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Last updateMon, 20 Apr 2020 1pm

There’s a reason you don’t often see the “bored-bassist” look on the faces of our valley’s musicians—and that reason is the leadership of Dan Dillinger, who has been moving, jumping and kicking all over Coachella Valley stages and beyond for more than a decade now. He performs with punk-rockers The Sweat Act (facebook.com/TheSweatAct) and the more-alternative collective Black Water Gospel (facebook.com/BlackWaterGospel). Dillinger is the latest to take The Lucky 13; here are his responses.

What was the first concert you attended?

I went to the Orange Show in San Bernardino to see Good Riddance, Dead Kennedys and Strung Out. I've still got the stub. I'll never forget the bruises. So much fun.

What was the first album you owned?

When I was 4 years old, my baby sitter gave me a Young MC tape and a Kris Kross tape. I loved those tapes, ha ha. But the first albums I bought (together) with my own money were Alanis Morissette’s Jagged Little Pill and Green Day’s Dookie when I was in the fifth-grade.

What bands are you listening to right now?

In the car, I've had Bracket’s Requiem on repeat for about three weeks, but my go-to just about any other time has been both the "Angsty Pants" playlist I put together compiling all the skate punk bands I've been into for the past 20-ish years; and the "Behind BARS" playlist, compiling a handful of hip-hop tracks I can't get enough of. There's too much radness to choose just one thing at a time.

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

I get it all. Just because I don't like it, that doesn't mean I don't get it. If it makes you feel something, then that's all that matters. I listen to plenty that others don't like. That doesn't make what I'm into good or bad. It just makes it my thing. Same for anyone else's interests. So what's not to get?

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

I'd take a kick to the junk to see The Dillinger Escape Plan just one more time. That's probably one of the most satisfying bands I've ever seen.

What’s your favorite musical guilty pleasure?

No music is a guilty pleasure.

What’s your favorite music venue?

Hard choice. The El Rey and The Wiltern have been a couple of my tops, but … I'm less concerned with the venue and more interested in who I'm going to see.

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

"Sometimes a knife right through your heart is exactly what you need. Sometimes the things that you're ashamed of make you who you're supposed to be," “Tapestry,” Protest the Hero.

What band or artist changed your life? How?

Everything I love has molded my life. I am the music I love.

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

Gene Simmons: "What's it like knowing you've had sex with pretty much everyone's moms?" Ha ha ha. No, seriously, I have no idea.

What song would you like played at your funeral?

Dynamite Hack, "Laughter." Because, damn, I had fun. Smile for me.

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

A Wilhelm Scream, Ruiner.

What song should everyone listen to right now?

Whatever song makes you feel the best you can, right now. Listen to it loud and proud. Scream it. Get on that vibe.

Published in The Lucky 13

The holiday season is approaching, as are cooler temperatures—and hotter events, now that season is back in swing.

The McCallum Theatre has a busy schedule in November, with a number of great events to consider. At 8 p.m., Wednesday, Nov. 2, you’ll be singing “Urgent,” because Foreigner will be performing. Foreigner is one of the world’s best well-known rock bands, with 16 Top 30 hits, 75 million records sold and great songs such as “Dirty White Boy,” “Feels Like the First Time” and many others to its credit. Tickets, if there are any left by the time you read this, are $47 to $97. At 8 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 5, bossa nova and jazz great Herb Alpert will take the stage alongside his wife, Lani Hall. Herb Alpert has made some great records in his long career, and many of them are now Latin and American music staples; Alpert is credited with bringing the Latin side to American jazz in a truly innovative way. Tickets are $37 to $77. At 8 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 19, be ready to say, “Oh myyyyy,” because George Takei will be appearing. Of course, Takei is known for his iconic role as Sulu on Star Trek, but he’s also a hilarious Internet celebrity, and on a serious note, he’s known for speaking emotionally about his family’s imprisonment in a Japanese internment camp during World War II. Tickets are $37 to $97. But wait, there’s more: At 3 and 7 p.m., Sunday, Nov. 20, The Beach Boys will be performing. I admit that I’m not a fan of the current inception, which does not include creative genius Brian Wilson and Al Jardine. The current lineup is fronted by the Wilson brothers’ cousin, Mike Love, who has been scorned by many original Beach Boys fans. But if you’re feeling nostalgic, go ahead and check it out. Tickets are $67 to $97. Be sure to check out the McCallum’s online schedule for more events. McCallum Theatre, 73000 Fred Waring Drive, Palm Desert; 760-340-2787; www.mccallumtheatre.com.

Fantasy Springs Resort Casino is rocking into November. At 8 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 5, white-boy soul-singer Robin Thicke will be stopping by. Remember him? He had that song called “Blurred Lines” that was all over the place a few years ago that so resembled Marvin Gaye’s “Got to Give It Up” that Thicke wound up in court. Thicke bottomed out pretty hard in 2014 when his follow-up to the Blurred Lines album, Paula, only sold about 30,000 copies. Watch as Thicke tries to get a comeback going. Tickets are $59 to $99. At 8 p.m., Friday, Nov. 11, Culture Club (upper right) will finally be coming to the desert. The band announced a tour in 2014 that was slated to kick off at the Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa—but it was canceled before it began, because Boy George required surgery. You won’t want to miss this one. Tickets are $59 to $89. Fantasy Springs Resort Casino, 84245 Indio Springs Parkway, Indio; 800-827-2946; www.fantasyspringsresort.com.

The Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa will host an evening with Sheena Easton at 8 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 10. Did you know the Scotland native has sold more than 20 million records during her career? Tickets are $75 to $85. At 7 p.m., Friday, Nov. 11, former Three Dog Night member Chuck Negron will take the stage. The former college basketball player has been performing for more than five decades now! Tickets are $40 to $75. 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 offering some laughs in November. At 9 p.m., Friday, Nov. 4, the star of BuzzFeed’s web series Whine About It, Matt Bellassai, will be stopping by. Bellassai had been getting 3.5 million weekly views, but in early 2016, he put his show on hiatus. If you’re looking for a funny Pride related-event, this is the one to pick. Bellassai is infamous for his comedic dialogue about being a single gay man living in the Big Apple. Tickets are $25 to $35. At 9 p.m., Friday, Nov. 18, Mr. Fluffy himself, Gabriel Iglesias, will return to the Coachella Valley with his new show, #FluffyBreaksEven. After several appearances in movies, he’s still a stand-up comedy genius and continues to amuse sold-out audiences. 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 will most likely see a boost in attention from locals and tourists alike thanks to Paul McCartney’s performance there in between Desert Trip weekends. At 8 p.m., Friday, Nov. 11, there will be a great lineup of desert rockers: Fatso Jetson, Mondo Generator, The Freeks and Glitter Wizard. Fatso Jetson performed at a show at Pappy’s back in April, and I can tell you that the band kicked ass. Tickets are $10. At 7 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 26, it’ll get weird when the Meat Puppets and Mike Watt and the Secondmen perform. The Meat Puppets are coming back to Pappy’s after a performance there in 2013; it’s a great band from punk-label SST’s glory days. Mike Watt performed in the Minutemen, who were also on SST in the early ’80s; he’s a phenomenal bass player. I’ve seen Watt play with the Secondmen, and they’re mind blowing. Tickets are $20. Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace, 53688 Pioneertown Road, Pioneertown; 760-365-5956; www.pappyandharriets.com.

The Hood Bar and Pizza has a show in November you won’t want to miss. At 9 p.m., Wednesday, Nov. 23, there will be a special Thanksgiving Eve bash with Mighty Jack, The Sweat Act and 5th Town. This should be a fantastic show. I’ve become a big fan of 5th Town, which includes Long Duk Dong vocalist Chelsea Sugarbritches, and Blasting Echo keyboardist Linda Lemke Heinz. One of my favorites is 5th Town’s song, “Pretty.” Admission is free. The Hood Bar and Pizza, 74360 Highway 111, Palm Desert; 760-636-5220; www.facebook.com/thehoodbar.

The Date Shed has some nice events taking place this month. At 9 p.m., Friday, Nov. 4, Metalachi will be coming back. Metalachi is on to something … performing metal songs in mariachi form? Brilliant! Opening the show will be Gutter Candy and Wyte Gye. Tickets are $10 to $15. The Date Shed, 50725 Monroe Street, Indio; 760-775-6699; www.dateshedmusic.com.

The Purple Room is ramping up its schedule for the season. At 6:30 p.m., Friday, Nov. 11, there will be a performance by Kal David and Lori Bono and the Real Deal. Kal David is a legend we’re lucky to have in our local scene. His blues credentials run deep: He’s performed with B.B. King and opened for Stevie Wonder. Tickets are $25. At 6:30 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 19, Branden and James (below) will be performing. Consisting of a cello (James) and a tenor voice (Branden), the duo will be perform everything from Bach to Justin Bieber. Tickets are $25 to $35. The Purple Room Supper Club, 1900 E. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs; 760-322-4422; www.purpleroompalmsprings.com.

Published in Previews

Troy Whitford is best known as the drummer for the Sweat Act, and also plays for local supergroup 5th Town. Whitford tells us that the Sweat Act is planning a live recording of all the band’s songs. You can catch the Sweat Act for free on Saturday, June 25, at The Hood, along with The Hellions and Sunday Funeral. For more information on the Sweat Act, visit www.thesweatact.com or www.facebook.com/TheSweatAct. Here are Whitford’s answers to The Lucky 13.

What was the first concert you attended?

The Vans Warped Tour at the Pond in Anaheim.

What was the first album you owned?

The Offspring, Smash.

What bands are you listening to right now?

The Flatliners, Authority Zero, No Use for a Name, Choking Victim, Leftover Crack, Lagwagon, Descendents, Talking Heads, Tower of Power, SNFU, Rise Against, Propagandhi, NOFX, Pink Floyd, OFF!, No Cash, and J Dilla. Right now… all at once. Kind of a trip!

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

New-era disco, like Franz Ferdinand stuff, and all the bands trying to copy that crap. It makes me laugh and puke at the same time.

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

Frank Zappa, hands down.

What’s your favorite musical guilty pleasure?

Lorde. That’s my girl! Don’t tell anyone.

What’s your favorite music venue?

The Viper Room (in West Hollywood).

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

“When I go driving, I get drunk,” from the Sweat Act, “I Go Driving.”

What band or artist changed your life? How?

Reel Big Fish. They taught me not to take things so seriously, and that if you’re drinking, and you know that you’re my friend, then I should probably consider having a beer. Woo hoo!  

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

I would ask Dick Lucas (Subhumans): What’s his reason for existence, and does he believe in anything? Does his lifestyle contradict the words he writes in the songs he sings?

What song would you like played at your funeral?

Lagwagon, “Owen Meaney.”

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

Tower of Power, Back to Oakland.

What song should everyone listen to right now?

I try not to “should” people.

Published in The Lucky 13

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 www.facebook.com/TheSweatAct.

Published in Previews