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Last updateTue, 18 Sep 2018 1pm

Jimmy Boegle

The Butchery Boys’ Marcus Bush (aka Marco D’Beast), 27, is one busy dude. By day, he installs Murphy beds; by night, he cooks at The Hood Bar and Pizza. The Palm Desert resident and his psychobilly bandmates will be releasing a six-song EP, USDA Condemned, this spring; watch for updates on a release show by following the band on their Facebook page.

What was the first concert you attended?

I can't remember, ha ha. Probably my uncle’s band, RedRum, when I was a wee lad.

What was the first album you owned?

Billy Idol, Rebel Yell, on vinyl.

What bands are you listening to right now?

Every Time I Die, He Is Legend, Between the Buried and Me, The Devil Makes Three, Koffin Kats, Propagandhi, August Burns Red, Mad Sin—usually something different every day.

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

Dub step. I'm not one to bash anyone's musical taste, I just don't understand the monotony.

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

It would be awesome to see Sikth reunite.

What’s your favorite musical guilty pleasure?

Although I have a lot of them, Cradle of Filth, I'd say, is the most favorite. I just grew up on it and at one point had every album. One that I don't usually admit to is old Blink-182. Ha ha.

What’s your favorite music venue?

Growing up, I was extremely fond of the (defunct) Showcase Theatre in Corona. Now it is definitely The Hood, not only because I work there, but because it's a small, intimate venue where some really good shows have gone on in the past year or so.

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

There are a ton of them, but I always find me and my co-workers singing “Saturday Night” by the Misfits.

What band or artist changed your life? How?

Between the Buried and Me and their drummer, Blake Richardson. After hearing about them, I developed a whole new world of inspiration. Although their style of music is very different from what I typically play, it helped me to understand how to mash together multiple styles of music and the importance in tasteful transitions.

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

I would probably ask Glenn Danzig if he would sign my fishnet shirts, ha ha.

What song would you like played at your funeral?

Christina Aguilera, "Genie in a Bottle." (Don't ask, ha ha.)

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

Lagwagon, Trashed.

What song should everyone listen to right now?

"The Plank" by The Devil Makes Three. (Scroll down to listen.)

For the Coachella Valley Repertory theater company, this season is all about tolerance.

“We live in a society that isn’t tolerant,” says Ron Celona, the CV Rep artistic director and the director of Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks, which opens Wednesday, Jan. 22, and runs through Sunday, Feb. 10.

That intolerance (undeniably a bad thing), combined with the increasing diversity in our not-so-little-anymore community (undeniably a good thing), led CV Rep to make tolerance the theme for the three adult plays (plus one children’s show) the company is presenting this season.

And how does Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks—a comedy by Richard Alfieri focusing on the widow of Southern Baptist minister and her gay dance teacher—fit into that theme?

“It brings up issues in the community that need to be addressed,” Celona says. “(The play) sort of pushes the tolerance of both of the characters.”

The woman, Lily Harrison (played by Bobbi Stamm), grew up in the South and has conservative, biblically rooted beliefs. The man, Michael Minetti (Sean Galuszka), came to Florida from New York City to take care of his mother; she has since died, and Michael feels stuck in Florida, an aging gay man trying to find his place in the world.

“They both have preconceived judgments about each other,” Celona says.

Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks had a brief—four weeks, to be exact—stint on Broadway in 2003, with Polly Bergen and Mark Hamill in the lead roles. Six Dance Lessons has since been performed on stages large and small around the world.

Celona says the play was appealing to him because it’s a comedy that addresses tolerance, and was a nice fit in between CV Rep’s other two plays this season, both of which are more dramatic: Donald Margulies’ Collected Stories, which was onstage in October and November, and Cormac McCarthy’s The Sunset Limited, which opens in March.

In fact, the tension between Six Dance Lessons’ more dramatic elements and its comedic parts led to one of the biggest challenges for Celona as a director, he says.

“It was extra tricky to work around the very dramatic parts of the play, and to keep it a comedy,” says Celona, who had not seen a live version of the play before. “If I was not careful to choreograph and maneuver (through the more dramatic parts), it could have become a drama. We have to remind ourselves this is a comedy.”

He praised both of the actors for dedicating themselves so fully to the roles. Galuszka has been in a number of TV shows and films, including a large role in recent indie film Crossroad. Stamm has a background as a nightclub singer/comedian, with various stage and screen roles to her credit.

“When you have actors who are so committed to a role and the growth of a new company, it’s just so appreciated,” Celona says.

CV Rep is indeed one of the valley’s newer theatrical organizations, in its second year in its home at The Atrium in Rancho Mirage, Celona says. Celona, of course, thinks the future of CV Rep in the ever-diversifying Coachella Valley is bright.

“The time has come for a professional regional theater, where thriving, working artists can perform,” Celona says.

Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks takes place at 8 p.m., Wednesday through Saturday; and 2 p.m., Sunday, through Sunday, Feb. 10. Tickets are $40. The Coachella Valley Repertory theater is located at The Atrium, 69930 Highway 111 in Rancho Mirage. For tickets or more information, call 296-2966, or visit www.cvrep.org.

What: The pickled tomatoes

Where: Manhattan in the Desert, 2665 E. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs

How much: Free with your meal

Contact info: 322-3354; manhattaninthedesert.com

Why: They're pure pickled perfection.

Manhattan in the Desert regulars know that if you look beneath the surface, you can see that this longtime Palm Springs favorite has gone through some big changes in the last several years, like new owners and staff turnover. Now, there's even a new breakfast menu (in addition to the classics that Manhattan has always offered), introduced just last month, by Chicago chef David Schy. (Side note: We tried the huevos rancheros off that new menu, and they were pretty gosh darned tasty.)

But as the cliché goes: The more things change, the more things stay the same. (OK, that cliché is not always true, but it is in this case. Bear with us.) And the complimentary pickles at Manhattan, thank goodness, has stayed the same.

The usual pickle plate comes with sauerkraut, two types of pickled cukes and pickled tomatoes. Our recommendation: Ask for extra pickled tomatoes, as they're the best of the bunch, at least according to our picky palate. We think our love for these pickled tomatoes has to do with the fact that the thick wall flesh on the tomatoes seems to absorb more of the pickling juices and spices. That is, we think. We don't know for sure. 

What we do know for sure: These pickled tomatoes are fantastic, and are worth the trip to Manhattan in the Desert in and of themselves. 

 

 

By day, Palm Desert resident Daniel Wheat, 28, works in pest control. By night, Wheat plays bass and sings backup vocals in “anthemic pop punk-esque rock” band Boycott Radio, and “melodic death metal” band Remnants of Man. Catch Boycott Radio as part of “Bar-Nival” at 9 p.m., Friday, Jan. 18, at the Hood Bar and Pizza, 74360 Highway 111 in Palm Desert. Admission is free, but please bring donations for two causes. According to the folks at the Hood, “Half of the money raised will go to fund supplies for an after-school arts literacy program that integrates creative writing, art, music and drama for elementary school children throughout the Coachella Valley. The other half of the donations will be used to create 'homeless care packages' in order to help those without adequate housing get through these next few winter months." For more information on the show, call the Hood at 636-5220, or visit thehoodbar.com. For more info on Boycott Radio, visit www.facebook.com/boycottradio.

What was the first concert you attended?

Good Riddance, Dead Kennedys and Strung Out at the Orange Show in San Bernardino.

What was the first album you owned?

The first album I ever bought with my own money was Green Day, Dookie. I was in fourth-grade. My mom hated it (lyrically), so I had to hide it. The first was ever given was Michael Jackson, Bad. I was 5, I think.

What bands are you listening to right now?

Bracket, Coheed and Cambria, Sky Eats Airplane, Atmosphere, and Belvedere.

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

Anything with Auto-Tune. Just don't get me started.

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

The Dillinger Escape Plan. I've seen them before, and, by far, it was the best set I've ever seen. Pretty much a re-birthing experience.

What’s your favorite musical guilty pleasure?

Dubstep. I don't know why.

What’s your favorite music venue?

The first that comes to mind is the El Rey Theatre in Los Angeles. Went there last year on a solo mission, and it was fantastic.

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

"But you forget that in your fairy tale, bitch, I'm the wolf. All this attention got you thinking you were a queen. You thought that everything in life you want should be free, but nothing is what you think," The Dillinger Escape Plan’s "Black Bubblegum." A bit dark, I know, but so meaningful to me.

What band or artist changed your life? How?

NOFX. Fat Mike was the first person who made me want to play bass. He was doing it differently than anyone (that I had heard at the time) in the punk scene back then. I was given my first NOFX album (So Long and Thanks for All the Shoes), and shortly after, got my first bass.

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

Victor Wooten: “What the hell, man? Who'd you sell your soul to? Because the devil couldn't make you THAT amazing.”

What song would you like played at your funeral?

Victor Wooten, "The Vision."

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

A Wilhelm Scream, Ruiner.

What song should everyone listen to right now?

CB4, "I'm Black Ya'll.” Hahahahaha!! (Scroll down to hear it.)

What: The $5 tri-tip sandwich

Where: Neil's Lounge, 80956 Highway 111, Indio

How much: $5, of course

Contact info: 347-1522

Why: It's the best damn French-dip-style sandwich for the price that we can find in the valley.

Neil's Lounge is one of the most internally incongruent places in the entire Coachella Valley: It's a dive bar ... with a stunningly high-class bathroom. (Seriously. Go see, even if you don't need to ... go.) It's located in the depths of Indio, but it attracts a clientele from across the valley. And it's a freaking bar ... that serves one of the best sandwiches we've eaten around these parts.

When you head to Neil's for lunch or dinner, make sure you peruse both the big Western Grill menu and the smaller $5 special menu, before you go up to the kitchen to order. There's some splendid food to be had on both menus—for example, the spinach-artichoke dip ($10.50) comes with two warm, fresh miniature loaves of bread, while the dip is creamy, gooey, chunky artichoke-packed nirvana—but the real attraction, as far as we're concerned, is the $5 tri-tip sandwich. 

The sandwich consists of a healthy dose of sliced beef placed on a fresh roll, and then sliced in half. That's it—so simple. Served alongside are a creamy horseradish sauce and a small cup of a weakish au jus. This sandwich doesn't sound all that special, I concede, but the quality of the beef and the roll are top-notch. The sandwich plus a dip in the creamy horseradish plus a dip in the au jus equals deliciousness.

Oh, and the accompanying potato salad? It's fantastic. 

A word of warning: When Neil's gets busy (which can happen quite often in this high sports season), the kitchen can get a bit backed up. However, chill out; have a cocktail; check out the amazing bathroom; and watch the game. The sandwich will be out soon, and it'll be more than worth the wait.

And when the bill comes, and you're reminded that your meal was just $5—you'll barely be able to believe it.

Sunday, 13 January 2013 16:00

Snapshot: College of the Desert Street Fair

Temps in the 40s and 50s? Who cares?

The sun was out on Sunday, Jan. 13, so that meant the crowds still came to the College of the Desert Alumni Association's Street Fair. Several hundred vendors sold everything from children's toilet seats to handcrafted art to socks—just as they do every weekend.

The College of the Desert Street Fair takes place every Saturday and Sunday, from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. (October through May) or 7 a.m. to noon (June through September). Fun fact: It'll also be open on Presidents Day, Monday, Feb. 18. 

The fair takes place at College of the Desert, at the intersection of Fred Waring Drive and Monterrey Avenue in Palm Desert. For more information, call 636-7957, or visit www.codstreetfair.net. And, of course, scroll down to see more pics!

What: The coq au vin

Where: Dish Creative Cuisine, 68525 Ramon Road, No. A-101, Cathedral City

How much: $27

Contact info: 832-6526; www.dishcreativecuisine.com

Why: It's moist. Oh, and it has bacon.

Dish Creative Cuisine opened last fall in a little shopping center on a stretch of Ramon Road that could best be described as ... spartan. But inside the little space, chef/owner Joane Garcia-Colson is doing big things. (Want a surprise? Google the chef. Yes, that's her. Quite a career change, no?)

The biggest thing of all may be the restaurant's signature dish, the coq au vin. I'll be honest: When this plate of food arrived, and I first pushed my fork into the cake-shaped cube, I was concerned that the coq au vin would be dry. After all, this chicken wasn't sitting in the red-wine reduction sauce (which was drizzled on the side), but was rather crafted into the aforementioned cake-shaped cube. But those concerns were unfounded: This tasty, savory dish was moist and beyond delicious.

And, yes, it's topped with bacon. Add several deliciousness points. The accompanying vegetables were all cooked perfectly, and there wasn't a single flaw with the entree.

Of course, the coq au vin only arrived after the appetizers and drinks that my friend Shann and I ordered ... and after about a half-dozen miniature chef's surprises—think a joyously never-ending series of amuse-bouches. They were all tasty, but the star of these complimentary treats was a nipple-shaped beet puff with a hard meringue-like shell, and an a delicious creamy interior. I do not even like beets, and I wanted more of these.

But the star of the meal was Garcia-Colson's coq au vin. Go. Eat it. Reservations recommended.

  

What's 32 pages, has a total of zero locally produced stories, and is most decidedly not read all over—because there's nothing in it to read?

The Desert Post Weekly, that's what.

This week's edition (Jan. 10-16) is notable in that there are a grand total of zero locally written articles. Zero. None.

The content in the issue, owned by The Desert Sun and its parent company, Gannett, consists of:

  • "The Burning Question," in which four people affiliated with the paper—people for whom I have a great deal of sympathy, as they're forced by Gannett to put their name on this embarrassment of a publication—disclosed their personal highlights of the Palm Springs International Film Festival. (However, the festival was only about halfway over by the time the DPW went to press. To which I reply: WTF?) After that 46 words (yes, I counted) were:
  • A quarter-page or so of events listings. Apparently, only five worthy things are happening this week in the Coachella Valley, because that's all that's there.
  • A page of music crap from USA Today that has no local ties whatsoever. (There must be no local bands in the Coachella Valley to cover. Oh, wait ...)
  • Two pages dedicated to mountains in Southern California from McClatchy-Tribune Media Services. Yes, mountains. Did you know that Southern California has mountains? In the winter? OMG!
  • Two Associated Press film reviews.
  • Three pages of movie listings. (At least someone presumably local took the time to type in the local theaters at which the films in question are playing.)
  • A page of classified ads, followed by 19 pages of legal notices. Those legal notices are presumably the reason why the DPW still exists: Gannett can pass notices that don't require publication in a daily from The Desert Sun to the much-lower-circulation DPW—saving a lot of money on newsprint in the process.
  • A crossword and a sudoku puzzle from King Features.

That's it. 32 pages, and the only local editorial content consists of five events listings, someone typing in theaters, and four answers to a premature question.

This bothers me, because I love alternative publications—I have edited two of them, worked at a third, and served on the alternative newspaper trade group's board of directors. Heck, I moved here to launch the one you're reading right now.

And the crud that the DPW has become chaps my figurative hide, because once upon a time, the Desert Post Weekly was an honest-to-goodness real alternative newspaper. 

It's hard to find, in public at least, a copy of the DPW from the first half of the Aughts, back when it was a real newspaper. (I tried; I contacted the Palm Springs, Cathedral City and Rancho Mirage public libraries, and was told they didn't have copies of the DPW, old or new.) DPW does not have a website (Let me repeat that so it can sink in: In 2013, there's a newspaper that does not have a website!), so there are no online archives to peruse.

However, the Internet does offer some documentation of the Desert Post Weekly before Gannett bought it and slowly started squeezing its life away. You can find a fair number of links and references to old stories, and the Wayback Machine has some snapshots of www.desertpostweekly.com back when it was an actual thing. A capture from Jan. 20, 2002, shows a preview webpage promising that the paper is about to go online, and includes a graphic with a rotation of old DPW covers touting stories about imprisoned women caught in the drug war; dowsing; the McVeigh execution; "America's obsession with reality TV" (a prophesy, perhaps?); "Will e-books replace the real thing?" (more prophesy); and gambling addiction.

In other words, real stories. In a real newspaper.

The paper carrying that once-proud name today is a sad joke, a paper in which there's no there there. If Gannett had any decency—and it does not, as the company has proven time and time again—it would retire the Desert Post Weekly with some dignity.

What: The Steve Special sushi roll, enjoyed as part of all-you-can-eat sushi

Where: Edokko Sushi, 69195 Ramon Road, Cathedral City

How much: $19.95 lunch, $23.99 dinner

Contact info: 328-7770; edokkosushicc.com

Why: Because you're hungry, and you looooove tasty sushi rolls

Look, Edokko Sushi ain't Nobu: You are not going to get fresh-off-the-boat toro here. Of course, you're not going to be shelling out $35 for a tiny portion of fish, either.

Instead, you are going to get a decent-enough selection of 30 or so rolls, 16 or so sushi options, and some appetizers (miso soup, gyoza, etc.), as much as you can shove down your gullet, for $19.99 at lunch, or $23.99 at dinner.

Indulgent? Maybe. Gluttonous? Perhaps? A smokin' deal? Absolutely.

The sushi pieces are just fine, but the real reason you will want to check out Edokko is for the sushi rolls: They're tasty, and they come to you fast when the sushi chefs are on their game (which they generally are). The one we most heartily endorse is the "Steve Special" roll—it's the first one on the list—which is quite simple, really: It's a California roll, topped with deep-fried shrimp and a tangy mayonnaise sauce. In an word, it's yummy.

If you're hankering for all-you-can-eat sushi, but you're weighed down by more moderate eaters, never fear: Edokko Sushi also offers an a la carte menu.

But you don't want that. You want all-you-can-eat. And you should start off with the Steve Special roll. 

Meet the Death Merchants! They consist of: William Evans-Phelps, aka “Chylite,” a 26-year-old Chicago native who has lived in the Coachella Valley for nine years; Kyle “Nolan” Holcomb, 26, a New Orleans native who moved to the valley when he was 5; Anthony Germaine Walker, aka “Lootenant,” 27, from Biloxi, Miss., who has spent the last seven years here after being relocated post-Hurricane Katrina; and David Lumpkin, aka DJ Lumps!, 26 and a Coachella Valley native.

Catch the Death Merchants this Friday, Jan. 11, at 8 p.m., when they open for Bone Thugs-N-Harmony at The Date Shed, 50725 Monroe St. in Indio. Tickets are $30 to $100; visit www.dateshedmusic.com for tickets or more information.

To hear more of the Death Merchants, visit www.youtube.com/deathmerchants or www.soundcloud.com/death-merchants.

What was the first concert you attended?

Chylite: Heavy D, when I was really young. I’ve seen Wu-Tang in Chicago, Twista, Juicy-J … but the most influential concert I went to was with my mom in Vegas—we saw the “Ladies First Tour” with Missy Elliott, Alicia Keys and Beyoncé—mostly because of the artistic production that went into it.

Nolan: David Lee Roth at the Del Mar (Calif.) Fair, I went with my dad. It was the first display of “rock-star showmanship,” with karate kicks, Spandex and microphone-licking.

Lootenant: The first concert I ever attended was a Snoop Dogg concert in Mobile, Ala., where I actually opened up for Snoop at age 17.

Lumps!: The first concert I actually remember going to was a DJ Quik concert at the House of Blues in Hollywood when I was 17 or 18. I don’t know if that’s the first concert I ever attended or if that was just so monumental that I can’t remember anything else, but he played with a 13-piece band with a horn section, guitars and a rad drummer. I knew Quik was a genius, but that’s when I fell in love with the idea of a band playing behind a hip-hop artist.

What was the first album you owned?

Chylite: The first one I ever owned was something my mom gave me, because, ironically, she wanted me to stay away from the “gangsta rap”: Al Green’s Greatest Hits. The first one I ever bought, though, was Master P’s No Limit Compilation Vol. 3 (West Coast Bad Boyz, Vol. 3: Poppin' Collars).

Nolan: Bone-Thugs-N-Harmony’s E. 1999 Eternal. My mom got me the cassette tape on the way to visit Alcatraz! I had just been in an “extreme sporting accident.” I broke my arm and was in a cast. My mom hooked it up!

Lootenant: Master P, Ghetto Dope.

Lumps!: I remember when I was in middle school; one of my mom’s co-workers took me to his car to show me his new system he just installed. He was bumping Dr. Dre, Chronic 2001. I asked if I could borrow it so I could make a copy; he gave it to my mom to give to me, but she wouldn’t let me have it because of the lyrics. I actually stole that out of her purse and played it off like I didn’t know where it went.

What bands are you listening to right now?

Chylite: Besides the Death Merchants? As far as groups go, I’m into The Budos Band, Slaughterhouse; I am anticipating the next Clipse album.

Nolan: G.O.O.D. Music. I listen to a lot of Incubus. I’m into a lot of downbeat Audio-Technica like Frank Ocean and The Weeknd.

Lootenant: Kendrick Lamar, B.o.B., The Game, T.I.

Lumps!: Definitely listening to that new Jesus Piece album by The Game right now, and I have to listen to Death Merchants, because I mix and master everything we do.

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

Chylite: Country music, but not the new stuff; it’s the old-school country I just don’t enjoy.

Nolan: Dubstep. Being that I’m a performer, when there is a DJ onstage, I’m still waiting for the show to start, but it never happens. The music is cool, but far too much credit is given to “cut-and-paste" DJs.

Lootenant: Lame rap artists with no lyrical content who seem to sell millions of records.

Lumps!: I feel like, as a producer, I need to understand all genres of music. Especially with hip hop crossing over into so many different genres now, I have to look at what the average person likes and try to incorporate that into our music. I want to have something for everyone. I make beats using samples of electronic dance music, but I definitely do not listen to EDM, because I’m just not into that type of music. I’m more of an old-school/hip-hop head.

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

Chylite: If you would have asked me that question five years ago, I’d probably have said Jay-Z, but I don’t like the new Jay-Z. … Honestly, I’d probably want to go see Stevie Wonder.

Nolan: James Brown, The godfather of soul will never be imitated. He came to a local casino just before the time of his death, and I regret not seeing him.

Lootenant: Eminem.

Lumps!: When I was younger, I had tickets to see Run-DMC, Aerosmith and Kid Rock in Worcester, Mass. For some reason, we didn’t end up going, but I would have loved to see Jam Master Jay and Aerosmith rock that stage together.

What’s your favorite musical guilty pleasure?

Chylite: If I have two 12s in the back of the Suburban … probably some crazy metal music like System of a Down.

Nolan: I have one more embarrassing than the other. The first is Insane Clown Posse; I hold my head in shame. I’ll lose some cool points with this: I like Linkin Park. And New Found Glory is the least-gangster thing I do!

Lootenant: Justin Bieber.

Lumps!: I love that cheesy ’80s music—A-ha’s “Take on Me” and Eddie Murphy’s one-hit wonder “Party All the Time.”

What’s your favorite music venue?

Chylite: To perform at, I’d say The Date Shed. They have that green room with the stripper pole, and the lighting is impeccable. To actually go and see a show, The Key Club (in West Hollywood), because no matter where you are, VIP or downstairs, it’s all cool.

Nolan: The Glass House (in Pomona). I have yet to investigate how to book that venue, but one of my goals is to perform there.

Lootenant: The main stage at the Coachella festival.

Lumps!: I love playing at The Date Shed; it’s a smaller venue, so it’s more personal, and it’s at home.

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

Chylite: I have two. “Put in work like a Death Merchant, dope as fuck, meth burnin’, exorcist lyricist got em hurlin’ with their heads turnin’,” by Nolan Lowlife; and, “If they don’t want it with ya boy, then why they testin’ me? I told them haters I don’t like Patron; I drink V.S.O.P,” by Lootenant.

Nolan: Something I live by: “Hustlers never sleep, and sleepers never hustle,” “8 Rulez” by Lil’ Flip.

Lootenant: “My city lookin’ like a warzone; I’m in the hood wit’ a pocket fulla stones, they ain’t seein’ me dog, I’m so far gone, get a pair of binoculars, tell ’em watch my throne,” by Lootenant.

Lumps!: I have the hook of that song from DJ Drama, “My Moment,” stuck in my head. “Tired of livin’ day to day like everything is alright; every night just one thing on my mind. Just waiting on that moment.”

What band or artist changed your life? How?

Chylite: Jay-Z. He always personified that a dope-boy demeanor, refined, and is simply a businessman.

Nolan: Steve Miller Band. I’ve been with both of my parents to two different Steve Miller concerts; there are so many different layers of instruments and music. That band showed me what the magic of music can do.

Lootenant: Nas’ "Ether." This was one of the biggest diss tracks of all time. Even though Jay-Z had way more clout than Nas, Nas didn’t back down; he stood his ground and came out on top of one of the most controversial battles in hip-hop history.

Lumps!: Dr. Dre. This goes with my favorite album of all time, Chronic 2001, by Dr. Dre. Everything that went into that album, and anyone who was involved with that album, artists and production-wise, was just amazing. It changed my life. I fell in love with hip hop.

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

Chylite: I couldn’t ask an artist an artistic question—like, I’m a rapper, so I couldn’t ask another rapper how they stay relevant. I’d like to ask Trey Songz if he really likes kissing men. I really want to ask all these rappers: When they coming out the closet? Stop fakin’!

Nolan: I would ask Eminem for an hour of his time.

Lootenant: Dr. Dre: “When is The Detox really coming out, and what the hell are you waiting on?!”

Lumps!: I would ask DJ Quik if I could have permission to do an updated, 2013 version of “Pitch in on a Party,” and have him collab with me on it.

What song would you like played at your funeral?

Chylite: I want something epic—no sad songs; I want there to be a party, blunts lit, bottles pourin’ out and the song “Black Republican” by Jay-Z and Nas playing in the background.

Nolan: Frank Ocean, “Dust.”

Lootenant: Tupac, “I Ain’t Mad at Cha.”

Lumps!: Lil’ John, “Get Low,” as I’m being buried.

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

Chylite: Jay-Z, Reasonable Doubt.

Nolan: Tupac, All Eyez on Me.

Lootenant: 50 Cent, Get Rich or Die Tryin’.

Lumps!: Dr. Dre, Chronic 2001.

What song should everyone listen to right now?

Chylite: “Completeness” by Chylite! Or any of the Death Merchants solo or group songs.

Nolan: John Lennon, “Imagine.”

Lootenant: Death Merchants, “The Introduction.”

Lumps!: People need to hear every Death Merchant song we have released. They’re all amazing. But one in particular, the song “Food Chain,” stands out to me the most. (Scroll down to hear it.)