CVIndependent

Sat09222018

Last updateTue, 18 Sep 2018 1pm

Brian Blueskye

If you’ve never seen a show by Se7en4, you’ve been missing out.

Unfortunately, chances to see Se7en4 have been few and far between as of late. The band played its first show in a long time earlier this year at The Hood Bar and Pizza—and will be playing there again on Friday, Oct. 12.

Se7en4 has been rocking the Coachella Valley music scene since 2000, and the current lineup includes frontman Nico Flores (the younger brother of Blasting Echo drummer and 5th Town bassist Armando Flores), drummer Steven Hall (brother of Thr3 Strykes’ Josh Hall), bassist Trevino Martin and guitarist Pete Burquez.

During a recent phone interview with Flores, he joked about the recent hiatus.

“Dude, we play like once or twice every three years or some shit like that,” Flores said with a laugh. “But we always have a great turnout. We have been around for a long time, and we barely play. We have a lot of loyal friends to the band and to the music scene. When we play, they always know it’s going to be a fun time.”

I’ve heard people compare Se7en4 to nu-metal, and say the group sounds like Suicidal Tendencies. Flores laughed when I mentioned that.

“I know where people get that from: Me and Steve (Hall) are really two of the only punk-rockers out here who roll up blasting gangsta rap, and we love hip-hop,” he said. “We may incorporate it a tiny bit into our music, but for the most part, we like it hard, fast and loud. It’s how we look and what we listen to on the side where people probably get that. We definitely listen to Suicidal Tendencies, who are a huge influence to us, and (Hed) P.E. is an influence, (as are) Snot, Rage Against the Machine and Black Flag. We love obnoxious rock that’s in-your-face shit.”

As a frontman, Flores gets down and dirty—and he definitely knows how to get the crowds going.

“Having grown up in the valley, and just watching all the old-school punkers like John Summers, Sean Wheeler, Herb Lienau and Ian Taylor from Unsound—growing up, I was like, ‘I want to be in a band!’” he said. “And then I was like, ‘Whoa! What are those guys doing?’ We grew up in the MTV era, too, which was all about being a rock star and their antics. When you’re a kid, you want to emulate that.”

What stops Se7en4 from playing more often?

“Real life gets in the way,” Flores said. “I’m the only one who still lives down here now, and I have a full-on family—a 15-year-old daughter and two little boys. All the guys live up in Los Angeles. Pete (Burquez) does music stuff on the side, and Steve does music stuff and also tours. Everyone stays busy musically; they don’t let not playing in this band stop them. Trevino is from up north and has a THC/growing operation going. Everyone went up to Los Angeles, and I just kind of stayed down here.

“We play whenever we can. It’s fun and takes our mind off shit; it’s always fun to get together. It’s frustrating when people ask, ‘Yo, bro, when are Se7ven4 playing?’ It’s good, though, because you’ll see Pete and Steven pursuing other music opportunities, and they’re doing great for themselves. For me, Se7en is my music getaway. My three passions in life are my music, wrestling, and I’m a daddy.”

Flores said the band members make a point of getting together when they can.

“We have a little studio up in L.A., so I just go up there, and the boys are all out there,” he said. “I have to plan it a little, but we’ll spend a whole day in the studio writing or jamming. It doesn’t happen as often as I’d like it to because of distance and all that stuff.”

Will there be any Se7en4 recordings in the future?

“I think the other guys say no, but I say yes,” he said. “We’re like that girlfriend that you fight with and get back together with the next day. We just have too big of a connection to never record anything together. It won’t be any time soon, but I think we will. I have songs, and the other guys are writing songs here and there.”

Se7en4 will perform with Throw the Goat and Mega Sun at 9 p.m., Friday, Oct. 12, at The Hood Bar and Pizza, 74360 Highway 111, in Palm Desert. Admission is $5. For more information on the show, visit the event’s Facebook page. 

The local metal scene has been going through a transitional period, with many longtime bands calling it quits—and one of the bands rising from the figurative ashes is When Tides Turn.

Slowly but surely, the band has been getting its name out there, playing consistently at venues such as The Hood Bar and Pizza, Plan B Live Entertainment and Cocktails, Club 5, and Kilo’s Cantina.

During a recent interview in Palm Desert with the band members—except for lead guitarist TJ Cazares, who was not able to make it—they shared some amusing stories about their inception, their shared history, and how they all pitch in to support their recording and travel costs.

The band’s name is actually a reference to most of the band members’ hometown of Blythe.

“We were trying to find something that no one else had, because every name in the world is taken,” guitarist Thomas Lambert said. “Where Desiree (McCaslin, drummer) and I are from and where we formed the band, it was out in Blythe. Blythe has a river, and at certain points, there’s a really crazy rip current and undertow, and it looks like the water flow is going against the current. That’s where we came up with the name When Tides Turn.”

What is actually over there in Blythe?

“There’s a state prison there, which also comes with state jobs,” McCaslin said. “It’s a farmer town; they’re also building this huge marijuana-growing center, and it will probably be one of the biggest marijuana-growing centers in the world, because we have access to a bunch of water.”

McCaslin said she had been trying to start a band with Xan Abyss of Rogue Ogre, but it kept falling apart, and a mutual friend told her about Jacob Garcia, who was originally a drummer and a bassist. Garcia explained how he came to join When Tides Turn—as a vocalist.

“I had not been doing much of anything with music, and at first, I wasn’t really going to do it, because I didn’t have transportation; I didn’t really have the means of getting out there, but this was a band, and they were ready to go,” Garcia said. “They had already written music, and I thought, ‘OK, I can give this a shot.’ They liked me; I liked them; and maybe a week after I auditioned, we played a backyard show in Blythe, and I didn’t even finish the lyrics and was making it up as I went along.

“They had a crappy PA, so it’s not like you could have made out the lyrics anyway.”

Garcia wasn’t the only new band member who needed to learn material quickly.

“It was totally random. Desiree asked me if I wanted to jam, and I was kind of hesitant, because I didn’t think I was ready or good enough,” bassist Adrian Whitson said. “She said, ‘Just come jam, and see what happens.’ Literally, one day before a show at Club 5, they got a hold of me and asked me if I would play. They said they had a bass for me, and I had one day to learn the songs. I used to be in a band during high school, but as far as playing a show goes, I had only ever played one show before that, and it had been years since. I had one day to prepare for a metal show and had only played one show before. I was freaking out, but it worked out really well.”

Garcia added: “When Desiree decides she wants you in the band, she’ll figure out how to get you in.”

For When Tides Turn’s style of music, the vocals need to switch back and forth from a pop range—into a screaming range. Garcia said he has not yet perfected it.

“I started learning about the diaphragm to scream,” Garcia said. “Unfortunately, I’m caught in a Catch-22: I love to sing, but there are a lot of screaming styles I’d love to do if I didn’t have to worry about singing, too. It comes to a point of trying to balance it all out. I might be discovering a scream and being able to do it consistently, but I also have to sing. It’s learning how your throat feels and what feels OK, and what you can’t get away with. It’s challenging, but it’s really damn fun and rewarding.”

When Tides Turn has been working on its first album with producer Jerry Whiting, who also produced music by Frank Eats the Floor and Sleazy Cortez.

“We started recording back in February, and around that time, we were just about done,” Lambert said. “The only thing left was vocals, and that’s when our other guitarist, TJ, came into the band. We went back in and re-recorded the leads and put all of his stuff on it, and stepped it up majorly. It sounds so much better. Now we just need to touch up one of the songs and start getting it out to everyone. Jerry made it a lot more of a comfortable atmosphere versus a place that rushes you and makes it seem like you’re wasting their time. He was really easy to work with and work for. He’d add stuff and give us ideas.”

When Tides Turn, like many local bands, had problems finding a place to practice. The members of the band Hollace recently purchased a rehearsal studio called The Sound Hub from its previous owner in Cathedral City; the members of When Tides Turn say they gladly pay the money to use it.

“The Sound Hub in Cathedral City definitely helped us out. If it weren’t for them, we wouldn’t have the place to practice,” McCaslin said. “They provide the backline and everything else. If you pay $5, you can even take a recording of your practice home.”

Garcia and McCaslin told an additional amusing story about that aforementioned first show they ever played in Blythe, at a backyard party.

“Some big, old, fat drunk guy got on my drum set and just started wailing away on it, and it didn’t sound good at all,” McCaslin said. “It sounded like trash can lids, and I was watching my fucking cymbals just go to pieces. Someone was cheering for the guy, and he just kept going.”

Garcia added with a laugh: “You don’t touch another man’s car—and you don’t mess with a woman’s drum set!”

For more information, visit www.facebook.com/whentidesturn.

When Brant Bjork left Kyuss in 1994, he didn’t stay idle for long.

He had stints in bands including De-con and Fu Manchu, before releasing his first solo album, Jalamanta, in 1999—which featured him moving away from the drum set and becoming a frontman/guitarist.

Today, he continues to kick ass and take names. He’ll be playing at Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace on Friday, Oct. 12—one of five American tour dates before heading to Europe.

On Sept. 14, Bjork released his 13th solo album, Mankind Woman.

“I think it sounds like a solid and respectable 13th effort,” Bjork said during a recent phone interview. “I worked closely with my guitar player and good friend, Bubba DuPree. I asked him to produce the record and went into it just hands-off. I just wanted to flow down the river. He and I collaborated on writing and performed all the tracks. I just really wanted to collaborate, and I really missed and enjoyed working with someone. Bubba and I started to work together on the last record, Tao of the Devil, and I really enjoyed it.”

Bjork and DuPree played all of the instruments on Mankind Woman.

“We moved quick on this record, meaning we jumped into the creative process,” he said. “We had come to a really good place with a record deal with Heavy Psych Sounds Records out of Italy, and we really liked the deal, and it came together so fast that we were able to say, ‘Why don’t we get a record out this year and get it to coincide with our European run?’ We were excited, and we were very much inspired. But having to move like that, Bubba and I decided to just take care of the instruments ourselves. My bass player, Dave Dinsmore, and my drummer, Ryan Gut, they live outside of the area. Dave lives in Berlin, Germany, and Gut lives up north in Shasta, Calif. As much as I love my rhythm section and would have loved to incorporate them in this recording, it didn’t make a lot of logistical sense. Creatively speaking, I was pretty excited to just play the drums to a lot of the guitar parts that Bubba was coming up with.”

If you keep up with Kyuss culture—including the Facebook group Kyuss World—you know there are Kyuss fans all around the world, many of whom are feverish for anything and everything all of the members have done before and after Kyuss. Some have even traveled here to explore where the desert-rock genre started.

“I think Europeans have more of an appreciation for things that leave a lasting effect on the individual—on the collective, on the mindset, and the culture. In the United States, it’s a ‘me me, here here, now now,’ kind of instant gratification,” Bjork said. “… That’s not to say that there aren’t some American fans who are really into my music and rock in general, but it’s just not as celebrated among the masses as it is in Europe. I’ve been waiting for people to dive into that historical situation, because it’s been going on for years. I’d like for someone to write a book about it. It also goes back to jazz artists like Miles Davis and Louis Armstrong. Miles Davis was a god in Europe, and when he came home, he was playing in the same clubs in Manhattan. They always say you never profit in your own land.”

Bjork did a DJ set at Pappy and Harriet’s following Sean Wheeler’s recent performance there, and the combination of music that night was fascinating. I brought that up and asked Bjork what artists or records inspired him as a kid.

“The Ramones. I think it’s just a combination of my age and where I was at in relation to my environment,” he said. “My parents were older and weren’t hippies. They were more into first-wave rock ’n’ roll, and my mom really liked the Stones, and my dad really liked Ray Charles. There were those early Rolling Stones, Fats Domino, Ray Charles and Chuck Berry records. I loved that stuff. Most of the kids in the neighborhood were listening to KISS, and I really liked KISS, but I had a hard time wrapping my head around the makeup and blowing fire. It was classic ’70s heavy rock and didn’t have the buzz of the early Stones stuff. But when I heard the Ramones, it was the perfect band that combined all of it. They had an image, and they were cooler than KISS; they were animated and cartoonish, but exaggerated in all of the right ways, and the music was KISS and the Stones, only at 45 RPM—moving quick. The Ramones was made for a kid like me, and the contemporaries of the Ramones in the ’70s knew what they were trying to do, and they appreciated it as contemporary artists. They were for the kids like me who didn’t get the Stones or the Beatles. I was perfectly in time for the Ramones and I ate it up and collected all their records. It was my first concert, and they were the band that really turned me on.”

While Bjork is a fantastic guitarist and frontman, he said he still loves playing the drums.

“That will always be a joy for me, and playing drums for a live audience is a rush,” he said. “But sometimes it depends on the music and the situation. I like to play the drums if I’m playing with a group of musicians or a style of music that inspires me to play the drums. Not to state the obvious, but that’s always how it works for me. The thing with the guitar and the singing—that was a challenge for me, and it was something I never planned on doing. But … my solo career is just me sharing my story, and it’s hard to do from the drums.”

Earlier this year, Bjork went back to the old days of the generator parties and threw what he called “Stoned and Dusted,” a modern day generator party … with some modifications.

“We just solidified our date for next year this week, actually,” he said. “It’s a great time, and it’s a work in progress, but the concept is what it was back in the past: the desert environment and rock bands. We have it organized, and we want to bring people from all over the world and have them enjoy the natural environment with some good rock music, good food, some smoke and some drinks. We eliminated the riff-raff element that was largely the reason why the original generator party movement came to a stop.”

Brant Bjork will perform with Nebula at 9 p.m., Friday, Oct. 12, at Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace, 53668 Pioneertown Road, in Pioneertown. Tickets are $18 to $20. For more tickets or more information, call 760-365-5956, or visit www.pappyandharriets.com.

Thursday, 13 September 2018 16:50

The Lucky 13: Michael Anthony, aka Mikey Sick Boy

Michael Anthony, aka Mikey Sick Boy, has been playing at open-mics and local shows for quite a while around the Coachella Valley. Sadly, that’s about to come to an end—because he is moving to Orange County for a new job. He will be having a last hurrah of sorts when he plays at the Tack Room Tavern during the Concert for Autism on Friday, Oct. 19, and Saturday, Oct. 20.

What was the first concert you attended?

My first concert I ever went to was in 2010, when I went to see Jerry Lee Lewis and the Reverend Horton Heat at the Fox Theater in Pomona.

What was the first album you owned?

More like the first two I owned: The Sublime self-titled album, and Social Distortion’s self-titled album.

What bands are you listening to right now?

I’ve been getting turned on to Led Zeppelin, Rebelution and Sublime. I’ve heard of these bands before, but I just like to switch my tunes back and forth until I’m ready to hear something new.

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

It’s hard to tell nowadays, especially with music seemingly changing every month, even though it doesn’t seem like it might have changed all that much. I learned from a friend not to be so closed-minded when it comes to new stuff, because you might surprise yourself.

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

That one’s a bit of a dead giveaway, and speaking of dead, it would be Elvis Presley—one more time, live from the Graceland gravesite, featuring zombified Johnny Cash and Ritchie Valens. Ha ha! In reality, though, I would love to see all of the best acts the Coachella Valley has to offer merge together … to expand the horizon for the Coachella Valley music scene.

What’s your favorite musical guilty pleasure?

Smoking and playing the blues. I’d be playing by myself, or Muddy Waters is on the tunes hammering it on. Within those times and moments, I always discover or teach myself something new and different, then try to apply that to my music.

What’s your favorite music venue?

The Hood Bar and Pizza. It may not be the biggest and baddest of them all, but it’s a venue I call home.

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

“Well high school seemed like such a blur. I didn’t have much interest in sports or school elections, and in class I dreamed all day about a rock ’n’ roll weekend,” Social Distortion, “Story of My Life.”

What band or artist changed your life? How?

Again, it always has been and always will be Elvis Presley. Here’s how it started: When I was in my mother’s womb back in the day, portable CD players were the thing. She would play “Can’t Help Falling in Love” and put the headphones over her stomach, so I would listen, and that little tremor turned me into more than just an Elvis fan. It molded me to become an artist.

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

I don’t think I can single out any musicians or artists, but what I can say is: “What are you going to do for music, and where are you going to take it?”

What song would you like played at your funeral?

There are three I always had in mind: Elvis’ “Pieces of My Life,” Social Distortion’s “Don’t Take Me for Granted,” and The Sensational Nightingales’ “Remind Me Dear Lord.”

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

My favorite album of all time, other than Michael Anthony’s Greatest Hits Vol. 2—just kidding—is the Social Distortion self-titled album.

What song should everyone listen to right now?

Elvis’ “Burning Love,” because I want everyone to be jamming to this song and have an awesome feeling when it comes on. Most importantly, be stuck with the image of me streaking down the street butt-naked, because that’s my birthday song! (Scroll down to hear it!)

Summertime in the Coachella Valley can be brutal—but those of us who live here year-round know that the local music scene never stops because of a little heat.

The Hood Bar and Pizza in Palm Desert, Kilo's Cantina in Thousand Palms, and Plan B Live Entertainment and Cocktails in Thousand Palms hosted many local rock shows during the summer—and the crowds often came out. The Hood Bar and Pizza, for example, hosted several weekend shows at which attendance was near capacity; the venue also launched and regular theme nights, including an open-mic night on Wednesday, and comedy night on Sunday.

Here are some photos of local musicians from shows that happened over the summer.

The presidency of Donald Trump has made many Americans angry, frustrated, sad and fearful for the future. But in my case, the presidency of Donald Trump helped turned me from a staunch atheist into a Christian.

Let me explain.

I was raised by my grandparents. My grandfather was an Episcopalian, and my grandmother was a Catholic. My first exposure to religion came from my grandfather taking me to Episcopalian services in my hometown of Mentor, Ohio, whenever he was up early enough on Sundays. I remember those experiences fondly: I got to know the other kids in Sunday school, and enjoyed the fun arts and crafts that reflected the values of the Episcopalian Church.

Then came a sleepover at a friend’s house when I was 9. The next morning, we all went to my friend’s Baptist church, where rather than being nice, the teachers told us fire-and-brimstone stories that frightened me. After a few interruptions by other kids, the pastor came into the classroom, yelling at us—and praying for Jesus to save us from evil.

I never wanted to go to church again. When my grandfather would go to the Episcopal parish, I’d ask to stay home.

Later in life, I practiced Buddhism for about a decade; I even had a refuge ceremony performed by a Theravada monk on my 21st birthday. However, I never really found my place in Buddhism; the Asian cultural elements didn’t mesh with my life in the United States, and I didn’t get the answers to questions I needed from my teachers and fellow Buddhists. After that, I abandoned religion, and came to embrace atheism.

Earlier this year, I found myself in a deep depression. I was spiritually drained as I tried to make sense of my life in these uncertain times. I turned to books written by Ram Dass, who I had always admired; they helped. Then, of all things, the royal wedding uplifted me: The sermon by Michael Curry, the presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church, at the ceremony for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle was nothing short of remarkable. I began to think about the things my grandfather believed in and tried to instill in me as a child—values inspired by his Episcopal faith.

Ram Dass once said, “Faith is what is left after all your beliefs have been blown to hell.” I had essentially reached that point: I was questioning all that I believed in, and ironically, the only thing I felt faith in was that there had to be something greater than myself.

I’ve been shaken to my core several times during my life. I dealt with an alcoholic mother who died at the age of 40; my father abandoned me before I was born; even my grandfather was not as accessible to me as I would have liked during my childhood. Despite the despair I’ve felt at times, I’ve always survived—through the grace of God, I now believe. There were many times when things could have turned out much worse. An open mind and a new perspective have led to my newfound faith in God.

What does the current president have to do with all of this? The climate he created helped blow all of my beliefs to hell. The despair he’s fomenting is inescapable on television and on social media—from Milo Yiannopoulos bullying people over the internet in the name of “free speech,” to white supremacists hitting activists with cars, to the general dark cloud that seems to be hovering over our country. Political discourse has turned ugly, and people are becoming more and more vindictive over political matters.

A fairly recent poll from the Public Religion Research Institute showed that, incredibly, 75 percent of white evangelicals still support Trump. Famous religious figures such as Franklin Graham, Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell Jr. have turned faith into a partisan game. Trump and his cabinet have been using religion as a means to promote an agenda that opposes diplomacy abroad, and both human rights and civility at home and beyond. 

Given my life experiences—including those as a gay man—I’d come to see religion as part of the problem rather than the solution. In many ways, I still feel that way. I also couldn’t wrap my head around the concept of a vengeful God, and I was disgusted by the “loving intolerance” expressed by many so-called Christians regarding people who believe differently than they do, and people with lifestyles different than theirs.

When I told friends I was starting to think back to the values instilled in me by my grandfather and the Episcopal Church, and that I was thinking of going back to church, most were supportive. Others were—and are—deeply concerned about me. I am often asked how the person who once fervently denounced religion is now a regular churchgoer.

I’ve long known the Episcopal Church is LGBT-affirming, stands for social justice, and allows clergy—both male and female—to marry. Still, I was wary when I first found myself at the Church of St. Paul in the Desert in Palm Springs. The rector, the Rev. Andrew Green, encouraged me to explore my new interest and told me I was welcome to attend services at the church whenever I was ready.

I began attending services on Saturday afternoons. At first, I was nervous and didn’t know what to expect, but I soon felt welcomed and comfortable.

One particular service “sold” me: The Rev. Green was talking about what makes someone a good Episcopalian. He pulled out three simple rules that were on a sheet of paper: “Love God; love others; and love yourself.”

Those three simple rules, combined with my experiences in reading both The Book of Common Prayer and the Bible with my newfound open-mindedness, have given me a perspective on life that not even the horrors of the Trump presidency can diminish. The Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi has also become important to me, and I have recited it to myself many times: Lord, make me an instrument of your peace; where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is discord, union; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; and where there is sadness, joy.

In this confusing and dark time, Donald Trump has not only led me to reaffirm my beliefs in the values of human rights for all, equality for all, and social justice; it has also led me to a place where I have found solitude, comfort and a belief in civility—even at times when civility is seemingly nowhere to be found.

Brian Blueskye is the assistant editor of the Coachella Valley Independent.

When the band Chicago released its second album, commonly referred to as II, in 1970, it pushed the group’s blend of rock, jazz and classical into even greater territory.

Chicago is currently touring behind a remastered release of II, and at some stops is playing the album in its entirety. The group will perform at Fantasy Springs Resort Casino on Saturday, Oct. 6.

The first album, Chicago Transit Authority, released the year before, challenged radio formats with songs longer than the typical-for-singles three minutes. “Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?” clocks in at 4 1/2 minutes, while “Questions 67 and 68” goes beyond 5—yet they became hit singles. This continued with II; “25 or 6 to 4” is almost 5 minutes long.

Chicago not only survived the death of guitarist Terry Kath in 1978 and the departure of singer, songwriter and bassist Peter Cetera in 1985; the band kept on going, earning induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2016. After the recent departure of another founding member, Walter Parazaider, due to a heart condition, three founding members remain. One of them, trumpet-player Lee Loughnane, said during a recent phone interview he’s unsure whether the band will perform II in its entirety at the Fantasy Springs, although it’s been a lot of fun to do.

“We often talked about doing it, but this is the first time we actually decided to go ahead and do it,” Loughnane said. “The reason is because (in 2016), Rhino Records hired a guy from England named Steven Wilson to remix it. That started spurring interest in the second album, and we were nominated for the Grammy Hall of Fame, and we wanted to continue that resurgence and play it in its entirety on the road. We’ve been doing that all year, and it’s been a lot of fun. When we started doing it, we wondered how people that young could come up with that intricate musical style. I don’t hear any songs like that anywhere else, and it’s unique to us. It’s been a lot of fun to re-create them.”

Loughnane said he and the other original band members had already played most of II at single shows before.

“We’ve played every song except for ‘Memories of Love’ live, because at that point, we only had two albums, and it was all we knew. We played everything that we knew at the time,” he said. “Until we got enough hits and people would say, ‘Well, how come you’re doing that and not the hits?’—that’s when we stopped doing what people always called ‘album cuts.’”

In 2016, a documentary on Chicago was released titled Now More Than Ever: The History of Chicago. It was an honest look into the band’s high times (no pun intended … mostly) and low times. The members discuss the period when they worked with producer David Foster, who made Cetera the face of the band and reduced the amount of horns in the music.

“He was hired to put us back on the map. … He took the reins, and that’s what he came up with: He used less horns,” Loughnane said. “He did make sure some horn parts got into the songs, but he didn’t concentrate too much on them. That got me playing different instruments, and I played bass sometimes when we’d play those songs live. He got us to do different things with our talents, and in retrospect, many of those songs still work for us every night. He did admit in the documentary that maybe he overproduced and maybe changed our style to a drastic point where it was a departure from what we did before. But when you look at it now, it’s almost as if we’ve had two different careers, and they’ve worked. We’re combining them when we play live every night.”

Chicago has released a string of live recordings from recent shows.

“It’s sort of a document of what we’re doing at the time. Unfortunately, the band has changed so many times in the past couple of years,” he said. “Now, it’s to the point where it’d be nice to have a studio album of the current band, because it’s so much fun to play together. But we’ll see what happens. It’s harder and harder to come up with albums that will be played for enough people to hear them to where it’ll make sense for us.”

Chicago’s live shows are definitely a spectacle; you can feel how difficult many of the songs are and how many different times the key changes. Loughnane laughed when I brought this up.

“Our songs are interesting. They are difficult to play, and you have to keep your chops together to pull it off. ‘Ballet for a Girl in Buchannon’ is probably the most intricate song that we do, as well as ‘Introduction.’ There are so many styles in each of those songs—different tempo changes, different keys and a lot of different factors. They never get any easier, and it’s always fun to play them.”

The members of Chicago understand that music has changed—and that what they do is not seen much anymore. But Loughnane said he doesn’t fear the future.

“Unless they listen to oldies radio where you’d hear us more often, it’s hard to hear music that incorporates brass and strings, as well as other instruments. Now it’s all vocals and drum machines,” he said. “I’m not afraid that it’s going to completely go away, because music is going to survive, and the writers will figure out a way to bring back other instruments into the fold.”

Chicago will perform at 8 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 6, at Fantasy Springs Resort Casino, 84245 Indio Springs Parkway, in Indio. Tickets are $59 to $99. For tickets or more information, call 760-342-5000, or visit www.fantasyspringsresort.com.

Thursday, 06 September 2018 13:45

The Lucky 13: El Sancho, Member of Sticky Doll

Sticky Doll is a fascinating new addition to the Coachella Valley music scene. Originally from the Los Angeles area, Sticky Doll's founding members, El Sancho and Cynna Luchia, are now located in Joshua Tree, and recently recruited High Desert drummer Dani Diggler (known as Dani Doll). I recently caught Sticky Doll's show at The Hood Bar and Pizza and was blown away by the makeup, the punk-rock sound and the props. Sticky Doll will be playing with Throw the Goat, The Wastedeads and Instigator at Gadi's Bar and Grill in Yucca Valley on Friday, Sept. 14. For more information, visit www.facebook.com/stickydoll. El Sancho was kind enough to answer the Lucky 13; here are his answers.

What was the first concert you attended?

Genitorturers.

What was the first album you owned?

Marilyn Manson, Portrait of an American Family.

What bands are you listening to right now?

Sticky Doll, X, L7, Plasmatics, Deadbolt, Megadeth, Billy Idol, At the Drive-In, Rammstein, classic Rick James funk, and Coolio.

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

Ed Sheeran, Bieber, Rihanna, Iggy Azalea, Kanye … ugh!

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

Static-X.

What’s your favorite musical guilty pleasure?

Disco.

What’s your favorite music venue?

The old Fox Theaters.

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

“So kiss me bitch … with black lipstick,” Deadbolt, “I Don’t Wanna Be There (When the Lights Come On).”

What band or artist changed your life? How?

Band: Marilyn Manson. How: No lead guitar, tons of great controlled feedback/noise, image, and T-shirts at the merchandise booth that said, “Fuck God.” “Controversy sells” was a strong message I had ingrained in my head from that day on.

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

“Why do you dress like that and insist that you are an alien?” No comment on who I am asking! Ha ha!

What song would you like played at your funeral?

“Down in a Hole,” Alice in Chains.

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

A classic glam band called Sweet had an album in the ’70s called Desolation Boulevard.

What song should everyone listen to right now?

“Snotty Little Cunt,” Sticky Doll. (Scroll down to hear it!)

The kids are back in school. The days are getting shorter. It’ll officially be fall this month. And while the temps are still hot, so are the events.

Fantasy Springs Resort Casino is hosting some shows that are out of this world. At 8 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 8, country singer Martina McBride will be stopping by. She’s a powerhouse in modern country music. She’s sold 18 million records, with 20 Top 10 singles, and six No. 1 hits. You don’t want to miss this one. Tickets are $49 to $79. At 8 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 15, it’ll feel like the ’90s again when TLC (right) and En Vogue perform. Both of these all-women R&B groups were pretty spectacular back in their day. TLC has sold 70 million records and was one of the most recognizable music groups of the ’90s. One of my guilty pleasures is the song “No Scrubs”; yes, I know all the words and will sing along when it comes on the radio. En Vogue was another ’90s great; “Free Your Mind” was a great jam. The group just released its first album in 14 years, scoring them a hit song. Wow! Tickets are $49 to $89. Fantasy Springs Resort Casino, 84245 Indio Springs Parkway, Indio; 760-342-5000; www.fantasyspringsresort.com.

Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa goes into September with a great schedule. First, do you love Prince? If so, you’re in luck! At 8 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 1, Purple Reign: The Prince Tribute Show will be come to The Show. I watched this band’s sound check when the group was performing at the Rock Yard at Fantasy Springs—and was blown away by how good the band sounded. The group goes all out and even includes songs from Morris Day and the Time. Tickets are $20 to $35. At 8 p.m., Friday, Sept. 28, classic-rock iconic band Styx will be performing. While Styx has received a lot of crap from critics, the band is beloved by a fan base of dedicated die-hards, and is one of the most successful touring bands in America. Tickets are $55 to $85. At 8 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 29, enjoy An Evening With Mel Brooks. The man himself will reflect on his life and his career as an actor, writer, producer and director. At 92 years old, with works such as Blazing Saddles, Spaceballs and The Producers to his credit, he’ll have quite a bit to talk about. Tickets are $75 to $145. Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa, 32250 Bob Hope Drive, Rancho Mirage; 888-999-1995; www.hotwatercasino.com.

If you love Latin music, Spotlight 29 Casino has you covered. At 8:30 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 6, Mexican-American singer Marisela will be performing. Before Selena took Latin music by storm, there was Marisela. A native of Los Angeles, she released her first album when she was just 18 and has been going ever since. She’s a popular performer in Mexico and is also a hit in America with Latin-music lovers. Tickets are $50 to $100. At 8 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 15, norteño legend Ramon Ayala will take the stage. He’s considered the “King of the Accordion” and is a legendary Mexican musician; he has four Grammy Awards, too. Tickets are $40 to $60. Spotlight 29 Casino, 46200 Harrison Place, Coachella; 760-775-5566; www.spotlight29.com.

Morongo Casino Resort Spa is getting back into the swing of things. At 9 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 6, and 9 p.m., Friday, Sept. 7, that reliable all-male revue is coming back to town—Australia’s Thunder From Down Under. I’ve run out of things to say about them, so I’ll just tell you to look them up online and check out the pictures of them. If you like … go. Tickets are $25. At 8 p.m., Friday, Sept. 28, get ready to journey back to the ’80s … because this lineup is the most ’80s thing I’ve ever seen: Boy George and Culture Club, the B-52s and the Thompson Twins’ Tom Bailey will be performing. Yeah, that’s quite a lineup. Tickets are $79 to $149, and as of our deadline, they were looking pretty scarce. Morongo Casino Resort Spa, 49500 Seminole Drive, Cabazon; 800-252-4499; www.morongocasinoresort.com.

Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace has had an amazing summer, and the September schedule continues the trend. At 8 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 6, desert-rock legend Sean Wheeler will be playing with his band Reluctant Messengers. Wheeler released his solo album Sand in My Blood in 2017. While it doesn’t have the over-the-top, crazy-fun sound of Throw Rag, it does have his impressive takes on country, folk, gospel and soul. Admission is free. At 8 p.m., Friday, Sept. 7, Joshua Tree’s own Gene Evaro Jr. will be performing an outdoor show. He has traveled across the country and opened for acts such as Blues Traveler; it’s only a matter of time before he catches his big break. He’s a talented musician and a gifted songwriter. Tickets are $15 to $20. At 8 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 27, The Breeders (below) will arrive. It’s a band that features Kim Deal of Pixies; the group released great music back in the ’90s that was not wildly successful commercially, though it earned acclaim and praise. As of deadline, tickets were still available, but that’s most likely to change. Tickets are $35. Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace, 53688 Pioneertown Road, Pioneertown; 760-365-5956; www.pappyandharriets.com.

The Purple Room Palm Springs is back from its summer hiatus. At 7 p.m., Sunday, Sept. 2, The Judy Show will return to its weekly slot. It’s a fabulous show starring Judy Garland impersonator and Purple Room proprietor Michael Holmes. Tickets are $25 to $30. At 6 p.m., Friday, Sept. 7, get out the thick black glasses for the Buddy Holly Tribute with Southbound and Company. This show has been popping up on occasion, and I’ve always been interested in going to check it out as a Buddy Holly fan. Maybe I will this time! Tickets are $25 to $30. At 6 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 29, actress and singer Renee Olstead will take the stage. Olstead has had an impressive career in film, television and music. Her musical abilities caught the attention of producer/composer David Foster, who opened the door to her musical career. Tickets are $35 to $40. Michael Holmes’ Purple Room, 1900 E. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs; 760-322-4422; www.purpleroompalmsprings.com.

The Copa Palm Springs kicks off September with a special show: At 8 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 1, country music performer Ty Herndon will return to the Copa stage. Herndon’s country music career includes 17 singles on the Billboard chart, including three songs that reached No. 1. A career slump and problems with drugs and alcohol followed, before he came out as gay in 2014. Fortunately, he’s back to performing and releasing albums again. Tickets are $25 to $35. Copa Palm Springs, 244 E. Amado Road, Palm Springs; 760-866-0021; www.copapalmsprings.com.

The Ace Hotel Palm Springs has a great September schedule, but one event stands out: At 8 p.m., Friday, Sept. 21, British psychedelic-pop legends The Zombies will perform an acoustic set, and founding members Rod Argent and Colin Blunstone will do an interview during a live taping of the podcast The Trap Set with Joe Wong. Tickets are $30 to $75. Ace Hotel and Swim Club, 701 E. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs; 760-325-9900; www.acehotel.com/palmsprings.

Outside of some exposure at open-mic performances, local hip-hop duo of Off Kilter is largely unknown. However, that’s about to change.

Burny and TLick, originally from Northern California, are transplants to the desert who have great samples and mad skills on the mic. See for yourself when they play at The Hood Bar and Pizza on Friday, Sept. 28, as part of the CV Independent Presents show with Kosha Dillz.

Burny was the first to relocate to the desert, in October 2017, with TLick following in April 2018.

“Part of my family moved out here about two years ago. I was still up in San Jose with my dad, and then my dad and I came down here,” Burny said. “Then (TLick) moved down here and stayed on my couch until we upgraded our spot.”

TLick said he moved to the Coachella Valley because of Burny.

“I was up in the Bay Area making music, but (Burny) and I were doing it remotely. We decided we wanted to take it seriously, so I moved down here and moved in with him,” he said.

Since that move, they’ve been slowly building a following at open-mic nights at The Hood, Plan B and Big Rock Pub.

“It feels like our sound is a little more fresh down here, and we’ve been getting a positive response,” TLick said. “Obviously, we didn’t know anybody, so we’ve been going to the open mics and trying to meet people, which has been going pretty well for us. We also just did a show in Hollywood thanks to our friend who has been helping us get shows around Los Angeles. We’re trying to seize every opportunity that we can.”

The style Burny and TLick have is unique, as are their styles of delivery. Burny is gifted with the ability to rap at a fast speed.

“I grew up listening to classic rock and alternative,” Burny said. “Then I heard Eminem and Tech N9ne, guys who were lyrically gifted, as well as gifted with their flow. I heard it; it caught my ear, and I just wanted to repeat it. I would read their lyrics, because they rap so fast, and I thought, ‘I want to do that!’ I would do that with other people’s songs, and I wanted to start doing that with my own.”

TLick said he’s had a passion for writing since he was a child.

“I’m really into language, so the reason I was attracted to hip-hop is because it’s an art form dedicated entirely to language,” TLick said. “How can you use your language to express an idea, and how creatively can you do it to make yourself stand out? It’s everything I’m interested in, in a nutshell.”

Their beats are smooth with a nice groove to them.

“We make our own beats,” TLick said. “I’m really funk-inspired, and I like things that have good rhythm. I like funky bass lines and music from the ’70s, soul, funk and classic rock. I like things that groove, and a lot of the modern hip-hop doesn’t really do it for me, because it doesn’t have that soul feel to it that I’m attracted to. So what I’m trying to do is fuse what I like into something that sounds modern, but also make that sound that I like and I’m inspired by.”

T Lick said the band’s name comes from one of the first songs the duo recorded.

“We recorded this song called ‘Forever Off Kilter,’ which was before we came up with the name,” TLick said. “We were trying to come up with a name for our duo and said a lot of names back and forth. Burny called me one day and said, ‘Hey, I got a name: Off Kilter.’ We sort of realized that describes us very well. We fell in love with that name.

“The more we say it, the more we like it. Every day, I still think it’s cool. It’s such a tight name, and it’s the fusion of the funky older sounds and grooves on the production and the really rapid-fire style that we do. It’s not what you hear a lot in 2018.”

The show with Kosha Dillz will be the first local show with a full set.

“I’m looking forward to people being there to see us do a hip-hop show as opposed to seeing us on a Wednesday night at open mic because they wanted to go to The Hood,” Burny said. “They’ll be able to see our abilities.

“We get a good response at open mics, but … when you do an actual show, (attendees) know what they are going to see. So we actually have an opportunity to gain some fans, because the people there that night will be into the actual music that we’re making. I’ve done a lot of open mics in the Bay Area, and I know how they work: They’re very hit or miss. Oftentimes, you perform late in the night, and people are tired of watching 20 acts before you, or they aren’t into the type of music that you’re doing, so they aren’t really going to become fans. It’s more for practice and to stay sharp, so when we get a show, we’re prepared.”

Off Kilter will perform with The Bermuda and Kosha Dillz at 9 p.m., Friday, Sep. 28, at The Hood Bar and Pizza, 74360 Highway 111, in Palm Desert. Admission is free. For more information on Off Kilter, visit www.offkiltermusic.net.

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