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Music News and Features

08 May 2015
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Steve Rowland wondered why I wanted to interview him. Well, he has an impressive acting résumé from the ’50s and ’60s. He was the frontman for The Family Dogg, and produced albums and songs for Sarah Brightman, Rodriguez and the group Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick and Tich. Finally, he discovered Peter Frampton—and today, he calls Palm Springs home. So that’s why I wanted to interview Steve Rowland. He was born into an entertainment-business family in Los Angeles. His father was a film director, and his mother was a writer. He found early success as an actor, with credits including Battle of the Bulge, Crime in the Streets, Bonanza and The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp. “I left Hollywood in 1963 to go co-star in a film in Spain called Gunfighters of Casa Grande, and four films later, including Battle of the Bulge, I decided I didn’t want to…
05 May 2015
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Otis Link has spent his life at the center of the hard-core punk-rock counterculture that bloomed in California during the ’70s and ’80s. He developed stylistically at a time when the underground art scene was exploding in Los Angeles—when the same California subculture that gave birth to punk-rock rebellion also created a demand for lowbrow art, where pop-art and surrealism collide. Long before desktop computers and Photoshop, the technologies of the day were spray glue, collages, copy machines and cut-and-paste. Punk art used outrageous images and crude text, and could be shocking, yet hilarious. Lowbrow art finds inspiration from comic books, graffiti, erotica and surf culture; it can be anti-political, anti-establishment, psychedelic, thought-provoking, raunchy, gory and horrific. The music and the art of this period represent a generation that stood up against a fractured society. “We are a really fucked-up culture now,” Link said. “The reason we have war is…
27 Apr 2015
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The Podunk Poets performed in the Honkytonk tent at Stagecoach—and they felt right at home. “I think for all of us, being invited into a festival that’s so massive—Stagecoach is a dream,” said Podunk Poets’ Kelly Kidd; he and Cindy-Lou Jollotta chatted with the Independent the day after the band’s Friday, April 24, performance. “We’re still independent, so were like the band that keeps taking baby steps.” The Podunk Poets are not new to the area; the group has performed in the past at Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace. “There was lots of love there,” said Jollotta. “The crowd there was happy, receptive and energetic. That’s what it’s like at Pappy’s: It feels like a stamp of approval to play there.” Kidd agreed. “It has such a history, and it’s so nostalgic. In the Americana world, you sort of have to pay homage and pay your dues at Pappy and…
26 Apr 2015
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Daniel Romano gave a solid performance in the Palomino Tent to kick off the second day of Stagecoach 2015, on Saturday, April 25. He then went to the Toyota Tent and gave an additional, fine performance. However, he may have put on the best show of all during his brief interview with the Independent in the press tent. The musician and visual artist cited a couple of big names as influences. “I grew up listening to Leonard Cohen and Bob Dylan. That kind of stuff, my parents had on, and I understood what a good song was early on,” he said. “I’ve just been trying to make good songs ever since, but that idea of music, stylistically speaking, invoked the urge in me.” He said the songs he writes come to him naturally. “There really isn’t anything that inspires me other than the need to write,” he said. “It mostly…
25 Apr 2015
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It was a first for Pegi Young and her band, the Survivors—and she was more than happy to be there. Young has been in music since 1983, when she sang in The Pinkettes, a group that backed her now ex-husband, Neil Young. In 2007, she released her self-titled debut album. During an interview at Stagecoach, she expressed excitement for playing at the festival for the first time. “We are very excited to be here today,” Young said. “I’ve never been here before, but they really dress the place up great. People have been friendly, and they’ve checked our wristbands about 100 times. We’re in the right place!” In 2014, she released a new album, Lonely in a Crowded Room. “It feels like ancient history in my head. We recorded a bunch of it at Redwood Digital, and we did some sessions at Capitol, and we put in the backgrounds in…
20 Apr 2015
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For 11 years now, the Do LaB has been part of Coachella. It’s a festival within the festival that provides a smaller—and, some would say, more fun—Coachella experience. A lot of big names have played on the Do LaB stage, and the area has continued to grow. “Eleven years ago, the Do LaB was given the opportunity to build a dome on the fields of Coachella,” said Russell Ward, a spokesman for the Do LaB. “From there, they sort of snuck sound into it. It was initially just supposed to be a dome to cool out in a shaded structure. They ended up having a party in there, and it went really well. Goldenvoice had found out about it, and they talked to them afterward and said, ‘Hey, we heard you had a party in the middle of ours. What if we gave you more money, and you did it…
19 Apr 2015
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Three young homeschooled brothers from St. Joseph, Mo., played Coachella on Saturday—and proved that they belonged. Meet Radkey, a young band which has taken the Afropunk world by storm. After their Saturday, April 18, performance, bassist Isaiah Radke discussed their upbringing and their desire to play music. “That movie School of Rock actually is really inspiring, and that kind of made everyone excited about electronic instruments and stuff like that,” he said. What’s it like to make music with your two brothers? It’s not bad, Isaiah said, but he added that being younger than 18 poses a challenge. “It hasn’t been too bad, but it’s really hard to get shows at our age,” he said. “We got some in Kansas City and Lawrence, so it was really cool. There’s not too much pressure on us, and if there was, we didn’t really feel it. Otherwise, people would see us and…
18 Apr 2015
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Who knows how many couples have fallen in love after meeting at Coachella? For example, Breaking Bad star Aaron Paul met his wife at Coachella. That’s where Sean Lennon and Charlotte Kemp Muhl met, too—a meeting that led not only to romance, but to the birth of their band, Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger. “We met here 10 years ago by the fountain in the VIP tent,” said Lennon after their Coachella performance on Friday, April 17. “We didn’t start dating right away, but that’s when we became friends. We met through mutual friends. This festival used to be really relaxed, and it was just a friendlier vibe.” Muhl agreed. “There was definitely less people back then, and this was sort of a new festival,” she said. “It sort of felt like being in the wilderness in the desert, running into a stranger by a fountain in the desert.…