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Readers of the Independent voted for Avenida Music as the Best Local Band in the 2018-2019 Best of Coachella Valley. Behind the drums of Avenida Music is Sean Poe, who also plays in the Hive Minds. Poe is a fascinating drummer to watch, given his technical prowess and jazz-inspired style. For more information on Avenida Music, visit www.littlestreetmusic.com or www.facebook.com/littlestreetmusic. For more on the Hive Minds, visit www.hivemindsmusic.com. Sean Poe was kind enough to answer the Lucky 13; here are his answers.

What was the first concert you attended?

I went to a bunch of concerts growing up, but the first concert I chose to go to was Avenged Sevenfold.

What was the first album you owned?

Green Day, American Idiot.

What bands are you listening to right now?

I’ve been listening to the Gorillaz, The 1975, Young the Giant, Dave Matthews Band, and a lot of Miles Davis.

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

I don’t really understand the whole mumble-rap thing.

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

I would love to have seen Queen with Freddie Mercury.

What’s your favorite musical guilty pleasure?

Definitely emo music! Panic! at the Disco, Fall Out Boy, and Thirty Seconds to Mars—stuff like that.

What’s your favorite music venue?

That’s a tie. I love the Big Rock Pub for the sound clarity when I perform there, but I love the La Quinta Brewing Company for the intimate vibe. You’re in a room and can really look all the fans in the eye. That’s really cool.

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

I wish they all could be California girls,” The Beach Boys, “California Girls.”

What band or artist changed your life? How?

The most life-changing artist is actually a Southern California cover band called Helicopter. I went to the bar and saw them playing, and they let me get up and play with them, even though I didn’t play drums yet. It was the first time I played anything other than marching-band or orchestra music, and it completely shifted the direction of my life! We played “Rocky Mountain Way” by Joe Walsh. I’m forever grateful to those dudes.

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

I’d ask Dave Matthews: “How do you keep every show fresh and different after all these years and countless relentless tours?”

What song would you like played at your funeral?

Oingo Boingo, “Dead Man’s Party.”

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

Miles Davis, Kind of Blue.

What song should everyone listen to right now?

The Dave Matthews Band covering “All Along the Watchtower.” I saw them play it live recently, and it gave me chills. (Scroll down to hear it!)

Published in The Lucky 13

There are only a few local musicians who are able to make a living via music—and that rather short list includes Derek Jordan Gregg.

The Hive Minds frontman plays gigs throughout the valley in hotels and restaurants, and that inspired him to make his first batch of solo recordings while The Hive Minds was on a short hiatus.

During a recent interview in La Quinta, Gregg said his solo material has more of a folk sound.

“I think when I play by myself, I’ve always gravitated toward that sound,” Gregg said. “I’ve always been a fan of Bob Dylan since I started writing songs. It’s not necessarily a new endeavor, but Hive Minds wasn’t the place for me to let this stuff out, and we were doing so much that that was where my creative energy went. It’s something I’ve always loved, and it’s a lot easier to do by yourself.

“The big difference between this and the Hive Minds stuff is the lyrics are so much more personal. I didn’t worry about any of the songs being upbeat or catchy, and they all cut really deep. They’re the heaviest lyrics I’ve written in my life.”

Gregg said these songs would probably not go along with the Hive Minds’ indie-rock sound.

“I think that Sean (Poe) and Sam (Gonzales) really like my folk stuff,” Gregg said. “I have a whole catalog of folk material, but I’m really more protective of these songs. If I did put these in a band, I wouldn’t want to play them as a trio; I would want a huge Americana band. I don’t know if that would change the trajectory of the Hive Minds songs or the Hive Minds sound, but it would mess with the cohesiveness of the album, because you’d have really mellow, slow and depressing indie rock.”

Gregg plays solo in a wide variety of venues, some of them rather challenging—ranging from clubs to restaurants to hotels.

“It takes a lot of energy just to come into these shows with a positive outlook and never look at it like a job. I’ve been in those head-spaces where I’m like, ‘Ugh! Time to go to a gig!’ and I have to snap myself out of it,” he said. “I do a fair amount of covers, and I make those covers my own, but the minute that it starts to feel like a job to me, I’ll quit, and I’ll go wash dishes. I’d rather wash dishes and hate it than hate playing music.

“Where I’m at now, it doesn’t hinder my creative process. I play a ton, and I’ll even create stuff on the spot at these gigs. If I get into a negative head space or a depression and start to look at this as work, I either need to learn a lot more stuff and make it my own, or I need to start doing more original music at these shows. That’s the tightrope that I walk.”

He even went so far as saying that a scene in the movie Fight Club—during which Edward Norton goes into a meditation and sees a penguin that says the word “Slide”—inspires his views on being a musician.

“I almost want to get that tattooed on my arm,” he said. “I think that it’s more about the place that he goes, and it’s like when you’re spacing out at work, and it takes you out of the moment. You’re pissing on the moment if you’re just chugging through your chords and letting the words come out.”

He’s recently been using a looper during his shows.

“When I bought it, it was supposed to be for me to practice at home with. Once I got it out of the box and started dicking around with it, I used it for the show I had that night,” he said. “I don’t think I have as good of chops as Calvin Williams—who plays with Eevaan Tre—Bobby Nichols or Kal David, but my rhythm (is just as good). It’s all about rhythm, which has never been an issue for me. I play with a really simple looper. I’ve never been much of a guitar nerd, which is why the folk music thing works for me.”

The Hive Minds have had some local success, including a few high-profile shows, but Gregg expressed humility regarding the band.

“When we first started, Patrick Mitchem was on bass, and then we went to being an acoustic duo with Sean and I, and then playing with Sam Gonzales … playing TED talks, and playing the Bernie Sanders rally,” he said. “It’s almost like it doesn’t feel like it’s happened. I don’t know if that’s how people feel when they do something they’re really proud of. … I’ve always believed if you’re living in the past, you’re living on memories or anxiety. If you’re living in the future, you’re existing in your imagination. But now that I’m thinking back on it, it is pretty crazy.”

For more information on Derek Jordan Gregg and the Hive Minds, visit www.facebook.com/thehiveminds.

The Hive Minds are one of the Coachella Valley’s most consistent and well-liked bands.

However, the reach of the Hive Minds may soon reach beyond our dusty little valley: The group recently recorded an album with famed producer Ronnie King, a Palm Springs local, and hopes to finally tour outside of the Palm Springs area.

While the group was recording the album, the Hive Minds launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund the project, offering presales of the EP and other incentives. How did it go?

“It was unsuccessful,” said frontman and guitarist Derek Jordan Gregg during a recent interview in Palm Springs that included all three members of the group. “A lot of people think some guy is online doing (crowd-funding campaigns) to buy mayonnaise or some stupid shit like that, so there’s a stigma of some sort. People think you're asking for a handout when we’re really just trying to get something in exchange for all the time we put in.”

While the Kickstarter campaign failed, the group found success working with King, who has produced for Rancid, Mariah Carey and the local group IIIZ (formerly the Yip Yops), along with many other acts.

“He gets really good work out of you,” Gregg said.

Drummer Sean Poe seconded Gregg’s comment.

“You'll work all day and just get the best take you can get,” Poe said. “We would do it; we'd think it was good, and that was the take. Ronnie would be like, ‘No, do it again.’ We'd do it again and again and be like, ‘That's the take!’”

However, bassist Matt Styler conceded the process was not always easy.

“We definitely had to learn (how to deal with) thinking we had put out a really good take or a song and hear, ‘Oh no, there's still a lot of work to be done.’ It's learning to be OK with that process and having the presence to know you could put together something better, even though you already love what you did before.”

When I visited IIIZ while they recorded with King last summer, King was making IIIZ guitarist and vocalist Mari Brossfield do multiple takes for a track. Gregg said he was put to the test a few times himself.

“I remember doing a take on our song ‘Wish You The Best,’ thinking I had just nailed it, and Ronnie said, ‘Yeah, it was good, but I didn't buy it.’ He pointed to the part and had me change it, saying, ‘There's no emotional content.’ He had me going over and over it. He knows what makes a hit song for sure.”

The group hopes the new EP will be released within several months.

“Probably in May or June,” Gregg said. “It's a bit of a story, and it’s conceptual. It's all love songs and based on the building and the breaking of a relationship. It's just five tracks, but it's really upbeat and sounds different from the first record. The first record was really mellow and Americana; this one is totally different and indie-pop.”

Ronnie King ended up playing keyboards on most of the tracks. The members of the group enjoyed the sound, and as a result, they are now looking for a keyboardist.

The album includes other guest appearances, too.

“Mari (Brossfield) from IIIZ is on it,” Gregg said. “A local sax player named Aaron Merc is on it, too. He visited us, and we were listening to one of the tracks. … I was like, ‘Aaron, do you happen to have your sax with you?’ He was on his way to rehearsal, and it was in the car.”

Poe talked about how Mari Brossfield became involved.

“We were like, ‘It would sound so much better if we went an octave up,’” he said about one of the band’s songs. “We’re all sitting there trying to sing it and hit that note. Derek was like, ‘I wish we had a girl here,’ and Mari was right there, and (Derek) goes, ‘Hey, you want to sing on it?’ IIIZ was really supportive and came out several days when we were in the studio.”

With the new album came a new and interesting endeavor: a music video, for the song “Chasing You Around.”

“Robert Sandoval did it,” Gregg said. “He helped us out when we made our Kickstarter music videos, and he's really good. He kind of works how we work, where if you have an idea, and you start to wing it a bit, you just to allow yourself to be open to new possibilities.”

Styler explained the theme of the video.

“It's a love story: Guy sees girl, and guy chases after girl,” he said. “It's basically someone chasing her around. But it's in the least-stalker way as possible. We want to make that clear.”

Gregg thought of an amusing alternative ending for the video.

“The ending of it should have been the guy getting a cease-and-desist letter,” he said.

The Hive Minds will perform with Monreaux, Higher Heights and the CMFs at 8 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 20, at Playoffs, 12105 Palm Drive, in Desert Hot Springs. Admission is $5. For more information, visit www.facebook.com/thehiveminds.

Published in Previews

The Hive Minds are on a roll. Derek Gregg (vocals/guitar) and Sean Poe (drums) won a local battle of the bands at the National Date Festival; they have been busy recording a new album; and they have kept a busy schedule of local gigs. Speaking of gigs: Derek will be hosting an open-mic night at The Hood Bar and Pizza, 74360 Highway 111, in Palm Desert, at 9 p.m., Wednesday, June 11. Here are Derek’s answers to The Lucky 13.

What was the first concert you attended?

When I was younger, I went to an AFI (A Fire Inside) concert with my stepdad. I’m not really a fan, per se. However, they were incredibly polished. I’m not convinced they weren’t lip syncing.

What was the first album you owned?

Oh my … that’s an incredibly tough question to answer. It may have been a greatest-hits album by Steve Miller, although I doubt it. I’ve been a fan of music for as long as I can remember.

What bands are you listening to right now?

Well, I love Tame Impala. I only recently started listening their Lonerism album. Lately, I’ve been stuck on Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not by Arctic Monkeys. However, I’m just revisiting it. Let’s see … The Smiths for sure, The Cure (particularly the Boys Don’t Cry Album), and a lot of Dylan and Cash, too.

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

I can’t stand anything that’s popular right now; it all sounds the same—that techno bullshit.

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

Radiohead.

What’s your favorite musical guilty pleasure?

The first thing that comes to mind is that Maroon 5 album Songs About Jane. It’s ridiculously overproduced. I hate that squeaky-clean stuff, but it is catchy. It’s good songwriting, but that went down the drain, too, after that album, in my opinion.

What’s your favorite music venue?

There are so many good ones. The Hood has a pretty rad sound system, and whenever we play there, we get to jam out with awesome bands. I dig the Desert Fox bar, too, because it’s always so packed whenever we play there. I have a dozen wild stories from that place. Oh man, that bachelorette party last week!

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

I’ve been trying to get it out of my head because it makes me want to cry: “I am colorblind. Coffee black and egg white. Pull me out from inside. … I am folded, and unfolded, and unfolding. I am colorblind,” Counting Crows, “Colorblind.”

What band or artist changed your life? How?

Before I started listening to Bob Dylan, I was writing a lot of lame pop songs that will never see the light of day. I realized: Though you have to be honest, you have to be naked, and Dylan reminded me that people will buy honest, pure music. The radio is force-feeding all this garbage techno and pop. Some people don’t even know that there’s incredible stuff out there. You gotta look for it.

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

I would ask Antonio Carlos Jobim how he did it: Come up with an incredibly unique style of music, and have it explode from your home in Brazil to countries all over the world. He’s the pioneer of bossa nova, and when I think about creating a style completely your own, it just blows my mind. Add Stone Flower by Jobim to the list of albums I’ve been listening to. If you haven’t heard “Brasil,” you haven’t lived.

What song would you like played at your funeral?

I’m sure it comes off as self-absorbed, but I would want my albums played. My songs are the most important thing to me. My life’s mission is for them to be out and heard. That’s immortality, man!

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

I’d refuse to answer this, but that just seems rude, so I’ll throw out the first one that comes to mind: OK Computer by Radiohead. But ask me again in a week, and I’ll have a different answer.

What song should everyone listen to right now?

There’s so many options. I guess I’ll just throw out one of Led Zeppelin’s more obscure tracks, “Friends.” (Scroll down to hear it.)

Published in The Lucky 13

It’s February, and you know what that means: Love is in the air for Valentine’s Day, and it’s also the month of Modernism Week.

Here are some local events during our shortest month.

The McCallum Theatre is booked solid through February with a ton of events. Cesar Millan will be stopping by the McCallum at 3 p.m., Sunday, Feb. 9. Although his famous show on the National Geographic Channel, Dog Whisperer With Cesar Millan, has ended, Millan is still sharing his techniques and wisdom in the field of dog-training; this live show should be a real treat (no pun intended) for dog-owners. Tickets are $45 to $75. Frank Sinatra Jr. (right) will be stopping by post Valentine’s Day, at 8 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 15. Although the younger Frank may be best known as the victim of a famous kidnapping, he is a talented performer in his own right, and has also branched out into acting over the years. Tickets are $45 to $85. Boz Scaggs will be at the McCallum at 8 p.m., Tuesday, Feb. 18. The sometimes-lead singer of the Steve Miller Band was a songwriting powerhouse in the ’70s and continues to put on a great show. Tickets are $55 to $95. Roberta Flack will be appearing at 8 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 22. Flack had a No. 1 hit in with “Killing Me Softly With His Song”; The Fugees would return the song to the top of the charts in 1996. Tickets are $35 to $85. McCallum Theatre, 73000 Fred Waring Drive, Palm Desert; 760-340-2787; www.mccallumtheatre.com.

After a slower January, Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa has some fantastic events in the second half of February. If you’re a fan of soft rock, Air Supply (bottom of page) will be softly rocking for a special performance on Valentine’s Day, at 9 p.m., Friday, Feb. 14. Tickets are $35 to $55. The great Johnny Mathis will be appearing at 6 p.m., Sunday, Feb. 16. The romantic-ballads singer has been performing since 1956 and was one of a handful of crooners from his era who survived the wave of rock ’n’ roll. Tickets are $60 to $100. For fans of Jeff Dunham, you’ll be pleased to know that he will be joined by Walter, Peanut, Achmed the Dead Terrorist and the rest of the puppet gang at Agua Caliente at 8 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 22. Tickets are $85 to $135. The Show at Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa, 32250 Bob Hope Drive, Rancho Mirage; 888-999-1995; www.hotwatercasino.com.

Spotlight 29 Casino doesn’t have a lot of events in February, but there are a couple worth noting. Kenny “Babyface” Edwards will be performing on Valentine’s Day, at 8 p.m., Friday, Feb. 14. The ’80s R&B star has had a long and successful career; not bad for a guy who originally started playing with Bootsy Collins—the man who gave Edwards his famous “Babyface” moniker. Tickets are $55 to $75. There will also be a tribute to Creedence Clearwater Revival at 8 p.m., Friday, Feb. 21. Attendance is free. Spotlight 29 Casino, 46200 Harrison Place, Coachella; 760-775-5566; www.spotlight29.com.

Fantasy Springs Resort Casino has a spectacular list of events for February. Chicago will be appearing at 8 p.m., Friday, Feb. 7. The band has been around since 1967, and still features four of the founding members. Since Terry Kath’s unintentional self-inflicted shooting death in 1978, the band has experienced a series of ups and downs, but they are survivors and have continued to make great music. Also: In Little Nicky, Adam Sandler discovered a rather hilarious subliminal message if you play their self-titled debut album backward during “Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?” If you haven’t seen it, YouTube it! It’ll blow your mind. Tickets are $39 to $69. CeeLo Green will be performing at 8 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 15. The singer of “F**k You” (or “Forget You,” whichever version you prefer) has managed to escape the potential one-hit wonder status used to describe his former project, Gnarls Barkley. While Danger Mouse swears that he and CeeLo will make another Gnarls Barkley album, Green’s success as a solo artist seems to throw that into question. Tickets are $39 to $69. Rick Springfield will be performing the following evening, at 8 p.m., Sunday, Feb. 16. The soap opera actor and “Jessie’s Girl” hit-maker has a fanatical, mostly female following. He’s still wildly popular and is the subject of a recent documentary, An Affair of the Heart, currently available via Netflix. Tickets are $29 to $49. Fresh out of bankruptcy court, Wayne Newton will be performing at 8 p.m., Sunday, Feb. 23. While Newton was the king of Vegas and has remained a music icon, recent photos of him seem to prove that age and plastic surgery don’t always go hand in hand. Tickets are $29 to $49. Fantasy Springs Resort Casino, 84245 Indio Springs Parkway; 760-342-5000; www.fantasyspringsresort.com.

Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace, per usual, has some good shows booked for February. At 8 p.m., Sunday, Feb. 2, Futurebirds will be performing. The experimental indie band recently released a new album, Baba Yaga. They have been described as a “psychedelic country” band and have toured with the likes of the Drive-By Truckers, Widespread Panic and others. Admission is free. At 8 p.m., Friday, Feb. 14, Pappy’s will host a Valentine’s Day show with Ferraby Lionheart. Lionheart is an indie-rock performer out of Los Angeles. He has some very catchy tunes that will make for a non-traditional Valentine’s Day show. Take your sweetheart to Pappy’s for some pre-show barbecue and then enjoy the show; you won’t be disappointed—plus admission is free. There will be a show not to miss from Moistboyz (right) at 8 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 27. Moistboyz is a project that includes Dean Ween, formerly of Ween; Nick Oliveri, formerly of Queens of the Stone Age; and vocalist Guy Heller. The project has been around since 1994, when they released their debut album on the Beastie Boys’ now-defunct Grand Royal label. After the breakup of Dean and Gene Ween, it’s not a surprise Dean Ween has resurrected Moistboyz. The current touring lineup also includes Hoss Wright of Oliveri’s Mondo Generator. Tickets are $15. Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace, 53688 Pioneertown Road, Pioneertown; 760-365-5956; www.pappyandharriets.com.

After requesting a list of events from The Date Shed, I was informed that the venue is now heading in a direction toward more private events. However, the venue still hosts shows from time to time. Along with the Tribal Seeds show, The Date Shed has Ozzmania booked at 9 p.m., Friday, Feb. 7. Ozzmania, a local Ozzy Osbourne and Black Sabbath tribute band, has received acclaim for excellent covers. A true metal fan wouldn’t miss it—plus it’s a free show, so there’s no excuse for not attending. The Date Shed, 50725 Monroe St., Indio; 760-775-6699; www.dateshedmusic.com.

The Hood Bar and Pizza has some great local shows going on. At 10 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 6, The Hoodwill host the second monthly Industry Night, featuring DJ Angelique. Attendance is free. At 10 p.m., Friday, Feb. 7, Mikey Raines Acoustic Movement will be performing, with The Hive Minds opening. Derek Gregg and Sean Poe of the Hive Minds are starting to sound tighter and tighter as they keep playing regularly. Since they parted ways with bassist Patrick “Tricky” Mitchem, they have yet to find a permanent replacement, but have brought in friends on occasion. Attendance is free. At 8 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 8, the aforementioned Mondo Generator will take the stage. While Nick Oliveri and some of the members of Mondo Generator are playing with Moistboyz at Pappy and Harriet’s later in the month, this is another not-to-miss show featuring Oliveri. At 9 p.m., Friday, Feb. 14, Long Duk Dong will be returning for a Valentine’s Day Show that will be themed like a 1980s prom. The Hood Bar and Pizza, 74360 Highway 111, Palm Desert; 760-636-5220; www.thehoodbar.com

The Ace Hotel in Palm Springs will be hosting Haunted Summer at 10 p.m., Friday, Feb. 21. After a successful show at Pappy and Harriet’s in January, the Los Angeles dream-pop duo is happy to be doing a performance for us here in the low desert. The Ace Hotel, 701 E. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs; 760-325-9900; www.acehotel.com/palmsprings.

Published in Previews