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Last updateWed, 27 Sep 2017 1pm

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The lineups as of this story’s deadline:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Published in Previews

If you’ve seen Gutter Candy perform recently, you may have noticed a new yet familiar face behind the drums: Dani Diggler, also a member of Sticky Doll, and the guitarist and drummer for Van Vincent. That’s not all: Diggler is also a solo artist. Catch him in action with Gutter Candy this Friday, July 13, at The Hood Bar and Pizza; and Friday, Aug. 3, at Gadi’s, in Yucca Valley. See him with Van Vincent on Friday, Aug. 10, at the Joshua Tree Saloon, in Joshua Tree. Diggler was kind enough to take the Lucky 13; here are his answers.

What was the first concert you attended?

Aerosmith, 1993, in Costa Mesa. Jackyl was the opening act. It was a great show, and I remember most of it.

What was the first album you owned?

Too far back to recall, but I believe it was a cassette tape given to me by my aunt: Draw the Line by Aerosmith. (Aerosmith was) also my first favorite band.

What bands are you listening to right now?

I’m always listening to Tool, Primus and The Doors.

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

Rap. It’s just not music at all.

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

Without a doubt, it would be The Doors. I can’t think of a show that could be more legendary than that.

What’s your favorite musical guilty pleasure?

Tori Amos. She’s amazing. Most people can’t believe I’m into her. Why not? She’s amazing!

What’s your favorite music venue?

I’d have to say the Greek Theatre (in Los Angeles). Great place to see a show.

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

“Death makes angels of us all, giving us wings where we had shoulders, smooth as ravens claws,” The Doors, “A Feast of Friends.”

What band or artist changed your life? How?

Again, The Doors.

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

Les Claypool: “How the hell do you do what you do on the bass so well?” Greatest bassist of all time. Period.

What song would you like played at your funeral?

Two songs: From a band I was in years ago Chili Cow, “... And the Story Begins,” and an original I wrote, currently unreleased, "Death My Friend."

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

Tool, Ænima.

What song should everyone listen to right now?

“Right in Two,” again by Tool. So accurate. (Scroll down to hear it.)

Published in The Lucky 13

There’s not much of a standup comedy scene in the Coachella Valley—but The Hood Bar and Pizza and aspiring local comedian Jacob Cantu are hoping to change that.

Cantu has often made people laugh during the Wednesday-night open-mic at The Hood—and management has taken notice. As a result, Cantu is now organizing a standup comedy night at The Hood every other Sunday.

“I always had it in the back of my mind to do it, but I just didn’t have the balls to do it,” Cantu said during a recent interview. “My grandpa died in 2015, and I was taking care of him. He had Alzheimer’s, and I took care of him for about five years. I was depressed, and my therapist told me, ‘You know, you’re funny here when you tell me about sad stuff; you should try standup comedy.’ I told my wife about it, and my wife found an ad for an open-mic—and I just did it. I sucked, but I got hooked and got a couple of laughs.”

He’s now been performing for almost three years. At a recent open-mic night, he told a humorous tale about a woman in yoga pants chiding him and ruining his day because he was purchasing Doritos.

“I still don’t know how to be myself when I’m onstage yet,” Cantu said. “That bit at open-mic with the Doritos was probably the most comfortable I’ve felt onstage ever. I’ve consciously been trying to do stuff like that.”

Cantu has long had standup comedy aspirations, and said he was inspired by greats including George Carlin and—before his, uh, recent troubles—Bill Cosby.

“I had Bill Cosby’s Himself on tape, and I just watched it over and over and over again,” Cantu said. “When George Carlin was putting out an HBO special every year, I was living in Mexico. My dad made sure he had DirecTV as soon as it came out and that we had HBO. I watched any special that would come on—stuff like Chris Rock when he did Bring the Pain, and Dave Chappelle. It was before the internet.

“I did a class with this guy who had the only standup open-mic (in the valley) at Caliente Tropics. I knew it was a hustle, but I supported him, because I didn’t want them to stop the open-mic. I paid him $50. It wasn’t like I was being told anything I didn’t know already. I listen to a lot of podcasts, and one thing I learned from them is to go up there and be yourself. The jokes come later. The first part is learning how to be yourself onstage.”

Cantu said The Hood’s open-mic night has been a great place to learn.

“The Hood is a tough room, especially on Wednesday,” he said. “People want to go see music, and the thing about music at a bar is that music is in the background. When you (perform) standup, you have to get people’s attention. I’m not a dirty comic; I don’t cuss, and I walk on the borderline talking about death a lot. It’s hard for me to get a bar’s attention on a Wednesday night—but it’s also made me better. I let them listen to themselves be assholes. If you’re quiet for a second, the talking of the people watching you will shut everyone up, and I’ve learned to do that at The Hood, which has been a good thing.

“One of my main motivators is having a regular comedy show there. I also want to have a comedy open-mic somewhere so people can try it. It’s going to be raw; it’s going to be a little rough, and there are going to be people who are funny—or who think they are funny. But at least you know what you’re getting into, and that’s how you get better.”

Cantu said putting together the first show, which took place June 10, was personally challenging.

“Driving over here to meet you, I was worried, because I thought I was going to get ambushed or something. That’s what makes you a standup comedian,” he said. “Nigel (Dettelbach, the promoter/booker at The Hood) is used to dealing with confident people. He’s used to dealing with people with self-esteem. Nigel wasn’t so sure, and it came together on the fly. I put together the show real quick, and comedians came down from Los Angeles.

“There’s no comedy scene here, and when I started doing this, I had nowhere to go. I’m 35, and I know where I am in life. I’m not going to be on television. The highlight of my life would be to run a show here in the Coachella Valley and get paid for it—or getting a famous person who thinks I’m funny to write jokes for them. Why not here? Standup gives you an outlet. You can’t play an instrument, but you can talk on a microphone.”

On top of the shows at The Hood, Cantu is working with Plan B Live Entertainment and Cocktails in Thousand Palms on a local-comedy night.

“My wife is pretty mad at me, because I’m dedicating a lot of time to this, but I think it’s important,” Cantu said. “Someone has to start this, and I know there are other standups in the valley, but it takes a lot of work to put shows together. … (It would be nice) if I had someone to help me, because I don’t want to get divorced anytime soon.”

Published in Comedy

If the desert-rock gods of Kyuss had a baby with the members of the band Primus … you’d get Sleazy Cortez.

The local outfit that features bassist Derek Timmons, guitarist Nick Hales and drummer Damian Garcia has played a long list of shows over the past year—and released the album Trailer Trash Blues late in 2017.

But Sleazy Cortez actually goes back some years … eight years, to be exact, when Timmons was part of Robotic Humans with Lalo Beat, and a jam session with Nick Hales indirectly led to the creation of Sleazy Cortez.

“We’ve existed since 2010, although not consecutively,” Derek Timmons said during an interview on the patio of The Hood Bar and Pizza. “There are some big gaps where we were busy with other bands, but we would still jam. That was back in the days when we had Lalo Beats on drums. Lalo and I were in Robotic Humans at the time, and we started jamming, and we had a gig come up at the Red Barn, and we were unable to do it as Robotic Humans. We were like, ‘Let’s just do it as Sleazy Cortez, even though we don’t have any songs.’ We went there and made it up on the spot, and there were a bunch of people groovin’ and loving the songs. We decided to go ahead and put some songs together.”

The songs on Trailer Trash Blues have existed for years. Former drummer Lalo Beats even came back to help finish and style them.

“A lot of those songs have existed since I was living in Indiana years and years ago—not exactly as they are now, but mostly fully formed,” Timmons said.

Drummer Damian Garcia was praised by Hales and Timmons during the interview as bringing more groove and funk to the band—elements which have helped them stand out in the local music scene.

“It was very complicated for me to switch between Lalo’s drums and mine. … He was more metal, and that was what he was doing in Robotic Humans,” Garcia said. “When I heard this, I was obviously going to try to imitate his style, given it was already there, but I threw some of my own style into it. The way I emphasize that is to add accents on the songs and bring them out more. I added more feeling and more groove to them.”

The album actually sat collecting dust for a long period of time.

“It was recorded back during the fall of 2015,” Hales said. “From the time we started, it took about five years to actually come from, ‘Hey, we played this random-ass show with no fucking songs,’ to a whole full-length EP.”

Timmons said the delay was due, in part, to Sleazy Cortez being put on the backburner.

“It was everyone’s part-time thing for a while,” Timmons said. “We had that whole album already done, and then didn’t play for a year before we got back together and got it together the way that it finally came together. Every song except ‘Backwoods Woman’ was already like it was for the album. But we would play ‘Bud the C.H.U.D.’ however we wanted. We would be like, ‘We should at least determine how long we’re going to play that one,’ instead of 15 minutes one time, and seven minutes the next time.”

Timmons was frustrated—amusingly so—the day he received their initial shipment of CDs late last year after he spotted a defect in the artwork on the cover. He declared that as long as they and others had been waiting for the album, they were willing to wait longer for it to be perfect.

“The cover is still not perfect, though,” he said. “We’ll probably do another pressing of it, given it bothers me when shit isn’t right. It’s good now, but later, it’ll be better.”

Songs like “Mountain Man”—about a guy who owns a marijuana farm who shoots trespassers—as well as “Beat Up Your Mom” make some people raise their eyebrows.

“We don’t advocate anything we sing about,” Timmons said. “We like to sing about picking up high school girls from the bowling alley, killing people trespassing on a drug farm, and backwoods prostitutes. It’s more fun to sing about them than get involved in any of those things in real life. People can do whatever they want with our music, but I feel I’m not responsible, even if I said to do it.”

Sleazy Cortez will perform with Throw the Goat and Bossfight at 9 p.m., Friday, June 1, at The Hood Bar and Pizza, 74360 Highway 111, in Palm Desert. Admission is free. For more information on Sleazy Cortez, visit sleazycortez.bandcamp.com.

Published in Previews

Last year, a group of teenagers from La Quinta High School became the talk of the local music scene thanks to their unique brand of instrumental music.

The group known as Instigator participated in CV Weekly’s Battle of the Bands competition, opened for Mondo Generator at The Date Shed, and enjoyed some gigs at The Hood Bar and Pizza. Now the band has a recording—Built to Defy, produced by Throw the Goat guitarist Brian “Puke” Parnell, coming on Friday, May 25. The group will celebrate with a show at The Hood that evening.

I asked Parnell why he wanted to record Instigator.

“When Throw the Goat played with Instigator last year at The Date Shed, and we were both opening for Mondo Generator, I was really blown away by them,” said Parnell. “I was talking to the guys after the show and talking to their parents. I asked them if they had any recordings, and they didn’t. It was something I definitely wanted to do for them, because I wanted to make sure that it sounded right. I knew how to capture the sound already at that point by ear.”

When I first saw the band last year, I loved the fact it was entirely instrumental—despite criticism from the Battle of the Bands judges’ table via House of Broken Promises and Unida guitarist Arthur Seay, who didn’t like the lack of lyrics. Seay will be glad to learn the band has now begun to incorporate lyrics—and the group sounds even better.

During a recent interview with the band members in La Quinta, they said they were embracing the vocals.

“It helps to broaden the dynamic of the entire band, especially with how you have to get a message to your listeners,” said lead guitarist and vocalist Mark Wadlund.

The members’ individual lists of influences make for a strange mix when put together. For starters, all of the members agree that drummer Joe Boomer’s punk and hip-hop influences are a big part of their music.

“They ruined me,” drummer Joe Boomer said about his bandmates with a laugh. “I was on track to being a normal drummer. It was cool, though, because I never felt challenged by school band or marching band, because there’s a lack of creativity. They give you music and expect you to play it. With these guys, I didn’t know how to do what they were doing, so I latched myself onto them and started to learn.”

Rhythm guitarist Jaxson Fischer is influenced by psychedelic rock and blues.

“We’re all individually inspired by different tastes and things, and we incorporate that personally into the way we play,” said Fischer. “Joe is the only person I know who can combine death metal and hip-hop into a song through his drumming. It just works.”

Like most bands, Instigator had problems gaining credibility at first.

“I think we struggled with not being taken seriously for a while,” Boomer said. “I feel like we had to fight for any amount of respect we’ve earned. We had little issues everywhere. At the time, it felt like major setbacks. We had a security guard at a venue not let us into our own show. I think we got to the point where we have a little more respect now—or we just don’t care. We don’t need to worry about impressing people anymore.”

Wadlund agreed.

“I think the music speaks for itself,” Wadlund said. “You have to show people what you’ve created. That’s what it’s all about.”

Recently, Instigator played a show at West Hollywood’s legendary Whisky a Go Go—but there was a downside: The band was required to sell a certain number of tickets.

“The pay-to-play thing threw us off,” Boomer said. “Most of the tickets we sold were to friends and family. We obviously couldn’t sell them out there in Los Angeles, so all we could do is sell them to family members.”

“Or to whoever was available on a Thursday night,” added bassist Garrison Calkins with a laugh. “We kind of fed off the four other bands that played. They sneered at us a little bit, but not when we got up and played onstage.”

When it came time to record, the band members’ parents dropped them off at Parnell’s house in Idyllwild for a weekend.

“All he had for us was a couch that only one of us fought for. I brought a cot, and the rest of us slept on the ground,” Calkins said. “Being in the studio was a whole new thing for us. When you’re in there, you have all these monitors surrounding you, and you can hear every little mistake.”

Wadlund said the band’s name is also its mission.

“We literally are all about instigating a movement out here in the valley,” Wadlund said. “Obviously not by starting metal—metal started a long time ago—but we’re about instigating a movement of people. It’s a musical get-together, and it’s an entire music scene, or a huge crowd of people, or meeting new friends at an Instigator show. It just feels inspiring.”

Instigator will perform with Minor Emergency and Frank Eats the Floor at 9 p.m., Friday, May 25, at The Hood Bar and Pizza, 74360 Highway 111, in Palm Desert. Admission is free. For more information on Instigator, visit www.facebook.com/instigatorofficial.

Published in Previews

The members of GayC/DC are all characters—but bassist Glen Pavan is a show of his own. Not only is he the bassist for the fabulous all-gay AC/DC themed rock band; he’s also the master of confetti and shenanigans. GayC/DC will be returning to The Hood Bar and Pizza for an encore CV Independent Presents show on Saturday, May 5. For more information on the band, visit www.facebook.com/gaycdcband. Glen was kind enough to answer the Lucky 13; here are his answers.

What was the first concert you attended?

The Stray Cats at the Capitol Theatre in Passaic, N.J., perhaps on their first tour, in 1982. I was still in elementary school at the time. My older sister snuck me into the venue by having me walk in behind her, hiding underneath her long winter coat. My mom was pissed when she found out, but I’m still grateful all these years later! The energy level of the band and crowd was a huge thrill (on top of the excitement of being snuck in), and I loved when they played the theme song to the Munsters.

What was the first album you owned?

It’s hard to pinpoint, as my oldest siblings and cousin were all teenagers when I was born, and I would get their hand-me-down records and 8-tracks. By the time I started kindergarten, I had my own collection of Beatles, Cheap Trick, The Cars, Devo, Meatloaf, The Knack, The Police, ELO, Blondie and KISS albums. They’re all still my favorites. I also had a bunch of rock ’n’ roll movie soundtracks as a kid. Anytime I came across movies like Xanadu, Rock ’n’ Roll High School, Tommy, Get Crazy or Sgt. Pepper on TV, I was immediately captivated and in love with the songs.

What bands are you listening to right now?

I’m turning lots of people onto the Italian band Giuda (pronounced “Judah”). They look like a pub band but play the most authentic glitter rock you’ve heard in 40 years. My singer, Chris, just got me into Muse and Bow Wow Wow, and my drummer, Brian, is getting me deeper into Motorhead. I’ve also been on a huge Johnny Thunders kick since the L.A.M.F. (anniversary) show in December, and a Tubes kick since their show in January.

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

I love the look, the talent, and the camp of the wave (like what I did there?) of “yacht rock” cover bands playing around now, but those songs were boring and neutered then, and remain boring and neutered now—“rock” music for people who don’t rock.

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

I wish I could have seen The Who in 1970, around their performances at the Isle of Wight Festival, or the Live at Leeds/Hull shows. They were finishing up the Tommy cycle and starting to introduce the Lifehouse tunes to the set, and were just the most muscular rock band imaginable. All four members of the band were just on fire, and it’s just complete aural overload. I love when current bands today push themselves to the limits of intensity, creativity and proficiency as The Who did then.

What’s your favorite musical guilty pleasure?

Hard-rock/heavy-metal Christmas music. It’s just so silly and happy and totally rocks. I start listening to it way early each year, like in September. Cheap Trick’s Christmas album from last year was such a wet dream come true for me. I played that album more than 100 times between Halloween and Christmas. My poor partner must have had to endure sitting through it indirectly at least 50 of those times, too. That’s true love right there. I’m very blessed.

What’s your favorite music venue?

When performing: Any outdoor stage. We are the best-looking band in the daylight! I get to see the crowd enjoy themselves more, which keeps me invigorated. For attending shows: I enjoy places with no security barricades. I always try to get right up front and center and be able to closely watch every musician play their instrument. And I love taking home unique souvenirs like guitar picks or setlists and getting killer front-row pictures and videos.

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

I keep coming back to “Be All, End All” by Anthrax. It encourages me to stay motivated while still being realistic, and to never feel sorry for myself; and it reminds me that while I can’t control everything that happens in my life, I can control my reactions. Very Carl Jung. “Nothing’s ever easy when you do it yourself, All you can do is try, life’s not unfair, life’s just life, death not suicide, be all, and you’ll be the end all, life can be a real ball, state of mind, euphoria.”

What band or artist changed your life? How?

As I’d expect most kids from the ’70s to answer, it’d be KISS. They took the presentation and mystery of rock music to the freakin’ stratosphere! Experiencing their media onslaught during their original run was just mind-blowing for us kids. It wasn’t just a group of guys playing their music for everyone to enjoy; it was an overload of everything in excess. Costumes! Makeup! Merch! Toys! Comic books! Pyro! And every nine months, they put out another excellent album of songs about fornication, fornication and fornication. It was the coolest and most exciting thing to happen to kids, and it was pure magic. When you find mutual KISS buddies as an adult, you’re instantly best friends. KISS Army is for life.

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

The answer is none of my business, so it’s more of a rhetorical question, but I’d like to ask just what kept the original Runaways from reuniting before drummer Sandy West passed away. Have you seen the documentary Edgeplay? It’s just a heartbreaking story, and I so wish it would have had a happy ending. Seeing them together again is another rock ’n’ roll hope of mine that will never come true.

What song would you like played at your funeral?

My funeral won’t be sorrowful about me being gone; it’ll be about celebrating my friendships and my efforts to live life as largely (ha ha, fat joke) as I could with the time I had. Hence, you all get to hear the “1812 Overture” live, with cannons. And confetti. And fabulous gift bags.

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

I’ll go with Bat Out of Hell, Meat Loaf. It blows my mind as much now as it did when it came out; it’s so theatrical and over the top and just completely timeless. The production, band performance and backing vocals are breathtaking. The degree to which Meat Loaf pushes the vocals is nothing less than epic, and Jim Steinman’s melodies, lyrics and themes are heavenly. The final song, “For Crying Out Loud,” is my favorite, guaranteed to give me goosebumps for nine minutes straight every single time I hear it. How magnificent is the power of music!

What song should everyone listen to right now?

“Dick Around” by Sparks. They’re the band I try to turn friends onto the most, especially with this song. The rapid fire delivery of lyrics, the funny subject matter, the crazy amount of symphonic music for a pop song, the crazy amount of headbanging metal for a pop song—it’s so grandiose. Have a listen, and if you’re intrigued, grab their new album Hippopotamus from last year; it’s their 24th album! (Scroll down to hear it!)

Published in The Lucky 13

While the members of FrankEatsTheFloor are still in high school, the band has a ton of potential. I had a laugh when I saw the band perform recently—and frontman Matt King was wearing a cape. It reminded me of the episodes of F Is for Family with the fictional band Shire of Frodo. FrankEatsTheFloor will be performing as part of the CV Independent Presents show with Haunted Summer, Brightener and Rival Alaska at The Hood Bar and Pizza at 9 p.m., Thursday, April 12. The aforementioned frontman and bassist, Matt King, was kind enough to answer the Lucky 13; here are his answers.

What was the first concert you attended?

The Claypool Lennon Delirium at the Observatory in Santa Ana. I was right on the rail, and I spent the whole time in shock watching just how insane Les Claypool is on bass. That first concert was part of the reason I play bass today.

What was the first album you owned?

It’s hard to recall, but one of the first albums I remember playing a lot was The Beatles’ Help! I’m a huge Beatles fan, and tracks like “The Night Before” and “Ticket to Ride” were played a lot growing up.

What bands are you listening to right now?

Ron Gallo, Jack White, Bob Dylan, George Harrison, Earthless, and Sleazy Cortez.

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

I’m very picky when it comes to music. I don’t really like pop-punky, whiny-vocals music. Many of my friends are into those types of songs, but I’m not really a fan.

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

I would sell my legs to see The Beatles’ rooftop concert. I don’t know how I’d make it up the stairs to see it, but that concert is just so amazing.

What’s your favorite musical guilty pleasure?

It would have to be the SpongeBob SquarePants soundtracks. I’d be lying if I said they weren’t in my Spotify playlist.

What’s your favorite music venue?

Pappy and Harriet’s, because of the insane catalog of artists who’ve played there (Les Claypool, Paul McCartney, Earthless), and the fact that it’s a very cool place. I’ve played there for the open mic once, but would love to go back to do an actual show.

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

A song by Ron Gallo entitled “Please Yourself”: “Trying to please everybody, you just let everyone down, including yourself. Don’t wanna be like the old oak tree, spend my whole life helping everybody breathe.” These lyrics have rung true lately, and I think they’re very meaningful.

What band or artist changed your life? How?

The Beatles. My grandma bought tickets for me to go see the Cirque du Soleil show in Las Vegas about them, and ever since then, I’ve been hooked. I know every song like the back of my hand, and own almost every album, along with posters, shirts and shoes. The Beatles made me want to start a band; Paul McCartney made me want to play bass; and without those factors, I wouldn’t be playing music and doing what I love.

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

I would ask Josh Homme from Queens of the Stone Age what it was like starting a music career at a young age in the valley, and if he thinks it’s possible in the current era.

What song would you like played at your funeral?

This is a tough one, but I think I have to go with “Heart of the Sunrise” by Yes. It’s such a killer song, no pun intended.

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

Magical Mystery Tour by The Beatles. It’s just an all-around amazing and super-trippy album. Goo goo g’joob.

What song should everyone listen to right now?

Every one of you reading this should go listen to “School Food Sucks” by FrankEatsTheFloor. Vocals and bass guitar are by yours truly, and it is available to listen to on Spotify, Apple Music, Soundcloud, YouTube and just about everywhere else! (Scroll down to hear it!)

Published in The Lucky 13

Shortly after the new year, a new band arrived called Mega Sun—and thanks to a great sound that comes straight out of the desert-rock scene, the group has become something of an overnight success.

The band first played at The Hood Bar and Pizza as part of the CV Weekly Music Showcase back in January—and in February, the group returned to The Hood, opening for Se7en4.

Mega Sun consists of Jeremy Parsons (bass, vocals), Chris Rivera (guitar) and Tyler Ontiveros (drums). When I showed up to interview them at Rivera’s home in La Quinta, they seemed astounded by how much buzz they’ve received after only a few shows.

“What’s crazy is our early practices … were so spread out,” Parsons said. “We’ve been kinda making stuff up for months, and it would go for one practice—and four weeks would go by, and then we’d have another practice. Then we decided we were going to start playing shows, and we started getting serious about it.”

That first practice actually led to a police presence.

“I guess they thought it was a big ol’ party happening, and it was literally us three, and my roommate sitting there watching us,” Parsons said. “I blame it on grumpy neighbors. One of the hardest things is trying to find a place to play. I remember for the longest time it was just like, ‘Come on!’”

The band members have already learned about the dangers of equipment failure: Rivera’s amp head blew a fuse during the Se7en4 show. But after borrowing an amp head from Nick Hales of Sleazy Cortez, Mega Sun was back rocking, as if nothing happened.

“The show with Se7en4 had some bumps in it,” Ontiveros said. “But overall, I think it went well, with all of the technical problems that went down.”

So how did Mega Sun start?

“We just wanted to get something going,” Rivera said. “We started looking for a drummer, and Jeremy was actually playing guitar when we first got together. He decided to go to bass, because we couldn’t find a bass player. We found Tyler—and then we knew that was it. Bass is definitely an instrument to learn if you want to get in a band really quick, because it feels like there’s a shortage of bass players.”

The band’s sound came from the members’ influences and what felt comfortable to them.

“It’s naturally what came out,” Ontiveros said. “Initially, we started writing or playing some songs that Jeremy had written already and put our own little twist on them, and then when we started writing some originals together as a three-piece, it kind of went down that alley with that desert vibe and all of our different influences. There’s metal in there, too, because Chris comes from playing in metal bands.”

When I mentioned that the band’s name and logo were actually decent, Rivera asked with a laugh: “Our logo with the three sperms?” Ontiveros then explained the inspiration.

“We were trying to come up with something that (referred to) that three months of being here during the summer,” Ontiveros said, “something that was on the level of the sun being brutal and beating down on all of us. But we didn’t want to be cheesy and throw ‘desert’ into the actual name, even though Mega Sun is pretty cheesy. But those three things in the logo are supposed to be heat waves … and there are three of us.”

Mega Sun did not win that CV Weekly Music Showcase, nor did the members expect to win—it was their first show, after all. However, they were hoping to get some good advice from the judges.

“We knew going in that we had a lot of work to do, but we wanted the criticism to move forward and pick apart what we needed to work on,” Ontiveros said. “We didn’t really expect anything out of it—and the response we got blew us away, plus being asked to play on Se7en4’s comeback show. There was a packed house that night, and we got a great time slot right in front of them.

“We had some promising doors open to us, and we’ve had some people come up to us and offer to record us for free, which is awesome,” Ontiveros continued. “That’s definitely one of the biggest factors: the financial standpoint. But quality is what we’re looking for, too. We don’t want to keep people waiting who really want our music.”

Parsons agreed and said that having music available for purchase is an advantage.

“It’s better when you know what’s about to be played (at a show),” Parsons said. “I can go see a band and be really into it—but after I get their CD, and the next time I go to (a show), that’s where it’s really cool.”

For more information on Mega Sun, visit www.facebook.com/megasuntheband.

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

I stumbled across Kill the Radio during a show at the late, lamented Schmidy’s Tavern—and I was blown away by the band’s sound. It reminds me of the punk/hardcore that came out of New York City in the ’90s. This East Valley band is always a treat to see live—and you can do just that on Saturday, Feb. 17, at The Hood Bar and Pizza. For more information, visit www.facebook.com/killtheradio760. The band’s frontman and guitarist, Samuel Meza, was kind enough to answer the Lucky 13; here are his answers.

What was the first concert you attended?

Knotfest. I got to see Avenged Sevenfold, Korn, Motorhead and so many other sick artists.

What was the first album you owned?

Linkin Park’s Meteora. It’s still one of the best albums I’ve ever heard.

What bands are you listening to right now?

Coheed and Cambria, Circa Survive, Kings of Leon, and Deftones.

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

I absolutely don’t understand this trap beat music. It’s noise and mumbles with a hype man screaming, “Hey!” the whole time.

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

If I could see anyone live, it would have to be Tool all over again! Tool is hands down the best live show I have ever seen.

What’s your favorite musical guilty pleasure?

My favorite guilty pleasure has to be singing along to Frank Ocean’s music, from the Channel Orange album to his newest single, “Chanel.” Amazing!

What’s your favorite music venue?

The Observatory in Santa Ana. I got to see Deftones along with Glassjaw there, and they were phenomenal!

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

My favorite song lyrics are actually from Frank Ocean’s “Pink Matter.” The opening verse hits home when he asks, “What is a woman made for? Is she just the container for the child?” That, to me, opens the mind and pushes you to understand outside the Machista concept.

What band or artist changed your life? How?

Linkin Park and Blessthefall. I was a depressed and super-emotional kid back in high school. I had the hardest time growing up. I was poor and living under the bridges in Indio while being homeless the first half of my life, and hearing others had a similar struggle really helped me get ahead in life.

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

I would have to ask Hayley Williams from Paramore if she would marry me, ha ha ha ha. (Seriously, though.)

What song would you like played at your funeral?

My funeral song would be a song I wrote recently. It’s called “If Time Heals Wounds, Do Scars Tell Stories?”

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

I would say Emarosa’s Relativity. I can listen to it from beginning to end all the time.

What song should everyone listen to right now?

Jay-Z’s “The Story of O.J.” It’s super-deep. If you leave the racial context on which the song is based and apply it to everyday life, you’d see a divided world where we only segregate ourselves due to the ideals and views of others. (Scroll down to hear it.)

Published in The Lucky 13

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