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Last updateMon, 20 Apr 2020 1pm

Pappy and Harriet’s hosted the final in-between Coachella show last Thursday, marking the end of three days of great performances.

Before the scheduled 8 p.m. show, I met a couple from Echo Park who gave the impression that they spent most of their formative years in the Echo and Echoplex—legendary Los Angeles spots for music. I also met a younger gal from San Diego who was at the show after spending three days at Coachella’s first weekend. The best part of these in-between shows: They attract real music fans who want to see a performance—they’re not present to be seen.

Opener Bob Moses is a partnership between Tom Howie and Jimmy Vallance—melding a DJ with original rock. The result: very danceable beats, especially on the dirt dance floor of the outdoor stage at Pappy’s.

Miike Snow, the indie pop band from Sweden that played Sunday night at Coachella, had me hooked before even playing one note: The group had to be desert cool. After all, the band has a jackalope graphic on the album Happy to Know You, along with T-shirts featuring the iconic desert mythological creature. I never knew the jackalope also existed in Sweden.

Lead singer Andrew Wyatt’s skills on the keyboard were a delight. He would move to a microphone at the center of the stage and then back to the keys. “Genghis Kahn” was very addicting tune that made many spectators smile and scream. Wyatt was in good spirits, saying, “Oh yes, the grooves just keep on coming.”

The show moved at a rapid pace, highlighted by the song “Paddling Out,” and also featuring favorites such as “Billie Holiday” and “Burial.”

A few minutes after Andrew Wyatt walked off the stage, the band reunited onstage for a two-song encore. “Sorry for the long absence,” Wyatt said as the audience cheered.

As the group concluded with “Animal,” Wyatt noted: “If you guys stuck around this long, you know the lyrics of this one.”

Find more from Guillermo Prieto at www.facebook.com/irockkphotos and irockphotos.net.

Published in Reviews

Music fans at Pappy and Harriet’s last Wednesday had a choice to make: Go early and see a show by Deerhunter outdoors, or stay up late and see Melody’s Echo Chamber  inside at midnight.

I saw Melody’s Echo Chamber perform in front of thousands of music fans at FYF Fest last year—and I wanted to see her perform in one of the most intimate venues in the U.S.A., in between her Sunday gigs at Coachella.

The Pappy’s staff had the herculean logistical task of emptying the inside of Pappy’s while allowing hundreds of fans to leave the outdoor stage. With the task done, the backing musicians completed their sound check to a nearly empty bar—while communicating in French. Since my French is limited to sorte and pomme de terre, I had no idea what adjustments they were making as they prepared for the show.

Doors opened, and fans rushed in—with some wearing Coachella bracelets. This was apparently some sort of fashion statement, since the second week of Coachella did not start for a couple days. 

Melody Prochet, the woman behind Melody’s Echo Chamber, walked in last—wearing a smile. Melody’s Echo Chamber kicked things off with an instrumental introduction that transported me to a little café I visited near the Opera District years ago in Paris.

Prochet alternated between keyboards and the microphone stand, moving and dancing and twirling as guitars, bass and drums glided with her charming voice. Melody expressed her excitement at playing at Pappy’s, saying, “How awesome is this place, seriously?”

Hearing “Crystallized” sung by Melody melted me a little on this cold desert night: “Just before I crystallized, you were gone for real this time. Just before, I crystallized you are gone of time this time. How I want to idealize.” “Je Me Perds de Vue” blew everyone’s mind away.

The hour-long performance was too short. Melody left the show by saying, “Thank you guys for being so awesome.” I thought: No, thank you.

Find more from Guillermo Prieto at www.facebook.com/irockkphotos and irockphotos.net.

Published in Reviews

J. Mascis opened for label-mate Beach House on Tuesday, April 19—one of the in-between Coachella shows at Pappy and Harriet’s.

Macias did not have a wall of Marshall amps behind him like he did when his Dinosaur Jr. performed at Coachella in 2013. Instead, he was seated as he performed. He played “The Wagon,” a track by Dinosaur Jr. first released in 1990; according to his tour manager, it’s a tune he seldom plays live. Mascis weaved in a few Bowie instrumentals as he led into his set, and then took a minimalist approach by only switching between two well-worn Gibson acoustic guitars—each of which were magical in Mascis hands. His stunning set included “Heal the Star” and “Make It Right.”

Fans dispersed after J. Mascis to refill their beverages and grab some great barbecue from Pappy’s grill—but these fanatics quickly reappeared to see the headliner. Fans surrounded me. Some who came from the Bay Area asked how long I would be standing in front of them. “Three songs,” I replied (as is standard when shooting many bands), “and then I will watch the show from the comfort of the picnic tables.” A young gal said “OMG I am going to cry!” over and over as Beach House entered stage right. I don’t blame her: The ability to see your favorite band in such a small venue, under the stars no less, is a dreamlike opportunity.

The backdrop for Baltimore’s Beach House was interesting—a large cabinet filled with flowers. It gave the band eerie, gentle presence that concealed their faces—almost to the point where they were barely visible to the camera. Guitarist Alex Scally and vocalist/keyboardist Victoria Legrand started the concert as a duo, filling the desert sky with songs that were subdued—matching the arid environment. Beach House began with the mournful tune “Saltwater”: “Love you all the time, even Though you’re not mine. Love you all the time, dream I’m in the saltwater.” It almost made me join the excited fan standing next to me in synchronized tears.

Beach House pleased with “D.A.R.L.I.N.G.” and the well-received “Walk in the Park.” The concert ended with “Elegy to the Void.”

“Goddamn. Thank you very much for being under the gauzy stars,” Legrand said in closing.

Beach House will perform Sunday evening on the Outdoor Stage at Coachella.

Find more from Guillermo Prieto at www.facebook.com/irockkphotos and irockphotos.net.

Published in Reviews

The best bands in stoner rock flooded the Desert Generator festival at Pappy and Harriet’s on Saturday, April 9. But unlike the legendary generator parties of the past, this party had a strict 11 p.m. curfew.

Gotta keep the neighbors happy, after all.

In association with Rolling Heavy magazine, the event featured a vintage-van contest. Only American-made classic vans were allowed to enter, but thankfully, VW buses were still permitted in the parking lot, which allowed a groovy set of fans to arrive from Joshua Tree. Brant Bjork, co-founder of Kyuss, helped plan the event.

I was expecting a smooth night, because as a rule, one associates vans with mellow dudes with long hair, swaying to the music and perhaps occasionally banging their heads against the stage monitors. Everything started out as expected, with Ecstatic Vision laying down a mood-altering set. Their set was a catalyst for one Mr. Tripped Out Dude to shadow me through out the festival.

He asked me to dance. I don’t dance.

Golden Void was one of the highlights, with fans positively reacting to the song “Shady Grove.” Acid King from San Francisco offered stoner rock with a dash of psychedelic guitar. Lori S., backed by a stack of Marshall amps, kept things loud with her low-fi guitar riffs and absorbing singing.

Brant Bjork and the Low Desert Punk Band had the home-field advantage, but Bjork’s following goes well beyond the desert, with fans coming from all over to see this desert legend. Brant did not dissatisfy, delivering the classic desert rock he helped spawn. He sucks you into songs that meld, one into to the other, as you lose yourself in a symphony of desert-music goodness; the song no longer matters, because you are enthralled by the artist that is Bjork and how he weaves his guitar into an incredible piece of harmony.

I was getting ready to see Red Fang, the headliner, when Mr. Tripped Out dude kissed me on the cheek. I thought it must be my new French cologne, but I was wrong: It was an omen to the fun and crazy chaos that was to follow.

After the first guitar strum, a half-dozen bros wearing classic flat-billed ball caps decided to violate the Queensberry rules of moshing by creating a mini-riot in the middle of the crowd. Jason, the mellowest sound guy around, had to be brought in to help quell the crowd. No real harm came to anyone, but my Nikons received a drenching from a beer delivered by Mr. Tripped Out Dude, who was having fun in his own way. But even during this chaos, a man offered me his clean shirt so I could wipe the beer off my camera.

Red Fang was incredible—but with so much going on, I headed to the back of Pappy’s to enjoy the end of Red Fang’s set in peace.

Read more from Guillermo Prieto at www.facebook.com/irockkphotos and irockphotos.net.

Published in Reviews

Jim Lauderdale has written some of the best songs you’ve ever heard, for artists including the Dixie Chicks, Elvis Costello and many others.

As far as his own music goes … well, Jim Lauderdale has written some of the best songs you’ve most likely never heard.

This dichotomy is a shame, because Lauderdale is both a great songwriter and a fine performer. See for yourself when he plays at Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace on Saturday, April 23.

During a recent phone interview, Lauderdale explained his formula for a good song.

“I’d say that it’s a few different things,” Lauderdale said. “It’s something that moves another person in some way, whether that be emotionally or in a groove way that makes them want to dance or move—something that makes you enjoy when you hear it, and makes you want to hear it again or sing along.”

For inspiration, Lauderdale holds the Grateful Dead’s songwriter, Robert Hunter, in high regard.

“One of my favorites, who I’ve been very fortunate to write with, is Robert Hunter,” Lauderdale said. “We wrote at first through fax machines, and I was working on a record with Dr. Ralph Stanley, who is a bluegrass guy. Robert came to Nashville for a while, and we wrote three songs in each other’s presence. A few years went by, and I went to visit him where he lives in California, and we sat down and wrote again. After that, we wrote a bluegrass record. We had written in all those kinds of ways. I’m such a huge fan of his that I still feel in awe in his presence. I just try to act as normal as possible around him.”

Another one of his frequent collaborators is country and Americana singer-songwriter Buddy Miller.

“Buddy and I have written several songs together and did an album together, finally, and we have a radio show together, too,” Lauderdale said. “It’s different than working with Robert, because I knew Buddy since I moved to New York after I got out of college and played in some country bands in New York City. Buddy had a great band there; then he moved away and quit music. Then he contacted me when I was living in Los Angeles a few years later and said he was going to move to Los Angeles and asked if I knew any gigs for a guitar player. I hired him for the gigs I had, and we just became better and better friends. We know each other so well that we’re like brothers. With Robert Hunter, he’s someone Buddy and I both idolize. It’s kind of that thing where it’s hard to believe you’re actually sitting there with him. It’s a much more familial thing with me and Buddy.”

While Lauderdale has had epic success as a songwriter for other people, he’s struggled with record labels when it comes to his own music, despite various accolades.

“In some ways, I’m like my friend the late Chris Gaffney. I met him in Los Angeles, and he was an amazing singer and songwriter,” Lauderdale said. “He said, ‘Well, I don’t listen to anything past 1975 when it comes to country.’ I know he was in some ways kidding, but my taste tends to be toward the earthier, rawer kind of honky-tonk and emotional stuff. I’m into the heavy pedal steel and a Telecaster, and that kind of thing. All music styles evolve, and I’ve kind of likened it to rock ’n’ roll going through an evolution, and it’s not just Chuck Berry, Jerry Lee, Elvis and the Beatles: It’s changed, and it’s like that in many ways. I guess in some ways, I would term it as “corporate music.” In some ways, it’s formulaic and there are certain things that sell, and they kind of repeat that, but that’s the music business in general. Occasionally, something new and fresh will break through in music, and the industry will try to follow those trends. I guess I try to be optimistic, and I think there’s so much great undiscovered talent out there that will eventually break in, and I continue hoping. All we can do as writers and musicians is keep doing what we do and keep striving to make better and better music—even if it’s just a part-time thing for people.”

In 2015, Lauderdale released a double-album titled Soul Searching, with one part focused on Nashville, and the other on Memphis. He explained how it was different than anything he’d done in the past.

“It’s the first time I’ve actually done a physical double release. The one I did before that, I considered it a double album, because it was 20 songs, and I just wanted to not waste the plastic and put it on one disc,” he said. “But there are 13 songs with this one on each disc, and with 26 songs total, that was too many to put on one disc. It’s the first time I’ve put 13 songs on a record in the style of the ’60s and early ’70s soul music with a great horn section and writing in that feel. I had a lot of influences as a kid with rock ’n’ roll, country, bluegrass and blues, and that’s the first time I’ve really focused that much on soul music. The Nashville disc is pretty eclectic. The songs I actually had finished weren’t going in that direction, and I thought, ‘I’m going to spend these next couple of months writing and recording whatever comes out.’”

Lauderdale tries to make it to Pappy’s every April.

“I moved to Los Angeles in 1985 and started going to the desert a few months later. I just really fell in love with Pappy and Harriet’s,” he said. “For several years, I’ve been trying to do an annual gig out there, and my birthday is April 11. I used to play there on my birthday or kind of near, but this was the kind of date that worked the best this time.”

He added that through the years, he’s seen quite a change at Pappy’s.

“When I first went there, it was a country band that was semi-local or coming up in Los Angeles, and they’d play from Thursday through Sunday,” he said. “Now it’s just a wide national-touring-acts venue. It’s really grown, and it’s a magical place for me to play.”

Jim Lauderdale will perform at 9 p.m., Saturday, April 23, at Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace, 53688 Pioneertown Road, in Pioneertown. Tickets are $15. For tickets or more information, call 760-365-5956, or visit www.pappyandharriets.com.

Published in Previews

What do you get when you combine custom vans, psychedelic rock ’n’ roll and desert scenery?

A kick-ass music festival, of course.

Desert-rock icon Brant Bjork and Rolling Heavy magazine have teamed up to produce “Desert Generator,” an event featuring all of that stuff on Saturday, April 9, at Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace. He’ll also be performing with his band, Brant Bjork and the Low Desert Punk Band, along with a half-dozen or so other acts.

During a recent phone interview, the former drummer and co-founder of Kyuss said he saw an opportunity after being introduced by a friend to the people at Rolling Heavy, a magazine that focuses on custom vans.

“They also sponsor events and have a scene going on,” he said of the Rolling Heavy people. “After I talked to them, they seemed they were like-minded people. We hit it off, and they’re coming from their rock ’n’ roll thing involving custom vans and cars, and I’m doing my rock ’n’ roll thing, and I was like, ‘Why don’t we just combine our rock ’n’ roll thing? We’re kind of doing the same thing from different sides of town, so why don’t we just do it together?’”

A lot of stoner-rock and desert-rock bands have featured vans from the ’60s and ’70s in album artwork and merchandise, after all. “I think from back in the day, a lot of the rock bands in our scene, we dig the old classic ’60s and ’70s counterculture, custom cars—and that’s all part of the scene,” Bjork said.

While the festival has “generator” in the title, it is not a true generator party. Last month, Zach Huskey of Dali’s Llama told the Independent that generator parties were often difficult and dangerous. Bjork said that is absolutely correct.

“Speaking for myself and a lot of the people I know who were there, Zach is right: They were scary,” he said. “They were very intense events that we all were willing to participate in and help make happen, because we were suffering from boredom and nothing to do in the desert. The generator party was an act of us trying to develop a source of something to do to express our creativity, be with our friends, party and get away from the lameness of our town. There weren’t any rules; there wasn’t any security; and there was no general setup. It was truly an anarchy style situation, and I’ve seen a lot of heavy stuff go down at generator parties. I’ve seen people to this day who were scarred from them, (and I know people) who lost their lives going to generator parties.”

It’s been an interesting time for desert rock as of late. For example, two different documentaries that shined the light on the Coachella Valley’s history with desert rock both recently enjoyed local premieres. Bjork said that Desert Age and Lo Sound Desert are each good in their own way.

“I liked them. I thought they were entertaining and informative,” he said. “It’s hard for me, because I’m a little biased, and I was part of the subject matter directly, but I think overall, I respect their decisions to choose our environment, choose our scene and to film it, and they both went all the way to finish their projects.”

Bjork continues to stay busy and said that new music is coming—sooner than most people may have expected.

“We just delivered our new record to our label, and we’re in the process of creating the art work for it,” he said. “We’re hoping it will come out sometime this summer. We’re going to be playing some new songs at the festival on Saturday, so we’re excited.”

Bjork said Pappy’s was definitely the place to host such a festival.

“It’s a destination that’s exciting for people from out of town,” he said. “It’s beautiful, and it’s set up to have rock shows. There wasn’t a whole lot of having to put together something from the ground up. It made a lot of sense, and we didn’t think twice about it. It’s a good foundation for what we’re doing. We’ll see how it turns out.”

I had to ask: Does Bjork own a custom van?

“I don’t,” he said with a laugh. “Maybe someday I’ll get into the custom vans, but right now, I have a family, so I have my hands full. I don’t need to take care of a van, too.”

Desert Generator takes place at 12:30 p.m., Saturday, April 9, at Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace, 53688 Pioneertown Road, in Pioneertown. Tickets are $48. For tickets or more information, call 760-365-5956, or visit www.pappyandharriets.com.

Published in Previews

Coachella and Stagecoach arrive this month, which means the season is at its busiest—and will soon be coming to an end.

Enjoy the craziness, folks. It means all sorts of great things are taking place.

April is the McCallum Theatre’s last full month of regular activity before the summer lull. At 8 p.m., Monday, April 4, get ready for the original sexy-sax man, Kenny G. That’s right: Everyone’s favorite soft-rock jazz saxophonist will be stopping by again to ROCK THE COACHELLA VALLEY! All kidding aside, Kenny G is actually pretty damn good, and his soft-rock jazz sound was a sign of the times a couple of decades ago. While he might not bop or swing, he does what he does very well. Tickets are $37 to $80. At 8 p.m., Saturday, April 9, singer-songwriter Neil Sedaka will be performing to celebrate the Desert Symphony’s 27th anniversary. Sedaka is an awesome showman and still has a great voice at the age of 77. Tickets are $77 to $202. McCallum Theatre, 73000 Fred Waring Drive, Palm Desert; 760-340-2787; www.mccallumtheatre.com.

Fantasy Springs has some fantastic events in April. At 8 p.m., Friday, April 1, enjoy a fantastic night of Latin rock with Los Lonely Boys and Los Lobos. Los Lobos is legendary in the Latin rock scene and was a big hit in the Los Angeles music scene in the early ’80s. Los Lonely Boys came out of Texas in the late ’90s and found an audience when “Heaven” became a No. 1 hit on the radio in 2004. Tickets are $39 to $79. At 8 p.m., Saturday, April 2, Il Volo will be performing. This Italian trio sings what it calls “popera” and has become a hit with both classical-music lovers and those who fall into the “opera music for people who hate opera music” crowd. Tickets are $59 to $109. At 8 p.m., Saturday, April 9, Gladys Knight will be performing (sans the Pips). Knight started her R&B singing career at the age of 16 when she signed to Motown, and she’s been a big name ever since. She’s also ventured into gospel and religious music affiliated with the Mormon faith, into which she was baptized in 1997. Tickets are $39 to $79. Fantasy Springs Resort Casino, 84245 Indio Springs Parkway, Indio; 760-342-5000; www.fantasyspringsresort.com.

Spotlight 29 will be heating up with a couple of interesting shows. At 8 p.m., Saturday, April 16, it’s going to be a special night for ladies thanks to Hunks. The Las Vegas-style production is similar to that of Thunder From Down Under and the Chippendales; these guys will have the ladies sweating and screaming. Tickets are $20. If dancing near-naked men aren’t your thing, relax: At 8 p.m., Saturday, April 23, R&B superstar Keith Sweat will be performing. With hits that include “Something Just Ain’t Right,” I Want Her” and “Make You Sweat,” this will be a popular show. Tickets are $25 to $45. Spotlight 29 Casino, 46200 Harrison Place, Coachella; 760-775-5566; www.spotlight29.com.

Morongo Casino Resort and Spa has some fun events on the slate. First, at 9 p.m., Friday, April 1, get ready to groove at the love shack, because The B-52s are returning to the area. One of the biggest names of the ’80s came out of the punk-rock scene in New York. The B-52s have recorded some truly timeless music that continues to gain them younger audiences and—makes the old audiences love them even more. Tickets are $65 to $75. At 11 p.m., Friday, April 8, the Village People will be performing. That’s right: It’s the Village People, known for hits such as “Macho Man” and “YMCA.” Tickets are $10. At 9 p.m., Friday, April 15, Shinedown (upper right) will take the stage. The Jacksonville, Fla., band has sold 6 million albums since starting in 2001 and is currently touring to promote album No. 5, Threat to Survival. The members of Shinedown have stated that they are simply a rock ’n’ roll band and don’t want to be labeled as “post-grunge” or “alternative.” Tickets are $40 to $50. Morongo Casino Resort Spa, 49500 Seminole Drive, Cabazon; 800-252-4499; www.morongocasinoresort.com.

Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace is again enjoying a kickass Coachella season. The bad news: Some of the Coachella-related shows are sold out. The good news: There are still plenty of shows with tickets available. At 12:30 p.m., Saturday, April 9, desert-rock godfather Brant Bjork will be putting on Desert Generator, a day of heavy psychedelic rock ’n’ roll. Also on the bill: Red Fang, Acid King, Golden Void and Ecstatic Vision. This is definitely going to be a great show—and a throwback to the days of generator parties, albeit in a legit setting. Tickets are $48. At 9 p.m., Saturday, April 23, country-bluegrass singer-songwriter Jim Lauderdale will take the stage. Jim has written songs that have been recorded by artists such as the Dixie Chicks, Elvis Costello, Blake Shelton and many others. It’ll be a nice event to get you in the mood for Stagecoach! Tickets are $15. You’ll be happy to know that Har Mar Superstar (below) will be performing at 9 p.m., Saturday, April 30. OK, here’s the deal: You might not have heard of him … or perhaps you’ve heard of him for the wrong reasons. He’s basically a guy who looks like Ron Jeremy and performs R&B-style music in a Speedo. His shows are typically funny and impressive—but he dances, too, so prepare yourself for that. Tickets are $15. Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace, 53688 Pioneertown Road, Pioneertown; 760-365-5956; www.pappyandharriets.com.

The Palm Desert Amphitheater is hosting an intriguing event: At 7 p.m., Saturday, April 9, a rock opera titled Untamed will be performed. Untamed is written by Palm Desert resident Kara Aubrey and is about a millennial man in search of significance in these troubled times. Good news: Admission is free! Palm Desert Amphitheater at Civic Center Park, 43900 San Pablo Ave., Palm Desert; www.tobeuntamed.com.

Published in Previews

Sinner Sinners is one of those bands you really should be listening to—even though you’ve probably never heard of them.

Thanks to tours with Eagles of Death Metal and the reunited Refused, however, the group is starting to get some much-deserved attention.

Sinner Sinners will be playing on Saturday, April 16, with the Mojave Lords (featuring Eagles of Death Metal guitarist Dave Catching), Boots Electric (featuring Eagles of Death Metal frontman Jesse Hughes), Fatso Jetson, Chris Goss and others at Pappy and Harriet’s. It’s very likely this show, co-presented by Rancho de la Luna, will sell out.

Originally from France and the Netherlands, Sinner Sinners now call Los Angeles home. The brutal punk-rock sound has earned the band accolades, and both the video for the song “Modern Man” and the album Cardinal Sins have received write-ups in publications like Rolling Stone and Maximum Metal.

During a recent phone interview shortly after returning home to Los Angeles from a European tour with Eagles of Death Metal, Sinner Sinners frontman Steve Thill said the fact that the band is not currently signed to a major label has not been a problem.

“When we released the first demo, almost right away, we got a deal with Universal Publishing in France,” Thill said. “They signed us, and they were looking for a label for us, and they couldn’t find one. So Universal couldn’t find us a label, and we figured that finding one ourselves would be even harder. … We just figured we’d put (our album) out ourselves, and it’s been doing good. I think the one thing a label can really do for you is help financially to record and (with) PR stuff, but we pay for recording, and we have a PR agent to help promote the album when it came out. We don’t get all of the cool magazines, because it’s a self-release.”

Thill’s wife, Sam, has incorporated the keyboard into their brutal sound, which reminds of another well-known punk band.

“When we started the band, we were really into The Damned, and I think that’s where it comes from,” he said. “We’re more into their goth era, or more like the Machine Gun Etiquette album. It’s one of my favorites, and when we first started, we were playing some of their covers. It was going to be like Sisters of Mercy kind of stuff, with a drum machine, but during the first rehearsal, we (realized we) wanted a drummer.”

How did the Thills choose Los Angeles as their new home?

“We came over for vacation first, and came back to record a few times,” Steve Thill said. “We began staying longer each time, and we figured we should be here, because there’s more happening here musically. We eventually moved here. We come from a really small town in France. It’s cold all the time, and it’s raining all the time. Los Angeles was pretty appealing to us.

“We were in our hometown in France last week while we were on tour, and it was so fucking cold.”

Both Steve and Sam were shocked when they heard about the Nov. 13 terrorist attack in Paris—and horrified that it happened during a show by some of their friends.

“Nothing like that ever really happens there, and you don’t ever hear about gunshots or anything, because it just doesn’t happen,” Steve Thill said. “When we heard about it—that it was an Eagles of Death Metal show, that our friends were there, and we had just played with the Eagles a month before—it was completely insane. It’s one of those things you think only happens to other people. You hear about things like that on the news, and you never think it would happen to your friends.”

It is no surprise that Sinner Sinners are taking part in the Play It Forward campaign, which features various bands recording a cover of the Eagles of Death Metal’s song “I Love You All the Time,” to help raise money for the victims of the attack.

“We thought about it, and we thought—especially being friends of Jesse Hughes and his girlfriend, Tuesday Cross; the fact we’re neighbors and have been friends for the past six years; and we’re from France—there’s no way we couldn’t do it,” Steve Thill said. “It would be fucked-up and insulting if we didn’t do it. We got together, and we did it, and it was the first time we were playing music after it happened.

“For us French people after that whole thing happened, especially being here, we couldn’t really get a feel for what was going on, and we were watching the news as much as we could to figure out what was happening. It was probably not the best idea, because the news channels here are always pushing everything and keep showing the same videos all day, and ‘Terror! Terror! Terror!’ According to our friends there, people never really stopped going out and stopped going to bars or clubs, even after the first few days after the events. The attacks were as bad as they were saying, but the state of Paris wasn’t as bad as they were saying. When we went back three weeks ago, people were actually going out of their way to go to shows and were super-pumped about going out.”

While the Sinner Sinners are currently working on a second album, Steve and Sam are happy to be returning to the desert for a performance at Pappy and Harriet’s. The last time they played in the desert was in September 2014, at the Palms in Wonder Valley, with Jello Biafra and Spindrift.

“It’s weird, because when we started the band in France, we were following the whole desert-music scene and listening to those bands we’re playing with,” Steve Thill said. “We’re the outsiders, and it’s really an honor to be on that (Pappy and Harriet’s) show—and scary at the same time.

“Last time we played in the desert was really weird with Jello Biafra and Spindrift. It was definitely a strong memory, and I remember we saw some scorpions when Jesika Von Rabbit was playing. It was a really rad experience. You hear about the desert on TV and never think you’ll find yourself in one, and even though we’ve been here a few years, it’s really strange for us.”

Sinner Sinners will perform with the Mojave Lords, Fatso Jetson, Chris Goss, Alain Johannes, Boots Electric and Strawberry Smog at 8 p.m., Saturday, April 16, at Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace, 53688 Pioneertown Road, in Pioneertown. Tickets are $25. For tickets or more information, call 760-365-5956, or visit www.pappyandharriets.com.

Published in Previews

The month of March is packed with events in the Coachella Valley. Take in the revelry of St. Patrick’s Day; enjoy the tennis at the BNP Paribas Open; and relish these music events.

The Empire Polo Fields will once again be hosting the Rhythm, Wine and Brews Experience on Saturday, March 5. With performances by 311 (see our interview here), Matisyahu and the local ’80s themed band Long Duk Dong, the event also features excellent craft beer (get info from The Beer Goddess here) and some of the finest wines. Music, wine and beer make a wonderful good-time combo, don’t they? Tickets are $70 to $150; www.rwbexp.com.

The season’s end is getting closer—which means the McCallum Theatre’s season will also soon come to an end, so be sure to enjoy the busy schedule in March. At 7 p.m., Wednesday, March 9, prepare to be dazzled and mystified by Tao: Seventeen Samurai. This show combines athleticism and taiko drumming; tickets are $22 to $52. At 8 p.m., Thursday, March 17, Canadian blues rocker Colin James will be stopping by. James has a career full of hit singles and 15 Juno Awards. Tickets are $27 to $67. At 8 p.m., Saturday, March 19, Steve Tyrell will be returning to the McCallum. I had the pleasure of interviewing Tyrell last year; he explained how he’s adapted to the ever-changing music industry—and even recorded his latest album in his house. Tickets are $47 to $77. McCallum Theatre, 73000 Fred Waring Drive, Palm Desert; 760-340-2787; www.mccallumtheatre.com.

If you could be at only one local music venue in March, the venue to choose would be the Fantasy Springs Resort Casino. At 8 p.m., Saturday, March 12, Grammy-Award-winning rapper Nelly will perform. Considering his 2000 debut album Country Grammar has sold 8 million copies, he should be a household name. He’s enjoyed more success ever since, and has branched out into film as well as television, with his own reality show, Nellyville. Tickets are $39 to $79. At 8 p.m., Saturday, March 19, Motown legend Smokey Robinson will take the stage. While Bob Dylan has dubbed him “America’s greatest poet,” I concede I am having a problem getting past the freakishly young-looking photos of the 76-year-old Robinson in promotional materials and on album covers. Some of them are downright hilarious; some are spooky; and some look like political-propaganda fodder. Tickets are $29 to $59. At 8 p.m., Saturday, March 26, get “Physical” with a performance by Olivia Newton-John. While Newton-John is often remembered for that 1981 hit, she may be best remembered for her role opposite John Travolta in Grease. Tell me about it, stud. Tickets are $39 to $69. Fantasy Springs Resort Casino, 84245 Indio Springs Parkway, Indio; 760-342-5000; www.fantasyspringsresort.com.

The Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa has an event in March that should be a great show on behalf of a great cause. At 7 p.m., Thursday, March 3, a benefit for American Cancer Society Desert Spirit will feature an intimate performance by Rick Springfield. Tickets are $49 to $129. The Show at Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa, 32250 Bob Hope Drive, Rancho Mirage; 888-999-1995; www.hotwatercasino.com.

Spotlight 29 is hosting a couple of events you won’t want to miss. At 8 p.m., Saturday, March 5, get ready to get funky with The Gap Band. Honestly, I really enjoy the Gap Band. There’s just something about “You Dropped a Bomb on Me”; it’s catchy as hell. The band has some great bass lines, excellent guitar and good keyboards—all of which make for fun funk songs. Tickets are $35 to $55. If you’re in more of a country mood, that’s fine, because at 8 p.m., Saturday, March 19, country-music sensation the Eli Young Band will be performing. Remember a few years ago when “Even If It Breaks Your Heart” was all over country radio? Tickets are $45 to $65. Spotlight 29 Casino, 46200 Harrison Place, Coachella; 760-775-5566; www.spotlight29.com.

The Morongo Casino Resort Spa is offering a couple of worthy events—on the same night! At 9 p.m., Friday, March 11, .38 Special will be performing. The band used to include Donnie Van Zant, who is the middle brother of the late Ronnie Van Zant, and Johnny Van Zant of Lynyrd Skynyrd. Sadly, inner-ear issues forced him into retirement. Tickets are $30 to $40. If you love the ’80s, you’ll want to be in Cabazon at 11 p.m., Friday, March 11, because the Spazmatics (upper right) will be performing. The ’80s tribute band is a lot of fun to watch. Tickets are $10. Morongo Casino Resort Spa, 49500 Seminole Drive, Cabazon; 800-252-4499; www.morongocasinoresort.com.

As always, Pappy and Harriet’s is hosting some must-see events. At 9 p.m., Tuesday, March 8, Shannon and the Clams will be returning to Pappy’s. The band performed a fantastic show at The Hood Bar and Pizza last month; if you missed that, here’s another chance to see ’em. Tickets are $15. At 8 p.m., Saturday, March 19, get ready for some laughs and great music, because The Evangenitals will be back! Admission is free. Here’s another welcome return performance: At 9 p.m., Tuesday, March 22, The Melvins (below) will take the stage. It seems the Melvins are making a regular thing out of playing at Pappy’s; the band first played there in the summer of 2013, and Buzz Osbourne came through Pappy’s for a solo performance in 2014. Tickets are $18. Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace, 53688 Pioneertown Road, Pioneertown; 760-365-5956; www.pappyandharriets.com.

The Date Shed has one event on the March calendar: At 9 p.m., Friday, March 25, Seedless will be performing. Seedless is a rock/reggae band out of Orange County that has shared the stage with Sublime With Rome, The Dirty Heads and others. Tickets are $13 to $17. The Date Shed, 50725 Monroe St., Indio; 760-775-6699; www.dateshedmusic.com.

Published in Previews

Charlie Overbey has had a lot of musical irons in the figurative fire.

He was the frontman of the cowpunk band Custom Made Scare before he set out on his own with The Valentine Killers. He’s since reinvented himself with his new band the Broken Arrows—which he’ll be bringing to Pappy and Harriet’s on Valentine’s Day, when the band will open for The Supersuckers.

During a recent phone interview from Los Angeles, he discussed the recent EP by Charlie Overbey and the Broken Arrows, The California Kid.

“The theme of the record reflected a strange time in my life,” Overbey said. “I was going through a lot of heavy shit. My father had just passed away; I had just gotten sober, and I was into my first year of that. I was going through a divorce and all kinds of other craziness. I wanted to make a heavy and depressing kind of record, and I went in to start doing it. The first day we started tracking, I figured that I just didn’t feel right about it and turned it around to make an album that was upbeat and still personal.

“I went into it putting everything out there, and some of the songs are pretty deep and personal, and some are about my youth. I try to write from a place of reality and stuff that’s going to make people think and feel rather than a place of, ‘Hey, let’s party!’”

The California Kid has a deep honky-tonk and ’70s country feel. It’s quite different from what Overbey has done in the past with Custom Made Scare and the Valentine Killers. The songs have pedal-steel guitar and a California country sound. Back in December, Overbey played The Hood Bar and Pizza, opening for Wayne “The Train” Hancock; he fit right in.

“It’s absolutely different. I would say it’s a very heavy, rootsy kind of record for me,” Overbey said. “My influences are vast, from rock to punk to singer-songwriter kind of stuff. I like it all; a good song is a good song.

“With this record, I went deep back into things I grew up hearing. As I get older, I find myself realizing that the Johnny Cash and stuff my old man listened to had a lot of influence on me. The stuff in the ’70s like the Allman Brothers, Jackson Browne and all kinds of good stuff like that, had massive influence on me that I never realized I was there. I always wrote these kinds of songs and kept them on the backburner and decided when I was old enough, I would maybe put some of these songs out. When I did The California Kid, I thought that maybe I was old enough now to make a record that’s not punk rock and not big guitar rock and still have some guitars and incorporate some pedal steel melodies. I just wanted to make a good EP—and it came out that way.”

Looking back at the fast-and-crazy cowpunk material he once wrote, Overbey doesn’t feel this is a massive departure.

“Custom Made Scare was basically cowpunk,” he said. “A lot of people said it was a mix between Hank Williams and cranked-up Ted Nugent, which was a bit weird but kind of does fit that. Not that I’m a huge Ted Nugent fan, but the guy wrote some great songs. … I think it’s all timing of what’s going on in your life and what you’re doing. As a writer, you grow and evolve, and you’re constantly changing and reinventing yourself.”

There are some fantastic guest appearances on The California Kid. Zander Schloss, of The Circle Jerks and the semi-local Sean and Zander, makes an appearance, as does Steve Soto of the Adolescents, and pedal-steel guitarist Jordan Shapiro. The late Lemmy Kilmister’s son, Paul Kilmister, produced some of the tracks, and Grammy-winning producer Ted Hutt did much of the mixing.

A new album is currently in the works, and Overbey said he will have Hutt produce the record with a different approach.

“I think it’s probably going to be a little more raw,” Overbey said. “We’re going to track this new record live and go for a real live vibe. It’s going to be a bit more guitar-heavy and not so slick. The California Kid was done with basic live tracks and overdubs. When you do it that way, it turns out to be more slick and produced-sounding than a live rock band. … When the band plays live, it’s great. If you listen to the EP, and you see the band live, the vibe is a lot different. The EP sounds more like a slick kind of ’70s album to where if you see (the songs performed) live, it’s a far different animal. … The thing I’m most excited about is giving a lot of the creative process up to Ted, and going with what Ted really thinks is best for the record.”

Overbey is no stranger to playing with The Supersuckers. In fact, he’s one of frontman Eddie Spaghetti’s closest friends in the industry.

“We’re really excited about these dates,” he said. “The new Supersuckers record is awesome, and they’ve come back to doing another country record. I love the Supersuckers country stuff as much as I love their rock stuff. I’m really looking forward to seeing the Supersuckers do the country and rock thing, and I think it’s a perfect mix.”

Last year, Eddie Spaghetti was diagnosed with Stage 3 oropharynx cancer, but has gone into remission after surgery and radiation treatments.

“I think cancer is always a pretty grim situation. He is in great spirits and in good shape, and all of his surgeries went well,” Overbey said of Eddie Spaghetti. “I think he’s going to come out of this thing on top of it. It’s a tough thing when you have a friend who gets sick, and your hopes are always high, but I think the odds of Eddie staying on top of making rock records for a long time are very high in his favor.”

Charlie Overbey and the Broken Arrows will perform with The Supersuckers at 8:30 p.m., Sunday, Feb. 14, at Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace, 53688 Pioneertown Road, in Pioneertown. Tickets are $20. For tickets or more information, call 760-365-5956, or visit www.pappyandharriets.com.

Published in Previews