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Last updateTue, 18 Sep 2018 1pm

Brian Blueskye

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 turn 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.

Three fine musicians, formerly members of well-liked local bands, have joined forces to create something new.

Karr features drummer Russel Waldron (formerly of Spankshaft), guitarist and vocalist Paul Karr (Unheard) and bassist Andy Gorrill (Machin’, Warsaw Poland Bros.), and the group will be making its low-desert debut—and playing its second show, period—at The Hood Bar and Pizza on Saturday, Sept. 1.

During a recent interview in Yucca Valley, Waldron said he was looking to play music again after leaving Spankshaft—and found chemistry with Gorrill and Karr.

“I consider it like the band Chickenfoot of the desert,” Waldron said. “We all come from these big bands of the desert—Warsaw Poland Brothers, Spankshaft and Unheard—and we decided to go our separate ways from them. As far as Spankshaft goes, I still love those guys like brothers, but it was time for a change.

“Me and Paul (Karr), who is my brother-in-law, got together. I jammed with everyone I could in the desert, but with Paul, it just clicked, and it felt like a heroin feeling. … After three practices, I was like, ‘Oh my god, this is where I belong.’ It’s been awesome, and it’s a huge breath of fresh air.

“We were on the prowl for a bass player, and I’ve played with 90 percent of the bands in the valley, and I never thought about hitting up Andy Gorrill; I always thought he was busy. I remember he texted me saying, ‘Totally interested!’ He came over, and after the first practice, Paul said, ‘He’s in!’ We’ve been practicing two to three times a week.”

For Paul Karr, the band marks a return to the rock world.

“I’ve been doing acoustic sets here and there, but nothing in rock for several years,” Karr said. “I didn’t really think I was going to do it again; my first intention was to get together with other guys and do stuff acoustically. That didn’t happen. I put an ad out on Craigslist, and it was while Russel was still in Spankshaft. I got all these replies and booked all these practices. But Russel said, ‘Hey, let’s get together!’ So I canceled all those. … I had been playing mostly benefit stuff because my mom is involved in a lot of charities.”

Gorrill said that while being part of Machin’ was fun, he and frontman David Macias didn’t always see eye to eye.

“I definitely had different life goals,” Gorrill said. “David (Macias) wanted to go one way, and it was different than what I was up for doing. … I played ball for a long time, but it got to a point where I needed to do me. It left a sour taste in my mouth, but it was good for me, because it let me not have to worry about shows, not worry about gigging, and it let me sit in my garage and play what I wanted to play, which was loud rock ’n’ roll. … In this band, it’s, ‘Let’s try this,’ or, ‘Let’s try that,’ instead of, ‘Learn how to play it is this way!’ There’s a lot of freedom now, and we’re not focused on perfection. Music should be fun, and when it becomes a job, the fun starts to peter out.”

Waldron said he understands it’s not easy to run a successful band.

“You have to keep the momentum going,” Waldron said. “You have to keep up with your publicity and all that. It can become a second job, but as long as it’s fun, and I’m happy like I’ve been, and it stays this way, I could play music for the next 20 years with these guys. It’s super-fun, and it’s exciting, and we’re just going to grow. It’s not perfect right now by any means, but it’s pretty damn awesome.”

Only a short demo for Karr has been released so far, but all three members agreed that coming from different music backgrounds was a positive.

“Genre-wise, I came from a ska band,” Waldron said. “We did a lot of ska, reggae and pop-punk. I’m still a huge reggae and ska fan at heart, so I’m going to bring a lot of those roots with me. It’s really cool to blend these different backgrounds together and see how it goes. I bring a lot of my roots with me, but playing with Paul and Andy’s different styles brings a lot of new stuff out of me I didn’t know I had.”

Karr said the creative atmosphere works well for him.

“Way back in the day in my band, it was way more catchy and riff-driven. As time went on, it became harder and harder, and it felt like it was becoming depressing metal,” Karr said. “But for me now, I’ll bring something in, and I never leave bummed out, because we’re continuously creating. I feel like they’re more open to working on a song and giving it their best shot.”

Gorrill said Machin’ should not define him as a musician.

“In Machin’, there was the cumbia, the ska and the gypsy jazz—which was all cool. It’s great to have that background, but it’s not what I listen to when I’m at home,” he said. “I’m listening to Foo Fighters and stuff like that, so it’s nice to be in a guitar band.”

There’s no doubt that Karr will offer some surprises during the show at The Hood.

“We have some studio time … and we’ve been putting it off, because we’ve been working on our set, but we want to go in there and get some records done hopefully by the end of the year. Everybody has been seeing our posters everywhere, and we have no music to show them yet—so the only way you’re going to hear us is to come to the show.”

Karr will perform with Sunday Funeral and Sticky Doll at 9 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 1, at The Hood Bar and Pizza, 74360 Highway 111, in Palm Desert. Admission is free. For more information, visit www.karrband.com.

The Desert AIDS Project wants to let Coachella Valley residents know about the dangers of hepatitis C—especially baby boomers, who may have been carrying the now-curable disease unknowingly for decades.

Jose De La Cruz is a community health educator for DAP. He explained why people from one particular demographic—those born between 1945 and 1965—are especially at risk for the potentially fatal disease, which can cause liver failure and liver cancer.

“The test (for hepatitis C) didn’t really become available until 1991 or 1992,” De La Cruz said. “So you’re talking about anybody (being at risk) who received a blood transfusion before then. … You also have people who were going off to the Vietnam War; there were casualties, and universal precaution wasn’t even developed yet. There was the revolution of IV drug users during the 1960s. Before HIV came around, a lot of tattoo parlors didn’t have too many health departments going in to inspect them, (nor did) piercing parlors. There are a lot of factors that add to this, and because it takes such a long time for the symptoms to develop, because the liver can regenerate itself, you have people who could have been infected for 30 to 40 years, while no symptoms have developed yet.”

Hepatitis C can now be cured—but because of the high cost of these new drugs, some insurance companies are not willing to pay for them until serious liver damage has occurred.

“With hepatitis C, one of the things you want to be able to do is get yourself a good doctor, because a lot of the time, the insurance companies will make you wait until you’re at Stage 2 of liver damage,” De La Cruz said. “But you have some great doctors who will notice how much damage you have to your liver, and if you’re developing symptoms already. If you’re developing symptoms, that could be a reason to get you on treatment now instead of seeing how much damage of the liver you have.”

The cost per dose of these hepatitis C drugs is astronomical—potentially approaching $90,000 for a 12-week regimen—and the drugs are newly available to some lower-income Californians thanks to the state recently allocating $176 million for treatment.

“The medication is pretty expensive—it’s $1,050 per pill for Sovaldi—and the thing is … how many people can (an untreated person with hepatitis C) infect?” De La Cruz said. “Now you’re looking at even more infections. One person you allow to keep living with hepatitis C, not curing them—how many more people could this person infect, and how much more money is it going to cost? … It’s almost like HIV back in the ’80s, when the numbers started to multiply more and more due to a lack of education and lack of knowledge.”

There is another group De La Cruz and other health educators are trying to reach: people who know they have hepatitis C, but who have previously declined treatment due to questionable effectiveness and serious side effects.

“There are a lot of people who know they are infected and didn’t want to go through the treatment,” he said. “It’s because of not knowing that … doctors now have Sovaldi, and this medication can cure them. Many are under the assumption that it’s still interferon and ribavirin treatments, and there are horror stories they’ve heard about the interferon. It’s now my job to go out there and educate them, saying, ‘No, now there is a cure; you don’t have to live with hepatitis C anymore. Now, you don’t have to go through the regimen (lasting) six months to a year. Now, it’s just eight to 12 weeks and not just clearing 35 to 40 percent (effectiveness); now it’s 96 to 98 percent.’ Those are the things we’re trying to pass on to the public.”

When I asked how effective the public-awareness campaign has been, De La Cruz said it’s been positive—although it’s always a challenge to convince some people they’re at risk.

“Because of the high-risk population I work with in the recovery centers, the homeless shelters and the county jails—to me, it’s very positive,” he said. … “I try to go to the senior population, because of the baby boomers. … Many of them don’t know they are infected with hepatitis C and have passed it on to their loved ones.

“In the east valley, there isn’t a lot of knowledge about HIV and how it’s transmitted, and lots of times, you find people out there with HIV, and they’re in the hospital because they didn’t think they were at risk, and many years had gone by with symptoms developing. It’s also happening with hepatitis C. Now their livers are failing; now their skin is yellow; now they are tired and exhausted. … (Some people think), ‘You have no risk for hepatitis C if you’re a woman, you’re married, you have kids, you have a job, you don’t do any drugs, and you don’t do any of this or that.’ But people forget about the partners they’ve had, or something that might have happened 20 years ago that was just one time.”

For more information, call the Desert AIDS Project at 760-276-5097.

If you haven’t yet caught a set by When Tides Turn, you’re missing out: The band beautifully mixes together the melodic and aggressive sides of metal. Catch them at 8 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 13, at Kilo’s Cantina in Thousand Palms, performing along with Annabelle Asylum, Instigator, Ormus and Decapitate the Kause. For more information, visit www.facebook.com/whentidesturn. When Tides Turn frontman Jacob Garcia, was kind enough to answer the Lucky 13; here are his answers.

What was the first concert you attended?

In college, I got to see Head Automatica play. It was a super-small little plaza show; that was really cool. Then (UC-Santa Barbara music festival) Extravaganza came, and I saw Saosin; that was awesome. It was my first pit experience, too. I took a hit to the gut, and that kept me out for the rest of the song.

What was the first album you owned?

I remember having NSYNC’s No Strings Attached when I was a kid. First album I bought? I’m having a hard time remembering because of how many I burnt instead of buying. It might have been Nickelback’s Silver Side Up. Say what you want about them, but “How You Remind Me” was my JAM!

What bands are you listening to right now?

A lot of Vitalism, Oceans Ate Alaska, Veil of Maya, Autonomist, and Angel Vivaldi. My guitarist got me into the Tony Danza Tapdance Extravaganza, too. … I’ve also been revisiting Last Winter recently.

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

That one’s hard, because I try to see what a person may like in something, and sometimes you just have to understand that some songs/genres aren’t going to appeal to you, because you’re not part of the aimed demographic. If I had to pick something, I guess the whole (concept of) “selling out.” Everyone wants to be able to make a living off what they make, and if I have to make some changes for that to happen, I’m in.

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

Killswitch Engage while Howard Jones was the singer. I love Jesse Leach just as much, but I never saw Howard, and I wish I had.

What’s your favorite musical guilty pleasure?

I don’t feel bad listening to it, but early 2000s R&B and hip hop could be a guilty pleasure, I guess.

What’s your favorite music venue?

It’s a tie between Glass House and the Observatory—and, of course, The Hood Bar and Pizza!

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

That changes every 60 seconds. … But yesterday, it was, “They say what doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger. It’s killing me, killing me. There’s no one to keep me strong,” from Shields’ “It’s Killing Me.” Shields was going for catchy, and it worked!

What band or artist changed your life? How?

The whole singing and screaming in a song changed my life, because I keep finding new inspirations and aspects to improve myself. I’d say A Dozen Furies was a solid benchmark of: “I wanna be able to sing and scream like THAT GUY.”

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

I’d ask Jake (Luhrs) of August Burns Red to explain what he was inspired by and listening to, and what he had in mind when he went in to record Messengers. He’s got this amazing range in screaming, and I’d like to know who and what made him decide what he does in that album.

What song would you like played at your funeral?

“Dearly Beloved” by Yoko Shimomura.

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

In Love and Death by The Used. It’s one of the few albums I can listen to from beginning to end.

What song should everyone listen to right now?

“Keep on Running” by Gabriel Garzón-Montano. (Scroll down to hear it!)