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Previews

30 Mar 2015
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The Coachella Valley today is home to a healthy, growing music scene—but it wasn’t always that way. In the 1980s, young local musicians were forced to basically create their own music scene. These kids had no idea they would one day be considered pioneers. One of these pioneers is Brant Bjork, the drummer for and one of the founders of Kyuss. He’ll be appearing at Coachella on Friday, April 10 and 17, with his latest project, Brant Bjork and the Low Desert Punk Band. In 1987, while in high school, Bjork got together with Josh Homme and John Garcia to form the band that became Kyuss. Of course, Kyuss went on to become one of the most influential rock bands of the early ’90s, putting Palm Desert on the map for desert rock—or stoner rock, as some people called it. In 1994, Bjork left Kyuss due to a conflict with…
17 Mar 2015
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The Monkees were originally a fake band made up for a TV show—but before they knew it, the members were both television stars and pop music idols. Almost 50 years later, The Monkees are still performing, and on Friday, March 27, members Peter Tork and Micky Dolenz will be performing at Fantasy Springs Resort Casino. The Monkees first aired in 1966. The vision of Davy Jones, Michael Nesmith, Tork and Dolenz as a struggling rock band was inspired by the Beatles’ A Hard Day’s Night film. During a recent phone interview, Dolenz discussed the hectic schedule the band members faced when the show went on the air. “Oh boy, fortunately I was only about 21 years old at the time,” Dolenz said with a laugh. “I had a lot of energy, but I’m not sure I could do it these days. It was intense. I had already been in the…
13 Mar 2015
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The Broadway production of Jekyll and Hyde helped launch the career of Linda Eder—a career that has taken her to venues such as Carnegie Hall and includes 15 solo albums. Eder will be appearing at the McCallum Theatre on Wednesday, March 25. Born in Tucson, Ariz., Eder was raised in Central Minnesota. As a child, she discovered Judy Garland, Barbra Streisand and Eileen Farrell as inspirations. She began singing in clubs in the late ‘80s and found herself competing on Star Search in 1988—where she won 12 weeks in a row. “I started singing professionally right out of high school, so I had been singing for about six years when I did Star Search,” she said during a recent phone interview. For me, it was excellent, because I never lost, and I went undefeated. I was very lucky, and it felt as if it was meant to be. It’s hard…
13 Mar 2015
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Gang of Four was a big name in the post-punk scene of the late 1970s and early ’80s, yet the group’s influence lives on—bands such as Franz Ferdinand and Rage Against the Machine cite the English group as a big influence. The band itself lives on, too: Although guitarist Andy Gill is the only remaining original member, the band just released a new album, and will be playing at Pappy and Harriet’s on Friday, March 27. Gang of Four’s stripped-down punk/funk sound, often combined with political lyrics, made the band popular—and controversial. The first single, “Damaged Goods,” gained acclaim in Europe and the United States in 1978. In 1979, the group refused to play their hit single “At Home He’s a Tourist” over a disagreement regarding the word “rubber.” Soon after, single “I Love a Man in Uniform” was banned from BBC Radio. During a recent phone interview, Andy Gill…
10 Mar 2015
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Ne-Yo first hit the charts in 2006 with his hit single “So Sick”—and ever since, every album he’s released has hit the Top 10. A lot of people know that. A lot of people don’t know he’s also a talented and acclaimed songwriter who has penned hits for Mary J. Blige, Beyonce and many others. Ne-Yo will be performing at Fantasy Springs on Saturday, March 14. Ne-Yo (Shaffer Smith) was born in Camden, Ark.; his mother was from Arkansas, and his father was from Nevada. His parents, both musicians, split up when he was young, and he was raised by his mother in Camden before they eventually moved to Las Vegas. “There wasn’t a whole lot that was going on out there (in Camden),” Ne-Yo said during a recent phone interview. “It was the skating rink or the parking lot of the post office where the young people hung out,…
05 Mar 2015
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Singer-songwriter Don McLean is best known for his 1971 hit single “American Pie”—but he’s enjoyed a string of other hits throughout his career. After appearing at Stagecoach last year and stopping in Riverside last summer for a show, he’ll be returning to the area—specifically, the McCallum Theatre—on Tuesday, March 17. During a recent phone interview, McLean was quick to answer my questions; in fact, he often started answering before I finished asking—hinting that after 45 years in the music industry, he feels like he’s heard it all. McLean has been open about the fact that he suffers from asthma. “If you have asthma, you’re always an asthmatic,” McLean said. “Some people have bronchial asthma when they’re young. In my case, I had bronchial tubes that were not the proper size. When they spasm, you have terrible attacks, and it leads to pneumonia, and sometimes, you can die. I’ve had that…
02 Mar 2015
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It’s March … so we all know what’s comin’, weather-wise. We strongly recommend getting out and enjoying some fantastic events before the broiler gets turned on. The McCallum Theatre’s schedule is full of music events in March. While Johnny Mathis’ March 7 and 8 performances are sold out, here are some other shows to consider: At 8 p.m., Tuesday, March 17, singer-songwriter Don McLean will be stopping by. McLean wrote the 1971 hit single “American Pie,” for which he’s widely known; however, he’s written many other great songs, too. After catching his performance at Stagecoach last year, I can say he’s worth seeing. Tickets are $25 to $65. At 8 p.m., Friday, March 27, Chinese classical pianist Lang Lang will be performing. Tickets are $65 to $125. McCallum Theatre, 73000 Fred Waring Drive, Palm Desert; 760-340-2787; www.mccallumtheatre.com. Fantasy Springs Resort Casino has some great stuff going on in March. At…
23 Feb 2015
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For years, Steve Tyrell worked behind the scenes as a producer and songwriter for artists and movie soundtracks. However, his cover of “The Way You Look Tonight” for the 1991 film Father of the Bride pushed him out of the shadows and into the spotlight. He will be performing at the McCallum Theatre on Thursday, March 5. “Mainly, I was a record producer,” Tyrell said during a recent phone interview. “I worked as a music supervisor and making music for movies. Those were my main two jobs.” However, Tyrell, now 70, has always been a singer, going back to his childhood. “I made records down in Texas with local bands,” he said. “… I got more interested in being behind the scenes writing songs and producing, but mainly producing. I’ve written songs that were successful, and some that have been recorded by some very legendary people. I enjoyed doing that…