CVIndependent

Sun02252018

Last updateWed, 27 Sep 2017 1pm

Brian Blueskye

The Reverend Horton Heat has gone on to do many things that most rockabilly bands could never imagine.

The band’s music has been featured on soundtracks for television, films and video games; the group has toured with acts such as the Sex Pistols and Motörhead; the members have collaborated with rock ’n’ roll heavyweights; and it has been labeled as one of the hardest-working bands and best live acts in America.

The Reverend Horton Heat is returning to the desert for a show at Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace on Thursday, Jan. 11.

During a recent phone interview, the Reverend himself, Jim Heath, said he never imagined what would happen after he started the band in 1985 in Dallas.

“I just wanted to do my own songs within the rockabilly framework, and I was just giving up on the idea of being a rock star,” Heath said. “We ended up on a major-label deal, and we worked with Al Jourgensen of Ministry and Gibby Haynes of the Butthole Surfers, and some other pretty heavyweight people. This has been quite a ride! We were on the tail end of major labels giving out big money. It’s been a lot of fun.”

If you’ve been to a Reverend Horton Heat show, you know that all kinds of music fans, across all age ranges, come out to see them play.

“In the early days, we would play a punk-rock room one night, a country bar the next night, and then a heavy-metal place the next night,” Heath said. “Even though we were playing our own original music, we could tailor the set list to fit any situation we were in. That really helped make ends meet when we were just trying to do it full-time, so no one needed to have a full-time job. It’s a blessing, because now, we have shows where we have a really diverse fan base. We have rockabilly guys, heavy-metal guys, old guys, country guys—it’s crazy! It’s flattering, and it’s a real blessing.”

In some places, the mixture can lead to chaos. During a Reverend Horton Heat show I once attended in Cleveland, a fist fight broke out between a couple of older guys and some young punk-rockers who had started a mosh pit. Heath agreed that the diverse range of fans can sometimes lead to drama.

“We played quite a few gigs on our first trip to California where they would swing-dance,” he said. “For those clubs, we would tailor our gigs to a swing-dance crowd. But there was one particular gig in Long Beach (at a place) called Bogart’s where we showed up and started playing, and the swing-dancers started swing-dancing—and the mosh pit started. It was a clash of cultures, and we had to stop the show because five to 10 fights broke out all at once. Some sweaty alternative rocker goes slamming into some girl in her perfect little ’50s dress, and her boyfriend hits him. It was just a big brawl. It is what it is, and people want to have fun, but I want them to have fun and not hurt each other.”

The Reverend Horton Heat was once on tour for 250 to 275 dates a year, but that number has been decreased to a still-substantial 120 to 150. Heath said the band has always been a touring band first, regardless of album sales.

“With where record sales are now and that side of the industry falling apart, the lucky thing for us is that our art form is playing music, which has nothing to do with recordings,” he said. “Music is about a live thing with people having fun, socializing and enjoying the music together. That’s my art form, and that’s what I do.”

The list of legends with whom the Reverend Horton Heat has shared the stage is quite impressive.

“One of the best shows we ever did was opening for Johnny Cash at the Fillmore. We got to meet Johnny Cash and June Carter, and guys in his band to this day still keep in touch with us,” he said.

“I did a recording session, played golf, had dinner and played golf again with Willie Nelson. We opened for Carl Perkins, and after the show, he sat and told me stories for over an hour and a half. He was so funny and had some of the best stories. Johnny Rotten, when we toured with the Sex Pistols, would come up to me and tell me the craziest and funniest stuff. We did a TV show that included Wayne Newton, and he told us stories ’til 4 in the morning.”

The band’s last album, REV, was released in 2014—but Heath said to expect some new material soon, despite delays.

“We took most of the summer off to try to record a new album, and in the middle of all that, we switched drummers,” Heath said. “The album project got a little bit pushed back, and now we’ve been so busy that we almost don’t have time to do an album. I think we have 10 basic tracks pretty well, but we might go back and try to redo some of them. The good news is we have 10 songs, and it’s coming. We just need to get in the studio and finish it out.”

A word to the wise: It’s well-known that throwing beer is a no-no at a Reverend Horton Heat show. Heath took a serious tone when he told me his thoughts on the matter.

“I don’t like it; it’s stupid, and it’s ridiculous. I’m not into it at all,” he said. “You’ll get your ass thrown out doing that, and it’s not right. The first thing you learn in kindergarten is don’t throw stuff; the first thing you learn in college is don’t waste beer. There was a guy who threw beer on me in Denver one time, and I told him, ‘I always wondered what kind of person throws beer, and I figured it out—it’s rich kids!’ If you’re a rich kid, you can afford to throw beer and then call Mommy and Daddy, saying you need money for laundry or whatever. He got mad at me, and he was a writer, so he wrote a bad review of the show, saying what a wuss I was, and I was going, ‘Who is this guy?’ I Googled him, and he was a lead singer in a band whose stage antics were throwing beer. I kinda blew his stage shtick, which is awesome!”

The Reverend Horton Heat will perform with Voodoo Glow Skulls and Big Sandy at 8 p.m., Thursday, Jan. 11, at Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace, 53688 Pioneertown Road, in Pioneertown. Tickets are $25 to $30. For tickets or more information, call 760-365-5956, or visit pappyandharriets.com.

If you live in Desert Hot Springs, you’ve probably heard the mysterious booms that usually happen during the night.

It turns out that those of us who live in DHS are not alone: A quick Internet search turns up stories about and recordings of unexplained noises being heard around the world. Of course, it’s unknown whether what’s happening in Desert Hot Springs is related to these weird noises elsewhere.

I’ve lived in Desert Hot Springs for a while, and anything that goes “boom,” night or day, typically becomes part of a game jokingly called “Fireworks or Gunshots?” However, these mysterious booms are unlike the typical noises heard in the night. The first time I heard one, it was late, and I was out on my back porch. It sounded as if a bomb had gone off, echoing throughout the entire city of Desert Hot Springs. Another one, a few nights later, was loud enough that I heard it over the music playing in my earbuds.

It’s been a while since I’ve personally heard one, but other residents are still reporting them, often leading to discussions among the Desert Hot Springs Neighborhood Group on Facebook. People are demanding answers from Desert Hot Springs Chief of Police Dale Mondary.

Unfortunately, Mondary doesn’t have any.

“Most of (the booms) don’t get called into the police department at all,” Mondary said. “I just notice them on social media when I’m tagged in those posts.”

Mondary said he has no idea what’s causing them.

“We have not been able to pinpoint a specific area,” he said. “Honestly, part of it relates to our geographical location: We’re surrounded by a mountain range, and the sound reverberates. People will call and say, ‘I heard it right here,’ or they post on social media, ‘I heard it right here.’ Then across the town, someone will say, ‘No, I heard it from right here.’ So that’s obviously part of our problem. When we go and check these areas out, we find absolutely nothing—no signs of any explosives going off.”

Has Mondary heard any of these booms himself?

“I have not. Some of my officers have,” he said. “I talked to one of them one night who was up in the southeast part of town and heard it and thought, ‘Ooh, I have to be real close to this, and I’m going to be able to find it!’ Someone else was on the west end of town and heard the same thing and thought it came from the west part of town. That’s just how confusing it is.”

DHS residents have put forth a wide range of theories about the booms, ranging from UFOs to something involving the nearby San Andreas Fault, and from military operations to conspiracies straight out of the Alex Jones/Infowars camp. I thought that perhaps it might involve methane gas escaping from the nearby landfill, but a friend of mine pointed out that such emissions would probably also include a great light show.

Meanwhile, residents keep asking for Mondary to calm their fears by offering an explanation.

“I have no idea what it is. I truly don’t,” Mondary said. “I can’t even speculate as to what I think it is. It can be any number of things.”

Desert Hot Springs residents can take some solace in the fact that they’re not alone—and law enforcement officials and geographical experts in the other places where similar booms are being heard are just as stumped.

The only consensus right now is: “Nobody knows.”

A few months back, the band known as The BrosQuitos decided it was time to make some changes.

The Desert Hot Springs-based group went from a quartet to a trio after the departure of guitarist John Clark—and the remaining members decided the band’s name needed an update, in part because they wanted to be taken more seriously.

The band Sleeping Habits was born. On Thursday, Jan. 25, Sleeping Habits will be unveiling a new live set and a new sound at Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace.

During a recent interview in DHS, James Johnson (guitar, vocals) explained the changes that he, Max Powell (bass) and Hugo Chavez (drums) recently made.

“The honest word is that we lost a member, so we had to change the position of the band,” Johnson said. “We wanted to go in more of an edgier direction, something that was less high school. Our old name did hold us back from a lot, and … we’ve already been taken more seriously as far as Los Angeles County and outside of here. You say, ‘Yeah, we’re The BrosQuitos,’ and we’re going to be downplayed. ‘The BrosQuitos’ was created when I was 14 years old, and we’re all going on 22 years old now. We had to change it. It got some new songs out of us, as well as a new style.”

Johnson said he could not explain why Clark left the band; Clark stopped communicating with the other members rather suddenly, Johnson said. On a lighter note, Johnson also could not really explain the band’s new sound.

“Our style has definitely changed. I honestly don’t know how to describe it and haven’t found a word for it,” he said. “To me, it sounds a lot more full. … The stage presence is there; the organization is there; the lyrics are there; and if you were to ask me what it sounds like, I couldn’t tell you.

“We have a song that is about prostitution in Hollywood; we have a song about rumors and sex … and an anthem song that leads into a chant. We all feel confident about it. It’s not so much (like) the first songs I wrote as a 13- or 14-year-old. I went through a breakup; I went through the loss of a friendship; and I went through a transitional period with a band. There’s a meaning behind it, and I think a lot of people appreciate it.”

The members are currently putting together an EP that they hope to have out later this winter.

“We will be finishing up our EP shortly,” Johnson said. “Our connections this time around have greatly improved, so I’m working on getting a few producers for the studio. I’ve been talking to Esjay Jones to see what she has to offer, and I know she has a lot going on. I’ve been talking to Will Sturgeon from Brightener, and I’m hoping he’ll be in the studio with us to produce one of these songs. I also have Sean Scanlon from Smallpools who will hopefully come on board. We’re trying to make it more of a learning process this time around, because that’s what we didn’t take advantage of the first time we recorded. We really limited ourselves to letting everyone take a piece into the project who wanted to.”

Johnson said he’s happy that The BrosQuitos record, Vinyl Image, finally came to fruition earlier this year—but that he’s already grown beyond it.

“I love it. It’s my first record,” he said. “As a 13- or 14-year-old writing those pieces and finally seeing them when I’m 18 and 19 being put together in the studio—it’s chilling to me. I mean that in all honesty. It’s amateur, though—the writing style and the chord structures. I’m not going to say I’m embarrassed by it, but I look back on it realizing I could have done so much more. I could have seized more opportunity at that time of my life. But it’s still a good record to me.”

Sleeping Habits will perform with Foxtrax at 8 p.m., Thursday, Jan. 25, at Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace, 53688 Pioneertown Road, in Pioneertown. Admission is free. For more information, call 760-365-5956, or visit www.pappyandharriets.com.

The guys in Right On Right On are tight musicians who play a blend of hip-hop, country and jam-band rock, with a few more genres thrown in, too. For my money, Right On Right On is one of the more amusing and musically entertaining bands to watch in the Coachella Valley. John Quinn, the band’s guitarist, stands out with his dreadlocks and face-melting guitar skills. For more information, visit www.rightonrighton.com.

What was the first concert you attended?

June of 2002: Poison, Cinderella, Winger and Faster Pussycat at the Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View, Calif. The local grocery store was giving away free tickets at the checkout, because not enough were sold, and my mom took my younger sister and me.

What was the first album you owned?

Around the same time, I got Harvey Danger’s Where Have All the Merrymakers Gone?; Everclear’s So Much for the Afterglow; and Less Than Jake’s Hello Rockview.

What bands are you listening to right now?

Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe, My Morning Jacket, Lettuce, The Digs, Dead and Company, The New Mastersounds, the Marcus King Band, Black Pussy, TAUK, Twiddle, Dumpstaphunk, SOJA, Fortunate Youth, Iration, Nattali Rize, Hempress Sativa, Chronixx, Yaadcore, Hirie, and Protoje.

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

Thrash metal and hardcore punk.

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

Stick Figure.

What’s your favorite musical guilty pleasure?

“La Chona” (by Los Tucanes de Tijuana).

What’s your favorite music venue?

La Quinta Brewing Company’s Old Town Taproom.

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

“Let’s give them something to talk about,” from Bonnie Raitt’s “Something to Talk About.”

What band or artist changed your life? How?

Jimi Hendrix. I watched his VH1 Behind the Music documentary almost every day and had a dream about him teaching me guitar in between aisles in a library.

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

Jerry Garcia: “What are you Grateful for?”

What song would you like played at your funeral?

Elton John’s “Circle of Life” from The Lion King soundtrack.

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

Jimi Hendrix, Are You Experienced.

What song should everyone listen to right now?

My Morning Jacket covering “Purple Rain.” (Scroll down to hear it.)

Cakes, aka Monica Morones, is “a bad bitch.”

Those are her words—told to me during a recent phone interview. The local visual artist and musician is holding an art show, Bipolar, at Flat Back Art Supplies in Palm Desert on Saturday, Dec. 16.

I asked Morones to explain what makes her a “bad bitch.”

“I’m independent; I think for myself; I stick to my beliefs; and I feel like I’m a beast,” Morones said. “I feel like I can handle myself in any situation, and I feel like it’s not a defense mechanism, but that I’ve hardened myself into a bitch. I could tackle anything. I could do video; I could do photography; I could do painting; I could do modeling; and I could get up onstage and be a singer. I can do all of those things because I said so. That’s what being a bad bitch to me is.”

She explained what inspires her artistically, both as an artist and as a musician.

“My art is very raw, and I can’t even give myself a specific style because I don’t really have one,” she said. “The show ranges from abstract to fine art to super-detailed to random stuff I did on wood. I added in some photography pieces of mine that I really like. My art is kind of all over the place, but when people see my work, I know that they know it’s mine, because I stick with bubblegum pink, and I have a certain aesthetic.

“The inspiration definitely comes from being a bad bitch. I’m a bad girl, and I like in-your-face stuff. I like to shock people, and I like to make people think and make them think about me after that. I’m not narcissistic, but I like making people feel shocked. That’s an inspiration—and music is an inspiration. Anytime I make anything—I make the video; I make the song; and anything I put out—I try to do it entirely myself.”

I asked Morones why being provocative is her modus operandi.

“I can’t speak for other artists, but that’s the only way I know,” she said. “If you ever met my mother, you’d know why: Her favorite word is ‘motherfucker.’ It’s just who I am. I’m abrasive, but I’m also kind. Most of the time, I’m too honest for most people, and that reflects in everything that I do. I try to keep it in check, but most of the time, I’m an artist.”

Fashion is another outlet Morones has found for her art.

“I started sewing a long time ago and started making purses and wallets,” she said. “I learned how to put art on clothes and painted directly onto clothes. When I made a little bit of money off of it, I’d spend whatever extra money on screen printing and putting my art onto shirts, because I was tired of people not buying my purses and wallets. They weren’t too expensive, but they weren’t $20. Back in 2002, I had screen printers put my art onto a shirt, and I said, ‘OK, I’m going to make money this way.’ In the beginning, it was about money; now it’s about art. That’s the difference between being a younger artist and an older artist. But this has been 18 years for me, doing art.”

Morones said it is not easy to be a young artist in the Coachella Valley.

“I think that’s been my biggest struggle as an artist—being validated by others,” she said. “I think it’s horrible, but let’s be honest: That’s what happens when you’re an artist. You make art, and you want to be validated by people, and you want people to like it. … I can’t specifically say if it’s in the Coachella Valley, but I do know that in order to get any type of publication writing or any kind of thing like that, you can’t piss off people. It doesn’t matter what your talent is; you have to know the right people.”

Morones hinted that there might be a Cakes performance at the Bipolar art show, but she made no promises. She described her art and her music as “two very segregated things.”

“When I make art, it’s personal,” she explained. “… I don’t paint live, and I’m not a lab monkey, but kudos to whoever does that. I like to sit in my cage, watch my favorite show, smoke some weed get in a mind-space where I can freely let go. For me, painting is painting. To perform music—that’s a show. When I do shows, I try to touch all the bases of visuals and sound. What can I do to make it different? ‘Let’s put big pink cornrows in my hair; let’s get two big homosexual dancers with their shirts off wearing bunny masks to make people feel a little weird about themselves. Let’s do some weird stuff to make people feel entertained.’ When I perform music, that’s for entertainment, but when I’m an artist, that’s just for me.”

Bipolar, an art show by Cakes, takes place from 6 to 10 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 16, at Flat Black Art Supplies, 74275 Highway 111, in Palm Desert. An all-female slate of DJs will perform. Admission to the 18-and-over event is free. For more information, call 760-340-4307, or visit the event’s Facebook page.

It’s a common argument in the local music scene: Is Throw the Goat a metal band … or is it a punk band?

The Idyllwild three-piece’s new album, The Joke’s on Us, settles the argument once and for all: Throw the Goat is definitely a do-it-yourself punk-rock band.

The band is currently taking pre-orders for The Joke’s On Us, which will be released Jan. 26, via PledgeMusic. If Throw the Goat receives more than 100 percent of goal, the members will donate 10 percent of the overage to the American Red Cross.

During a recent interview at The Hood Bar and Pizza, we talked about the title of the EP the band released last year before the presidential election, Vote Goat, as well as the title of the new album.

“There are a lot of people in the political climate who dismissed certain things last year, thinking, ‘It’s just a joke.’ I think now, with how the way things turned out, the joke is on all of us,” said guitarist Brian “Puke” Parnell.

Drummer Troy Whitford, who is celebrating his one-year anniversary with Throw the Goat and will also appear for the first time on the band’s recordings with The Joke’s On Us, said it was important to “go there” politically.

“It’s almost kind of like a responsibility to say something,” Whitford said. “We all have our own opinions toward the political climate, but it would be bullshit and against ourselves to write more songs about drinking and having a good time, boys and girls, and all that other bullshit. There are things that need to be put into perspective, and people need to acknowledge what’s going on.”

The recording sessions for the album started on Halloween.

“I guess if you put it all together, it took about a month,” Parnell said. “Recording, editing, mixing and getting the masters back took about 32 days.”

Bassist and lead vocalist Michael Schnalzer said there are pluses and minuses when it comes to DIY recording.

“It gave us freedom we never had, which can be positive and a negative,” he said. “I think it made it easier to work through the problems we ran into. But it also made it harder, because you can do whatever you want. We’re really fucking picky when it comes to ourselves. The vocals drove me insane.”

Parnell laughed and added: “It would have only taken three weeks if we were less picky.”

Schnalzer said a couple of the tracks stray from the typical Throw the Goat formula.

“Puke wrote a song called ‘High,’ and it’s going to be the lead single on the album,” Schnalzer said. “That one is just an ear worm and is probably one of the poppiest tracks we’ve ever written—not that that’s a bad thing, because it’s still heavy as shit. This album gets a little weird for us, because it also has our heaviest song ever, ‘The Joke’s On Us,’ which is the title track. That song is about as metal as Throw the Goat will ever get.”

Earlier this year, Throw the Goat went on a national tour, and also played in the United Kingdom.

“We were gone for six weeks,” Schnalzer said. “In the middle of a trip like that, it feels like it’s never going to end. Once it’s over, it seems like a blur. Getting the opportunity to go to the UK again was pretty mind-blowing. But getting to tour around the country and getting to play for people who we’ve never seen, and play with bands we’ve never met before—it was super-cool.”

Of course, it was the first Throw the Goat tour for Whitford.

“(Troy) was the man!” Parnell said. “If I was riding shotgun, and Mike was in the driver’s seat, Troy would all of a sudden appear out of the back and be like, ‘A little peanut butter cracker sandwich, gentlemen?’”

Parnell said the band has big hopes for The Joke’s On Us.

“We’re trying to be on the charts, which is the main reason behind the PledgeMusic thing,” he said. “For an independent band to register with SoundScan, and do all that other kind of chart stuff that people have to do independently, it’s a big pain, but PledgeMusic makes it super-easy. With the way album sales go these days, it doesn’t really take that much overall to make an impact. It’s the first time we’re going to be doing that, and it’s the first time we’re doing vinyl and doing it ourselves. There are people we’ve been talking to about taking it a little further, like independent labels who are somewhat interested if we chart in that opening week.”

Schnalzer agreed that using PledgeMusic was a fine idea.

“The response has been good,” he said. “I’ve always been personally hesitant at crowd-funding, but PledgeMusic is a lot more legitimate and made specifically more for musicians. It’s not just trying to crowd-fund an album; you do a pre-order and (there are) all kinds of major acts on there. It’s a professional venue to find bands, check them out and help along with the process—and there aren’t really record labels anymore. It’s a way for bands representing themselves to professionally and legitimately get the money raised to put out merchandise and albums.”

Whitford said the options for musicians on PledgeMusic are far better than those on other platforms.

“On Kickstarter, you’re trying to raise funds to do something,” he said. “With PledgeMusic, you’re doing something, but you’re making it available beforehand, and you’re able to give different options for purchase to help out the cause itself. You don’t have to buy the album; you can buy other things to help it. It’s like pre-ordering a video game and getting that package that won’t be available once it’s released. It’s like you’re saying, ‘We’re doing it; here’s a chance to get it before everyone else.’”

Whitford added that PledgeMusic has given them the opportunity network with other bands, and breaks down the demographics of who is buying the record—some of which have surprised Whitford.

“You have people pre-ordering your album all over the world,” he said. “There have been the same amount of people pre-ordering our album in the UK as there have been in the desert.”

Parnell said that the process has made them add another goal to their 2018 list.

“Arthur Seay from House of Broken Promises has told us, ‘Hey, man, you definitely want to go play in (continental) Europe,’” Parnell said. “For 2018, that’s one of the things we want to do. We’ve played the UK a couple of times, and it’s cool that we have a solid fan base there, but the next time we do that, we’re going to attach it to a European tour playing in France, Germany, the Netherlands, Ireland and places like that.”

To pre-order Throw the Goat’s The Joke’s On Us, visit www.pledgemusic.com/throwthegoat. For more information, visit www.throwthegoat.net.

Hundred Forms has been getting consistent local gigs lately, and I’ve been trying to come up with a proper description of the band’s sound. The best I can come up with so far: “something fascinating.” The band includes elements of punk rock, desert rock and ’90s underground alternative. For more information on Hundred Forms, visit www.facebook.com/hundredforms. Larry Ellison, the band's guitarist—not to be confused with the guy from Oracle—was kind enough to answer the Lucky 13. Here are his answers.

What was the first concert you attended?

AC/DC. I got invited to join some friends of mine our sophomore year in high school. I believe it was The Razor's Edge tour.

What was the first album you owned?

Michael Jackson's Thriller. I became obsessed with the dancing zombies in the video and had to have the song at my disposal.

What bands are you listening to right now?

Hey, that's my line! I really like what Puscifer has put out recently. Royal Blood has captured my attention. Lately, I've been on a Subhumans and Silversun Pickups kick. Them Crooked Vultures are good long drive companions.

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

Rap.

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

Tchaikovsky. That sounds so pretentious. Either way, I'm just a sucker for moody and dramatic music. Maybe I should say Kyuss (with the Reeder, Hernandez, Homme and Garcia lineup). Or Crash Worship—yes, definitely Crash Worship.

What’s your favorite musical guilty pleasure?

Oh boy, time to come out: Lady Gaga. I want to crawl inside her vocal chords and marinate myself for a lifetime.

What’s your favorite music venue?

Nowadays, almost anything in a theater type setting. I saw Puscifer at the Fox Performing Arts Center in Riverside and loved it.

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

“I know the pieces fit …” from “Schism” by Tool. That goes really well with my day job.

What band or artist changed your life? How?

Jello Biafra of Dead Kennedys. I had never heard punk rock music before that. Let me just say I haven't been right since.

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

Jim Morrison of the Doors: “Me first or you?”

What song would you like played at your funeral?

Ooh, I don't know where to start. Perhaps “The Wind” by the Zac Brown Band. Hopefully that will get the party started.

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

Neurosis, Souls at Zero.

What song should everyone listen to right now?

“Three Days” by Jane’s Addiction. (Scroll down to hear it!)

In 2001, the DREAM Act was introduced in Congress. If passed into law, the DREAM Act would grant legal status to undocumented children who were brought to and educated in the United States.

Sixteen years later, the act has never been passed. DREAMers, the young men and women who would be affected by the law, received some help in 2012 when the Obama administration enacted the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy—but in September, the Trump administration announced it was repealing the program. (See “A Nightmare for Dreamers,” Oct. 19, at CVIndependent.com.)

As a result, Hugo Chavez, of Desert Hot Springs, fears for his future.

Chavez is well-known in the Coachella Valley music community. He’s the drummer for local band Sleeping Habits (formerly The BrosQuitos), and is one of the many DREAMers across the country who hope to become a legal resident or citizen someday.

“I was brought here from Mexico when I was less than a year old,” Chavez said during a recent interview. “It’s something that has always affected my life in some way or another. It’s hard to explain, because when you’re not in that situation, you are very unaware of how it really is. You have what you want, but you can’t really do anything.

“(DACA) helped out a lot. As a musician, the fear of crossing somewhere or playing somewhere like San Diego—it wasn’t a possibility. You can’t go somewhere like San Diego over the fear of being deported, and (DACA) took that fear away. … It’s like being trapped in a golden cage: You’re where you want to be, but you can’t really do anything.”

Chavez said he lives in Desert Hot Springs for a reason.

“I’ve stayed here in Desert Hot Springs my whole life, because it’s more of a safe haven than anything else,” he said. “You don’t have to worry about Border Patrol coming through here, especially for our families. … It’s a safe haven for them, and they don’t have to worry so much about hiding or going to the local grocery store.”

Chavez said he really started to understand the gravity of his situation when he was in high school.

“You see your friends when they turn 16 going to get their licenses and doing the typical American teenager stuff, and you’re always questioning, ‘Why am I not doing that?’ or, ‘Why can’t I do that?’” he said. “Then it all hits you that you can’t get a license or even an ID card because of your status. It sucks, because I had opportunities to take trips with the marching band or do other extracurricular activities that I couldn’t do.”

Chavez’s parents—like the parents of many DREAMers—came to the United States in search of the American dream.

“It’s the same story that anyone would tell you: It’s the pursuit of a better life,” he said. “When you’re living in Mexico, some people work all week to make 100 pesos, and that’s not even $10 in the United States. They can’t survive, making so little money. Parents want their kids to go to college; they want something bigger for them, or at least some opportunity for their children to pursue a dream. That’s why my mom and dad have to do what they do.”

When we discussed the arguments people opposed to the DREAM Act often make, Chavez said the opponents oversimplify things.

People like to say, ‘If you don’t like your country, you should fix it.’ But it’s not that easy,” he said. “People can vote and start as many petitions as they can in this country, but it doesn’t mean it’s going to change anything. It’s the same thing there. People can speak out, but when you have a government that controls the people as well as they do there, there’s not much you can say or do without fear of repercussions.”

Chavez’s family has been trying to get legal status for several years.

“It’s something people are really misguided about. A lot of people just say, ‘Go get your citizenship!’ It’s not like I can walk into an office and pay to get my citizenship. It doesn’t work like that,” he said. “My family has been in the process of getting our citizenship and visas for over 10-plus years. We’ve supposedly been approved, but there’s no actual date to go and do our fingerprints or anything like that. … It’s not simple at all, and you have to go through so many background checks, and they check your health, your status, where you work, and everything before you’re approved. It’s not something that takes 10 minutes, like it’s in and out at the DMV. … If it were so easy, this wouldn’t be such a big deal.”

Despite his legal status, Chavez said he wants to pursue as many of his dreams as he can.

“Now that I have (DACA), it allowed me to get my license, get my ID, and get everything that I needed in order to make that next step into getting citizenship,” he said. “The fear of going somewhere is not there anymore. I can freely go to the courthouse or go somewhere to pay a fee knowing that I’m going to make it home that same night. It’s a liberating feeling.

“Having the option to go to college and do anything that I want to do is something I don’t take for granted. Some people live in this country and have all these opportunities by birthright, and then they blame society for all the things they haven’t done. I’d rather fight for what I got and work my way up.”

I asked Chavez what the repeal of DACA, without a replacement by Congress, would mean for him.

“The basic fear is the fear of having to go back into hiding—the fear of not being accepted in general,” he said. “I have nothing different than my fellow band members or my friends in college; I’m just the same as a person as they are. The fear of having to dwell back and not be able to do the things I do now—it’d be a step in the wrong direction, especially for people like me who have so much to offer, and so much to do, and (our legal status) is the only thing holding us back.”

In 2015, Cam lit up the country-music charts with her album Untamed—and she may very well do so again next year, when she releases a new album.

In the meantime, she’s bringing her small-scale West Coast tour to Pappy and Harriet’s on Thursday, Dec. 7.

Born in Lafayette, a Bay Area suburb, she decided to pursue a music career after attaining a degree in psychology from University of California, Davis, and working in research labs.

During a recent phone interview, Cam discussed her new single, “Diane.”

“It’s basically the mirror image of the Dolly Parton song ‘Jolene,’” Cam said. “In this story, the other woman is coming forward saying that the guy she is with—she didn’t realize that he was married. When she finds out he’s married, she goes to the guy’s wife, tells the truth and apologizes. But it’s all wrapped up in this kind of ABBA-meets-Fleetwood Mac, dance-music, up-tempo vibe. You’re kind of dancing along and singing, ‘Diane, I’m really sorry I didn’t know he was your man,’ and you’re having a lot of fun, and then it’s, ‘Oops, wait. What is she saying?’”

With two albums under her belt, Cam said the upcoming album was easier to record—and that she had more resources to work with.

“There’s always the challenge of art—when you get in your own head and … you go through the process, and suddenly everything you have is horrible,” she said. “Sometimes it’s just wading through inner turmoil to figure out what you want, in terms of the process, and it was a lot easier this time around. When I first started in 2010, I was still doing psychology research, and when I first went into music, I started from scratch and was still learning how to write what I wanted, and how my voice should sound. I did it all on a Kickstarter budget.

“This (new) album, after winning a Grammy nomination for the last one, I have a bigger budget and things like strings on this album. I recorded it at the Capitol building in Los Angeles. The songwriters who wrote ‘Girl Crush’ are on it, and it was much easier.”

While songwriters helped with the album, Cam said she writes the vast majority of her material herself.

“It’s a very rare instance where I don’t (write all of it), and that may happen on one song on this next album. But I generally always write it,” she said. “For me, it has to touch base with the emotional part … by writing about the experiences that define you. It has to touch you with some kind of emotion behind it. That’s worth all the work and effort that goes into it. I have to feel pretty intense about it, and that includes me feeling very vulnerable when I’m writing.”

Speaking of songwriting: Cam wrote a song on Sam Smith’s new album.

“I felt like, sitting down with Sam, he already heard some of the new album and liked it, but he knew what he was going into and said, ‘I want to write with her,’” she said. “We sat down, and it was like there was a similar concept that’s floating between you, and you both identify it. If you don’t speak the same language or you’re not on the same wavelength, then it doesn’t work.”

As a Californian, Cam said she struggled when she first arrived in Nashville.

“People definitely have a way of doing things … and tell you, ‘That’s the way it’s done,’” she said. “… Sometimes, when you get into Nashville as a new artist, people are like, ‘Here’s the big-hit producer; here are the big-hit musicians you have to use; and here’s the big-hit writer!’ You just kind of get pushed into the factory line, but then in the end, you get music that sounds like everyone else’s, and it feels like it could be replaceable.”

Cam is currently touring smaller West Coast venues. She said she wants to show appreciation for the West Coast while introducing songs from the upcoming album in intimate venues.

“I lived in Portland at one point in my life. I was raised in the Bay Area, (lived in) Los Angeles at one point, and I got married in Pioneertown. These are all places that I love,” she said. “For me, bringing a show to an intimate place after playing big shows—it’s really cool to be in a venue where you can see people and their faces at an intimate level. That’s all I’ve ever wanted to do in my life: play music in the places where I want to play and for the people I want to play it for.”

Cam will perform 9 p.m., Thursday, Dec. 7, at Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace, 53688 Pioneertown Road, in Pioneertown. Tickets are $20. For tickets or more information, call 760-365-5956, or visit pappyandharriets.com.

It’s that wonderful and crazy time of the year again: The holiday season is upon us, and you’re probably looking to celebrate with some fun events. With that in mind, here’s your final Blueskye Report for 2017.

The McCallum Theatre always brings great holiday cheer in December. At 3 and 8 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 2, the mostly instrumental prog-rock-meets-pop-meets-synth-meets-classical project known as Mannheim Steamroller will be returning with its holiday show. Mannheim Steamroller has selling out venues doing this for 30 years, so don’t miss it if you’ve never seen it before. Tickets are $47 to $87. At 7 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 3, don’t miss All Is Calm: The Christmas Truce of 1914. This is one of the best-known true holiday tales in history, about the Christmas when Allied and German soldiers decided to call for a temporary truce during World War I. Tickets are $27 to $67. At 8 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 9, comedian Tom Dreesen will be performing his show An Evening of Laughter and Memories of Sinatra. As Frank Sinatra’s opening act for 14 years, Dreesen has stories that will be great to hear. Tickets are $27 to $67. McCallum Theatre, 73000 Fred Waring Drive, Palm Desert; 760-340-2787; www.mccallumtheatre.com.

Fantasy Springs Resort Casino is definitely in the holiday spirit. At 8 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 2, Alaskan folk-singer Jewel will be performing as part of her Handmade Holiday Tour. She’s put out two albums’ worth of Christmas music that have been well-received. Tickets are $39 to $69. At 8 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 9, jazz-legend Tony Bennett will return to Fantasy Springs. What can be said about Tony Bennett that hasn’t been said already? This show will most likely come with Christmas tunes as well! Tickets are $49 to $99. If you want a little more swing in your Christmas step, you’re covered: At 8 p.m., Friday, Dec. 22, the Brian Setzer Orchestra will be performing. This is the 14th year that Brian Setzer has set out on his famous Christmas tour. I caught his Christmas show a couple of years ago, and I can tell you that it’s a lot of fun, featuring Christmas music as well as the Brian Setzer classics that you love. Tickets are $39 to $69. Fantasy Springs Resort Casino, 84245 Indio Springs Parkway, Indio; 760-342-5000; www.fantasyspringsresort.com.

Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa has a solid schedule during the month. At 9 p.m., Friday, Dec. 1, Australian comedian Jim Jefferies (upper right) will take the stage. Expect the outspoken Jefferies’ career to continue to rise while Trump is president; his Comedy Central talk show was recently renewed for a second season. Tickets are $45 to $65. At 5 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 3, Dance to the Holidays will take place, featuring Dancing With the Stars Mirrorball champions Tony Dovolani and Karina Smirnoff. The event will also include finalists from American Idol and So You Think You Can Dance. This is one big mess of holiday awesomeness! Tickets are $45 to $75. If you’re looking for a festive way to bring in 2018, look no further, because at 10:30 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 31, KC and the Sunshine Band will be performing. With disco hits you know and love such as “Get Down Tonight” and “That’s The Way (I Like It),” you’re guaranteed a great time. Tickets are $75 to $95. The Show at Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa, 32250 Bob Hope Drive, Rancho Mirage; 888-999-1995; www.hotwatercasino.com.

Spotlight 29 has some fine shows on the schedule. At 8 p.m., Friday, Dec. 1,’70s rock band Ambrosia will be performing. The group has been nominated for five Grammy awards and is responsible for hit songs “How Much I Feel” and “Biggest Part of Me.” Tickets are $20. At 8 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 16, country music superstar Clint Black will take the stage. He’s had more than 30 country-music hits—ְand performs some Christmas music as well, so expect to hear some of that country Christmas twang. Tickets are $35 to $55. Do you like to party? Of course you do, so you won’t want to miss the New Year’s Eve celebration at 8 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 31 when Gap X—The Band performs. The group includes six original members of the Gap Band, famous for songs such as “You Dropped a Bomb on Me” and “Outstanding.” Tickets are $35 to $55. Spotlight 29 Casino, 46200 Harrison Place, Coachella; 760-775-5566; www.spotlight29.com.

Morongo Casino Resort Spa has a couple of holiday offerings for December that aren’t yet sold out (at least as of our press deadline). At 6 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 9, enjoy a holiday “sleigh ride toy run” with ’80s metal bands Slaughter and Great White. Tickets are $17.50 to $20. At midnight, Sunday, Dec. 10, the “sleigh ride toy run” continues with Vixen and Autograph, both from the ’80s metal world. Vixen is an all-female band that proved they could play metal just as good as men. You might remember Autograph for the song “Turn Up the Radio,” which was featured on the Hot Tub Time Machine soundtrack. Tickets are $17.50 to $20. Morongo Casino Resort Spa, 49500 Seminole Drive, Cabazon; 800-252-4499; www.morongocasinoresort.com.

Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace has some good events to consider. At 9 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 9, singer-songwriter Terry Reid will be performing. When I interviewed Terry a couple of years ago, he told me a variety of hilarious stories, including one about the time when Chuck Berry stole his amplifier while he was on tour with the Rolling Stones. Yes, Terry is a legend—and tickets are just $15. At 9:30 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 16, stoner-rock band Fu Manchu will take the stage. If you’re a fan of desert rock and love fuzzy guitars, sweet riffs and that funny stuff kids are smoking, you’ll love Fu Manchu. Advice: Don’t forget your ear plugs. Tickets are $15 to $18. At 8:30 p.m., Friday, Dec. 22, the Supersuckers (below) will be returning to Pappy and Harriet’s. Eddie Spaghetti seems to have won his battle with cancer, so the band is still kicking ass and taking names. Tickets are $25. Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace, 53688 Pioneertown Road, Pioneertown; 760-365-5956; www.pappyandharriets.com.

The Purple Room Palm Springs will have a fun month full of holiday events. At 7 p.m., every Sunday in December, Michael Holmes will be doing his holiday themed Judy Show. Tickets are $25 to $30. At 8 p.m., Friday, Dec. 1, enjoy a holiday show by Kate Campbell and the Martini Kings. I chatted with Martini Kings frontman Anthony Marsico last year on the patio at the Paul McCartney show at Pappy and Harriet’s, and enjoyed his stories about playing with Bob Dylan. Tickets are $25 to $30. At 8 p.m., Friday, Dec. 22, get out your blue suede shoes when Scot Bruce performs his Elvis-themed Blue Suede Christmas! show. Tickets are $25 to $30. Michael Holmes’ Purple Room, 1900 E. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs; 760-322-4422; www.purpleroompalmsprings.com.

The Copa Nightclub has some fun shows slated for the month. At 8 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 2, and 7:30 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 3, Steve Grand will take the stage. He’s the young gay singer who rocketed to stardom when his song “All-American Boy” went viral on YouTube. Tickets are $35 to $55. At 8 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 9, Ty Herndon will perform. The country star enjoyed big success with a couple of gold records in the 1990s, and came out of the closet in 2014. Tickets are $25 to $35. At 8 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 23, Frenchie Davis will return to the Coachella Valley. Fun fact: The alumnus of both American Idol and The Voice has had several successful singles, but has not yet released a full album. Tickets are $25 to $45. Copa, 244 E. Amado Road, Palm Springs; 760-866-0021; www.copapalmsprings.com.