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Previews

19 Jun 2015
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If you’ve ever watched an old horror movie featuring a carnival or a haunted house, you’ve heard spooky organ music. Meet Herb Lienau, a man who is bringing that spooky music back, thanks to his one-man carnival-organ-music show, called Herbert. Herbert will be performing at the Bat Country Summer Slam at the Palms in Twentynine Palms on Saturday, July 4. Yes, he’ll be wearing his trademark creepy mask. I recently spoke with Lienau at his business in Palm Desert, and we discussed the history of punk rock in the Coachella Valley during the early to mid-’80s. Lienau was very much part of that scene: He played in bands with desert rock greats Scott Reeder (Kyuss), Alfredo Hernandez (Kyuss, Queens of the Stone Age), Mario Lalli (Fatso Jetson), Gary Burns (Deadbolt) and Sean Wheeler (Throw Rag, Sean and Zander), just to name a few. After living in Los Angeles and performing…
09 Jun 2015
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James McMurtry isn’t a household name—and that’s a shame. Those in the know respect McMurtry: Jason Isbell cites McMurtry as one of his “few favorite songwriters on Earth.” Publications such as No Depression have given McMurtry high accolades. McMurtry released a new album, Complicated Game, in February, and he will be performing at Pappy and Harriet’s on Thursday, June 18. McMurtry has been performing folk and Americana since his teens. He’s the son of Western novelist and screenwriter Larry McMurtry. During filming for Falling From Grace, a film for which Larry McMurtry wrote the screenplay, star John Mellencamp was given James McMurtry’s demo tape. The demo led to a collaboration song, “Sweet Suzanne,” between Mellencamp, Dwight Yoakam, John Prine, Joe Ely and James McMurtry, under the name of Buzzin’ Cousins, on the film’s soundtrack. McMurtry said his formula has not changed much since his first album was released in 1989.…
08 Jun 2015
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Ray Wylie Hubbard’s career has been an up-and-down adventure spanning five decades. In the ’70s, he was a well-known figure in what was called “cosmic country.” However, low record sales, addiction and other bad elements that plague musicians brought him down in the ’80s and early ’90s. Fortunately, he’s been enjoying a career resurgence—and he’ll be stopping by Pappy and Harriet’s on Saturday, June 13. During a recent phone interview, Wylie said he had just returned home to Wimberley, Texas—an area that’s been stricken by terrible floods in recent weeks. “It’s heartbreaking,” he said. “We’ve lived here for about 18 years and haven’t seen anything like this. But it’s a good community, and everyone is here cleaning up the best we can and helping people.” Regarding his career, I asked Hubbard if “resurrection” is a proper term for its current state. While Hubbard never really stopped performing, he said the…
01 Jun 2015
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Charlie Daniels was already an accomplished musician before he became a legend in 1979 by releasing “The Devil Went Down to Georgia.” In fact, he played on some of Bob Dylan’s recordings. The Charlie Daniels Band is back with a tribute album to Bob Dylan, titled Off the Grid: Doin’ It Dylan. The group will be performing at Spotlight 29 on Friday, June 12. Charlie Daniels’ story begins in the tiny town of Gulf, N.C. “In my point of view, it was great,” Daniels, 78, said about his small-town upbringing. “I never had anything else to do. At the time, in the days before television, we had very little idea about what the rest of the world was like except for what we saw on the movie screens, in books, or in pictures in magazines and newspapers. I guess you could say, especially at that time, we were kind of…
29 May 2015
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Summer is upon us as of this month—but fantastic acts continue to come through our toasty little valley, and there is some entertainment you definitely won’t want to miss in June. Splash House is returning for two 2015 weekends, and the June version of the festival will be held on Saturday, June 13, and Sunday, June 14, at The Saguaro, the Hilton Palm Springs and the Hacienda Cantina and Beach Club. Shuttles will run between the three venues. Performers include Bakermat, Cashmere Cat, Gigamesh and Wave Racer, just to name a few. Tickets start at $115. For more information, visit www.splashhouse.com. Fantasy Springs Resort Casino’s month is highlighted by Cheap Trick and Peter Frampton at 8 p.m., Saturday, June 13. Peter Frampton was a staple of ’70s rock, and they joked in Wayne’s World that his album Frampton Comes Alive! came in the mail with samples of Tide. He continues…
27 May 2015
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Vanilla Ace was once a model and presenter on a show called The Mag. However, it appears he’s now found his true calling: The London-based producer and DJ is coming to the United States for a summer tour for the second year in a row—and just like last year, he’ll be making a stop at Splash House. During a recent Skype chat from London, he talked about his entry into the music business. “It started a long time ago, when I was 14,” Vanilla Ace said. “My brother said one day, ‘We’re going to buy turntables for Christmas.’ I was like, ‘Um, why?’ and he said, ‘We could buy records that we like,’ and all this other stuff. At the time, I didn’t believe him, and a lot of the music I liked at the time, you could only buy on 12-inch promo vinyl from the USA. I started building…
19 May 2015
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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…
01 May 2015
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May is here, which means the Coachella Valley is quieter, with less traffic and temperatures starting to rise. However, locals know the truth: The Coachella Valley never sleeps, and there are plenty of great things going on to see and do. At 1 p.m., Saturday, May 2, the Desert Daze festival will be taking place at the Sunset Ranch Oasis in Mecca. The bill includes Warpaint (right), RJD2, Deap Vally, Minus the Bear and many others. General admission tickets are $55. Sunset Oasis Ranch, 69520 S. Lincoln St., Mecca; desertdaze.org. The Joshua Tree Music Festival is back, coming Thursday, May 14, through Sunday, May 17 to the Joshua Tree Lake Campground. The Last Internationale, The Floozies, Airtist and many others will be performing. Single-day passes start at $60 to $90; it’s $180 for a four-day pass. Joshua Tree Lake Campground, 2601 Sunfair Road, Joshua Tree; www.joshuatreemusicfestival.com. Fantasy Springs Resort Casino…