Last updateMon, 20 Apr 2020 1pm

When Sonny McEachran decided to move up north, that meant the end of popular local band Boycott Radio.

However, Chris Long and Dan Dillinger pressed on—and soon, with the addition of Troy Whitford, the Sweat Act was born.

During an interview one afternoon not too long ago at The Hood Bar and Pizza, Long and Dillinger discussed how they met.

“My dad knew that I was playing music with Sonny McEachran in Boycott Radio, and he knew that I was heavily looking for a bass player,” Long said. “My dad finds this post on Craigslist that said, ‘Looking for a punk rock band.’ My dad said, ‘He’s a bass player; you should hit him up.’ I was like, ‘Dad, whatever. I’m not looking on Craigslist, and that’s kind of weird. Why are you on Craigslist, Dad? You have Mom at home; get off Craigslist!’”

Nonetheless, Long contacted Dillinger.

“He hit me up, like, ‘We’re not really a punk band, but we’re looking for a bass player. Maybe you’d like to come and check it out; here are some videos on YouTube,’ and all this other shit,” Dillinger said. “I looked them up. … I watched the videos, and I was like, ‘That dude is wearing a V neck; he’s probably a douche bag! I don’t wanna go over there!’ I went and thought, ‘This is gonna suck, but I might as well try it.’

“It worked out fine.”

When McEachran moved away last year, Boycott Radio was finished. Dillinger continued to play with local punk band Bridger, and metal band Remnants of Man. He also went on tour in a Sublime tribute band. However, Long and Dillinger missed having their own band.

“Dan and I were sitting there with our dicks in our hands like, ‘What’s next?’” Long said. “Well, here comes our archangel, Troy Whitford, coming down from the heavens and being like, ‘Hey, I play drums!’ It turns out I work with him at Babe’s in Rancho Mirage. I was like, ‘Let’s give it a shot sometime!’”

Whitford and Long then began to practice together. Long is not a fan of social media; in fact, he said he really doesn’t do anything with computers except play video games. So Whitford reached out to Dillinger via social media, and asked him to come to a practice session. He did, and before long, Dillinger and Whitford were chumming it up, talking about their favorite records and comparing influences.

“I was like, ‘Get a fucking room, guys!’” Long said. “I’m the third wheel. … They started doing this whole thing where Troy was like, ‘Can you play this song?’ and Dan was like, ‘Can you play this song?’ And, of course, they can play every song, because they both love NOFX, and they lived happier ever after.”

Dillinger remains with Bridger. When I asked him how he makes playing in two rather active bands work, he said it’s not that hard. The Sweat Act practices on weekdays, while Bridger practices on weekends. When it comes to gigs or practices, Dillinger said it’s first come, first serve.

“It’s a lot easier now being in two bands than it was being in four bands,” Dillinger said. “In anything that I’ve ever done … I always make it work. If I have to pull double-duty, so be it. One time, I played a Boycott show, and then ran over to do a Remnants show. I love what I do; I need to do what I do; and I’m not going to fucking piss off the people around me to do it.”

Whitford said he was surprised at how fast the Sweat Act developed a good following.

“We were only a band for three months, and we all looked at each other like, ‘Hey, that was a great show!’ ‘Hey, we’re nominated in CV Weekly for Best New Band!’” Whitford said. “When it comes to fan response, and I relate this to online and social media, it’s not that big. … It’s still very small, but just the fact that people in the industry and peers of ours give us a lot of praise and respect, that’s enough.”

Whitford said he’s been working hard to push the band forward.

“After the whole CV Weekly thing, it lit a fire under my ass,” Whitford said. “I did the most groundwork I could during the summer, which is the slow time, to get as many shows as possible. We played two shows a month throughout the summer. We did that so we could get exposure for when the big shows start coming up. I’m hoping we did a good enough job.” 

Dillinger said the band members hope to do some recording soon.

“I got someone on board, and I’m just waiting for the green light,” Dillinger said. “We’re kind of shopping, but at the same time, we’re musicians, so we’re broke as fuck. We want to record, and we know that we’re ready to, but it just all depends on who, when, and how much?”

The Sweat Act will perform with War Drum, the Electric Blankets and Fleischman and the Librarian at 9 p.m., Friday, Sept. 18, at The Hood Bar and Pizza, 74360 Highway 111, in Palm Desert. Admission is free. For more information, visit the event page on Facebook. For more information on the Sweat Act, visit

Published in Previews

Even though Tucson band Burning Palms is relatively new, the group has been finding indie success in many communities—including the Coachella Valley.

The group is returning to the valley for a show at The Hood Bar and Pizza on Friday, Sept. 11.

Burning Palms has a garage rock/psychedelic rock sound, and many of the band’s songs have Wiccan/Pagan references. During a recent interview at the Ace Hotel in Palm Springs, where the band played a late-August show, Julia Deconcini talked about how Burning Palms got started.

“It originally started as a bedroom project of Simone’s while she was in Australia,” Deconcini said about bandmate Simone Stopford. “We joined forces about two years ago in Tucson, and I was playing in another band at the time. She came to my very last show with that band, and right as we played our last song, and I was stepping off the stage, Simone was standing right there. She said, ‘I saw you; I had a vision. I know it’s you; you’re joining my band.’ I was like, ‘Absolutely not! I just had this crazy adventure with this band, and I can’t do that.’ She said, ‘Please just come and try it out.’ Two years later, here I am.”

As is the case with many groups, band members have come and gone.

“Not a lot of people can tour as much as we’d like them to,” Deconcini said. “Honestly, I feel like we’ve been on tour nonstop and are keeping pretty busy. We just did a tour where we played Desert Daze, the Austin Psych Fest and the Milwaukee Psych Fest. It took us all around the country, and we did a short run after that. In a week a half, we’re heading out again.”

Burning Palms has found a lot of success utilizing Bandcamp to sell music and reach potential fans.

“I am of a big fan of Bandcamp, because we don’t have to build a website and maintain it,” Deconcini said. “It’s very simple with uploading photos of the band and tour dates, and the fans also get to hear our music.”

Bandcamp also saved the band from a tough situation.

“On one of our previous tours, we were in Minneapolis, and our van broke down,” Deconcini explained. “It was unsalvageable. We were able to post on our Facebook page and all of our social media: ‘Our van broke down. Please buy our merch.’ We updated our merch page with items that aren’t traditional, like, ‘We’ll write a song just for you, $200.’ Another one was, ‘If you have a mystery and can’t find something, call us, and we’ll help you solve your mystery.’ (We also did) things like palm readings, dirty talk and other things. … We made the most of an unfortunate situation, and we were able to make money to buy a new van with the proceeds within 24 hours and get back on the road. We only missed one show.”

Burning Palms’ music is not feel-good or traditional by any means. However, Deconcini notes there’s an upside to it.

“Our music definitely has a kind of a dark side to it,” she said. “I think, especially in our newer music, it’s taking a turn from being this high-energy music to much more magical and chanting songs. I think that comes from playing with different people. Every time we play with new people, we gain something new. After this tour, we’re going to be writing and recording the new stuff that we’re playing on tour. Half of our set right now is unrecorded.

“There are a lot of themes of strength and power. We’re not a girly-girl kind of band, and we want to emulate strength and power. Our songs do have some ancient and Wiccan themes to them. We’ve been calling it ‘witch rock’ for a while. It’s the most fitting … when we get asked about genres.”

Deconcini explained how those Pagan/Wiccan themes developed.

“I don’t think it’s necessarily anything any of us had the intention of studying,” she said. “I feel like a lot of it is something we’ve gravitated toward. I think that we all have very strong relationships with nature in general, as well as health and friendship. I just find that we’re more into cosmic energy, and we’re out to create good energy and feel grounded when we have the right intentions. As far as potions and pentagrams, I don’t think that’s the image we’re trying to create. It’s more of a lifestyle.”

Tucson has been great to Burning Palms, and creative inspiration is easy to find in the scene there, Deconcini said.

“Tucson’s music scene is wonderful. As far as the Tucson community goes, it’s a very strong community and really supportive,” she said. “Our CDs are made by a friend locally who has a lathe and cuts records onto all of our CDs for us. All of our shirts are silkscreened and made by friends in Tucson. All our music videos are also made by friends there. It’s a great place to pull things together, and we all have good understanding of each other’s intentions, and creatively, there’s a lot of collaboration. The scene has always been there, and there have always been great bands there.”

Burning Palms is performing with Tribesmen and Venus and the Traps at 9 p.m., Friday, Sept. 11, at The Hood Bar and Pizza, 74360 Highway 111, in Palm Desert. Admission is free. For more information on the show, visit the event’s Facebook page. For more information on Burning Palms, visit the band’s Facebook page

Published in Previews

Question: What do you get when you combine Glen Matlock from the Sex Pistols, Clem Burke from Blondie, James Stevenson from the Cult and Gene Loves Jezebel, and Gary Twinn from Supernaut?

Answer: You get a supergroup called The International Swingers, which will be making its second appearance at The Hood Bar and Pizza on Friday, Aug. 7.

The idea of The International Swingers was pitched to Gary Twinn by Australian promoter Bicci Henderson. While the idea seemed crazy at first, the band has proven to be a fine success, leading to an EP and a recently released album.

During a recent phone interview, frontman Gary Twinn discussed how The International Swingers came to exist.

“Many years ago, I had a career in Australia as sort of a pop star, so every now and again, I would sort of go over there and play some shows. I was asked to come back again, and I really wanted to do something different,” Twinn said. “James, Clem and Glenn were really good friends of mine, and we all happened to be hanging out at the same time. When I was asked to do this Australian tour, I was like, ‘Hey guys, how would you guys like to start a new band and come with me to Australia for a holiday? And that’s what we did.”

Twinn said the group wasn’t intended to exist beyond the Australian tour. “It just happened that we started this band, and we did it for a laugh. … When we were on our way back, and there was a bunch of stuff on YouTube and people inviting us to play here and there, we thought, ‘Let’s just keep doing it.’”

While the members are friends, it’s hard to imagine these four very different personalities working so well together.

“It’s actually been a pleasure,” Twinn said. “We can’t argue about the music, but we might argue about football.”

Last year, The International Swingers played a free show at the Farmers Market in Los Angeles. There were some concerns about whether some of the band’s material, such as the Sex Pistols’ “Pretty Vacant,” would work there.

“It was great. It’s an awesome place to play because anybody can come; it’s free to get in; and it’s a really eclectic audience. It’s a very historic part of Los Angeles, and it’s been there for 80 years,” Twinn said. “… We were proud to be part of it. … Bob Gruen, the famous rock photographer, came to the show and took a picture of us playing there. So the Farmers Market has a great rock ’n’ roll photo taken by one of the great rock ’n’ roll photographers.”

Twinn conceded there was some hesitation regarding what songs from the members’ various bands would be played.

“James and I sat down, and I wrote down a huge list of songs, and the idea was one of us had to have a connection with each song, no matter how tenuous it was,” he said. “There are actually some of my old songs from my first band I didn’t want to do, but the other three wanted to do. Glen didn’t want to do ‘Pretty Vacant,’ saying it was boring, and we were like, ‘C’mon man, it’s great!’”

The band is now selling its first full-length album. Fans can pledge money through PledgeMusic to receive a copy of Whatever Works Now.

“We just finished it. The EP, we did as something to sell to our fans at shows and were just really demo recordings,” Twinn said. “Over the last year, whenever we’ve had time, we’ve been going into the studio owned by the Foo Fighters, and our friend Tommy’s studio, and we recorded a bunch of songs and just mixed and mastered them. We kind of announced to the fans on Facebook that we were looking to make an album through PledgeMusic, so all the fans that pledged their $10 just received their digital album.”

The members do have a problem coordinating their schedules. In fact, Glen Matlock is not on the current tour.

“It’s a frickin’ nightmare, to be honest. It’s like herding cats together,” Twinn said. “With Clem, Blondie takes permanence, and these days, Blondie is pretty busy. James has another project now called Holy Holy, and they’re doing a whole production around The Man Who Sold the World. Glen has his own band, and Glen actually won’t be doing this tour with us, or doing anything with us, really, because he’s busy with his own project now.”

So what can attendees expect?

“We’ll still be playing our covers, so you can expect to hear some Blondie and Sex Pistols,” Twinn said. “During our recent gigs, we’ve been playing ‘Brand New Cadillac,’ which was a song The Clash covered, and we might throw that in the mix. But we want to try out some of the new songs from the album and see how people like those, because we’re really liking them. We’ve got a friend of ours, Steve Fishman, filling in on the bass, and he’s a great bass player. We’re happy to have him with us.”

The International Swingers will perform with Machin’ at 9 p.m., Friday, Aug. 7, at The Hood Bar and Pizza, 74360 Highway 111, in Palm Desert. Admission is $5. For more information, visit

Published in Previews

August is the final full month of summer, and there are a surprising number of great shows taking place during the month that you won’t want to miss.

Fantasy Springs Resort Casino’s August is, simply put, awesome. So many events … so much awesome. At 8 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 15, hard-rock and heavy-metal pioneers Deep Purple (above) will be appearing. If you don’t know “Smoke on the Water” or “Perfect Strangers,” and you call yourself a music fan, something is wrong with you. Tickets are $49 to $79. At 8 p.m., Friday, Aug. 21, it’ll be an ’80s throwback night when New Edition stops by; however, it’s unknown whether Bobby Brown will be taking part, with the recent death of his daughter Bobbi Kristina. Either way, it should be an interesting show. Tickets are $49 to $79. You’ll be happy to know that Diana Krall (right) is returning to the desert at 8 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 22. The world’s favorite female jazz pianist and vocalist is guaranteed to deliver, so go check her out. Tickets are $49 to $89. Fantasy Springs Resort Casino, 84245 Indio Springs Parkway, Indio; 760-342-5000;

Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa has a couple of events worth your time. At 9 p.m., Friday, Aug. 7, comedian Russell Peters will be stopping by. The Canadian was the first comedian to sell out the Air Canada Centre in Toronto in 2007; unfortunately, he also played Santa in Grumpy Cat’s Worst Christmas Ever. Tickets are $65 to $85. At 8 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 22, modern country duo Thompson Square will performing. The husband and wife from Nashville have taken the country-music world by storm since they released their self-titled debut on Stoney Creek Records. Their single “Are You Going to Kiss Me or Not?” reached No. 1 on the country chart and went double-platinum. They also took home three awards at the American Country Awards in 2011. Tickets are $35 to $55. The Show at Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa, 32250 Bob Hope Drive, Rancho Mirage; 888-999-1995;

Spotlight 29 Casino has some great tribute bands performing throughout the month. At 8 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 15, get out the rhinestones and sequins as Kenny Metcalf performs the music of Elton John. AXS TV included him on its television show The World’s Greatest Tribute Bands. Tickets are $10. If you enjoyed the Palm Springs Gay Men’s Chorus performance of ABBA tunes back in the spring, you can get another dose of ABBA at 8 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 29, when ABBAFAB performs. Tickets are $10. Spotlight 29 Casino, 46200 Harrison Place, Coachella; 760-775-5566;

Morongo Casino Resort Spa has some big names dropping in this month. At 9 p.m., Friday, Aug. 7, former late-night TV superstar Jay Leno (below) will be present. If you miss him on NBC (which I don’t), this is a great time to see him doing what he’s always done best: stand-up comedy. Tickets are $85 to $110. At 9 p.m., Friday, Aug. 21, you’ll be singing the chorus to “Joy to the World”—no, not that song, the other one, by Three Dog Night. While Chuck Negron doesn’t appear to be rejoining the group anytime soon, Three Dog Night is still going strong. Tickets are $40 to $60. Morongo Casino Resort Spa, 49500 Seminole Drive, Cabazon; 800-252-4499;

Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace has plenty going on in August. At 9 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 8, former Kyuss frontman John Garcia will be performing. In 2014, Garcia released a self-titled solo album, which was welcomed by music critics and Kyuss fans alike. You should definitely make it up the hill for this one. Tickets are $10. At 7 p.m., Thursday, Aug. 20, London-based post-punk band Savages will be performing. The group’s 2013 debut album, Silence Yourself, was all the rage, and music critics were counting down the days to its release. In other words, the group is pretty awesome. Tickets are $20. Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace, 53688 Pioneertown Road, Pioneertown; 760-365-5956;

The Hood Bar and Pizza will once again hold its Battle of the Bands every Sunday in August at 6 p.m. The judging panel will feature local music promoter Ming Bob, CV Weekly owner/editor Tracy Dietlin, and yours truly. Come out every Sunday and catch local talent competing for the grand prize of $1,000 cash. The Hood Bar and Pizza, 74360 Highway 111, Palm Desert; 760-636-5220;

Published in Previews

Two years ago, I did an article on a band from Palm Springs called Forfeit Your Skies. The band was reeling after the theft of a bunch of equipment. Today, the band is still largely intact, but with a new name: Cloud District. The hardcore group will be playing a free show at The Hood Bar and Pizza on Saturday, Aug. 15. For more information, visit the band’s Facebook page. Alex Sanchez, the guitarist for Cloud District, was kind enough to answer the Lucky 13.

What was the first concert you attended?

My first concert was Panic! at The Disco when I was 15. It blew my mind how good of a singer Brendon Urie was.

What was the first album you owned?

Highway to Hell by AC/DC. I asked my mom to buy it for me when I was 10 or so.

What bands are you listening to right now?

They include Beartooth, This Wild Life, and Fall Out Boy’s previous album.

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

How Drake can do so bad at Coachella 2015, being that big of a name, and then … people tell you he was the best of the weekend.

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

I have to say Queen back in their prime. I’ve always wondered how much better Freddie Mercury was live compared to recordings.

What’s your favorite musical guilty pleasure?

Probably Owl City. It’s just such upbeat music.

What’s your favorite music venue?

I haven’t played there yet, but as far as watching bands, I would have to go with House of Blues in San Diego.

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

Lately, it’s been “Stay Up Late” by This Wild Life.

What band or artist changed your life? How?

Panic! at the Disco. It was my first musical experience, and they absolutely blew me away! They showed me that live music is an art form and forever changed how I judged recorded music.

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

I really just want to ask Elvis to come hang out with me—young Elvis, though, not the older one.

What song would you like played at your funeral?

“What’s Left of the Flag” by Flogging Molly, hands down!

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

Issues’ self-titled album is right up there with A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out by Panic! at The Disco.

What song should everyone listen to right now?

“Shadow Life” by Cloud District. Share it with everyone you know! (Scroll down to hear it.)

Published in The Lucky 13

Local DJ Tomas DeLa Noche always puts on an interesting show when he’s behind the mixing board. His house-music sets are catchy and feature insanely good dance beats; after well-received sets at the Coachella Valley Art Scene and The Hood Bar and Pizza (with Independent resident DJ Alex Harrington), Tomas DeLa Noche is making an ever-bigger name for himself in the Coachella Valley. For more information, check out

What was the first concert you attended?

Johnny Cash at the Greek Theatre (in Los Angeles), circa ’97, I believe.

What was the first album you owned?

Probably the first for a lot of people: Bob Marley and the Wailers, Legend.

What bands are you listening to right now?

Well, in the way of DJs, Get Down Edits are really doing it for me. Their selection is impeccable. Also, anything by Crazy P, given they can do no wrong.

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

To each their own, but in all honestly, I really can’t stand anything EDM. Music has got to have elements of soul, jazz, funk or disco, or it just doesn’t appeal to me. Special bulletin: House music is NOT EDM!

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

I’m going to go ahead and say the Bee Gees. I feel like I would totally be in my element grooving to their songs.

What’s your favorite musical guilty pleasure?

Prince! LOL!

What’s your favorite music venue?

Locally, Bar in downtown Palm Springs. DJ Abe and DJ Tone play nothing but old rare grooves on vinyl every Saturday night. I’ve been once, and I was completely beside myself with happiness.

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

Lyrically, I’d have to say the some of the best writers are hip-hop cats. In “Ex Girl to the Next Girl,” Guru from Gang Starr explains: “My homeboys told me drop her, cause it would be to my benefit. She used to say I better quit, hangin with those derelicts!” But really, all the lyrics in that song get stuck in my head.

What band or artist changed your life? How?

This is an easy one: Anyone who knows me knows I wouldn’t be listening to any of the music I listen to, or know half of the amazing people I have met (particularly in the house scene), if it wasn’t for Mark Farina. I owe it all to him.

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

What inspired John Fogerty to write so many songs about the South when he and the band were from California?

What song would you like played at your funeral?

Both “Spirit in the Sky” by Norman Greenbaum and “You Sexy Thing (I Believe in Miracles)” by Hot Chocolate.

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

That’s like asking the pope which bowl of holy water is his favorite. But considering there’s a gun to my head, Mark Farina’s Mushroom Jazz 3.

What song should everyone listen to right now?

“Beautiful Wicked Game” by Jask. It is a great mashup between his single “Beautiful” featuring Jocie and the Chris IsaaK classic “Wicked Game.” Jask is a personal friend of mine, and I’ve got to tip my hat to him every time, because he really is one of the best producers out there. (Scroll down to hear it!)

Published in The Lucky 13

Grand Scovell is not from the Coachella Valley, but the band sure is making a name for itself here.

The San Jacinto punk group won the Battle of the Bands at The Hood Bar and Pizza last year, and they’ll returning to the venue for a show on Saturday, May 23.

Grand Scovell is Daniel Gililland (vocals, bass), Gilbert Espinoza (rhythm guitar, vocals), Eddie Dyer (lead guitar, vocals) and Ricky Adame (drums). During a recent phone interview, Gililland, Espinoza and Adame discussed the band’s history.

“Ricky and Gilbert were actually in another band together,” Gililland said. “It was kind of fell apart due to some different things going on in people’s lives, and I think Gilbert was still wanting to play. He got together with Ricky, who he was in a band with years before, and they started playing, and they needed a bass-player.”

The band placed an ad for a bass-player on Craigslist, in late 2012, but Gililland had known the rest of the band for years. “I wanted to play, but it was just a matter of whether you can get a commitment from your family members to be behind you, because if they’re not behind you, you’re not going to go anywhere at all. I’m not talking about going anywhere in terms of being successful, but just as simple as being behind you in going to practice.”

He decided to respond to the ad—and the rest is history. Of course, there are only so many opportunities for a band in San Jacinto, a town 40 miles from Palm Springs, near Hemet.

“If you want to play dive bars all the time, sure,” Gililland said. “As a matter of getting quality shows or not, yeah, I’d say it’s very difficult.”

On the day we spoke, the band members mentioned they were scheduled to play at a battle of the bands in Los Angeles the following night—at 1 a.m. Of course, the members have to work the following morning, too.

“When we play those kinds of things, our goal is not to win,” Gililland said. “If we win first place, great. That’s awesome, but we do it to get our name out there and for people to see us. As far as our gig tomorrow goes, there’s a possibility we’re going to be playing at 1:30 in the morning. But Palm Desert, it’s a nice cruise back, and it’s not too difficult. None of us mind going out there—but Los Angeles really sucks.”

The first major exposure the band received in the Coachella Valley was at The Hood Bar and Pizza Battle of the Bands (at which I was a judge). Grand Scovell competed against well-known local bands such as The Hive Minds, Burning Bettie, Elektric Lucie, and Right On Right On. The band played a high-energy show during the first round to win a slot in the final—and when the group came back, they played even better. During both shows, the band brought along a loyal fan base.

“I thought it was pretty badass,” Adame said. “It was pretty intense on my part, because we’re from San Jacinto, and I didn’t expect us to get the response that we did in Palm Desert. We got called back right away to do another show at The Hood, and (at) Schmidy’s Tavern. … Going back to Schmidy’s, there were some people I didn’t recognize that were singing along to some of our songs.”

Gililland agreed that the band can now say it has a presence in the valley. “We’ve been back a few times, and I’ve seen more people who live out there, and they’re singing our songs. We have a 14-song demo right now that we don’t charge anything for, and we pass it out. We burn them all ourselves. I know a majority of them end up on the ground, in the trash or whatever. But out of 100, if I can get two people who listen to it and like it, it’s worth it. When you pass out that CD, and you come back and see people singing your songs, that makes the $10 you spent to get some CDs worth it to me.”

Grand Scovell will be performing with Facelift, The Butchery Boys and Bridger at 9 p.m., Saturday, May 23, at The Hood Bar and Pizza, 74360 Highway 111, in Palm Desert. Admission is free. For more information, call 760-636-5220.

Published in Previews

February is the shortest month of the year—but it’s also the high season in the Coachella Valley, which means there’s a wealth of great shows you should keep in mind.

The Ace Hotel and Swim Club will be hosting a performance by L.A. Witch at 10 p.m., Friday, Feb. 6, in the Amigo Room. The psychedelic female trio has been playing shows with the likes of the Black Angels, The Melvins and Blonde Redhead. Admission is free. The Ace is also hosting a special Valentine’s Day weekend put on by The Do-Over, known as the Lovers x Heartbreakers Palm Springs Weekender, on Saturday, Feb. 14, and Sunday, Feb. 15. There will be a special lineup of surprise musical guests hosted by Haycock, Strong and Blacc. Admission is free. Ace Hotel and Swim Club, 701 E. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs; 760-325-9900;

Local DJ duo The Deep Ones have started an open-mic night for DJs. What does this concept involve? Well, if you ever wanted to try your skills on a turntable and a mixer, you’ll get your chance at 8 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 26. Get more info on The Deep Ones’ Facebook page. Plan B Live Entertainment and Cocktails, 32025 Monterey Ave., Thousand Palms; 760-343-2115;

The McCallum Theatre has a solid schedule for February—with shows on 24 of the month’s 28 days! At 8 p.m., Tuesday, Feb. 3, A Prairie Home Companion host Garrison Keillor will be bringing his show featuring anecdotes from the American Midwest and other amusing portions of his life. Tickets are $45 to $75. At 8 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 7, Great American Songbook singer Michael Feinstein will perform while sharing the history of these famous tunes. Tickets are $65 to $95. If you’re looking for something to enjoy with the whole family, the Vienna Boys Choir will be performing at 8 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 19. The choir is split into four touring choirs of boys between the ages of 10 and 14; many are from Austria, but kids from other countries are included, too. Tickets are $25 to $65. McCallum Theatre, 73000 Fred Waring Drive, Palm Desert; 760-340-2787;

Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa has great shows scheduled throughout the month. At 8 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 7, it will be hip to be square with Huey Lewis and the News. True story: I asked for a Metallica album for Christmas one year during my childhood—and my mother bought me Huey’s Sports album instead. Needless to say, I was not happy. Huey has been going since the late 1970s and has had quite a career. One of his more memorable moments was a cameo in Back to the Future, to which he contributed “The Power of Love.” Tickets are $40 to $80. If you had a great time at Air Supply’s Valentine’s Day performance at The Show last year, you’ll be happy to know they’ll be back to soft-rock your face off again, at 8 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 14. Tickets are $40 to $60. At 8 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 28, Mexican musician and composer Espinoza Paz will be appearing. Paz went back and forth between Mexico and the United States in the late ’90s when he was an aspiring songwriter and musician. He eventually found his calling and released his first album, El Canta Autor Del Pueblo, in 2008. Tickets are $65 to $85. The Show at Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa, 32250 Bob Hope Drive, Rancho Mirage; 888-999-1995;

Fantasy Springs Resort Casino’s February lineup is packed with great shows. At 8 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 7, you can relive the short reggaeton era (remember that?) with Yandel. He is half of the duo Wisin and Yandel, and he released his second solo album, De Lider a Leyenda, in 2013; a brand new album, Legacy, is slated to drop just before this show. Tickets are $39 to $69. Natalie Cole (above right) will be performing on Valentine’s Day, 8 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 14. The daughter of Nat King Cole was a big success in the ’70s before falling into drug addiction. She made a remarkable comeback in the late ’80s and has been going strong ever since. Tickets are $39 to $79. The great Burt Bacharach will be returning at 8 p.m., Sunday, Feb. 22. Bacharach has had 48 Top 10 hits over a 50-year period, and his songs have been recorded by Frank Sinatra, Linda Ronstadt, Dionne Warwick and Aretha Franklin. Tickets are $29 to $69. Fantasy Springs Resort Casino, 84245 Indio Springs Parkway, Indio; 760-342-5000;

Spotlight 29 Casino has a star-studded lineup this month. At 8 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 7, former Saturday Night Livewriter John Mulaney will be appearing. Mulaney was responsible for writing the “Weekend Update” portion of the show and created the character of Stefon! Tickets are $30 to $50. If you want a little edge on your Valentine’s Day, former Bad Company vocalist Paul Rodgers will perform at 8 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 14. He also performed with the members of Queen for five years. Tickets are $45 to $75. Martina McBride will be bringing her “Everlasting Tour” to Spotlight 29 at 8 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 26. The country vocalist has had a long and successful career, and her latest album, Everlasting, features duets with Kelly Clarkson and Gavin DeGraw. Tickets are $79 to $139. Spotlight 29 Casino, 46200 Harrison Place, Coachella; 760-775-5566;

Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace will be busy during the month of February. At 7 p.m., Tuesday, Feb. 10, Pappy’s will be hosting the first performance in 18-plus years of Babes in Toyland. The Riot Grrrl trio has had a rough go of it since disbanding. Frontwoman Kat Bjelland suffered a schizophrenic episode and had to be hospitalized in 2007; bassist Maureen Herman has written about a sexual assault that resulted in a pregnancy; and drummer Lori Barbero suffered from Lyme disease. Babes in Toyland is an intense band that will take you back to the days of grunge and alternative rock. Tickets are $20. At 8 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 21 singer-songwriter Brett Dennen (below) will be appearing. The Northern California folk singer has a unique voice, and his deep lyrics have landed him on the bill at the Newport Folk Festival, at Coachella and on various TV soundtracks. Tickets are $25. Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace, 53688 Pioneertown Road, Pioneertown; 760-365-5956;

The Copa has had a steady season, and that trend continues in February. Leslie Jordan will be appearing at 8 p.m., Friday, Feb. 13, and Saturday, Feb. 14. Leslie may be short, but he’s a larger-than-life performer, guaranteed to be funny. Tickets are $25 to $45. At 8 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 21, actress and cabaret singer Emily Bergl will perform. You may remember Bergl from her appearances on Gilmore Girls, CSI: Miami and Law and Order: Criminal Intent, among other shows. Tickets are $20 to $40. Copa, 244 E. Amado Road, Palm Springs; 760-322-3554;

The Hood Bar and Pizza is hosting a couple of notable events. At 7 p.m., Sunday, Feb. 15, metal goddess and poet Otep will appear. Not only is Otep a poet and metal singer; she’s also a painter and writer. She’s been featured on HBO’s Def Poetry series. She also spoke at the 2008 Democratic National Convention. Advance tickets are $10, available at The Hood, and they’ll be $15 at the door. Word to the wise: Buy your tickets in advance. At 9 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 28, there will be a special birthday party for local hip-hop artist MC Manny G featuring EeVaan’ Tre and the Show, Thr3 Strikes and others. Admission is free. The Hood Bar and Pizza, 74360 Highway 111, Palm Desert; 760-636-5220;

Published in Previews

Guy Worden (aka Trevor Worden) is developing a reputation as a DJ who is certainly willing to support a good cause.

In late 2013, Worden put together a successful benefit show called “Art for the Homeless” for the Coachella Valley Rescue Mission. At 9 p.m. on Valentine’s Day, Saturday, Feb. 14, he’ll be doing another show for the mission at The Hood Bar and Pizza.

Worden has been a DJ for 16 years, after originally starting in the San Diego area. He’s made a name for himself in the Coachella Valley thanks to appearances at various local festivals, as well as his art-themed shows at which he collaborates with other DJs. However, giving back to the community is also important to him. He explained his admiration for the Coachella Valley Rescue Mission.

“Last year, when I started the Art for the Homeless show, I called over there, and I got transferred to Scott Wolf; Scott is their community relations manager. I toured the facility, and what they do is amazing,” Worden said. “It’s not what I thought of at all. It’s super-clean; they have residences for families and individuals; and they have programs that help people get back on their feet. Once somebody graduates from their program, they get leads on jobs. They can work for the shelter if they apply and qualify. They also get the gift certificates for the clothing boutique they run, and vouchers for furniture.”

For last year’s show, Worden stressed the need for clothing and food donations.

“I managed to get enough clothing and food to fill my SUV completely. I couldn’t even have a passenger, because my passenger seat was filled,” he said.

This year, he’s asking people to donate hygiene products such as soap, shampoo, toothpaste, shaving razors and so on. He will also be selling raffle tickets.

“Food and clothing is still accepted, but they’re in real need of the hygiene products,” Worden explained. “What I’m going to do is also sell raffle tickets, and I’m going to use the donation money to purchase those products. Right now, I have about eight to 10 artists who are going to contribute pieces of art as raffle prizes. Tommy Bahama is going to throw in a gift certificate; The Hood is going to throw in a gift certificate; Venus Art Supply is going to throw in a gift certificate; and Bloodline Tattoo is going to throw in a gift certificate, which will all be raffle prizes as well.”

DJs who will be appearing include The Deep Ones, Synthetix, J-Sizzle and artists from the Desert DJ Entertainment Group.

Scott Wolf, of the Coachella Valley Rescue Mission, praised Worden for his efforts.

“He’s a great guy, and we’re so grateful for everything he’s done for us and grateful for all his support,” he said. “He’s a true friend of the mission.”

Wolf said the mission serves more than 200,000 meals and provides about 72,000 nights of safe shelter per year.

“We have our emergency overnight shelter,” he said. “We have two different case-management residency in-house programs; one is faith-based, and one is secular. Within those programs, we have 150 beds. In addition to the 150 beds, we also have an additional 75 beds as emergency shelter for those who are not staying with us full-time. … If you take into account that there are 150 people who eat three meals a day here, plus an additional 75 who sleep here each night who get breakfast and dinner, plus all the folks who don’t shelter with us that just eat and leave, we’re talking about 650 plates a day, easy. If you take 650 and multiply that times 365, you have more than 237,000 meals.”

The Coachella Valley Rescue Mission is supported by private donations, both monetary and items such as clothing, food and other products. The facility has an executive chef and several volunteers who help with various tasks.

“About 95 percent of the food that the executive chef procures is donated to us,” Wolf said. “For the last fiscal year, we had over 1,600 volunteers log about 70,000 volunteer hours. We are more than 90 percent privately funded, and ... that means people such as you and I find it in their hearts to support our cause and write a check.”

Social-service providers can’t keep up with the demand for services in the Coachella Valley, Wolf said.

“We see an ever-growing need every day to serve the homeless community in the valley. We see so many people who need help. We continually see fresh faces every day,” he said. “The problem of homelessness is not just something that’s going to go away. We need the materials and the funding to do this, and we can’t do it without the support of the community.”

For more information on Guy Worden, visit For more information on the Coachella Valley Rescue Mission, visit

Published in Previews

It’s time to put away the ugly holiday sweaters, throw away the wrapping paper and embrace the new year—including the fact that season is in full swing.

The McCallum Theatre is hosting some excellent events, as always. At 8 p.m., Wednesday, Jan. 7, the red-headed stranger, Willie Nelson will be returning for another performance at the McCallum. He’s 81, and it seems like nothing can slow him down. Tickets are $65 to $100. At 8 p.m., Friday, Jan. 16, America’s Got Talent contestant Jackie Evancho will be stopping by. She was only 10 years old when she competed on the show in 2010 and has since seen a great deal of success, including becoming the youngest person to ever play at the Lincoln Center. Tickets are $55 to $125. At 8 p.m., Friday, Jan. 23, iconic actor Hal Holbrook will be performing Mark Twain Tonight. For 59 years (!), Holbrook has portrayed Mark Twain in his one-man show. Tickets are $45 to $75. McCallum Theatre, 73000 Fred Waring Drive, Palm Desert; 760-340-2787;

Fantasy Springs Resort Casino has a fabulous lineup this month. At 8 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 10, Paul Anka will take the stage. Originally from Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, Anka started off his career with the 1957 hit song “Diana.” He’s been on and off the best-seller charts ever since. Not bad for a career that’s lasted almost 60 years. Tickets are $39 to $79. At 8 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 17, Motown singing sensation Smokey Robinson will perform. His honey-coated voice has produced some beautiful soul hits, and he continues to sing beautifully today. Tickets are $29 to $59. At 8 p.m., Friday, Jan. 30, the legendary Tony Bennett will be returning to the Coachella Valley. He has 17 Grammy Awards; he’s a Kennedy Center honoree; and he has more than 70 albums to his credit, including his latest with Lady Gaga, Cheek to Cheek. What more can you say? Tickets are $49 to $99. Fantasy Springs Resort Casino, 84245 Indio Springs Parkway, Indio; 800-827-2946;

The Spa Resort Casino in Palm Springs announced recently that it would begin an outdoor concert series. Kicking things off, The Guess Who will be performing at 7 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 10. The Canadian rock band was an international success in the late ’60s through the mid ’70s. You know them thanks to their hit song “American Woman.” Admission is free, and the concert will be on the corner of Calle Encilia and Andreas Road. Spa Resort Casino, 401 E. Amado Road, Palm Springs; 888-999-1995;

Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa has two great events scheduled. At 8 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 17, you can venture back into the ’50s with The Golden Boys. The group consists of Frankie Avalon, Bobby Rydell and Fabian. Considering these guys once ruled the music charts, seeing all three together should be a real delight. Tickets are $50 to $70. If you prefer something with a little more edge, you’ll be happy to know that Styx will be performing at 8 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 24. When Styx started in 1972, the band offered a truly unique sound that blended hard-rock songs with brilliantly written ballads. However, the band was never the same after a bitter dispute between frontman Tommy Shaw and keyboardist Dennis DeYoung. While Styx fans hope for an eventual return by DeYoung, that’ll probably never happen. Tickets are $45 to $85. The Show at Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa, 32250 Bob Hope Drive, Rancho Mirage; 888-999-1995;

Spotlight 29 will host some fun January shows. At 8 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 10, country greats Larry Gatlin and the Gatlin Brothers (above right) will be performing. During 50 years in the business, they’ve racked up numerous country music hits. Tickets are $20 to $40. At 8 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 24, Starship featuring Mickey Thomas will play. If you remember Jefferson Airplane, they turned into Jefferson Starship, and now they’re just Starship. Hmm. Tickets are $20 to $40. Spotlight 29, 46200 Harrison Place, Coachella; 760-775-5566;

Morongo Casino Resort Spa has one noteworthy concert scheduled during the month. At 9 p.m., Friday, Jan. 23, Vince Neil—Mötley Crüe frontman and star of Janine and Vince Neil: Hardcore and Uncensored—will be performing. Given Mötley Crüe has announced its retirement, expect Neil, Tommy Lee and Nikki Sixx to promote themselves through their solo acts … until they decide to come out of retirement. Tickets are $40 to $60. Morongo Casino Resort Spa, 49500 Seminole Drive, Cabazon; 800-252-4499;

Copa will be booming in January. At 8 p.m., Friday, Jan. 16, and Saturday, Jan. 17, former Mouseketeer Lindsey Alley will be performing. She was part of the revival of the Mickey Mouse Club from 1989 to 1994. Tickets are $25 to $35. At 7:30 p.m., Sunday, Jan. 18, former American Idol and The Voice contestant Frenchie Davis will sing. Davis was the subject of controversy in 2003 when topless photos from years previous began to surface during her run on Idol. In 2011, she was a contestant on The Voice, and made it to the semifinals. Trust me: If you plan to meet her after the show, don’t bring any of that up; she doesn’t like to discuss her past. Tickets are $25 to $45. Copa, 244 E. Amado Road, Palm Springs; 760-322-3554;

Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace was the talk of social media after announcing that Neutral Milk Hotel will be playing in May; tickets quickly sold out. Meanwhile, in January, the venue will be hosting some great indoor shows. At 8 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 3, there will be a performance by The Solid Ray Woods Raw Soul Revival. Frontman Ray Woods has worked with some big names, including as The Jayhawks and Victoria Williams. Admission is free. At 7:30 p.m., Thursday, Jan. 15, Ryan Williams will take the stage. He is described as an Americana performer with a knack for songwriting. Admission is free. At 9 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 31, the indie-rock band We Are Scientists (below) will play. They have toured with the likes of the Arctic Monkeys and Kings of Leon since breaking on to the scene in 2000. Admission is $7. Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace, 53688 Pioneertown Road, Pioneertown; 760-365-5956;

The Hacienda Cantina and Beach Club has an event planned you won’t want to miss. At 2 p.m., Sunday, Jan. 4, there will be a poolside DJ performance by FSQ. FSQ is made up of several people—including Chuck Da Fonk, who used to tour and record with George Clinton and Parliament during the ’90s, and The Hourchild, from Tommy Boy Records. Resident DJ Colour Vision will also perform. Attendance is free to those 21 and older. Hacienda Cantina and Beach Club, 1555 S. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs; 760-778-8954;

Mark your calendars for a couple of cool events at The Hood Bar and Pizza. At 9 p.m., Friday, Jan. 23, there will be an album release party for local Latin/hip-hop artist J. Patron. Admission is free. At 9 p.m., Friday, Jan. 30, a triple bill will include the Hellions, You Know Who and the Chuck Norris Experiment. Admission is again free. The Hood Bar and Pizza, 74360 Highway 111, Palm Desert; 760-636-5220;

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