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Music News and Features

20 Nov 2015
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Friday the 13th of November 2015 will forever be remembered by fans of desert rock. Of course, we all know what happened on that day: Armed gunmen shot and killed 89 concert-goers, and wounded more than 300 fans, at an Eagles of Death Metal show at the Bataclan in Paris. It was the worst of a series of deadly terrorist attacks in Paris that night. The hard-edged pop band features frontman Jesse Hughes, with Josh Homme—frontman of the platinum-record-selling Queens of the Stone Age—on drums; both grew up in Palm Desert. The band also includes guitarist Dave Catching, who resides in Joshua Tree at his world-famous recording studio Rancho de la Luna. While Hughes and Catching were on the Bataclan stage on Nov. 13, Homme was not; he had been on the European tour but had returned home to be with his wife, who is expecting their second child. It…
27 Oct 2015
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The Royal Teens, Herb Alpert and Bobby Hart have something in common: They were all discovered by Lee Silver. Silver started in the music business as a singer-songwriter and producer in New York in the early ’50s. Today, he calls Palm Desert home. Before entering the music business, Silver served in the Army, and he worked as a mechanical engineer. However, it was hard to deny his first love—music. He’d been a performer since the age of 6, when he began singing and dancing onstage. During a recent interview at his Sun City home, he discussed his start in the music business. “When I was in the Army, I was stationed in Nashville. I fell in love with country music, and I’m a boy from Brooklyn,” Silver said. “There was no country music in Brooklyn during that time period. I remember producing a record in New York with an engineer…
05 Oct 2015
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The Stagecoach 2016 lineup was released today—and it marks a huge improvement over the 2015 slate. That’s not to say the lineup for the 10th Stagecoach festival does not include a lot of performers that have taken the Stagecoach stage before. Eric Church headlined Friday night in 2014; Luke Bryan also headlined in 2014, on Sunday. With two headliners returning just two years later—on the same nights to boot—one has to wonder if there are a limited amount of artists from which festival organizer Goldenvoice can choose. That’s also not to say that many people weren’t disappointed in the absence of one, big rumored name: Garth Brooks. While there don’t seem to be too many complaints about the lineup on the Stagecoach Facebook page as of this writing, there are some comments about how it seems the list of headliners and performers seem to be repeating. There are also complaints…
28 Aug 2015
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In October, Eagles of Death Metal will release a long-awaited new album, Zipper Down. It’s been almost seven years since Eagles of Death Metal released Heart On, heretofore the Palm Desert group’s latest album. What in the heck took so long for Jesse Hughes and Josh Homme to record Zipper Down? “We had a lot of bodies to bury. No, I’m kidding,” Hughes said, with a laugh, during a recent interview. “We’ve been asked that question, and it sort of took Josh and me by surprise, because we hadn’t realized it had been that long. It seemed like it was a couple years, but then it was like, ‘Holy shit, it’s been that long.’ We don’t really believe in a concept of a certain time. … Josh made the Them Crooked Vultures album and a Queens of the Stone Age album, and I made a solo record, and the right…
24 Aug 2015
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Ruben Romano has had success with every project since he founded his very first punk band, Virulence, back in 1985. He is a world-class drummer whose ambition has taken him around the world. But first and foremost, he is a songwriter. Fearless and dedicated to creating new sounds, Romano will pick up any instrument, regardless of whether he knows how to play it—and he’ll find his way to music. He founded veteran stoner-rock groups Fu Manchu and Nebula, and he’s now put down the drumsticks, picked up the guitar and built one of the hottest stoner-rock bands to come on the scene in recent years: The Freeks. Ruben Romano talked about his musical beginnings. “Before Fu Manchu, there was Virulence,” he said. “We did a couple of demos and then actually put out If This Isn’t a Dream on Alchemy Records. … We were tadpoles in a pond of heavyweight…
21 Aug 2015
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The members of the Yip Yops spent much of last summer holed up in their Palm Desert practice space, writing new material and honing their skills. Turns out all of that work paid off: This summer, the Yip Yops have spent much of their time recording with producer Ronnie King at his studio, Chateau Relaxo, in Thermal—thanks to a recently signed a record contract. I arrived at Chateau Relaxo on a recent Saturday afternoon just as Mari Brossfield (right), the newest Yip Yop, was getting ready to record her vocals for a song called “Straw Dogs.” Through a handful of takes, her vocals kept sounding better and better. Alvin Taylor, producer and a local drummer who has performed with Elton John, Eric Burdon and Sly and the Family Stone, was also present, and tutored Brossfield on where her vocals fell flat a couple of times. The Yip Yops have certainly…
17 Aug 2015
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The Palm Springs Gay Men’s Chorus and the California Desert Chorale are both preparing for their new seasons—and they’re both looking for new members to join in the fun. At 7 p.m., Tuesday, Aug. 25, at the Church of St. Paul in the Desert in Palm Springs, the Palm Springs Gay Men’s Chorus (www.psgmc.com) will be holding auditions. During a recent phone interview, artistic director Doug Wilson explained the audition process. “What I’m looking for are people who can match pitch,” Wilson said. “They can come in and sing a song that they prepared, something that they have worked on before, or they can sing a simple song like ‘My Country ’Tis of Thee’ or ‘Happy Birthday.’ I’ll take them through a couple of scales just to see if they can match pitch, and that’s all I need to know. If they can match pitch, we bring them into the…
28 Jul 2015
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After a recent performance by EeVaan Tre and the Show at the Coachella Valley Art Scene, I asked Tre: “Why R&B and soul music?” He laughed. However, David Morales, the bassist, had an answer. “It’s how we feel.” The powerful R&B and soul of EeVaan Tre and the Show has not only made the group one of the valley’s best bands; it also landed the group a slot at Coachella in 2015. The band’s live show is exceptional; it’s truly feel-good music. “I personally love the R&B from the ’80s,” Tre said, “the real cheesy love stuff. I guess it’s just a reflection of how we grew up and what we like. We all really dig the same stuff. … I guess that’s why I like to perform R&B and soul. I guess for myself, my exposure to it was in a specific way. I grew up listening to doo-wop.…