CVIndependent

Sun02182018

Last updateWed, 27 Sep 2017 1pm

Brian Blueskye

A Joshua Tree musician is receiving some much-deserved national exposure.

For those of you who are unfamiliar … ladies and gentlemen, meet Gene Evaro Jr.

After going on a national tour with Grammy Award-winning band Blues Traveler, and headlining a tour of his own, Gene Jr. and his band will be playing a hometown show at Pappy and Harriet’s on Saturday, Aug. 5.

During a recent interview in Yucca Valley, Evaro said his recent tour experience was “great.”

“It started in San Diego, and we went as far as Vermont,” he said. “It was our own tour, which meant we weren’t opening for anyone. It was a lot of driving. The shows were excellent. We did the Firefly Music Festival; the High Sierra Music Festival; and we played in Nashville at the High Watt. It doesn’t end until Pappy’s.”

Evaro is one of a handful of local musicians who has successfully made a living by making music his full-time job.

“I was at a point where I had a job and was working a lot, and I thought I could work and do the music thing. But then I figured out that wasn’t how it wasn’t going to go down, at least for me,” he said. “The job I was in didn’t want me to grow as a musician, and that makes sense. People don’t care about your music if you’re a dishwasher. You’re probably a nice guy, and your music is good, but it doesn’t mean anything (to an employer), though. I thought, ‘I can’t succeed unless I surround myself with people exactly like me.’ Once I took that leap of faith and quit my job, that’s when things started gaining momentum.

“I’m not a financial adviser, and I would never tell anyone, ‘Quit your job and go do this full time.’ For some people, it’s harder than others. … Once the hustle kicks in, and you don’t have that comfort, that’s when you really start to open yourself up for opportunity.”

Evaro has been successful in selling his own music; he explained how.

“There is some trickery involved: The trick is that honest people have to feel like the music is real. That’s the most important thing,” he said. “If I can hear a great song and feel no emotion, I can almost see past it and say, ‘It just needs somebody to deliver the song.’ A good song has to have a connection and be real. It’s got to sell. It’s 2017, and we’re here to be relative, especially when you’re talking about the radio and shit like that. But if you want to be an avant-garde musician for the rest of your life, don’t listen to anything I’m saying. If you want to be relative and influence people in a relative way, you have to pick up what’s around you and be a sponge.

“When it comes to the recordings, it’s so easy to get the tools. Everything I record with is at my house. I grew up in the studio my whole life. My dad, who I was with all the time, was going from Reba McEntire’s studio in Nashville to tons of studios all over. In terms of quality away from the emotional stuff, it has to be good—and sound like everything else. That is where you can’t have any shame in copying people. Led Zeppelin came out with the best drum sound ever, and people were saying, ‘I don’t want to copy it.’ What the fuck kind of world would we be in if every drummer wasn’t like, ‘Wait a minute: They’re on to something, and I want a little bit of that’? Don’t be afraid to be inspired and take the colors of what’s relative and relevant.”

Being from Joshua Tree heavily influences Evaro, he said.

“I love the vibe. Being in the desert feels special to me,” he said. “… I can still say the vibe in Joshua Tree is much different than any other spot. My family has a lot to do with it; I have a lot of family out here. My actual native roots come from my grandmother, who is a Native American from Arizona and Mexico. Her family has been here for at least 150 years. My family is Native American, and this is our spot.”

While Pappy’s may mark the end of his current tour, Evaro plans on keeping busy.

“I have a music video coming out, as well as a new EP. After the EP release, we’re going to promote that a lot, and we’ll be touring again in the fall,” he said. “I’m also trying to work on some licensing and sync stuff. I’m trying to get stuff in some commercials so I can tour better. … You go on tour and see a band that’s been touring for 15 years, and they sound like it and they’re good—but they have 100 people in a crowd. You have someone who has a song in a commercial, and you have 2,000 people in the crowd and have only been touring for a month. Licensing is just filling in that gap—it’s called publicity. That’s what I’m trying to get more of. I’m just trying to get more songs in the public arena versus, ‘Oh, let’s play 300 shows a year and hope someone in the industry likes it.’”

I asked Evaro about the ethical side of licensing music to businesses and commercials.

“Morals always have to come into question. You always have to wonder, ‘Do I want my song to be played in a machine gun ad?’ Hell no; don’t do it!” he said with a laugh. “You have that option. My only experience is I had a song on the Discovery Channel. I was working with the music supervisor at the time, and they said, ‘Hey, I need a song that sounds like this. Rip the song off; make it your own; and the song needs to sound like this.’ I did that, and it got placed on something on the Discovery Channel. I got something like 30,000 to 40,000 views in one night on a YouTube video, and I was making money off the single online. The whole world saw it, and I get royalty checks from that still—not enough to buy a house, but it’s a good foot in the door. That’s easy, and it’s awesome, but it’s a lottery thing, and you need to have the right people around you who will recognize your talent and push your song. It’s just as rare as anything else. There are a million songwriters, and only 500 of them will be good enough to have a song in a commercial. Ads are a niche, and when you craft songs for ads, they say, ‘This is how it has to be.’ It requires a lot of effort and creativity, and it’s a visual thing. Some people say it’s selling out, but you can sell out arenas doing that.”

Evaro said he has one manta for everything he does in life.

“Put your heart into it,” he said. “If you’re making food, put your heart into it. No matter what you do, put your heart into it; it’s not just music that it applies to. Be a good person, and be an authentic person; otherwise, what the fuck are you doing?”

Gene Evaro Jr. will perform at 9 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 5, at Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace, 53688 Pioneertown Road, in Pioneertown. Tickets are $15 to $20. For tickets or more information, call 760-365-5956, or visit pappyandharriets.com.

Lionel Richie made one thing clear on Friday night at the Fantasy Springs Special Event Center: He didn’t like the weather.

“It’s too hot outside to be moving like this inside!” he told the audience at one point.

Sure, it was a scorcher outside, but that didn’t stop a near-sell-out crowd on Friday night from dancing and clapping along with the former Commodores singer and ’80s R&B hit-maker.

There were ample references to the infamous “Hello” meme that has circulated around the Internet—on homemade T-shirts people were wearing, on the video screen during the show, and even on an officially licensed sweatshirt that could be yours for the low, low price of $80 from the merchandise booth in the lobby.

Make no mistake: Richie remains relevant in the music industry today; his most-recent album, Tuskegee, went platinum and hit No. 1 on the Billboard Top 100 chart in 2012. The crowd was a mixture of people young, old and older.

Before Richie took the stage, the lights went off; thunder sound effects began; and strobe lights flickered as people howled and applauded. With energy like that, one had to expect an epic opening, and that’s exactly what we got: He played “Easy/My Love.” After just the first verse, he stopped the song, stood up from behind the piano, and said, “I need you on this!” When he returned to the piano, the audience sang the lyrics louder than he sang over the sound system.

It was evident from the start that Richie either had a cold, or his vocal chords needed some rest, as he struggled during the first two-thirds of the show. There were times when the guitars and harmonica were louder than he was.

Lionel’s band included a little R&B—and a little ’80s metal. His guitarist let loose and head-banged to some of the solos on the edgier Commodores songs, and the band even channeled Van Halen during the performance of “Dancing on the Ceiling,” playing the riffs to Van Halen’s “Jump” at the end of it.

Richie’s stage banter with the audience fell a little flat after his third complaint about the desert heat and a remark that the crowd “didn’t sound too bad for being from the desert.” There were some entertaining moments, such as when Richie pointed out that there were only five men sitting in the front row (one of whom was Monreaux frontman Giorg Tierez), and he asked one of them sternly, “Why you looking at me like that?” (Tierez later denied looking at Richie funny.)

One very amusing moment came when Richie said that at the meet-and-greet before the show, a big man walked up to him and said, “I’ve made love to your music many times.” Richie laughed and said he told him, “That’s a lie!” He then said the man’s girlfriend or wife replied: “I was there.” Also: Before playing “Brick House,” he told the audience: “Imagine traveling the world and judging ‘Miss Brick House’ competitions in each city.”

The last four songs were the highlight of the show—and his vocals seemed to be just fine as he ended the 80-minute concert with “Hello,” “Say You Say Me,” “We Are the World” and “All Night Long.”

As the Desert Daze festival has continued to grow, so has its profile and, therefore, so has the quality of the lineup. Well, the 2017 lineup was announced today—and it’s downright fantastic.

Desert Daze announced that Iggy Pop would be the festival’s headliner. The Joshua Tree festival will also feature performances by BadBadNotGood, Ty Segall, Sleep (performing the album Holy Mountain in its entirety), The Gories, and Cigarettes After Sex.

This year’s Desert Daze will take place Thursday, Oct. 12, through Sunday, Oct. 15.

These additions to the lineup joined already-announced acts including Spiritualized, John Cale, King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard, and Eagles of Death Metal, among many other well-known acts.

Shortly before the announcement, Desert Daze founder Phil Pirrone spoke to the Independent. When asked whether booking the festival is getting easier as it grows, he hesitated.

“I don’t know if it’s ever going to be easier,” Pirrone said. “What happens with the headliner search is that whoever is worth headlining, you’re not the only one who wants them. You have to get lucky with schedules and the stars aligning.

“I guess to a certain extent, with every year that we do this festival more and more, people are going to know about it, and agents will want to get their bands on it. In some areas, it will be easier. I think that there will always be some degree of difficulty of getting a headliner like Iggy Pop.”

Desert Daze will also feature a performance by Eagles of Death Metal. The Coachella Valley natives became a worldwide name after the group survived the attack in November 2015 at the Bataclan theater in Paris.

“After all that’s happened to them, this is going to be in Joshua Tree, and that’s going to be a beautiful moment,” Pirrone said. “We’ve been trying to get them to play for the past few years, and we’re glad it’s finally happening.”

In 2016, Desert Daze moved to October from the spring, and changed locations, moving from the Sunset Ranch Oasis in Mecca to the Institute of Mentalphysics in Joshua Tree. 

“I guess the short answer as to why is, ‘Lots of reasons,’ Pirrone said. “I guess the most positive answer is that the venue in Joshua Tree is so amazing. We were in Mecca for three years, and we thought it had run its course. We were on the lookout to find a new spot to expand and have more of a workable environment. As soon as we laid eyes on the Institute of Mentalphysics, we knew it would be the perfect place for the festival. We actually found it a couple of years before we moved the festival there. It had kind of been a dream of ours.”

Sunset Ranch Oasis, while nice and scenic, is an out-of-the-way location—with an occasional wind and dust problem.

“It’s night and day. No offense to the Sunset Ranch, but it was pretty rough there,” Pirrone said. “This new venue is beautifully maintained, and there are really lovely walking paths, labyrinths, water features and little ponds, and lots of beautiful prehistoric desert wildlife. It’s a really amazing property. There are indoor spaces, an indoor diner, and two performance halls that were designed by Frank Lloyd Wright and his son … and we use those. There are places to get out of the sun. It’s very different from when it was in Mecca.”

Last year, Desert Daze featured performances from The Brian Jonestown Massacre, Primus, Television, The Sonics, and the Black Angels. The event was a success, even though the mega-event that was Desert Trip was happening down the hill. 

“We didn’t feel any impact from Desert Trip taking place, other than there being a lack of hotels and some other resources like that. I think Desert Trip was this mega, once-in-a-lifetime dream concert, and I wish I could have gone,” Pirrone said with a laugh. “But that thing sold out, and I think there are plenty of people who wanted to go to something like Desert Daze who weren’t going to go to Desert Trip. Desert Daze was traditionally always during Coachella during the spring, and I think they are different enough to where they can do their thing without impacting the other. It goes without saying that we’re a blip on their radar (compared to Goldenvoice’s big festivals). But I found being in the fall has had a lot of benefits, weather-wise. With all that said, I can’t say I’m disappointed there isn’t a Desert Trip this year, because it makes things easier. It’s always nice to have some breathing room.”

I asked Pirrone about his favorite festival-production moment thus far.

“I have to say it’s still Tinariwen back in 2013. That represented a turning point for us: It was the first time we produced the festival outdoors at a ranch, the first time it was like a real project,” he said. “It wasn’t, ‘Let’s do a show at a venue.’ It was the first time we had to get a permit; it was the first time we had to hire security and bring in our own bar company, and catering company, and organize everything. We did it and we got the permit. … We convinced this band from Africa to come over and play, and they got there. They played; people had actually paid to get in to where we had money to pay them; nobody got hurt. … It’s like a family restaurant (had) started with my wife and best friends, and when we succeed, we really feel it. During Tinariwen … nothing will ever top that.

“But who knows? Iggy Pop is playing our festival this year,” he continued. “That’s just going to be unreal.”

Last year, some people had concerns about a large music festival taking place at the Institute of Mentalphysics. Pirrone said attendees left the venue in pristine shape.

“I was very impressed with our audience and their respect for the venue,” he said. “When you’re there, you don’t feel like littering, because of the environment there being so beautiful. I like to think we put a lot of love into it. People cleaned up after themselves and left no trace. The Institute of Mentalphysics was very impressed with the cleanup. We also encourage people to carpool and keep fewer cars on the road. We work with Global Inheritance and ZeroHero to run recycling and green programs during the event, and they helped us divert 10,000 pieces of recycling from the landfill. We’re making a lot of efforts to be a positive festival in that regard.

“We love it in Joshua Tree, and we hope to be there for many years. We’re doing our best to be good neighbors up there.

Desert Daze will take place Thursday, Oct. 12, through Sunday, Oct. 15 at the Institute of Mentalphysics, 59700 Twentynine Palms Highway, in Joshua Tree. Passes are $229 to $450. For tickets or more information, visit desertdaze.org.

For about a year in the mid-1990s, a band formed featuring members of Unsound, Kyuss and Dead Issue. The name was Decon—and the group kicked ass.

However, Decon—with Herb Lienau (vocals), Brian Maloney (guitar), Billy Cordell (bass) and Brant Bjork (drums)—came to an abrupt halt after that great year.

Flash forward two decades or so, to the fall of 2016, when seemingly out of nowhere, Decon announced its first show in two decades, at The Hood Bar and Pizza, as part of The Hellions’ record-release party. Three of the four original members were back, with Rob Peterson taking Brant Bjork’s place on drums. Decon was a hit, and many hoped the band would play again.

Decon will indeed be playing again—at Pappy and Harriet’s, as part of Brian Maloney’s 50th birthday, on Saturday, Aug. 12. Also on the bill will be Yawning Man, Fatso Jetson, The Hellions and Dali’s Llama.

I caught up with Decon at Rob Peterson’s house in Bermuda Dunes. The band was running through its old material, with the occasional flub.

“We practice once every 25 years,” Maloney joked, before giving a brief history of the band.

“It was around 1994 and 1995. Unsound was done for about a year, and Brant and I got together and started jamming and started Decon up,” Maloney said. “We enlisted Billy, and then we got Herb. By the time we had Herb, we had about 10 songs. He came in and wrote lyrics really fast, and within three weeks, we had a 10-song set.

“It went really fast. We got a tour going; we had a lot of shows and played around a lot. We had a lot of momentum, and then it went into cruise control. We did maybe 10 shows. We played in Santa Cruz, Humboldt, Chico and San Francisco. We had only one show to start the whole tour. We filled in the blanks about three or four days before we left, getting another one or two here or there. We’d roll into town and be like, ‘Hey, we want to get on this show!’ We’d see a flier and be like, ‘Hey, we’ll open for you guys!’ It went really well. We’d stay in town for a couple of days and end up playing parties. We knew a few people and connected the dots as we went. It was really do-it-yourself, and doing it on a whim. It was fun, and we did great. We generated a lot of momentum.”

The band members were baffled when they showed up to play a show in Berkeley … and many attendees knew the lyrics to their songs.

“We found out there was a pirate radio station in Berkeley,” Maloney said. “There was a guy who had a radio station out of his car and would just drive around Berkeley with no FCC license. He would crank us. We played in Berkeley and wondered how all these street kids knew our songs. We found out he would play us on the radio from some friends of ours who lived up there.”

I had to ask: What made Decon end so quickly? The simple answer: life. All of the members had things going on; Herb Lienau’s son, Quanah, who today plays guitar in the local band Facelift, was just a year old when Decon went on tour.

“I used to bounce Quanah around in his little jumper thing,” Maloney said. “… Shit happens. Things happen for a month, and then things go stale. Dominoes fall in different ways, and there are four people. Things change really quick, and that’s the way it is when you’re in a band, and you have to keep that momentum going.”

Lienau added that things were different for bands back then.

“Things would get very disheartening,” Lienau said. “Progress was slow-going back then. It was very hard to get any kind of break at all. This is long before everyone toured Europe all the time. Back then, Kyuss toured, and that was it.”

Maloney said one venue in particular, in Indio, was essential to Decon’s brief existence.

“Our saving grace was Rhythm and Brews, Mario and Larry Lalli’s club,” Maloney said. “That was at the same time of Decon, and we used to practice there early in the weekdays. It was the apex of the desert scene. It couldn’t get any better than that: Our best friend and godfather of desert rock, Mario Lalli, had a club with a bar, pizza, a pool table and shit going on there six nights a week. We had our own place. It was Mario’s place, but it was all of our place. He really opened the doors in that way to everyone. Even if the door didn’t make money, you still got paid. Mario paid and fed the bands, even if it wasn’t a big night.”

Now that Decon is back, is the band actually back, at least for now?

“We finally put it back together. We’re enjoying it, and we want to try to do it more often,” Maloney said. “We played that last show less than a year ago. We didn’t know what to expect at first, but we felt good going into that show. We’re going to do a few more; this upcoming show is my 50th birthday party. It’s more like a reunion show, and we have people who are our old friends coming in from across the country.”

Decon’s newbie, Rob Peterson, said he’s enjoying his time with the band. The other members praised Peterson’s abilities, calling him one of the best drummers in the valley.

“I love playing this kind of music,” Peterson said. “I can play as loud and fast as I want, and no one is telling me to turn it down. When I was coming up, Unsound and Decon were two of my favorite groups, and I loved being in the pit. I got to watch them play a whole bar show in the Rhythm and Blues days, and I was a kid, stoked on these guys who I considered my big brothers doing rad shit. Now I got asked to play with them—and not to jock these motherfuckers, but it’s pretty fucking cool. I felt honored and stoked. I’m getting to play with guys I look up to.”

One last note: Billy Cordell, who remained quiet for the entire interview, received some grief from his bandmates. He chuckled and wished to be quoted as saying, “Mmhmm, yep” as his contribution.

Decon will perform at 8:30 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 12, at Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace, 53688 Pioneertown Road, in Pioneertown. Also on the bill are Yawning Man, Fatso Jetson, The Hellions and Dali’s Llama. Tickets are $10. For tickets or more information, call 760-365-5956, or visit pappyandharriets.com.

It’s August, which means we’re starting the downhill slide into fall (and the amazing weather that season brings). Meanwhile, there are still plenty of great shows to enjoy.

Fantasy Springs Resort Casino has a couple of events to consider. At 5 p.m., Friday, Aug. 4, Mauricio “El Maestro” Herrera of Riverside will square off against Jesus “El Renuente” Soto Karass of Los Mochis, Mexico, in a welterweight-division match that’s part of Golden Boy Boxing. The event will also be broadcast on ESPN. Tickets are $25 to $45. At 8 p.m., Friday, Aug. 18, the legendary Doobie Brothers will return to Fantasy Springs. The band’s name has always amused me, but the music is no laughing matter: It’s great. Tickets are $39 to $69. Fantasy Springs Resort Casino, 84245 Indio Springs Parkway, Indio; 800-827-2946; www.fantasyspringsresort.com.

Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa also has a sports event taking place: At 7 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 5, get ready for the beatdown … the Gladiator Challenge MMA: Ultimate Beatdown, that is. While the card had not been announced as of my deadline, you can bet the beatdown awesomeness will be … uh, awesome, considering the Gladiator Challenge has been going since 1999, and MMA greats including Dan “The Beast” Severn and Quinton “Rampage” Jackson have participated. Tickets are $40 to $150. At 8 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 12, you’ll be off the wall and asking Annie if she’s OK when the Michael Jackson History Show hits the valley. This is a production by Showtime Australia, and will feature MJ impersonator Dantanio. Tickets are $29 to $59. Speaking of the King of Pop (sort of): Do you love the ’80s? Well, at 8 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 19, you’ll be loving Lost ’80s Live, with a lineup featuring Wang Chung, Cutting Crew, Pretty Poison, Naked Eyes, The Flirts, Trans-X, Berlin (right) and Tony Hadley of Spandau Ballet, who recently made it known that Spandau Ballet is officially done. Confession: Since I bought my new car a couple of months ago, the SiriusXM radio has been set to the ’80s station almost all the time. Tickets are $45 to $65. The Show at Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa, 32250 Bob Hope Drive, Rancho Mirage; 888-999-1995; www.hotwatercasino.com.

Spotlight 29 is offering an interesting mix of events in August. First, do you know who really loves reggae music? Independent contributor Guillermo Prieto does—but I’m sure you do, too, and at 8 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 5, there will be a celebration of Bob Marley put on by OneGunn, OneLove. There’ll be good times and good vibes, for sure. Tickets are $20. At 8 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 12, you’ll be banging your head with the horns up during the celebration of Metallica put on by Masters of Puppets. The group has received a lot of props from Metallica fans, so don’t miss this one if you, too, are a fan. Tickets are $20. At 8 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 19, fans of Norteño will be delighted to enjoy the show by Los Tucanes de Tijuana. The band has sold more than 13 million albums! Tickets are $30 to $50. It’ll be ladies’ night at 8 p.m., Friday, Aug. 25 when Las Vegas production Hunks comes to town. The scantily clad muscle men of your dreams will be strutting across the stage and making you scream! Tickets are $20. Spotlight 29 Casino, 46200 Harrison Place, Coachella; 760-775-5566; www.spotlight29.com.

Morongo Casino Resort Spa has a solid August lineup. At 9 p.m., Friday, Aug. 11, R&B crooner Peabo Bryson will be performing. If you were a ’90s kid who loved Disney films and/or had the “pleasure” of singing in your elementary school choir, you know him as one of the voices featured on several huge Disney hits, including “A Whole New World” from Aladdin and “Beauty and the Beast” from Beauty and the Beast. Tickets are $59 to $69. At 9 p.m., Thursday, Aug. 24, The Gipsy Kings will take the stage. Although it is a French group, The Gypsy Kings perform salsa, flamenco and other varieties of world music. Tickets are $59 to $69. At 9 p.m., Friday, Aug. 25, Fuel will be performing, with the promise of “special guests.” Fuel was a ’90s radio staple, and songs “Shimmer” and “Hemorrhage (In My Hands)” always had the potential to get stuck in one’s head. Tickets are $28 to $35. Morongo Casino Resort Spa, 49500 Seminole Drive, Cabazon; 800-252-4499; www.morongocasinoresort.com.

Pappy and Harriet’s has the best lineup for music-lovers in August; here are just a few highlights. At 9 p.m., Thursday, Aug. 17, Neon Indian (below) will be performing. Neon Indian’s electronic pop anthems are a lot of fun and have been remixed by some big names. If you’ve never heard of the band before, check out the song “Polish Girl.” Tickets are $20. At 9 p.m., Thursday, Aug. 24, New York City band Psychic Ills will come to Pappy’s. It’s hard to describe the band’s sound; think psychedelic rock with an experimental vibe. The group has been around since 2003 and has put out five full-length albums. This will be a great show for a summer night! Tickets are $15. And we saved the best for last: Thursday, Aug. 31, through Saturday, Sept. 2, the Cracker and Camper Van Beethoven annual event Campout will be back. In its 13th edition, the event will feature the usual Camper Van Beethoven and Cracker performances, along with appearances by The Dangers, Black Marshmallows, Tribesmen (Take the East Valley kids bowling!) and many others. Tickets are $25 to $100. Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace, 53688 Pioneertown Road, Pioneertown; 760-365-5956; www.pappyandharriets.com.

In 2015, Monreaux was on a roll. The local band’s live performances were becoming increasingly impressive, and the group’s fan base was growing.

Then the band had to hit the brakes.

Last year, before front man Giorg Tierez’ annual Burning Bash, he announced that Monreaux would not be playing at the show. Bassist Chris Dub had a newborn child, and his work schedule made practices and gigs hard to schedule. Meanwhile, guitarist Marcus Bush had stepped away from the band due to personal matters.

While Monreaux remains on hiatus, Tierez is pushing on and will be throwing the sixth annual Burning Bash, on Friday, Aug. 25, at Bart Lounge. On the bill will be DJ Skyhigh, Stevie Crooks, Ocho Ojos, Cakes, Killjoi, Robotic Humans, and Bass Nurds. Reggie Martinez, the owner of California Barbecue Company, will be onsite with a barbecue stand.

Tierez said during a recent interview that he decided to change things up this year.

“I wanted to keep it fresh, and I think I have fewer bands this year because of bringing equipment on and off,” Tierez said. “At Bart Lounge, it’s upstairs, so all that equipment going up and down the stairs makes it difficult. I think we’re going to have one drum set for everyone to use, so all the bands have to do is bring up their amps and stuff.

“I’m not going to be stage-managing this year. Last year, I was back and forth, and we started way too late. We just had too many acts, and I trimmed it down this year.”

On the subject of Monreaux, Tierez said he and drummer Ryan Diaz have been ready to go.

“I actually talked to Marcus (Bush). … He’s doing good, and I’m going to be visiting him soon, and we’re going to talk about Monreaux. … Chris (Dub) is still busy being a husband and dad. Ryan is ready to go and is like, ‘Let me know!’

“I’ve been writing, and I have about 15 to 20 songs right now. The bass ideas are there, and I think I’m going electronic with keys and synth, but still keeping it dark and desert.”

Tierez said Monreaux’s hiatus doesn’t bother him, because, well, life happens.

“I think everyone had an outside issue at one point,” he said. “We all deal with that, and you can’t get away from it. You can’t be like, ‘Excuse me, life. I’m trying to be in a band right now!’ Life will fuck you anyways, no matter what, even if you decide that it’s going to be 100 percent about your band. You can be on a successful ride, and all of a sudden—bam! Something happens. You can’t fuck with life.”

Tierez said chemistry concerns have kept him from recruiting new members for Monreaux.

“I’ve talked to a couple of people about coming on and playing with us, but it comes down to chemistry,” he said. “You can have a bad-ass guitar player join the band, but he might just be doing it because he’s not doing anything else, and might dig it or might not dig it; that’s why you need the right chemistry. It’s hard to find that mix of people where everyone likes what they’re doing. That’s the hardest part about making a band—finding people who are equally excited while writing the songs.”

Tierez has played a gig or two solo, but didn’t care for it.

“I’m able to do it, but I don’t know if it’s my thing,” he said. “I know there are some locals who do it every week, and they’re hustling, which is great, but that’s not me. I like the group environment and feeding off my band members—having that energy back and forth and working off of it.”

Even though Tierez will again not be performing at this year’s Burning Bash, he said he still loves putting it on.

“We started it back in Burning Bettie, because it was my birthday and the first show we ever played as a band,” he said. “But I’m able to bring in a mix of people and a mix of bands in one night, and not many people can do that. I pride myself on that, and maybe I’ve just made the right connections and the right friends. Maybe I’ve made the right impressions. But these people are willing and are like, ‘Fuck yeah! Let’s do it!’

“All of the bands who have performed want to do it every year. I love that I can do that, and that it’s successful. It’s always a great show and tons of people.”

The Sixth Annual Burning Bash will be held at 9 p.m., Friday, Aug. 25, at Bart Lounge, 67555 E. Palm Canyon Drive, in Cathedral City. Admission is free. For more information, visit www.facebook.com/events/445848675773077.

Desert Hot Springs band Chill Magnet has finally put out an album—and it lives up to the band’s name.

Surf Chica Bonita includes some truly bang-up tracks that will remind listeners of bands such as Tame Impala, Foals and MGMT. Parts of the album have deep, psychedelic tracks, while other sections have tracks that are … well, chill.

Chill Magnet will be playing a show with Daytime Moon at the Red Barn on Friday, Aug. 18.

During a recent interview with Tom Murray (lead vocals/bass/guitar/keyboards), he explained the foundations of Chill Magnet.

“It really started in 2013 with my (then) former band mate Randy Banis,” Murray said. “He had a recording studio in his house, which is a funny story, because he won money to build it on a game show. I asked him, ‘Did you win this on Jeopardy?’ and he said, ‘No! It was The Weakest Link.’ He pulls it up and shows it to me—and there he is. He won $25,000. He said, ‘Since I won it in entertainment, I’m going to build a studio.’

“We demoed 20 songs that I wrote while I was living in Malibu. We decided in 2014 to make a record, and I started recording up here in Desert Hot Springs. I’d send them to Randy, and we made an EP that we released in 2015 called Gringo Mariachi.”

Chill Magnet started to appear live while the band continued to release singles.

“People liked (the band), and I thought we should start playing live gigs, but we had no band,” Murray said. “It was the two of us. We got a couple of musicians and started playing live. We were playing punk-rock songs, given we were a four-piece. We weren’t playing the tracks.

“After a year, we put out two singles, and Randy and I wanted to go back to the original lineup of him and I so we could play the tracks and put the music out the way we recorded it. We did that around the summer of 2015, and I started to record and finish my vocal tracks in 2016. I had to wait a whole year for him to finish his tracks and produce the record.

“This album took over a year to make. It taught me a lot about patience, given I’d see these other bands out here in the scene ask me, ‘Where have you been?’ and I’d be like, ‘Just waiting to come out, but it’s going to be great!’ I didn’t want anyone to hear it; I just waited patiently. In the meantime, I wrote an entire new album while Randy was doing his parts. He was pissed at me. I recorded another album. We do theme albums, and we have two more albums that we’re recording with certain styles of things we’re jamming on.”

The response thus far to Surf Chica Bonita has been overwhelmingly positive.

“The success of the band now with the new record—people are really loving our live show and really digging the album,” Murray said. “No one is more surprised than me. You just never know when something is going to connect.”

Murray said there is a term he uses to explain Chill Magnet’s sound.

“We had to come up with our own sound. We were having trouble defining it, so we came up with what we’re calling EDR, which stands for electronic dance rock,” he said. “So what we do is take traditional alternative rock from the ’80s, ’90s and ’00s, and bands that influence us from that time period, and we’re fusing it with EDM techniques. We use a lot of sub-bass and a lot of drum loops—things that are more common in EDM music. It really confuses people, and they tell us, ‘It’s like rock, but it’s not. It’s like trance, but it’s not.’ There are other bands that are doing it, like Beck; Death Cab for Cutie’s last album is like EDM meets rock. … We like to say we’re the pioneers but not the inventors.”

Murray said being part of the Coachella Valley music scene has been rewarding.

“It’s been unbelievably supportive. It’s so warm and fuzzy that it almost makes me weak,” he said. “I’ve been looking forward to going into Los Angeles, and we’re opening for Sponge (at Whisky a Go-Go on Sept. 29). It’s going to be tough on us, and people will be more critical. Out here, people are so nice and supportive. Randy and I are older guys; we’ve been around, and we never expected to be accepted by these young bands that we play shows with. The BrosQuitos, The CMFs, Daytime Moon—they are so accepting of us. I can’t believe it: In my middle age, I’m getting to play cool music.

“We’re trying to be new and relevant-sounding, so I’m sure that makes a difference. No one here is pretentious, and you don’t have to be a 20-something boy band out here. You can be all shapes and sizes, and the people are accepting of it if it’s good music. I bet you there are 100 great bands here.”

Chill Magnet will perform with Daytime Moon at 8 p.m., Friday, Aug. 18, at The Red Barn, 73290 Highway 111, in Palm Desert. Admission is free. For more information, visit www.chillmagnet.net.

When Nile Rodgers and CHIC performed at Fantasy Springs on Saturday night, he expressed concern about the setup inside the Special Events Center.

“It’s weird to see everyone sitting; it feels like being in a classroom,” Rodgers told the crowd about a quarter of the way into the band’s set. “CHIC is a dance band; feel free to move around.”

Sadly, CHIC did not perform to a sold-out crowd on Saturday night, but those who were in attendance savored the chance to enjoy the legendary disco-era band responsible for a slew of hits, such as “Le Freak” and “Everybody Dance,” which have earned front man Nile Rodgers a place in rock ’n’ roll history, and led him to collaborations with artists such as Daft Punk.

Some fans who showed up early got the chance to meet the man himself when he stepped out from the backstage area and began to mingle. As I stood behind Rodgers, patiently waiting for my turn to take a selfie, the compliments were all similar: “Thank you so much for all the great music over the years,” sentiments which humbled Rodgers as he shook fans’ hands.

As for the show … it was fantastic.

The band started with “Everybody Dance,” which was followed by “Dance, Dance, Dance,” and “I Want Your Love”—an epic start, considering all of those are well-known CHIC songs. They wasted no time throwing out the hits.

“I have the best day job in the world,” Rodgers said, noting that he’s worked with and produced many well-known artists. “I’m just going to ego-trip and play all my own hits.” The band then played a medley of some of his produced tracks, starting with Diana Ross’ “I’m Coming Out” and “Upside Down,” Sister Sledge’s “He’s The Greatest Dancer” and “We Are Family,” and Madonna’s “Like a Virgin,” sung by his incredible backing vocalist, Kimberly Davis.

Before he played “Get Lucky,” his collaboration with Daft Punk, he announced that six years ago, he had been diagnosed with cancer and was told to “go home and get his affairs in order.” He said that instead, he recorded more music than ever, played more shows than ever, wrote his autobiography—and then received a phone call from Daft Punk asking him to collaborate. He said he was proud to announce he was cancer free now.

Toward the end of the show, CHIC drummer Ralph Rolle commented that while some people were dancing, there were still too many people sitting down—but that they wouldn’t be sitting for much longer. The band then started Rodgers’ produced hit for David Bowie, “Let’s Dance”—which got just about everyone who was still sitting down on their feet.

Of course, CHIC played “Le Freak,” but closed the show with “Good Times,” which featured members of the audience who were invited up to dance with the band.

People say that Disco Demolition Night in 1979 at Comiskey Park in Chicago killed disco. Perhaps it did—but it did no such thing to Nile Rodgers, who is still standing, making hits and kicking ass live with CHIC.

The Adolescents are part of the Vans Warped Tour this summer—and the band is retaining its punk cred by eschewing a cushy tour bus in favor of a van. Yes, after almost 40 years in the business, the Orange County punk outfit is still kicking ass.

The Adolescents are one of several legendary bands—including T.S.O.L. and GWAR—playing the Warped Tour at the Fairplex Pomona on Sunday, Aug. 6.

During a recent phone interview with front man Tony Brandenburg (often known as Tony Reflex), it sounded like he was losing his voice. He told me the humid weather at the Nashville tour stop was getting to him.

“I thought this was going to be brutal, and the weather has been, but the tour has been a lot of fun,” Brandenburg said. “We are where it’s real humid, and that’s a lot harder than the drive. When you get closer to the water, it gets a little tricky.”

He scoffed when I mentioned tour buses.

“No!” he said with a laugh. “I like the van better. It’s a comfort thing for me. I find it to be more comfortable.”

I asked Brandenburg how it felt to be singing the same songs as an adult, now 54, that he sang as a teenager.

“We first started when I was 15 or 16, so I was still really a kid,” he said. “In the years that have passed, I’ve looked back on it, and it was a fun ride. It was fun being that kid, and it was kind of scary, but it was what it was. Playing the stuff now, I find it to be exciting how other people dig it. Kids take it one way and are really into it, and there are people who are generations older; you can see in their reactions where they are in life. The songs are just as valid to (older listeners), even though they’re in a different place.”

Brandenburg said that he always sort of feels out of place, and the Warped Tour is no different.

“I feel like I’m in the wrong spot, at the wrong time, all the time, so do I feel like that more than usual? No,” he said. “The bands are really cool. There are a lot of young bands that come from different genres, and they’ve all been really super-sweet to us. Of course, I feel like I’m distant, but I feel that way by generation and by genre. We may have the art in common, but our lifestyles might be completely different. … But I’m enjoying this. I’m enjoying meeting the kids, the younger bands and older bands. It’s just fun to watch how this is all playing out.”

The Adolescents continue to keep a busy schedule—but the Vans Warped Tour is allowing the Adolescents to reach a different audience, including … well, adolescents.

“We’ve toured the United States about every two years, and we tour Europe annually, sometimes twice within a year,” he said. “South America, Australia, Asia—we’re pretty busy. Our opportunities to do an all-ages (show) are very limited; we can do those in other countries, but we can’t do them here in the States. This is the first all-ages tour we’ve ever done, and that’s very cool. If the kids want to come, that’s great, and this is one of the few opportunities they’ll get to do it.”

When he’s not fronting one of the best-known punk bands on the West Coast, Brandenburg has a day job: He’s a school teacher.

“It’s no surprise to anyone in the community that I work in, but I think that it’s been a kick for a lot of them. I’ve run into parents in the community. They have come up to me and said they were at Ink-N-Iron or at the Warped Tour or whatever, and I get a kick out of it. They’re listening to great music, so how can I not appreciate that?” he said with a laugh. “The touring, we usually do in the winter or the summer; that’s a good three months of the year when I’m able to break away and tour, so what’s when I usually do it. But we need more teachers in punk rock.”

The Adolescents are planning to keep the cycle going, Brandenburg said.

“We just recorded something for a Halloween compilation, and we always do a show at Christmas time, so we’re starting to put together the bill for our Christmas show,” he said. “We want to start work on a record for next year’s tour and head over to Europe.”

The Vans Warped Tour takes place at 11 a.m., Sunday, Aug. 6, at Fairplex Pomona, 1101 W. McKinley Ave., in Pomona. General admission tickets are $41.50. For tickets or more information, visit www.vanswarpedtour.com.

In the 30 years of Guttermouth’s existence, frontman Mark Adkins has constantly had his middle finger raised up high in response to political correctness—and given the current political climate, the band is as relevant as ever.

Guttermouth will be performing at the It’s Not Dead Festival at Glen Halen Amphitheater in San Bernardino on Saturday, Aug. 26. Headliners include Rancid and Dropkick Murphys.

Legendary punk band The Dickies recently faced an angry mob of attendees at a Warped Tour stop, where they were labeled as “misogynists” for stage antics that included a penis puppet. Guttermouth went through a similar incident at a Warped Tour stop in 2004, causing the band to leave the tour.

“Political correctness has reached the punk-rock scene, and it’s just gone so awry and so rampant,” Adkins said during a phone interview. “That’s a shame, that everyone is so far to the left that you can’t even speak your mind. I think we’re in a very sad situation, not just in punk rock, but the real world in general. You can’t tell someone how you feel about what’s going on in the world, even if it’s tongue in cheek. … That’s not a country I want to live in, pal.”

Adkins said both the right and the left have taken things to the extreme, and that punk music is not the same as it used to be.

“It seems to be that the whole punk community has gone so far left—not entirely, given there are a few survivors out there, and guys on the right who pretend they’re on the left so they can be in the punk club. Punk or not, it is 2017. I never thought this music would be going for so long, but the way it has been going on, it’s not really punk music anymore to me. It is what it is.”

Guttermouth just released a new record, The Whole Enchilada. It is the first Guttermouth record in 10-plus years. The albums followed two EPs released in 2016.

“We did stop recording for a while, but we’ve kicked that back into high gear,” he said. “We stopped making records for over 10 years. We released our first EP a year ago, and then we released our second EP that did far better and actually charted on the Billboard alternative chart. Some people were telling me, ‘Pennywise has a new record’ or ‘Rancid has a new record,’ and I’m like, ‘What? How am I supposed to know this?’ I’m not a 5-year-old sitting in front of a computer screen hoping to hear from bands I like. I have better things to do, like be alive and go outside and do something productive. I will say this: I think Internet marketing doesn’t work.”

Adkins said Guttermouth’s 10-year recording hiatus came for a good reason.

“We wanted to see where the dust was settling (after) the crushing blow of the collapse of the CD and the take-off of the Internet,” he said. “We didn’t want to just keep putting stuff out, screwing ourselves and other people, because they’ll never hear it. Now people subscribe to Pandora, Spotify and things like that, and we kind of waited for that. Some labels settled in as being productive labels and had their reach in certain areas, and we waited for that, and the time was right.”

These days, Adkins views touring more positively than he once did.

“I appreciate the places I’m going travel-wise,” he said. “I get out and see more stuff when I’m out on the road instead of just going out and getting shit-faced. Now I’m checking stuff out, meeting people and hanging out. I like to sell our own merchandise these days, not because I’m too cheap to pay someone, but hanging out backstage is boring. It’s the same people, the same faces and the same attitude. I get to meet people from all walks of life and from all over the planet. I’ve learned lots of things and get to share experiences. I get a lot out of that.”

Guttermouth was once banned from touring in Canada due to “charges of indecency.” However, the band may soon return to the country.

“I’ve tried to stay away from that story so many times, but right now, I’m gearing up for a Canadian tour,” he said when asked about the Canada ban. “Because I’ve done everything they wanted me to do (to be) legit, now they want a piece of paper showing proof that there were never any charges filed, and there was a stay of execution—NEVER any charges filed. They want to see that, even though it’s on their computer. Even after I called the court where I was supposedly in trouble, I called the police department where I was in trouble, and I called their version on the FBI—and they all told me the same thing: ‘No problem. You did nothing wrong, and you don’t have a record.’ But I have to prove it in order to go back in. … They said, ‘You have to come up here and get your paperwork,’ and I told them, ‘I can’t. You won’t let me come in.’ And they’re like, ‘Oh boy, we do have a problem then.’ So I’m dealing with that right now. I did get kicked out of the country, but I had a good attorney, and it was money well spent. They never even pressed charges against me.”

Adkins laughed when asked about playing at the Glen Halen Amphitheater.

“That’s the same venue I got busted in, in 1995. Guess what happened there? No charges filed,” he said. “But it cost me a fucking fortune: bail, get out of jail, and you are guilty until proven innocent.

“I don’t care what anyone says. All these stories make me out to be a worse guy than I really am, but I don’t have a fucking record at all! I’m really surprised they’re letting us back there, and it’s my pleasure to come back. It’ll be cool, and I’m excited that we were invited.”

The It’s Not Dead Festival takes place at noon, Saturday, Aug. 26, at the Glen Halen Amphitheater, 2575 Glen Halen Parkway, in San Bernardino. Tickets are $42.50. For tickets or more information, visit www.itsnotdeadfestival.com.