to go back in time and have a conversation with Janis Joplin.

What song would you like played at your funeral?

Showtunes: “Seasons of Love” from Rent.

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

This is an impossible question to answer. I really love 3 Years 5 Months and 2 Days in the Life of ... by Arrested Development. I don’t know if it’s my ALL TIME FAVORITE, though … ugh, that’s hard.

What song should everyone listen to right now?

“Growing Scheme,” by Mikey Reyes featuring Bryanna Evaro. (Scroll down to hear it!)

You may know the band as Oh Sees, Thee Oh Sees, OCS or one of several other names that have changed along with the lineup over the last two-plus decades.

However, one thing has remained constant: founding-member John Dwyer’s blistering guitar and crunchy vocals. Oh Sees, as we’ll call the band today, puts on one of the best live shows around—meaning that the group’s Friday, Aug. 9, show at Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace is not to be missed … that is, if you can get tickets, because it is currently listed as sold out via the venue.

During a recent phone interview, I asked Dwyer—who said proceeds from the show would be donated to an as-yet-undetermined local charity—whether he thought the band’s name was important to its success.

“No. In fact, if anything, now we just change the name to irritate reviewers and journalists, because they took such umbrage to it being moved around a couple of times,” he said. “I started my own label (Castle Face Records) so I could do whatever the fuck I want, because with personnel and tone changes, we’d change the name around a lot. I’d talk to PR people, and they’d ask, ‘How are people going to know it’s the same band?’ I say that if somebody’s enough of an idiot to not know that this is the same band, then I don’t want them watching our band. That being said, our fans are smart enough to follow the lead. I don’t know if it’s been a detriment or not, but honestly, I don’t really care. It’s such a nonstory to me that it became a point of humor for us to slightly change the name to irk Pitchfork.”

OCS was at first Dwyer’s solo project, started while he was in other bands with names such as Pink and Brown, Zeigenbock Kopf and Coachwhips. I was curious whether it was hard to turn his solo project into a full band.

“The very first (OCS) record is really long, almost three LPs into one record, and most of it is just improvisational noise stuff,” Dwyer said. “It wasn’t hard at all to change it into something else, because it was always this amorphous, shifting, protean thing. I don’t know why I kept the name—that would be a better question, because nobody knew who the hell OCS was anyway, but it just sort of fell into place.

“It started when I brought in a guy named Patrick Mullins. He started playing drums for me. … Then he just started writing with me, and that planted the seed that it could be a full band. Twenty years later, it is what it is now, but we just got stuck with the name. People ask me what the name means, and I have no fucking idea. … I grew to like it. It took me 20 years to get there, though.”

Since 2003, Dwyer’s band has released a whopping 22 albums.

“It’s all I do. I don’t have a job anymore, because this is my job, but I really enjoy it,” Dwyer said. “I’m very lucky to have made this happen. We have slowed down, though. People always throw around the word ‘prolific.’ It’s almost a detrimental tag—prolific, as in these guys put out a ton of garbage.

“The thing is that everybody works at different rates. For a long time, though, with more drug consumption, we were working a lot more. Now that I’ve gotten older, we spend a little more time, and there’s more of a cooperative element to the songwriting process. It’s takes a little longer, because I’m not alone writing. I prefer it this way, because it’s more fun, and it makes it more diverse.”

Dwyer said he rarely encounters writer’s block; instead, he distances himself from projects when he begins to struggle. He cited a solo project under yet another name, Damaged Bug, as an example.

“I’ve been working on a new Damaged Bug record for about two years now, which is pretty unusual for me, but it’s not so much writer’s block,” he said. “I’ve written 30 to 40 songs, but they’re just not done, so I’ve taken a break and switched gears onto a different project. It’s important to take breaks. Our band takes breaks from each other for vacations or for other side projects, and then we come back.”

Dwyer said he’s constantly on the lookout for bands to add to Castle Face Records.

“I always try to watch every band I play with,” he said. “Before I had the label, I always watched for bands to play with, write with or just meet. I have the easy job at the label. There’s a guy named Matt Jones who’s my partner at the label, a 50-50 kind of deal, and he does a lot of the heavy lifting with the bureaucracy of it—all the bullshit that I don’t want to deal with. I have the job of going around the world, playing shows and meeting bands. People send me shit all time, and we go through demos. I listen to everything people send us.”

One of the bigger names on the label is Ty Segall, who just performed at Coachella.

“Me and Ty are very good friends, but I don’t see any collaborations happening in the future,” Dwyer said. “If anything, I would provoke him to play further out into black space. … That dude is on his own trip—heavily. I do love his collaboration with Tim Presley, though.”

Oh Sees will perform with Earth Girl Helen Brown and DYNASTY HANDBAG at 8 p.m., Friday, Aug. 9, at Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace, 53688 Pioneertown Road, in Pioneertown. Tickets are $30-$35, but are currently listed as sold out. For more information, call 760-365-5956, or visit pappyandharriets.com.

Captain Ghost, a four-piece alternative-rock band, is a growing presence in the Coachella Valley music scene thanks to the group’s powerful anthems and ballads—plus its political and perhaps even conspiratorial lyrics.

And then there’s that intriguing name. I sat down to talk with Bradley Burton (songwriter/vocals/rhythm guitar), Nick Hales (lead guitar), Mikey Hendricks (bass guitar) and Corwin Hendricks (drums).

“I took a sheet of paper and wrote down names that came to mind. I had some really good ones, but they were all taken—pretty much every one,” Burton said. “Captain Ghost was one of the first things I wrote down. I didn’t really like it at first, but when I found out there were no other bands named Captain Ghost, I thought it was kinda cool.

“Coincidentally, there is a book from the ’50s called Captain Ghost, which I’d love to read now. One of my first choices for a name was ‘The Promised Software.’”

Mikey Hendricks said the band’s power and exuberant stage presence have been helpful in growing a fan base.

“The big thing about playing live shows, especially out here in this tight-knit community, is to just make it fun,” Hendricks said. “Back in high school, I was in a band playing house shows and generator parties in the middle of the desert, and the big thing was jumping off of amps, swinging guitars around, and making it fun for all of your friends who were there every single weekend. The music doesn’t always hold itself or keep people’s attention, so you just want to make it fun for everyone and keep it interesting.”

Corwin Hendricks added: “The music just has so much energy. It’s hard to not get into it.”

The expression and passion of the music slaps you in the face from the first few verses of the band’s lead single, “Poison Skies.”

“That song pretty much wrote itself when I learned about what was going on in the environment, and the plans that all these scientists have to combat global warming,” Burton said. “Their techniques kinda frustrated me—raining all these metals down. To know that some of these metals are neurotoxins, and watching my kids go outside and play knowing this stuff is coming down just pissed me off.”

Why was “Poison Skies” chosen as the band’s first single?

“The deciding factor is I envisioned the video for it,” Mikey Hendricks said. “It’s a dual-concept video with nuclear-era World War II footage, spraying chemicals on plants—basically proof that the government has poisoned us in the past, and suggesting, ‘What makes you think they’re not doing it right now?’ We went out and shot in Sky Valley and slapped free-domain footage of civil-defense videos and duck-and-cover films on top of it.”

The political lyrics continue on second single “Raise the Flag,” while the third single, “True Blue,” is a love ballad.

“I think it’s really important for an artist to have some personal songs. A lot of the topics on songs we’ve talked about are fairly new to me,” Burton said. “I’ve been writing songs for a long time, and they started out as personal and selfish, either about me or about a girl. But as I've grown up and educated myself, they took a turn in the current direction. I don’t always want to be writing about social or political things. It’s actually been an accomplishment for me to get back into personal songwriting. ‘True Blue’ is a song about a relationship where you try to be true—but mixed with some end-times type of flair.”

Burton explained how the band came to be.

“I’m originally from Orange County. My dad and I used to come out here on the weekends to Mission Lakes to play golf and crash golf carts,” Burton said. “In 2002, my dad moved out here, and I ended up moving with him, but I still had a band in OC that I would go back and jam with on the weekends. I was never in a serious band, always just jam or garage bands. … I lived in Vegas for a few years and then moved back to Indio, still writing songs—but I had a family, so that came first. Ever since my first child was on the way, I made it a priority to be a good provider for them.

“After I got a good career, I decided it wasn’t what I wanted to do—my passion is music. I went into a studio and did a few songs, then got invited by a friend to play an acoustic show at Plan B. So I went and played a few songs, then stuck around for the band after, which was Upper Class Poverty (which featured Mikey Hendricks on bass, and Corwin Hendricks on drums). I was really impressed by their rhythm section, and after seeing them play, I thought that I needed some guys like that. We hung out that night, and I hit them up on Facebook.”

Hales came on board after the original guitarist left. “I was/am very busy, but once I heard the tracks, I was in,” he said.

Busy is an understatement: Hales is currently part of eight (!) bands, while Burton has a wife and kids.

“Yeah, we only get to practice on Sunday, and I work trade jobs, Brad’s got a Monday through Friday gig, and Corwin works weekends,” Hales said.

Mikey Hendricks added: “You have to keep the money flowing in so you can keep buying strings. We’d really love for this to be full time and have it be able to support all of us. It’s not really hard for us to be doing what we’re doing right now, because we love what we’re doing. Our upcoming album and release show will hopefully spark things to go further.”

Mikey Hendricks elaborated on the band’s plan of attack.

“Our immediate future is releasing our full-length album on Aug. 17, which will feature Nick Hales’ mandolin debut, with a release show at The Hood that night. We’re then following that with a tour. This upcoming season, we hope to play a lot more shows and create more music for the next album.”

Hales summed up the plan: “Today, the valley. Tomorrow, the world.”

Captain Ghost will perform at 9 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 17, at The Hood Bar and Pizza, 74360 Highway 111, in Palm Desert. Admission is free. For more information on the band, visit captainghost.com.

The Regrettes have in youth achieved what most musicians spend their entire lives trying to achieve.

The band, which has more than 250,000 monthly listeners on Spotify, earlier this year completed a European stadium tour. Debut album Feel Your Feelings Fool! achieved critical acclaim in 2017, and follow-up How Do You Love? is scheduled for an Aug. 9 release.

The four young adults in the Los Angeles-based punk/alternative-rock band are creating the soundtrack for the lives of teenagers everywhere—and the band will be kicking off its latest U.S. tour on Friday, July 19, at all-ages Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace.

Frontwoman Lydia Night talked about opening for Twenty One Pilots during a European tour earlier this year.

“That was an insane experience, something that I never would predict to happen so soon, or just at all,” Night said. “Playing in front of that many people is something that you can’t really prepare for. (Opening for) a band that size, you just don’t know what’s coming at all. You just have to hop in with both feet and hope for the best, just go for it, and learn from experience with each show. … To see all of that was so exciting and inspiring.”

The Regrettes did not have a lot of time to prepare.

“The craziest thing about that tour was that we found out we were going on it six days before it started, so that was pretty fucking nuts,” Night said.

The band is starting off its tour in Pioneertown, in part because Night has a lot of personal experience at Pappy and Harriet’s.

“Pappy’s is somewhere I actually started doing open mics at, when I was 9 or 10, really young,” she said. “My dad owns a hotel out there, and Joshua Tree has been a big part of my life as a musician. I remember walking around with a tip jar at Pappy’s after doing open mics and shows on the indoor stage. Playing on the outdoor stage has always been a goal and dream of mine, so the fact that we’re playing there is so special to me and really exciting.”

Night is 18 years old; I’m a 17-year-old musician (I also got my start at Pappy and Harriet’s, coincidentally), so I was curious to hear her thoughts on the treatment of younger bands at 21-and-older shows.

“Yeah, it’s so frustrating,” she said. “It hasn’t happened in so long, since we’ve gotten bigger, but in my old band, which was a two-piece, there were a lot of shows we’d play that weren’t all-ages, and they’d be weird about us even being in the venue before playing, which just made no sense to me. We’d have to wait outside or go kill time before the show and be escorted to the stage, always with X’s on our hand.”

One of The Regrettes’ standout tracks, “Seashore,” mentions getting looked down upon because of a young age: “You’re talkin’ to me like I’m dumb / Well I’ve got news; I’ve got a lot to say / There’s nothing you can do to take that away.” Night said she’s learned how to deal with people treating her differently due to her age.

“It used to be something that was just talked about in press or media. People sometimes do, but not nearly as much now,” she said. “It’s more of other bands approaching us or people at venues approaching us. It hasn’t been in-your-face disrespectful, but there’s an underlying tone, because there are three women who are all pretty young. Sometimes people approach us like they’re more knowledgeable about our gear, or about the way a show is run, and we’re like, ‘Actually, we’ve been touring for a very long time. Thank you very much, but we know how to work our amps.’ But honestly, it doesn’t happen too often, and we’re pretty good at avoiding it and standing up for ourselves.”

Many Regrettes songs cover the emotions and insecurities teenagers face; Night said she hopes the songs serve as consolation.

“I just speak on things I know about and am experiencing,” she said. “… I’m just a very honest songwriter, and stuff that’s being talked about in our music is from a truthful place. I think it’s important as an artist to take a stand like that when writing music. … I like doing that, because it lets others know that it’s OK to be confident in those feelings and emotions, whatever they’re going through.”

The band’s three newest singles—“I Dare You,” “Pumpkin” and “Dress Up”—offer more of an alternative-rock feel, in contrast to the punk-heavy songs on Feel Your Feelings Fool! Night said to expect more of this on How Do You Love?

“It’s more of a mix of Blondie/’80s pop meets early Strokes meets Regrettes,” she said.

The Regrettes will perform with Hot Flash Heat Wave at 9 p.m., Friday July 19, at Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace, 53688 Pioneertown Road, in Pioneertown. Tickets are $15. For tickets or more information, call 760-365-5956, or visit pappyandharriets.com.