Portugal. The Man Rebels For Kicks

PORTUGAL. THE MAN

PORTUGAL. THE MAN play HOB/Anaheim Jul 27, Palladium Jul 29 & 30; photo Maclay Heriot

In a perfect world, Portugal. The Man’s catchy single, “Feel It Still”, would be the song of the summer, blasting out of car radios, iPads, retail playlists, etc. It’s short, sweet, and makes you want to hit “repeat”, kick up your heels and shake your booty.

With six previous albums to draw from as well as music from their latest release Woodstock, you don’t want to miss one of their upcoming SoCal shows – Jul 27 HOB/Anaheim or Jul 30 Hollywood Palladium (Jul 29 at the Palladium is already sold out!)

Woodstock is their long anticipated followup to 2013’s Evil Friends which featured the songs “Purple Yellow Red and Blue” (with Haim on backing vocals) and the title track “Evil Friends” which was prominently used in a Taco Bell commercial.

During this gap between albums, the band wrote tons of songs and tried to make an album called Gloomin + Doomin but they just couldn’t quite put it together. So how did they remedy this situation? They threw it all out and started over!

This time it worked naturally, with John Hill (In the Mountain in the Cloud), Danger Mouse (Evil Friends), Mike D (Everything Cool) and long time collaborator Casey Bates involved. Apparently, the title is a nod to an original 1969 Woodstock ticket stub owned by vocalist John Gourley’s father.

So, pick up the new album, grab a ticket to one of the upcoming shows, and put your dancing shoes on. The Summer 2017 Tour is here!

Just Give In And Check Out Hazel English

hazel english

HAZEL ENGLISH plays Bootleg Theater Jul 19; photo Andy Ortega

Hazel English will stop by Bootleg Theater for one night Jul 17 with a new EP Just Give In / Never Going Home under her wing.

Concert Guide Live reached out to Hazel English prior to her string of SoCal dates in February of this year to find out more about her songwriting, performing and her live band.

CONCERT GUIDE LIVE: When did you realize you wanted to be a performer and play in front of people?
HAZEL ENGLISH: I think I’ve always wanted to be a performer. I used to be a gymnast and a dancer from a young age so I think there’s always been a part of me that enjoyed performing for people. But it wasn’t until I was about 16 that I actually started to play music for people.

CGL: I believe you were born in Australia, what effect, if any, do you think it had on your music?
HZ: I’m not sure growing up in Australia has really had a strong effect on my music because I’ve always listened to music from other places, mainly British music actually. In Australia there is still a huge influence from the US and the UK when it comes to the music industry.

CGL: Much of your lyrical content is questioning, searching, and full of uncertainty yet the music is dreamy and somewhat relaxing, almost meditative. Is this contradiction a conscious effort or just the way your songwriting works out?
HZ:I don’t really analyze my own songwriting process, I feel like I’m already neurotic enough as it is. Though I do think that in having a dreamier, more mellow vibe, it’s easier to say difficult things without creating a really sad sounding song. I also just prefer to listen to dreamy types of music and I tend to write about what troubles me, so I guess you could say it’s just those two things coming together.

hazel english

Hazel English; photo Andy Ortega

CGL: Do you write both the lyrics and music? Which comes first?
HZ: It’s not a strict rule but I generally come up with a melody and/or chord progression first and then I will find lyrics to fit. Though sometimes it all happens at once and that can feel really magical.

CGL: Who is in your live band, and what do they play?
HZ: David Vieira plays guitar and keys, Eric Sugatan plays bass/synth & Liam O’Neill plays drums. We’re all really close friends, which makes it even more special to me. I feel lucky to have such a great band for the live show.

CGL: Tell me about one of your favorite songs from your EP.
HZ: I would say my favourite song is “Never Going Home”. It was the first song I wrote and recorded for the EP. I had no expectations or pre-meditations so it felt kind of pure in a sense. I wrote it in the studio and we recorded it really fast, so there was no time to second-guess myself.

CGL: What’s next on the horizon for 2017?
HZ: Getting ready to go on my first U.S. headline tour, which I’m really excited about. Also working on some new material which is always fun! I expect it’s going to be a busy year.

CGL: What do you like to do when you’re not playing?
HZ: I love reading sci-fi novels. I just finished reading “Fahrenheit 451” which I’ve heard is a book most people read in high school but I didn’t. I also really enjoy biking if it’s a nice day out.

Pinky Pinky Jump Start The Night

pinky pinky

Anastasia Sanchez of Pinky Pinky; photo James Christopher

Local teens, Pinky Pinky, had fun while remaining serious about playing their music at The Constellation Room. First of two bands on the bill for The Strokes’ Nick Valensi’s current band CRX, Pinky Pinky played to what began as a low-keyed audience of early arrivers. But, as their set progressed, some “whoops” and hollers erupted from the crowd.

It was hard not to admire this young female trio. Bassist Eva Chambers had some low-down, almost bluesy chops that complemented the deep, sultry voice of drummer/vocalist Anastasia Sanchez. Pony-tail flipping back and forth as she beat out the rhythms, her big eyes and captivating smile made it difficult to look away.

pinky pinky

Isabelle Fields of Pinky Pinky; photo James Christopher

But, when guitarist Isabelle Fields would go into one of her many solos, I had to watch and admire the natural skill and her ability not to rush. It made me wonder what records her parents listened to and if it had a subtle influence on her tone and style. A throw-back to early 70s rock guitar, her riffs and rhythms led me to toe-tapping and made the young men near me start dancing to the music.

Looking comfy but natural, two of the band members dressed in retro gas station attendant/car repair mechanic attire. Sanchez work pink jeans with her white short-sleeve shirt that read “California Towing” on the back while Fields wore a blue jumpsuit that had her ready to crawl under a car to begin repairs.

pinky pinky

Eva Chambers of Pinky Pinky; photo James Christopher

When the last song of the short but strong set was announced, the audience responded with a resounding “No!”, followed by genuine thunderous applause.

In fact, the audience managed to stop them from picking up their gear and leaving the stage, insisting they play one more. Looking slightly embarrassed and unsure, they obliged with one more song.

Keep an eye out for Pinky Pinky and watch their musicianship continue to develop and grow. You won’t be disappointed.

Big Bad Voodoo Daddy Play Around SoCal

BIG BAD VOODOO DADDY

BIG BAD VOODOO DADDY play The Coach House Jul 8; photo James Christopher

Big Bad Voodoo Daddy bring their full ensemble to perform their throwback swing music at The Coach House Jul 7 and The Cave Jul 8. The Coach House has been fortunate to have Big Bad Voodoo Daddy perform on a somewhat regular basis.

“It’s just a fun, old concert venue. It’s been there for a long time. Everybody has played there,” Marhevka said. “The reason we’re able to perform there more often is because we’re a Southern California based band so I think it’s a little easier for us to schedule that in around our touring schedule. You’ll see a lot of great artists play there all the time. It’s one of those fun, classic, American music halls.”

Scotty Morris, guitar/vocals, and Kurt Sodergren, drums formed the nine-piece band in 1993. The rest of the members joined soon after bringing a mix of woodwind instruments, a double bass, and piano to the mix. In the 1990’s they became one of the prominent bands of the swing revival with their combination of jazz, swing and Dixieland music.

Back when Big Bad Voodoo Daddy first started to play live, they were often greeted by stages too small to fit the whole band.

Big Bad Voodoo Daddy

Big Bad Voodoo Daddy; photo James Christopher

“Up in San Francisco we used to play Club Deluxe which we couldn’t even fit on at all. So half of the band had to stand on the floor,” Marhevka recalled. “We’ve been so tight on stage it’s been difficult but we always make it happen!”

One of their most notorious singles, “You & Me & the Bottle Makes 3 Tonight (Baby)”, was featured in the soundtrack for the film “Swingers”, as well as “I Wan’na Be Like You” and “Go Daddy-O”.

This success led to three albums on Capitol Records, the platinum selling, “Americana Deluxe,” and the follow up albums, “This Beautiful Life,” and “Save My Soul.”

The group recently released a new album Louie, Louie, Louie, their first since 2013’s Christmas album It Feels Like Christmas which features both traditional and original Christmas songs.

“We’ll be doing stuff from all of our albums,” said Marhevka. “We’ll kind of do an eclectic mix of everything.”

King Crimson Brings Musical Circus Act To SoCal

KING CRIMSON

KING CRIMSON plays Humphrey’s By the Bay Jun 19 and Greek Theater Jun 21; press photo

King Crimson is in the midst of their 2017 U.S. tour intriguingly called the “Radical Action Tour” perhaps as a nod to the three-part song of the same name. They’ll be stopping at the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles which is somewhat of a homecoming.

“I know King Crimson used to play there way back when I joined the band in the 80s,” bassist Tony Levin recalled. “That was our L.A. venue.

“It’s a sophisticated audience and we have a lot of fans there.”

Concert Guide Live spoke with Levin about the fascination of watching three drummers perform, cell phone taboo, David Bowie and a whole lot more.

CONCERT GUIDE LIVE: So, was last night the first night of the U.S. tour?
TONY LEVIN: Yes and no. Really the first concert is tonight. But last night, as we usually like to do with King Crimson, we like to do a full-dress run-through concert. We call it a friends and family show. In essence, it’s a real show but it’s not public. So here in Seattle we had more than a few friends and family, I think there were 600 people. It was a full show in every sense but it wasn’t the beginning of the tour.

Like everything with King Crimson the answer is not the normal.

CGL: It sounds like it went well, did you get enough sleep?
TL: I did get enough sleep, thank you, and it did go very well. It went a little long, it was over three hours. I’m guessing that we’re going to shorten the show a little bit from tonight on but we’ll see. Actually, Robert Fripp, our leader, makes up the set list each morning and presents it to us in the afternoon because we have a wealth of material that we can do. We like to do a lot of it but we can’t do all of it each night so I won’t know what tonight’s set will be like until this afternoon when I arrive at soundcheck.

CGL: I was going to ask if you were going to play pretty much the same set each night, but I guess not!
TL: No! For sure not. This tour we’re doing a lot of one-nighters. I think even with one-nighters we’ll change it from night to night. I don’t mean the set will be completely different. As I said, we have a lot of material to consider presenting.

CGL: Does the band take a break during the set or play on through?
TL: I can’t say what the show in Los Angeles will be like but here where we have time to do the full three hours that we want to do, there is an intermission in the middle.

CGL: In regard to the current live lineup, is it an eight piece and are there 3 drummers?
TL: Yes, it is an eight-piece and yes there are three drummers. In a way, there are four drummers [laughs]. We have four drummers in the band but this tour we’re only having three of them play. Bill Rieflin, a drummer who also plays very good keyboards, is playing keyboards on this tour.

For one reason is we have to figure out a way to get four drum kits on the stage. And for another reason, all of the drum parts over the last few years have been very elaborately devised to be divided among three drummers. So, it’s going to be a major re-write to have four drummers but we might do that in the future.

But right now, there are three drummers and they are presented in the front row of the stage so when the audience looks up they see drums across the entire stage. And on a riser behind them are the other five of us. If it sounds like a circus act it is a musical circus act.

I know I can’t help but watch the drummers. It’s a fascinating thing to see the way they’ve divided up the parts. They really don’t pound out the same part ever. They have a number of strategies. Even within one song, they have a number of very interesting strategies and the audience can easily follow along even if they’re not paying attention to the rest of the music which is also pretty special, I think.

We have a lot going on and what I really value about the Crimson show is all these things are very different than other bands. It’s not easy even if you’re a progressive band, quote/unquote, it’s not easy to do things that haven’t been done before, that a lot of bands aren’t doing. King Crimson really is involved in trying very hard to do that in all ways with our music.

Even if King Crimson is presenting a lot of classic King Crimson material from the 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s, and 2000s, and also some new material and also some improv, even though we’re doing that we’re doing that in a way of not just playing it the way it was. We’re trying to re-interpret it and do everything as if it’s new music being played by a band that really is progressive and forward-thinking.

CGL: I noticed you’re playing the Greek Theatre and Humphrey’s in San Diego which are both outdoor places, will there be a light show or stage show, as well, or is it just music?
TL: How shall I put this? [laughs] It’s unusual. There isn’t a big light show in fact there’s a noticeable lack of light show but there is a lighting change. One. So, yes and no. Yes, there is a light show but in a way there isn’t a light show.

I think the nature of this band is there’s a lot to listen to and there’s a lot to watch in the interaction among the players and of course the drummers in the front row. But we’re not trying to distract the audience with production.

I think also in a way it’s kind of unusual that we do what bands would like to do, but don’t often do – we insist that the audience not take pictures with cell phones and videos and not lessen the experience of the other people in the audience by distracting them with their cell phones. We have a pretty well-enforced rule – no taking pictures and no videos – until the very end when I pick up my camera, because I love to take pictures of the show of the audience.

I can tell from looking at my pictures every night of the audience many of them are waiting and very happy to take out their cameras at the end and take pictures of us. That’s what I see in my pictures – a whole lot of people taking pictures of me.

It hasn’t been an easy road trying to insist that the audience do that but it’s been very worthwhile. We try to do our best to have our music at the highest level we can and it’s a good feeling to know it’s not being utterly messed up by somebody holding their camera in front of somebody else.

CGL: King Crimson recently covered Bowie’s “Heroes”, just curious what that song means to you personally?
TL: For me, of course it was a rough year losing David Bowie and I had played on a couple of his albums most recently The Next Day. So, like all fans that was a big emotional thing last year.

Last year Robert decided to add “Heroes” as a surprise encore to our German shows. And for those who don’t know that song “Heroes”, the original recording had a very distinct guitar solo by Robert Fripp. It’s the only piece we do that wasn’t written by King Crimson. Musically it’s quite a big surprise because it’s so simple compared to the very complex King Crimson pieces that we do.

It was a nice counterpoint and wonderful to hear live and in person Robert doing that sound and that wonderful distinctive thing that he had done on that record so long ago.

CGL: Speaking of Bowie, you worked with him as well as Lou Reed, what was it like working with them? How did they differ?
TL: Very different. I only worked with Lou Reed when I played on the Berlin album in one of those typical studio situations that’s not the most gratifying. I didn’t even meet him, he wasn’t there when I played bass on a track or two. A producer brought me in. I’m pleased to have been on that record but it wasn’t a musical interaction of any kind.

Later I met him when I was part of a movie, a Paul Simon movie that Lou Reed was in. I met him and interacted with him and that was great.

With David Bowie however, like I said, I played on a couple of albums and I was just so impressed with what a good musician he is. In addition, of course, to being a great performer, a great artist, a great writer. You wouldn’t know it, necessarily, seeing him on stage because he’s focused on his singing. But a really excellent pianist and he can really run the band.

The way he brought in that material to that album The Next Day he just laid it down for us. He played it perfectly each time and sang it perfectly. And as a side man or a musician collaborating on a record that’s what you want. You don’t want to be searching for the tempo and the feel. When it’s all given to you and all you have to do is find your part, everything moves along smoothly and well. That happened very much and it’s a testament to his talent that he could do that in addition to all the other things.

CGL: Considering your longevity in the music industry, what advice do you have for bands that are starting out today?
TL: That’s a challenging question. I’m more inclined to get advice from people who are doing well [laughs]. I treasure the playing and the directions of people who do things different than me. I’m not a band who started out and succeeded as that. You are correct, I do have longevity in the music industry but I’m very much a bass player.

I know as a musician there are many ways to do it. But what I have in common with a lot of the musicians that I work with is that we always, only, wanted to play music. That was the only option for us. And I think some other people who have other options, have in their journey gone off to the other options.

Even though music is very satisfying and gratifying, there are a lot of challenges and there’s a lot of disillusionment on the road to becoming successful as a musician.

And what I’ve experienced is it’s a wonderful career, a wonderful thing to do just to go around and share your music with people as a living and being able to do that your whole life. I consider myself a very lucky person to have been able to do that.

Sons Of Texas To Raise Hell In SoCal

SONS OF TEXAS

SONS OF TEXAS plays The Parish at House of Blues Jun 16, Whisky Jun 17, Observatory North Park Jun 18; photo Chris Phelps

Sons of Texas will headline The Parish at House of Blues Anaheim on Jun 16 then open for Hellyeah at the Whisky A Go Go Jun 17 and again at the Observatory North Park Jun 18. They are currently in the midst of a U.S. tour, part of which was with Fozzy and Kyng.

“The guys in Fozzy were real good to us and Kyng are fun to hang out with,” guitarist Jes De Hoyos commented.

Hailing from McAllen, Texas, De Hoyos notes “that’s about as deep south as you can go in the United States.”

They were naturally brought up with a variety of cultures that all played a part in the music they create, which centers around hard rock and a little bit of metal.

“We’ve got some groove in our music, we’ve got some of the blues and some rock,” De Hoyos said. “I think when you tie it all together it creates the sound that we have.”

As a next generation of bands from Texas, Sons of Texas is a fitting name as their music is often referenced to other bands from the state.

Sons of Texas

Sons of Texas

“Before we were called Texas but that name was already taken so we had to come up with something,” De Hoyos recalled. “We would play shows locally and we kept getting referenced that we sound like this or we sound like that and a lot of the bands that would be referenced would be Texas bands. So, we just started to call ourselves like a NexGen kind of thing.”

Their debut album, Baptized In The Rio Grande”, was released in 2015 on Razor & Tie and a new one is completed and ready to be released later this year, also produced by Josh Wilbur (Lamb of God, All That Remains, Hatebreed).

“It’s been great working with him so far,” De Hoyos said. “You know the first album was awesome. It kind of doesn’t even feel like work sometimes. It feels like dudes hanging out. [laughs] It makes for a good workflow and I think we get things done like that.”

Everyone contributes to the songwriting – De Hoyos, Jon Olivares (guitar), Mike Villareal (drums), Nick Villareal (bass) – while most of the lyrics are penned by vocalist, Mark Morales.

“Typically, I’d say nine times out of ten it starts with a riff,” De Hoyos explained. “Jon or myself will come up with an idea and we’ll try to build on that and if everything flows naturally then we keep going until we’re finished. We just feed whatever feels good, pretty much.”

Coco Montoya Grateful To Play Live

coco montoya

COCO MONTOYA plays The Coach House Jun. 2; photo Joseph A Rosen

Fans in South Orange County have been fortunate to see blues guitarist, Coco Montoya play at The Coach House many times over the years. In fact, they’ll get another chance Jun. 2.

“I’ve just always liked the vibe of the place,” Montoya said. “The sound system is always great and it’s just a fun place to play. Definitely The Coach House is one of my favorite venues.”

CONCERT GUIDE LIVE: Do you remember when and where your very first concert was?
COCO MONTOYA: I wouldn’t call it a concert but when I was kid we did all the teen dances and all those sort of things. Those were the first experiences with being in front of the public and being appreciated. And some of them, maybe appreciated too much (laughs). You have to go through that part as well.

CGL: Were you nervous or did you take to it right away?
CM: Always nervous. You have your moments of real confidence and you definitely have moments of doubt.

CGL: Is there anything in particular you like to do right before you go on stage?
CM: Not really. There’s no real kind of thing I do other than tell myself how grateful I am to be able to go and do it one more time. I need to let myself know how I feel about that and let the audience know how this can all be taken away and some day it will be, you know?

COCO MONTOYA

COCO MONTOYA; photo Yves Bougardier

CGL: You’ve played tons of live shows, in all sizes of venues, what is it about performing live that you like so much?
CM: It’s just the immediate reaction of people. I mean that to me is the whole reason to be out here doing it. You know, it’s just to get that immediate reaction from folks. It beats studio, it beats all the things for me. To do a live performance and be appreciated and accepted by the people is probably the ultimate for me in playing music.

CGL: In your early days you played with both Albert Collins and John Mayall and in a sense maybe they were kind of like mentors to you. Have you ever taken a blues guitarist under your wing or has any guitarist looked to you in the early stages of their career?
CM: Well, I know that I’ve always tried to be open and in discussion with a young player. It depends. There are some guys, young kids that are coming up that I’ve definitely tried to be there for them and any questions they may have I try and guide them. Give them the knowledge that was given to me so freely.

CGL: It seems like blues players, more than any other genre, try to keep the spirit and roots of the music going from generation to generation.
CM: I just know within the blues, especially coming from my age group, that the old originators of this music who are not here anymore, my experiences with them was that they always nurtured. They always found a way to let you know what they know – sometimes with a pretty rough edge on it (laughs) – that’s still good for you, you know? Yea, you try to pass that along because the blues has always been about that. It’s always been the originators of the music were always very open and very willing to tell you how to go about it.

CGL: Tell me about the new album Hard Truth. How did you choose the songs that you covered and where did you find the inspiration for the songs that you wrote?
CM: The songs being covered were kind of trying to come to a meeting ground with the record company, I’ll just be honest with you. And some weren’t songs I picked but we went in there and what’s great about the blues and the producing of Tony Braunagel was to interpret these songs in a brand new way which I think we accomplished.

Coco Montoya

Coco Montoya; photo Marilyn Stringer

The inspiration for the songs we wrote is just a continuum of writing with my co-writer, Dave Steen. Just getting together and coming up with songs. We’re pretty proud of what we’ve done.

CGL: Do you have a favorite off the new album, or a couple of favorites?
CM: It’s hard to call any of them a favorite. Because when you do an album they all have their place and what they mean to you. “Devil Don’t Sleep” was a great accomplishment for me because it was way out of my comfort zone. That one was trying something you’re not sure is going to work but you’re glad you gave it a shot, you know? That I always enjoyed.

“Truth Be Told” is one I wrote with Dave that I really like. They all have a certain attraction a certain reason why you gravitated toward those. The whole thing of recording, for me anyway, is to step outside the box and accomplish something.

CGL: So you play a Strat – is that your preferred guitar?
CM: Yea, that’s what I use, they’re pretty durable, I’ve been using them for a long time. And playing unorthodox like I do, I kind of need something that’s fairly consistent. Switching guitars and all that stuff too often, I’m not real good at that. I’ve had my Strats for a long time and they pretty much do the job for me.

Come Hear Legendary Guitarist Dick Dale!

dick dale

DICK DALE plays The Coach House May 27; 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, May 27. 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.

Poptone To Take SoCal On Nostalgia Trip

POPTONE

POPTONE play HOB/Anaheim May 15, HOB/San Diego May 17, Teragram Ballroom May 19, The Glass House May 21

On the eve of their first Poptone show ever, Daniel Ash and Kevin Haskins were excited, ready, and willing to begin performing a retrospective of Bauhaus, Love and Rockets, and Tones on Tail in front of a live audience.

“I didn’t realize just how much I missed it actually. I feel about 20 years younger since I started rehearsing,” Ash mused while Haskins chuckled.

“I’m sort of made to do this. I’m not any good at anything else. I mean, I like painting and stuff. I’m pretty good at riding motorcycles but you can’t do that for a living. Well, some people can but I couldn’t. So, yeah, I’m just having an absolute blast.”

This new found enthusiasm and excitement after not touring for many years, has also introduced unexpected new behaviors, especially considering the many changes in the 21st century.

“I catch myself looking at equipment magazines and stuff, which I’ve never done, like new effects pedals and guitars,” Ash admitted. “I’ve never done that in my whole life. And I sort of have a couple of these magazines in the bathroom. It’s very strange. I don’t know what’s happening to me.”

Poptone is taking a bit of a nostalgia trip by presenting the cream of the crop between the three bands, playing them as close as they can get to the original versions. Most songs were chosen by Ash and reflect songs that he wrote and sang on.

“I think for me the Tones On Tail material has a powerful cache because as you know we haven’t played that material in over 35 years,” Haskins said. “So I think a lot of people are excited to hear that”.

“I mean 70% of the set is Tones on Tail material because we did one small tour of the U.S. and the one of the UK but we made a really good record,” Ash explained.

“It sort of stood the test of time really well. But the bottom line is those songs haven’t been played since 1983 or something so people really want to hear it.

“And things like t-shirts and stuff, you know, nothing was ever made officially for Tones on Tail. It’s almost like Poptone sounds like a 21st century version of the band.”

Daniel Ash

Daniel Ash

Remarkably, Poptone was motivated by a dream Ash had about playing live, which he was completely burned out on doing. He really hadn’t been interested in touring anymore even though a few people had wanted him to do so for a long time.

“I can’t understand why I had this dream…I just got this revelation about four in the morning about eight weeks ago, nine weeks ago, now, where it became extremely apparent I should play live again,” Ash recalled. “The obvious choice was Kevin should be involved and it sort of evolved from there.”

Diva Dompe, who has several albums of her own and happens to be Haskins’ daughter, will join the two and play bass.

“It’s very cool and very exciting,” Haskins said.

“Something I’ve noticed is we lock together really tight. We feel like a really tight rhythm section.

“I’ve got to give Glen (Campling) a real big shout out because his input on Tones On Tail is remarkable. The bass lines and all his synth work were so unique. And Diva kind of picked up those bass lines really easily so it just felt a very natural fit.”

Keeping close to the original sound also naturally led to Ash sticking with his Boss pedals, even though there are tons of new guitar effects on the market.

“That’s all I used when we recorded all those songs so I don’t need anything new. And a Wah-Wah pedal, a Cry Baby. That’s it.”

Known for previously using H&H amps with the three bands, Ash has recently switched to Blackstar Amps, which is coincidentally made in Northampton, where both he and Haskins were born.

“It’s small, really light, and loud as fuck,” Ash explained.

While occasionally using a Telecaster or a Takamine12-string guitar, his preferred guitar remains to be a Fernandes with a sustainer, although you can’t get them in the U.S. anymore.

“They’ve sort of died the death here. I’ve used that thing for years, I really love the sustainer on it.”

Ash jokingly prodded Haskins to confirm that he uses DW drums which was “really good because they’re chrome”, Ash’s favorite color.

“Since they’re circular the glare goes all over the place,” Ash excitedly recalled.

“I love a bit of glare anyway so if it does start glaring I love it. I’ve got a bit of glare on my guitar. It’s like a mirror finish thing. So hopefully it will still have an impact shooting the lights out all around the room.”

Ash promises they have “some little tricks up our sleeves” in regards to the live show. Without going into detail all he would admit was “they are trying to get away from the old fashion, boring rock show”.

As far as the future of Poptone, the possibility of new material, etc., is anyone’s guess.

“I have no idea what’s going to come out of the three of us,” Ash speculated.

“We have no clue as to what it’s going to be as far as what we’re going to turn out. But at the moment, the next nine-ten months we will have tunnel vision and are going to try to be a killer live band. That’s our main objective at this point in time.”

You can catch Poptone at House of Blues Anaheim May 15, House of Blues San Diego May 17, Teragram Ballroom Los Angeles May 19, and Glass House Pomona May 20.

The current set list is:
*Tones On Tail: Go! OK This Is The Pops, Movement of Fear, Christian Says, Happiness, Heartbreak Hotel (Elvis Presley cover), Lions, Twist, Performance, There’s Only One
*Love and Rockets: An American Dream, Mirror People, No Big Deal, Love Me, Sweet F.A.
*Bauhaus: Slice of Life
*Daniel Ash (solo): Flame On
*Adam Ant (cover): Physical

Jagwar Ma To Shimmer Around SoCal And Coachella

JAGWAR MA

JAGWAR MA plays Coachella Apr. 14 and 21, Fox Theater Apr 18 and Pappy & Harriet’s Apr 19; photo Maclay Heriot

Jagwar Ma return to Coachella this year and they will also be playing a couple of club dates at The Fox Theater Apr. 18 as well as Pappy & Harriett’s Apr. 19. Having played Coachella three years ago, that incredible memory is one they will never forget.

“It was a life-changing experience I think for all of us so we’re just very, very excited and very honored to be playing the shows,” Gabriel Winterfield (guitar / vocals) said. “And we’re really excited to be playing with Glass Animals”.

The Australian natives who play shimmering psychedelic dance-pop, had a modest California radio hit with “Come Save Me” during their previous run, and also toured with Tame Impala.

On the road with Glass Animals this time around, Jagwar Ma will be performing both to an endless sea of people in a festival setting or in front of an up-close and personal audience in a club setting. However, with a bit of tongue-in-cheek, Winterfield said, “a festival is as intimate as a club show and a club show is as festive as a festival”.

Conceptually, the group is also interested in the visuals displayed while they play. Jono Ma (synth / guitar /vocals) has been working with visual artist Jim Warrier on their current live stage show, which they’ve aired out a few times in Europe and the UK.

Every Now & Then
their recently released second album sees the band evolving but still keeping their recognizable sound. It’s more of a sequel than a departure from their first album.

“We tried to keep a lot of the process similar to how we did the first one,” Winterfield mused. “Maybe we were superstitious of wanting to change things”.

But their day to day lives had changed which added a natural influence on the writing process while the frequent use of a different synthesizer also contributed to changing things up a little bit.

JAGWAR MA

JAGWAR MA; photo Maclay Heriot

However, playing live is a whole other animal as some of the songs have parts that aren’t on the records. They were sort of designed for a live atmosphere.

“And sometimes even musically we reference artists that are heroes of ours and are influences,” Winterfield said. “It’s nice to be able to pay homage to them in a live setting”.

Songs such as Michael Jackson’s “Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough” and Nirvana’s “All Apologies” have occasionally appeared in the encore to freshen things up.

“It’s nice to play other people’s music, especially great artists as those.”

While interviewing the band over the phone during their final Coachella set rehearsal in the UK, the night before their departure for Atlanta, Winterfield’s clothes were clean but not packed.

“I may just bring a bag of wet clothes,” he laughed. “And my Pikachu camera”.

Wet clothes or not, the future looks bright with shows taking them on short jaunts back and forth between the States and Europe over the next few months.