CVIndependent

Tue10162018

Last updateTue, 18 Sep 2018 1pm

Jeff Bowman has largely been a quiet guy in the background, kicking ass on the drums in the local music scene for the better part of three decades.

But he recently had a fantastic idea that brought him into the spotlight: He’s bringing a variety of local musicians to The Hood Bar and Pizza on Saturday, Aug. 25, to play a benefit concert for the Desert Cancer Foundation.

However, this is not a normal benefit show. Here’s how it will work: Various musicians, many of whom have never played together before, were grouped up and given a band name by Bowman. Each group was then given a list of songs to cover—songs the musicians need to learn, rehearse and perform the night of the show.

“I thought that it’d be cool to get a few local people together, learn a set and try to play as a brand-new band by the end of the summer,” Bowman said during a recent interview in Palm Desert. “Then I thought, ‘I wonder if I could get a few more people together, and we could make a whole night of it. Maybe even five bands.’ I’ve played music in the desert now for about 30 years, and there are still a ton of people I haven’t played music with, and we have a ton of talent out here. I called Nigel (Dettelbach) at The Hood Bar and Pizza and asked, ‘You have anything (open on the schedule) at the end of the summer?’ He had something open and booked it.

“I put a Facebook post together on a Wednesday afternoon, and I said, ‘OK, here are some rules, and if everyone abides by these rules, this is going to work. Be open to doing your homework and learning these songs; be open to playing with people you’ve never played with before; and be available on the night of the show. I put it out there around noon. I was practicing with Waxy that night; I had to put a stop on the post because I had so many responses.”

There is a personal reason Bowman chose to do a benefit for the Desert Cancer Foundation.

“My mom is a cancer survivor, but my aunt was not and passed away,” Bowman said. “My uncle was also recently diagnosed with cancer, and it’s stage 4. I think that (cancer) affects all of us.

“Originally, we wanted to do something for the American Cancer Society, but that’s a national organization, and anything we raise will just go into the national pot. Also, because The Hood Bar and Pizza allows smoking on the patio, (the American Cancer Society) won’t support it. But the Desert Cancer Foundation does cancer-treatment assistance for people with cancer right here in the valley, and they were OK with The Hood Bar and Pizza allowing smoking on their patio.

“I think it’s great our local music scene can support people with cancer. It’s a theme that’s close to home.”

After more than 30 local musicians responded to Bowman’s post, he had to turn others away.

“I had a lot of people tell me, ‘I didn’t hear a thing about it!’ It’s true: They didn’t, because it was an idea that I had on a Wednesday afternoon that I put out on Facebook,” Bowman said. “If you weren’t logged into Facebook from noon to 6 p.m. on that Wednesday, you missed it. But there was enough interest in it to where I could see this being a semi-annual or even an annual event. If I did it again, I’d put it out there, saying, ‘The window is open from this time to this time.’”

Bowman said it was surprisingly difficult to completely mix up the one-night-only bands: Each one includes at least two musicians who are currently in bands together, while others used to play together.

“I tried to be as random as I could with the band selections and the song selections, but there were certain band members who have a depth of history to where that was impossible,” Bowman said. “I literally did little pieces of paper with everyone’s name on them and put them together by the drummers, the bassists, the guitar players and the vocalists to try to make it an interesting experience of people playing with others they’ve never played with—generating relationships, generating energy, storytelling and things like that.”

Of course, the newly created bands have had to overcome some obstacles. Coval had issues with rehearsals because the drummer, Benny Cancino Jr., has been on a tour—so Bowman has filled in. The Oneders had to switch gears after Herb Lienau needed to back out. That band, which includes Sleazy Cortez bassist Derek Timmons, will be fronted by Timmons’ girlfriend, Stevie Jane Lee, who will be making her local live music debut after moving here earlier this year from Utah. Lee said she is thrilled to be taking part.

“I am really excited to be a part of it—and what better way to get to know all the musicians in the area that I don’t know already?” Lee said. “I was a bit worried at first, because most of the songs we we’re assigned, I didn’t know, but we have been rehearsing at least once a week, if not two, since the bands were announced. I can honestly say that I couldn’t have hoped for a better group of people to be in. I am getting to do one of my favorite songs that I have always wanted to cover, so I have no complaints.”

Coval will include a reunion, of sorts: Monreaux frontman Giorg Tierez will be performing publicly with Monreaux guitarist Marcus Bush for the first time in two years, as Monreaux has been on an extended hiatus.

“I asked to participate because I needed an outlet back into the scene, and the show is the night before my birthday,” Tierez said. “It just made sense to me. Plus, I didn’t know Jeff Bowman personally, but I knew of him, and after meeting him and jamming with him, I can say that he’s one of my favorite people, by far, and probably one of the best musicians I’ve ever seen.”

Bowman said the show has been the subject of some inaccurate rumors.

“I’ve heard people calling it a competition, and I need to put the kibosh on that: This is NOT a competition. This is not one of those things that’s, ‘Let’s find the best guitar player!’” he said.

The lineups as of this story’s deadline:

The Oneders: Derek Timmons, Stevie Jane Lee, Cara Makuh, Tom Edwards, Nick Hales, Matt King and Troy Whitford.

Blonde Moment: Noe Gutierrez, Natasha Carian, Alex Mirage Burdon, Randy Caserta, Damian Lautiero, Armando Flores and Rob Peterson.

Bounce Haus: Robbie Waldman, Linda Lemke Heinz, Lindsey Bowman, Robert Bowman, Bobby Nichols, Matt Whyte and Robert Garcia.

Banned Four: Chelsea Sugarbritches, Nico Flores, Pakko Lopez, Josh Heinz, Rob Martinez and Jeff Bowman.

Coval: Giorg Tierez, Esther Sanchez, David Burk, Chris Rivera, Marcus Bush and Benny Cancino Jr.

A Mixed Up Music Party!, an event to benefit the Desert Cancer Foundation will take place at 7:30 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 25, at The Hood Bar and Pizza, 74360 Highway 111, in Palm Desert. Admission is $5 at the door. For more information, call 760-636-5220, or visit facebook.com/HoodBarAndPizza.

Published in Previews

It’s a common argument in the local music scene: Is Throw the Goat a metal band … or is it a punk band?

The Idyllwild three-piece’s new album, The Joke’s on Us, settles the argument once and for all: Throw the Goat is definitely a do-it-yourself punk-rock band.

The band is currently taking pre-orders for The Joke’s On Us, which will be released Jan. 26, via PledgeMusic. If Throw the Goat receives more than 100 percent of goal, the members will donate 10 percent of the overage to the American Red Cross.

During a recent interview at The Hood Bar and Pizza, we talked about the title of the EP the band released last year before the presidential election, Vote Goat, as well as the title of the new album.

“There are a lot of people in the political climate who dismissed certain things last year, thinking, ‘It’s just a joke.’ I think now, with how the way things turned out, the joke is on all of us,” said guitarist Brian “Puke” Parnell.

Drummer Troy Whitford, who is celebrating his one-year anniversary with Throw the Goat and will also appear for the first time on the band’s recordings with The Joke’s On Us, said it was important to “go there” politically.

“It’s almost kind of like a responsibility to say something,” Whitford said. “We all have our own opinions toward the political climate, but it would be bullshit and against ourselves to write more songs about drinking and having a good time, boys and girls, and all that other bullshit. There are things that need to be put into perspective, and people need to acknowledge what’s going on.”

The recording sessions for the album started on Halloween.

“I guess if you put it all together, it took about a month,” Parnell said. “Recording, editing, mixing and getting the masters back took about 32 days.”

Bassist and lead vocalist Michael Schnalzer said there are pluses and minuses when it comes to DIY recording.

“It gave us freedom we never had, which can be positive and a negative,” he said. “I think it made it easier to work through the problems we ran into. But it also made it harder, because you can do whatever you want. We’re really fucking picky when it comes to ourselves. The vocals drove me insane.”

Parnell laughed and added: “It would have only taken three weeks if we were less picky.”

Schnalzer said a couple of the tracks stray from the typical Throw the Goat formula.

“Puke wrote a song called ‘High,’ and it’s going to be the lead single on the album,” Schnalzer said. “That one is just an ear worm and is probably one of the poppiest tracks we’ve ever written—not that that’s a bad thing, because it’s still heavy as shit. This album gets a little weird for us, because it also has our heaviest song ever, ‘The Joke’s On Us,’ which is the title track. That song is about as metal as Throw the Goat will ever get.”

Earlier this year, Throw the Goat went on a national tour, and also played in the United Kingdom.

“We were gone for six weeks,” Schnalzer said. “In the middle of a trip like that, it feels like it’s never going to end. Once it’s over, it seems like a blur. Getting the opportunity to go to the UK again was pretty mind-blowing. But getting to tour around the country and getting to play for people who we’ve never seen, and play with bands we’ve never met before—it was super-cool.”

Of course, it was the first Throw the Goat tour for Whitford.

“(Troy) was the man!” Parnell said. “If I was riding shotgun, and Mike was in the driver’s seat, Troy would all of a sudden appear out of the back and be like, ‘A little peanut butter cracker sandwich, gentlemen?’”

Parnell said the band has big hopes for The Joke’s On Us.

“We’re trying to be on the charts, which is the main reason behind the PledgeMusic thing,” he said. “For an independent band to register with SoundScan, and do all that other kind of chart stuff that people have to do independently, it’s a big pain, but PledgeMusic makes it super-easy. With the way album sales go these days, it doesn’t really take that much overall to make an impact. It’s the first time we’re going to be doing that, and it’s the first time we’re doing vinyl and doing it ourselves. There are people we’ve been talking to about taking it a little further, like independent labels who are somewhat interested if we chart in that opening week.”

Schnalzer agreed that using PledgeMusic was a fine idea.

“The response has been good,” he said. “I’ve always been personally hesitant at crowd-funding, but PledgeMusic is a lot more legitimate and made specifically more for musicians. It’s not just trying to crowd-fund an album; you do a pre-order and (there are) all kinds of major acts on there. It’s a professional venue to find bands, check them out and help along with the process—and there aren’t really record labels anymore. It’s a way for bands representing themselves to professionally and legitimately get the money raised to put out merchandise and albums.”

Whitford said the options for musicians on PledgeMusic are far better than those on other platforms.

“On Kickstarter, you’re trying to raise funds to do something,” he said. “With PledgeMusic, you’re doing something, but you’re making it available beforehand, and you’re able to give different options for purchase to help out the cause itself. You don’t have to buy the album; you can buy other things to help it. It’s like pre-ordering a video game and getting that package that won’t be available once it’s released. It’s like you’re saying, ‘We’re doing it; here’s a chance to get it before everyone else.’”

Whitford added that PledgeMusic has given them the opportunity network with other bands, and breaks down the demographics of who is buying the record—some of which have surprised Whitford.

“You have people pre-ordering your album all over the world,” he said. “There have been the same amount of people pre-ordering our album in the UK as there have been in the desert.”

Parnell said that the process has made them add another goal to their 2018 list.

“Arthur Seay from House of Broken Promises has told us, ‘Hey, man, you definitely want to go play in (continental) Europe,’” Parnell said. “For 2018, that’s one of the things we want to do. We’ve played the UK a couple of times, and it’s cool that we have a solid fan base there, but the next time we do that, we’re going to attach it to a European tour playing in France, Germany, the Netherlands, Ireland and places like that.”

To pre-order Throw the Goat’s The Joke’s On Us, visit www.pledgemusic.com/throwthegoat. For more information, visit www.throwthegoat.net.

Published in Previews

Throw the Goat is a local band that’s finally starting to get the recognition it deserves.

The band has two full albums to its credit—Black Mountain (2012) and Blood, Sweat and Beers (2015). Last year, the band released a new EP, Vote Goat, and picked up a new drummer, The Sweat Act and 5th Town’s Troy Whitford. Catch the group in action at The Hood Bar and Pizza on Saturday, Jan. 21, and The Date Shed on Saturday, Feb. 4.

During a recent interview before a practice session at Whitford’s home in Palm Desert, we talked about the band’s name.

“It’s kind of the Ronnie James Dio heavy-metal handshake (like the devil horns gesture),” guitarist Brian “Puke” Parnell said. “There’s also this thing in Spain where these golden eagles co-exist with mountain goats, and it’s part of their food chain: If there’s a wandering goat on the side of a mountain, a golden eagle will come down and lift it up, and drop it off the side of the cliff, which tenderizes it, and then they pick up the whole fucking thing and take it back to their nest. There are videos of it on YouTube. It’s awesome! You gotta check it out.”

Throw the Goat actually calls Idyllwild home.

“It’s actually benefited us more than anything,” Parnell said. “It’s a small town; everybody knows each other, and in the really early days, we would get a lot of people from the town itself who would come to any show we would play—but I wouldn’t call us ‘big fish in a small pond.’”

Frontman and bassist Michael Schnalzer said that being from Idyllwild has helped the group when playing out of town.

“It’s an easy way to stand out when we play in places like Los Angeles,” Schnalzer said. “People usually say, ‘Where the hell is Idyllwild?’ We’re probably one of two or three actual bands up there. I think we’re the only original band currently playing in Idyllwild. Most of the other bands are cover bands that play on the weekends at the restaurants. I’d say it’s helped us a lot and given us an identity we wouldn’t have had if we tried to be a band in a major market like Los Angeles. Plus, we get to drive a lot!”

Throw the Goat has been called a metal band by some, and a punk band by others. So what is Throw the Goat’s real sound?

“When we figure that out, we’ll let you know,” Parnell said with a laugh. “We don’t sound like The Stooges or The Ramones. But when we play to punk crowds, people are like, ‘Fuck yeah!’ and when we play to metal crowds, people are like, ‘Fuck yeah!’ Every show we walk away from, there’s always somebody who’s blown away by it. There’s usually one person who comes up to us and says, ‘I’m not usually into that kind of music, but I love what it is you guys do.’ Whatever ‘that kind of music’ is, we’re pretty clueless.”

Schnalzer said he does not care much for labels.

“We set out to play guitar-based music in a slightly oppressive manner, which could be punk, metal, rock or any sub-genre you want to put a label on,” Schnalzer said. “I’ve never been one to listen to just one type of music. I also don’t identity as exclusively metal or punk. I’ve always listened to all of it. I think on Black Mountain, there’s more of a rock and metal spectrum. But there’s punk in there, too. Blood, Sweat and Beers is like a punk/thrash spectacle, but there’s some metal in there. The new EP is more punk than anything we’ve ever done, but there are some Top 40 arena-rock songs. If you like loud guitars and abrasive vocals, you’ll like Throw the Goat.”

Schnalzer explained how Whitford came to join the group.

“We were looking around for a new drummer, and when we played with The Sweat Act a few times, the first thing I noticed was Troy,” Schnalzer said. “Troy’s drumming stood out, and he was killing it. We’ve been Sweat Act fans since the first time we saw them. We knew we wanted to go in another direction as far as drumming goes, and Troy was the first person we actually hit up.”

Whitford said that when Parnell sent him a message on Facebook, he suspected an invitation to join the group was coming.

“For me, at the time that it happened, my wife was a bigger Throw the Goat fan than I was. It took Brian about 30 minutes to ask me, but I was star-struck. Within the first two minutes, I knew he was going to ask, but I just wanted to see how long I could keep him going,” Whitford said with a laugh. “‘You had me 29 minutes ago. You had me at: Hey, Troy.’” 

Whitford said he feels at home in Throw the Goat.

“I’ve had their songs stuck in my head since the first practice,” he said. “The second band I was ever in was this kind of band, and it’s always been the kind of music that I’ve followed, especially when it comes to tempo. To be part of it now, it’s amazing to me. I can’t wait to play our first show—especially with how fast things have been happening, and the music has been progressing. It is a little different, and I feel like the way that I play and my influences, I bring more of a punk side to it that makes it a little less metal.”

The beer of choice for Throw the Goat: Pabst Blue Ribbon. In fact, Throw the Goat received a grant from Pabst Blue Ribbon.

“They don’t officially sponsor bands,” Schnalzer said. “They gave us $1,000. Any artist can apply to Pabst Blue Ribbon for grants, because it’s part of their branding right now. They’re trying to support DIY musicians and artists trying to do their thing. That’s a cool thing they do. They’re hands-on with all the people they support. For us, it’s a big refund on all the beer we’ve drank. We’ve been drinking Pabst Blue Ribbon since day one.”

Whitford, however, has had to readjust to the iconic lowbrow beer.

“It was my beer of choice until I became a beer snob,” Whitford said. “It’s nice to put it back in my system. Now, I can put down $2 or $3, and it’s like two full mugs of beer. I’m building up my tolerance.”

Throw the Goat will perform with Murkocet, Bridger and Perishment at 9 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 21, at The Hood Bar and Pizza, 74360 Highway 111, in Palm Desert. Admission is free; visit the Throw the Goat Facebook page for more information. Throw the Goat will play with Mondo Generator and Doors to Nowhere at 8 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 4, at The Date Shed, 50725 Monroe St., in Indio. Admission is $10; visit www.dateshedmusic.com for more info.

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