CVIndependent

Mon05272019

Last updateTue, 18 Sep 2018 1pm

Last fall, Nick Waterhouse released his latest album, Never Twice. It arguably marked a career high point: The album was a critical success, as Waterhouse’s retro ‘60s rock/R&B sound continued to evolve.

The Pappy and Harriet’s regular will return to Pioneertown for a show at 9 p.m., Friday, June 23.

During a recent phone interview, Waterhouse discussed the challenges, mishaps and frustrations in making Never Twice, an album that features a lot of new territory and different styles for him. In fact, Waterhouse said he almost abandoned the project altogether.

“This album marked the conclusion of five years of doing what I had been doing,” Waterhouse said. “The first record (Time’s All Gone, from 2012) was a live set with the gang who couldn’t shoot straight backing me. The second record (Holly, from 2014) was when I was trying to figure out my place in the recording world. The studio where I recorded my first record—that I thought I’d have forever—closed between the first and second records. Suddenly, I had all these tools at my disposal on the second record, and it was done in a cinematic kind of way.”

After Holly, Waterhouse wanted to find a studio similar to the one that had closed—something that was not easy. The process inspired Never Twice, and included bringing back Michael McHugh as his recording engineer.

“This record was a militant response to that (process) and going off the grid,” Waterhouse said. “I re-employed my mentor and engineer who taught me everything I knew, who I made my first record with. We worked together on this—and this was the first job he had gotten after getting out of jail after a few years. He’s somebody who is a practitioner of what has been made into an arcane art form. … There was a time when (a recording engineer’s) skills were prized and supported financially. … That stuff isn’t appealing to labels and distributors anymore, because it doesn’t offer them a huge net profit at the end of the day.”

The recording process of Never Twice was chaotic, to say the least. Things caught on fire. McHugh crashed Waterhouse’s van. And that’s just for starters.

“It was very complicated, and to be honest, on my end, a harebrained scheme that blew up in my face—and I made it out with singed hair and no eyebrows,” Waterhouse said. “I really assembled a dream team. I wrote out a list of people I wanted to work with to make the best-sounding record, and from the beginning, there was so much behind the scenes. The keys player I had rehearsed all these songs with, for months before we started to record, got offered a very big gig and is now in the band Dawes. … It forced me to create a new dynamic and bring in an organ player every day.

“During the sessions, Michael (McHugh) showed some early warning signs of what he was later diagnosed with, which was paranoid schizophrenia. That was quite insane—literally. We were in a room with a lot of equipment held together with chewing gum and paper clips, and it was chaotic and a circus-like atmosphere, and it all got done. But toward the end, it felt like I was going into ‘lost album’ territory, where I knew I had captured all these recordings and couldn’t finish the mixing. It felt like it was cursed.”

Nick Waterhouse is signed with Innovative Leisure Records, which puts him among some rather interesting acts, such as BADBADNOTGOOD, Hanni El Khatib, Bass Drum of Death and Classixx.

“I signed with them the first week they were established as a company, so I feel like I helped build the foundation for their brand,” Waterhouse said. “They were telling me their vision, and the two artists they had were me and Hanni. They were proprietors of this new Southern California eclecticism. I thought that made more sense to me than going with a heritage or retro-leaning label.”

I own some of Waterhouse’s recordings on both CD and vinyl—and I notice a definite difference in the music on each format. He explained why.

“A lot of contemporary vinyl is cut from the same digital files CDs are made with,” he said. “Now, I make my records on analog tape, and analog tape is a match to the final format of vinyl. I’m cutting my records with someone who I trust and deeply respect who cuts a lacquer straight from the tapes. The sound never goes through a computer. Mastering for a CD or digital-audio file is radically different than mastering for vinyl, and that might be the difference you hear between the two. I decided when I made my records that I was going to make my records as I saw them, and gear them toward format. So I sat with a different engineer for the vinyl, and another for the compact disc.”

Waterhouse has been in the business since 2010, when he released his first single, “Some Place.” He said he now feels as if he’s established himself and has shaken off the “nostalgia act” classification.

“Going on tour no longer feels like the sole goal of the trip is to try to make a good first impression on people,” he said. “Now it’s more … engaging the people who have wanted to be part of my world and have returned for at least two shows. Fans know what they’re getting when they come to see me. For the first year or two, I suffered from this in-the-box syndrome and being classified as ‘for fans of Amy Winehouse and Sharon Jones.’ Now I think it’s more people who know me as having a body of work. They’re the ones who are singing along, and it’s really rewarding and helps me feed off the fans and welcome others in.”

Nick Waterhouse will perform with SadGirl at 9 p.m., Friday, June 23, at Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace, 53688 Pioneertown Road, in Pioneertown. Tickets are $15. For tickets or more information, call 760-365-5956, or visit pappyandharriets.com.

Published in Previews

The kids are getting out of school. The temperatures are consistently reaching triple figures. There’s far less traffic in the valley. Yep, June is here—but that doesn’t mean things are going to be boring, because there are some amazing shows coming during the month.

You can always depend on Fantasy Springs Resort Casino to keep bringing in great entertainment during the summer. At 8 p.m., Friday, June 3, country music star Billy Currington will be stopping by. Considering the guy has nine No. 1 singles under his belt to go along with multiple Grammy nominations, you definitely don’t want to miss this one. Tickets are $39 to $79. At 8 p.m., Saturday, June 18, get ready for Madonna … the Mexican Madonna, that is. For more than 30 years, Yuri has stayed consistent, putting out 34 albums with a ton of hit singles. Expand your horizons, and go check her out! Tickets are $39 to $69. Fantasy Springs Resort Casino, 84245 Indio Springs Parkway, Indio; 760-342-5000; www.fantasyspringsresort.com.

Agua Caliente Casino Resort has a must-attend music event in June. It’s that time of the year when you need to get those dedications to your boo ready, because at 7 p.m., Saturday, June 4, it’s time for the Art Laboe Summer Love Jam. This year’s performers will be Thee Midnighters with Little Willie G, Deniece Williams, Malo, Amanda Perez and MC Magic. Tickets are $45 to $65. The Show at Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa, 32250 Bob Hope Drive, Rancho Mirage; 888-999-1995; www.hotwatercasino.com.

Morongo Casino Resort Spa is hosting some intriguing events—and one of them in particular is quite a big deal. At 9 p.m., Saturday, June 4, country superstars Lady Antebellum (right) will be stopping by. The group has won eight Grammy awards, four American Music Association awards and numerous varied country-music awards. Lady Antebellum has also been a headlining act at Stagecoach. Tickets are $100 to $200. At 9 p.m., Friday, June 24, a band from the late ’90s-early ’00s you may have forgotten all about, 3 Doors Down (below), will be stopping by. Who can forget that tour the group did with Creed after shortly arriving on the scene? Who can forget how many times that “Kryptonite” song played on the radio, ruining it for us all? I’d prefer to forget all about it, but if don’t want to forget, I won’t judge you for going. Tickets are $65 to $85. Morongo Casino Resort Spa, 49500 Seminole Drive, Cabazon; 800-252-4499; www.morongocasinoresort.com.

Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace, per usual, has a fantastic slate of shows. At 9 p.m., Saturday, June 4, Nick Waterhouse will be coming back. The Los Angeles based singer/songwriter/producer is a purist regarding ’60s rock ’n’ roll and vintage music. It’s been two years since he released his last album, Holly, so hopefully he has something new in the works. Tickets are $15. At 9 p.m., Saturday, June 18, Los Angeles psychedelic rock group Mystic Braves will be appearing. The album Days of Yesteryear was one of my favorite albums of 2015. This group has been selling out venues across the country and is one of the hottest new bands you’ve probably never heard of. You definitely should go check them out; I promise you won’t be disappointed. Tickets are $15. Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace, 53688 Pioneertown Road, Pioneertown; 760-365-5956; www.pappyandharriets.com.

The Hood Bar and Pizza has some pretty good events coming up … wait, make that some awesome events. At 9 p.m., Saturday, June 18, desert-rock legends Dali’s Llama will be performing. I have a confession: I somehow had never seen the band perform until earlier this year. Well, I was missing out. If you’ve never seen Dali’s Llama, get your ass to The Hood, and show some hometown love. If you have seen them before, be sure to go anyway. Admission is free! Now, for the really big event … on Monday, June 20, get ready to rock harder than you ever have before, because The Adicts will be stopping by. Yes, The Adicts, the legendary British punk band! However, as of our press deadline, that’s all we know; we could find no more details beyond the date appearing on The Adicts’ tour schedule on Facebook. Stay tuned to The Hood’s Facebook page for more details, because this going to be awesome. The Hood Bar and Pizza, 74360 Highway 111, Palm Desert; 760-636-5220; www.facebook.com/thehoodbar.

Published in Previews

Nick Waterhouse and his band, The Tarots, are becoming regulars at Pappy and Harriet’s, and this is a good thing—because Waterhouse is turning out one of the best modern versions of vintage rock in the music world today.

As I walked in for the Fourth of July show, Waterhouse was talking to Beth the Door Person about the positioning of the merchandise table. I later spied Waterhouse working on the set list at the edge of the storied bar.

All hands were on deck as the band moved a large organ through the side door. Meanwhile, the audience members started to work their way toward the front of the stage. It looked like a typical Pappy’s weekend crowd, including a blond cowgirl who revealed that she was on a dry run with her Campout 11 outfit. (The Campout is an annual event at Pappy’s headlined by Cracker and Camper Van Beethoven; it’ll take place Aug. 27-29.)

Hipsters from Silver Lake and Orange County shared amongst themselves their experience with traffic. I was happy that the lady wearing the “Boogie Till You Barf” shirt was at least 10 feet away—but in my opinion, she was way too close to that vintage organ.

Nick Waterhouse walked onto the stage and announced: “My name is Nick Waterhouse, and this is a new one, ‘Old Place.’” With that brand-new, unreleased song, the Fourth of July festivities started at Pappy and Harriet’s for the nearly sold-out show. There was just enough room for those who wanted to dance; some snapped their fingers. Drawing off the energy, Waterhouse played “Holly,” the title track of his 2014 release. Appreciating the response, Nick commented: “This is off my last album: ‘Dead Room,’ the opposite of this room.” After the song, he mentioned, “That song was for the girls, and this one is for the girls, too,” as he quickly kept the pace fast for “It’s Your Voodoo Working.”

Thanks to great guitar skills, Waterhouse is able to jump from jazz to blues to rock, creating a formidable live sound that outshines what you hear on a MP3. The Independence Day revelers could not help but continue to dance.

“This next song is about my friends that do cocaine,” said Waterhouse with a smirk as he began “Sleeping Pills,” a bluesy and mood-altering tune. A gleeful Nick shared, “I started in a meat locker in San Francisco,” killing time while a quick fix was made to the organ: “Moments like these, I come to appreciate technology in a Hammond.” After the repair, Nick Waterhouse said, “This is a Seeds song,” before executing a nice cover of “Pushin’ Too Hard.”

Waterhouse apparently felt comfortable at Pappy and Harriet’s, and proclaimed, “I try to surround myself with bad men, but sometimes I slip.” He shared his agreement with the Supreme Court decisions of the week. Three-quarters of the way through his 20-song set, he said of “High Tiding,” “This one is for Beth,” that being Beth the Door Person.

As Waterhouse and The Tarots left the stage, the crowd began to chant: “USA! USA! USA!” This brought the band back for a two-song encore ending with “Time’s All Gone.”

Published in Reviews

It’s a light month for live music in the Coachella Valley—although the Coachella Valley Independent and I are doing our part to fill the entertainment void.

We’re holding a series of benefit shows for the NestEggg Food Bank at Chill Bar Palm Springs; call it the NestEggg Food Bank Summer Concert Series. At 8 p.m., Tuesday, July 7, EeVaan Tre and the Show will be performing. At 8 p.m., Tuesday, July 14, Independent resident DJ Alex Harrington will get the crowd dancing. At 8 p.m., Tuesday, July 21, Derek Gregg of The Hive Minds will turn in a solo show. At 8 p.m., Tuesday, July 28, DJ Aimlo will be featured. Each show is free, but we’re asking for a donation of $5 or more—all of which will go straight to the food bank! Chill Bar, 216 E. Arenas Road, Palm Springs; 760-327-1079; chillbarpalmsprings.com.

You won’t want to miss the 1950s Mid-Summer Dance Party, benefitting the Desert AIDS Project, at 8 p.m., Saturday, July 25, at the Palm Springs Pavilion (401 S. Pavilion Way). The ’50s themed party will feature live DJs, go-go dancers and an open bar. This is definitely the function of the summer! Tickets are $40 to $75; www.desertaidsproject.org.

The Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa has some great events on the schedule. At 9 p.m., Friday, July 3, Calibre 50 and the Banda Carnival will take the stage. Calibre 50 was created in 2010 and hails from Sinaloa, Mexico. The band has sung about some very controversial subjects about life in Sinaloa. Meanwhile, Banda Carnival has been nominated for a Grammy; the group also hails from Sinaloa. Tickets are $65 to $85. America will be performing at 8 p.m., Saturday, July 25. The trio started in 1970 and was a big hit when the song “A Horse With No Name” hit radio waves. Dan Peek left the group in 1977 (and passed away in 2011), but Gerry Beckley and Dewey Bunnell are still going strong. Tickets are $30 to $60. At 9 p.m., Friday, July 31, the legendary classic-rock outfit The Steve Miller Band will perform. Since founding the group in 1966, Steve Miller has not only written some of the best songs in rock history; the group has gone on to become a primary influence for many guitarists and bands, even in the current generation. Tickets are $75 to $150. The Show at Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa, 32250 Bob Hope Drive, Rancho Mirage; 888-999-1995; www.hotwatercasino.com.

Fantasy Springs Resort Casino has one event worth noting. At 8 p.m., Friday, July 10, Alejandra Guzman will rock the Special Events Center. Guzman is one of Latin music’s most successful modern artists and has a history of Latin rock hits going back to 1988. Tickets are $29 to $69. Fantasy Springs Resort Casino, 84245 Indio Springs Parkway, Indio; 760-342-5000; www.fantasyspringsresort.com.

Spotlight 29 Casino has a full schedule of events for July. At 8 p.m., Friday, July 3, The Family Stone (right) will be performing. Unfortunately, Sly Stone won’t be with them—although one of the first multi-racial and multi-gender American rock bands will still entertain. A blend of soul and psychedelic rock took the group to unbelievable heights when frontman Sly was in the band. Unfortunately, drug use and other problems have kept him absent from the group. Tickets are $30 to $35. At 8 p.m., Saturday, July 18, actor/comedian Paul Rodriguez will be stopping by. He’s starred in films such as Quicksilver with Kevin Bacon and Born in East L.A. with Cheech Marin. He’s also had various successful stand-up specials on HBO. Tickets are $25 to $35. For those who have argued over that great music question—The Beatles or The Rolling Stones?—you can hopefully settle that argument at 8 p.m., Friday, July 31, when tribute bands Abbey Road (Beatles) and Jumpin’ Jack Flash (Rolling Stones) will engage in a “Musical Shootout.” Tickets are $10. Spotlight 29 Casino, 46200 Harrison Place, Coachella; 760-775-5566; www.spotlight29.com.

Morongo Casino Resort Spa has a couple of intriguing events coming up. At 9 p.m., Friday, July 10, country-music duo The Swon Brothers will be stopping by. The brothers from Oklahoma were a sensation on The Voice in 2013 and released their self-titled debut album on Arista Records in October 2014. Tickets are $29 to $39. At 9 p.m., Friday, July 31, former Doobie Brothers front man Michael McDonald will be performing. The five-time Grammy award winning artist was also a studio member of Steely Dan. Tickets are $55 to $65. Morongo Casino Resort Spa, 49500 Seminole Drive, Cabazon; 800-252-4499; www.morongocasinoresort.com.

Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace has some great listings in July. At 9:30 p.m., Saturday, July 4, Nick Waterhouse will be returning to Pappy’s. Waterhouse’s retro sound, featuring ’60s rock ’n’ roll and R&B, has earned him accolades; he’s also been featured in a commercial for Lexus. Take note: If you go to the show, don’t wear tennis shoes; Waterhouse prefers those who put effort into their appearances. Tickets are $15 to $18. At 9 p.m., Thursday, July 9, there will be a vinyl release party for Jesika von Rabbit and her album, Journey Mitchell. Tickets are $10. At 9 p.m., Saturday, July 25, 10 year-old Emi Sunshine (below) will be performing. The Tennessee native and performer of Appalachian music is a wunderkind. Tickets are $10 to $12. Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace, 53688 Pioneertown Road, Pioneertown; 760-365-5956; www.pappyandharriets.com.

Published in Previews

Nick Waterhouse is a rising star, and at the age of 27, he has found success playing rhythm and blues, jazz … and old-school soul?

Yes, that’s right, old-school soul. See for yourself when he stops by Pappy and Harriet’s on Saturday, March 15, for his third appearance at the Pioneertown venue.

The Southern California native first picked up the guitar at the age of 12. When he started to develop his interests in music, they were somewhat atypical for a teenager.

“It was one out of 100 songs on the radio,” Waterhouse said. “I remember hearing songs like ‘Gloria’ by Van Morrison or ‘Shop Around’ by The Miracles, and those all were more visceral than the stuff I had been exposed to. I just kept trying to chase that feeling.”

What were his peers listening to?

“Blink-182, Limp Bizkit and stuff like that,” Waterhouse said. “That all felt like fake anger. There was no relation or affirmation of life in that music.”

He honed his guitar skills by playing in a band while he was in high school. He moved to San Francisco to attend San Francisco State University; while there, he fronted another band. Unfortunately, San Francisco’s music scene didn’t seem to appreciate his musical ambitions. Nonetheless, he found inspiration while working at Rooky Ricardo’s Records in the Lower Haight.

“It’s great, because it also serves as a hub for other people to turn you on to things,” Waterhouse said about his time at the record store. “You get to meet other people and find out about other walks of life. Some of the most important people in my life, I’ve met in record stores, and not just over music. It’s a way to interact.”

Waterhouse also mentioned the pitfalls of becoming a music aficionado.

“Anybody who gets obsessed with collecting music … is never going to be fulfilled. You always want more,” Waterhouse said. “You just keep thinking, ‘If I just figure this out, I’ll be fine.’

“It’s a much better pursuit than gambling or drugs, I guess.”

In 2012, Waterhouse released his debut album, Time’s All Gone. After a successful North American tour, he moved his show to Europe. He also began recording his follow-up album, Holly, which is due out on March 4.

As Waterhouse’s career began taking off, he made time to collaborate with a childhood friend, Ty Segall, of Fuzz, the Ty Segall Band and other projects. While Segall is primarily known for playing rock—in fact, he’s said in interviews that Hawkwind is his favorite band—he and Waterhouse have found common ground. Waterhouse, for example, covered Segall’s “It #1.”

“We met when we were young,” Waterhouse said. “We were both playing in teenage rock ’n’ roll bands. To me, it’s really a testament to the fact that our music comes from the same place, but comes out differently. Ty expresses himself in a different way, but I felt like me covering his song put the differences aside.”

Holly features more of a jazz feel, an electric organ that Booker T. Jones would envy, and sleek guitar solos. It certainly shows Waterhouse’s progression in songwriting.

“I was really pleased,” Waterhouse said about the new album. “I’m just constantly working toward an ideal. If things are going right, it’s like I’m progressing any time I’m doing something. I see it as adding to a body of work or continuing to gain knowledge and experience. I was very fortunate to have a very talented crew of musicians on this record. I auditioned a lot of different people, and tried to record the record once before with different players, and this one I was really pleased with.”

While Holly is a great album, it did not take long to record.

“Most of the primary tracking, which was live, was done in about five days,” Waterhouse said. “The rest was sort of mixing and doing an overdub here and there. What’s funny is it’s kind of like launching a space explorer or something: You do a year of work, setting up and making sure everything is right, so you don’t blow yourself up.”

Waterhouse said his love of classic R&B and soul with a jazz influence comes naturally: There is no commercial influence, even though folk music, Americana and other older genres are again becoming popular with contemporary bands.

“I don’t get to control that stuff,” Waterhouse said. “My job is just to make the records. … It’s a filter people see music through. It’s kind of hard to make a case, and it’s like being guilty until proven innocent.”

He said people should look at music and its different eras and genres differently, perhaps.

“I think that people maybe need to use a different metric for interpreting art other than looking at other things and seeing it as a strictly corollary process,” he said. “I think that’s something fairly recent in Western culture, because in the past, it wasn’t that unusual for a 15th-century Italian painter to paint something that occurred in biblical times, or Shakespeare to write about something in Denmark that was already told. It’s not about the thing itself, but what’s being expressed through it.”

When it comes to Pappy and Harriet’s, Waterhouse said he feels a closeness to the Pioneertown venue.

“The place feels like my home,” Waterhouse said. “I grew up in Southern California. I used to race motorcycles in the desert until I was about 15, and my dad was a big desert guy. A desert roadhouse feels like where I was when I was a little kid—and that’s where I probably learned a lot about American music as well.”

Nick Waterhouse will perform at 9 p.m., Saturday, March 15, at Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace, 53688 Pioneertown Road, in Pioneertown. Tickets are $12. For tickets or more information, call 760-365-5956, or visit pappyandharriets.com.

Published in Previews