Last updateWed, 27 Sep 2017 1pm

Local band Dali’s Llama is celebrating 25 years of existence—and the members are celebrating in a big way.

The group is playing a Silver Anniversary Show on Friday, March 9, at The Hood Bar and Pizza in Palm Desert. The Hellions, Decon, Sean Wheeler (performing as Zezo Zece Zadfraq and the Dune Buggy Attack Battalion) and Mario Lalli (of Fatso Jetson) with the Rubber Snake Charmers will all take the stage.

When frontman Zach Huskey showed up to our meeting, he explained that he came alone because his wife, Dali’s Llama bassist Erica Huskey, was out of town handling family business, while drummer Craig Brown had a “hot date.”

The band recently parted ways with guitarist Joseph Wangler, and brought back guitarist Joe Dillon. I asked Huskey whether the band has ever gone through any painful transitions as members have come and gone.

“Painful transitions? None!” Huskey said with a laugh. “The core of the band is me and Erica. We try to just get people who play well, and people who we’re friends with, because it’s no fun to be in a band with someone you can’t get along with, no matter how good of a player they might be. I always enjoy playing with Joe Dillon, and he’s been in and out of the band for at least 10 years. He’s always fun, because I’ve known him for 36 years. We’re friends, and we have all our inside jokes and can talk about people who are no longer here. He’s also a really underrated guitar player and songwriter, as well as a lead vocalist.”

Dali’s Llama last year released a three-song EP, which headed in a more bluesy direction—a bit of a departure from the band’s regular desert-rock sound.

“We recorded most of that at Mikael Jacobson’s studio here in the desert,” Huskey said. “One of the songs, ‘Bacteria,’ the acoustic one, I did it at Scott Reeder’s place. That one was a little delicate, because it was all about microphone placement. That was done in one take. The other ones just kinda had a groove, and I wanted to get a little more of a Zeppelin groove going.”

Huskey said Dali’s Llama has deep personal connections to all the bands playing at the show.

“Those are people who when I was 13 or 14 years old, I was in bands with,” he said. “We got Herb (Lienau) and Decon; Mario (Lalli); Sean Wheeler, who I was in a band with back in 1982; and we got The Hellions, because they’re the “new” old friends, even though they’ve been around for a while.

“The Hellions are kind of the slowest songwriters in the world,” he added with a laugh. “Whatever their process is, it either has to fit them right or something. I don’t know.”

In the years before Dali’s Llama, Huskey said, he played in several bands that came and went.

“I was playing in a band with Sean back in the later years that was ’60s garage stuff, and I was really into that—original, but really influenced by the old ’60s stuff,” he said. “It all fit, because the scene was just a bunch of dysfunctional, pissed-off kids doing it ourselves. Mario did bands like Across the River, which led to more of a metal side, especially in songs like ‘N.O.’ that people go all over the Internet to find. … We all played in different bands, and I was trying to find my songwriting and get that after playing with Sean for a couple of years. Everybody was also trying to figure out their vocal range and how they should sing until it came naturally.”

There have been periods when Dali’s Llama has been inactive.

“We have done little breaks,” he said. “We have two boys. One is 20, and one is 16. I did three solo acoustic albums for a while. But we would take the kids when they were really little off to Phoenix to play. I’d also do the Phoenix folk festival every year, and songwriting things where they’d have me show people how to write songs. When Erica was ready again, and the kids were old enough to have a baby sitter who was a family member, we’d do another project or start the band back up.”

While Huskey spoke proudly about the desert music scene, he mentioned there’s one thing he despises: battle-of-the-bands competitions.

“I fucking hate those things. I hated them then, and I hate them now. You want to criticize me as a songwriter? Especially now? Fuck you!” he said. “Look at the panels of those things. No, ain’t gonna happen. Even when I was a kid, I learned you have to have that sort of ‘Fuck you!’ attitude in order to protect yourself and develop on your own. I don’t want criticism. OK, maybe I’ll take it from my wife or another band member, but even from another band? I don’t want to hear it. There’s constructive criticism, too, but I’ve never been good with either one. Believe in yourself. So a band had a better performance and gets a trophy? They even had that shit back when we were kids. We always stayed clear of those as kids. We were out in the desert playing with T.S.O.L., so fuck you. You could be going in the right direction, and someone’s words might be, ‘You can’t sing.’ Well, maybe your voice is unique, and just because this person didn’t like it, or four people sitting at a table in agreement didn’t like it, fuck them. Most of the backyard bands in the scene today like Panzram, Terror Cult, or Facelift—they don’t care what anyone thinks about them. That’s the similarity to how it was back then.”

Huskey also said he wished his wife and band mate, Erica, got the credit she deserves.

“Name another woman who has been here for 25 years playing in a band,” he said. “She’s a solid bass-player. There was a time when we were recording Raw Is Real, and we found out she had breast cancer. We recorded the basic tracks of that album one day before she went in for surgery, having a full mastectomy and hysterectomy, and then she continued with radiation and chemotherapy while we recorded that fucking album. That chick is badass! The only equivalent is a guy saying, ‘We were there for a couple days, and then the next day, I went and had to have my nuts cut off.’ She’s really something.”

Zach and Erica Huskey decided not to take part in the recent documentary Desert Age, in part due to their feelings about drug use.

“I had a drinking problem and stopped when I was 24. When we moved back to the desert, we were clean. We had already been through that shit. There’s not anything exciting about meth anymore,” Zach said. “By the time we started this band, that wasn’t an option—it was about music. I don’t like the whole feel of, ‘Drugs and alcohol go hand and in hand with music.’ That’s a bunch of bullshit, because they don’t. Sean and I had a talk about that when he was getting clean years ago, for the last time, and I told him, ‘You have to get that out of your head,’ because we grew up thinking that—you can go, drink, get fucked up and play music. Whether it’s weed, frying on meth, drinking or thinking we’re Keith Richards and looking cool—you grow up with that mentality that it goes together. No, it doesn’t go together.”

Dali’s Llama will perform with The Hellions, Sean Wheeler, Mario Lalli and the Rubber Snake Charmers, and Decon at 9 p.m., Friday, March 9, at The Hood Bar and Pizza, 74360 Highway 111, in Palm Desert. Admission is $5. For more information tickets, visit the event’s Facebook page.

Published in Previews

Traffic is increasing on Highway 111. Pumpkin spice lattes (ew!) are here. Yep … fall has arrived, and that means season is here, too—and October has plenty of events great for locals, snowbirds and tourists.

The McCallum Theatre is reopening for the season—and it is opening with a bang. The first event of the McCallum’s season, at 8 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 7, features comedian/actor Bill Murray performing with cellist Jan Vogler, violinist Mira Wang and pianist Vanessa Perez. This collaboration will meld Bill Murray’s love for classical music with the world of literature. Tickets are $57 to $107. At noon, Sunday, Oct. 22, the McCallum will be holding its Sixth Annual Family Fun Day. The event will feature Erth’s Dinosaur Zoo Live. Tickets are $10 to $30. At 8 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 28, get in the spirit (no pun intended) with Dia de Los Muertos Live. The Day of the Dead celebration will feature the Grammy Award-winning Latin band La Santa Cecilia; the Latin tribute to Morrissey and the Smiths known as Mexrrissey; and the Grammy-nominated Mariachi Flor de Toloache. Tickets are $27 to $67. McCallum Theatre, 73000 Fred Waring Drive, Palm Desert; 760-340-2787;

Fantasy Springs Resort Casino has a very busy month. At 8 p.m., Friday, Oct. 6, get ready to get physical, because Olivia Newton-John will be stopping by. The Grease star is still in high demand and just released a new album, Liv On, with Beth Nielsen Chapman and Amy Sky. Tickets are $39 to $69. At 8 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 7, it’ll be a double bill when The Isley Brothers and The Commodores perform. I’ve seen the Commodores perform before, and I can say this: The group puts on a show that you will never forget. Tickets are $39 to $79. At 8 p.m., Friday, Oct. 20, Fleetwood Mac members Lindsey Buckingham and Christine McVie will take the stage. It appears Fleetwood Mac will be going on a farewell tour in 2018. That’s great … but I don’t believe it will be a “farewell” by any means. Tickets are $49 to $99. Fantasy Springs Resort Casino, 84245 Indio Springs Parkway, Indio; 760-342-5000;

Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa has a packed October that includes two sold-out Van Morrison shows, so consider these other great events. At 9 p.m., Friday, Oct. 20, country music singer and songwriter Randy Houser will be performing. He’s known for penning the hit country song “Honky Tonk Badonkadonk” with Jamey Johnson, which was recorded by Trace Adkins. He’s also had success with his song “Boots On.” Tickets are $45 to $65. At 8 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 26, blues guitarist Joe Bonamassa (upper right) will be in concert. Bonamassa is on the list of modern greats in the blues world, and he’s performed with Eric Clapton, Stephen Stills, Buddy Guy and many others. He was opening shows for BB King before he was 18. Tickets are $89 to $149. At 8 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 28, renowned crooner Johnny Mathis will be stopping by. After 65 years in the industry, Mathis is Columbia Records’ longest-signed artist. He’s never had a slump and has continued to perform sold-out shows all over the world. However, this show hadn’t sold out as of our press time, so get your tickets quick! They’re $90 to $120. The Show at Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa, 32250 Bob Hope Drive, Rancho Mirage; 888-999-1995;

Spotlight 29 has some compelling Saturday events in October. At 8 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 14, Latin-music star Espinoza Paz will be performing. In Mexico, they call him “the people’s singer-songwriter.” He’s one of the most popular performers there, and if you’re a Latin-music fan, this is one you won’t want to miss. Tickets are $45 to $65. At 8 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 28, controversial comedian Andrew Dice Clay will do his act. The Diceman is known for his extremely raunchy comedy, and he smokes while offending the masses. Women’s groups have put him on their hit lists, and he’s been banned by many television networks. Warning: His comedy is not for the faint at heart. Clay also believes that Donald Trump stole his comedy routine and used his persona during his presidential campaign. Tickets are $30 to $50. Spotlight 29 Casino, 46200 Harrison Place, Coachella; 760-775-5566;

Morongo Casino Resort Spa has a busy October—but it seems most of the shows are already sold out. However, at noon, Saturday, Oct. 7, you can get out your lederhosen for Oktoberfest. There will be authentic Bavarian brews and brats, as well as some fun and games. Tickets are $20 to $30. Morongo Casino Resort Spa, 49500 Seminole Drive, Cabazon; 800-252-4499;

Stop me if I am repeating myself: Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace has a busy October … but some of the shows have already sold out. However, as of this writing, there were still tickets left for some great events. At 7 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 7, jazz organist/pianist and gospel musician Cory Henry and the Funk Apostles will be performing. He’s a two-time Grammy Award winner, and he played the Apollo Theater when he was just 6 years old. His 2016 album The Revival reached No. 5 on the Billboard gospel chart. Tickets are $20. At 7 p.m., Friday, Oct. 20, indie-supergroup The Skiffle Players (below) will visit. This band includes Cass McCombs and members of both Beachwood Sparks and Circles Around the Sun. This is a fantastic-sounding folk project that will be perfect for a night at Pappy’s. Tickets are $15 to $20. At 7 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 28, the Los Angeles string-band Moonsville Collective will play. Plan on hearing a lot of harmonies, mandolin, banjos and upright bass. Tickets are $15. Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace, 53688 Pioneertown Road, Pioneertown; 760-365-5956;

Now, for some shameless self-promotion: The Hood Bar and Pizza is where you will want to be at 9 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 7, for CV Independent Presents Sinner Sinners, Throw the Goat and Dali’s Llama. Sinner Sinners is a fantastic punk-rock band from Los Angeles—but its founders, Steve and Sam Thill, are from Paris, France. They’ve collaborated and toured with Eagles of Death Metal, and recently recorded a new album, Optimism Disorder, at Rancho de la Luna in Joshua Tree. Admission is free. The Hood Bar and Pizza, 74360 Highway 111, Palm Desert; 760-636-5220;

The Purple Room Palm Springs is back in action. Just so you know, at 7 p.m. every Sunday, owner Michael Holmes performs The Judy Show, a comedy-based drag show devoted to Judy Garland. Tickets are $25 to $30. At 8 p.m., Friday, Oct. 6, Kal David and Lori Bono and the Real Deal will take the stage. Kal David has had an impressive career; the native Chicagoan and his wife are residents of the desert and perform locally often. Tickets are $25 to $30. At 8 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 28, Iris Williams will be performing a benefit show for the Love and Love Tennis Foundation. The Welsh cabaret-style singer is well-known for her performance of the song “He Was Beautiful,” and she had her own television series on the BBC. Tickets are $35 to $40. Michael Holmes’ Purple Room, 1900 E. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs; 760-322-4422;

Published in Previews

Dali’s Llama put out one of the best local albums of 2016: Dying in the Sun was true to the desert-rock/stoner-rock scene. Playing lead guitar for Dali’s Llama is Joe Wangler; he’s an attorney by day, and has a side project known as Bavaria. For more information on Dali’s Llama, visit Wangler was kind enough to answer The Lucky 13.

What was the first concert you attended?

My first real legit show was No Use for a Name in November 2000.

What was the first album you owned?

Some Elvis tape. Not really a fan, but Elvis is probably a pretty good place to start with rock ’n’ roll.

What bands are you listening to right now?

Primus, Bolt Thrower, Acid Witch, Grand Belial’s Key, Black Pussy, The Obsessed, Anal Cunt, and Sleater-Kinney.

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

I’ve always felt Tool is a pretty shitty band. Hated them in the ’90s; hate them now. That opinion doesn’t seem to be too popular.

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

Too many. I’ll just say it’s a tie between Kyuss and Man is the Bastard, since those are the biggest long-shots that are still technically possible, I think.

What’s your favorite musical guilty pleasure?

Shitty old ’90s trip-hop. Oh, and Mortician.

What’s your favorite music venue?

The Hood Bar and Pizza. That place did a lot for the hometown scene; the sound is good; and they are good to the bands.

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

“Face the consequence alone with honour, valour, pride!” ,Bolt Thrower, “… For Victory.”

What band or artist changed your life? How?

Black Sabbath. The first five records pretty much decided how and why I play music.

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

I’d ask Pike for tips on how to stay sober and still melt faces night after night, assuming he’s still on the wagon.

What song would you like played at your funeral?

Mozart’s “Requiem.” I wanna go out as a total drama queen.

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

Black Sabbath, Volume 4.

What song should everyone listen to right now?

Since Zach (Huskey) already plugged Dali’s Llama in his Lucky 13, I’ll plug my new project: “Bavaria” by Bavaria. Do drugs while you listen!

Published in The Lucky 13

During the month of December, there are more than enough events to keep you entertained—whether you’re in the Christmas spirit or not.

The McCallum Theatre has a great list of Christmas-themed events. At 7 p.m., Monday, Dec. 5, enjoy a special Christmas presentation from the Vienna Boys Choir. One of the best known boys’ choirs in the world, the group’s various incarnations perform about 300 concerts a year. Fun fact: The boys in the choir are around the ages of 10 to 14. Tickets are $37 to $77. Locals will take the stage at 8 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 10, in a show being assembled by Best of Coachella Valley radio personality Jim “Fitz” Fitzgerald of CV 104.3 called “A CV Christmas.” The show will feature Kal David and Lauri Bono, Ronnie King, Brightener, John Stanley King and others. Tickets are $27 to $67. At 8 p.m., Friday, Dec. 16, and Saturday, Dec. 17, Johnny Mathis will be bringing his 60th anniversary Christmas tour to the McCallum. You can’t go wrong with Johnny, especially when he’s singing Christmas tunes. Tickets are $67 to $137. McCallum Theatre, 73000 Fred Waring Drive, Palm Desert; 760-340-2787;

Fantasy Springs Resort Casino has some good stuff onstage in December. At 8 p.m., Friday, Dec. 2, Celtic Woman will be performing a Christmas-themed show as part of the “Home for Christmas: The Symphony Tour.” Celtic Woman has made a name for itself by performing Celtic music that’s mixed with folk and new-age sounds. The group’s Christmas repertoire is very popular and has added to Celtic Woman’s success. Tickets are $49 to $89. If you aren’t in the Christmas music mood … at 8 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 3, there will be a performance by ARW (Anderson, Rabin and Wakeman). These three members of YES hadn’t performed together in 25 years, so this is one tour you’ll want to catch if you’re a rock music fan. Rick Wakeman made the Moog what it is today in rock music, and Trevor Rabin’s guitar-playing is legendary in prog rock. Tickets are $39 to $79. At 8 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 10, the Goo Goo Dolls will be returning to the Coachella Valley. I’ve mentioned how annoying it was hearing the song “Iris” over and over during my junior and senior years of high school … and my high school even made the song part of my prom. Ugh! Tickets are $49 to $79. Fantasy Springs Resort Casino, 84245 Indio Springs Parkway, Indio; 800-827-2946;

The Show at Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa has a couple of events worth mentioning. At 9 p.m., Friday, Dec. 9, Penn and Teller will be stopping by. Originally known for magic shows that included comedy, the duo stepped it up for a television show on Showtime called Bullshit!, which featured the duo taking on a variety of subjects, from Sept. 11 conspiracy theories to bottled water and beyond. Tickets are $45 to $65. Looking for something to do on New Year’s Eve? At 10:30 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 31, bring in 2017 with Huey Lewis and the News. Huey is a big part of one of my more tortured childhood Christmas memories: I once asked for a Metallica album … and received his Sports album instead. Boo, Huey! Boo! Tickets are $105 to $125. The Show at Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa, 32250 Bob Hope Drive, Rancho Mirage; 888-999-1995;

Spotlight 29 has a couple of intriguing December offerings. At 8 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 3, former Supertramp vocalist and songwriter Roger Hodgson will be performing. He wrote most of Supertramp’s most well-known hits, which have sold more than 60 million records, so this should be a pretty good show. Tickets are $45 to $65. At 7 p.m., Friday, Dec. 91 and 7 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 10; and 1 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 11, Spotlight 29 will be hosting its Winter Gathering Pow Wow. This Native American custom includes dancing, singing, visiting and the renewing of old friendships. This event is free and family friendly.Spotlight 29 Casino, 46200 Harrison Place, Coachella;

After an epic summer, Morongo Casino Resort Spa’s entertainment schedule has slowed down just a bit—but there are a couple of great December shows worth mentioning. At 8 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 3, Morongo will be opening the Drum Room, a new bar and lounge on the 26th floor of the hotel. The grand opening will feature some great cocktails and appetizers in the venue, which has great leather seating and huge windows offering stunning views of the desert. At 9 p.m., Friday, Dec. 9, there will be a performance by the Charlie Daniels Band. If you’ve never seen the Charlie Daniels Band, trust me: Mr. Daniels puts on one hell of a show, even though he’s 80 years old and has survived prostate cancer—with a pacemaker installed in his chest to boot. He was a highlight of Stagecoach in 2013. Given this is Christmas, you can expect some Christmas tunes mixed into his Southern-rock set. Tickets are $25 to $35. Morongo Casino Resort Spa, 49500 Seminole Drive, Cabazon; 800-252-4499;

Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace has some events in December you shan’t miss. At 9 p.m., Friday, Dec. 9, Hanni El Khatib (upper right) will be returning to Pappy’s after a stunning sold-out show earlier this year. Hanni El Khatib denied being a blues man when I interviewed him last year, but blues and hard rock are definitely part of his sound. This show is a must-see. Tickets are $15 to $20. At 8:30 p.m., Thursday, Dec. 22, it’s locals’ night when The BrosQuitos and Yip Yops play Pappy and Harriet’s. This is a much-deserved gig for both local bands—groups with bright futures ahead of them. Admission is free. After the presents have been opened, and the holiday hangover has set in, get yourself to Pappy’s at 8 p.m., Monday, Dec. 26, for the Evangenitals. The Evangenitals is one of the best bands to see when you’re sad—because you’ll enjoy a lot of laughs at the no-holds-barred humor. Oh, and be sure to stay until the end when the band does its own personal rendition of Prince’s “Purple Rain.” Admission is blessedly free. Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace, 53688 Pioneertown Road, Pioneertown; 760-365-5956;

The Purple Room has a fine December schedule. At 8 p.m., Friday, Dec. 9,and Saturday, Dec. 10, the Kinsey Sicks will be bringing a holiday show, “Oy Vey in a Manger!” to the Purple Room. The Kinsey Sicks is known as “America’s Favorite Dragapella Beautyshop Quartet” and is named after the Kinsey scale—with six meaning “exclusively homosexual.” Formed in 1993 in San Francisco, the group has earned a reputation as one of the LGBT community’s most entertaining and hilarious groups. Tickets are $30 to $45. At 8 p.m., Friday, Dec. 16, the Martini Kings will be performing. Back in October, when I was at Pappy and Harriet’s for Paul McCartney’s show, I had the pleasure of meeting Anthony Marsico of the Martini Kings. He was once a sideman for Bob Dylan, and he told me some fascinating stories from those days. The Martini Kings have a sound that modernism fans will love—and the group should turn in a great Christmas show. Tickets are $25. Michael Holmes’ Purple Room, 1900 E. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs; 760-322-4422;

The Hood Bar and Pizza has announced a December show you’ll want to mark down on your calendar. At 8 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 10, Dali’s Llama will be performing, along with other great bands such as Supersonic Dragon Wagon; an old group including Zach Huskey of Dali’s Llama, Hot Beat Pussy Fiend; and Sleazy Cortez. Admission is free! The Hood Bar and Pizza, 74360 Highway 111, Palm Desert; 760-636-5220;

The Date Shed has one event in December worth mentioning. At 9 p.m., Friday, Dec. 2, there will be a performance by Too Short (below). During the ’90s, when the whole East Coast-West Coast rap thing was going full-force, one man worked with both 2Pac and the Notorious B.I.G.—and that was Too Short. While his lyrics are about pimping not being easy (Has it ever been easy?), and “bitch” is nothing but a word to him, he’s a legend of the genre. Tickets are $25. The Date Shed, 50725 Monroe Street, Indio; 760-775-6699;

Published in Previews

The kids are getting out of school. The temperatures are consistently reaching triple figures. There’s far less traffic in the valley. Yep, June is here—but that doesn’t mean things are going to be boring, because there are some amazing shows coming during the month.

You can always depend on Fantasy Springs Resort Casino to keep bringing in great entertainment during the summer. At 8 p.m., Friday, June 3, country music star Billy Currington will be stopping by. Considering the guy has nine No. 1 singles under his belt to go along with multiple Grammy nominations, you definitely don’t want to miss this one. Tickets are $39 to $79. At 8 p.m., Saturday, June 18, get ready for Madonna … the Mexican Madonna, that is. For more than 30 years, Yuri has stayed consistent, putting out 34 albums with a ton of hit singles. Expand your horizons, and go check her out! Tickets are $39 to $69. Fantasy Springs Resort Casino, 84245 Indio Springs Parkway, Indio; 760-342-5000;

Agua Caliente Casino Resort has a must-attend music event in June. It’s that time of the year when you need to get those dedications to your boo ready, because at 7 p.m., Saturday, June 4, it’s time for the Art Laboe Summer Love Jam. This year’s performers will be Thee Midnighters with Little Willie G, Deniece Williams, Malo, Amanda Perez and MC Magic. Tickets are $45 to $65. The Show at Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa, 32250 Bob Hope Drive, Rancho Mirage; 888-999-1995;

Morongo Casino Resort Spa is hosting some intriguing events—and one of them in particular is quite a big deal. At 9 p.m., Saturday, June 4, country superstars Lady Antebellum (right) will be stopping by. The group has won eight Grammy awards, four American Music Association awards and numerous varied country-music awards. Lady Antebellum has also been a headlining act at Stagecoach. Tickets are $100 to $200. At 9 p.m., Friday, June 24, a band from the late ’90s-early ’00s you may have forgotten all about, 3 Doors Down (below), will be stopping by. Who can forget that tour the group did with Creed after shortly arriving on the scene? Who can forget how many times that “Kryptonite” song played on the radio, ruining it for us all? I’d prefer to forget all about it, but if don’t want to forget, I won’t judge you for going. Tickets are $65 to $85. Morongo Casino Resort Spa, 49500 Seminole Drive, Cabazon; 800-252-4499;

Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace, per usual, has a fantastic slate of shows. At 9 p.m., Saturday, June 4, Nick Waterhouse will be coming back. The Los Angeles based singer/songwriter/producer is a purist regarding ’60s rock ’n’ roll and vintage music. It’s been two years since he released his last album, Holly, so hopefully he has something new in the works. Tickets are $15. At 9 p.m., Saturday, June 18, Los Angeles psychedelic rock group Mystic Braves will be appearing. The album Days of Yesteryear was one of my favorite albums of 2015. This group has been selling out venues across the country and is one of the hottest new bands you’ve probably never heard of. You definitely should go check them out; I promise you won’t be disappointed. Tickets are $15. Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace, 53688 Pioneertown Road, Pioneertown; 760-365-5956;

The Hood Bar and Pizza has some pretty good events coming up … wait, make that some awesome events. At 9 p.m., Saturday, June 18, desert-rock legends Dali’s Llama will be performing. I have a confession: I somehow had never seen the band perform until earlier this year. Well, I was missing out. If you’ve never seen Dali’s Llama, get your ass to The Hood, and show some hometown love. If you have seen them before, be sure to go anyway. Admission is free! Now, for the really big event … on Monday, June 20, get ready to rock harder than you ever have before, because The Adicts will be stopping by. Yes, The Adicts, the legendary British punk band! However, as of our press deadline, that’s all we know; we could find no more details beyond the date appearing on The Adicts’ tour schedule on Facebook. Stay tuned to The Hood’s Facebook page for more details, because this going to be awesome. The Hood Bar and Pizza, 74360 Highway 111, Palm Desert; 760-636-5220;

Published in Previews

Dali’s Llama formed in 1993—and went on to become one of the desert’s most legendary bands, defining the DIY business model along the way.

After 23 years and inclusion in the new desert-rock documentary Lo Sound Desert, Dali’s Llama is not slowing down. In fact, the band just released a new album, Dying in the Sun. During a recent interview in Palm Springs, Zach Huskey (lead vocals, guitar) and his wife, Erica Huskey (bass), talked about the new album’s title.

“We’re feeling a little older,” Zach Huskey explained. “I spend a lot of time out in the canyons and in Thousand Palms doing some Jeeping. That’s where I also do a lot of writing. It wouldn’t be a bad way to go, I guess. (There is) sort of a connection with the desert in our music and feeling comfortable there, versus being surrounded by people, work, kids and all that stuff. I thought that would be a great title. It’s desert rock, and we’re definitely in the middle of it.”

Dali’s Llama and its contemporaries created a music scene where there wasn’t one before—at least not a scene like the one we have now, with locals-friendly venues The Hood Bar and Pizza, The Date Shed, Pappy and Harriet’s and so on.

“People seem to have forgotten that,” Zach Huskey said. “There are still bands that are still doing the DIY thing. We started putting albums out in the early ’90s on our own label. The trouble is, you have to work hard to do it, and it can be a full-time thing. We’re a married couple and have devoted a lot of time to this, and I can understand why a lot of people don’t want to do it. It started out that way—the DIY thing—and that was the dream.”

Erica Huskey said DIY has its advantages.

“By doing it yourself, you have complete creative control,” she said. “The music is exactly the way you want it; the artwork is exactly the way you want it, so there’s definitely a trade-off.”

The much-anticipated Lo Sound Desert will premiere as part of the American Documentary Film Festival, with showings at 1 p.m., Friday, April 1, at the Cal State University San Bernardino’s Palm Desert Campus, and noon, Sunday, April 3, at the Camelot Theatres in Palm Springs. Erica Huskey said she admired Lo Sound Desert director Joerg Steineck.

“He’s spent the past 10 years doing it all himself, and all of his money and time,” she said. “It reflects the feel of the movie, because he understood what it was like for the bands. These bands were releasing stuff back in the ‘80s, and you had to do it yourself.”

One of the most talked-about aspects of the early desert-rock scene was the infamous “generator party.” However, Zach Huskey does not remember these parties all that fondly.

“The first generator party I remember ever playing was in 1984. I forget what band I was in at the time, but it was at a friend’s house in Bermuda Dunes, and everyone came out to the middle of the desert, and it was with T.S.O.L.,” he said. “After two songs, the wind really kicked up, and my amplifier blew up.

“Generator parties sucked. Yeah, sometimes they were cool, but a lot of times, they just sucked: knife fights, getting your car out of there. … It was cool if you were young and you wanted to drink beer. But it just fucking sucked—the wind was blowing; you couldn’t hear shit; and people were just going ape-shit. I played one once up at the Nude Bowl, and during the first fucking song, someone reached over and grabbed all the strings on my guitar and pulled them right off. I played the whole show drunk out of my mind and rolling in glass. It was like Lords of Dogtown meets Black Sabbath out in the middle of the desert.”

For the recording of Dying in the Sun, Dali’s Llama returned to the Sanctuary in Banning, owned by former Kyuss bassist Scott Reeder (where the Hellions also recently recorded an album). Zack Huskey said the experience was great, per usual.

“We’ve done five albums at the Sanctuary. We actually finished the album in the days,” he said. “When we first started recording albums, it would take a week. If you’re on the same page with the producer, have your shit down, and you map out everything, you can nail a good album pretty quick. Look at Nirvana’s Bleach album, recorded in a night. To me, that’s the best fucking Nirvana album.”

A lot of desert-rock musicians are gearheads when it comes to guitars, amplifiers, and effect pedals. When I asked if they were gearheads, Zach and Erica Huskey just laughed.

“I’ve had the same the head in my amp since 1990,” Zach Huskey said. “I think I’ve changed the tubes maybe twice. I play a $99 Epiphone SG guitar. In the studio, we’ll use effects, but onstage, it’s mostly volume. We joke with certain people, like Josh Heinz of Blasting Echo, because he has a million effects pedals. It seems like everyone has that these days, but Josh has 10 guitars and changes guitars every song. I’ve told him, ‘One guitar, dude! Just get a tuner!’ I grew up when I was smashing guitars and shit. I was from that Pete Townshend vibe where if the guitar is giving you shit, destroy it. The people will love it.”

Zach Huskey said the lineup of the band is stronger than it has been in the past, with Joe Wangler on guitar, Craig Brown on drums, and Joe Dillon on keyboards.

“I think this lineup is actually musically more talented,” he said. “I can do more things writing-wise, as opposed to writing to the musicians. … (With) this band, everyone is really good at what they do, so I’d say it’s musically the best lineup.”

For more information, visit

The ultra-heavy psych-rock music scene that is associated with our California desert took root in the mid-’80s. The music of bands like Fatso Jetson, Kyuss, Throw Rag and Unsound helped shape the budding underground local music scene; today, a slew of aspiring musicians are borrowing from punk, acid rock, grunge and metal-new sounds.

Today, type “stoner rock sub-genres” into your computer’s search engine, and a dozen varieties will come up. Black metal, doom, sludge, psych (combined with any other genre, i.e. psych-rock, psycho-billy, psycho-punk), fuzzrock, spacerock, grunge and old-school metal seem to have knocked speed metal and death metal off of the list … or were they perhaps selected by Mother Nature for extinction and rebirth?

The Mojave Desert has been a breeding ground for original hard rock and provides an environment that is ripe for exploring the darker, less-conventional forms of musical expression. In the ’90s, Zach and Erica Huskey’s band Dali’s Llama was one of the few “desert rock bands” that was all about the doom. Dali’s Llama’s sound was thick as pea soup, expressed through deep-droning, drop-tuned, fuzzy guitar riffs and fueled by thick, heavy rhythmic structures that warbled the mind.

Today, the desert is teeming with stoner-rock bands. But the high desert, only 25 miles away, has a very different vibe than the low dez. There are far more hippies and indie bands up there making feel-good music—some of it so sweet you can gag on it.

Then there’s Atala.

Atala reunites Rise of the Willing bassist John Chavarria (Sons of Serro, A’rk) and guitarist Kyle Stratton, and introduces drummer Jeff Tedtaotao (Forever Came Calling). The band formed in early 2013, when Stratton set out to create his own unique style of ultra-heavy desert rock while applying his “off-grid” lifestyle to the music, allowing it to flow from the source—the universal energy pool.

He didn’t want to overthink the music, nor did he want to focus on how heavy it was. He kept his testosterone in check and explored his instrument, dialed in his signature sound and began writing his ass off. Using his guitar, a couple of expression pedals and a wall of 100-watt amplifiers, he wrote Atala’s self-titled debut album and then enlisted the help of producer/bassist Scott Reeder, who carved out a name for himself with Kyuss, The Obsessed, Goatsnake, Nebula, Fireball Ministry and his current project, Sun and Sail Club.

Shaman’s Path of the Serpent will be Atala’s second record, and is slated for release in May 2016. The members left the desert and recorded at Cloud City Studio, this time working with Billy Anderson, who has produced records for Mr. Bungle, Sleep and The Melvins. Four new mind-bending tracks are saturated with wicked guitar riffs that are angular and disjointed, fueled by a thunderous rhythm section that moves and breathes together as one, while monotone vocals deliver lyrical contemplations of life after death. It’s an intoxicating super-sludge sound bath.

“Musically, we were drawn more to heavier influences, which evoked a darker side of our music,” Stratton said. “Lyrically, the album is about a path through death to a new awakening—which is dying spiritually to a rebirth that is free of fear.”

It seems Stratton truly was tapping into the universal energy pool.

“It’s interesting how I wrote an album about a shaman’s path through death to a new awakening, and then upon arrival home, I fell ill and had a near-death experience. Then my body was taken apart and put back together, and I am only now nearly healed. It’s crazy that I could accidentally manifest such an experience. I have to be careful with the power of the mind and its ability to create.”

Watch the band’s website ( and Facebook page ( about upcoming shows.

Read more from Robin Linn, including an expanded version of this story, at

Of all the Coachella Valley musicians who have walked The Lucky 13 gauntlet so far, Zach Huskey is the most mysterious. The Dali’s Llama vocalist/guitar-player told us his age was “40ish.” His day job? “Sorry, that’s classified.” Where does he live? “The desert.” Catch the man of mystery and his heavy-rock band mates at 9:30 p.m., this Saturday, March 9, for a “heavy night of music” at The Hood Bar and Pizza, 74360 Highway 111 in Palm Desert. Admission is free; the bill also includes the Whores of Tijuana and Lazy Cobra. For more information on the band—which is still celebrating the release of its new album, Autumn Woods—visit

What was the first concert you attended?

The Plasmatics.

What was the first album you owned?

Neil Young and Crazy Horse, Rust Never Sleeps.

What bands are you listening to right now?

Sleep, Down, Electric Wizard, The Sword, The Damned.

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

Rap and new country.

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

Jimi Hendrix or Black Sabbath, circa 1972.

What’s your favorite musical guilty pleasure?


What’s your favorite music venue?

The Double Down Saloon in Las Vegas.

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

“She's like heroin to me, she cannot miss a vein,” The Gun Club, “She’s Like Heroin to Me.”

What band or artist changed your life? How?

The Who’s Live at Leeds. Power and brains.

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

I'd ask Lemmy if I could have a blood sample.

What song would you like played at your funeral?

“Resolved” by Dali's Llama.

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

Machine Head, Deep Purple.

What song should everyone listen to right now?

"Bad Dreams" by Dali's Llama. (Scroll down to check out the video.)

Published in The Lucky 13