CVIndependent

Sat09222018

Last updateTue, 18 Sep 2018 1pm

If you’ve never seen a show by Se7en4, you’ve been missing out.

Unfortunately, chances to see Se7en4 have been few and far between as of late. The band played its first show in a long time earlier this year at The Hood Bar and Pizza—and will be playing there again on Friday, Oct. 12.

Se7en4 has been rocking the Coachella Valley music scene since 2000, and the current lineup includes frontman Nico Flores (the younger brother of Blasting Echo drummer and 5th Town bassist Armando Flores), drummer Steven Hall (brother of Thr3 Strykes’ Josh Hall), bassist Trevino Martin and guitarist Pete Burquez.

During a recent phone interview with Flores, he joked about the recent hiatus.

“Dude, we play like once or twice every three years or some shit like that,” Flores said with a laugh. “But we always have a great turnout. We have been around for a long time, and we barely play. We have a lot of loyal friends to the band and to the music scene. When we play, they always know it’s going to be a fun time.”

I’ve heard people compare Se7en4 to nu-metal, and say the group sounds like Suicidal Tendencies. Flores laughed when I mentioned that.

“I know where people get that from: Me and Steve (Hall) are really two of the only punk-rockers out here who roll up blasting gangsta rap, and we love hip-hop,” he said. “We may incorporate it a tiny bit into our music, but for the most part, we like it hard, fast and loud. It’s how we look and what we listen to on the side where people probably get that. We definitely listen to Suicidal Tendencies, who are a huge influence to us, and (Hed) P.E. is an influence, (as are) Snot, Rage Against the Machine and Black Flag. We love obnoxious rock that’s in-your-face shit.”

As a frontman, Flores gets down and dirty—and he definitely knows how to get the crowds going.

“Having grown up in the valley, and just watching all the old-school punkers like John Summers, Sean Wheeler, Herb Lienau and Ian Taylor from Unsound—growing up, I was like, ‘I want to be in a band!’” he said. “And then I was like, ‘Whoa! What are those guys doing?’ We grew up in the MTV era, too, which was all about being a rock star and their antics. When you’re a kid, you want to emulate that.”

What stops Se7en4 from playing more often?

“Real life gets in the way,” Flores said. “I’m the only one who still lives down here now, and I have a full-on family—a 15-year-old daughter and two little boys. All the guys live up in Los Angeles. Pete (Burquez) does music stuff on the side, and Steve does music stuff and also tours. Everyone stays busy musically; they don’t let not playing in this band stop them. Trevino is from up north and has a THC/growing operation going. Everyone went up to Los Angeles, and I just kind of stayed down here.

“We play whenever we can. It’s fun and takes our mind off shit; it’s always fun to get together. It’s frustrating when people ask, ‘Yo, bro, when are Se7ven4 playing?’ It’s good, though, because you’ll see Pete and Steven pursuing other music opportunities, and they’re doing great for themselves. For me, Se7en is my music getaway. My three passions in life are my music, wrestling, and I’m a daddy.”

Flores said the band members make a point of getting together when they can.

“We have a little studio up in L.A., so I just go up there, and the boys are all out there,” he said. “I have to plan it a little, but we’ll spend a whole day in the studio writing or jamming. It doesn’t happen as often as I’d like it to because of distance and all that stuff.”

Will there be any Se7en4 recordings in the future?

“I think the other guys say no, but I say yes,” he said. “We’re like that girlfriend that you fight with and get back together with the next day. We just have too big of a connection to never record anything together. It won’t be any time soon, but I think we will. I have songs, and the other guys are writing songs here and there.”

Se7en4 will perform with Throw the Goat and Mega Sun at 9 p.m., Friday, Oct. 12, at The Hood Bar and Pizza, 74360 Highway 111, in Palm Desert. Admission is $5. For more information on the show, visit the event’s Facebook page. 

Published in Previews

Summertime in the Coachella Valley can be brutal—but those of us who live here year-round know that the local music scene never stops because of a little heat.

The Hood Bar and Pizza in Palm Desert, Kilo's Cantina in Thousand Palms, and Plan B Live Entertainment and Cocktails in Thousand Palms hosted many local rock shows during the summer—and the crowds often came out. The Hood Bar and Pizza, for example, hosted several weekend shows at which attendance was near capacity; the venue also launched and regular theme nights, including an open-mic night on Wednesday, and comedy night on Sunday.

Here are some photos of local musicians from shows that happened over the summer.

Published in Reviews

Outside of some exposure at open-mic performances, local hip-hop duo of Off Kilter is largely unknown. However, that’s about to change.

Burny and TLick, originally from Northern California, are transplants to the desert who have great samples and mad skills on the mic. See for yourself when they play at The Hood Bar and Pizza on Friday, Sept. 28, as part of the CV Independent Presents show with Kosha Dillz.

Burny was the first to relocate to the desert, in October 2017, with TLick following in April 2018.

“Part of my family moved out here about two years ago. I was still up in San Jose with my dad, and then my dad and I came down here,” Burny said. “Then (TLick) moved down here and stayed on my couch until we upgraded our spot.”

TLick said he moved to the Coachella Valley because of Burny.

“I was up in the Bay Area making music, but (Burny) and I were doing it remotely. We decided we wanted to take it seriously, so I moved down here and moved in with him,” he said.

Since that move, they’ve been slowly building a following at open-mic nights at The Hood, Plan B and Big Rock Pub.

“It feels like our sound is a little more fresh down here, and we’ve been getting a positive response,” TLick said. “Obviously, we didn’t know anybody, so we’ve been going to the open mics and trying to meet people, which has been going pretty well for us. We also just did a show in Hollywood thanks to our friend who has been helping us get shows around Los Angeles. We’re trying to seize every opportunity that we can.”

The style Burny and TLick have is unique, as are their styles of delivery. Burny is gifted with the ability to rap at a fast speed.

“I grew up listening to classic rock and alternative,” Burny said. “Then I heard Eminem and Tech N9ne, guys who were lyrically gifted, as well as gifted with their flow. I heard it; it caught my ear, and I just wanted to repeat it. I would read their lyrics, because they rap so fast, and I thought, ‘I want to do that!’ I would do that with other people’s songs, and I wanted to start doing that with my own.”

TLick said he’s had a passion for writing since he was a child.

“I’m really into language, so the reason I was attracted to hip-hop is because it’s an art form dedicated entirely to language,” TLick said. “How can you use your language to express an idea, and how creatively can you do it to make yourself stand out? It’s everything I’m interested in, in a nutshell.”

Their beats are smooth with a nice groove to them.

“We make our own beats,” TLick said. “I’m really funk-inspired, and I like things that have good rhythm. I like funky bass lines and music from the ’70s, soul, funk and classic rock. I like things that groove, and a lot of the modern hip-hop doesn’t really do it for me, because it doesn’t have that soul feel to it that I’m attracted to. So what I’m trying to do is fuse what I like into something that sounds modern, but also make that sound that I like and I’m inspired by.”

T Lick said the band’s name comes from one of the first songs the duo recorded.

“We recorded this song called ‘Forever Off Kilter,’ which was before we came up with the name,” TLick said. “We were trying to come up with a name for our duo and said a lot of names back and forth. Burny called me one day and said, ‘Hey, I got a name: Off Kilter.’ We sort of realized that describes us very well. We fell in love with that name.

“The more we say it, the more we like it. Every day, I still think it’s cool. It’s such a tight name, and it’s the fusion of the funky older sounds and grooves on the production and the really rapid-fire style that we do. It’s not what you hear a lot in 2018.”

The show with Kosha Dillz will be the first local show with a full set.

“I’m looking forward to people being there to see us do a hip-hop show as opposed to seeing us on a Wednesday night at open mic because they wanted to go to The Hood,” Burny said. “They’ll be able to see our abilities.

“We get a good response at open mics, but … when you do an actual show, (attendees) know what they are going to see. So we actually have an opportunity to gain some fans, because the people there that night will be into the actual music that we’re making. I’ve done a lot of open mics in the Bay Area, and I know how they work: They’re very hit or miss. Oftentimes, you perform late in the night, and people are tired of watching 20 acts before you, or they aren’t into the type of music that you’re doing, so they aren’t really going to become fans. It’s more for practice and to stay sharp, so when we get a show, we’re prepared.”

Off Kilter will perform with The Bermuda and Kosha Dillz at 9 p.m., Friday, Sep. 28, at The Hood Bar and Pizza, 74360 Highway 111, in Palm Desert. Admission is free. For more information on Off Kilter, visit www.offkiltermusic.net.

Published in Previews

Three fine musicians, formerly members of well-liked local bands, have joined forces to create something new.

Karr features drummer Russel Waldron (formerly of Spankshaft), guitarist and vocalist Paul Karr (Unheard) and bassist Andy Gorrill (Machin’, Warsaw Poland Bros.), and the group will be making its low-desert debut—and playing its second show, period—at The Hood Bar and Pizza on Saturday, Sept. 1.

During a recent interview in Yucca Valley, Waldron said he was looking to play music again after leaving Spankshaft—and found chemistry with Gorrill and Karr.

“I consider it like the band Chickenfoot of the desert,” Waldron said. “We all come from these big bands of the desert—Warsaw Poland Brothers, Spankshaft and Unheard—and we decided to go our separate ways from them. As far as Spankshaft goes, I still love those guys like brothers, but it was time for a change.

“Me and Paul (Karr), who is my brother-in-law, got together. I jammed with everyone I could in the desert, but with Paul, it just clicked, and it felt like a heroin feeling. … After three practices, I was like, ‘Oh my god, this is where I belong.’ It’s been awesome, and it’s a huge breath of fresh air.

“We were on the prowl for a bass player, and I’ve played with 90 percent of the bands in the valley, and I never thought about hitting up Andy Gorrill; I always thought he was busy. I remember he texted me saying, ‘Totally interested!’ He came over, and after the first practice, Paul said, ‘He’s in!’ We’ve been practicing two to three times a week.”

For Paul Karr, the band marks a return to the rock world.

“I’ve been doing acoustic sets here and there, but nothing in rock for several years,” Karr said. “I didn’t really think I was going to do it again; my first intention was to get together with other guys and do stuff acoustically. That didn’t happen. I put an ad out on Craigslist, and it was while Russel was still in Spankshaft. I got all these replies and booked all these practices. But Russel said, ‘Hey, let’s get together!’ So I canceled all those. … I had been playing mostly benefit stuff because my mom is involved in a lot of charities.”

Gorrill said that while being part of Machin’ was fun, he and frontman David Macias didn’t always see eye to eye.

“I definitely had different life goals,” Gorrill said. “David (Macias) wanted to go one way, and it was different than what I was up for doing. … I played ball for a long time, but it got to a point where I needed to do me. It left a sour taste in my mouth, but it was good for me, because it let me not have to worry about shows, not worry about gigging, and it let me sit in my garage and play what I wanted to play, which was loud rock ’n’ roll. … In this band, it’s, ‘Let’s try this,’ or, ‘Let’s try that,’ instead of, ‘Learn how to play it is this way!’ There’s a lot of freedom now, and we’re not focused on perfection. Music should be fun, and when it becomes a job, the fun starts to peter out.”

Waldron said he understands it’s not easy to run a successful band.

“You have to keep the momentum going,” Waldron said. “You have to keep up with your publicity and all that. It can become a second job, but as long as it’s fun, and I’m happy like I’ve been, and it stays this way, I could play music for the next 20 years with these guys. It’s super-fun, and it’s exciting, and we’re just going to grow. It’s not perfect right now by any means, but it’s pretty damn awesome.”

Only a short demo for Karr has been released so far, but all three members agreed that coming from different music backgrounds was a positive.

“Genre-wise, I came from a ska band,” Waldron said. “We did a lot of ska, reggae and pop-punk. I’m still a huge reggae and ska fan at heart, so I’m going to bring a lot of those roots with me. It’s really cool to blend these different backgrounds together and see how it goes. I bring a lot of my roots with me, but playing with Paul and Andy’s different styles brings a lot of new stuff out of me I didn’t know I had.”

Karr said the creative atmosphere works well for him.

“Way back in the day in my band, it was way more catchy and riff-driven. As time went on, it became harder and harder, and it felt like it was becoming depressing metal,” Karr said. “But for me now, I’ll bring something in, and I never leave bummed out, because we’re continuously creating. I feel like they’re more open to working on a song and giving it their best shot.”

Gorrill said Machin’ should not define him as a musician.

“In Machin’, there was the cumbia, the ska and the gypsy jazz—which was all cool. It’s great to have that background, but it’s not what I listen to when I’m at home,” he said. “I’m listening to Foo Fighters and stuff like that, so it’s nice to be in a guitar band.”

There’s no doubt that Karr will offer some surprises during the show at The Hood.

“We have some studio time … and we’ve been putting it off, because we’ve been working on our set, but we want to go in there and get some records done hopefully by the end of the year. Everybody has been seeing our posters everywhere, and we have no music to show them yet—so the only way you’re going to hear us is to come to the show.”

Karr will perform with Sunday Funeral and Sticky Doll at 9 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 1, at The Hood Bar and Pizza, 74360 Highway 111, in Palm Desert. Admission is free. For more information, visit www.karrband.com.

Published in Previews

Jeff Bowman has largely been a quiet guy in the background, kicking ass on the drums in the local music scene for the better part of three decades.

But he recently had a fantastic idea that brought him into the spotlight: He’s bringing a variety of local musicians to The Hood Bar and Pizza on Saturday, Aug. 25, to play a benefit concert for the Desert Cancer Foundation.

However, this is not a normal benefit show. Here’s how it will work: Various musicians, many of whom have never played together before, were grouped up and given a band name by Bowman. Each group was then given a list of songs to cover—songs the musicians need to learn, rehearse and perform the night of the show.

“I thought that it’d be cool to get a few local people together, learn a set and try to play as a brand-new band by the end of the summer,” Bowman said during a recent interview in Palm Desert. “Then I thought, ‘I wonder if I could get a few more people together, and we could make a whole night of it. Maybe even five bands.’ I’ve played music in the desert now for about 30 years, and there are still a ton of people I haven’t played music with, and we have a ton of talent out here. I called Nigel (Dettelbach) at The Hood Bar and Pizza and asked, ‘You have anything (open on the schedule) at the end of the summer?’ He had something open and booked it.

“I put a Facebook post together on a Wednesday afternoon, and I said, ‘OK, here are some rules, and if everyone abides by these rules, this is going to work. Be open to doing your homework and learning these songs; be open to playing with people you’ve never played with before; and be available on the night of the show. I put it out there around noon. I was practicing with Waxy that night; I had to put a stop on the post because I had so many responses.”

There is a personal reason Bowman chose to do a benefit for the Desert Cancer Foundation.

“My mom is a cancer survivor, but my aunt was not and passed away,” Bowman said. “My uncle was also recently diagnosed with cancer, and it’s stage 4. I think that (cancer) affects all of us.

“Originally, we wanted to do something for the American Cancer Society, but that’s a national organization, and anything we raise will just go into the national pot. Also, because The Hood Bar and Pizza allows smoking on the patio, (the American Cancer Society) won’t support it. But the Desert Cancer Foundation does cancer-treatment assistance for people with cancer right here in the valley, and they were OK with The Hood Bar and Pizza allowing smoking on their patio.

“I think it’s great our local music scene can support people with cancer. It’s a theme that’s close to home.”

After more than 30 local musicians responded to Bowman’s post, he had to turn others away.

“I had a lot of people tell me, ‘I didn’t hear a thing about it!’ It’s true: They didn’t, because it was an idea that I had on a Wednesday afternoon that I put out on Facebook,” Bowman said. “If you weren’t logged into Facebook from noon to 6 p.m. on that Wednesday, you missed it. But there was enough interest in it to where I could see this being a semi-annual or even an annual event. If I did it again, I’d put it out there, saying, ‘The window is open from this time to this time.’”

Bowman said it was surprisingly difficult to completely mix up the one-night-only bands: Each one includes at least two musicians who are currently in bands together, while others used to play together.

“I tried to be as random as I could with the band selections and the song selections, but there were certain band members who have a depth of history to where that was impossible,” Bowman said. “I literally did little pieces of paper with everyone’s name on them and put them together by the drummers, the bassists, the guitar players and the vocalists to try to make it an interesting experience of people playing with others they’ve never played with—generating relationships, generating energy, storytelling and things like that.”

Of course, the newly created bands have had to overcome some obstacles. Coval had issues with rehearsals because the drummer, Benny Cancino Jr., has been on a tour—so Bowman has filled in. The Oneders had to switch gears after Herb Lienau needed to back out. That band, which includes Sleazy Cortez bassist Derek Timmons, will be fronted by Timmons’ girlfriend, Stevie Jane Lee, who will be making her local live music debut after moving here earlier this year from Utah. Lee said she is thrilled to be taking part.

“I am really excited to be a part of it—and what better way to get to know all the musicians in the area that I don’t know already?” Lee said. “I was a bit worried at first, because most of the songs we we’re assigned, I didn’t know, but we have been rehearsing at least once a week, if not two, since the bands were announced. I can honestly say that I couldn’t have hoped for a better group of people to be in. I am getting to do one of my favorite songs that I have always wanted to cover, so I have no complaints.”

Coval will include a reunion, of sorts: Monreaux frontman Giorg Tierez will be performing publicly with Monreaux guitarist Marcus Bush for the first time in two years, as Monreaux has been on an extended hiatus.

“I asked to participate because I needed an outlet back into the scene, and the show is the night before my birthday,” Tierez said. “It just made sense to me. Plus, I didn’t know Jeff Bowman personally, but I knew of him, and after meeting him and jamming with him, I can say that he’s one of my favorite people, by far, and probably one of the best musicians I’ve ever seen.”

Bowman said the show has been the subject of some inaccurate rumors.

“I’ve heard people calling it a competition, and I need to put the kibosh on that: This is NOT a competition. This is not one of those things that’s, ‘Let’s find the best guitar player!’” he said.

The lineups as of this story’s deadline:

The Oneders: Derek Timmons, Stevie Jane Lee, Cara Makuh, Tom Edwards, Nick Hales, Matt King and Troy Whitford.

Blonde Moment: Noe Gutierrez, Natasha Carian, Alex Mirage Burdon, Randy Caserta, Damian Lautiero, Armando Flores and Rob Peterson.

Bounce Haus: Robbie Waldman, Linda Lemke Heinz, Lindsey Bowman, Robert Bowman, Bobby Nichols, Matt Whyte and Robert Garcia.

Banned Four: Chelsea Sugarbritches, Nico Flores, Pakko Lopez, Josh Heinz, Rob Martinez and Jeff Bowman.

Coval: Giorg Tierez, Esther Sanchez, David Burk, Chris Rivera, Marcus Bush and Benny Cancino Jr.

A Mixed Up Music Party!, an event to benefit the Desert Cancer Foundation will take place at 7:30 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 25, at The Hood Bar and Pizza, 74360 Highway 111, in Palm Desert. Admission is $5 at the door. For more information, call 760-636-5220, or visit facebook.com/HoodBarAndPizza.

Published in Previews

If you’ve seen Gutter Candy perform recently, you may have noticed a new yet familiar face behind the drums: Dani Diggler, also a member of Sticky Doll, and the guitarist and drummer for Van Vincent. That’s not all: Diggler is also a solo artist. Catch him in action with Gutter Candy this Friday, July 13, at The Hood Bar and Pizza; and Friday, Aug. 3, at Gadi’s, in Yucca Valley. See him with Van Vincent on Friday, Aug. 10, at the Joshua Tree Saloon, in Joshua Tree. Diggler was kind enough to take the Lucky 13; here are his answers.

What was the first concert you attended?

Aerosmith, 1993, in Costa Mesa. Jackyl was the opening act. It was a great show, and I remember most of it.

What was the first album you owned?

Too far back to recall, but I believe it was a cassette tape given to me by my aunt: Draw the Line by Aerosmith. (Aerosmith was) also my first favorite band.

What bands are you listening to right now?

I’m always listening to Tool, Primus and The Doors.

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

Rap. It’s just not music at all.

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

Without a doubt, it would be The Doors. I can’t think of a show that could be more legendary than that.

What’s your favorite musical guilty pleasure?

Tori Amos. She’s amazing. Most people can’t believe I’m into her. Why not? She’s amazing!

What’s your favorite music venue?

I’d have to say the Greek Theatre (in Los Angeles). Great place to see a show.

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

“Death makes angels of us all, giving us wings where we had shoulders, smooth as ravens claws,” The Doors, “A Feast of Friends.”

What band or artist changed your life? How?

Again, The Doors.

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

Les Claypool: “How the hell do you do what you do on the bass so well?” Greatest bassist of all time. Period.

What song would you like played at your funeral?

Two songs: From a band I was in years ago Chili Cow, “... And the Story Begins,” and an original I wrote, currently unreleased, "Death My Friend."

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

Tool, Ænima.

What song should everyone listen to right now?

“Right in Two,” again by Tool. So accurate. (Scroll down to hear it.)

Published in The Lucky 13

There’s not much of a standup comedy scene in the Coachella Valley—but The Hood Bar and Pizza and aspiring local comedian Jacob Cantu are hoping to change that.

Cantu has often made people laugh during the Wednesday-night open-mic at The Hood—and management has taken notice. As a result, Cantu is now organizing a standup comedy night at The Hood every other Sunday.

“I always had it in the back of my mind to do it, but I just didn’t have the balls to do it,” Cantu said during a recent interview. “My grandpa died in 2015, and I was taking care of him. He had Alzheimer’s, and I took care of him for about five years. I was depressed, and my therapist told me, ‘You know, you’re funny here when you tell me about sad stuff; you should try standup comedy.’ I told my wife about it, and my wife found an ad for an open-mic—and I just did it. I sucked, but I got hooked and got a couple of laughs.”

He’s now been performing for almost three years. At a recent open-mic night, he told a humorous tale about a woman in yoga pants chiding him and ruining his day because he was purchasing Doritos.

“I still don’t know how to be myself when I’m onstage yet,” Cantu said. “That bit at open-mic with the Doritos was probably the most comfortable I’ve felt onstage ever. I’ve consciously been trying to do stuff like that.”

Cantu has long had standup comedy aspirations, and said he was inspired by greats including George Carlin and—before his, uh, recent troubles—Bill Cosby.

“I had Bill Cosby’s Himself on tape, and I just watched it over and over and over again,” Cantu said. “When George Carlin was putting out an HBO special every year, I was living in Mexico. My dad made sure he had DirecTV as soon as it came out and that we had HBO. I watched any special that would come on—stuff like Chris Rock when he did Bring the Pain, and Dave Chappelle. It was before the internet.

“I did a class with this guy who had the only standup open-mic (in the valley) at Caliente Tropics. I knew it was a hustle, but I supported him, because I didn’t want them to stop the open-mic. I paid him $50. It wasn’t like I was being told anything I didn’t know already. I listen to a lot of podcasts, and one thing I learned from them is to go up there and be yourself. The jokes come later. The first part is learning how to be yourself onstage.”

Cantu said The Hood’s open-mic night has been a great place to learn.

“The Hood is a tough room, especially on Wednesday,” he said. “People want to go see music, and the thing about music at a bar is that music is in the background. When you (perform) standup, you have to get people’s attention. I’m not a dirty comic; I don’t cuss, and I walk on the borderline talking about death a lot. It’s hard for me to get a bar’s attention on a Wednesday night—but it’s also made me better. I let them listen to themselves be assholes. If you’re quiet for a second, the talking of the people watching you will shut everyone up, and I’ve learned to do that at The Hood, which has been a good thing.

“One of my main motivators is having a regular comedy show there. I also want to have a comedy open-mic somewhere so people can try it. It’s going to be raw; it’s going to be a little rough, and there are going to be people who are funny—or who think they are funny. But at least you know what you’re getting into, and that’s how you get better.”

Cantu said putting together the first show, which took place June 10, was personally challenging.

“Driving over here to meet you, I was worried, because I thought I was going to get ambushed or something. That’s what makes you a standup comedian,” he said. “Nigel (Dettelbach, the promoter/booker at The Hood) is used to dealing with confident people. He’s used to dealing with people with self-esteem. Nigel wasn’t so sure, and it came together on the fly. I put together the show real quick, and comedians came down from Los Angeles.

“There’s no comedy scene here, and when I started doing this, I had nowhere to go. I’m 35, and I know where I am in life. I’m not going to be on television. The highlight of my life would be to run a show here in the Coachella Valley and get paid for it—or getting a famous person who thinks I’m funny to write jokes for them. Why not here? Standup gives you an outlet. You can’t play an instrument, but you can talk on a microphone.”

On top of the shows at The Hood, Cantu is working with Plan B Live Entertainment and Cocktails in Thousand Palms on a local-comedy night.

“My wife is pretty mad at me, because I’m dedicating a lot of time to this, but I think it’s important,” Cantu said. “Someone has to start this, and I know there are other standups in the valley, but it takes a lot of work to put shows together. … (It would be nice) if I had someone to help me, because I don’t want to get divorced anytime soon.”

Published in Comedy

If the desert-rock gods of Kyuss had a baby with the members of the band Primus … you’d get Sleazy Cortez.

The local outfit that features bassist Derek Timmons, guitarist Nick Hales and drummer Damian Garcia has played a long list of shows over the past year—and released the album Trailer Trash Blues late in 2017.

But Sleazy Cortez actually goes back some years … eight years, to be exact, when Timmons was part of Robotic Humans with Lalo Beat, and a jam session with Nick Hales indirectly led to the creation of Sleazy Cortez.

“We’ve existed since 2010, although not consecutively,” Derek Timmons said during an interview on the patio of The Hood Bar and Pizza. “There are some big gaps where we were busy with other bands, but we would still jam. That was back in the days when we had Lalo Beats on drums. Lalo and I were in Robotic Humans at the time, and we started jamming, and we had a gig come up at the Red Barn, and we were unable to do it as Robotic Humans. We were like, ‘Let’s just do it as Sleazy Cortez, even though we don’t have any songs.’ We went there and made it up on the spot, and there were a bunch of people groovin’ and loving the songs. We decided to go ahead and put some songs together.”

The songs on Trailer Trash Blues have existed for years. Former drummer Lalo Beats even came back to help finish and style them.

“A lot of those songs have existed since I was living in Indiana years and years ago—not exactly as they are now, but mostly fully formed,” Timmons said.

Drummer Damian Garcia was praised by Hales and Timmons during the interview as bringing more groove and funk to the band—elements which have helped them stand out in the local music scene.

“It was very complicated for me to switch between Lalo’s drums and mine. … He was more metal, and that was what he was doing in Robotic Humans,” Garcia said. “When I heard this, I was obviously going to try to imitate his style, given it was already there, but I threw some of my own style into it. The way I emphasize that is to add accents on the songs and bring them out more. I added more feeling and more groove to them.”

The album actually sat collecting dust for a long period of time.

“It was recorded back during the fall of 2015,” Hales said. “From the time we started, it took about five years to actually come from, ‘Hey, we played this random-ass show with no fucking songs,’ to a whole full-length EP.”

Timmons said the delay was due, in part, to Sleazy Cortez being put on the backburner.

“It was everyone’s part-time thing for a while,” Timmons said. “We had that whole album already done, and then didn’t play for a year before we got back together and got it together the way that it finally came together. Every song except ‘Backwoods Woman’ was already like it was for the album. But we would play ‘Bud the C.H.U.D.’ however we wanted. We would be like, ‘We should at least determine how long we’re going to play that one,’ instead of 15 minutes one time, and seven minutes the next time.”

Timmons was frustrated—amusingly so—the day he received their initial shipment of CDs late last year after he spotted a defect in the artwork on the cover. He declared that as long as they and others had been waiting for the album, they were willing to wait longer for it to be perfect.

“The cover is still not perfect, though,” he said. “We’ll probably do another pressing of it, given it bothers me when shit isn’t right. It’s good now, but later, it’ll be better.”

Songs like “Mountain Man”—about a guy who owns a marijuana farm who shoots trespassers—as well as “Beat Up Your Mom” make some people raise their eyebrows.

“We don’t advocate anything we sing about,” Timmons said. “We like to sing about picking up high school girls from the bowling alley, killing people trespassing on a drug farm, and backwoods prostitutes. It’s more fun to sing about them than get involved in any of those things in real life. People can do whatever they want with our music, but I feel I’m not responsible, even if I said to do it.”

Sleazy Cortez will perform with Throw the Goat and Bossfight at 9 p.m., Friday, June 1, at The Hood Bar and Pizza, 74360 Highway 111, in Palm Desert. Admission is free. For more information on Sleazy Cortez, visit sleazycortez.bandcamp.com.

Published in Previews

Last year, a group of teenagers from La Quinta High School became the talk of the local music scene thanks to their unique brand of instrumental music.

The group known as Instigator participated in CV Weekly’s Battle of the Bands competition, opened for Mondo Generator at The Date Shed, and enjoyed some gigs at The Hood Bar and Pizza. Now the band has a recording—Built to Defy, produced by Throw the Goat guitarist Brian “Puke” Parnell, coming on Friday, May 25. The group will celebrate with a show at The Hood that evening.

I asked Parnell why he wanted to record Instigator.

“When Throw the Goat played with Instigator last year at The Date Shed, and we were both opening for Mondo Generator, I was really blown away by them,” said Parnell. “I was talking to the guys after the show and talking to their parents. I asked them if they had any recordings, and they didn’t. It was something I definitely wanted to do for them, because I wanted to make sure that it sounded right. I knew how to capture the sound already at that point by ear.”

When I first saw the band last year, I loved the fact it was entirely instrumental—despite criticism from the Battle of the Bands judges’ table via House of Broken Promises and Unida guitarist Arthur Seay, who didn’t like the lack of lyrics. Seay will be glad to learn the band has now begun to incorporate lyrics—and the group sounds even better.

During a recent interview with the band members in La Quinta, they said they were embracing the vocals.

“It helps to broaden the dynamic of the entire band, especially with how you have to get a message to your listeners,” said lead guitarist and vocalist Mark Wadlund.

The members’ individual lists of influences make for a strange mix when put together. For starters, all of the members agree that drummer Joe Boomer’s punk and hip-hop influences are a big part of their music.

“They ruined me,” drummer Joe Boomer said about his bandmates with a laugh. “I was on track to being a normal drummer. It was cool, though, because I never felt challenged by school band or marching band, because there’s a lack of creativity. They give you music and expect you to play it. With these guys, I didn’t know how to do what they were doing, so I latched myself onto them and started to learn.”

Rhythm guitarist Jaxson Fischer is influenced by psychedelic rock and blues.

“We’re all individually inspired by different tastes and things, and we incorporate that personally into the way we play,” said Fischer. “Joe is the only person I know who can combine death metal and hip-hop into a song through his drumming. It just works.”

Like most bands, Instigator had problems gaining credibility at first.

“I think we struggled with not being taken seriously for a while,” Boomer said. “I feel like we had to fight for any amount of respect we’ve earned. We had little issues everywhere. At the time, it felt like major setbacks. We had a security guard at a venue not let us into our own show. I think we got to the point where we have a little more respect now—or we just don’t care. We don’t need to worry about impressing people anymore.”

Wadlund agreed.

“I think the music speaks for itself,” Wadlund said. “You have to show people what you’ve created. That’s what it’s all about.”

Recently, Instigator played a show at West Hollywood’s legendary Whisky a Go Go—but there was a downside: The band was required to sell a certain number of tickets.

“The pay-to-play thing threw us off,” Boomer said. “Most of the tickets we sold were to friends and family. We obviously couldn’t sell them out there in Los Angeles, so all we could do is sell them to family members.”

“Or to whoever was available on a Thursday night,” added bassist Garrison Calkins with a laugh. “We kind of fed off the four other bands that played. They sneered at us a little bit, but not when we got up and played onstage.”

When it came time to record, the band members’ parents dropped them off at Parnell’s house in Idyllwild for a weekend.

“All he had for us was a couch that only one of us fought for. I brought a cot, and the rest of us slept on the ground,” Calkins said. “Being in the studio was a whole new thing for us. When you’re in there, you have all these monitors surrounding you, and you can hear every little mistake.”

Wadlund said the band’s name is also its mission.

“We literally are all about instigating a movement out here in the valley,” Wadlund said. “Obviously not by starting metal—metal started a long time ago—but we’re about instigating a movement of people. It’s a musical get-together, and it’s an entire music scene, or a huge crowd of people, or meeting new friends at an Instigator show. It just feels inspiring.”

Instigator will perform with Minor Emergency and Frank Eats the Floor at 9 p.m., Friday, May 25, at The Hood Bar and Pizza, 74360 Highway 111, in Palm Desert. Admission is free. For more information on Instigator, visit www.facebook.com/instigatorofficial.

Published in Previews

The members of GayC/DC are all characters—but bassist Glen Pavan is a show of his own. Not only is he the bassist for the fabulous all-gay AC/DC themed rock band; he’s also the master of confetti and shenanigans. GayC/DC will be returning to The Hood Bar and Pizza for an encore CV Independent Presents show on Saturday, May 5. For more information on the band, visit www.facebook.com/gaycdcband. Glen was kind enough to answer the Lucky 13; here are his answers.

What was the first concert you attended?

The Stray Cats at the Capitol Theatre in Passaic, N.J., perhaps on their first tour, in 1982. I was still in elementary school at the time. My older sister snuck me into the venue by having me walk in behind her, hiding underneath her long winter coat. My mom was pissed when she found out, but I’m still grateful all these years later! The energy level of the band and crowd was a huge thrill (on top of the excitement of being snuck in), and I loved when they played the theme song to the Munsters.

What was the first album you owned?

It’s hard to pinpoint, as my oldest siblings and cousin were all teenagers when I was born, and I would get their hand-me-down records and 8-tracks. By the time I started kindergarten, I had my own collection of Beatles, Cheap Trick, The Cars, Devo, Meatloaf, The Knack, The Police, ELO, Blondie and KISS albums. They’re all still my favorites. I also had a bunch of rock ’n’ roll movie soundtracks as a kid. Anytime I came across movies like Xanadu, Rock ’n’ Roll High School, Tommy, Get Crazy or Sgt. Pepper on TV, I was immediately captivated and in love with the songs.

What bands are you listening to right now?

I’m turning lots of people onto the Italian band Giuda (pronounced “Judah”). They look like a pub band but play the most authentic glitter rock you’ve heard in 40 years. My singer, Chris, just got me into Muse and Bow Wow Wow, and my drummer, Brian, is getting me deeper into Motorhead. I’ve also been on a huge Johnny Thunders kick since the L.A.M.F. (anniversary) show in December, and a Tubes kick since their show in January.

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

I love the look, the talent, and the camp of the wave (like what I did there?) of “yacht rock” cover bands playing around now, but those songs were boring and neutered then, and remain boring and neutered now—“rock” music for people who don’t rock.

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

I wish I could have seen The Who in 1970, around their performances at the Isle of Wight Festival, or the Live at Leeds/Hull shows. They were finishing up the Tommy cycle and starting to introduce the Lifehouse tunes to the set, and were just the most muscular rock band imaginable. All four members of the band were just on fire, and it’s just complete aural overload. I love when current bands today push themselves to the limits of intensity, creativity and proficiency as The Who did then.

What’s your favorite musical guilty pleasure?

Hard-rock/heavy-metal Christmas music. It’s just so silly and happy and totally rocks. I start listening to it way early each year, like in September. Cheap Trick’s Christmas album from last year was such a wet dream come true for me. I played that album more than 100 times between Halloween and Christmas. My poor partner must have had to endure sitting through it indirectly at least 50 of those times, too. That’s true love right there. I’m very blessed.

What’s your favorite music venue?

When performing: Any outdoor stage. We are the best-looking band in the daylight! I get to see the crowd enjoy themselves more, which keeps me invigorated. For attending shows: I enjoy places with no security barricades. I always try to get right up front and center and be able to closely watch every musician play their instrument. And I love taking home unique souvenirs like guitar picks or setlists and getting killer front-row pictures and videos.

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

I keep coming back to “Be All, End All” by Anthrax. It encourages me to stay motivated while still being realistic, and to never feel sorry for myself; and it reminds me that while I can’t control everything that happens in my life, I can control my reactions. Very Carl Jung. “Nothing’s ever easy when you do it yourself, All you can do is try, life’s not unfair, life’s just life, death not suicide, be all, and you’ll be the end all, life can be a real ball, state of mind, euphoria.”

What band or artist changed your life? How?

As I’d expect most kids from the ’70s to answer, it’d be KISS. They took the presentation and mystery of rock music to the freakin’ stratosphere! Experiencing their media onslaught during their original run was just mind-blowing for us kids. It wasn’t just a group of guys playing their music for everyone to enjoy; it was an overload of everything in excess. Costumes! Makeup! Merch! Toys! Comic books! Pyro! And every nine months, they put out another excellent album of songs about fornication, fornication and fornication. It was the coolest and most exciting thing to happen to kids, and it was pure magic. When you find mutual KISS buddies as an adult, you’re instantly best friends. KISS Army is for life.

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

The answer is none of my business, so it’s more of a rhetorical question, but I’d like to ask just what kept the original Runaways from reuniting before drummer Sandy West passed away. Have you seen the documentary Edgeplay? It’s just a heartbreaking story, and I so wish it would have had a happy ending. Seeing them together again is another rock ’n’ roll hope of mine that will never come true.

What song would you like played at your funeral?

My funeral won’t be sorrowful about me being gone; it’ll be about celebrating my friendships and my efforts to live life as largely (ha ha, fat joke) as I could with the time I had. Hence, you all get to hear the “1812 Overture” live, with cannons. And confetti. And fabulous gift bags.

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

I’ll go with Bat Out of Hell, Meat Loaf. It blows my mind as much now as it did when it came out; it’s so theatrical and over the top and just completely timeless. The production, band performance and backing vocals are breathtaking. The degree to which Meat Loaf pushes the vocals is nothing less than epic, and Jim Steinman’s melodies, lyrics and themes are heavenly. The final song, “For Crying Out Loud,” is my favorite, guaranteed to give me goosebumps for nine minutes straight every single time I hear it. How magnificent is the power of music!

What song should everyone listen to right now?

“Dick Around” by Sparks. They’re the band I try to turn friends onto the most, especially with this song. The rapid fire delivery of lyrics, the funny subject matter, the crazy amount of symphonic music for a pop song, the crazy amount of headbanging metal for a pop song—it’s so grandiose. Have a listen, and if you’re intrigued, grab their new album Hippopotamus from last year; it’s their 24th album! (Scroll down to hear it!)

Published in The Lucky 13

Page 1 of 11