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Last updateTue, 18 Sep 2018 1pm

Brian Blueskye

Meagan Van Dyke is a multi-talented performer. She’s been in College of the Desert musicals In the Heights and Little Shop of Horrors; she was an on-air Disney Channel host; and she performs in Trio NV with Nick Sosa and Doug Van Sant of the Flusters. Catch Trio NV every Saturday night at the Miramonte Indian Wells Resort and Spa. For more information on Trio NV, visit www.facebook.com/trionvmusic. Meagan was kind enough to answer the Lucky 13; here are her answers.

What was the first concert you attended?

I’m a little embarrassed to say the Backstreet Boys was my first concert, but the boy-band pop-scene was huge in the late ’90s, and I was just another 10-year-old who succumbed to the sounds of five guys singing love songs.

What was the first album you owned?

Boyz II Men’s II. I can remember listening to it on repeat in my bedroom. I always find myself attached to lyrics that are romantic and poignant, and when you pepper in flawless harmonies, I’m a fan for life.

What bands are you listening to right now?

I have a very eccentric playlist, but I’m currently listening to Brandi Carlile, Janelle Monáe and H.E.R.

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

I enjoy a lot of different music, but I’ll never understand the culture of heavy metal. If I can’t understand the words because the lead singer is screaming, I’m shutting it off!

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

Ben Platt. He’s a Broadway star and has one of the most mesmerizing voices I’ve ever heard. I’d love to just sit and listen to him sing.

What’s your favorite musical guilty pleasure?

I’m a musical-theater nerd. My guilty pleasures are the soundtracks for most Broadway musicals. Currently, it’s Dear Evan Hansen and Waitress. I’m also a huge fan of just about anything from the ’80s. Foreigner, Journey, Hall and Oates—they still get blasted in my car.

What’s your favorite music venue?

The Greek Theatre in Los Angeles. There’s nothing better than enjoying music under the stars.

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

Let ’em live while they can. Let ’em spin; let ’em scatter in the wind. I have been to the movies; I’ve seen how it ends, and the joke’s on them.” Brandi Carlile’s song “The Joke” has a strong message, and if you haven’t listened to it yet, you should!

What band or artist changed your life? How?

I’m definitely inspired by the Motown, funk, soul and R&B eras. Aretha Franklin, Gladys Knight, Donna Summer, Smokey Robinson, Amy Winehouse and Lauryn Hill are all musicians who have changed my life as an artist.

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

I’d ask Diana Ross what inspired her to be the amazing performer that she was and still is today.

What song would you like played at your funeral?

An ’80s classic, “Don’t You (Forget About Me),” by the Simple Minds.

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

Amy Winehouse’s Back to Black. The entire album is a classic, soul-pouring novel that I never get tired of.

What song should everyone listen to right now?

“When Will Then Be Now?” by The Flusters. Support local music! (Scroll down to hear it!)

On Saint Patrick’s Day, you can always expect to hear Celtic music in some form—including, most likely, some music by renowned Celtic punk band Flogging Molly.

Flogging Molly is currently on tour and will be stopping by Morongo Casino Resort on the eve of St. Patrick’s Day—Saturday, March 16.

When former Fastway and Katmandu frontman Dave King started Flogging Molly in 1997, he entered uncharted territory by combining punk rock with Celtic music—in America. The first album, Swagger, released in 2000, was well-received by critics, and the second album, Drunken Lullabies, released in 2002, reached Gold status.

During a recent phone interview, guitarist Dennis Casey said starting a Celtic punk band was a unique challenge.

“The hard part for me was being a loud guitar-player,” Casey said. “It’s a bit of a challenge to mash all those instruments together, and less is more when you’re playing with so many people at the same time. I think we were just bringing the passion and the energy to the show. That was pretty infectious to people. In traditional Irish music, if you go back and look at where it came from, it came from people sitting around in living rooms having some drinks, entertaining themselves and dancing. We just amplified that.”

In 2017, Flogging Molly put out its sixth album, Life Is Good, which took six years to make.

“There were a lot of things happening in the band on the business side—the changing of management, agents and all the boring stuff like that,” Casey explained. “It takes time out of your schedule when you’re trying to write and record. Dave’s mom died; my father died; and it was a combination of all those things that delayed us—and also inspired the record.”

The title may be a bit misleading, given the many challenges the band and its members faced while making the album.

“You need context, and you need to hear the record. Most people think ‘Life Is Good’ means caviar, champagne, yachts, excess and all that,” Casey said. “It couldn’t be further from the truth, and there’s a lot of irony in it. Dave’s mother dying inspired a lot of that. … I think it’s sort of tongue-in-cheek sarcasm. The title track is about Dave’s mother dying. It’s way deeper than the first image you might have. It’s hard to hear the sarcasm in it, but it’s there. Dave has always been writing about the horrible things in life but also (shining a) positive light on things as well.”

Flogging Molly has performed often with fellow Celtic punk band Dropkick Murphys, which started in Boston around the same time as Flogging Molly.

“(Dropkick Murphys) are wonderful guys, and we’ve toured with them about three times,” Casey said. “We got along great. There’s a lot of comradery. We were jumping onstage playing together, and it was a really special time, and I’m glad we got to do it. I know we share a lot of the same fans, and I think that’s a nice gift.”

In 2015, Flogging Molly started the Salty Dog Cruise, an annual cruise in the Caribbean, which has included bands such as Gogol Bordello, The Specials, NOFX, Less Than Jake and many others.

“I was personally thinking, ‘OK, we’ve really lost our minds.’ I thought that only old people who drink piña coladas and play shuffleboard go on cruises. I had never been on one, and I was stereotyping,” Casey said. “We marched on, and I’ll never forget when I got on the boat for the first one, and I met two people from Belgium. And I was like, ‘Whoa! Belgium?’ It was so exciting, and I rethought the whole thing.

“It formed into this wonderful festival on a boat. There’s a sense of community. So many relationships are made from it, and the vibe is so great. It’s turned out to be one of my favorite things to do all year. It’s funny how that turned around. I tell people, ‘I defy you not to have a great time.’ It’s just about 20 to 30 bands playing punk rock with all the booze you can drink and the food you can eat. People think it’s going to be debauchery and mayhem, but it’s a really communal fun time. It’s a vibe I can’t explain, but it’s there.”

Flogging Molly will perform at 9 p.m., Saturday, March 16, at Morongo Casino Resort Spa, 49500 Seminole Drive, in Cabazon. Tickets are $45 to $65. For tickets or more information, call 800-252-4499, or visit www.morongocasinoresort.com.

“Everyone talks about rock these days,” Keith Richards once said. “The problem is they forget about the roll.”

Well, local musician Cody White has most certainly not forgotten about the roll.

White and his band, the Easy Ride, are now gigging regularly in the high and low desert, and have started to stand out with a ’70s-inspired rock ’n’ roll sound. During a recent interview in Desert Hot Springs, White seemed laid back and smiled a lot while talking passionately about his music.

“It’s a lot of the old rock ’n’ roll I love,” White said. “I’ve been known to say that I was born in the wrong decade, because ’70s rock ’n’ roll is my bread and butter. Neil Young, the Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan and that kind of stuff is where I gathered upon when I was a young guitar-player. I’m also a fan of Radiohead, and I draw a little bit from that.

“Most of my lyrics are pretty politically driven, so I hear about something that pisses me off, and I write a song about it as my therapy or whatever you want to call it.”

White played as a duo with drummer David Driver before bassist Samantha Clark recently entered the picture.

“It took us about two years to get a solid rhythm section,” White said. “David has been playing with me forever. Trying to find a bass-player was a nightmare, and we were playing as a two-piece for a few years. I figured I wanted to play more stripped-down than (force) something that was going to sound so-so or (have) people playing in the band that don’t fit what we do.”

White grew up near San Luis Obispo and credits his parents for introducing him to the music that inspired him.

“When I was growing up, I was raised more on rock ’n’ roll and country music, so that all somehow mixed,” he said. “The album I remember listening to the most when I was a kid was The Beatles’ Rubber Soul. That was the rock album I remember listening to over and over when I was a kid. My dad was a huge Frank Zappa fan, so he’d play Zappa albums in his truck when my mom wasn’t around. My mom was a radio DJ and had a folk-music show when I was a kid growing up in the ’80s—James Taylor, Jackson Browne and stuff like that. I got pulled on air a couple of times. It was voluntary and her once-a-week thing.”

When he was just starting as a songwriter, White said he had a problem with believing in himself.

“My biggest thing was always confidence, because I was a guitar-player since the age of 15. I had no problem sitting onstage and playing guitar,” he said. “But when it came time to craft my own stuff, lyrically and musically, there were probably piles of songs that went by the wayside, because I didn’t think they were good enough. It’s part of the whole songwriting process. I had a good friend who told me to write a song everyday just for the discipline, and out of that, you’d end up with a couple of songs that were worth something. It took a look time for me to be confident as a songwriter.

“I think for me … it’s about what you feel the most passionate about. Every person is different. Writing love songs has never been my forte, but whenever political and social-justice issues hit me hard, that’s where I’m passionate and where the good songs come out. Keith Richards said that when he got stumped trying to write a song, he would play a song by someone else. and something comes out of that. Samantha and David are also a huge part of the songwriting process, and the songs are definitely shaped by the rhythms and the bass lines they add in. It’s taught me to play and arrange songs in a whole new way.”

White told me about an interesting show the Easy Ride recently played.

“A friend of mine did this show up in the high desert called Quema del Diablo, which is a South American Catholic traditional festival that’s known as the Burning of the Devil,” White said. “Last year, they did it bigger than before and had two stages; it was an outdoor show in the middle of December in the high desert. That was really fun. But the local shows down in the low desert have also been fun, because there are people who still want to hear rock ’n’ roll. It’s inspiring when you see where the industry is going with rock ’n’ roll these days.”

For more information on Cody White and the Easy Ride, visit www.facebook.com/codywhitemusic.

When The Righteous Brothers released “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’” in 1964, it changed the music industry forever, creating the term “blue-eyed soul.”

The Righteous Brothers will be appearing at Fantasy Springs Resort Casino on Friday, Feb. 15.

You can’t talk about rock ’n’ roll without “You Lost That Lovin’ Feelin.” It’s been included in soundtracks (most notably Top Gun) and has been cited by music critics for decades; it captures awe whenever it’s played on an oldies radio station. The group scored another hit a year later that was almost as big with their cover of “Unchained Melody.”

After two breakups—one in 1968 and another in 1976—The Righteous Brothers reunited in 1981 and stayed together until Bobby Hatfield passed away in 2003. In 2016, Bill Medley started The Righteous Brothers again with Bucky Heard and began touring again.

The Righteous Brothers accomplished a recording industry first related to “Unchained Melody.” It appeared again on the Billboard charts in 1990 after being featured in the 1990 film Ghost. They re-recorded the song … and that version also made the Billboard charts.

During a recent phone interview with Medley, he discussed the two versions of the same song on the Billboard chart.

“It kind of started when ‘You Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’ was in the movie Top Gun, and we realized that if they would have released it again, it would have been a hit all over again,” Medley said. “When ‘Unchained Melody’ came out, and the radio stations started playing the hell out of the record, they weren’t up to releasing it. So we went back in and re-recorded ‘Unchained Melody’ and put it out. It was a hit. They were playing the original and buying the new one, so both of them went up the charts.”

Medley said that although it was successful, in hindsight, the re-recording was probably not a good idea.

“You really can’t and shouldn’t mess with a record once a record is made,” Medley said. “Even though I produced the original ‘Unchained Melody,’ I knew how to produce the next one, too. But you should probably leave well enough alone. Financially, it worked, but I don’t think it was a good idea to do. You just can’t capture the magic that a hit record has. Nobody knows what that magic really is, which is a cool thing. Even though it was a hit, and you’re going in the studio to re-record it, you still don’t know what that magic, is and you can’t dupe it.”

Famed producer Phil Spector worked with them on “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin” and “Unchained Melody” using his “wall of sound” recording technique.

“I don’t throw this word around too much, but Phil Spector was a genius in the studio,” Medley said. “He was brilliant at what he did. I think with ‘You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin,’ he just made a record you could never dupe. It was the perfect storm. It was an incredibly written song by Cynthia Weil and Barry Mann, and Phil Spector’s production of it was phenomenal, and I think Bobby and I did a pretty good job on it.”

The 2016 return of The Righteous Brothers was warmly received, and the new duo has been consistently on tour since.

“It’s been phenomenally successful. Bucky does a great job,” Medley said. “You can’t replace Bobby, and we’re certainly not trying to, because he was one of a kind, but Bucky is doing a phenomenal job of filling in for Bobby. He’s a great singer; he’s a great guy; and I really love him a lot.”

The Righteous Brothers were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2003. Medley discussed his feelings on its status in the industry today.

“I don’t think everybody in the business has the need or should be in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame,” he said. “I’m thrilled to death that we are, and I understand one of the criteria for being in there is that you brought something to the industry that wasn’t there and opened up a new door. Bobby and I opened up a new door for blue-eyed soul. I think it’s all OK, but I think it’s getting watered down. Sticking up for the rappers, I they belong in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, but they should have their own hall of fame too.”

The Righteous Brothers will perform at 8 p.m., Friday, Feb. 15, at Fantasy Springs Resort Casino, 84245 Indio Springs Parkway, in Indio. Tickets are $29 to $59. For tickets or more information, call 760-342-5000, or visit www.fantasyspringsresort.com.

Probe 7 is an electronic-music act that Brent Heinze has kept going since 1992. He re-launched Probe 7 in 2018 with a new vocalist, Charlie Harding. Heinze recently relocated to the Palm Springs area, and Probe 7 will be playing at the Piggy Party at the Tool Shed on Friday, Feb. 8, which will also serve as an album-release party. For more information on Probe 7, visit www.probe7music.com. Heinze was kind enough to answer the Lucky 13; here are his answers.

What was the first concert you attended?

I went to see Bruce Springsteen with my dad in 1984.

What was the first album you owned?

Bee Gees' Spirits Having Flown, because I loved the song “Tragedy” and took the album from my mom.

What bands are you listening to right now?

The Faint, Skinny Puppy, The Frozen Autumn, Provision, Empathy Test, and Imperative Reaction.

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

Honestly, with Kanye West, I have never understood or enjoyed anything I’ve heard from him, not to mention anything he has said publicly.

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

I would have loved to see Joy Division in their original configuration before Ian Curtis’ death.

What’s your favorite musical guilty pleasure?

Queensrÿche's Operation: Mindcrime album.

What’s your favorite music venue?

I have not had the opportunity to play Whisky A Go Go in Los Angeles, but would love to play there.

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

“I have a reservation for a padded room where all my dreams are of you,” Hexheart, “Lunatix.”

What band or artist changed your life? How?

Hands down, it was The Cure. They were the first band I got obsessed with, owning all their albums.

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

Laurie Anderson: “Would you please adopt me?”

What song would you like played at your funeral?

Deine Lakaien’s “Love Me to the End.”

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

Sisters of Mercy, First and Last and Always.

What song should everyone listen to right now?

Fires featuring The Rain Within, “Survive.” (Scroll down to hear it!)

February is the shortest month of the year—but it just so happens to be the time for some of the hottest events of the year.

The McCallum Theatre’s packed schedule includes a lot of great stuff. At 7 p.m., Monday, Feb. 4, classical violinist Joshua Bell will be performing. He’s the violinist who was the subject of a Washington Post story about him busking in the subway—with few paying attention to him or knowing who he was. Bell has a classical-music career that goes back 30 years, and he’s played some of the biggest classical music halls around the world. Tickets are $60 to $105. At 8 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 14, Broadway star and vocalist Linda Eder will take the stage. Eder is no stranger to the McCallum and has turned in sell-out performances on its stage before. Tickets are $38 to $68. Do you love magic? Then at 3 p.m., Sunday, Feb. 17, you’ll love It’s Magic! The show will feature some of the biggest stars of magic, and it’s produced by Milt Larsen and Terry Hill, best known as the producers of America’s Got Talent. You’ll see magicians who have performed in Las Vegas and magicians who have racked up international acclaim. Tickets are $18 to $38. McCallum Theatre, 73000 Fred Waring Drive, Palm Desert; 760-340-2787; www.mccallumtheatre.com.

Fantasy Springs Resort Casino has some big names coming through; here are just a few to give you an idea. At 8 p.m., Friday, Feb. 1, The Beach Boys will be performing. Beach Boys member Mike Love is now the only original member remaining, though longtime member Bruce Johnston is still along for the ride. The band’s shows remain wildly popular with fans; you’ll hear all the songs that sold millions of records and changed rock ’n’ roll history in America. Tickets are $39 to $79. At 8 p.m., Friday, Feb. 8, R&B group Boyz II Men will be performing. This would be a nice Valentine’s Day gift for your sweetheart, if you have one—or even a great night out with friends. I’ve always been blown away by the Boyz’ singing talents and unbelievable harmonies. Tickets are $39 to $79. If those two big names aren’t big enough for you, you’ll love this one: At 8 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 16, the Dogg himself, Snoop Dogg, will be performing. Snoop’s name is iconic in hip-hop, and he was one of the biggest rappers in the world back in the ’90s (in fact, he still is today), with rap anthems that get heavy radio and club play. Tickets are $59 to $109. Fantasy Springs Resort Casino, 84245 Indio Springs Parkway, Indio; 760-342-5000; www.fantasyspringsresort.com.

Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa has some compelling offerings in February. At 8 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 9, the famous all-male revue Thunder From Down Under will take place. If your girlfriend isn’t replying to your text messages that night, that’s most likely where she is. Tickets are $15 to $25. On Valentine’s Day, specifically at 8 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 14, it’ll be a magical night at the Art Laboe Valentine’s Super Love Jam. Laboe has become comically known for all the people who call into his radio show to give shout-outs to their loved ones in prison, which often involve names like “Baby Joker.” Laboe recently gave an interview where he said that he doesn’t judge his listeners—and that’s kept him on the air and has led to some uplifting moments for inmates and their families. The Love Jam will feature Zapp, Midnight Star, The Jets, GQ and The Delfonics. Tickets are $40 to $60. At 8 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 16, you’ll want to soft-rock all night, because Air Supply (upper right) will be performing. I’m sure Air Supply is hoping for a big resurgence similar to the one that soft-rock contemporary Toto is enjoying having right now … but actually, Air Supply is doing just fine without a Weezer cover and without any memes, because Air Supply has sold more than 20 million copies of its greatest-hits record and is still highly in demand. Tickets are $40 to $60. Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa, 32250 Bob Hope Drive, Rancho Mirage; 888-999-1995; www.hotwatercasino.com.

Spotlight 29 has a few shows booked for the showroom in February. At 8 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 2, comedian Felipe Esparza (below) will be performing. You might remember him from his performances on Comics Unleashed and Comedy Central’s Premium Blend, as well as other TV and film appearances. He currently has a hilarious Netflix special out. Tickets are $30 to $40. At 8 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 9, Mexican singer-songwriter Pancho Barraza will take the stage. Barraza is a performer of traditional Mexican music. Tickets are $65 to $85. Now for something different … at 8 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 16, a comedy play titled A Oscuras Me da Risa will be performed. It’s a multi-character comedy about a happy couple going on a weekend getaway and going their own separate ways. Tickets are $36 to $91. Spotlight 29 Casino, 46200 Harrison Place, Coachella; 760-775-5566; www.spotlight29.com.

Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace has some must-see shows, per usual. At 9 p.m., Friday, Feb. 15, psychedelic rock-band La Luz will be performing. I recently gave La Luz’s new album Floating Features a listen, and it’s fantastic. This should be a great show—and is a must for any rock fan. Tickets are $15. At 8 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 23, the alt-countryish band Evangenitals will be back. As I always say, you haven’t lived ’til you’ve seen the Evangenitals play. Stick around for their multiple sets, especially the last one at the end of the night. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry … wait, you won’t cry, but you’ll laugh hysterically. Admission is free! At 7 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 28, Pearl and the Canyon Revelry Band will be performing. Pearl Aday (daughter of Meat Loaf) has quite a set of pipes, and at a young age was a backing vocalist in her dad’s band. She’s been performing country and released her debut album in 2010; she just released a new album, Heartbreak and Canyon Revelry. My metal-loving friend Frank pointed out that her husband is Anthrax guitarist Scott Ian—so you might catch a glimpse of him at the show. Tickets are $10. Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace, 53688 Pioneertown Road, Pioneertown; 760-365-5956; www.pappyandharriets.com.

The Purple Room Palm Springs is definitely a nice place to consider taking that special someone to for dinner and a show. At 8 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 9, singer Jonathan Karrant will be performing. Karrant is known for his “Hollywood’s greatest hits”-style show, as he performs songs by Burt Bacharach, Michel Legrand and many others. Tickets are $30 to $35. At 8 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 16, Broadway star and vocalist Roslyn Kind will take the stage. The half-sister of Barbra Streisand has toured the globe performing with Babs and her nephew, Jason Gould. Tickets are $45 to $55. At 8 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 23, cabaret performer and singer Iris Williams will be performing. Her jazzy vocals on up-tempo numbers and her ballads will be a treat to hear. Tickets are $40 to $45. Michael Holmes’ Purple Room, 1900 E. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs; 760-322-4422; www.purpleroompalmsprings.com.

Toucan’s Tiki Lounge and Cabaret has a February event worth noting. At 7:30 p.m., Friday, Feb. 15 and Saturday, Feb. 16, pop-country singer Steve Grand will take the Toucan’s stage. You’ll probably remember him as the singer of “All-American Boy,” a song about a gay man in love with a straight man, which went viral on YouTube. The gay country singer has since found continued success; he’s no stranger to the Palm Springs area, having performed at the LGBT Community Center of the Desert’s Center Stage gala in 2016. Tickets are $35 to $45. Toucans Tiki Lounge and Cabaret, 2100 N. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs; 760-416-7584; reactionshows.com.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

For more information, visit www.facebook.com/Hot-Patooties-2071750783142932. Disclosure: Beth Allen is an Independent contributor.

The Lettermen began performing in the late 1950s, had their first hit record in the early ’60s, and went on to have an amazing career that’s still going today.

The trio will be stopping by the McCallum Theatre on Sunday, Feb. 24.

Tony Butala is the only remaining original member of The Lettermen; the others, Jim Pike and Bob Engemann, sold their interests to Butala. Today, Butala is joined by Donovan Tea, who joined in 1984, and Bobby Poynton, who joined originally in 1989 and returned several years ago.

During a recent phone interview, Butala explained how The Lettermen worked to stand out in the pop scene.

“We didn’t take (success) lightly, and made sure we did something more in person than stand onstage and do hit records,” Butala said during a recent phone interview. “So many of the other acts at the time were not entertainers and were lucky to have a hit record or two. With The Lettermen, we started with three solo singers when I put this group together. We made sure each individual was a lead singer as well as a performer. So many groups had a lead singer and two or three guys in the background going, ‘Doo-wah, doo-wah, doo-wah.’ We never had that philosophy.”

The Letterman became popular thanks, in part, to popularity at colleges.

“When we had a hit in the early ’60s, we were wanted in the colleges,” Butala said. “We’d go around playing 150 colleges a year—the large universities on the weekends and smaller colleges on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesdays.

“When you work a lot, it’s like rehearsal. You’re learning what works and what doesn’t work. We found audience participation was the most important thing in our shows. People can always buy a record and hear how pretty you sound, but in person, we wanted the audience to leave with something intangible—that was the fact that they were being entertained.”

When The Lettermen went on to tour the world, Butala said the group had an advantage over other performers.

“When I was a kid, I was in a choir that sang in 17 different languages. We went around the world,” he said. “Capitol Records was an international record label, and instead of our records just being hits in the United States, our records were released around the world. Our popularity was romantic ballads; they were universal, because people fall in love in every language in every country. The Beatles were known for their British Invasion music; the Beach Boys are known for their surfing and hot-rod music; The Lettermen are known for our backseat music.

“When we received inquiries to go to different countries, I taught the other two guys at least one song in each language of the countries we were going to. They wanted us in their country because they played the Lettermen songs in English, but we’d do two or three songs in their language. We showed them we cared, and we tried harder to please them instead of looking down on them.”

Butala said being on Capitol Records was a great experience.

“When we signed to Capitol in 1960, they were just expanding, and they became the first international company,” he said. “Shortly after we signed to Capitol, they signed my friends the Beach Boys. Then shortly after, they signed the Beatles. We were the first ones in … (and were) three big recording acts that helped each other. If you’re a disc jockey in Des Moines, Iowa, playing a Lettermen record, when the Capitol promotions person went there a couple of months later, he’d say, ‘We have this new group called the Beach Boys, and if you play the Beach Boys, I’ll give you the first play of the next Lettermen hit.’ It was a big help and an exciting label to be on at the time.”

Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys is a big fan of the Lettermen, and the Lettermen style can be heard as an influence on many Beach Boys songs.

“He came to one of our sessions saying, ‘I want to sing just like you guys,’” Butala said. “Well, the great thing is he’s a genius, and he did some ballads after that, but he did them in a different way. There was no competition, and it was all camaraderie. It was a wonderful time.”

As pop music faded in popularity in favor of rock ’n’ roll, which itself began changing, The Lettermen tried to adapt with times. However, it proved to be too difficult, Butala said.

“People just never heard the stuff we tried, because it was commercially never played,” he said. “In the ’60s, when all the counterculture music was coming, the Lettermen actually recorded a song called ‘All the Gray Haired Men,’ and it was kind of a rebel song. It was putting down the people older than 30 in a way that was saying you can’t think old; you have to think young. We got about five air plays and sold 10 copies to our relatives. We learned by experiment: That wasn’t us. After that, we stuck to what we knew about and kept the romantic ballads coming.”

When I asked Butala if he was tired of touring, he scoffed at the question and said he had no gripes.

“We’ve performed at least 50 shows a year for 56 straight years,” he said. “We try to adapt our shows to the audience that we’re performing to.”

The Lettermen will perform at 3 p.m., Sunday, Feb. 24, at the McCallum Theatre, 73000 Fred Waring Drive, in Palm Desert. Tickets are $28 to $68. For tickets or more information, call 760-340-2787, or visit www.mccallumtheatre.com.

When I first started going to the open-mic shows at The Hood Bar and Pizza, I was constantly taken back by Daniel Scopelitis. Sometimes performing under the moniker of Fantasma Satanica, Scopelitis is often in costume, with face paint, and performs various songs with an instrumental track. Scopelitis was kind enough to answer the Lucky 13; and here are his answers.

What was the first concert you attended?

Knotfest 2014, when I was 19. That was awesome. If and when I can afford it, I will go again.

What was the first album you owned?

A Led Zeppelin greatest-hits compilation.

What bands are you listening to right now?

Avatar, Ghost, Aviators and Miracle of Sound.

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

Mumble rap. In some instances, the voice can somewhat become an instrument, but for the most part, I don’t understand it—ؙnothing against people who are into it.

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

Michael Jackson.

What’s your favorite musical guilty pleasure?

Disney music, mainly from the classics. Sometimes you’ll find me singing “Hellfire” from The Hunchback of Notre Dame.

What’s your favorite music venue?

The Hood Bar and Pizza, mainly for sentimental value; it’s where I got the best feedback for my performances.

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

“So may your dreams be monumental, when your spirit guides the way,” “Monumental,” Aviators.

What band or artist changed your life? How?

Ghost. It got me more into theatrical bands, and I guess you can say it’s made my life a lot less boring. It’s also inspired me to make my show more unique.

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

“Could I perform for you?” to James Hetfield of Metallica.

What song would you like played at your funeral?

“Pro Memoria” by Ghost.

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

Black Sabbath, N.I.B.

What song should everyone listen to right now?

“Danny Don’t You Know” by Ninja Sex Party. (Scroll down to hear it!)

Palm Springs’ Church of St. Paul in the Desert wants to help tell the Coachella Valley’s story.

Working with the Palm Springs Public Arts Commission, the Church of St. Paul and artist Bernard Hoyes have begun work on a community mural, “Cast Your Bread Upon the Waters.”

On a recent visit to the in-progress mural—on the church’s wall facing the alleyway behind Trina Turk—Hoyes was finishing up after a group of children from BRAFF (Building Resilience in African-American Families) had done some painting with him. Hoyes said he welcomes people to come and share ideas.

“I’ll just enlarge and re-realize it,” Hoyes said, pointing to a wagon wheel some of the kids had painted. “I’ll just make it more realistic as a wagon wheel so it can be recognized. They suggested things, and I’ll make them come alive in a way that makes them a part of what I’m doing with the mural.”

The Rev. Andrew Green, the rector of St. Paul in the Desert, at 125 W. El Alameda, agreed with the community vision.

“This is one of the elements that makes it a community mural,” Green said. “The vision is adjusting and changing as different people participate.”

Hoyes said he wants the mural to acknowledge the cultural history of the Coachella Valley and its different ethnicities.

“I’ve been living in the desert permanently now for about five years,” Hoyes said. “I’ve been coming here for about 30 years, with my studio in Desert Hot Springs. Since I’ve been out here, I’ve been involved in the community, and I’ve seen the development of Palm Springs from year to year, and I wanted to do something that was an exposé of the development. What are the important elements of the development? One of those things was water. … Water is a nutriment, or in some parts of the Bible, a sacrament, and it’s an important part of the mural. There are different ethnicities from one side to the other side, and we have Esther Williams (who was a Palm Springs resident) in all her glory making water a kind of iconic element during the ’40s and ’50s as entertainment.”

Green said he’s had a mural in mind for the church for about two years.

“Originally, it was on a different wall,” he said. “I was talking with the people from the Palm Springs Art Commission. … They had an exhibit of young people’s art for a Martin Luther King celebration. When we were setting up for that … two people from the Arts Commission came and said, ‘Are you still serious about doing a mural?’ There were two artists who came and checked it out, saying that this wall was better than the other one we had in mind.

“The designs (artists) were submitting went to my church’s board, and they selected this design. But one of the ideas for it was that a mural is a very participatory kind of art. It invites people to get involved in the production end, but it also invites people to get involved at the viewing end. … People will find this to be a sacred space for them and their own spirituality. It would be an offering of our church to our community.”

Hoyes said he’s enjoying painting the mural.

“There’s a level of satisfaction with being involved, especially with the church,” Hoyes said. “My art speaks to religious and spiritual enlightenment and continuity. I made a name for myself as an artist with spiritual works. Most of the work has been derivative of African religious retention. I was raised in a backyard church in Jamaica, and it has stayed with me. I’m kind of versed in the Bible, and I’ve studied other religions. The commonality that is existent—I understand it, and I can inform with the symbols and make an informed statement about spirituality.”

Since the city of Palm Springs temporarily banned murals before creating a new murals ordinance—mandating a rather restrictive and expensive approvals process—back in 2014, few new murals have gone up. But that may change soon, Green said. 

“Palm Springs has had a change of heart in murals,” he said. “The existing mural code was designed to make it hard to do murals. But the Public Arts Commission and the City Council have changed and want to encourage murals—but encourage murals going through a planning process with the Arts Commission in advance. For example, the Arts Commission … said, ‘If you do this and set this up, we’ll approve this, and we’ll take care of paying the city fees.’  … We waited four months to get the process accomplished before (Hoyes) put a brush to the wall so that it was completely appropriate with the city. I did not find anything they asked for onerous or creatively muzzling; the process just takes time.

“Some of the code said for this mural to receive the benefit of the fees, about $1,500 being reimbursed, it would have to be up for at least two years.”

Green said he hopes the mural inspires people to look into the church and to find meaning.

“Far too much, what we do with church is aimed at supporting the building and the institution as a corporation or a facility. What I’m interested in is seeing the church as engaged and embedded in the community,” he said. “I hope that does bring people here. It might bring them here for 12-step groups; it might bring them here for lunch when Well in the Desert is serving lunch on Wednesday—or all different types of things. If it brought them to church, I’d love it.”

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