CVIndependent

Mon12162019

Last updateTue, 18 Sep 2018 1pm

Brian Blueskye

After the holidays, you may need some excitement to perk you up and recharge your batteries. Well, January features plenty of exciting events to help rejuvenate your spirit.

The McCallum Theatre has some great post-holiday hangover-busters. While many shows are sold out, tickets are still left for these shows as of our press time. Back by popular demand, at 3 and 7 p.m., Sunday, Jan. 13, the Capitol Steps will be performing. The Capitol Steps is a troupe of former congressional staffers who perform a comedy show based on current affairs. It’s a lot of fun. Tickets are $30 to $70. At 8 p.m., Tuesday, Jan. 22, the sons of the Okie From Muskogee, Ben and Noel Haggard, will be performing. Ben and Noel will be paying tribute to their late father in an intimate performance. Ben played in his father’s band, while Noel struck out on his own; this should be a great show and tribute. Tickets are $25 to $65. You have to love the amazing diversity of shows the McCallum offers; for example, at 7 p.m., Monday, Jan. 28, prepare to be mesmerized by the Golden Dragon Acrobats. They are the premier Chinese acrobatic touring company and have performed for audiences all over the world. Tickets are $22 to $48. McCallum Theatre, 73000 Fred Waring Drive, Palm Desert; 760-340-2787; www.mccallumtheatre.com.

Fantasy Springs Resort Casino has some great stuff going on. Do you miss the ’90s? Sure ya do, so mark your calendars for 8 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 12, when you can go Back to the ’90s with Vanilla Ice, Coolio, Tone Loc and C&C Music Factory! Go rollin’ with your homies to this one, and get down during the ninja rap. Tickets are $39 to $69. Do you like to party … hard? At 8 p.m., Friday, Jan. 25, party hard to the smooth sax of Kenny G. I would think that being Kenny G requires a sense of humor, and he does indeed seem to be a good sport; all kidding aside, he’s one hell of a musician. 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 two great events taking place at The Show. At 8 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 12, singer-songwriter Burt Bacharach will be performing. Bacharach is a legend; like Neil Sedaka, he’s penned a lot of great songs that have become hit songs for others—and for himself. Tickets are $40 to $60. At 8 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 26, the Long Island Medium Theresa Caputo will be doing her thing. Caputo is a fascinating figure, given she’s managed to stay wildly popular and usually sells out shows. Tickets are $75 to $120. Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa, 32250 Bob Hope Drive, Rancho Mirage; 888-999-1995; www.hotwatercasino.com.

Spotlight 29 will have a residency every Saturday night in January at 9:30 p.m. by Banda SN LA Sin Nombre at En Vivo. There is a $15 cover at the door. Over in the Spotlight Showroom, at 8 p.m., Friday, Jan. 25, Queen Nation (upper right) will kick off a weekly series of tribute bands called The Next Best Thing. Tickets are $10 to $102. Spotlight 29 Casino, 46200 Harrison Place, Coachella; 760-775-5566; www.spotlight29.com.

Morongo Casino Resort Spa has a fun show in January to mention. At 9 p.m., Friday, Jan. 4, ’90s R&B group Bell Biv DeVoe will be performing. If you're unfamiliar, it’s basically three members of New Edition: Ricky Bell, Michael Bivins and Ronnie DeVoe. They had that fantastic song “Poison” that you still hear on the radio. Tickets are $49 to $69. Morongo Casino Resort Spa, 49500 Seminole Drive, Cabazon; 800-252-4499; www.morongocasinoresort.com.

Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace has some big things going on in January. At 9 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 12, Dirtwire will be performing. Trying to explain Dirtwire is not easy, but I’ll give it a shot: It’s a fantastic band that fuses world music and bluegrass. The group has played around the world in some very odd venues, including a festival in Kazakhstan. There are a lot of different sounds incorporated, and the result is highly enjoyable. Tickets are $15. At 8 p.m., Thursday, Jan. 17, the grandson of Bob Dylan, Pablo Dylan, will be performing. Pablo Dylan has done a lot in music, especially in hip-hop—he was proclaimed “Bob Dylan’s rapping grandson” by some publications. He’s a great songwriter in his own right, and he’s moved on to a more folk-music kind of style. Best part about this show: Admission is free! At 8 p.m., Thursday, Jan. 31, murderfolk performer Amigo the Devil will take the stage. I highly suggest checking him out; he’s the darkest country music singer-songwriter you’ll ever hear, and he’s armed with a banjo. He’s a performer who can get a whole room of people to sing along to lyrics of “I Hope Your Husband Dies.” Tickets are $15. Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace, 53688 Pioneertown Road, Pioneertown; 760-365-5956; www.pappyandharriets.com.

The Date Shed has a January event worth noticing. At 8 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 19, reggae band The Green will be performing. Originally from Hawaii, this reggae band has traveled all around the world, playing dub-heavy roots reggae and combining it with Hawaiian roots. Tickets are $20 to $25. The Date Shed, 50725 Monroe St., Indio; 760-775-6699; www.facebook.com/dateshed.

The Purple Room Palm Springs has plenty to offer in January. At 5 p.m., Sunday, Jan. 6, Purple Room owner Michael Holmes’ regular Sunday The Judy Show will be a fundraiser for our friends at the Desert Ensemble Theatre Company. Enjoy tons of laughter as Holmes performs as Judy Garland—for a good cause. Tickets are $25 to $30. At 6 p.m., Friday, Jan. 11, actress and singer Renee Olstead will be performing. Olstead is probably best remembered for the television shows Still Standing and The Secret Life of the American Teenager, but she’s also a talented singer who has released three albums. Tickets are $35 to $40. Do you like a good battle? How about a Battle of the Bitches? At 6 p.m., Friday, Jan. 25, drag stars Jackie Beat and Sherry Vine (below) will be performing. These two are known for their epic insult wars with each other through song. It's hilarious, fun and no holds barred. Tickets are $25 to $30. Michael Holmes’ Purple Room, 1900 E. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs; 760-322-4422; www.purpleroompalmsprings.com.

Toucan’s Tiki Lounge and Cabaret will be having a fun event in January. At 7:30 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 12, cabaret singer Tori Scott will be performing. Scott is a big name in New York’s cabaret scene and is considered one of the top cabaret performers in the country. She’s also sang on shows such as Sesame Street and Cathouse: The Musical. Tickets are $25 to $35. Toucans Tiki Lounge and Cabaret, 2100 N. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs; 760-416-7584; reactionshows.com.

The Great Depression-set musical Guys and Dolls is a classic—and the Palm Canyon Theatre is bringing the show, which initially premiered on Broadway back in 1950, to its stage in January and February.

During a recent phone interview, director/choreographer Derik Shopinski explained why the Palm Canyon Theatre decided to include Guys and Dolls in this year’s schedule.

“It’s been a number of years since we’ve done the show,” Shopinski said. “The timing felt right. It’s in a good time slot for us, given the snowbirds really love the older shows that they know—and this one has gotten a huge response already with ticket sales.

“It’s a fun, feel-good show. It does have a message at heart, but it’s still a fun show.”

Shopinski elaborated on what’s fun about Guys and Dolls.

“At its heart, it’s two different love stories—the contrast between the Salvation Army girl and her bootlegger-gambler boyfriend, and the other couple, with the nightclub star and her gambler boyfriend who have been engaged for 14 years. It’s about the problems that they face, how they arrive at the end of the show, and how they tie it all up,” Shopinski said. “It has one of the best musical scores. … There’s so much about it that’s fun to watch, fun to look at and fun to listen to. We also have some amazing talent in the show, so that’s going to be very exciting for me, working with this very talented cast.”

That cast will contain some faces familiar to those who have attended Palm Canyon Theatre shows before, as well as some new talent.

“I have Paul Grant, who is playing Nathan Detroit, and Se Layne, who is playing Miss Adelaide, his love interest,” Shopinski said. “The other couple is married in real life—Nicholas Sloan and his wife, Jamie Leigh Walker, are playing Sky Masterson and Sarah Brown. I’ve worked with them both separately on other projects, and they are a dream to work with; they are incredibly professional, and they work well together, because they’ve done shows together since before they were married and while they’ve been married.”

Shopinski said the song that stands out to him comes toward the end of Act II.

“‘Sit Down, You’re Rockin’ The Boat’—it really wraps up the show in so many ways,” he said. “It’s one of the biggest ensemble numbers for all of the men and the band members. It’s a high-energy dance number that ties everything together.”

Bringing older musicals to the stage today may seem like a challenge to some—but Shopinski said he doesn’t see things that way.

“I really know these kinds of shows, given I grew up with them,” he said. “I know the music, and when you get into directing them, you can really dissect the story. While it’s historical … it’s necessarily telling historical events, because it’s taking place in another time. This was when they didn’t have all the television shows, and there wasn’t an internet. All you had was film and theater. They were three hours long, and it was what you did for entertainment. You went out to dinner, and then you went to the theater.”

The Palm Canyon Theatre finds success and is able to do a wide variety of shows thanks in part to its casting process, Shopinski said.

“Our casting process is very diverse,” he said. “We cast people of all backgrounds and all ages. Any given show, we’ll have 16-year-olds performing with our veteran performers. That, in turn, brings in the younger members’ friends to experience the shows. Our audience is as diverse as our cast members.”

Guys and Dolls will be performed at 7 p.m., Thursday; 8 p.m., Friday and Saturday, and 2 p.m., Sunday, from Friday, Jan. 18, through Sunday, Feb. 10, at the Palm Canyon Theatre, 538 N. Palm Canyon Drive, in Palm Springs. Tickets are $32 to $36. For tickets or more information, call 760-323-5123, or visit www.palmcanyontheatre.org.

Imagine you’re a young filmmaker. You write, plan and shoot an entire movie—and then someone you trust takes all of the footage and completely disappears.

That’s the real story of the documentary Shirkers, which was first screened at the Sundance Film Festival in 2018, before being picked up by Netflix and released on the streaming service. It will be screened at the Palm Springs International Film Festival on Jan. 4, 5 and 12.

In 1992, a Singapore teenager obsessed with cinema, Sandi Tan, gathered her friends and set out to make a film she’d written called Shirkers. Georges Cardona, an American living in Singapore, was Tan’s film teacher and the director of the film. When the film was finished, Cardona vanished.

Years later, after Cardona’s death, the film canisters were found and returned to Tan, but without the audio tracks. The documentary starts off as an unsolved mystery, as Tan explains the story, shows scenes from the film, and sets out on a quest to try to understand Cardona’s life and what really happened.

During a phone interview with Tan, who now lives in Los Angeles, she acknowledged that her story is rather strange.

“I’ve lived with it for so long that it’s been a big part of my life,” Tan said. “It’s the secret I’ve had to suppress for so many years that belief is not even part of it. … It seems like a story that’s stranger than fiction.”

Singapore has a notoriously authoritarian government, and Tan said there wasn’t an outlet for independent filmmakers back when she shot Shirkers.

“We were really the only people making an independent film, which is why it was such a revolutionary act,” she said. “… It’s a huge chunk of history that was stolen along with it, along with our dreams. … We just did it without any support or permission. We just shot it.”

Tan at the time was a punk-rocker and artist who found a way to get her hands on material that inspired her.

“I was part of the whole mail-art thing where you’d send your collages and zines to people around the world, trading with them, and you could make mixtapes and send them to another friend somewhere else,” she said. “My cousin in Florida was sending me videotapes of movies I wanted; I’d send her homemade T-shirts as trade. It was our version of the internet. My cousin would rent movies from Blockbuster and copy them onto a VHS tape—things like Blue Velvet and Raising Arizona. I was really into David Lynch and the Coen Brothers. I was also obsessed with Tim Burton. I loved Jane Campion’s An Angel at My Table; that was a very inspiring film for me.”

The original Shirkers has never been released; the only parts ever publicly shown are the scenes included in the documentary. The fact that the audio has never been found presents a challenge.

“We could put together a silent version of the film in a creative way, but with creative sound,” Tan said. “I’m not sure about dubbing, which is kind of tacky. I really think it could work as a silent movie with subtitles with creative sound and music. A lot of people want to see the original film, and I’m sure there’s some way we could get that done someday.”

She remembered the first time she watched the footage after it was found and returned to her.

“The strange thing is it was exactly the way I remembered it,” she said. “I was very relieved that I wasn’t imagining all this stuff. All the colors, all the locations, the expressions on people’s faces and everything was exactly as it was in my head, but I had no proof of it, and couldn’t tell anyone.

“When I saw the footage in Burbank with someone who was seeing it for the first time and had no idea what the story was, his jaw just dropped. I knew we had something that was extraordinary and a story that had to be told.”

Tan did not have kind things to say about Georges Cardona.

“His way of being creative is to take away the dreams of other people,” she said. “If other people were able to do things, he would help them realize their dreams and take them away. He’s a very fascinating figure, because we have a lot of (his type in) the film and entertainment industry—people who want to create, but create loss and destruction so they are remembered in some way.”

After the loss of the original Shirkers, Tan said she learned some valuable lessons.

“I have never lost my will and desire to be a filmmaker,” she said. “I really rediscovered my confidence and voice with the help of the technology that’s available. You can do amazing things, and it’s liberating and empowering to realize you’re not the sorceress’ apprentice; you’re now the sorcerer.”

Shirkers will be screened as part of the Palm Springs International Film Festival at 1:45 p.m., Friday, Jan. 4, at the Annenberg Theater, 101 N. Museum Drive; 9:30 a.m., Saturday, Jan. 5, at the Regal Palm Springs Stadium 9, 789 E. Tahquitz Canyon Road; and 2:30 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 12, at the Camelot Theatres, 2300 E. Baristo Road. Tickets are $13. For tickets or more information, visit www.psfilmfest.org.

When the Flesh Eaters first hit the Los Angeles punk scene in 1977, the band instantly stood out among its contemporaries.

After breaking up in the early ‘80s, resurfacing in the early ‘90s, and reforming once again in 1999, the Flesh Eaters now feature a reunion of frontman Chris D. and the 1981 lineup heard on the album A Minute to Pray, a Second to Die, including Dave Alvin (The Blasters), Bill Bateman (The Blasters), John Doe (X), D.J. Bonebrake (X) and Steve Berlin (The Blasters, Los Lobos). In fact, the reunited superteam is releasing a new album on Jan. 18 titled I Used to Be Pretty—and on that same day, the band will perform at Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace with Mudhoney.

During a recent phone interview with Chris D. (Desjardins), he said the recent reunion shows have been a lot of fun.

“We did five shows in 2015, and we did eight back in January (2018), and it always feels good to play with these guys,” Desjardins said. “They are some of my oldest friends, and they are certainly my longest-held musician friends. We just seem to have a good chemistry when we play together. Everybody has fun, and it’s great to do it again.”

Desjardins has worked in the film industry, released poetry, and written books, linear notes and commentary tracks for DVDs of various films. However, he’s not a formally trained musician.

“I tend to get musical ideas very easily, and I don’t know where they come from,” Chris D. said. “I come up with vocal melodies for the guys who know how to play the instruments, and we build up the songs in that way. I could always hear three or four different influences, and didn’t realize at the time I was working on the song. I’m just grateful in doing this that I’ve learned how to convey those musical ideas to more-trained musicians who know what they’re doing with their instruments.”

He talked about the early days of punk’s evolution in Los Angeles.

“Sometimes, like when hardcore was really mushrooming in the early ’80s, we were billed on hardcore shows,” Chris D. said. “In that lineup playing to hardcore audiences, I would think, ‘We should play the melodies a little faster than we usually do.’ In retrospect, I ask myself, ‘How chickenshit is that?’ Even when we’d do that, we’d connect with a majority of them, but there was a contingent that was very off-beat. The one good thing is that a lot of the writers who heard the Flesh Eaters records through the years seem to get that there were a lot of different influences. I could probably count bad reviews on three or four fingers. Most of the write-ups we got from 1979 on have been really good reactions.

“Occasionally, people criticize my vocal style, but when I first started out, I didn’t know what the fuck I was doing.”

I Used to Be Pretty will include the song “Black Temptation,” which was originally included in Desjardins’ writing anthology A Minute to Pray, A Second to Die, released in 2009. He said he never thought he would be able to record it as a song.

“It was kind of strange, because I had the vocal melody in my head, and when I tried to work it up in the early 2000s to record when I did that Miss Muerte album with the other Flesh Eaters lineup … it was too complicated to get into,” he said. “When we worked it up this time with this lineup, we had a similar problem. We hunkered down. ‘Black Temptation’ is pretty structured, and we had to really work on it. Initially, before we did the overdubs and mixed it, I wasn’t really sure if it was sounding like what I had heard in my head, and it wasn’t until it was completely done and mixed that I was going, ‘Oh, OK! Now I hear it the way it’s supposed to be.’ In the end, it came out great.”

The new album also features a cover of Fleetwood Mac’s “The Green Manalishi (With the Two Prong Crown).”

“We were trying to figure out another cover to put in the set, and I had several other different ideas. We’re still intending sometime in the future—if good fortune shines upon us, and we continue to do this for another couple of years—a cover of ‘Dead Souls’ by Joy Division,” Chris D. said. “Since I originally had that idea, I heard that Nine Inch Nails did a cover of it, which I haven’t heard. I knew John (Doe) had this Stooges song in mind from the Fun House album called ‘T.V. Eye,’ and there were several other covers. Dave (Alvin) and I wanted to do ‘Green Manalishi,’ because we really appreciate how great of a guitar player (Fleetwood Mac founder) Peter Green is, and I loved how mysterious the lyrics were. They were informed by a really bad acid trip he’d been on when he was in Germany when his schizophrenia got triggered.”

The Pappy’s date is one of two shows the Flesh Eaters will perform with Mudhoney.

“(The members of Mudhoney) are great guys, and they’re the guys who were responsible for getting us back together for some reunion shows in 2006,” Chris D. said. “They were playing the All Tomorrow’s Parties festival in England and got to pick the bands they wanted to play with on the day they were headlining. They got in touch with John Doe and me, and said, ‘We’d really like the Flesh Eaters to play with us, and any of the lineups would be good, but if we could get the Minute to Pray lineup, that’s what we’d like the most.’ John and I went out to the other guys, and everyone had time in their schedule. It was a great experience, and we did three warm-up shows in California before we went over there. We almost did more shows in 2007 and 2008 in California, but those always fell through before they got announced, because people’s schedules got in the way.”

The Flesh Eaters will perform with Mudhoney at 9 p.m., Friday, Jan. 18, at Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace, 53688 Pioneertown Road, in Pioneertown. Tickets are $35. For tickets or more information, call 760-365-5956, or visit www.pappyandharriets.com.

Tuesday, 18 December 2018 12:00

The Lucky 13: Dacoda Miracle, Comedian

In the growing Coachella Valley comedy scene, Dacoda Miracle is making a name for himself. Other local comics joke about his name and his squeaky-clean appearance, but Miracle is truly funny onstage. He’s also been a regular host at Comedy Night at The Hood Bar and Pizza on Sundays. He was kind enough to answer the Lucky 13; here are his answers.

What was the first concert you attended?

I got pretty lucky with my first concert. I was 10 years old, and my mom took me, her friend and her friends’ daughters to a Fall Out Boy/Plain White T’s/Gym Class Heroes concert at the San Jose State Event Center. I didn’t really know their music at the time, so I had very little to no expectations. Plus, I was going to a concert with a group of teenage girls, so 10-year-old me was more anxious around them than to go see some bands I had never heard of. It ended up being a great concert.

What was the first album you owned?

I never really bought albums growing up; most of them were given to me by my dad. He listened to a lot of country and rock. I think the first album he gave to me was Toby Keith’s Pull My Chain. I loved singing “I Wanna Talk About Me.” I actually sang it at a local bar where I grew up when I was 5 or 6 years old.

What bands are you listening to right now?

I listen to such a potpourri of music that if I listed all the bands, I’d need about 500 pages, but some of my favorites would be AC/DC, Maroon 5, Dirty Heads, Childish Gambino, Queen, and Jason Aldean, just to name a few.

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

A lot of people my age love EDM. I don’t go to raves, nor do I know how to dance, so it’s just not my forte. I’m big on lyrics and feeling the emotion behind them. I just don’t get that feeling with EDM. Maybe if I got a hold of some molly, I’d feel differently.

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

Queen, hands down. I feel with the release of the Bohemian Rhapsody movie, everyone can agree that Freddie Mercury was the best live performer of his generation—and possibly any generation.

What’s your favorite musical guilty pleasure?

I hate the term “guilty pleasure,” because you shouldn’t feel guilty to express your liking toward a certain movie, food or song, even though it’s an unpopular opinion. That being said, I enjoy Nickelback, and I know there are a lot of closeted supporters out there! How else would it be the second-best-selling “foreign” group in the U.S. behind The Beatles?

What’s your favorite music venue?

I haven’t been to many concerts, but I like going to Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View. It was about an hour from where I grew up, so it was easy to get to and always a lot of fun. People might know the venue because of the “Sloppy Shoreline” reputation, but if you go with the right people, and don’t pregame too hard, you’ll have a good time.

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

“I don’t want to be anything other than what I’ve been trying to be lately.” The song is “I Don’t Want to Be” by Gavin DeGraw, and it resonates with me, because people put expectations on kids and compare them to their parents or siblings. This song is about individualism and not trying to find a definition of who you are, and just being who you are now.

What band or artist changed your life? How?

I don’t feel like any band or artist has had a life-altering effect on my path. Music has always been a part of my life, but it’s not something that’s inspired any career choices or life decisions.

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

Ariana Grande, and I’d ask her out to dinner. Gotta shoot your shot, amirite?

What song would you like played at your funeral?

“Apologize” by OneRepublic, just to remind everyone it’s too late, followed by “Highway to Hell” by AC/DC.

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

First of all, I’d figuratively disarm the figurative person holding the figurative gun. Secondly, there are so many great albums, but I’d have to say AC/DC’s Back to Black. It has “Hell’s Bells,” “Shoot to Thrill” and “Back in Black!” There’s no going wrong there!

What song should everyone listen to right now?

For couples: “Speechless” by Dan + Shay.

For singles: “Ridin’ Solo” by Jason Derulo.

For the lonely: “Send My Love” by Adele or “Sad” by Maroon 5.

For the people standing next to their microwave waiting for their Totino’s pizza rolls: “The Final Countdown” by Europe.(Scroll down to hear them all!)

John Marek is a jewel in the local music scene. Not only is he a great guitarist and songwriter; he’s also one a hell of a showman.

In recent years, Marek played in War Drum, and he had a band called Ideation. Now he’s with his new band, Plastic Ruby, which includes Isidro Corrales (guitar/keyboards), Julio Corrales (bass) and Eddie Airada (drums).

Plastic Ruby released its first, self-titled EP earlier this month and has been playing shows locally since mid-2018. The band has a classic rock ’n’ roll sound—with some psychedelic groove to it. Whether you like to dance or simply enjoy musical fusion, Plastic Ruby is a band you’ll appreciate.

During a recent phone interview with Marek, he discussed his reasons for ending Ideation.

“I just wanted to start all over,” Marek said. “I developed a new sound over time.”

Considering Ideation had some fantastic songs that showcased Marek’s songwriting talents, I asked him if any of that material might resurface with Plastic Ruby.

“Possibly, but probably only when I run out of ideas or something,” Marek said with a laugh.

Since Plastic Ruby started playing live shows, the band has gotten tighter and tighter. When Marek is performing, you can feel the passion in his voice.

He explained how each of the other members of the band made their way into Plastic Ruby.

“Julio was in Ideation with me, and I’ve known that dude for over a decade now,” Marek said. “I knew Eddie when he was in Deadend Paradox, and I’d play shows with them. We hadn’t actually spoken to each other in years, and we sort of rekindled our friendship, and he joined the band and adapted super-quickly. Isidro is actually Julio’s cousin, and I brought him in because we were looking for an extra person to do keyboards and guitars, and he fit in just fine.”

Marek said he’s satisfied with the new EP—even if it didn’t come out exactly the way he wanted it.

“I’ve recorded most of my own stuff, even for the publishing deal that I had. This one was mixed by professionals,” Marek said. “I’m not into spending a whole bunch of money. I’m definitely trying to keep it as cheap as possible, but I don’t think it cheapens the music. … I have one good microphone that I use to record everything, and it definitely gets me by.”

More material is on the way soon, Marek said.

“We’re probably going to release a single in a few months, and I have close to half of a full-length album ready to record,” he said. “There’s tons of material for this band that needs to get out.”

The Coachella Valley music scene is something that confuses Marek, he said.

“I honestly feel like this place doesn’t even have a music scene. I feel like there are just a whole bunch of different-sounding bands,” he said. “Queens of the Stone Age, Kyuss and all that stuff was a scene. There were quite a few bands that had a particular sound. Nowadays, you have a punk band here, a ska band there, a rock ’n’ roll band here, and there is no scene. There’s still a well of talent, but it’s a whole bunch of different sounds.”

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

When you watch all-female band No Small Children perform, you’d never guess that by day, all three members are schoolteachers in Los Angeles.

Mark your calendars: They’ll be playing in the Coachella Valley for the first time at The Hood Bar and Pizza at the CV Independent Presents show on Saturday, Jan. 26.

Since the band’s start in 2012, No Small Children has released three full albums and an EP, covered the Ghostbusters theme for the 2016 version of the film, licensed various music to television shows and video games, and toured nationally. In September, the band played at Riot Fest in Chicago with Bad Religion, Beck, Suicidal Tendencies and many others.

During a recent phone interview with drummer Nicola Berlinsky, she explained how she and her bandmates—Lisa Pimentel (guitar and vocals) and Joanie Pimentel (bass and vocals)—entered the teaching profession as musicians.

“I studied music in college—not just drumming, but also modern composition,” Berlinsky said. “I was in the process of applying to go to graduate school, and my sister said, ‘This is so cool! Just think about something practical (like teaching) while you’re doing this.’ In my early days, I was a student instructor. I would always be teaching, and it felt really enjoyable.

“Lisa is probably the same way. She studied music, but she’s a natural teacher. Joanie’s story is a little different, because she entered as a private teacher, as a vocal coach and as a cellist; only in more recent years, she’s been at an elementary school. She had her own daycare at one point when she was raising her sons.”

The members of No Small Children have found their success to be a rather pleasant surprise.

“When we started, it wasn’t with any intention of a plan of what we hoped for it to be; we just knew we had to play for our own gratification, and we needed a way to balance out life and be in the moment,” Berlinsky said. “There was always so much energy between the three of us, and our motto was, ‘Say Yes to New Life Opportunities.’

“We don’t hide the fact that we’re not in our 20s. The beautiful thing about being older is an awareness of time. In the beginning, it was more about seizing life opportunities and experiences. We always equate it to falling in love and that high that you feel; it drove us through working full-time, writing and playing. As we kept going, we eventually had to say no to some things and choose what we do. Instead of playing every night in Los Angeles, we’d play once or twice in town and have bigger and better shows, and try to get out of the city once in a while, too. Now we have game plans for the year, and it’s still about creating new life opportunities—new places to go and play music, meeting new people, and things like that.”

Riot Fest was a new life opportunity—that could lead to even more new life opportunities.

“It was truly amazing. It was great to be able to play on such a big stage and with people that we’ve been listening to for so long,” Berlinsky said. “As much as we loved playing it and meeting new people, you also get these passes and stand on the stage, watching people you love playing to a huge crowd of people. That was a great experience to have. We loved everything about it, and they were so good to us. It’s actually one of our hopes—to be able to play more festivals.”

The recording experience has pushed the band creatively. The most recent album, What Do the Kids Say?, released earlier this year, marks a definite departure from previous recordings.

“We started off with our first album having a really raw sound—bass, guitar, drums and maybe an extra layer of guitar-over. As we’ve moved forward, there’s been experimentation,” Berlinsky said. “Now there’s more of that, and we’re not shying away from overdubs and playing around with sounds in the studio in a way we hadn’t before.”

Berlinsky explained how they work on albums.

“We were really lucky that Lisa is also a producer. She helps us orchestrate most of the recording, and she does all of the prepping,” she said. “When something is recorded, she gets a lot of it ready for the final mix. We have (record producer) Bob Marlette come in and add his magic over it. Lisa puts a massive amount of time into the studio; a lot of time also goes into it before the recording. There’s a lot of pre-production that happens with writing and finalizing the work from us playing around in the studio. We don’t record all together; I really respect that when it’s a live band doing a different cut, but this is more one on one.”

No Small Children will be playing two sets at The Hood on Jan. 26, and the members are excited about their desert debut.

“We know that we have people from that area who drive all the way to Los Angeles to come see us, so we’re hoping they will come out,” Berlinsky said. “We absolutely love our friends in GayC/DC, and they recommended The Hood Bar and Pizza to us, and we love them so much that we respect their opinion on that. We can’t wait to come out. From my experiences of spending time in that area, people are ready to have a good time in the evening. We just want to make the best night possible for everyone, so we’re really excited to play.”

No Small Children will perform with Sunday Funeral at 9 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 26, at The Hood Bar and Pizza, 74360 Highway 111, in Palm Desert. Admission is free. For more information on the show, visit the event’s Facebook page.

Jeremy Parsons is the lead vocalist of Mega Sun—even though his girlfriend tells me that he hates being in the spotlight. Thanks in part to his low-chugging bass tone and unique vocal style, Mega Sun has become one of the best bands to arrive on the music scene in recent years. For more information on Mega Sun, visit www.facebook.com/megasuntheband. Parsons was kind enough to answer the Lucky 13; here are his answers.

What was the first concert you attended?

If you want to call it a “concert,” the first time I went out and saw a show was back in 1994 at Nona’s—I could be wrong about the name—which was out by the Del Taco and AM/PM in Cathedral City. I’d just started playing a guitar that I got from Aloha Music, and The Agents were playing. That was the first live band I’d ever seen. I remember thinking: “Wait a minute. You can just get a band together and go play shows?” I must have been 14 or 15. I heard there was another show they were playing the next week, at some mattress store after-hours. … I was hooked. Life was about finding out where bands were playing and what bands were playing.

What was the first album you owned?

OK, let’s be honest: My mother was quite the garage-sale entrepreneur up in the La Quinta Cove, buying things from other garage sales just to sell at her garage sales. We ended up at a spot where I bought, at the same time, Michael Jackson’s Thriller and the Steve Miller Band’s Greatest Hits, which became my first cassettes by recording them from the speakers of our record player, so I could take my jams on the road and listen to them on my Walkman.

What bands are you listening to right now?

Lately, not much other than local music, and too many bands to mention. One band I had always heard of and never listened to was Dinosaur Jr. Over the last couple of months, I have been putting them on from time to time, and I’m still trying to figure out if I like them. I may be trying to figure this out for the rest of my life while listening to them for the rest of my life.

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

Jazz, I guess. I can’t understand how they know where they are in a song (when) they are just jamming with no singer. I have that dog-with-a-tilted-head-to-the-side look trying to figure out what’s going on.

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

Rod Stewart at Copacabana 1984, from the side of the stage.

What’s your favorite musical guilty pleasure?

Rat Pack stuff.

What’s your favorite music venue?

I really like Pappy and Harriet’s. I haven’t been there many times, but I like the small places with a big history. I think I should go soon.

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

“He hung himself with a guitar string,” Beck, “Loser.”

What band or artist changed your life? How?

Def Leppard’s biggest fan right here. When Hysteria came out, it was like traveling through space while listening to it. I vividly remember my dad taking us to Kmart in Indio the day it came out, popping it into the tape player (while) across from Ciro’s in front of that checkered auto store, and saying how different it was from the first three albums. I must have been 7. I’m not sure if it changed my life, but it became a time in my life I look back to as the good old days—back when everyone would buy their Christmas trees at the La Quinta fire station, and you felt cool to listen to a CD with a “parental advisory” stamp on it.

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

John Summers of Family Butcher: “You still owe me $20.”

What song would you like played at your funeral?

I love The Dukes of Hazzard theme song.

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

The Bronx’ self-titled album. They were the band that really dragged me out of the young melodic punk I grew up listening to and introduced me to grown up music like Truckfighters, Kyuss, Fu Manchu and Throw Rag.

What song should everyone listen to right now?

“San Andreas” by Mega Sun! (Scroll down to hear it.)

Two decades ago, a group of friends who grew up together started a band called The Hellions—and they’re still rocking the local music scene today.

Although the Hellions have endured lineup changes at various points, the current group—Angel Lua (vocals/guitar), Bob Llamas (drums), Jamie Hargate (guitar) and Travis Rockwell (bass)—has been around for a while.

The Hellions will be receiving the Best of Coachella Valley Legacy Award on Wednesday, Dec. 12, During the Best of Coachella Valley Awards Party at the Copa Nightclub in Palm Springs.

During a post-rehearsal interview at Bernie’s in Rancho Mirage, I asked them how they’ve managed to keep playing, rehearsing and writing for 20 years as marriages, families and career moves have taken place.

“That was all part of the plan,” Hargate joked.

“You never start something hoping that it’ll end,” Lua said. “We had a common taste in music, and we thought, ‘Let’s do something with it.’ I think everything falls into place, and we just keep it going. If we ever felt like we were forcing ourselves to do it, we probably wouldn’t be doing it anymore.

“It’s something that’s second nature to us at this point. We grew up together musically, and we all got better as musicians playing together and learned off each other. You have to like the people you’re around to do that; otherwise, forget it. Everybody is on the same page for the most part … or at least 65 percent of the time.”

Over 20 years, the Hellions have written some songs, but have released just one record, 2016’s Hymns From the Other Side. Dali’s Llama frontman Zach Huskey told me once: “The Hellions are kind of the slowest songwriters in the world.” The members explained the lack of prolificacy.

“I don’t think we put the effort into finishing a song,” Llamas said. “Right now, we probably have at least a dozen songs that are almost done. Why? I don’t know. We’ll work on new music, but then we’ll have a show come up, and we’ll focus on our set instead.”

Rockwell said the band worked hard to make a professional recording, with former Kyuss bassist Scott Reeder recording and producing.

“It costs money to put an album out when you do it the right way,” Rockwell said. “Anyone can go out and buy a computer and record shit in their bedroom right now. We planned to go into the studio and put in the work and put in the time and money to have Scott Reeder produce it. That was probably the tightest we ever were, when we went up to Scott’s place to record that album. That was about $6,000, and when we play a show, usually we make $100. So how many shows do we have to play to make that? Then we have to pay for mastering, and then we have to pay for the production. It’s a lot of work. Our whole philosophy is whatever money we make as a band goes back into paying for that.”

Lua said he had personal reasons for wanting the album released.

“I wanted to give my mom something,” Lua said. “She always asks me, ‘When do you play again?’ ‘Oh, we’re going to play at 11 p.m. tonight,’ and she’s like, ‘Oh, that’s too late!’ So I gave her a record and said, ‘Here’s a record. Go play it on your phonograph!’”

The Hellions are known for being generous with their time: If they’re asked to do a benefit show for a worthy cause, and they’re available, the Hellions are always in.

“People enjoy our music and want to come and see us play. The least we could do is give something back to our community,” Hargate said.

“People who wouldn’t normally come out to see us get to see us, and we play to an entirely new audience,” Rockwell added. “Some 18-year-old kid’s mom comes out, and she’s fucking re-living the ’80s. She’s done a ton of shots; she’s dancing; and the skirt gets a little higher up.”

The Hellions have played with many national tour acts as they’ve come through town.

“One of my favorite shows we ever did was with the Dwarves,” Hargate said. “I was always a big fan when I was 15 years old and going to their shows. To bring them out here as our friends now is pretty humbling.

“We’ve even been fortunate enough to meet a lot of musicians who have done some great things. For me later on in life, and having been a fan of them when I was a kid, it’s very comforting. But I’m not starstruck anymore.”

Tony Orlando is best remembered for recording and performing with Telma Hopkins and Joyce Vincent Wilson—best known as Dawn—in the 1970s and 1980s.

Today, the trio is back together for a Christmas tour—which will include a stop at Fantasy Springs Resort Casino this Saturday, Dec. 1. During a recent phone interview, Orlando said that a holiday album the group released back in 2005 inspired the tour.

“We cut an album in Nashville many years ago; it was called A Christmas Reunion,” Orlando said. “I spoke to Telma, and she said, ‘Why don’t we go out and do a little Christmas tour? It’d be fun!’ The reaction has been unbelievable. Christmas was the right thing for us to do, and it was our favorite album that we ever did.”

Orlando explained why he has such fond memories of the album.

“We love the music. Michael Omartian was the producer for that album, and the history of him as a producer and writer—he’s iconic,” Orlando said. “To work with him on that album was a joy and a privilege. The music is Christmas-related, but we went a different route. A lot of the songs were new and different at the time.”

Tony Orlando, now 74, grew up in the Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood of Manhattan.

“Growing up in New York City, it certainly gives you a glimpse of the world in a composite. In a one block or a 10-block area, you could really be experiencing the planet,” he said. “(There is) every single background and every single point, from poverty and homelessness to the most wealthy in the penthouses. … You have peripheral vision when you cross the street, because if you don’t, you’ll get hit by a taxi. There are all kinds of benefits to growing up in New York that you wouldn’t imagine if you’ve never lived there. New York has given me a basis of respect for humankind and a respect for all cultures. It came out of that city, and thank God it gave me that as a performer, working all around the world for the past 50 years in show business.”

As a young man, Orlando asked a legend in the business for some advice.

“Groucho Marx’s remarks to me were pretty awesome,” Orlando said. “I asked him, ‘Mr. Marx, I’m 15 years old, and I just had my first hit record. I need the great Groucho Marx’s advice. What should I remember, Mr. Marx?’ I was expecting a joke, and he turned to me and said, ‘Never lose the ability to say thank you, Tony.’ I never forgot that.”

During the heyday of variety television in the ’70s, Tony Orlando and Dawn made their mark—but it wasn’t easy.

“I look back on that now with great respect, and I’m proud of the work we did,” he said. “I didn’t realize how good of a show that was. It was a period of our lives when we did 16 hours every day, and then filming and taping. We always taped it live and never stopped tape. What you saw from the beginning to the end was really a live show. I think that was a glorious time for us, for Sonny and Cher, for Carol Burnett, and for the Osmonds. We all had a great run during that time of variety television.”

Orlando lived in the Coachella Valley as a young man, and shared a holiday memory from that time.

“I remember living in Palm Desert, and it was Christmas Eve. I had just come off the road, and I had my son John with me, who at the time was just a little boy, and we had no Christmas tree,” he said. “We couldn’t find anywhere that had any Christmas trees. It was too late. I’m driving down Highway 111, and I look, and right in front of a yogurt place that was closed, there was the top of someone’s Christmas tree that had been chopped off. I looked at my son, and I said, ‘Well, it looks like that Christmas tree needs a family.’ We took it home, and it was only about 2 feet long, but we put it up—and it was probably the most beautiful Christmas tree, because it found a home.”

Tony Orlando and Dawn will perform at 8 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 1, at Fantasy Springs Resort Casino, 84245 Indio Springs Parkway, in Indio. Tickets are $39 to $79. For tickets or more information, call 760-342-5000, or visit www.fantasyspringsresort.com.