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.

The Damned On Fire At HOB

The Damned

Dave Vanian of The Damned; Photo James Christopher

The Damned stepped onto the huge stage at the newly opened House of Blues in Anaheim and declared it their new home. The crowd roared in approval and from the very first note to the very last, the audience remained enthusiastic.

Early on Dave Vanian was mesmerized and laughing at the massive lightshow that was bouncing off a disco ball suspended in the middle of the venue, quite appropriately leading in to their song “Disco Man”. All night long he was spinning, prancing, or moving back and forth along the edge of the stage like a caged predator.

The Damned

Captain Sensible of The Damned; Photo James Christopher

The band were in good spirits, seemingly having fun throughout their 90 minute set, keeping the energy going nonstop. The music was loud in a good way with Captain Sensible’s guitar blowing the roof off several times. Wearing red plaid pants, red striped shirt, red and white checkered sneakers, blue jean vest and of course, his traditional red beret, he played like his guitar was on fire during songs such as “Ignite,” “Plan 9, Channel 7,” and “Jet Boy, Jet Girl”.

The band as a whole were playful and spontaneous and at one point, Monty Oxymoron , jumped out from behind his keyboard and did a manic crazy “dance”, bushy corkscrew hair flying, arms flailing as he spun in circles across the stage during the short solo near the end of the seminal “New Rose”.

The Damned

Dave Vanian of The Damned; Photo James Christopher

The lighting was crazy good and Vanian’s face was often green-lit creating a Frankenstein monster effect. He was dressed quite dapper in his finery including an orchid in his buttonhole. Traditionally clean-shaven, he appeared with a short full-face beard and mustache adding to his already distinguished look.

It was an all-ages show and all ages showed up.

the damned

The Damned; Photo James Christopher

A traditional mosh pit of youngsters ran in circles most of the night consistently pushing the rest of the packed house to the back and sides to express themselves without getting knocked around. The pit grew to humungous proportions for the encore and everyone left happy and fulfilled, looking forward to next time.

Click to read an Interview with Captain Sensible

Return Of The Damned

THE DAMNED

THE DAMNED play The Belasco Theater Apr. 6, HOB/San Diego Apr. 7 and HOB/Anaheim Apr. 8; photo Dod Morrison

Call them punks, goths, or something else; love or hate The Black Album; The Damned continue to excite fans of all ages throughout the world. They are bringing their 40th Anniversary tour to The Belasco Theater Apr. 6, HOB/San Diego Apr. 7 and HOB/Anaheim Apr. 8.

Concert Guide Live recently asked original guitarist, Captain Sensible, about the longevity of the band, red berets, “New Rose”, “fake news” and a whole lot more.

CONCERT GUIDE LIVE: With The Damned celebrating their 40th anniversary, does it feel like a long time, or does it just seem like one long day?
CAPTAIN SENSIBLE: That 40 years can be divided into a few distinct periods… the dawn of punk, when I was sleeping on Brian’s (guitarist Brian James) floor and we had to lie about the true nature of the band to get gigs… the chaos years when Smash It Up was our battle cry… the goth period when the band was once again instigators in a new musical genre… and after a fairly bleak decade, the resurrection, to which you have to thank the current lineup. It’s the longest lasting in the band’s history, not just because we get on – but also due to the new lease of life they’ve given to the early material.

It’s weird being in a band… you tend to stay the same mental age as when you start out, which in my case isn’t saying much. Shame is, your body doesn’t… so the reckless lifestyle that earned me my name has had to be curbed somewhat.

CGL: When the group began, did you and Dave (frontman Dave Vanian) ever imagine this sort of longevity? How did it happen!
CS: I was only trying to break out of a cycle of unemployment and unskilled jobs… like my year as a 70s toilet cleaner – joining a band was my escape from that life.

Life on the road isn’t everyone’s idea of fun, but I suppose we must be quite good at it to last all this time. Or, too dumb to think of any better way to spend our lives.

Hey, but all the beer’s free!

CGL: For a new generation of fans, describe the London music scene and how the band did or did not fit in at the start of things.
CS: The various bands all had their own take on punk… The Clash sounded nothing like The Stranglers, the Pistols nothing like The Damned. We were just making the music we wanted to hear cos the mid 70s music scene had gone completely stale. Glam had been fun but had gone, leaving mega prog acts like ELP, Yes and Genesis, with their boring drum solos and songs about pixies and wizards.
The Damned had the first record out because while the other bands were waiting for big money deals, we signed with a tiny indie called Stiff, doing it the ‘punk’ way. Stiff bands would be at the label HQ (a converted high street shop) helping to pack each other’s records, roadie at gigs, everything was ‘in house’… another artist (Nick Lowe) produced us.

CGL: The Damned are in the midst of another world tour, how does playing live in the 21st century compare to the early days?
CS: Better to go for it on our 40th as we’re getting no younger. Thankfully there was no YouTube in the 70s, as our performances could be a bit ‘erratic’. Debauched even. It’s rare to have a really bad gig these days.

Pinch (drummer) describes us as a bunch of eccentrics who occasionally get together to make music.

CGL: I understand a new album is in the works, how is it coming along? What has the songwriting process been like?
CS: We don’t like to repeat ourselves… all our albums have a different sound. This one as well… there’s plenty of upbeat tunes… and some darkness, of course. Since our last release being 2008’s So, Who’s Paranoid, (a reflection on the UK’s CCTV culture), there’s been a steady stockpiling on new material and if we recorded it all, the album could be a double or triple CD collection. Sense would suggest we prune it down though.

CGL: “New Rose” seemed to click with people right out of the gate, and here you are playing it many years later. How do you still connect with playing that song and some of the other Damned classics?
CS: “New Rose”, voted last month by Kerrang as the best ever punk single… very nice of them. You had to be there when it was released to understand the effect it had…sounding radically different from all the ghastly country rock and disco that was around at the time, ours was really gnarled and manic, even when you play our debut album today it doesn’t sound like other records, almost UN-produced by Nick Lowe who was ALSO on Stiff. He’s captured the rasping chaos perfectly, the guitars don’t sound nice, they’re a distorted fuzzy mess, which is exactly what’s needed in punk rock, if you ask me. He understood where we were coming from, as our second album’s producer didn’t. Damned Damned Damned is very raw, even compared to the output of our 1977 contemporaries.

Pathway was a rough demo 8-track studio, and Nick was known as ‘Basher’ Lowe, as he used to slap it down on the tapes – no messing about. It wasn’t really produced, especially in today’s terms where everything is cleaned up and corrected. It was dark and dingy in there so you had to be careful not to kick your bottle of cider over. We boshed it out in 2 days with a couple of days mixing, then the tape was recycled to record the Elvis Costello album, so you know there’s no chance of a remix ever. It certainly didn’t need any more than two days as we just repeated our live set until Nick was happy with it.

“New Rose” is fun to play… bands all around the world do their version, I know cos someone will press a CD into my hand most gigs.

CGL: How many red berets have you gone through? Where did the first one come from?
CS: There was a gobbing element in the early punk days… lumps would bake in your hair under the stage lights. You’d have to spend ages in the shower combing them out, so I had a brainwave…. Wear a hat, and sunglasses. I went onstage once, a few years ago, without them… didn’t go down well. Went back in the dressing room, got the beret and returned to the stage to cheers. Oh well, it could be worse… Arthur Brown has to set his head on fire every show.

I get the berets 10 at a time from a tourist shop near the Notre Dame Cathedral. You can’t wash them cos the colour comes out, so when they get too stinky I discard them into the audience.

CGL: What is your pre-show routine? Do you get nervous before going on stage?
CS: No, it’s a buzz playing a loud guitar onstage. And after the soundcheck there’s usually a mad scramble to find something vaguely edible near the venue. Not easy when you’re as fussy about food as I am. I often end up just gulping down a can of chick peas, maybe with an apple. Glamorous, eh?!

CGL: What words of wisdom do you have for bands starting out today?
CS: There’s some interesting bands coming out now, like Wand and King Gizzard… we like the garage psych thing… it still sounds fresh. They’re a good example of how to do it… Young bands should be careful not to overdo the Protools effects that are so common nowadays. Don’t sterilize and correct everything… perfection is overrated anyway. Far too many records have auto-tune vocals… it drives me mad!

CGL: On a more serious note, does the current state of the world provide lyrical fodder? How are you responding to the chaos in the world today?
CS: Don’t ask me about politics… I’m just a daft guitarist. Leave that to our trusted elected representatives, who somehow manage to answer not to the voters but to the corporations who so generously fund them.

I’m loving the debate about ‘fake news’… that’s been a long time coming. People don’t like wars… they have to be lied into supporting armed interventions, and we have to learn from previous examples. In the UK there was a genuine thrill when the Tories were booted out by Blair’s ‘New Labour’ project. But then they took us straight to Iraq via ‘dodgy dossiers’ (lies) and a whole bunch of ‘fake news’ from the mainstream media.

I’ve done MY Blair song… entitled “Stole Into The Night”, it’s on YouTube: https://youtu.be/suh_Bo-stSQ

CGL: Is there anything else you’d like to add?
CS: We are all ale snobs, so if any brewery owners are reading this, please drop off a few bottles of porter – or better still chocolate stout at the stage door.

Save Ferris Delighted To Be Back

SAVE FERRIS

SAVE FERRIS play HOB/Anaheim Mar. 26; photo Piper Ferguson

Local ska punk pioneers Save Ferris hit the House of Blues in Anaheim on Mar. 26 with new material to boot! The 5-song EP Checkered Past seamlessly compliments earlier albums such as It Means Everything and Modified.

Original frontwoman, Monique Powell spoke with Concert Guide Live about the excitement of hitting the road again, overcoming health challenges, and of course, grit.

CONCERT GUIDE LIVE: I imagine being from Orange County you’ve played at the previous Anaheim HOB. Are you looking forward to playing the new one?
MONIQUE POWELL: I will certainly miss the old location as I’ve had so many memories there, but I’ve seen early design renderings of the new location and it looks absolutely beautiful…..really looking forward to seeing the beauty that is the new HOB Anaheim!

CGL: Is this current tour one of the longest with the current line-up? What’s the general mood?
MP: This is the first and the longest. We’ve been waiting over three years for this. The mood on the bus is sheer delight, excitement and fun!

CGL: What do you like to do right before you go on stage?
MP: Doing my hair and makeup puts me into a meditative state, I think of my dad a lot and ask him to help us play a great show, then the guys and I huddle up and say something funny or kind to each other in prep for the show.

Save Ferris

Save Ferris; photo Piper Ferguson

CGL: Thinking back over the course of your career, tell me about a memorable concert that stands out.
MP: Vive Latino Concert in Mexico City, 2001. Largest audience I’ve ever played for. 70,000+ people!

CGL: What can fans look forward to when going to see Save Ferris in 2017?
MP: The response from fans has been that this is the best Save Ferris has ever sounded and looked. Our stage show is filled with surprises. Ska is more important today as it’s ever been, we need something to help clear our minds for a few minutes. That’s what we aim to do for the concert-goer.

CGL: In the late 90s Save Ferris released an EP and a couple CDs and now 18 years later, a new EP! How did that come about? And, what was the songwriting process like?
MP: In 2013 I was diagnosed with a degenerative condition that required serious surgery. I told myself if I woke up from the procedure with my ability to walk and to sing still in tact, I was going to bring SF back, coincidentally marking the 10 year anniversary of the last SF tour in 2003.

The songwriting process was interesting. It took me awhile to warm up to it again. I had some emotional obstacles to overcome, but once that was worked through and set aside, it all just flowed.

CGL: How did recording in this “digital age” compare with recording the previous releases?
MP: There’s so many more possibilities, and it all takes so much less time! Everything is more affordable! So refreshing 🙂

CGL: Save Ferris began as a D.I.Y. band, then signed with a record label, and now back to D.I.Y. How has Social Media helped as a tool for doing it yourself?
MP: Social media, aside from helping in a million and one ways, most importantly allowed me to connect with the existing fans and gauge the direction for the band and the music. I was able to see that there in fact still was, a following for Save Ferris.

CGL: What advice do you have for bands starting out today?
MP: I always say the same thing: “get some grit”. Find your inner strength, which only comes from knowing and liking yourself. Once you’ve done that, you gain conviction. From there, you get tough. I call that “grit”. “Grit” will not allow you to give up under any circumstances. “Grit” helps you to see the possibilities in trying circumstances rather than the roadblocks. “Grit” allows you to go it alone if need be, without fear.

CGL: Is there anything else you’d like to add?
MP: Thanks for taking an interest in Save Ferris. It has been a long, hard road to get here. I feel so fortunate to be on the winning side today. I am just overjoyed that people still remember who we are and want to see us! So, thank you! Xo

Dance And Celebrate With STRFKR

STRFKR

STRFKR play Observatory / Santa Ana Mar. 10 and The Glass House Mar. 11; photo Cara Robbins

STRFKR will play a lengthy set of danceable and lyrically thoughtful music at The Observatory/Santa Ana Mar. 10 and The Glasshouse Mar. 11 as part of the second leg of their U.S. tour.

“The first tour was like bigger cities and this tour is smaller cities,” Josh Hodges (vocals) said. “I kind of prefer this kind of tour.”

Their set will encompass a balanced mix of all of their albums, including the most recent Being No One, Going Nowhere. An album inspired by the book of wisdom, “Being Nobody Going Nowhere” which among other ideas and perspectives inspires one to learn that being alive is good enough.

“I like the idea that whatever you are right now is enough,” Hodges admitted. “The idea of striving to be something other than you are is causing suffering and causing confusion.

“The value system that we have is more and more that people need to be something like a celebrity or known for something and it can cause people to be crazy and do crazy things.”

Moving from Portland to Southern California four years ago, much of the album was written and recorded at the band’s practice house in Joshua Tree where the comfort and mystery of the desert provided immense inspiration and reflection.

“It’s a really good environment for me to write and record,” Hodges said. “It’s pretty isolated and you can make noise all night, the house is out in the middle of nowhere. Nature is so big and the desert life out there is so interesting.

“It makes me feel smaller being in nature like that. It’s kind of comforting with all the craziness going on in the country right now.

STRFKR

STRFKR; photo Cara Robbins

“And even if our narcissistic, idiotic leaders get us in some nuclear war and we all die then, whatever it is, our planet is just a tiny little nothing in this infinite “whatever”. It’s meaningful, too.

“Being out there, for me, it’s easier to stay in touch with that bigger perspective. Everyone’s gonna die anyways. I’m like part of all the molecules and matter that makes up my body and who I think I am…it’s like being a part of this old collection of universes or whatever… it’s kind of comforting.”

STRFKR recently released the first of a three volume set of rarities that Hodges rescued from a dying computer, while a live album is also in the works.

Touring with STRFKR are label mates Psychic Twin who play infectious romantic pop music.

“They’re opening every show and then after their set they become dancers for us a little bit,” Hodges mentioned. “They’re great!”

Desert Daze Caravan Tours SoCal With Temples And More

TEMPLES

TEMPLES-DESERT DAZE CARAVAN play Glasshouse Mar.2, Pappy & Harriet’s Mar. 3, Regent Theater Mar. 4, Belly Up Mar. 5; photo James Christopher

UK band Temples return to SoCal this time headlining the Desert Daze Caravan with Night Beats, Deap Vally, Froth, and  JJUUJJUU. The Glasshouse in Pomona is the first stop on Mar. 2, continuing to Pappy & Harriet’s Mar. 3, Regent Theater Mar. 4, wrapping up at Belly Up Mar. 5 before heading out of the area.

The four-piece group formed in 2012, playing multiple festivals in Europe before headlining their own UK tour at the end of 2013 in support of their debut album Sun Structures. Their followup Volcano coincides with the tour, with a Mar. 3 release date.

Concert Guide Live conducted the following interview in 2014 with Adam Smith (keyboards/guitar/vocals).

CGL: What can fans look forward to when going to see Temples?
TEMPLES: A full sounding representation of our songs, with bits and bobs, here and there, added and modified by four floppy haired Ketteringites.

CGL: How would you describe Temples to someone who isn’t familiar with your music?
TEMPLES: The word ‘psychedelic’ is used a lot to describe our sound, but we like to think that doesn’t quite fit. We are fans of songs and the art of songwriting, so the music is based around songs primarily, but from an unusual angle.

CGL: What inspires the music of Temples? Are there certain bands or an era that some or all of you are drawn to?
TEMPLES: We are all interested in different types of music. We all love bands from the 1960s/70s like Gong, Pink Floyd, McDonald & Giles, The Beatles, etc. We’ve been listening to a lot of Nick Nicely lately n’all.

CGL: How did you come up with the name for your band?
TEMPLES: Tom (Warmsley, bass) came up with it, he’s not in the van at the moment so I can’t divulge.

CGL: You’ve all been in other bands but Temples seems to be taking off rather quickly worldwide. What do you think it is about this group that seems to be connecting with people?
TEMPLES: I don’t know if we really understand why, there’s no formula. I guess there is a psychedelic thing happening at the moment, but who knows. We’re happy about it all though.

CGL: The album “Sun Structures” came out a few months ago in the states. Who does the songwriting? Is it a collaborate venture or is there a primary songwriter?
TEMPLES: James (Bagshaw, lead vocals/guitar) and Tom do most of the songwriting, as me, and Sam (Toms, drums) joined a little too late.

CGL: Do you have a preference between recording and live performance?
TEMPLES: I personally enjoy bits of both more than others. Both forms can link in with the other also, when that happens it is great. Way to sit on the fence ay.

CGL: Is there anything else you’d like to add?
TEMPLES: Flying Foxes.

Y&T Return To Rock Fans At The Coach House

Y&T

Y&T plays at the Coach House Mar 4
Photo by: James Christopher

Y&T are returning to The Coach House on Mar. 4 for their annual night of playing a two-hour plus set for their loyal fans. “Y & T fans expect nothing but high energy and lots of tunes and we’re going to give it to them again,” claims original member, Dave Meniketti (lead guitar/vocals).

The Coach House is an intimate venue that translates well for a Y & T concert. “I like the feeling of being up close to the fans, it’s very intimate, it’s like playing in someone’s extended front room,” says Meniketti.

While there is still no sign of the new album the group has been working on for sometime, that can only mean lots of classic Y&T tunes will rock the night away. The previous album, “Facemelter” came out in 2010, after a thirteen-year lapse of new material.

“We weren’t sure what was going to happen because it had been so long since we’d written together,” Meniketti mused.

“But once we started, it came right back to us as if we had never stopped doing it. Even though it had been 13 years. It was amazing! I think we were all surprised.”

John Nymann (rhythm guitar), Mike Vanderhule (drums), and newcomer Aaron Leigh (bass) complete the current lineup. “The band is just absolutely on fire,” says Meniketti. “We don’t need to put our moves together and choreograph how much we’re in to playing. We just hit the stage and it all happens naturally!”

“Every year we keep thinking, ‘wow that was the best the band ever sounded’ and then the next year we come out and play and we swear we just got a little better.”