Fortunate Youth Bring Their Signature Sound Back Home

FORTUNATE YOUTH play The Novo Nov. 21, Observatory / North Park Nov. 23 , Observatory / Santa Ana Nov. 24 and 25; press photo

FORTUNATE YOUTH play The Novo Nov. 21, Observatory / North Park Nov. 23 , Observatory / Santa Ana Nov. 24 and 25; press photo

Good Vibes!!! This phrase is at the center of reggae music and is a pivotal force in the popular L.A. reggae act Fortunate Youth.

“Basically, myself and another member were really looking to create a name that was positive,” explains Greg Gelb of the band. “And fortunate youth being a kind of state of mind, you know a positive state of mind, and music keeps you young; so, if you have a youthful mindset, you’re kind of lucky to be young forever through music.

“Four of us went to high school together – Jered Draskovich, Corey Draskovich, myself Greg Gelb, and Travis Walpole- and our singer Dan Kelly is a transplant in the L.A. area from Mississippi so we kinda linked up with him. There were like two bands that we decided to put together. And later added our drummer from Las Vegas, Jordan Rosenthal.

“Our manager decided to have a birthday party and we decided to take these two bands and combine forces. And along the way we have added other members which has turned it into a six piece.”

FORTUNATE YOUTH: press photo

FORTUNATE YOUTH: press photo

Reggae is a fluid art form; while constantly maintaining a close tie to its roots, over the years it has shown an incredible ability to fuse with many other styles of music along the way. “We kind of joke about that,” muses Gelb. “We all have our own interests, some similar and some different. And when it came out, we all decided to band together and what came out was our sound.

“Definitely reggae influenced…. but I tell a lot of people we blend a lot of different styles into reggae, and that is what we enjoy about it,” reflects Gelb. “It’s kind of like an open book where you can blend a lot of cool styles and the reggae vibe is open to a lot of that. It has allowed for a good collaboration of sounds. I think what we most enjoy about being in the reggae genre is the community; it’s very welcoming and everybody is really positive.”

Speak to any reggae fan, and they will tell you seeing it live is a necessity for far too many reasons to list. “Definitely the energy,” states Gelb. “It all starts with everybody in the crowd, a kind of reflective and positive energy that goes back and forth.

“One of the most fun songs we play live, in terms of a high energy song, is “Burn One.” I think that’s a crowd favorite for sure so that’s always fun. Another fun song I enjoy is “Things,” that’s a fun song to play. I don’t know if you know, but four of us switch instruments throughout the show. So, I play guitar and then get a few songs on the bass. The four of us each get to jump on the bass in the set so we kinda joke that we all like to fight over the bass.”

“It’s fun, you know,” Gelb continues. “We all have fun playing the bass. It’s a little bit…. you get to move around, it’s a little more simplified, and is a key element to the feel. So, yea, we have fun playing the musical instruments.”

Currently embarking on their West in Peace tour, the band is excited to be playing the west coast again; and thus, created a whimsical name for the tour with a funny story behind it. Gelb explains: “We were hoping people would get the bit of humor with it. The concept is based on the West Coast tour so there’s the west. One of our songs that illustrates the theme we are going for with our music is “Peace, Love, and Unity” so that’s a track of ours that we play almost every set. When people ask us what we are all about, that’s what we try to embody. That’s what we wanted to incorporate as well so we pieced those two things together.

“Then we decided to throw Elmer Fudd as the kind of spokesperson of that with the way he talks. Instead of rest in peace, he would say west in peace. And when we commissioned a friend for the flyer, we made a picture of him meditating and looking peaceful. So, it was just a twist on positive and rest in peace.”

Being from Hermosa Beach, Fortunate Youth looks forward to some hometown shows and the opportunity to bring their sound to longtime fans.

“The Observatory is like a backyard party for us,” reveals Gelb. “Just in terms of how a lot of friends come out so it’s definitely a good fun party feel to it. We are excited to record a live album there and get that experience there and put it out for people.”

With this tour, Fortunate Youth is spreading their love all around SoCal beginning Nov. 21 at The Novo, Nov. 23 at The Observatory North Park, Nov. 24 and 25 at The Observatory Santa Ana, Nov. 28 at The Majestic, and Nov. 29 at The Date Shed. Catch them at one, or even all, of these dates for deep reggae vibes you won’t find anywhere else!

Dance The Night Away With The Orb

THE ORB play Teragram Ballroom Nov. 21; photo Roney-FM-K3-Media

THE ORB play Teragram Ballroom Nov. 21; photo Roney-FM-K3-Media

The Orb recreate a live musical collage of their greatest hits during this, their 30th year anniversary, currently on tour in the states. Breaking out samples and sounds, beats and rhythms, The Orb impact an audience with their trippy sounds and visual aids.

“It’s a mish mash of old and new,” founder Alex Paterson noted. “With bits of old things being played over new things and vice versa. A bit more energetic. A bit more danceable, rather than hip swaying.”

The Orb bring their own elaborate visuals to compliment the live music which are dependent on the size of the screen available at each venue. The bigger the screen, the bigger the visuals. While producer/collaborator Michael Rendall joins Paterson for the musical side of the live spectrum.

“It’s a very similar set up as me and Thomas (Fehlmann) with a lot more freedom.,” Paterson said. “We’re sacking the Americas… We’re throwing American techno back at them…old style…payback time. It’s all good fun. And remember it’s 30 years since the beginning of House pretty much in the world.

“But the visuals compensate for everything you see… I’m just the conductor.”

Mixed throughout the setlist of reimagined greatest hits are several songs from No Sounds Are Out Of Bounds. Tracks such as “Doughnuts Forever” and the 15 minute “Soul Planet”, one of Paterson’s favorites to play live.

THE ORB "No Sounds Are Out Of Bound" cover art

THE ORB “No Sounds Are Out Of Bound” cover art

“Soul Planet all the way,” Paterson confirmed. “It’s the last track on the album and it’s the longest track on the album. It’s what we can all do very, very, very well. When we do a long track, we can investigate what’s going on in 15 minutes, it’s good fun.”

“And Rush, “Rush Hill Road” which is a single and a video. That goes down real well. We muck it about, make it sound a bit heavier.”

The catchy “sing along” album version of “Rush Hill Road” features Hollie Cook on vocals.

“Dare I say I know her dad, Paul Cook, from the Sex Pistols”? Paterson teased. “I used to be a Killing Joke roadie, and Paul’s met me years ago many times in different clubs and things and we all eventually did a gig, it was quite bizarre, with the Sex Pistols when they did a reunion back in the 90’s, it was really odd.

“So anyway, I met Hollie a couple times through the reggae connection, as well, then she started doing an album with Youth (Killing Joke), and Youth being one of my best friends invited me over, and we did a track on her album, then she did a track for me on our album.”

Prior to No Sounds Are Out Of Bounds, The Orb released Cow, a unique and truly original flow of atmospheric songs, alternating and overlapping samples such as – animal noises, rushing rivers – but it wasn’t really toured or performed live.

“Well, what I can tell you about that album is that no musical instruments were played in the making of that album,” Paterson revealed. “It was an absolute joy to use samples in a very constructive way…not even bars, not even loops, just sounds; and then creating our own music with those sounds.

“The whole thing was (put together) a little under 10 days. It’s a small album, it’s only 41 minutes long. It sits very well on the palette.

“Lots of the recordings were taken in America when we went down to the Moogfest three years ago in Durham and I discovered the river Eno which I thought was quite amusing, so I recorded it. And that’s on the album, as well.”

Hanging out in clubs in the late 80’s, hearing things that he liked, Paterson wanted to do his own thing similar to what he was hearing.

“I was lucky to have people around me with studios that I could go in and muck about,” Paterson recalled. “Creating my own music in ‘88, ’89, was very much fun. A lot of freedom. A lot of experiments. Not afraid to do things.

“Everything’s gotten a lot easier with the advent of mass production of computers. It takes away a lot of the studio costs, which is quite good, really. Because you can spend a lot of time in the studio doing this thing.

“I haven’t finished yet. It’s a good feeling to feel that a childhood sort of dream that you always wanted to make music, you always wanted to be known for your music, your art, I did it.”

It’s not often that The Orb play in the states so don’t miss them at Teragram Ballroom Nov. 21.

“Looking forward to Los Angeles,” Paterson admitted. “We should be rocking you by then.”

Crazy Energy Of Dream Wife

DREAM WIFE play The Echo Oct. 10 and Constellation Room Oct. 13; photo Hollie Fernando

DREAM WIFE play The Echo Oct. 10, Casbah Oct. 12 and Constellation Room Oct. 13; photo Hollie Fernando

Listening to Dream Wife’s self-titled debut album, it sounds like they’re having a ton of fun, which guitarist Alice Go enthusiastically confirmed. Looking at their tour schedule, it seems there’s no rest for the wicked!

“It’s true, it’s true,” Go declared. “It was like straight after we released our album in January this year we went straight out to play Laneway Festival in Australia. And kind of since then pretty much this year has been nonstop. So, yea, it’s going to be great to come out and do a headline tour to the U.S.”

And playing live is what it’s all about, the live show being the truest part of their whole project, one that started a few years back when they all met at art school in England.

“It’s where the energy, where the soul comes from, it’s basically jamming in the practice room, it’s the way we interact with our friends and family, it’s a crazy chemistry in Dream Wife, it’s always such a great energy on stage, and we hope that translates to the crowd and I think actually as a band we try to break the ice… it’s the way we play…and have a good time ourselves,” Go explained.

Dream Wife; photo Joanna Kiely

Dream Wife; photo Joanna Kiely

It’s interesting how Dream Wife has both playful and serious songs that make you stop and think one moment, then let loose and be silly the next.

“It’s always a really special part of the set when we play our song “Somebody”,” Go mused. “I think it’s when everyone actually is respecting everyone else around them and it brings the focal of attention to that.

“Then coming from that song later in the set to “F.U.U” where it’s everyone screaming “bitch” together as a crowd … I think it’s the major extremes in the set that hopefully everyone can enjoy themselves and everyone can take something from it.”

Vocalist Rakel Mjöll, writes the lyrics, weaving together stories from conversations between the band members or their friends, keeping it true to heart, with the possible exception of “F.U.U” which may or may not have evolved from jamming the theme song from the Fresh Prince.

“There’s a couple of original stories at this point,” Go laughed. “I think we were just jamming around with the theme tune for the Fresh Prince and it just escalated… I think that playful nature comes across in the way we like to write. At this point I’m not even sure what the origin story is!”

Bella Podpadec plays bass and while they used to work with a drum machine, they currently play with a live drummer, Alex Paveley.

“He’s amazing,” Go said. “I think having live percussion brings a lot of energy. That backbeat is really important to this band and the sound.”

Dream Wife; album art

Dream Wife; album art

But, back when the three women started this project, they wanted to figure out amongst themselves what their terms were, what they wanted from the band and how they wanted to navigate the music industry.

“You want to figure out what your project is on your own terms before someone else comes along and tells you how it is, so we were very wary of that sort of stuff,” Go explained.

“At the moment I think we have an amazing indie label – Lucky Number – based in London, they’re very supportive, and we really trust them to enable us to take this project in a way that we see fit…we can do some things we were never able to do before… but it still feels like a project that is in our control in terms of vision, content, message, where we want to go musically… I feel very lucky about the position we’re in.”

While Go feels a lot has changed in the male dominated music industry, she also feels women need to band together, in a sense, too.

“I think yes, a lot has changed in that it’s a conversation in a more open way with diversity and equality in the music business,” Go said. “I have a sense that ultimately it’s still a conversation that needs to be pushed and we can’t lax on that otherwise things stay stagnant and don’t change. It’s about continuing the conversation.”

For decades women in music have often been viewed as a novelty or a manufactured thing. One or the other. There weren’t many women in rock that were role models.

“Yea, yea, totally, totally, totally,” Go enthused. “It’s either a unicorn in the traditional sense or it’s a kind of no control situation… a manufactured situation or a fake situation.

“It’s like the Spice Girls were so exciting as a kid and girl power … I think there’s something empowering about that feeling now and reclaiming that as well as reclaiming the place in music where we’re more serious as musicians…yea, yea, it’s kind of complicated, isn’t it?

Be a part of the wild energy and catch Dream Wife Oct. 13 at Constellation Room.

Nothing Fishy About Jack Russell’s Great White

JACK RUSSELL'S GREAT WHITE will play The Coach House Jun. 15; press photo

JACK RUSSELL’S GREAT WHITE will play HOB/SD Sep. 12, The Wiltern Sep. 14 and HOB/Anaheim Sep. 15; press photo

“It’s a fine line between insanity and genius and I walk the edge of that line every day,” Jack Russell declared while explaining that he never gets bored, even on the road.

“Well you know I’m the kind of guy that can have fun in a shoebox, I entertain myself, I never get bored. I think when people say they’re bored they’re just boring. For me, and I don’t mean this to sound conceited or whatever, but I’m my own favorite company, you know? I make myself laugh. I’m a total goofball.”

Jack Russell’s Great White is currently on the SiriusXM Hair Nation 2018 Tour that will stop at HOB/SD Sep. 12, The Wiltern Sep. 14 and HOB/Anaheim Sep. 15, but there’s not much he needs to bring along.

“Just my underwear,” Russell laughed. “The only thing I take on the road and is really important is my warm up tape and Throat Coat tea. Everything else kind of finds it way. Of course, I have my own microphone and things like that but other than that I’m pretty self-sufficient.”

The longest tour Russell ever went on was for 16 brutal months, without any breaks, not even going home once.

“Just tour, tour, tour, tour, play our shows,” Russell recalled. “Yea, it was pretty grueling. I get home and my kid is 3 inches taller. My wife found somebody else. It was like ‘Oh hello. Goodbye.’ Being on the road is very hard on relationships. I mean it really is. I’m on my third wife right now. So, we’ll see how that goes.”

Last year saw the release of He Saw It Comin’ which featured 11 songs written by Russell and guitarist Robby Lochner. The pair work well together, bouncing ideas off one another. Russell writes lyrics, but not music, although sometimes he comes up with a melody such as for the song “She Moves Me”. He then sort of hummed it to Lochner so he could figure out the chords.

“It’s about a guy that falls in love with a prostitute,” Russell began. “She ends up staying with him all night with their first tryst. So, he thinks she’s all with him, so he moves in with her. Then he finds he’s the one being left alone and she’s out there doing her thing. He can’t help it cuz he’s in love with her.

“And it’s all based on life experience. That happened to me at one point. I fell in love with this porn star and she’s ‘I’m off to work’. I finally woke up to the fact, I mean I always knew what she was doing but then one day I was like ‘this is crazy’. She’s going off to work, having sex with guys for a job, then she comes home and I’m like, ‘wanna make love?’ and she’s ‘I’m too tired. I’ve been doing that all day long’. This is really disgusting, so I had to bail. That was back when I was getting loaded all the time. Now that I’m sober I don’t do crazy stuff like that anymore.”

That’s not entirely true – he’s found other crazy things to do, such as fish for sharks, which since he lives on a boat, is something he can do when ever the urge hits him.

“Sharks have always been my thing,” Russell shared. “I just love them. They’re beautiful creatures. The ones I fish for are Mako sharks, they’re really acrobatic, they’ll come out of the water, they’ll do cartwheels in the air. They’re just incredible fish. They really are.

“When I was a kid, my father used to take me out fishing down in San Diego, and I started working on the boats when I was really, really young. At one point I managed to get a 100-ton license, which as far as I know, I’m still the youngest kid to ever get a 100-ton license with the Coast Guard, a Master’s license.”

Considering all of the mainstream success and tours over the years, Russell says the coolest place he’s ever played is the L.A. Forum, which happens to be where he saw his first concert. It’s also where he was presented with his first Platinum record.

“I remember sitting in the 22nd row, loge seat, when I was 15 years old watching Blue Oyster Cult,” Russell recalled. “I told my friends, I’m gonna be on that stage one day and you’re gonna be asking for tickets. And they’re like, yea, right.

“And then April 6, 1988, I was sitting across the parking lot and I opened up my window and there was the Forum…I was playing there the next night…it was sold out…I just sat there and stared at it for like an hour.

“Then when I went to soundcheck the next day, I walked in and they were setting up all the gear, so I went out and I sat in that basic area where I was when I was a kid. I watched them setting up and I looked and said, ‘you know, Jack, you’ve really come a long way’. I’m looking at the stage and I went, ‘Yep, about 5000 feet’.”

In addition to the current tour, Cleopatra Records will be releasing his two solo albums which have never came out in the States, beginning with Shelter Me in June.

“In fact, it’s so hard to find, the record company had to go on eBay and pay 90 bucks to buy the CD, so they could make copies,” Russell laughed. “That’s pretty funny.”

And then there’s a book that Russell has been working on with a ghost writer that is due to come out in the Fall called, “Dancing On the Edge”.

“The reason I really wanted to do it was to let people know that no matter how far down the scale they are in life, if you really want to and believe in it, you can be anything you want,” mused Russell.

“I think people need to know that instead of feeling sorry for yourself and think you’re stuck in one spot, if you really want to be getting out of it, you can do whatever you want.

“We’re the architects of our own lives, and if you think positive things, positive things will come back to you and vice versa. So, I don’t ever think bad about people. I hate no one no matter how bad they messed me over I just pray for them. I don’t carry around that emotional baggage, cuz, you know, it’s really bad to do that. Plus, it’s painful.”

Break On Through With Wild Child

WILD CHILD play The Coach House Sep. 1; photo Wayne Herrschaft

WILD CHILD play The Coach House Sep. 1; photo Wayne Herrschaft

“Probably the number one comment we have received for many years is, ‘I never got to see The Doors live but I feel this is as close as I will ever get. Thank you for doing this. I was born at the wrong time and missed it’,” Dave Brock (founder/vocalist) shared.

SoCal is fortunate once again to experience the sensation that is Wild Child, as they return to The Coach House with the ultimate tribute to The Doors Sep. 1, playing songs such as “Hello, I Love You”, “Touch Me,” and “Light My Fire” to name a few.

“The Coach House has a long history of hosting some of the best bands that ever played,” Brock said. “If the walls could talk… The level of entertainment there is always at the top. The setting is very intimate yet holds a fairly big crowd for a club. There’s not a bad seat in the house. People have a great time there.”

Concert Guide Live caught up with Brock to find out how it all began, about the attention to detail in both the sound and equipment, and much more.

CONCERT GUIDE LIVE: Did you ever see Jim Morrison play live?
WILD CHILD: Although I was alive when The Doors were playing, I was far too young to actually see them in person. My brother was eight years older than I and saw them as a teenager. He loved The Doors.

I remember one time driving home with my mother and brother as a small kid. The long version of “Light My Fire” was on the radio and I remember my brother yelling out loud that this song was going to last all the way home. I was aware of The Doors as a child, but they really didn’t get on my radar until midway through college, when I was going through a phase of discovery as most young people do. Questioning… everything. Exploring, testing the boundaries. Examining everything I was ever taught or told. This is great music for those at that period in their life.

Dave Brock, Wild Child

Dave Brock, Wild Child

CGL: How important is it to you and the rest of the band to play the songs as close to the originals as possible?
WC: Probably the most important thing that Wild Child does, is playing the music as close as possible to the original. Whether it be the studio recorded version or perhaps a great live version. Or a combination of the two.
Our instrumentation is exactly what The Doors had. We were able to find a very rare Gibson portable organ, as Ray (Manzarek) used to play live on stage. Very ominous sounding keyboard that is impossible to simulate with a synthesizer. We also had Ludwig Custom make a drum kit exactly like John Densmore’s. Same Gibson SG guitar Robby (Krieger) used to play.

But it does not stop there. It’s mandatory in this band to play the songs exactly like the original members. No one interjects with their favorite licks they have learned over the years or plays in a different style. We realize what people are paying for and what they deserve.

CGL: What is one of your favorite songs to play live?
WC: What I like most about The Doors songs is that for the most part they are very different from each other. It’s almost like walking through an art gallery, each song is like a different painting. With lots of visual imagery and poetry. The band is comprised of such different types of musicians. A boogie-woogie keyboard player, a flamenco guitar player and a jazz drummer in the same band. Crazy good!

CGL: What is the longest tour you ever went on? How did you keep yourself engaged while constantly riding a bus?
WC: The longest tour I was ever on was in Europe. Mostly Western Europe. However, it was only for about a month and a half. I have never done extremely long tours. Probably why I have had such a long career. I have also very rarely done bus tours. I prefer sleeping in hotels. Our equipment / crew needs are so small that we really don’t even need a bus. I went on a few bus tours with Ray Manzarek and Robby Krieger of The Doors, when I was their singer. That is how they preferred to tour. Those were great times, but I hated leaving a five-star hotel room to bump down the road in a bus overnight. The closer I can get to a normal life on the road, the better I feel about it.

CGL: Tell me about the moment that led to you deciding to do a tribute to the Doors?
WC: While attending Long Beach State University I became a big Doors fan. I heard a radio ad about the Jim Morrison rock opera at Gazzari’s night club on the Sunset Strip in Hollywood. So, I went to it the next evening. It turned out to be a live audition and not really quite a rock opera, yet. I showed up and they let me in for free. All they needed was my name for the clipboard. Later I found myself being called on stage to sing a song. The only one I knew was “LA Woman”. Never before doing something in front of a crowd, held a microphone etc., I was singing “LA Woman”. When it was over, Jim Morrison’s sister, Anna came out of the crowd and had photos taken with me. Soon after they offered the lead role to me. That’s what got me into this mess. But I really have enjoyed it. After that journey ended, I took some time off and then formed my own band, Wild Child.

Dave Brock, Wild Child

Dave Brock, Wild Child

CGL: How many songs do you know? Are there any you’d still like to learn?
WC: I’ve probably done every song The Doors have done at one time or another. However, for our show I have to realize that most people coming to see us only know what they’ve heard on the radio and may not even own any of the albums. So, I have to be careful with how many obscure songs we add to a set of music. Maybe two or three at the most. Luckily the hits are not poppy or corny.

CGL: Vocally, what do you do to keep your voice and range in shape?
WC: My secret to vocal longevity is attributed to these two things. First of all, I sing in my own vocal range. Where a lot of people doing other people’s material actually have to sing outside their normal range to accomplish that. That is very hard on your voice.

Iron Butterfly Brings Psychedelia To The Coach House

IRON BUTTERFLY play The Coach House Aug.18; press photo

IRON BUTTERFLY play The Coach House Aug.18; press photo

Sixties psychedelic group, Iron Butterfly, best known for the song, “In A Gadda Da Vida”, from the album of the same name that sold over 48 million copies, will bring a slice of musical history to The Coach House Aug 18.

“We don’t really dress up for the occasion, the guys are in their 60s,” percussionist Mike Green said.

“There may be a tie-dye shirt here or there, or Indian moccasins, mainly because it looks good on stage. We also have a sixties style light show.”

Back in the day, the band used to make sure there was a certain kind of beer or food in the dressing room, or maybe a bottle of whiskey.
“Now all I want is Pepto Bismo and Advil,” Green joked.

While some audiences may be skeptical about the changing lineup of the group, Iron Butterfly was never about one member, it was about a specific sound of the band, which the current lineup captures.

“We go out and play the original songs, it’s not a tribute band, we are Iron Butterfly,” Green said.

A little background history goes like this. Green, who has known the group since the early days, assembled the current incarnation of Iron Butterfly with the blessing of “In A Gadda Da Vida” drummer, Ron Bushy, who is presently on a medical hiatus and is the only member to appear on all six studio albums.

“There was never a percussionist with the original Iron Butterfly,” Green explained.

“Ron wanted to add a percussionist to augment the sound because it is very percussion driven due to his famous drum solo.”

Rounding out the band are Ray Weston (drums) who started touring with the band after Bushy took ill; Dave Meros (bass) joined following the death of Lee Dorman; Eric Barnett (guitar) has been a long-time member of Iron Butterfly; and Martin Gerschwitz (keyboardist) who recreates the ethereal, churchy organ that is as critical as the drums to the overall Iron Butterfly sound.

“I wanted to find people that knew the sound, liked the sound, and were familiar with it,” Green said.

Over the years, there have been several lineups of Iron Butterfly with some of them using the name illegally. Now Bushy owns the name and Green is his partner in licensing the group so there should always be a true representation of the band, it’s music, and the whole Iron Butterfly experience.

“This is the most solid incarnation, with the remaining original members’ blessings,” Green said.

“Come and return to a different place in time and experience Iron Butterfly.”

faUSt Promises Splendid Mess At The Broad

faUSt play The Broad Jul 28; press photo

faUSt play The Broad Jul 28; press photo

FaUSt, the legendary 60s German experimental rock band, will make a rare appearance July 28 at Summer Happenings: Social Shamans at The Broad in Los Angeles, supported by the Goethe Institut.

Concert Guide Live caught up with founding member, Jean-Herve Peron the day after arriving in the U.S.to talk about the upcoming tour, politics, and music. En route to their Air BnB in Chicago, Peron was a little bit punch-drunk, excited and ready for the first show.

“We are totally ready,” Peron enthused. “We are jet-lagged. We are nervous. We are standing right in the middle of a huge traffic jam. The weather is too hot. We are ready!”

CONCERT GUIDE LIVE: Will you have any sort of stage show or are you just going to play your instruments and go for it!?
JEAN-HERVÉ PÉRON: It’s going to be a splendid mess. A great touted performance. There will be women and men involved and water tanks and all kinds of things happening. Dada, punk, poetry…

CGL: FaUSt has been around for nearly 50 years, which means you must have a fanatical fanbase. Are you making new fans, as well?
JHP: Our bodies are aging and our bones and muscles are getting involved in time. But our spirit is not getting old for some reason. Sometimes I wonder, am I infantile or am I senile? I’m not sure which end I’m at. So that keeps us in a position of always looking at the world with newborn baby’s eyes, and the same with art. My friend, Zappi (co-founder Werner ‘Zappi’ Diermaier) and myself are still curious about things, we like to explore new things, we like to discover the digital world, all kinds of things.

CGL: Going back to the beginning, what were some of your early musical inspirations that lead you to doing this type of music?
JHP: The major factor that was triggering our energy was that we wanted to find our own destiny. Let me put it this way – Germany was a cultural wasteland after WWII. The USA helped Europe to get back on their feet. The economy got much better but there is always a side effect to this.

Obviously, all the European’s are very thankful that the USA helped us get out of this mess. But the side effect was that we were invaded by a new culture, a new way of food, of art. I’m talking about like the McDonald invasion and also, I’m not being arrogant about this, but this wasn’t enough for us young people. I’m talking about 1960, fifteen years after WWII was over. We were young, and we wanted to have our own way of thinking. And certainly, the lyric of typical rock-n-roll didn’t satisfy us, and the three-chord endless sequence didn’t satisfy us. We were eager to find our own identity. That was the main motivation.

CGL: It’s probably that way for every generation.
JHP: Absolutely. In 1968 we were the May ’68 children and we wanted to change everything socially, politically, economically, sexually, Everything. And nowadays I notice, and for this I have an excellent thermometer, I have a daughter who is as young as I was in ’68, and I feel they are confronted with a similar situation and I feel that there is a lot of energy that is similar to the energy that we had back in ’68.

My daughter’s generation is having a hard time. There is a powerful drift to the right and it’s all over the world. In Europe it’s very clear to see and in other countries also. And the young generation doesn’t want to go right. A huge majority of them don’t want to go right. They have other values in life. I can feel in my daughter’s communication that she’s desperate, but she certainly isn’t helpless. She’s conscious of the environment she’s conscious of the political weirdness of the time and she’s acting against it. I am very proud of this generation.

CGL: When you put together your set list do you know what you’re going to do in advance?
JHP: We have more of a general idea of what we are going to do, and the rest of the set list will be influenced by whatever happens on the days before or directly on the day. But since we know that technical matters are involved of course we know roughly what will happen.

And may I mention, it will be quite exceptional – we will have this splendid group of three colorful ladies called Ernsthafte Angelegenheiten. That means in German, “Serious business. Serious matters. Serious Issues”. They will bring this new blood into FaUSt. And that promises to be for us and everybody involved very challenging but very interesting.

CGL: Are they playing with you or are they playing separately?
JHP: They are playing with us as part of FaUSt. We also have some friends playing with us.

CGL: Is there anything else you’d like to add or talk about?
JHP: We are extremely excited to be performing in the United States. It’s a bit complicated to get into your country but once we are here, it’s great. Meeting so many people in the audience. Meeting so many different artists in so many different cities. We are privileged.

The Los Angeles portion of the tour will include founding members Jean-Hervé Péron and Werner ‘Zappi’ Diermaier along with Amaury Cambuzat, Braden Diotte, and possible surprise guests.

Come Hear Legendary Guitarist Dick Dale!

DICK DALE plays The Coach House Jul. 14; press photo

DICK DALE plays The Coach House Jul. 14; press photo

Legendary guitarist, Dick Dale, continues to play to live audiences everywhere and will return to San Juan Capistrano’s icon, The Coach House, July 14. SoCal has been fortunate to hear Dale perform at The Coach House numerous times partially because he and the owner go way back.

“Gary (Folgner) and I have been very dear friends from the beginning of time,” Dale mused. “Many, many, many years ago he called me up and said ‘I would like you to come and play at my place’.”

This was back when Dale had a 15 piece rock band with keyboards, horns, backup singers, double drums, etc. and there was no way he could pay the whole band to play at his place.

“So my drummer and my bass player said ‘We’ll come and do it, Dick, you just bring your guitar and we’ll back ya’,” Dale recalled. “I got afraid because usually I have the whole band to fall back on. But they convinced me.”

Once he had stripped down the band it naturally led to creating his now signature style of guitar playing but don’t limit it by calling it “surf”. He plays a variety of music from Rockabilly to Boogie Woogie to Jazz to Big Band and everything else.

In fact, Dale pointed out that the word “surf” can actually become a negative and prefers not to use in advertising because it limits his attendance.

Many years ago, he performed a sold out show at Fullerton College, but when he returned several months later, something was amiss and the place was only half-filled.

“When I went outside the building there were all these surf posters so I took the booker and walked him up to a black man and I said ‘Excuse me, sir. Would you go and see the king of the surf guitar?’

“And he said ‘No, man. That’s not my bag, man.’

“Then I said it in a different way. I said, ‘Would you see a guitar legend, even if you never heard of him?’

“His reply was, ‘Oh man, I dig guitar, man. I’ll be there in a minute’.”

Several years into his career, in the late 50s, Dale wanted to give his band a name like many of the bands of that era, which is when The Deltones came about.

“We would perform at Riverside National Guard Armory in San Bernardino,” Dale recalled. “We thought the radio would be the big deal. We would take ads out on the radio that would say ‘Go see Dick Dale and The Deltones’.”

Now, 30 plus years later, people still remember the name The Deltones. Dale says people often tell him he looks familiar, or ask him if he plays guitar, but it’s the name The Deltones that they seem to remember more than his own name.

“You know why they remembered The Deltones?” Dale asked. “Because it was the last thing that was said to them on the air – Dick Dale and The Deltones!”

Dale’s lengthy career has witnessed and pioneered much in the music industry and he has a lot of stories to boot. He rarely does interviews anymore because he feels there’s too much sensationalism and wonders why people can’t just write good things. This is something he and his wife, Lana, feel strongly about.

“All we want to be is left alone. Let us take care of God’s creatures, the animals. And we will entertain and try to help people who have the same ailments that we have by showing them, ‘Look at me, I’m still on this stage and I’m not taking drugs to do it’.”

Having said that, when he’s off stage Dale does like to converse with people and share the things he and Lana have been through, showing he’s the same as they are.

“We are just showing the people that we are like them and we give them little tips when they ask us, ‘How do you perform on that stage? It looks like there’s nothing wrong with you and you’re what, 80 years old? ’,” Dale said. “But there are times I’ve had to sit in a chair. There are times they had to carry me on the stage, the pain was so great.

“I’ve been in the martial arts ever since I was 18. It’s been a way of life. I learned things to help fight pain and how to deal with it.”

Over the course of the interview, Dale shared some of the things he’s learned by experience over time which are akin to words of wisdom.

“I have a statement I’ve always said – when anything hits you in the face whether it’s illnesses or pain – I always say, ‘Deal with it.’ Then I say, ‘Get used to it.’

“The other one is, ‘Your body follows your mind. Don’t be so weak in your mind that you will allow something in your body that will kill you.’ Your body is your temple. Treat it like your temple. That’s what we do.”

Mark your calendar and don’t miss witnessing some legendary music and you may even get to hear a few funny or enlightening stories in between the songs.

James Williamson And The Pink Hearts Live Debut

JAMES WILLIAMSON AND THE PINK HEARTS play El Rey Theatre Jun. 29; photo Heather Harris

JAMES WILLIAMSON AND THE PINK HEARTS play El Rey Theatre Jun. 29; photo Heather Harris

“About this time last year, I started feeling like I wanted to write some more music,” guitarist, James Williamson (The Stooges, Iggy Pop) recalled. “But I really don’t write lyrics. I’m just no good at it. At this point in life I’ve finally admitted it, so I don’t even try anymore.”

JAMES WILLIAMSON; photo Heather Harris

JAMES WILLIAMSON; photo Heather Harris

He reached out to a couple of people, including frontman, Frank Meyer (Streetwalkin’ Cheetahs), who played with Williamson on his previous L.A. show for his solo album, Re-Licked.

“I knew he could sing and I knew he had a good stage presence,” Williamson divulged. “But I didn’t know if he could write lyrics.

“I contacted Frank because it would be great if someone could write lyrics and sing them, too. He just jumped all over that. He could turnaround lyrics like in a day. So as quick as I could feed him new riffs, he could write lyrics to them.”

All of this songwriting resulted in the album Behind the Shade, a new project called James Williamson and The Pink Hearts which not only features Williamson on guitar and Meyer on vocals but also vocalist/violinist, Petra Haden.

The group will perform for the first time Jun. 29 at the El Rey Theatre in Los Angeles followed by a show in San Francisco, marking the live debut of the new material. If all goes well, more dates will follow.

“We’ll focus on the album but that’s only 11 songs and so that’s not enough for a set,” Williamson explained. “So, we’ll kind of dip into my old catalogue and pull out another 9 or 10 songs and fill out the set.

“It will be a mixed bag, but I think you’ll like it because this is really a different band in a lot of ways. When you hear Frank and Petra sing some of my old catalogue it’s like a brand-new song.”

JAMES WILLIAMSON AND THE PINK HEARTS play El Rey Theatre Jun. 29; photo Sarah Remetch

JAMES WILLIAMSON AND THE PINK HEARTS play El Rey Theatre Jun. 29; photo Sarah Remetch

Joining the trio on stage will be the regulars from the album, drummer Michael Urbano (Smash Mouth), bassist Jason Carmer (Cat Power), and keyboardist Gregg Foreman. Andrea Watts, who wasn’t on the album but who played with Williamson on his last Los Angeles show, will be doing backing vocals.

Williamson has long been noted for both his aggressive guitar playing and sound on 1973’s Raw Power, a classic, explosive, rock album put out by Iggy and The Stooges. His amp-guitar combination came from a suggestion by the engineer at CBS Studio when they recorded in London.

“My go to guitar is a Gibson Les Paul Custom,” Williamson stated. “I’ve pretty much played that for my entire career. Yes, I’ve had many other guitars. And yes, I had many other guitars before I started playing those but that was the guitar that sort of established my sound on Raw Power and that along with the Vox AC30 is kind of my sound.

“Since then though, I’ve started using a kind of imitation of that guitar put out by a company called Eastman. I put my pickups in them cuz I have some custom-wound pickups that are terrific. You’ll see, if you come to the show, I’ll play a Gibson Les Paul, and also an Eastman, and believe it or not, for a couple of things, I’ll even play a Telecaster, so it’s all over the place.”

He still prefers to keep his guitar effects “old school”, using a treble boost pedal for a little extra sustain when playing solos. That’s pretty much it.

“But I do have something that’s a little bit unique to me,” Williamson said. “In my Eastman guitar I have a Piezo electric bridge that I had them put on the guitar, it comes from Fishman. What I had them do is to split it out, make it a stereo signal. So, I have the magnetic pickups and the Piezo pickups, and it goes out stereo, but I can split it outside of the guitar and send one of those sides to an acoustic emulator, so I get a very convincing acoustic sound and at the same time, I can also get the magnetic sound so that I can play some acoustic numbers on the album. It’s pretty cool.”

Williamson put his guitar aside for the tech world for many years, claiming both things required total commitment. Picking it back up was difficult, but he managed.

“Probably the more amazing thing was that I managed to do the tech thing which was really a big sort of existential gap,” Williamson laughed.

“Let’s just say it was difficult from time to time but I managed it cuz it was so exciting. I mean tech at that time was really friggin’ amazing with all the things that have happened. It was a very interesting sort of front row seat.”

Fortunately, he has picked his guitar up again and with renewed songwriting, a little bit Americana, a little bit “Stooges”, the new music fits nicely with the new millennium.

Curtis Harding Brings Soul Power And More

CURTIS HARDING plays the El Rey May 31; photo Matthew Correia

CURTIS HARDING plays the El Rey May 31; photo Matthew Correia

Curtis Harding brings his songs about sassy women and love both good and bad to the El Rey May 31. The man oozes soul, traditional soul, ala Otis Redding, Wilson Pickett, and other pioneers of the genre. Just check out last year’s Face Your Fear – every song is a winner.

Harding moves the soul genre forward into the new millennium, his voice capturing every emotion imaginable. But, his lyrics are important, too, easily relatable and sometimes funny.

As Curtis explains, “The record [Face Your Fear], to me, is all over the place because I go through moods, man. I change.”

Hailing from Saginaw, Michigan, his church-going mother exposed him to gospel music and his big sister showed him rap music. Both have inspired and motivated Harding through his musical journey which eventually lead him to make Atlanta his home. There he sang backup to CeeLo Green and eventually connected with Black Lips’ Cole Alexander who was spinning classic gospel at the time. The two formed the band Night Sun.

Harding’s style is a combination of different genres which all culminated in his debut solo album Soul Power. While his latest album takes his unique style to another level, this time collaborating with Sam Cohen and producer Danger Mouse.
Don’t miss this fearless performer at the El Rey May 31.