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Music News and Features

16 Dec 2013
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The Purple Room at the Club Trinidad became a legendary place to have dinner and watch a performance in the 1960s, thanks in part to appearances by the Rat Pack. After numerous changes over the years, the Purple Room is under brand-new management, and has gone through a complete makeover in an effort to return the classic venue to its glory days. Who is in charge of the entertainment aspect of this ambitious effort? None other than Gary and Joan Gand, who handle booking for the venue, and themselves play Friday and Saturday nights at the Purple Room. The Gand Band’s story starts long before the Gands' arrival here in Palm Springs—back in the city of Chicago. “We met when we were 17 years old,” said Joan Gand. “Gary was a guitarist in my friend’s band, and I was the keyboardist in another blues band.” Said Gary: “She was going…
18 Nov 2013
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The Coachella Valley is full of singers and bands that perform covers—but few stand out like Andrea Drea. She grew up singing in glee clubs and attended the Reimer School of Music in Palm Springs. As a child, she sang at the Palm Springs Art Museum, Palm Springs Stadium during the Fourth of July, and various churches. “I used to watch a lot of Disney movies, and I used to sing along to them. My mom is the one who really got me into glee music,” Drea said during a recent interview. “My influences are a mixture: Billie Holiday, Janis Joplin, Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple and Ella Fitzgerald; a lot of funk from the Gap Band (and) George Clinton; and I even have a classical side. It goes on and on. My mother was very musical, and it runs in my family.” Drea said that Joplin is probably her biggest…
27 Sep 2013
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Mark Gregg is one of the most easily recognizable musicians in the Coachella Valley. He’s been playing shows here for almost two decades—and he’s still going strong. He has a regular gig at Sullivan’s in Palm Desert on Thursdays and Saturdays with his band, Dude Jones. Gregg decided he wanted to play the guitar at the age of 13—but his parents made him wait until his 14th birthday to give him his first guitar. Like many great guitar players, Gregg is largely self-taught, although he did take the occasional lesson. Gregg arrived in the Coachella Valley in 1994. He and his band, Dude Jones, had no problems getting gigs, and Gregg and quickly established himself. “I came here to just play some gigs. I got a bunch of high-profile gigs, and I started dating a girl down here,” Gregg said. “The first place I played was Redondo Don’s, which eventually…
15 Jul 2013
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It’s been a rough summer for Palm Springs band Forfeit Your Skies. The five-piece band—consisting of Justin Lopez (vocals), Garrett Piens (guitar/vocals), Alex Sanchez (guitar), Eli Hernandez (bass) and Cody Piens (drums)—were shocked to learn on July 2 that their Ramon Road practice space, a former Yamaha motorcycle shop, had been burglarized. About $4,000 worth of equipment was stolen—and it couldn’t have come at a worse time. The Piens’ sister, Niccole Holly, was killed in a car accident on June 16 near Twentynine Palms. Amelia Miller, a U.S. Marine stationed in Twentynine Palms, reportedly was driving recklessly and crashed into Holly head-on. Miller also died in the collision. The members of the group, who describe their sound as “electrocore,” came together a year and a half ago. While the band calls the desert home, they’ve experienced most of their success outside of the desert: After playing local house shows and…
24 Jun 2013
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Since the age of 17, JP Houston has been building his impressive musical résumé. Houston, a native of Toronto, has written songs for recording artists, theater and television. He’s composed for BBC, HBO, CBC, PBS and many others; he was even nominated for a Gemini Award, which is the Canadian equivalent of an Emmy Award. Since relocating to the Los Angeles area about four years ago, he’s been involved with The Relationship, the side project of Brian Bell from Weezer. He’s also part of Pappy and Harriet’s The Sunday Band, up in Pioneertown. On top of all of that, he’s been leading a unique variety show that has been compared to A Prairie Home Companion: Since February, he’s been producing American Parlor Songbook, a podcast that’s recorded live in the Ace Hotel’s Amigo Room every Wednesday evening, featuring a variety of guests. Previous performers have included Blasting Echo frontman Josh…
05 Jun 2013
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The Vibe is known primarily as a cover band—but the band members are in the process of changing that. They are currently at work on their debut album, and they now play regularly at Palm Springs' Fireside Lounge. Patrick “Tricky” Mitchem, the band’s bass player, said multiple circumstances led to them forming as a group back in October 2012. Mitchem played in much-loved local band Dude Jones from 1999 to 2001 with Mark Gregg, and he’s known Mark’s son, Derek Gregg—who sings and plays guitar for The Vibe—since Derek was a kid. Mitchem left the valley for Florida, touring the country with various independent bands before moving back two years ago—around the same time Derek Gregg moved back to the valley from Oregon. The two spent some time playing and writing music, and decided to put a group together. Back when downtown Palm Springs’ Village Pub used to have Sunday…
20 May 2013
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When I asked Teddy Quinn to tell me about his life, he didn’t know exactly where to begin. The host of the famous open-mic nights at Pappy and Harriet’s and the Joshua Tree Saloon, and the owner and founder of Radio Free Joshua Tree, is a colorful figure of the high desert, and he’s been in the entertainment business for more than 50 years. In fact, the story of Teddy Quinn begins in Hollywood in the ’60s, where he was a child actor who made appearances on Bonanza, Bewitched and General Hospital. He also had a recurring role on the short-lived sitcom Accidental Family. “I retired of my own free will when I was about 12,” he said in a recent phone interview from Joshua Tree. “I was more interested in rock ’n’ roll, poetry and art. I wasn’t really into TV. Even before that, I was always into music;…
15 May 2013
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DJ Day, aka Damien Beebe, may be the hardest-working DJ in Palm Springs. He’s collaborated with the hip-hop group People Under the Stairs. He’s put out his own records. He’s traveled around the world for live performances. And he hosts the ¡Reunion! show at the Ace Hotel every Thursday night. Because of all of these efforts and more, he’s managed to become a prominent name in the hip-hop community. His recently released full-length album, Land of 1000 Chances, feels like a throwback to the hip-hop sound during its coming-of-age in the late ’70s and ’80s in New York City. You can feel the inspiration from Funkmaster Flex in his music, melded with modern influences, jazz and funk instrumentals, and vocalists singing soul and classic R&B. It’s a blend of the old-school with some unique modern underground. The story of Damien Beebe before he became DJ Day starts in Palm Springs.…