Celebrate Michael Schenker Music Past And Current


MICHAEL SCHENKER FEST plays Grove of Anaheim Mar. 25; press photo

Michael Schenker will be rockin’ the Grove of Anaheim Mar. 25 performing a 2 ½ hour set of his most popular music with original singers, Gary Barden, Graham Bonnet, and Robin McAuley (MSG) as well as Doogie White (Temple of Rock). The tour is billed as Michael Schenker Fest and will also feature music from the recently released Resurrection.

“We are going to be here performing with all of these album lineups and with Chris Glen and Ted McKenna who were the rhythm section for Assault Attack when Graham Bonnet was singing,” Schenker explained. “Then we have Steve Mann (guitar) who is connected with the McAuley Schenker era part of the past. He actually wrote “Anytime” with Robin McAuley.

MICHAEL SCHENKER FEST - Robin McAuley; press photo

MICHAEL SCHENKER FEST – Robin McAuley; press photo

“It’s going to be a well-balanced show with classics and new stuff and instrumentals. And also, it has been 40 years since I recorded Strangers In the Night with UFO so who knows, maybe, Phil Mogg shows up sometimes and sings a couple of UFO songs.”

Getting everyone together and available at the same time could be potentially challenging but, fortunately, as Schenker mused, “It seems to be synchronized with the universe. It’s something that needs to happen and it’s happening.”

MICHAEL SCHENKER FEST -Graham Bonnet; press photo

MICHAEL SCHENKER FEST -Graham Bonnet; press photo

He went on to explain his approach, “I wanted to combine all my energies that I have put into different lineups. Some bands have stayed together for 40 years and put all their energies into one lineup, I went all over the place. There were certain circumstances of not being able to put people on retainer so when it was time for me to make a record, sometimes I had to move to new singers, new musicians, etc. etc.

“I’m in celebration mode. The new album is called Resurrection which means we are all back and we are celebrating all together the past and the current. It’s great for the fans to see everything on one stage.

MICHAEL SCHENKER FEST - Doogie White; press photo

MICHAEL SCHENKER FEST – Doogie White; press photo

“In 1978 when I was 23 years old, by doing Strangers In the Night, I had experienced fame and success to its fullest and I was able to make a decision after I helped the Scorpions with the Lovedrive album to open the doors for America. Did I want to stay up there, or did I want to start the second chapter of my life and start experimenting with music and focus on life, get things out of my system? And that’s what I did and those were the most rewarding years in my life and they made me ready for the third stage of my life, which is now, showing up, eventually with all original singers, is fantastic.”

Resurrection is poised to be another Michael Schenker classic album with songs such as “Night Moods,” “Warrior,” and “The Girl With the Stars In Her Eyes” to name a few.

MICHAEL SCHENKER FEST - Gary Barden; press photo

MICHAEL SCHENKER FEST – Gary Barden; press photo

“The song “The Girl with the Stars in Her Eyes” is a fantastic riff it’s very suitable for Doogie to sing and it’s one of my favorites, too,” Schenker said. “And “Night Moods” – Michael Voss did an excellent job in writing the lyrics – and the melody for Glen. Graham’s voice on that song, especially the ad libs at the end of that song, it’s remarkable, it’s fantastic.”

Initially, the making of the record was thought to be a two-year project, with label Nuclear Blast advising them to “take their time”. However, Schenker had other ideas with the upcoming tour on the schedule, preferring the album finished and released before they hit the road.

“We decided to start in May and finish in November” Schenker recalled. “Michael Voss (producer) and I immediately started working so I don’t even think we had phoned Graham or anybody that they didn’t have all the time in the world. But Doogie was so fast he started to select five songs, but it was three songs each singer!”

MICHAEL SCHENKER FEST -Michael Schenker; press photo

MICHAEL SCHENKER FEST -Michael Schenker; press photo

Preferring to create music without outside influences, Schenker doesn’t listen to or copy other music or guitar, going for pure self-expression.

“I am the architect of the music, I have a vision, I know exactly what I want, and I want it as pure as possible,” Schenker explained. “So, I kind of put all the music down in guides – keyboard guides, the bass – so the people know what I’m trying to achieve and where the journey goes.

MICHAEL SCHENKER FEST -Ted McKenna; press photo

MICHAEL SCHENKER FEST -Ted McKenna; press photo

“The main thing that comes from the other musicians is their personality. Their personal touch, the way Ted grooves, the way Ted does his drum fill, the solidness and the sound of Chris Glen and the bass and everybody puts their touches in and they make the final thing.

“Then of course the singers, as many as possible, do their own lyrics and their own melodies and of course Michael Voss was the perfect guy for the job as the co-producer because he’s an 80s fan and he understands each member in the band so it’s very, very enjoyable and easy to work with and make it successful.”

Don’t miss this exciting and unique performance of classic Michael Schenker songs, instrumentals, and songs from the new album Resurrection, with the original singers.

AmeriKKKant But Ministry Will And You Should Too


MINISTRY play HOB/Anaheim Mar. 22 and Majestic Theater Mar. 23; photo Phil Parmet

Ministry kicks off 2018 with an all-star lineup for the politically charged AmeriKKKant tour where “P.T.-Barnum-meets-Rage-Against-The-Machine” ringmaster, Al Jourgensen and long-time band members guitarists Sin Quirin and Cesar Soto, will be joined by vocalist Burton C. Bell (Fear Factory), drummer Joey Jordison (Slipknot, VIMIC), and live scratcher DJ Swamp (Beck, the Crystal Method), Tony Campos (Fear Factory, Static-X) on bass, and keyboardist John Bechdel (Killing Joke, Fear Factory).

When asked how the current line-up of Ministry evolved Quirin replied, “Well, we were all at this Turkish bath house (by chance) and at one point we all got up to grab the same bath towel. That is how we all met.”

MINISTRY-Al Jourgensen; photo Phil Parmet

MINISTRY-Al Jourgensen; photo Phil Parmet

Quirin went on to explain that all the current members of Ministry have known each other for many years and that reforming the band was simply a matter of checking schedules and availability. Ministry technically reformed in 2006 which is also the year Quirin joined the band. He has been involved in all the song writing since, up to and including the new album AmeriKKKant. The other members had some years that followed where their involvement was on and off due to their other bands.

Ministry founder, “Uncle Al” Jourgensen had a farewell tour in 2008 due to health issues but then Quirin pointed out that Jourgensen “started to feel better, started to feel great and wanted to do Ministry again. His spirit to do such a thing was back in it.” Then the band had another set-back that was “truly devastating for Al and the rest of us.” Mike Scaccia, the other guitarist, died of a heart attack in 2012.

“The band was in the studio recording the album From Here To Eternity and literally two days after completing that, Mikey had passed,” Quirin recalled. “And that is why it had taken so long to get that record out.”

Scaccia had worked very hard on the album and it was his final offering of course. With that sentiment in mind, the band went on tour once again and has continued through the present.


Ministry “Amerikkkant” CD cover

AmeriKKKant is a more political in-your-face expression of Jourgensen’s upset over the current ills in this “Land Of Rape And Honey”. It expresses the bands’ disdain for our current American leader whom they refer to as “Hurricane Cheeto”.

But the album is not just about that. It’s also stock-full of protest against racism and the recent unveiling of the uber-sexist and predatory Hollywood that the media has made the whole world well aware of.

Quirin expressed that since he has been involved with the band it has always been political to some degree. However, he doesn’t think that the latest album will change what people already feel about Ministry.

“There are those that listen to Ministry that pay strict attention to the lyrics and the music,” Quirin noted. “And then there are those that just listen to Ministry for the sound, for the music only.”

MINISTRY-Al Jourgensen; photo Phil Parmet

MINISTRY-Al Jourgensen; photo Phil Parmet

Fans of Ministry know that quite a few of their albums are of a protesting spirit in nature. AmeriKKKant is no different and seems to have even more of that protest-in-the-streets kind of feeling. Sometimes music can be a powerful tool for “waking people up”.

“I don’t know if it’s the most powerful thing,” Quirin mused. “But it is definitely a very powerful tool across the board with everything. I believe that music has healing powers. I am sure you have heard of that thing where someone says that a particular song or piece of music helped them get through a tough time. Music can create an instant positive change in someone. It is a universal language.”

Experience Ministry and AmeriKKKant live at the House of Blues Anaheim on Mar. 22 and The Majestic Theater Mar. 23. Chelsea Wolfe will be the opening act during this tour.

Accept It – Dirkschneider Turns The Page


DIRKSCHNEIDER plays Whisky A Go Go Mar. 22 and Brick By Brick Mar. 23; photo Tim Tronckoe

Dirkschneider’s “Back to the Roots II”, the final tour for playing all Accept songs, stops in SoCal for two nights beginning with the Whisky A Go Go Mar. 22 then on to Brick By Brick Mar. 23. The group will play an almost completely new setlist of only Accept hits, but this time with many different songs compared to previous tours.

“It’s still so much fun to sing these songs live, they are a part of my biography, but nevertheless it’s about time to turn that page,” Udo remarked. “There was so much talking and speculations about me and Accept, so this is kind of a musical statement from my end – which seems to be very interesting for the fans who came to these shows.”



In addition to their still ongoing successful tour, Dirkschneider has released LIVE – Back To The Roots – Accepted! featuring many classics from Udo Dirkschneider’s Accept era, as well as a cover version of Frank Sinatra’s “My Way” as bonus track.

“The song “My Way” was not planned but it was normally the outro after a show, so we wanted to put it on the album,” Dirkschneider explained. “But the publishing said, ‘no’ so I said, ‘what can I do’? And then I tried to sing “My Way”. It worked!”

Playing around 200 shows a year, Dirkschneider does not appear to be slowing down noting that if you play “a lot of shows in a short amount of time, you have to be in control of yourself.” He claims not to have a problem with that.



“Of course, we have a good time, have a little party, but it’s not like when you were 25 or whatever,” Dirkschneider chuckled. “I mean we’re playing nearly two hours every night and then four or five nights in a row, you have to be careful.”

This tour continues through mid-October, finishing up in Mallorca. But, that doesn’t mean Dirkschneider will have nothing to do.

“Yea, we go until middle of October under Dirkschneider then we start rehearsing for the U.D.O. Tour.”

There is also a new U.D.O. album coming out at the end of the year in Europe which Dirkschneider said “is still a bit of a secret.”

Joining Dirkschneider on the current U.S. and Canada tour will be Australian metal band Elm Street for all dates.

“I want to watch the show and see what kind of music they are doing.”

Playing roughly 20 Accept songs a night, this final tour promises to be memorable.

“They definitely will see a really good show, a really good setlist,” Dirkschneider promised. “I’m looking forward to everything.”

MGT Keep Goth-Rock Alive

MGT play Slidebar Mar. 10 and Whisky A Go Go Mar. 21; press photo

MGT play Slidebar Mar. 10 and Whisky A Go Go Mar. 21; press photo

Goth-rock duo MGT, a collaboration between former The Mission/Peter Murphy guitarist Mark Gemini Thwaite and vocalist Ashton Nyte of The Awakening, head out on a string of live dates in support of their sophomore album Gemini Nyte available on Cleopatra Records.

The band’s touring lineup will feature Thwaite and Nyte, along with bassist Richard Vernon (The Mission) and drummer Nick Mason (Living Dead).

Thwaite has a long-storied career as an in-demand guitarist. He has written, recorded and toured with The Mission, Peter Murphy and Tricky and has lent his guitar skills to a wide range of artists, including Gary Numan, Al Jourgensen of Ministry and Ricky Warwick of Thin Lizzy/Black Star Riders. While Nyte has released 7 stylistically diverse solo albums, as well as 8 albums as gothic rock outfit The Awakening, and recently completed a European tour with The Mission.

MGT "Gemini Nyte" CD cover; press photo

MGT “Gemini Nyte” CD cover; press photo

Gemini Nyte, features 13 new songs written and recorded by Thwaite and Nyte, plus drummer Paul Ferguson (Killing Joke) with a guest appearance by Burton C Bell (Fear Factory). Additionally, Lol Tolhurst & Pearl Thompson (The Cure) contribute remixes for a standalone single, dubbed “The Assembly Line (Cured Mix).” The new single is accompanied by a b-side track, also reworked by the goth legend Tolhurst, “All The Broken Things (Lol Tolhurst Remix).” The original versions of the tracks are featured on Gemini Nyte.

“We enjoyed adding our light and shade to MGT’s new album with our contributions to the “Assembly Line” – Lol Tolhurst and Pearl Thompson

“So pleased to have collaborated with these legends… a huge influence on our music… the moment we heard Lol’s and Pearl’s instrumentation on the song I was amazed how Curesque it sounded! You’ve got 50% of the original and classic Cure lineup right there… sounds brilliant” – Mark Gemini Thwaite

“As a long time fan of The Cure it is a true blessing to have Lol and Pearl add their magic to my favourite song on this album. Most grateful indeed!” – Ashton Nyte

Catch MGT at Slidebar Mar. 10 and the Whisky A Go Go Mar. 21 with Jyrki 69 (69 Eyes).

Rock-Infused Bluegrass Yonder Style


YONDER MOUNTAIN STRING BAND play Saint Rocke Mar. 28, The Coach HOuse Mar. 29 and Belly Up Mar. 30; press photo

The well-tuned strings of the Yonder Mountain String Band are coming back to SoCal as part of their current tour across America. Yonder shall be playing Saint Rocke Mar. 28, The Coach House Mar. 29 and Belly Up Mar. 30.

The group’s return to SoCal marks the first time the group has performed at both San Juan Capistrano and Hermosa Beach and at their respective venues. Adam Aijala, the group’s lead guitarist, promises concertgoers each of those shows won’t be the same.

“We don’t play the same set ever,” Aijala proclaimed. “We make a different setlist every night, so you get three separate shows if you were to come to all three of them.”



But though their setlists for each venue may differ, Aijala says that each one is guaranteed to be lengthy musical sessions concertgoers of all types can enjoy.

“You can expect roughly two plus hours of music with high energy and stretched out jam sections and some bluegrass and pretty original music,” Aijala promised.

Yonder has played consistently for almost 20 years since being founded in December 1998. The group traces its beginnings to the small town of Nederland in Colorado, where the four-member group quickly earned fans that were in awe of the group’s unique style of bluegrass.

“We found a nice little niche there for about a year as one of the only bands out there plugging in and playing bluegrass without a drummer which is how we carved a little spot in the music world,” says Aijala.

Their quick and early success even spurred the group into opening up their own independent music label just one year later in 1999 that helped provide the means to release their first album Elevation and has since produced most of their other albums.

Aijala says this move was largely due to both a sense of rugged musical individualism and a means to produce and hold onto their hard work.



“We just figured we’d do everything in-house because we realized that we weren’t a pop band, our music wasn’t mainstream, and we weren’t really interested giving the rights to our recordings to somebody else. So we said ‘let’s do it ourselves!’”

Aijala admits it was “a smart move” for the group. The music industry at that point had begun to see the rise of digital online streaming services that blossomed fully at the start of the 21st century. These further aided the group become more ingrained into the music industry.

Yonder’s music is what has helped the group ascend to prominence in the music world. The bluegrass music they produce isn’t at all run of the mill but something that’s the very definition of unique.

“There’s a lot of different ways to explain it,” Aijala proclaims. “But the way that I’ve been saying it lately is we have bluegrass instruments but the music we make is more rock-influenced. You could say it’s like progressive bluegrass or rock-infused bluegrass.”

It’s a combination that when accompanied with the joyful folksy vocals provided by all its band members, is still just as fresh as when the group started playing it back in 1998. The fact people enjoy it live and via recordings is the group’s overall goal.

“You want people to have a good time: that’s the ultimate goal for me,” Aijala states proudly.

And you needn’t worry about any underlying agendas or messages. Yonder aims to simply be nothing more than an enjoyable experience any music lover can appreciate.

“We’re not a preachy band,” Aijala states, “We’re more like ‘hey, you came to see us. You can put everything aside for a couple of hours and just enjoy the night and not think about anything else and hopefully we’ll put a smile on your face’.”

Beyond their current tour, Aijala reveals that, given the forthcoming child of their fiddle player Allie Kral, Yonder will help accommodate her by potentially making fewer appearances. But there is a silver lining to look forward to: a brand new album that’ll be coming out in the near future.

Though in the planning stages, Aijala says it is definitely taking shape and in the pipeline.

“We’re going to start working on a new record, but we might put that on hold,” Aijala mused. “We have some recording ideas though, we’re just writing songs.”

But whatever the future holds, Aijala intends to live for the present in continue their current tour and playing music with his bandmates.

“I just feel really fortunate that all these years later we’re still making music and still having fun doing it,” Aijala said. “Especially in a musical climate where there’s so many touring bands that we actually still have a niche to be able to do what we do and still make a living.”

The Frenetic Vibes Of Tomorrow’s Bad Seeds

Tomorrows Bad Seeds; photo Andy Garcia

Tomorrows Bad Seeds; photo Andy Garcia

“TBS! TBS! TBS!” When you hear this, you know Tomorrow’s Bad Seeds is about to take the stage and it’s going to be a wild ride. With diverse sets combining elements of reggae, rock, punk, pop, and more, it is no wonder the high energy performances of TBS attracts so much attention.

“Tomorrow’s Bad Seeds actually started as, you know, a graph crew in Torrance, CA,” according to guitarist Matt McEwan. “Writing graph and skating and hanging out with the homies, and that’s how we met, is through mutual friends.

Tomorrows Bad Seeds; photo Andy Garcia

Tomorrows Bad Seeds; photo Andy Garcia

Singer Moises (or Mo) Juarez elaborates further, “I used to b-boy a lot and breakdance while he (McEwan) was more of a graffiti artist, like skater and surfer, and we grew up in the same neighborhood. Tomorrow’s Bad Seeds was a graffiti crew that was known around the neighborhood; and as we started getting into thinking about band names, we thought about all these names.”

“We thought about the Red Hot Chili Peppers, but that was already taken,” jests Juarez. “So, we couldn’t do that you know? And then we thought Metallica, but that was gone. So, then it was like what do we do next? We thought Tomorrow’s Bad Seeds was the next best thing,”

“We started in 2000-2001. But the band didn’t start trying to play shows until 2003. But we were just jamming in the garage, just doing shows in our local neighborhood,” details Juarez about their garage roots. “Our first show, you could say, was at a venue called the Lighthouse in Hermosa Beach for $50 and opening for Too Rude.”

McEwan adds to this that, “Me and this guy (Mo) would be doing acoustic gigs all around town before really performing and writing songs. Playing at the Sacred Grounds, the old acoustic lounge spot in San Pedro.”

Tomorrows Bad Seeds; photo Andy Garcia

Tomorrows Bad Seeds; photo Andy Garcia

Continuing to think about their journey as a band thus far, the topic of influences came up.

“All kinds. Guaranteed Sublime, Bad Brains, Long Beach Dub, Steel Pulse, Bob Marley, Stevie Wonder… love Stevie Wonder. Michael Jackson. Bruno Mars recent stuff, Nirvana, grew up on Pennywise too,” both members chimed back and forth.

“Being able to play music, with this guy (Mo), my best friend is a privilege and a blessing,” explains McEwan.

Further illustrating the sentiment, Juarez goes on, “We’re lucky, man. We’ve been doing this a long time, there’s definitely rollercoasters up and down. But, you know, you take it back to why you do it for the love. We have a new song coming out, called “Yesterdays,” it’ll be out when our album drops in April/May, around that time. There’s a line in it that reminds me of how it all started; cuz it all started with our love of the music, wanting to be like Sublime. That’s why I wanted to be in a band, straight up. I wanted to be like Sublime. And I don’t know if it came across in our music, but everyday you look back and get to feel blessed to do what we do.

“The energy we get from the crowd. And that no matter what, our records sound good and have great production. But the energy you get from any band who is doing their thing can’t compare to the energy that is being produced out of your radio.

“I like playing a song called “Vices.” We have a new song called “Frequency”, as well. And I like playing that song now, too. I like playing a lot of our songs, and like playing cover songs too. We do “Master Blaster”, a Stevie Wonder cover.”

TBS has been around for over a decade, and as a result have gotten to work with many legends of the scene, including Ras MG (who helped produce an upcoming track of theirs called “War Letter”).

“We know people through Ras for years,” Juarez clarifies. “Our good friend Chuckie introduced us to all of them. We’ve been in the scene for a minute so Long Beach/Hermosa is very close. I got tattooed by Opie. So, we just hit up Ras like ‘yo man you interested?’ And he said I love you guys and would love to work with you. He’s just a genius and he’s down to work. I like good working people with good ethics, you know?”

Hard working, energetic, and diverse, Tomorrow’s Bad Seeds is fired up and ready for the what the future holds. About to head out on the Illuminate Spring Tour, catch them when they next hit SoCal in early June.

The Whirlwind Excitement of Gogol Bordello Is Hitting SoCal


GOGOL BORDELLO play Observatory/Santa Ana Mar. 2, Observatory/North Park Mar. 3 and The Fonda Theatre Mar. 5; photo Daniel Efram

“Since I was a little baby, I thought I would like to have some kind of Gogol Bordel-lesk type of name; so when I grew up and became a big tall man, I said what could be better than a Gogol Bordel-lesk type of name than Gogol Bordello,” according to Eugene Hutz of Gogol Bordello.

“We were all winners of an American Idol competition. Except it was from different countries. Like Pedro is the winner of the Latino American Idol competition, Sergei is the winner of the Gypsy Russian American Idol competition. Then a producer put us together and told us all the lines… and here we come. Isn’t it obvious?”


GOGOL BORDELLO; photo Lauren Ratkowski

Armed with a healthy dose of sarcasm, a nine-piece band, and their gypsy punk sound, Gogol Bordello is heading out on tour in support of their recent album Seekers and Finders. And it is impossible to tell what any given show may be like.

“There are no shows that are alike,” explains Hutz. “The people in the band are spontaneous and playful. The gist of it is the band itself, the organism of the band is an improvising type of entity. We have played shows during earthquakes in Japan, and all over the world in all kinds of settings. From jazz festivals to metal festivals.


GOGOL BORDELLO; photo Daniel Efram

“The thing that makes a special show is seeing people’s eyes sparkling. That’s the show – the show is the eye of the audience. And I think the ratio of that in our case is pretty high. You know, there is a cliched saying that the eyes are the windows of the soul; but I think it’s pretty accurate I think. That never gets old.”

Known for their high energy shows for nearly twenty years, Hutz shed some light on how they have gone about this feat.

“There is a figure of speech: How do you capture energy?” mused Hutz “The important thing to understand is we do not capture the energy. We exude the energy. The engineers come and capture the energy. The band can exude energy at any given point in time.

“I like garlic. So like that goes for like everything else in my life. It has to have like that garlic frequency. And it has to remain quite spicy…. Which is why for this record I want to make sure all the spice is there.

GOGOL BORDELLO; photo Lauren Ratkowski

GOGOL BORDELLO; photo Lauren Ratkowski

“My favorite songs to play are when I get drunk and do entire Jesus Christ Superstar by myself. And karaoke by myself. That’s my favorite songs. I do hip-hop style, mumble hip-hop, medieval-pyscho-mumble-billy.”

As for the pre-show rituals the band engages in, Hutz said they decided to use something he learned in his past.

“When I was in the theater I learned a useful tool. Before the show you get to spend time together for sure.‘Cause it’s eight people with diverse moods and backgrounds. So about an hour before the show we start hanging out and not giving each other personal space. And then we do this kind of cathartic group, I guess you call it pyscho-gypsy gymnastics type of a thing. And then off we go. But really, it’s not even necessary. Give me a microphone and I’m ready.”

Gogol Bordello has never been a static band, constantly mutating since their inception.

“It’s always been transforming,” illustrates Huntz. “It started out as a duo, me and an accordion player. It literally snowballed for three or four years to being an eight piece. In fact, I didn’t want it to be a rock band. I wanted it to be a chamber, Tom Waits kind of a thing. And then it got out of control and became this insane orchestra of transplanted souls. And it’s always been shapeshifting ever since.”

Experience the aural feast that is Gogol Bordello when they come to the Observatory / Santa Ana Mar. 2, the Observatory / North Park Mar. 3 or The Fonda Theatre Mar. 5.

The Coathangers Burger A-Go-Go Party 2018


THE COATHANGERS play Belly Up Feb. 27, 1720 Mar. 2 and Alex’s Bar Mar. 3; photo Chad Kamenshine

Garage-punk trio The Coathangers, headline Burger A-Go-Go making stops at Belly Up Feb. 27, 1720 Mar. 2 and Alex’s Bar Mar. 3. The lineup also includes Death Valley Girls, The Flytraps and Feels.

Whether screaming or singing, The Coathangers continuously come up with catchy songs and lyrics, beginning with their 2007 self-titled debut through their fifth studio album, 2016’s Nosebleed Weekend, not to mention 2017’s EP Parasite. While their live performance pulls out all the stops, at times becoming rowdy and crazy.

Concert Guide Live asked drummer Stephanie Luke about Burger A-Go-Go tours, cracking the Billboard charts, songwriting, among other things.



CONCERT GUIDE LIVE: The Coathangers have been a part of Burger A-Go-Go several times, what is it about this tour that keeps the band coming back? How does it differ from other tours?
THE COATHANGERS: We love Burger Records, and everyone involved in the label and these tours so it’s nice to be a part of the party! It’s different from most tours we do because there’s a gang of bands all on tour together rather than just being on tour with one band. These tours are always a good time!

CGL: What can one expect from this year’s Burger A-Go-Go if they’ve never been before?
TC: Just expect to see a few bands you might not have seen or heard about before along with the bands you’re comin’ to see… Always a really friendly fun audience too, like one big happy.

CGL: Tell us something about one of your most memorable concerts.
TC: We’ve been so lucky to have had so many memorable tours and shows it’s hard to pick just one! Will say that we just got to play a festival in Mexico City and it was amazing! It was outdoors on this beautiful field the weather was perfect and our good buds Death Valley Girls played with us on that one too!

CGL: Considering The Coathangers have been a band for over 10 years, how did it strike you when Nosebleed Weekend landed on the Top New Artist Albums and the Alternative New Artist Album charts?
TC: We were STOKED! We are still “new” to a lot of people out there and even though we’ve been around a while we still were excited to get on those charts.

CGL: Your live performances are very dynamic, energetic and at times a bit manic from an audience perspective, what’s it like from your perspective?
TC: The same! We are up there tryin’ to entertain and connect with the audience but also doin’ the same with each other on stage. The more energy and craziness usually the more fun for us and you.

CGL: What do you like to do prior to going on stage – any routines or rituals?
TC: We do a few stretches, maybe a shot ‘er two, and always a group hug.

CGL: When you first started out, did anyone have a musical background, or did you just gravitate to it?
TC: Julia (Kugel/guitar) had played classical piano and guitar and done choir and I used to play violin and saxophone so we kinda had but more-so we had been around friends in bands throughout high school and college, so I think we were always around it kinda learning how things go via both experiences.

CGL: It’s going on two years since Nosebleed Weekend, are you working on a new body of work?
TC: Oh, hell yes, lots of good stuff to come!!!

CGL: How do you come up with your songs – it seems some bands have a primary songwriter while others get in a room and jam until a seed begins to form – what works for you?
TC: We do both, sometimes one of us brings parts of a song or lyrics, then we work forward on that, other times we just jam around till something pops up.

Guitarist Tinsley Ellis Journeys To The Coach House

Tinsley Ellis

TINSLEY ELLIS plays The Coach House Feb. 28 and Canyon Club Mar.1; photo Flournoy Holmes

Blues rock legend Tinsley Ellis makes his return to SoCal playing at The Coach House in San Juan Capistrano Feb. 28 and the Canyon Club in Agoura Hills Mar. 1.

Ellis and his bandmates look forward to the return, especially to The Coach House.

“We have played there several times, we like it very much,” says Ellis. “Concert goers will expect to hear us do songs off the brand new Winning Hand CD as well as some of the older CDs that I’ve put out over the last 35 years.”

Since entering the music industry back in 1975, Ellis has remained a steadfast and active performer in the blues rock circuit whose innovative musical stylings have made him a favorite among concertgoers and music lovers in general.

TINSLEY ELLIS; photo Regan Kelly

TINSLEY ELLIS; photo Regan Kelly

Ellis owes his continuing musical journey to the blues and rock bands he listened to growing up in Southern California. Ellis also cites bands like The Yardbirds, The Animals, Cream, The Rolling Stones, The Allman Brothers as his favorites growing up and are some of his main inspirations.

But Ellis says one particular performance stands out to him along with going to see B.B. King live. It’s a performance that pushed him to finally get an instrument and become an active musician.

“I saw The Beatles on the Ed Sullivan Show in 1964,” Ellis relates. “I begged my parents for a guitar. I started playing in bands in high school and college. When I graduated from college I just kept going with it and I’ve doing it about 50 years now.”

Ellis has honed his musical style that has earned him a sterling reputation along with the title of “a bona fide worldwide guitar hero” from The Chicago Sun-Times. He also has numerous live appearances on record along with 17 albums to date with the latest being Winning Hand which saw release in January.

Ask him what kind of music he plays that’s helped him achieve such accomplishments and you’ll get a four word summation.

“Guitar driven blues rock,” Ellis says. “There’s a lot of guitar playing going on and there’s a lot of blues music mixed with rock music.”

It’s an amalgamation that results in superbly composed notes of both Southern-style rock and blues. These compositions are often accompanied by moody, rugged vocals from Ellis that is an iconic trademark of blues musicians like him
Ellis continues to actively make new music whenever possible. He has little trouble doing so as he remains consistently inspired.

“The songs kind of come to me at any particular time,” Ellis relates. “I may be driving down the road or sitting in my hotel room or I may actually be in the studio when I’m writing it.”

Ellis says he’s especially thankful to today’s technology which makes it even easier for him to create his music.

“Thanks to the cell phone with its recording feature I can just hit record and sing my ideas into my phones. The ideas are never lost so I can write songs wherever I am.”

The biggest reward for Ellis is being able to play his music. Not only do music goers get to enjoy it but so does Ellis. For him, the music he plays is a safe and wonderful means of escaping reality for a while.

“The music carries me away and I hope that it carries the listener away and delivers the listener back safely to the real world.”

Though Ellis has played many performances with just himself and his band mates he has shared the stage with other notable musicians. Ellis says he always looks forward to these performances.

“My favorite performances are the ones where we open for someone I really like a lot musically and then they call me on the stage to jam with them at the end.”

The list Ellis gives is impressive to say the least.

“Albert Collins, Coco Taylor, Otis Rush, Buddy Guy. I’ve opened for all of them and performed with them during their set. There’s been rock bands as well like The Allman Brothers Band, Government Mule, Tedeschi Trucks Band and Widespread Panic.”

In the meantime, Ellis says he intends on focusing on doing solo performances and his current tour. Once it’s over, he intends to go right back to work.

“At the end of the long tour, I’ll get back in the studio and begin writing songs for another album,” Ellis reveals.

Ellis encourages people to come see him live during his current tour and to enjoy his music live.

“People can see where we’re playing at tinsleyellis.com. I look forward to heading your way soon.”

Be Here Now With STFKR In SoCal


STRFKR play Observatory North Park Feb.2, Teragram Ballroom Feb. 3 and 4; photo James Christopher

Always entertaining, fun, and lyrically thoughtful, STRFKR return to SoCal playing two nights at Teragram Ballroom Feb. 3 and Feb. 4, following a night in San Diego at the Observatory North Park Feb. 2.

Their set will encompass a balanced mix of all 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.


STRFKR; photo James Christopher

“I like the idea that whatever you are right now is enough,” Josh Hodges (vocals/guitar/keys) 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.”

STRFKR; photo James Christopher

STRFKR; photo James Christopher

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; photo James Christopher

STRFKR; photo James Christopher

“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 final volume of the three volume set of rarities and demos that Hodges rescued from a dying computer, Vault, Vol.3. The raw, unpolished material was never intended for an audience but is a remarkable overview to his inspiration from the inside out.

So, check it out and get your dancing shoes on and head over to one of the three SoCal shows. You won’t be disappointed!