Last updateTue, 18 Sep 2018 1pm

Brian Blueskye

Skateboarding and punk rock have long been connected—but for the members of GFP, aka General Fucking Principle, they are both ways of life.

The relatively new punk supergroup is scheduled to play at The Hood Bar and Pizza on Saturday, Sept. 21.

GFP consists of former DFL (Dead Fucking Last) vocalist Tom Paul Davis, aka Crazy Tom; skateboarding legend and Dogtown Z-Boy Tony Alva on bass; Bad Religion and Circle Jerks guitarist Greg Hetson; and drummer Grant Garrison, who played with H.R. of the Bad Brains.

Davis originally had the idea for GFP back in 2009.

“We came together after I went to see The Germs and Suicidal Tendencies reunion concert in Los Angeles,” said Davis during a recent phone interview. “I had an itching to get back into music. I skated a pool before with Alva, and it just sort of came to me. I thought, ‘Hey, I should call Alva, and we should get together and do a jam.’ I had a drummer who I was thinking about for a little while, and I kind of worked to put the pieces of the puzzle together from there.

The band has suffered through some lineup changes in its relatively brief time. There were originally two guitarists when the band went into the studio, but Davis had a hard time getting along with guitarist Aime Caron.

“We went to record a demo, and he wanted to kick the other guitar player out of the band,” Davis explained. “He went ahead and did that. He was like, ‘I can handle the whole load by myself,’ and I was like, ‘All right, dude. I’m not going to keep having these brawls with you. If you think you can handle it, go ahead.’ We went to do the demo, and he just kinda bugged out on my idea, which was to go into the recording studio to do our 14 songs live and record them as fast as possible without a whole bunch of overdubs and Pro Tools tracking-style stuff, which he was used to doing.”

That’s when Davis reached out to Hetson. “What happened is we asked Greg to help us produce the demo, and he liked the music a lot. When I called Greg and told him Aime quit the band, and I asked him if he felt like playing guitar, he said yes.”

While the band members are all decidedly unique individuals with independent visions, Davis said there haven’t been any problems.

“Actually, everything is organic between me, Greg and Alva,” he said. “We all come from Hollywood, Los Angeles and beach cities, so we’re all influenced by the same bands we grew up with—Black Flag, The Germs, The Weirdos, TSOL and X. … The rest of the guys are a little older than me, so I look up to them as big brothers.”

Alva is one of the pioneers of skateboarding and was a part of the Zephyr skateboarding team in the ‘70s in Venice Beach. While Alva is known more for skateboarding, he has been involved in the punk scene as the bassist for The Skoundrelz.

“He is an incredible bass-player,” said Davis. “He plays without a pick, which is a really incredible bass-playing style in punk rock.”

While punk rock never died, it did go through a dry spell in the last decade. Today, the drought is over: GFP is one of several newer punk-rock supergroups, while older punk bands are reuniting or recording again.

“Some of the bands I grew up with are Pennywise, NOFX and Rancid. DFL was on Epitaph with all those guys,” Davis said. “When we broke up, those bands just continued to keep playing. They didn’t break up, but they didn’t get any bigger and just kept going. I think a lot of bands just watched what happened and realized it and said, ‘We should get back together.’

“What’s amazing is all these bands are still out there from when I was a kid and when I was on Epitaph. It’s great to see it still going strong. I think a lot of it has to do with skateboarding being a major influence in punk rock. Skateboarding is popular as well.”

The band is currently recording its debut album, which Davis said has been delayed due to the departure of drummer Amery Smith, of Suicidal Tendencies. Davis said that they hope to have the album out within the next six months.

When it comes to their show at The Hood, Davis said he is excited.

“I really enjoy the shows away from Los Angeles,” Davis said. “People here are controlled by stargazing and shoegazing. … I would expect an old-school vibe; we like to bring our skateboards. We like to hang out in the crowd and talk to people. I think it’s going to be really fun.”

Davis did have one concern about playing in the Coachella Valley.

“I hope there’s air-conditioning!” he said.

GFP will play with Year of the Dragon and Throw the Goat at 9 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 21, at The Hood Bar and Pizza, 74360 Highway 111 in Palm Desert. Admission is $5, and there are no presales. For more information, call 760-636-5220, or track down the event on Facebook.

There are currently two versions of Queensryche—but the band’s driving force is undeniably Geoff Tate, and it’s his version of Queensryche that’s stopping at The Date Shed on Friday, Aug. 23.

Queensryche began to develop in the late ’70s in Bellevue, Wash. The original lineup consisted of Geoff Tate (vocals), Michael Wilton (guitars), Chris DeGarmo (guitars), Eddie Jackson (bass) and Scott Rockenfield (drums). They recorded their first demo tape in 1981, which went on to gain the attention of radio stations around the world and led to a record deal with EMI. They released The Warning in 1984, followed by Rage for Order in 1986. In 1987, the band began recording Operation: Mindcrime, a concept album/rock opera that told the story of a drug addict and political radical who was frustrated with the world around him.

“When the album was done, I felt very good about it,” said Tate during a recent phone interview. “I felt I achieved what I set out to do. I wanted to create a concept album that was inspired by the great concept albums I grew up with that were inspirational to me. I feel good about how the music has been received over the years. I like hearing all the wonderful things people say about the album, as anyone would.”

The album went on to reach platinum status, selling more than a million copies in the U.S. alone.

In 1990, Queensryche released Empire, which landed them even more success, thanks in part to hits “Silent Lucidity” and “Jet City Woman.” Empire went on to sell 3 million copies.

Despite the success, Tate said that neither sales nor critical claim were ever his main priority or focus.

“I never think about that kind of thing, honestly,” said Tate. “To me, success is measured on the accomplishment of actually making a record, writing it and performing it. That’s where I get my satisfaction and my pleasure.”

Throughout the ‘80s, when heavy metal was full of bands like Poison, Motley Crue and Ratt, Queensryche stood out, in part due to Queensryche’s unique sound and lyrics content. Tate said his songwriting abilities are due to the experiences he’s had, and due to him being a conversationalist with all sorts of people.

“I don’t know how I do it, exactly,” Tate said. “I try to live an inspirational life and be grateful for what I have and what I’ve experienced. I take a lot of pleasure in experiences. I like to travel and meet people. I’m kind of an experience junkie. I was recently in Malaysia on a motorcycle trip through the jungle that was really, really incredible. It was one of the high points of my life as far as experiences go. Life is really interesting to me. The relationships I have in my life are where I find a lot of inspiration.”

The band enjoyed success through the ‘90s, they were also one of the ‘80s metal bands who found themselves accepted among Seattle’s grunge scene. Tate has an interesting point of view on that era.

“I guess if you’re talking about bands like Soundgarden, Nirvana, Pearl Jam and Alice in Chains—a lot of those bands toured with us,” said Tate. “It was a focus on a certain area of the country at the time and their music; it was Seattle’s time. The whole moniker of grunge—if you ask the bands I just mentioned if they would call it grunge, they’d probably punch you in the face. Everybody hates that term. It was just a marketing term designed to separate a certain band’s music from another band’s music.”

Recent years have been tough on the band. In the spring of 2012, the other remaining original members—Wilton, Jackson and Rockenfield—alleged that Tate’s wife was mismanaging the band’s finances; the three also fired Tate’s stepdaughter from running the band’s fan club. Before a show in Sao Paulo, Brazil, the argument got heated, and security officers had to separate Tate from the rest of the band.

Ever since, Tate and the other members have been engaged in a heated legal battle over use of the Queensryche name; a judge said that the two versions of the band are both allowed to use the name until a hearing in November. (The other version of the band, featuring former Crimson Glory vocalist Todd La Torre on vocals, is also active.)

Tate said that he doesn’t see him and his former bandmates ever being able to put aside their differences to reunite. He also said he understands that some people are baffled about the fact that there are currently two bands called Queensryche.

“I suppose it’s probably confusing to some fans,” he said. “But you know, in today’s world, you can really find out anything that you want to find out: The Internet is a great and powerful tool, and all it takes is a couple of buttons to push. You can do a lot of research. I think for, perhaps, lazy people, it could be confusing. For most of us, it’s pretty easy to find out the difference.”

Tate’s version of Queensryche released a new album, Frequency Unknown, back in April. Tate’s version includes guitarist Kelly Gray, a member of Queensryche from 1998 to 2002 who returned in 2007 and stayed with Tate during the split.

“Kelly and I have been friends for going on 40 years now,” said Tate. “We played in bands together; we wrote a lot of music together; his kids have grown up with my kids; we’ve gone through divorces together; and he’s been a good friend. He was working with Queensryche when the split happened, on the technical side of things, working our monitors. Next thing you know, he and I are standing on the stage together.”

When it comes to the show at The Date Shed, Tate said he is happy to be returning to the Coachella Valley.

“I love playing live and I love touring. I might be one of those rare people who like to be on the road,” he said. “I look forward to playing there, seeing what the audience is like, and it should be a great time.”

Queensryche with Geoff Tate will perform an 18-and-older show at 8 p.m., Friday, Aug. 23, at The Date Shed, 50725 Monroe St., in Indio. Tickets are $20. For tickets or more info, call 760-775-6699, or visit

The members of local band Pssstols are serious about their music. But that doesn’t mean they don’t love to party—and they’re bringing the party to the Date Shed with a free show on Saturday, Sept. 7.

When the band showed up for a recent interview in Rancho Mirage, they had plenty of stories to tell. Among the topics of discussion: a tale of two of the members partying with DJ Day some years ago, with one of the band members winding up in a children’s car seat; a recent radio interview they did in Los Angeles while intoxicated; and various hijinks with other local bands.

Victor Aguirre (vocals), Joel Guerrero (drums), Jesus Escarrega (guitar), Salvador Gutierrez (guitar) and Nicholas Hernandez (bass) are longtime friends. Inspired by bands such as The Clash, Joy Division, Gang of Four, Foals and the Arctic Monkeys, Pssstols is a relatively new band that has found success after playing shows at The Hood in Palm Desert, Bar in Palm Springs, and the AMFM Fest.

They jokingly refer to their sound as “post-desert rock.” They started playing music together in late 2011, and they officially came together as Pssstols in January.

“It was back in summer 2011, and I asked Sal if he just wanted to jam,” said Guerrero. “At the time, I was living in L.A. and going to UCLA; we didn’t think it was really going to go anywhere. I started driving down every weekend, and we just started finishing stuff that Sal had written before. After that, we got Jesus in September 2012, and we were just a three-piece. We just kept at it, and eventually, we got Victor.”

They are still riding high following their show at AMFM Festival, which the group believes was their best show to date.

“I didn’t know what to expect from it,” said Aguirre about the June event. “We thought the festival was going to be a lot bigger than it was, and it ended up being really good for us, personally. A lot of the other bands didn’t have a good draw or big crowd, but we had the biggest crowd there, and we were blown away. We had really good live energy. The band was giving the energy and the crowd was giving it right back.”

The band is also getting ready to enter the recording studio to make their first album; Escarrega said they have nine songs ready to record.

“I think given the opportunity and given the chance, we can approach it to where we’ll come up with things that are completely original,” said Escarrega. “There’s this comedian named Reggie Watts, and he said something about how if you gave him the same instrument as another person … he could guarantee if they both took the same approach, they (still) wouldn’t play the same thing, and it would sound completely different.”

Said Gutierrez: “All I know is that you have to keep moving forward. You have to keep moving until you find that sound that makes the band and the people who hear it go ‘WHOA!’ and then it works.”

Guerrero said that while all the members of the band are Latino, they enjoy playing their music.

“We’re all Mexicans, but this is what we love to play,” said Guerrero. “I grew up listening to Spanish music. The first music I heard was Spanish music. Anything that was from the early ’90s, that’s what I grew up listening to. We have a song called ‘Eyes Like Rain’ where we tried to incorporate our roots, to some extent.”

While the band loves a good live performance, they also love the partying that comes with being in a band.

“I’ve always said the performance doesn’t end when you get off the stage; you still have to perform for the people who want you to go to parties with them,” said Escarrega. “They want to be like ‘PSSSTOLS ARE HERE MAN! THOSE GUYS ARE FUCKING COOL!’ Partying is about 50 percent of the business—seriously. It’s cool to kick it with your mates, but meeting the girls is awesome”

When asked about their favorite alcoholic beverages, they all agree on Rumple Minze and Patron.

And then there’s their wine of choice: “Space wine,” Gutierrez said, referring to the grape goodness of Franzia or Carlo Rossi boxed wine—minus the box. “It comes in a bag, and it’s like what the astronauts would drink.”

Added Aguirre: “We don’t hang out with people who are too sophisticated to tell us it’s cheap wine.

The band said they’re excited to be returning to The Date Shed.

“Kids out there are more passionate about finding things to do,” Aguirre said. “The east valley is more boring than anywhere else in the valley. When there’s a show, those kids are fired up for it. When it’s a free 18-and-over show, there’s no excuse for not showing up.”

The Pssstols will join Machin, Giselle Woo and the Night Owls, Tribesmen and the Desert DJ Entertainment Group for a show at 9 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 7, at The Date Shed, 50725 Monroe St., in Indio. Admission is free. For more information, call 760-775-6699, or visit

People are often amused (or bemused) by Jeremiah Saint’s “goth” appearance. However, Jeremiah Saint is even more amused by those people’s reactions to his appearance.

He’s playing at The Hood on Thursday, Aug. 15, as a member of DieSineGration, a band which is playing its final show that night. Saint’s newly formed solo project, DECAYEDen, will open for DieSineGration. They will be followed by metal-band Sinister X.

The 32-year-old Palm Desert resident refers to himself as a “band whore.” He’s been a part of several local groups, including Phase Theory, Regenerator (as a touring member) and DieSineGration. He has also worked as a producer and sound engineer, and has even written a book that can be found on In other words, he’s a workaholic who stays busy.

As for his new project DECAYEDen, he explained that he got the idea from a personal hardship.

“It’s been in the back of my mind for five years: I was going to be a father, and the child passed away in the womb,” said Saint. “I took the first name of what I was going to name my son, which was Decayeden. I took that, and I wrote it into an industrial, dark-wave format.”

He recently self-released a new album, Dead Angels and Forgotten Ghosts.

“It’s really hard to classify,” said Saint. “Almost every song on the album can be classified as a different genre. To keep it simple, I call it ‘electronic, experimental dark-rock.’ The project (includes) a lot of how I see myself, how I see society, how I see the government, and the relationships and friendships that I have been through.”

Despite Saint’s goth-like image, he hates the term and refutes the stereotypes that are given to people with similar appearances.

“I don’t view myself as goth,” Saint said. “I’m a dude who wears makeup, who doesn’t always wear black, and who has a dark life, but I almost view it as an insult. I’m not emo; I’m not into Twilight; and I don’t worship Satan. I’m an atheist, and I’m a vegan. As a kid, I was always obsessed with the study of dark arts, magic, Aleister Crowley, H.P. Lovecraft and Edgar Allan Poe. It’s stereotypical, but it’s enthralled me and inspired me. For me, it’s just my artistic being.”

Does pain make great art? Saint would have to say yes.

“Pain makes beautiful art,” said Saint. “It makes some of the most beautiful art we’ve ever seen. It’s void of multimedia facets trying to sell it and without the sham of ‘everything is going to be all right.’ A lot of people skip over that.”

As a local musician, Saint noted the many changes that have occurred over the years in the local music scene.

“I just see it different now. Everything has changed so much,” said Saint. “I remember sneaking into the local clubs here, going to Peabody’s to see local bands, or being in one those local bands. It was so much different. Everybody wanted to be there to see the shows. People wanted to play, and no one cared back then about getting paid: It was just about the shows.”

On the subject of being both the opening act (as DECAYEDen) and playing as keyboardist in DieSineGration’s last show, Saint said the pairing simply made sense.

“We were looking at the lineup, and I figured since I had my sequences ready that I could do a DECAYEDen show,” said Saint. “I can open that up and then play in DieSineGration, and I figured, ‘Why the hell not?’ I’m looking forward to it: Put on one more amazing show with DieSineGration, and maybe get some new people to hear DECAYEDen.”

DieSineGration, DECAYEDen and Sinister X will play on Thursday, Aug. 15, at The Hood Bar and Pizza, 74360 Highway 111, in Palm Desert. Doors open for the 21-and-over show at 9 p.m. Admission is free. Call 760-636-5220, or track down the event’s Facebook page for more information.

When it comes to modern poetry, Mira Gonzalez is an invigorating force.

She recently released her first collection of poems, I Will Never Be Beautiful Enough to Make Us Beautiful Together, through Sorry House Publishing.

Originally from Venice, Calif., Gonzalez is the daughter of visual artist and singer Lora Norton, and the stepdaughter of Black Flag bassist Chuck Dukowski. Her mother, stepfather and brother, Milo, are also members of the Chuck Dukowski Sextet. While her family is known for music, Mira has made writing her creative outlet of choice. She lists Haruki Murakami, Tao Lin, and Virginia Woolf as her writing influences.

“I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember, or at least since I was very young,” Gonzalez said. “I guess I started focusing on writing poetry specifically sometime in early high school. I have always enjoyed reading and read a lot of books, which is what inspired me to start writing in general. What draws me specifically to poetry is how easily accessible it is for people who have a hard time or don’t enjoy reading full length novels.”

Gonzalez’s poems often focus on dating struggles, odd ex-boyfriends, depression and social angst, and the poems sometimes feature strange twists and turns. “Secular Humanist” is about a man named Stephen who is obsessed with naked women: “He wants to find every bone in your body, all two hundred and six of them. He wants to feel them through your naked skin with his fingertips. He wants to name them as he finds them.”

After she describes Stephen’s fantasies, Gonzalez ends the poem with, “He feels like a grain of sand, on a beach, that isn’t a real grain of sand, but is actually a very tiny piece of a clamshell from a clam that died 10 years ago.”

Gonzalez said much of her poem-writing process actually involves editing.

“When I write a poem, I usually sit down and type everything that comes to mind, which can sometimes be two to three pages or more,” Gonzalez said. “Once I have all of that out in front of me, I edit it down to only the best lines; then I edit each sentence to say what I mean to say in the most succinct way possible.”

The almost Zen-like simplicity of her poems stands out. They are deep, yet simple and powerful. She said her unique writing style didn’t come naturally to her.

“I don’t think doing that ‘comes naturally’ to anyone, really,” Gonzalez said. “I guess certain people could be more skilled at crafting sentences so that they express ‘big’ ideas in not very many words, but nobody can just sit down in front of a computer and write a sentence like that, no problem. For me, at least, it comes with a lot of careful thought and a lot of time spent editing. I will spend hours on one sentence sometimes, and if I feel that sentence isn’t expressing exactly what I want it to express, I will delete the sentence entirely. I think it takes a lot of precision and tedious work, and I’m still not entirely sure if I’m able to express things the way I want to express them”

The response to the book has been promising. The initial printing of 500 copies sold out very quickly, and Sorry House Publishing did a second printing. Gonzalez says that she’s very surprised by the book’s success.

“Any time copies of my book sell, I’m completely shocked,” Gonzalez said. “I didn't expect it to have anywhere near as much success as it did. I think a lot of credit for that can go to my editor, Spencer, who has done a great job marketing the book through Sorry House.”

I Will Never Be Beautiful Enough to Make Us Beautiful Together

By Mira Gonzalez

Sorry House

56 pages, $12.95, available at

It’s been a rough summer for Palm Springs band Forfeit Your Skies.

The five-piece band—consisting of Justin Lopez (vocals), Garrett Piens (guitar/vocals), Alex Sanchez (guitar), Eli Hernandez (bass) and Cody Piens (drums)—were shocked to learn on July 2 that their Ramon Road practice space, a former Yamaha motorcycle shop, had been burglarized.

About $4,000 worth of equipment was stolen—and it couldn’t have come at a worse time.

The Piens’ sister, Niccole Holly, was killed in a car accident on June 16 near Twentynine Palms. Amelia Miller, a U.S. Marine stationed in Twentynine Palms, reportedly was driving recklessly and crashed into Holly head-on. Miller also died in the collision.

The members of the group, who describe their sound as “electrocore,” came together a year and a half ago. While the band calls the desert home, they’ve experienced most of their success outside of the desert: After playing local house shows and gigs in their practice space, they eventually started playing at the legendary Chain Reaction in Anaheim, and the Whisky a Go-Go on the Hollywood strip. They also won a battle of the bands, which the members laugh about, given they won it without Sanchez, who had injured his arm at work.

The band has gone through a series of lineup changes, and have been tweaking their sound. They recently added Lopez on vocals and were getting ready to record a new album. However, the theft of their equipment has obviously set them back.

“We got a phone call from our mom, and she said she was at the bank near the practice space; she was crying and said that someone broke into the shop and took all of our stuff,” said Cody Piens. “When we got there, everything was gone except part of the drums. Just in musical equipment alone, they stole about $4,000. They stole a lot more stuff that isn’t included in the list, including our dirt bikes, which are about $6,000. They even took 100 shirts we were going to take to get printed with our band logo.”

“They even stole our recycling,” added Garrett Piens. 

In a bizarre twist, the burglars left something behind—a pair of bolt-cutters, which the Palm Springs Police Department took as evidence.

At this point, the band is unable to perform live, since they are without amplifiers and a PA system. At this time, the band lacks the funds to purchase new equipment, and the insurance on the building, owned by the Piens’ grandfather, does not cover the theft of the band’s personal property.

“They said because it wasn’t our grandfather’s stuff, they won’t cover it,” said Cody Piens. “At this point, the police said we’re probably not going to get anything back. The police also said they weren’t going to check out any of the pawn shops. They said we can search Craigslist, but then again, if we find it, we can’t really prove that it’s ours.”

While the band members are trying to stay optimistic, they can’t help but feel frustrated and angry.

“Honestly, it just hurts,” said Cody Piens. “We’re young, and we were kids when we first started playing music. It took us years to save up to get our equipment. They stole our tools which we use to turn our passion into music. It hurts a lot when they take something from us, and we can’t easily replace it at all. It’s not like we all have extremely well-paying jobs to where we could buy new equipment so easily.”

The band is hoping to collect cash donations or equipment donations.

“Anything that could help would be much appreciated,” said Cody Piens. “They’d be our biggest fans if they could help us out. We really need them during this time for us right now.”

If anyone would like to donate to the band, they can do so at the band’s PayPal account, registered under This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

A list of the band’s equipment that was stolen:

  • Two Crate half-stack amplifiers with amp heads
  • Ampeg Classic bass cabinet
  • Crate bass head
  • Two Cerwin Vega PA loudspeakers
  • Behringer PA head
  • Sennheiser wireless guitar system
  • Yamaha mixer MG 4-16.
  • Ibanez Gio electric guitar (white)
  • Ibanez Gio bass guitar (white)
  • Crate bass guitar
  • PDP Z5 rack drum-tom
  • PDP cymbal stand
  • Pearl drum-tom mount
  • Sabian B8 thin crash cymbal
  • Pearl heavy-duty snare drum stand


The Melvins don’t take themselves too seriously.

They’re currently celebrating 30 years together while touring behind Everybody Loves Sausages, an album of covers that includes a version of Queen’s “Best Friend.”

They’re also making a stop at Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace on Tuesday, Aug. 27.

The Melvins were formed in Montesano, Wash., in 1983 by Buzz Osborne (vocals, guitar). The original lineup also included Matt Lukin (bass) and Mike Dillard (drums). Eventually, Dillard left the band and was replaced by Dale Crover; Lukin also left the band, and The Melvins have gone through several bass players since.

The band’s unique cross between hardcore punk and doom metal has been linked to the grunge bands of the Northwest, largely due to the fact that Osborne was a high school classmate of late Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain, and Cobain supported of The Melvins while Nirvana was going on to become a mainstream success.

The Melvins, meanwhile, have not been such a mainstream success; however, they remain legends of the underground and an extraordinary live band—and they actually look like they enjoy being in a band together.

“We really have nothing to live up to; that’s a plus,” Osborne said during a recent phone interview from Los Angeles. “I still like doing what I’m doing; I would probably be doing it to some degree in some fashion, whether I was playing sports arenas or not.

“I’m definitely a workaholic. When you stand up next to certain arena-rock people, you think those people would have more time on their hands and certainly more money to do whatever they want to, and they seem for some reason to work less. I’ve never understood that, and it’s very strange to me.”

When it comes to The Melvins’ connection to grunge and the fact that they’re categorized into the same scene as Pearl Jam, Osborne said the connection never boosted their image.

“We certainly sound more like Mudhoney than we do Pearl Jam,” Osborne said. “In a similar position … Pearl Jam’s audience would have no concept or have any interest in either us or Mudhoney. Pearl Jam has sold millions of records, and they’re like U2, which means they’re untouchable. They don’t care. Why should they?”

Beyond their faithful core audience, The Melvins haven’t been opposed to playing to new and mainstream audiences. However, The Melvins list Lollapalooza ’96 and Ozzfest ’98 as their least-favorite experiences. They ended up getting invited to Lollapalooza during the era when grunge was already dead, and the nu-metal bands were dominating the market.

“The interesting thing about Lollapalooza is they never had any interest in us when Perry Farrell was at the helm,” Osborne said. “Perry always thought we were ‘too metal’ for his liking and his festival. They would openly say, ‘Perry doesn’t like your band. We would like you guys to come, but Perry said no.’ … The second Perry wasn’t involved, we were in there. We played the second stage; we played to a lot of people every day, and it was great. But it was hard to be there when people had no interest.”

Osborne has an amusing story about how the band found themselves in Ozzfest in 1998.

“Ozzfest flatly said they didn’t want us to do it. When I say that, I mean they openly said they did not want us to do it. The only reason we did it is because Tool was co-headlining, and they said, ‘We want one band on this tour we can like, so we won’t do it unless The Melvins play.’”

In hindsight, there’s no love lost between The Melvins and the figureheads of those festivals.

“I’ve always said this stuff about Perry and especially Ozzy being drugged-out morons, but when Ozzy’s wife came out and said, ‘I had no idea he was on prescription drugs,’ I mean, I knew he was on prescription drugs! How the fuck could she not had known? She’s just bullshitting us!”

As Everybody Loves Sausages hits the shelves, Osborne said those covers were recorded among a lot of other material.  The band wanted to give fans an inside look at the songs that inspired them. Osborne noted that the cover of Iron Head’s “Black Betty” was not planned for the album, but rather for a commercial contest.

“We did that for a Super Bowl commercial-making contest,” said Osborne. “This company had all these bands record versions of that song, and the winner would get to have their version in a Super Bowl commercial. We didn’t win. They gave us some money to make it, and we could do whatever we wanted with the song, and we didn’t have any problem with that.”

As for what is bringing The Melvins to Pappy and Harriet’s, Osborne explained that the band is booked at the FYF Festival in Los Angeles on Aug. 25, and contractual agreements with promoter Goldenvoice prevent them from playing within a certain radius of Los Angeles.

Osborne also said bassist Jared Wallen will miss the show due to “paternity leave” and said that Jeff Pinkus from the Butthole Surfers will be filling in.

“We’ve never played there before, so it should be good,” Osborne said. “We looked for a venue that was somewhere around the Los Angeles area, and we couldn’t play Orange County, so we just figured it made sense to play Pappy and Harriet’s.”

The Melvins will perform an all-ages show with Honky at 9 p.m., Tuesday, Aug. 27, at Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace, 53688 Pioneertown Road, Pioneertown. Tickets are $15. For more information, call 760-365-5956, or visit

Hide the kids! Hide the wife, and take cover! The Dwarves are coming to The Hood on Friday, Aug. 16.

Formed in 1982 in the suburbs of Chicago, the Dwarves came together playing garage rock. As they crafted their early hardcore-punk sound, they became one of the first bands to use samples and drum loops.

Their live performances later became notorious for onstage acts that included violence, drug use and GG Allin-style self-mutilation. The band’s frontman, Blag Dahlia, had an infamous violent altercation backstage at Los Angeles’ Dragonfly club with Queens of the Stone Age frontman Josh Homme in 2004. It earned Homme a court-ordered trip to rehab and anger management classes.

When asked whether the violence might be taken too far someday, Blag says the day has already come.

“I’ve been stabbed. I’ve been beaten over the head, and I’ve had my throat slit,” said Blag, during a recent phone interview from Los Angeles. “All the guys in the band have suffered various violent altercations. We’ve given in to the goodness of God sometimes. It’s all part of what rock n roll is: You don’t exactly know what’s going to happen, and it just goes. The music is very energetic, and it kind of inspires those kinds of responses. Shit happens.”

Blag added that people who say “Blag got his ass kicked at the show” have it all wrong. “Anyone who ever tried to kick my ass got it back just as bad as they thought they were giving it out,” said Blag.

In another controversial episode, the band issued a press release in 1993 that stated their guitar-player, HeWhoCannotBeNamed, was stabbed to death. Turns out that was a hoax, and the incident led to the band being dropped from Sub-Pop Records.

However, Blag has a different point of view on the events.

“(HeWhoCannotBeNamed) is the creature who transcends life and death,” said Blag. “At times, there are those who believed he was no longer among us. He’s like a very material sort of entity, and he’s an icon of rock and roll. So these concepts of life and death sort of have a different meaning for him.”

Through all of the controversy, the band has had a successful recording career. Blag has also produced albums for the Swingin’ Utters, The God Awfuls, and former Queens of the Stone Age bassist Nick Oliveri’s group Mondo Generator. (Oliveri is also a member of the Dwarves, playing under the alias of Rex Everything.) He’s written two novels: Armed to the Teeth With Lipstick and Nina.

In what some would call an unexpected move, Blag also recorded “Doing the Sponge” for an episode of SpongeBob SquarePants.

“One of our former members, Salt Peter, has written a lot of material for SpongeBob,” said Blag. “He wrote a bunch of novelty songs that they do in there. So early on in the first season, he had written a song for them. They wanted somebody who sounded like Lux Interior of The Cramps, and he’s one of my favorite singers; I said, ‘I can go in there and sound like Lux,’ and so I did. It was a lot of fun, and it makes me popular with those in the 8-years-old crowd.”

Blag said he looks back on the band’s musical accomplishments with unapologetic pride.

“We’re undoubtedly more known for the controversy, but that’s not because we haven’t left a bunch of great music behind,” said Blag. “We’re the only punk band that gets better with time, and the only one anyone can conceive of … (that) continues to be great. This is a band that makes classic record after classic record. We just keep pushing the boundaries of genres. We’ve had outstanding musicianship, outstanding production with Top 10 producers, and great studio players. The Dwarves are one of the best-recorded bands in history. The fact that people don’t know that has a lot more to do with marketing (than) the quality of the music.”

What does the future hold for the Dwarves? They’ve been in the studio recording and are hoping to release a new album within the next year. (Their most recent studio album was 2011's The Dwarves Are Born Again.) In the meantime, they’ve booked some shows (including the one at The Hood) to keep them busy. Blag also does a podcast called Radio Like You Want.

They’re also no strangers to the Coachella Valley.

“We played there with Kyuss when they didn’t have a club there, and there was a nudist colony that people used to do shows at,” said Blag. “We just got done doing some recording in Joshua Tree. I’m looking forward to going out there and seeing some of our friends in the desert. We’ve always loved the desert.”

The Dwarves will play with the Hellions, the Atom Age and Hot Beat Acoustic at 8 p.m., Friday, Aug. 16, at The Hood Bar and Pizza, 74360 Highway 111 in Palm Desert. Admission is $10, and there are no presales. For more information, call 760-636-5220, or visit

Since the age of 17, JP Houston has been building his impressive musical résumé.

Houston, a native of Toronto, has written songs for recording artists, theater and television. He’s composed for BBC, HBO, CBC, PBS and many others; he was even nominated for a Gemini Award, which is the Canadian equivalent of an Emmy Award.

Since relocating to the Los Angeles area about four years ago, he’s been involved with The Relationship, the side project of Brian Bell from Weezer. He’s also part of Pappy and Harriet’s The Sunday Band, up in Pioneertown.

On top of all of that, he’s been leading a unique variety show that has been compared to A Prairie Home Companion: Since February, he’s been producing American Parlor Songbook, a podcast that’s recorded live in the Ace Hotel’s Amigo Room every Wednesday evening, featuring a variety of guests. Previous performers have included Blasting Echo frontman Josh Heinz, former Beastie Boys keyboardist Money Mark and singer Keisha D.

While the show is recorded weekly, Houston is currently saving up an archive of unreleased shows for possible radio broadcast down the line. As of this writing, six recordings are available at and iTunes. Houston said another is due to be released this week, followed by one in July, and one in August.

Houston said that American Parlor Songbook is partly inspired by his childhood.

“I grew up with my parents being theater people,” Houston said during a recent phone interview. “We would have these parties where all the people were actors, dancers and writers, and there would be a piano-player at the parties. We would sing show tunes, play games and tell jokes. The structure of the show is sort of based on those parties.”

The show has made him step outside of the norms of being a musician, Houston said.

“I think for me personally, the first performance—going from a singer and musician to a speaker—was a real turning point,” Houston said. “When I was scripting out the show and then went in front of an audience and had to execute it, the words came out, and they made sense—it worked. That was a really exciting moment for me.”

While his show has been compared to A Prairie Home Companion, Houston said there some definite differences.

“I would say it’s a silhouette of A Prairie Home Companion; you could put it in the same place and category shelf in a library,” said Houston. “(A Prairie Home Companion) is a variety show where they tell stories, sing songs, and the guests come out. American Parlor Songbook is a very different show in its structure and tone. I call it a parlor act, because it similar to a parlor with the piano-player and the bantering with the audience. It’s more interactive.”

For those who have never attended an American Parlor Songbook show, Houston said it’s different than what people are accustomed to—and that makes things fun for both himself and the audience.

“It’s not just an event. It’s a fun show to watch, and it’s a fun show to participate in. … We play musical charade-type games where the audience can shout out the answers. After the show is done recording, I stay and keep play sing-along songs, and we keep playing games through the night.”

American Parlor Songbook podcasts can be found on iTunes or at The show is recorded at 9 p.m. each Wednesday at the Ace Hotel and Swim Club, 701 E. Palm Canyon Drive (760-325-9900; Admission is free.

For fans of Donna the Buffalo (“The Herd,” as the band refers to them), the five-year wait for a new album is over: On June 18, the band released Tonight, Tomorrow and Yesterday.

However, local fans of The Herd still have a bit of a wait to see the band live: Donna the Buffalo is making a stop at Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace on Friday, Aug. 2.

“I told my booking agent, ‘We’re not going out West without booking Pappy and Harriet’s,” said Tara Nevins, in a recent phone interview from New York.

Inspired by the old-country music sound, folk music, bluegrass and what has been known as “roots music,” Donna the Buffalo was formed in 1989 in Trumansburg, N.Y., by Tara Nevins and Jeb Puryear, the songwriters for the group. In almost a quarter-century together, the band has released 10 studio albums. They even started their own annual live show in upstate New York, the Finger Lakes GrassRoots Festival of Music and Dance, which draws around 15,000 people each year.

The band has gone through various lineup changes through the years.

“Jeb and I are the only original members at this point. Right now, I think we’re really enjoying this band out of any version we've had. I think this version somehow really makes the voice come across as the best,” said Nevins.

The band is often labeled as an Americana act.

“Donna the Buffalo was ‘Americana’ from the first day,” said Nevins. “There have always been a ton of Americana bands, and there always will be, and now there’s a home for them. That genre is growing year to year, and now there’s an Americana category at the Grammy Awards. It’s growing in the eyes of the music world. But Americana bands have always been here, and now there’s a name for them.”

As the genre grows, so, too, does Donna the Buffalo’s success. The group’s independent spirit and busy touring schedule has kept them successful. Their 2008 album, Silverlined, reached the Top 10 on the Americana charts. They’ve performed and recorded with some of the biggest names in folk music, including Béla Fleck, David Hidalgo of Los Lobos, and Jim Lauderdale. Nevins also performed as a member of Grateful Dead drummer Bill Kreutzmann’s band BK3.

“We’ve always been a grassroots, self-organized organization,” Nevins said. “We’ve never had to really depend heavily outside of our organization. We’ve kind of built everything ourselves from the ground up, so we’re a well-oiled machine.”

Nevins said social networking hasn’t hurt, either.

“I think with social networking, it makes music and musicians more acceptable to people. It used to be you had your favorite bands, and all you knew was what Rolling Stone was writing about them. Now you can go on your own band’s Facebook page and be in touch with the fans.”

As for Pappy and Harriet’s, Nevins explained why she enjoys the venue.

“I have to say: I love the location,” said Nevins. “I love being out there. It’s gorgeous. It’s a very magical, mystical vibe. As for Pappy and Harriet’s, it’s like a roadhouse where people are up for fun and love music. Everyone is really nice to us there. During our first time there, we had a great crowd, and everyone loved it.”

Donna the Buffalo will perform at 8:30 p.m., Friday, Aug. 2, at Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace, 53688 Pioneertown Road, in Pioneertown. Tickets are $15. For tickets or more information, call 760-365-5956, or visit