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Thu11262020

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If you’ve ever been to Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace, you’ve probably noticed their security man, Big Dave Johnson. He’s also the bassist for Shawn Mafia and the 10 Cent Thrills. While Big Dave doesn’t tolerate nonsense of any kind at a Pappy’s show, he’s actually quite friendly—and many of the regular patrons always chat him up. Speaking of chatting: Big Dave was kind enough to recently answer The Lucky 13. For more information on Pappy and Harriet’s, visit pappyandharriets.com; for more on Shawn Mafia and the 10 Cent Thrills, head on over to www.shawnmafia.com.

What was the first concert you attended?

Monsters of Rock in Karlsruhe, Germany in 1984. I remember it well. Mötley Crue was the opener, (followed by) Accept, Gary Moore, Dio, Ozzy Osbourne, Van Halen—and AC/DC was the headliner. The crowd was crazy! It’s one of my favorite memories, even though I got into a fight over a girl.

What was the first album you owned?

The first album I owned wasn’t even an album—it was an 8-track that I got from Kmart, The Knack’s Get the Knack with “My Sharona.” That song was huge when it came out.

What bands are you listening to right now?

The Lovin’ Spoonful, The Ramones, Roger Barrett, some Black Sabbath, The Grateful Dead, Led Zeppelin, AC/DC, The Doors, The Weirdos, and Glen Campbell. I also have this ’60s garage-band psychedelic album that a friend of mine gave me. It’s all interesting and sets the mood for me when I’m nostalgic, getting to working, or when I want to relax and let my mind go. Throw in some David Bowie or the Stooges, too—oh, and James Brown! That’s the ticket!

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

I get it all. I can see why people like jazz, blues, funk, punk, hip-hop, country, indie rock, etc. I like them for what they are, but the best music for me is still that ’60s and ’70s rock ’n’ roll.

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

If I had my choice right now, it would be Pink Floyd with Syd Barrett. However, if it’s a band that’s current, the Creepy Creeps were a blast. I could see them again and again!

What’s your favorite musical guilty pleasure?

Michael Jackson’s Off the Wall.

What’s your favorite music venue?

I’m going to say Pappy and Harriet’s, for obvious reasons.

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

“Look out, mama, there’s a white boat coming up the river,” from “Powderfinger,” by Neil Young; and, “Padding around on the ground. He'll be found when you're around,” from “Lucifer Sam,” by Pink Floyd.

What band or artist changed your life? How?

Two Lane Blacktop, and Brett Balaban. He is like a jukebox, and it’s been so much fun playing music with him over the years—10 years this year, in fact. He’s taught me about writing and keeping music fun.

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

Syd Barrett: “What was your inspiration for The Piper at the Gates of Dawn?”

What song would you like played at your funeral?

“Blister in the Sun” by Violent Femmes.

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

Pink Floyd, The Piper at the Gates of Dawn.

What song should everyone listen to right now?

Again, “Blister in the Sun,” Violent Femmes. (Scroll down to hear it.)

Published in The Lucky 13

Since Haunted Summer formed in 2012, the Los Angeles band has enjoyed virtual overnight success, including performances in famous Southern California venues like the El Rey Theatre. On Thursday, Jan. 16, the band will perform at another famous venue: Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace.

Haunted Summer starts with John and Bridgette Seasons. The longtime friends—now married—had played music together in other bands. Then came an opportunity that turned into their founding moment.

“There’s a venue out here in L.A. called the Echo. They basically enlisted us to put together a cover band covering Animal Collective,” said John Seasons. “Long story short, I asked Bridgette, and that collaboration led to love—and led to the band sticking around beyond that one show.”

John and Bridgette’s influences include Cocteau Twins, Björk, The Flaming Lips and Fleetwood Mac. Add in Bridgette’s theater background, and John’s exposure to all sorts of musical genres—his father is a jazz drummer—and the result is a unique sound that would place them somewhere within the “dream pop” genre.

“It just naturally came out,” said Bridgette Seasons about the band’s sound. “Last Thanksgiving (2012), we brought our instruments and just jammed. We wrote our first song, and we just sort of understood what we were playing at the time.”

Added John: “It was really organic. The album and songs we do in our set, we wrote in about a month. The next step was getting our music out there.”

They indeed started getting their music out there, opening for various national bands. They said their favorite live shows to date were with The Polyphonic Spree, a psychedelic pop group that features a chorus and orchestra.

“Tim DeLaughter of The Polyphonic Spree is the most wholesome guy,” said John Seasons.” Everyone in that band would come up to us after a show and see how we were doing. Everybody bought our merch, and it felt like a big family in that atmosphere.”

Added Bridgette: “That band tours with 16 people, and they’re all in a giant van staying in small hotels and having to take turns with the shower. You would think they’d be stressed out and mean, but they’re all really nice people.”

The Polyphonic Spree is just one of the acts with whom they’ve shared the stage. Others include Taken by Trees, Coeur de Pirate and Meiko, to name a few.

“We’ve been able to play with a lot of really different acts. It’s just been very viable for us,” said Bridgette Seasons.

Their EP, a five-track effort called Something in the Water, is an independent effort that has been posted on Bandcamp (hauntedsummer.bandcamp.com) and sold at Amoeba Records in Hollywood and San Francisco. They are now working on their full-length album.

Bridgette Seasons talked about what can be expected from their show at Pappy and Harriet’s.

“Usually when we perform, it’s (as) a two-piece,” she said. “The show at Pappy and Harriet’s will have a four-piece band. It’s very driving and drony, but really full, heartfelt and psychedelic. It wraps you up in a whole different world of sound.

“We’re really excited about that show. … The show might be a lot bigger than we thought. Robyn (Celia), one of the owners of Pappy and Harriet’s, was nice enough to give us that date. This will be our last hurrah before we head on a national tour.”

Haunted Summer will perform with Islands at 8 p.m., Thursday, Jan. 16, at Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace, 53688 Pioneertown Road, Pioneertown. Tickets are $8. For tickets or more information, call 760-365-5956, or visit pappyandharriets.com.

Published in Previews

Now that the holidays are over, it’s time for a breather.

During the month of January, the Coachella Valley is experiencing a slowdown in the number of music events—so it’s all about quality over quantity. Thankfully, there’s plenty of quality.

The McCallum Theatre will host Shirley MacLaine at 7 p.m., Sunday, Jan. 19. MacLaine will be speaking about her experiences in Hollywood, her private life and her spiritual journey. Tickets are $35 to $75. Jazz vocal artist Patti Austin will be performing at 8 p.m., Tuesday, Jan. 28. Austin, best known for her 1981 duet “Baby, Come to Me” with James Ingram, is a live delight. Tickets are $35 to $75. At 8 p.m., Friday, Jan. 31, and Saturday, Feb. 1, Pink Martini will take the stage. The modern-day alternative lounge-music act has always had a feel good vibe and will definitely put on a fun show. Tickets are $35 to $95. McCallum Theatre, 73000 Fred Waring Drive, Palm Desert; 760-340-2787; www.mccallumtheatre.com.

Fantasy Springs Resort Casino has a solid schedule throughout the month. The Golden Boys will be performing at 8 p.m., Friday, Jan. 3. The supergroup includes three heartthrobs from the early days of pop: Frankie Avalon, Bobby Rydell and Fabian. They’ll be onstage together crooning each of their hits. For those who remember the heyday of these singers back in the ’50s, it will be a special night. Tickets are $29 to $59. And now for something completely different: At 8 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 11, Snoop Lion, aka Snoop Dogg, aka Snoop Doggy Dogg, will be performing in the Coachella Valley for the first time since his headlining slot with Dr. Dre at Coachella in 2012. It’s hard to predict what to expect from Snoop, since his recent conversion to Snoop Lion has also included a shift in sound. His most recent release, Reincarnated, is a reggae album; Snoop’s conversion to the Rastafarian religion was shown in the documentary with the same name. He was a no-show at a scheduled performance in Portland, Ore., a few months back, and he seems to be more open to being called Snoop Dogg again, so who knows what to expect? (He turned down an interview request from the Independent, for what it’s worth.) Tickets are $39 to $89. At 8 p.m., Friday, Jan. 31, country-music star Martina McBride will close out the month in style. Her career goes all the way back to 1988, and she’s had quite a run ever since; she also has a new album slated for release in 2014. This should definitely be a treat for country-music fans. Tickets are $39 to $99. Fantasy Springs Resort Casino, 84245 Indio Springs Parkway, Indio; 760-342-5000; www.fantasyspringsresort.com.

Agua Caliente Resort Casino Spa has a slower January compared to other recent months—but the resort’s schedule does feature an undeniable legend. At 9 p.m., Friday, Jan. 24, country legend Dolly Parton will bring her classics to the Agua Caliente. The “9-to-5” singer is still going strong and is inspiring younger generations after being covered by artists like the White Stripes. Tickets were $90 to $160, but the show is sold out. The Show at Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa, 32250 Bob Hope Drive, Rancho Mirage; 888-999-1995; www.hotwatercasino.com.

Spotlight 29 Casino has a couple of great events worth mentioning. At 8 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 11, comedienne Kathleen Madigan will be performing. Thanks in part to her high-profile comedy specials, including Gone Madigan on Showtime, she’s become a huge success. Tickets are $20 to $40. At 8 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 25, Morris Day and the Time will be performing with Sheila E. Morris Day is a well-known cult hero thanks to his song “Jungle Love.” Day was also in Prince’s Purple Rain as Prince’s nemesis. Speaking of Prince: His former drummer, Sheila E, will also be performing. Tickets are $25 to $45. Spotlight 29 Casino, 46200 Harrison Place, Coachella; 760-775-5566; www.spotlight29.com

Morongo Casino Resort Spa doesn’t have much going on in January, but the Cabazon resort will kick off the next month with Foreigner, at 8 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 1. While Mick Jones is the only remaining member, the band’s hits make them worth experiencing live. Also, for those of us who watch Aqua Teen Hunger Force, we know the powers of the “Foreigner Belt.” Tickets are $59 to $69. Morongo Casino Resort Spa, 49500 Seminole Drive, Cabazon; 800-252-4499; www.morongocasinoresort.com.

Pappy and Harriet’s, meanwhile, has another great month of shows booked. At 8 p.m., Thursday, Jan. 9, Pappy’s will host the Bobby Nichols Band. The high-desert band is a hit with the local crowd, thanks to their smooth electronic instrumental grooves; it will be a perfect night to be in Pioneertown for dinner and a show. Admission is free. At 7:30 p.m., Friday, Jan. 10, The Palominos (right) will be performing. The San Diego based honky-tonk band is helping keep the California country music sound alive. This show is free, too. After hosting the Weirdos in December, Pappy’s will be hosting another punk band at 9 p.m., Sunday, Jan. 19: Parquet Courts. Since forming in 2010 in Brooklyn, N.Y., the band has been a hit in the underground—and has even gained some attention from the mainstream music press. Tickets are $12. Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace, 53688 Pioneertown Road, Pioneertown; 760-365-5956; www.pappyandharriets.com.

The Hood Bar and Pizza is unfortunately losing booking mastermind Brandon Henderson. The good news is he will be replaced by War Drum frontman Jack Kohler. At 9 p.m., Thursday, Jan. 9, The Hood will host its new Industry Night. DJ Bent will be spinning during the all-vinyl night. Attendance is free (21 and older). At 10 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 18, Flower Boy and Giselle Woo and the Night Owls will be playing. Attendance is again free (21 and older) The Independent wishes Brandon Henderson well in his new journey. The Hood Bar and Pizza, 74360 Highway 111, Palm Desert; 760-636-5220; www.thehoodbar.com.

We’re finally getting a better look at the Hard Rock Hotel’s entertainment plans. The hotel will now feature DJs every Friday and Saturday in the lobby from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m., and poolside from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Hard Rock Palm Springs, 150 S. Palm Canyon Drive; 760-325-9676; www.hrhpalmsprings.com.

Vicky’s of Santa Fe has some great music events to go hand in hand with the restaurant’s fine dining. Every Wednesday, Friday and Saturday from 6:30 to 10 p.m., jazz musician Pat Rizzo performs with the All That Jazz Band. Every Tuesday, from 7 to 10 p.m., the restaurant features Michael Dees and Trio. Fans of swing music can enjoy Carolyn Martinez and Trio every Thursday from 6:30 to 10 p.m. John Stanley King performs every Sunday from 6 to 9 p.m. Vicky’s of Santa Fe, 45100 Club Drive, Indian Wells; 760-345-9770; www.vickysofsantafe.com.

The Ace Hotel has added a monthly event to its lineup in the Amigo Room. At 8 p.m., Friday, Jan. 10, The Full House Band featuring Nena Anderson will perform “gypsy jazz,” Americana and Western swing. The event will be every second Friday of the month going forward. Attendance is free to those 21 and older.The Ace Hotel, 701 E. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs; 760-325-9900; www.acehotel.com/palmsprings.

The newly opened Copa Room is hopping; the new spot has a lot to offer thanks to its old-school lounge appeal. At 8 p.m., Friday and Saturday, Jan. 3 and 4, the Copa will host Well-Strung (below), an all-male string quartet playing the works of artists from to Mozart to Vivaldi to … Lady Gaga? Yes, that’s right. Tickets are $25 to $35. Check the Copa’s website, as the folks there were adding a variety of shows to the lineup as we went to press.The Copa Room, 244 E. Amado Road, Palm Springs; 760-866-0021; www.coparoomtickets.com.

Zena Bender, in collaboration with the folks at Radio Free Joshua Tree, will be holding a second fundraiser at the Sky Village Swap Meet in Yucca Valley, at 4 p.m., Wednesday, Jan. 8. The nonprofit radio station was founded by Teddy Quinn to serve as an outlet for Coachella Valley and high-desert musicians, poets and artists. The effort is worth your support. A suggested donation is $10. Sky Village Swap Meet, 7028 Theatre Road, Yucca Valley; www.radiofreejoshuatree.com.

Published in Previews

In 1976, the Weirdos became one of the first Los Angeles punk outfits to form—and begin leaving a mark on the city.

After being on-again, off-again as a band ever since, the Weirdos are on again for the first time since 2005—and they’ll be at Pappy and Harriet’s on Thursday, Dec. 12.

The Denney brothers, John and Dix, are sons of the late Nora “Dodo” Denney, the actress who played Mrs. Teevee in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. They formed the Weirdos at the same time as the Sex Pistols and the Clash were taking the United Kingdom by storm with punk rock. Punk was starting to take off in the U.S., too, but the Weirdos weren’t calling themselves a “punk band,” per se. They were simply doing what was referred to back then as “art rock.”

“I think there were so few punk bands at the time, and it was pretty wide open. It was up for grabs, in other words,” said John Denney during a recent telephone interview. “… Initially, there was no scene in L.A. to speak of besides us, the Zeros, and the Nerves, who were a pop group, and shortly after came the Germs.”

Of course, the punk scene in Los Angeles eventually rose to prominence. Bands like Black Flag, Bad Religion, Fear and X became popular; so did groups with sounds coming toward punk from different directions, such as the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Fishbone.

“There were a lot of drugs back then,” John Denney said. “… I was torn about the ‘80s, because a lot of the music was so canned and not my cup of tea—but then again, there were other great things happening as well.”

During the ’80s, the Los Angeles Police Department began to view punk rock as a threat to youth, and police started cracking down on shows. Violence among audience members was also common—and even upset various punk musicians.

“It was unnerving at times. You just didn’t know where the hell it was going,” John Denney said. “It got so wild and sort of went off at every show. You just didn’t know what was going to happen next with the police cracking down. It was really ugly. I wasn’t a participant necessarily other than being in a band, but I appreciated the youthful exuberance of it all. I don’t like people getting beat up, no matter the perpetrator, but nonetheless, it was still really exciting and exhilarating, and also really positive.”

John Denney explained the band’s various hiatuses through the years by saying the group was victimized by “circumstance, sometimes brought on by our own shortcomings.

“For example, we were on a great British tour in 2005 with The Damned, and our mom got very ill. (Dix) and I had to bail on that tour and came home for my mom, and she passed away. Back then, one thing led to another, and I moved to New Orleans. That was five or six years there that we weren’t active. We’re firmly entrenched in the here and now: I like to put it that way. … I think we’re better now, but some folks might not agree. We’re going to give it another shot; that’s all we can do.”

The new version of the band includes members both old and new. Joining the Denney brothers are former Circle Jerks bassist and Sean and Zander member Zander Schloss on bass, as well as Devo and Perfect Circle touring drummer Jeff Friedl.

Will the reformed band record new material? John Denney explained there have been ideas, but nothing is set in stone.

“(Our) records really were by and large pretty crappy,” he said. “We didn’t know what we were doing at that time so many years ago. I think the quality in every sense would be better and more proficient. I’m not sure if we can put the genie back in the bottle, because we are thinking and talking about new material, but I’m not sure we want to go back to a four-track and devolve. Hopefully, we will recapture the energy and the spirit behind it.”

John Denney continues to live in New Orleans.

“I’ve been here in New Orleans with my family about seven years,” he said. “I love New Orleans, but, yes, there are many things I miss about California. It’s an amazing place. New Orleans is my home, but I’m an Angelino—and always will be.”

The Weirdos will perform with Shawn Mafia and the 10 Cent Thrills at 8 p.m., Thursday, Dec. 12, at Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace, 53688 Pioneertown Road in Pioneertown. Tickets are $13 in advance, or $15 on the day of the show. For tickets or more information, call 760-365-5956, or visit pappyandharriets.com.

Published in Previews

Eccentricity can either be a gift—or a curse. For Cass McCombs, it’s thankfully a gift, as he proves on his latest album, Big Wheel and Others (Domino).

McCombs, who turned down an interview request from the Independent, has now turned in seven albums that have been generally well-received by critics and indie-music fans.

The album starts out with an audio clip from the 1969 documentary Sean, about a 4-year-old, Sean Farrell, who was raised in the San Francisco counterculture and was already a marijuana-user at that age. There are also two other audio clips of Farrell on the album. These odd inclusions prove that if you’re expecting rhyme, reason or a specific formula on a Cass McCombs album, forget it: He’s all over the place.

The first proper song, “Big Wheel,” is an Americana-meets-rock song about trucks, trucker life, bulldozers and other rigs. He proclaims: “What does it mean to be a man? How you going to tell me who I am?”

No track sounds the same, and the album becomes a hot mess of various genres, from country to jazz to psychedelic folk to rock. “Angel Blood” has the feel of a Gram Parsons song. “Morning Star” sounds like something you’d expect from Syd Barrett or Nick Drake. “The Burning of the Temple, 2012” feels like a Nick Cave song. By the time you reach the album’s halfway point with “It Means a Lot to Know You Care,” which feels like a guitar-jazz-instrumental you’d hear in some bistro, you may feel like you’ve been listening to an iTunes compilation by a magazine. 

The second half starts off with a beautiful, mellow song called “Dealing.” Two tracks later, “Satan Is My Toy” offers rock with a saxophone in the background. How much more bizarre can it get? The answer: Much more bizarre.

“Brighter!” is a track featuring Karen Black, the actress known for films such as Five Easy Pieces, Airport 1975 and Rob Zombie’s House of 1000 Corpses. While Black sadly passed away from cancer in August, she sounds very much alive on “Brighter!” which reminds of a ’70s country song. Her voice is top-notch.

As the 22-track album closes with “Unearthed,” which feels like a home-recorded psychedelic folk anthem, you may be left wondering what you just listened to. While audiophiles and open-minded music lovers will no doubt embrace this album, Big Wheel and Others is not what most people expect from a single album by a single artist. However, McCombs has been successful with this scatter-shot approach—and he should definitely be applauded for it.

Cass McCombs performs at 9 p.m., Tuesday, Nov. 12, at Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace, 53688 Pioneertown Road, in Pioneertown. Tickets are $15. For more information, call 760-365-5956, or visit pappyandharriets.com.

Published in Previews

Season is finally here! As you make plans for Thanksgiving and prepare for the other big holidays just around the corner, you should also plan on attending some of these great shows.

The McCallum Theatre has an amazing variety of events booked solid through the month. One show that definitely won’t disappoint music-lovers is an appearance by Crosby, Stills and Nash’s Graham Nash at 8 p.m., Monday, Nov. 18. While he may be best known for his work with Stephen Stills and David Crosby, he’s had a long and successful solo career; his 1971 solo debut album, Songs for Beginners, was critically acclaimed and reached No. 15 on the Billboard albums chart. Tickets are $35 to $75. Herb Alpert will also be stopping by the McCallum, at 8 p.m., Friday, Nov. 22, along with his wife, singer Lani Hall. The jazz trumpeter, known primarily for his years with Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass, was a pioneer in jazz because he mixed Latin, funk, pop and R&B styles into his sound. While jazz has been on the decline with audiences over the years, Alpert is still going strong. Tickets are $35 to $75. The Kingston Trio will be appearing at 7 p.m., Sunday, Nov. 24. Before folk music became political in the 1960s, putting the genre on the path to a major revival, The Kingston Trio was paving the way for that revival. One downside: The original three members are long gone from the group, so the trio continues in a “third phase” with collaborators who worked with the original lineup or were otherwise affiliated with the trio. That shouldn’t stop you from going to see them and taking in some of the songs that inspired the folk revival of the 1960s. Tickets are $25 to $45. McCallum Theatre, 73000 Fred Waring Drive, Palm Desert; 760-340-2787; www.mccallumtheatre.com.

Aaron LewisAgua Caliente Casino Resort Spa is hosting some big events, too. Theresa Caputo, aka the “Long Island Medium,” will be there at 9 p.m., Friday, Nov. 15. What can be expected from Caputo? Well, it’s a safe bet that she’ll be communicating with the spirits and talking directly with their living relatives in attendance. Tickets for the event were $60 to $100, but we received word just before our deadline that the show is sold out. (I do NOT suggest shouting out a request for “Freebird” to her.) The following night, Neil Sedaka will take the stage; the “Breaking Up Is Hard to Do” crooner will be performing at 8 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 16. Sedaka was a pop icon before the British Invasion and rock ’n’ roll took America by storm. He’s still a success today; he’s been involved with American Idol and had his first big-hit album in two decades in 2007 with The Definitive Collection. Tickets are $50 to $75. For those who remember the band Staind from the infamous nu-metal era: Aaron Lewis, the frontman of the band, will be there at 9 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 30. Lewis became a hit after he did a live duet at Korn’s Family Values Tour in 1999 with Fred Durst of Limp Bizkit of a song Lewis penned called “Outside.” He turned in solo acoustic performances in the later part of the last decade and has now transitioned to country music while Staind is on hiatus. Fun fact: In July 2012, Lewis had a bitter feud with Carrie Underwood after she released her song “Last Name,” which he said “made her sound like a complete whore.” Whoa! Tickets for the event are $25 to $55. The Show at Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa, 32250 Bob Hope Drive, Rancho Mirage; 888-999-1995; www.hotwatercasino.com.

The Fantasy Springs Resort Casino has two big music events booked this month. Modern R&B superstar Ne-Yo will be performing at 8 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 16. The three-time Grammy Award-winning artist is currently touring behind his latest album, R.E.D., an acronym for Realizing Every Dream. He has crossed over into pop and dance-pop; his recent single with Sia Furler, “Let Me Love You (Until You Learn to Love Yourself),” was well-received and even included a successful music video—in an era when the music video isn’t appreciated much any more. Tickets are $49 to $109. Burt Bacharach will follow in Ne-Yo’s footsteps a week later, at 8 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 23. Like Sedaka, Bacharach was part of the pop scene that came before the British Invasion and rock ’n’ roll, but he always stood out because of his unique songwriting. With 73 Top 40 hits in the U.S., Bacharach has also won Grammys, Academy Awards and pretty much every other award a singer-songwriter can win. Tickets are $29 to $69. Fantasy Springs Resort Casino, 84245 Indio Springs Parkway, Indio; 760-342-5000; www.fantasyspringsresort.com.

Spotlight 29 Casino has a light music schedule for the month of November; however, the resort’s Free Friday Concert Series kicks off with a Johnny Cash tribute by Rusty Evans at 8 p.m., Friday, Nov. 15. Admission is free. Also, the venue will be hosting The Ultimate Michael Jackson Experience: Moonwalker at 8 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 9. With a live band and a cast of singers, the show is a must-see for Michael Jackson fans. Tickets are $15. Spotlight 29 Casino, 46200 Harrison Place, Coachella; 760-775-5566; www.spotlight29.com.

Morongo Casino Resort Spa has just one big scheduled November event: The Cabazon resort will host comedian and TV host Craig Ferguson for a standup performance at 9 p.m., Friday, Nov. 8. Ferguson has established himself as the host of The Late Late Show and is a possible replacement for David Letterman if The Late Show host ever decides to step down. We’re dying to know: Will Ferguson bring along his robotic skeleton sidekick? Tickets are $55 to $65. Morongo Casino Resort Spa, 49500 Seminole Drive, Cabazon; 800-252-4499; www.morongocasinoresort.com.

Pappy and Harriet’s has booked Cass McCombs for a gig at 9 p.m., Tuesday, Nov. 12. McCombs blends folk, rock, blues, country and several other different styles into one big, awesome mess. He’s toured with the likes of Band of Horses and Cat Power—and he’s definitely someone you should see live at least once. Tickets are $15. (Read my review of his latest album at CVIndependent.com.) The following evening, at 8 p.m., Wednesday, Nov. 13, Bill Callahan will take the stage. The underground rock artist, who has also performed under the moniker of Smog, continues to push the boundaries of simplicity in songwriting; it’s said that he can repeat the same chord progression throughout the entire song. He’s another musician who has tried his hand in writing, releasing a novel, Letters to Emma Bowlcut, in 2010. Tickets are $15. After an appearance earlier this year at The Date Shed, Reverend Horton Heat will be playing Pappy and Harriet’s at 8 p.m., Sunday, Nov. 24. The Texas trio and warriors of the road never disappoint and always put on a great show. I saw them on the same night as the 2009 Academy Awards when they played the House of Blues, right down the street from the awards ceremony and Vanity Fair after-party; the show was packed despite the traffic and all the Oscars craziness. They’re truly one of the hardest-working independent bands in the business today. Tickets are $25. Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace, 53688 Pioneertown Road, Pioneertown; 760-365-5956; pappyandharriets.com.

The ExpendablesThe Date Shed hosts The Expendables at 8 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 16. No, this group does not include Sylvester Stallone, the Governator or any of those guys; it’s the Santa Cruz surf-rock band that mixes reggae and punk. The resulting sound is similar to that of Sublime. Tickets are $15. The Date Shed, 50725 Monroe St., Indio; 760-775-6699; www.dateshedmusic.com.

The Hood Bar and Pizza continues to get some great bands thanks in part to their booking genius, Brandon Henderson. At 8 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 9, the Palm Desert venue hosts a retro-themed show going back to the big-band and rockabilly eras featuring Vicky Tafoya and the Big Beat, the Jennifer Keith Quintet and the Deadbeat Daddies; the show will include a pinup contest. Admission at the door is $10. Guttermouth plays at 8 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 16. Guttermouth’s shockingly humorous and offensive lyrics reportedly got them booted from the 2004 Warped Tour; you never know what to expect from the Huntington Beach group. Antics aside, they’re a great punk band that shouldn’t be underestimated. Admission to the 21-and-over show is $10 at the door. The Hood Bar and Pizza, 74360 Highway 111, Palm Desert; 760-636-5220; www.thehoodbar.com.

Azul Tapas Inspired Lounge and Patio features a November party that is not to miss—Bella Da Ball’s Star Dedication. It will take place at 4 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 9, in front of Azul, followed by an all-star concert at 7:30 p.m. with food and drink specials. Performers such as Allison Annalora, Doug Graham, Keisha D, Marina Mac and others are all scheduled to perform. Admission is free, and the full menu is available, but reservations are suggested. Azul Tapas Inspired Lounge and Patio, 369 N. Palm Canyon, Palm Springs; 760-325-5533; www.azultapaslounge.com.

The Hard Rock Hotel is open for business and moving forward with events. The hotel will kick off an entertainment series titled The Edge at 8 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 9, with repeats on Friday and Saturday the following two weekends. The Edge is variety show that brings together actors from the screen and the stage in a production of rock classics, similar to Rock of Ages and other Broadway productions that include classic rock and stage performance. November’s show is titled “Top Rock.” Tickets for the event are $45. Hard Rock Hotel, 150 S. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs; www.theedgepalmsprings.com.

Neil Sedaka

Published in Previews

The summer heat is finally subsiding—and that means the Coachella Valley is starting to come alive with events.

Of course, one of the month’s most exciting events is the Coachella Valley Independent’s Official Launch Party, starting at 6 p.m., Wednesday, Oct. 16, at Clinic Bar and Lounge in Palm Springs. We’re celebrating the launch of our monthly edition and the one-year anniversary of CVIndependent.com with a hosted bar from 6 to 8 p.m.; a live art exhibition by Ryan “Motel” Campbell (read more about him in the Arts & Culture section); and a set by Independent resident DJ All Night Shoes. Admission is free, so there’s no excuse for you not to attend! Clinic Bar and Lounge, 188 S. Indian Canyon Drive, Palm Springs; 760-864-4119; www.clinicbarps.com.

The McCallum Theatre will host Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers at 8 p.m., Wednesday, Oct. 9. Edie Brickell will be joining the fun. Considering how much acclaim the funnyman has received for his recent music albums, this should be quite a show. Tickets are $65 to $125. McCallum Theatre, 73000 Fred Waring Drive, Palm Desert; 760-340-2787; www.mccallumtheatre.com.

The Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa’s The Show is the home of numerous great events in October. Fans of Comedy Central’s Tosh.0, take note: Daniel Tosh is bringing his stand-up show here for a sold-out performance at 8 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 5. While Tosh is known for mocking ridiculous Internet video clips on TV, his stand-up shows are full of witty sarcasm and political incorrectness … which is pretty much what his video-clip musings include, too. Lovers of ’80s music will be flocking to see Bryan Adams at 6 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 20. (I personally believe Bryan Adams is aging in reverse, as he keeps looking younger and younger.) The “Summer of ’69” singer has been on a “Bare Bones” tour in 2013, during which he’s been turning in acoustic performances of his hits. However, it doesn’t appear that will be the case when he comes to the Coachella Valley—which is a relief, because an acoustic performance of “(I Wanna Be) Your Underwear” sounds like a terrible idea; tickets are currently $50 to $80. Back to comedy: Lewis Black will be performing at 9 p.m., Friday, Oct. 25. Expect Black to be his usual, no-holds-barred self; no part of the political spectrum is safe from his rants. Tickets are $50 to $100. The month of November will start out hilariously, as Wanda Sykes performs at 9 p.m., Friday, Nov. 1. (Perhaps the lovely lesbian will drop in on Palm Springs Pride that weekend!) Tickets are $35 to $65. The next day, The Show will host The Moody Blues, at 8 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 2. The legendary English prog-rock band has sold more than 70 million albums—and has been around for almost 50 years! If those facts don’t make you want to go see them, I don’t know what else to say. Tickets are $55 to $100. The Show at Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa, 32250 Bob Hope Drive, Rancho Mirage; 888-999-1995; www.hotwatercasino.com.

The Fantasy Springs Resort Casino is packed with big names this month. Country star Trace Adkins, who performed at Stagecoach in April, will be returning to the valley to perform at 8 p.m., Friday, Oct. 11. In May, he released a new album, Love Will … . This will be a great show for those who saw him at Stagecoach and want to relive the experience; tickets are $39 to $79. If there’s one show you don’t want to miss at Fantasy Springs this month, it’s Sheryl Crow, at 8 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 12. After nine Grammy awards, a slew of hit singles, and the release of her new album, Feels Like Home, back in September, Crow is still going strong. Go figure; some predicted she’d be a mere one-hit-wonder back in 1994, when “All I Wanna Do” was playing all over the place; tickets are $49 to $99. Not many music stars are hotter right now than Mr. Worldwide, aka Pitbull, who will be performing at 8 p.m., Friday, Oct. 25. Considering the success Pitbull has had with his most-recent album, Global Warming, and the sold-out performances he’s played around the world, you should get your tickets early—if they haven’t sold out already, they’ll cost you $69 to $129. Fantasy Springs Resort Casino, 84245 Indio Springs Parkway, Indio; 760-342-5000; www.fantasyspringsresort.com.

Spotlight 29 has a fun show booked for those who are feeling nostalgic for the ‘80s and ‘90s. The Women of Soul concert at 8 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 19, will feature En Vogue, Lisa Lisa, Even “Champagne” King and Jo Jo of the Mary Jane Girls; tickets are $25 to $45. Country-music fans should be happy to know that Josh Turner will perform there at 8 p.m., Friday, Oct. 25. He’s touring behind his latest album, Punching Bag, which features the recent hit single “Time Is Love”; $45 to $65. Spotlight 29 Casino, 46200 Harrison Place, Coachella; 760-775-5566; www.spotlight29.com.

Morongo Casino Resort Spa doesn’t have a lot of music booked at the moment—but one show that’s on the schedule should be a real treat: At 9 p.m., Friday, Oct. 18, Morongo will host WAR. While nearly every member of the original lineup has departed, the band is still going strong. With hits such as “Low Rider,” “Summer” and “Why Can’t We Be Friends,” WAR still has audiences around the world craving live performances; tickets are $20.25 to $26.75 via Ticketmaster. Morongo Casino Resort Spa, 49500 Seminole Drive, Cabazon; 800-252-4499; www.morongocasinoresort.com.

If you feel like traveling off the beaten path, Pappy and Harriet’s continues to book great bands while cooking up the barbecue. We have room to mention just three of many shows this coming month. In the fall of 2010, Pappy’s hosted Bright Eyes front-man and king of the hipsters Conor Oberst. I was one of the attendees crammed into the restaurant for Oberst’s performance, which featured the Felice Brothers as his backing band; it was a marvelous show. Well, Conor is coming back for another performance with the Felice Brothers, at 8 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 10. He’ll be performing on the outdoor stage this time—but the show is nearly sold out, so you’d better buy your tickets now. Get there early so you can watch the Felice Brothers open (sans Conor); they are one of the best modern folk-revival bands out there. Tickets are a steal at $20. The Day of the Dead is the date for Pappy and Harriet’s annual Halloween show, at 9 p.m., Friday, Nov. 1—featuring Joshua Tree’s very own Gram Rabbit. It’s worth the trip to celebrate the spooky holidays with the Royal Order of the Rabbits while taking in the band’s psychedelic electro-pop sound. Tickets will be $10 at the door. If that still isn’t enough music for you, Pappy’s will be hosting a performance by alt-country/Americana singer Lucinda Williams at 8 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 2. I remember hearing Williams’ “Car Wheels on a Gravel Road” everywhere when I was a senior in high school in 1999. She and her rustic style of Americana have come a long way since; tickets are $30. Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace, 53688 Pioneertown Road, Pioneertown; 760-365-5956; pappyandharriets.com.

Also in the high desert: The Eighth Annual Fall Joshua Tree Music Festival will take place Friday, Oct. 11, to Sunday, Oct. 13, at the Joshua Tree Lake Campground. The festivities will include performances by Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe, Scott Pemberton, The Last Internationale, and many others. A three-day festival pass is $100, and single-day passes are $40 to $60; camping space is also available for a separate fee. Joshua Tree Lake Campground, 2601 Sunfair Road, Joshua Tree; www.joshuatreemusicfestival.com.

Just down the road, Zena Bender will be throwing a fundraiser for Radio Free Joshua Tree at the Sky Village Swap Meet in Yucca Valley at 5 p.m., Wednesday, Oct. 9. The online radio station, started by Ted Quinn and Michael Roark, has been showcasing local music and a variety of programs—all streaming for free. Of course, Ted Quinn will be performing, as will Rex Dakota, Anthony Dean, The Nobodies and others. Admission is a $10 suggested donation. Sky Village Outdoor Marketplace, 7028 Theatre Road, Yucca Valley; 760-365-2104.

Back down in the valley, The Date Shed will feature a performance by Helmet at 8 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 12. Helmet is a highly influential alternative metal band, quite popular in the mid-to-late ’90s, often mentioned in the same breath as the Melvins, Tool, the Deftones and System of a Down—but don’t call them a “nu-metal band.” Tickets are $20. The Date Shed, 50725 Monroe St., Indio; 760-775-6699; www.dateshedmusic.com.

DJ Day informed me that in addition to his weekly ¡Reunion! shows at the Ace Hotel and Swim Club (10 p.m., each Thursday), he will be adding a monthly show called Highlife, on the last Saturday of every month: Catch it on Saturday, Oct. 26. When I asked DJ Day what will be different, he said Highlife will offer more of a party vibe, adding: “I doubt I’ll be playing Tame Impala and African funk on Saturday nights.” Admission is free. Ace Hotel and Swim Club, 701 E. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs; 760-325-9900; www.acehotel.com/palmsprings.

The LGBT Community Center of the Desert will be throwing the annual Center Stage gala at the Palm Springs Convention Center at 5:30 p.m., Wednesday, Oct. 30. The gala will start with a cocktail reception and silent auction. Later, enjoy a concert by The Voice finalist Frenchie Davis, emceed by Alec Mapa from AMC’s Showville. Tickets are $85 for members of the Center, and $100 for nonmembers. Palm Springs Convention Center, 277 N. Avenida Caballeros, Palm Springs; call the LGBT Community Center of the Desert at 760-416-7790; www.thecenterps.org.

The new Hard Rock Hotel Palm Springs is slated to open on Friday, Oct. 4, and it will be the spot for BB Ingle’s Annual Halloween Party. Ingle will be teaming up with Troupe Productions for the party at 8 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 31. It will feature a Monster Rock Ball as in previous years, but Troupe Productions and Ingle are promising to take the party to a whole new level this year. Tickets start at $40. Hard Rock Hotel Palm Springs, 150 S. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs; get tickets at www.feartastic.com.

Submit your music information to Brian Blueskye at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Published in Previews

The members of the Meat Puppets have been to hell and back.

Their appetite for drugs once derailed them—but they’re back and better than ever. In fact, they’re on a national tour, including a stop at Pappy and Harriet’s on Sunday, Nov. 3.

The brothers Kirkwood—Curt (guitar, vocals) and Cris (bass)—founded the band in Phoenix in 1980 with drummer Derrick Bostrom, as the hardcore-punk scene was developing across the country. Bands such as Black Flag, Minor Threat and Bad Brains were finding fans with in-your-face, nihilistic music.

During a recent phone interview, Curt Kirkwood talked about the early days of the band.

“We didn’t think that much into it back then. I had been playing in bands for a few years—a disco band, a hard-rock band. We just got into playing whatever we wanted. All we ever really wanted to do was play what we wanted to play,” Curt Kirkwood said.

The Meat Puppets signed with SST Records, founded by Black Flag guitarist Greg Ginn. The band’s self-titled album was released in 1982 and became a staple of the hardcore-punk sound. The group toured relentlessly and gained a reputation for both humor and pissing off audiences wherever it went.

In 1984, the band released Meat Puppets II, which marked a departure from the hardcore punk sound by melding psychedelic, folk and even country sounds. The album included “Lake of Fire” and “Plateau,” two of the Puppets' most-recognized songs.

Curt Kirkwood said the new sound was a result of the band coming of age.

“We were young back then,” Curt Kirkwood said. “In some ways, it’s just more about how we recorded stuff. Even when we started, we did a lot of hokey stuff. We’ve always done a variety, and we did it a little rough.”

While the Meat Puppets continued to put out albums with SST Records through the ’80s, many of their label mates—including as Dinosaur Jr., Husker Du, Sonic Youth and others—left after allegations regarding Greg Ginn’s accounting practices, problems with the availability of records, and other issues.

“Being on SST was great, and we loved it,” Curt Kirkwood said. “They put out whatever we gave them, and there was never any discussion about what we did in terms of being an artist on the label. They didn’t manage us; we managed ourselves. We were with SST up until 1989. In the long run, we felt like we could sell more records on a major.”

The Meat Puppets continued to thrive through the ’90s. They also managed to have a significant influence on Nirvana. Both Curt and Cris appeared with Nirvana during their famous MTV: Unplugged performance in November 1993, playing with Nirvana on “Lake of Fire,” “Plateau” and “Oh Me.”

Nirvana’s cover of the Puppets’ “Lake of Fire” was released as a promotional single—and many people today think it is a Nirvana song.

“I don’t know how much of an attachment I have to the stuff I do, anyway,” Curt Kirkwood said. “When you write a song, it’s sort of open for an interpretation like that. I was pretty close to the whole Unplugged thing and that version, anyway. We played on it with them, and I was really happy to have them do it. I thought it was a great version. We were pretty close to the members of Nirvana, and still are.”

Unfortunately, Cris Kirkwood’s drug addiction was starting to become an obvious problem. The Puppets went on hiatus in 1996; Curt started the Royal Neanderthal Orchestra, which later took the Meat Puppets name due to legal reasons.

In 2003, Cris was arrested for attacking an armed security guard at a post office; during the incident, the guard shot Cris—and he was fortunate to survive. He was later sentenced to 21 months in prison.

Curt and Cris didn’t speak to each other during those years, Curt Kirkwood said.

“Our relationship was pretty much non-existent for 10 years,” Curt Kirkwood said. “I didn’t see him; I didn’t talk to him; and I had to ignore him. I learned from being around people who are addicted to drugs that you can’t even talk to them. I got used to it. I was just cheesed off about having him be messed up at first, and then with time, I just said, ‘Well, that’s how it goes.’”

Cris was released from prison in 2005, and there was talk of a Meat Puppets reunion in early 2006 on the band’s Myspace page. A month after the band released a poll on the page asking if fans wanted a reunion, the Kirkwood brothers announced they were reuniting, but without Bostrom. The band recorded Rise to Your Knees—and started touring again.

Cris and Curt were able to settle their differences rather quickly, Curt Kirkwood said.

“It was really easy,” Curt Kirkwood said. “I’ve played with Cris so much in the past, and I had kept on playing in a band with Krist Novoselic of Nirvana and Bud Gaugh of Sublime during all that time, called Eyes Adrift. It took a little bit of time for Cris. He’d been out of jail for nearly a year when I got back up to him, and he was pretty normal again.”

When it comes to performing these days, the band has an easy-going approach that the members display on tour behind their new album, Rat Farm, which was released in April. The band now includes drummer Shandon Sahm, and on tour, Curt’s son, Elmo Kirkwood.

“We talk stuff out a little bit, but mostly, we wing it a lot,” Curt Kirkwood said. “We could practice and plan all this stuff, but a lot of the time, it goes right out the window when we start playing. During one night, we decide we might want to do something else. You just never know. It’s fun if you’ve had something going for a long time and can reach into a pretty big bag of tricks.”

The Meat Puppets will play at 9 p.m., Sunday, Nov. 3, at Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace, 53688 Pioneertown Road, in Pioneertown. Tickets are $13 in advance, or $15 on the day of the show. For more information, call 760-365-5956, or visit pappyandharriets.com.

Published in Previews

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.

Published in Previews

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.

Published in Previews