The Raw Fire Of Ruby Boots Hits SoCal

RUBY BOOTS plays The Wayfarer Apr. 26; photo Stefani Vinsel

RUBY BOOTS plays The Wayfarer Apr. 26; photo Stefani Vinsel

“I started playing guitar when I was working out at sea on a pearl farm,” explains Bex Chilcott, better known as Ruby Boots. A singer songwriter whose world travels and passion towards music have helped her carve out a unique voice in today’s musical landscape. Born in Australia and a nomad of the world since fourteen, her journey from then to her current success has been a long and winding one.

“So, when I first picked up the guitar, it was a means for staying sane and just passing the time cuz I’d be living out at sea for two or three weeks at a time,” she elaborates. “But when I wanted to start doing it professionally after traveling around Europe and the UK for a couple of years…. I had been traveling around playing open mics cuz that was the sort of scene I had fallen into, with some friends who had been doing that, to start playing on a stage.

RUBY BOOTS; photo Aly Fae

RUBY BOOTS; photo Aly Fae

“When I got home to Australia, I started feeling maybe I could do this at home. From there, I was just getting local shows. And essentially the snowball kept getting bigger: Right now, I can do this, now I can record an EP….and from the very beginning to where I am now, it’s all been really incremental which has been nice. The journey has just been really steady.”

Having begun traveling at an early age, she has spent time living and playing all over the world. And how that has affected her music is a complex subject.

“I don’t know if traveling the world has affected my music,” Chilcott ruminates. “It has affected my perspective on life, and maybe that’s why it has affected my music, in terms of how I see things and then write lyrics. Traveling the world from Australia to American to India…. There are all kinds of cultures and just disparities in how people are living. And I feel having that kind of culture shock and that kind of empathy is just really good for any kind of songwriting, and to apply it to any kind of songwriting; that you’re not writing from a single view. Traveling the world hasn’t really affected the sound. But digging into different parts of the world definitely has an effect on things over time sonically.”

RUBY BOOTS; photo Aly Fae

RUBY BOOTS; photo Aly Fae

Currently on tour behind her album Don’t Talk About It, she details the ups and downs of tour life: “It’s very tumultuous. You’re playing Phoenix on a Tuesday night and like “Oh my God, why isn’t anybody at my show?” And then you come to Denver and play to a full house, and everyone’s on fire and it’s a Thursday night. You got the rock-n-roll horns up and you’re on your knees and the microphone is collapsed and you’re screaming into the microphone because it’s the last song. And you’re like, ‘This is what I live for! I can take on the world in this moment’, you know?”

Like most musicians, the live show is a favorite aspect to playing music for the artist. “My favorite aspect of the show is when all the stars align with it,” describes Chilcott. “When audiences are present, and they don’t have to be loud and vocal, just present; you can feel…it’s not tangible, you can feel this energy in the room. When you have this immediate rapport with people who are ready to be with you…it’s so much more attainable to get that feeling of ‘here, have every little piece of me tonight. I’m going to leave every piece of me that I put into the songs’. Because you want to feel something different, aside from standing there and watching a band play. You get to reach that next level, and that’s my favorite part of live shows.”

Catch the fascinating songwriting and surreal sounds of Ruby Boots when she plays The Wayfarer in Costa Mesa on April 26!!

An Interview With A Helsinki Vampire

THE 69 EYES play Regent Theater May 1 and Brick By Brick May 2; photo Ville Juurikkala

THE 69 EYES play Regent Theater May 1 and Brick By Brick May 2; photo Ville Juurikkala

“I hope that all of our fans through the years – passersby, friends, vampires, zombies, werewolves, anybody out there – will come to see us,” Jyrki 69 encouraged. “It’s been such a long time, a decade, that we come to play for you guys – I hope that you have a chance to enjoy the true rock-n-roll of the Helsinki Vampires 2019.”

Although a decade has passed since The 69 Eyes have set foot on these shores, the band released the albums X and Universal Monsters and continued to tour the rest of the world. But with new management through Oracle and a new album coming out both coinciding with their 30-year anniversary, the timing seems right.

THE 69 EYES; photo Ville Juurikkala

THE 69 EYES; photo Ville Juurikkala

“The music business changed so radically, and we didn’t see any importance for coming to the States until now,” Jyrki 69 explained. “Obviously as I’ve been playing in the States by myself with my solo project or any other possible way over the years, I love to play in the States. But to bring the whole band from Finland has been a little bit difficult.

“Now times are changing again. It’s perfect. I’m excited.”

CONCERT GUIDE LIVE: I understand there’s a new album in the works, have you announced the title, yet?
JYRKI 69: Unfortunately, it’s not announced, and the new single will come out immediately after our American tour is over which is the end of May. So, I apologize but I will still keep the secret of the name and the name of the single because you know there’s so much information in the world, if you give something out people will forget you tomorrow.

So, you have to sort of play the same game that everybody else is playing even though we are of course totally playing this game on our own terms when it comes to delivering information.

THE 69 EYES; photo Ville Juurikkala

THE 69 EYES; photo Ville Juurikkala

CGL: Will you be playing any of the new stuff, yet, or will this tour concentrate more on your history?
J69: We have a couple of records that we haven’t played any songs live in North America so we will play that stuff. On the other hand, as an artist I think there hopefully will be a bunch of people who never saw us live who are maybe even inspired by our band. I think at some point we became a musician’s band. You know, if you play rock-n-roll you probably know something about The 69 Eyes. I hope there are new people who haven’t seen us that heard about us and who like us or are just curious about what they have missed.

So, for those people and old fans I think we stick with ‘best of’ stuff but you also have to remember that there are songs that have never been played in North America before. I’m actually excited to play any old song for you guys.

CGL: Ok, now we need to get serious. We need to talk hair and makeup.
J69: Actually, that’s a very serious topic these days. Because if you are a self-respecting Gothic or Glam or rock-n-roll band in general you have to think of those questions, as well.

CGL: So, how has it changed for you over the years?
J69: I used to probably wear more makeup at some point a decade ago. I like the fact that you can see from my face that I’ve been around, that I’ve seen a few miles. So, I like that fact. Of course, as a young glam rock guy, when you jump on the stage, you should look like something that doesn’t exist anywhere else but on the stage.

In the kind of rock-n-roll that we are playing, we’re so old school the guys on stage should look like they’re from a totally different planet.

Jyrki 69; photo James Christopher

Jyrki 69; photo James Christopher

CGL: So how big is your makeup bag? Is it a group bag or does everyone have their own?
J69: Everybody has of course their own private things. I doubt anyone has a group bag? It’s like intimate stuff…how can you…you can’t use somebody else’s eyeliner…I mean that transfers germs, you know? But I guess that’s been done at some point, but I mean you should have your own makeup.

You know, that would be pretty cool if you were putting an ad looking for new musicians, like a glammy band, you should put like ‘bring your own makeup’. That would be pretty cool.

CGL: Vocally, how do you keep in shape, how do you maintain your voice?
J69: I don’t really do anything. I always like to say I trained my voice to be low, it might be true, my speaking voice isn’t as low as my singing voice. I think you can hear the miles, the years, in my voice. I think it’s getting better, actually, through the years.

CGL: So, you’re just going with it – however it changes you’re just working with it.
J69: Yea, I try to represent myself actually, like the makeup question, like I am.

CGL: You speak English extremely well; did you always sing in English?
J69: Yes, actually I’ve tried a couple of times recently to do something in Finnish, that’s my native language as I come from Finland, but that’s actually even harder.

It’s natural for me because when I started to listen to rock-n-roll when I was eight years old, my favorite artist was Elvis, and he was still alive. Rock-n-roll language has always been English for me so, that’s where I learned English and from American tv series. It’s the language of rock-n-roll.

CGL: Is there anything you’d like to add?
J69: I’m very happy where the band is now. Even though it’s like we’re ancient. We’re a 30-year-old rock-n-roll band but I think we have something that the world still needs and the only band that can deliver that stuff in 2019 is The 69 Eyes.

Michael Schenker Fest Returns To Rock In SoCal

MICHAEL SCHENKER plays Whisky A Go Go Apr. 15-17; photo James Christopher

MICHAEL SCHENKER plays Whisky A Go Go Apr. 15-17; photo James Christopher

Legendary rock guitarist Michael Schenker returns to Southern California as part of the second leg of his successful North America Resurrection tour. Concertgoers can enjoy classic and new songs the musician has played through his lengthy, still ongoing musical career at the Whisky A Go-Go in Los Angeles from Apr. 15 to Apr. 17 and the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco on Apr. 19.

Schenker promises that all of these appearances will be lengthy, enjoyable and feature a massive variety of music that ranges from his early work with the Scorpions and U.F.O. to newer ventures.

Michael Schenker Fest; press photo

Michael Schenker Fest; press photo

“It’s a long show but it feels like no time at all,” Schenker said. “By the time I play with the first singer and I’m getting into it, I’m introducing the second one. It can go for two hours and forty-five minutes, but it goes by so fast because of the variety of vocalists on stage.”

Schenker says all the vocalists featured in the show are all former musicians he has worked with throughout the years.

Michael Schenker Fest; photo James Christopher

Michael Schenker Fest; photo James Christopher

“It’s three Michael Schenker Group singers: Gary Barden, Graham Bonnet, and Robin McAuley. Then there’s Doogie White, who used to be with Rainbow, who did a couple of albums with me and who is the current singer of Michael Schenker’s Temple of Rock.”

In addition to being grateful to play alongside such talent, Schenker is also grateful for how well-received the first part of his Resurrection tour has gone as it has allowed him to play at locales and venues, he was unable to do so initially. Schenker says he is specifically looking forward to playing in Southern California.

Michael Schenker Fest; press photo

Michael Schenker Fest; press photo

“Cities like Los Angeles we thought of doing something special like at the Whisky A Go-Go because that’s where I started when I was 17 to 18 years old. The same goes for San Francisco which is one of my favorite places in America.”

Schenker cites San Francisco specifically as he recalls one concert he played at when he was 18 or so. Though he admits he is unable to recall everything about it, one thing he will never forget is the memorable response he and his bandmates got from concertgoers in response to their music.

“We had like 60,000 people,” Schenker recalls. “Almost each person had a light on. It was scary. I’d never experienced anything like that.”

Michael Schenker Fest; photo James Christopher

Michael Schenker Fest; photo James Christopher

Although he is now 64, Schenker still remains musically sharp and keen. The German-born musician, has remained constantly active in music having played at hundreds of concerts, produced over 40 albums since going solo and influenced a myriad of musicians.

Schenker owes these successes to his own self-interest in remaining consistent with his desire to produce genuine music on his terms since he was at a very young age.

“I stayed true to myself and I didn’t sell out,” Schenker proclaims. “I’ve carried on for half a century basically. I’ve never copied anybody since I was 17 and my first album was done when I was fifteen.”

Michael Schenker Fest; press photo

Michael Schenker Fest; press photo

With his already impressive list of accomplishments throughout his career you would assume Schenker feels regretful about any missed opportunities. On the contrary: he says his musical contributions throughout the years have left him immensely satisfied with zero regrets and no further blockades to accomplish his goals.

“I built my house on the rock,” Schenker states. “I’ve got everything out of my system, I can do anything I want now. There’s nothing that would make me go, ‘oh shit. I wish I had this. I wish I had done that.’ It’s all done.”

What’s more, reaching his middle years not only makes him more passionate about music but his past experiences in both his personal and musical lives until now have given him a much better appreciation of who he is and the music he’s created over the years to better share it with others in the present.

Michael Schenker Fest; photo James Christopher

Michael Schenker Fest; photo James Christopher

“I’m very grateful for the middle years and now I have a better idea of what happened in the past and I’m very happy about that knowledge,” Schenker admitted. “So now I can simply enjoy being so fortunate in having most of my original co-singers onstage singing the original compositions. It’s incredible!”

Schenker says that he will be focusing on live music until the end of the current Resurrection tour. He hopes that the group’s upcoming appearances in SoCal and beyond shall bring different generations of music lovers who enjoy his music together.

“It’s entertaining and it just stays fresh,” Schenker explained. “How can it not be? That variety of singers plus it brings people back to their places when they used to see us in the old days and for newcomers it’ll be like a time machine and see what it may have been like it those days. It’s a lot of fun.”

ALBUM REVIEW: Band Of Skulls “Love Is All You Love”

Band Of Skulls "Love Is All You Love" cover

Band Of Skulls “Love Is All You Love” cover

Band Of Skulls’ (BoS) crackling good LP Love Is All You Love is the sound of a band reinventing itself, the sound of a band who is unafraid to take chances and push their music forward in new directions. BoS, while not forgetting their past, have their sights set firmly on the future. The possibilities seem endless and exciting. In short, after four really very good albums, BoS may have just made the album of their career.

Spurred by the amicable departure of drummer Matt Haywood remaining members Russell Marsden (guitar/vox) and Emma Richardson (bass/vox) approached the songwriting differently. In their own words they wrote them “As a songwriting duo, which is completely different than as songwriting band”.

Whatever the impetus, whether it was writing as a duo, being forced out of their usual work patterns or the addition of producer Richard X (Pet Shop Boys, New Order) the songs are now tighter and more muscular. Song hooks which have always been present (but in the past may have been buried) are now razor sharp, at the forefront and undeniable.

Just seconds into opening track “Carnivorous” you realize this is not entirely the BoS you are familiar with. A throbbing bass line, Arabesque guitar hook and unashamedly electronic sheen…this is your invitation from the Band of Skulls to join them for a new musical enterprise. When the songs’ chorus drops with its ridiculously catchy panning delay on the word “Carnivorous ….ivorous… ivorous” I’m guessing you may well be all in on the new direction BoS is headed.

“Cool Your Battles” the advance track from the album is of all things a protest song cleverly disguised as a hit single. And the times being what they are a little protest never hurt anything. The band calls this an “Anti- war cry for our turbulent times” and the message is loud and clear. But it’s wrapped up in a shimmering bow of a chorus that does what all really good subversive songs do by getting you to chant along while it plants its message between your ears.

“Sound Of You” is a downright sexy torch song for the 21st century. Putting Richardson’s soulful pleading vocal front and center over a pumping bass line and Marsden’s R&B guitar licks on acid. This is an album highlight to be sure.

As is “We’re Alive” a thundering Glam rocking piece of cotton candy that might well have put a smile on Marc Bolan’s face, its chorus virtually commanding you (“Come On… Come On”) to sing along. This is pop music as it should be, as it could be if more artists were willing to test their limits. Music that is catchy enough to sing along to yet complex enough to make you want to listen to it again and again.

And don’t you just love it when a band you admire surprises you? That is exactly what BoS have done with their newest album. Challenge accepted.

Available Apr. 12 via So Recordings.

Dead Girls Academy To Enroll SoCal Music Lovers

DEAD GIRLS ACADEMY; photo Rebecca Kylie

DEAD GIRLS ACADEMY play the Whisky Apr. 6, The Parish Apr. 7 and Brick By Brick Apr. 14; photo Rebecca Kylie

Dead Girls Academy are coming to Southern California as part of their first major musical tour to celebrate the release of their first major record Alchemy. The five-man powerhouse is set to play at the Whisky A Go-Go Apr. 6, The Parish Apr. 7, and finally Brick By Brick Apr. 14, on tour with guitar veterans John 5 and Jared Nichols James.

Michael Orlando, the lead singer for the group, says he looks forward to these appearances in Southern California as the region is where he now lives.

DEAD GIRLS ACADEMY; press photo

DEAD GIRLS ACADEMY; press photo

“It’s always nice to play a home show and have your friends and family there to see what you’re doing. I mean, I do enjoy it and it definitely is better than playing thousands of miles away. Sometimes it’s just good to be home and rock out.”

Orlando adds that being a big fan of John 5, the upcoming appearances in SoCal are a great bonus.

“John 5 is the guitar player for Rob Zombie. He’s one of the best guitar players out there. So, it’s been pretty much an honor to tour with him and to be selected to head out with him. It’s been great.”

First formed in 2016, Dead Girls Academy is the brainchild of Orlando who sought to create a new group after the folding of his previous band.

“After my other band Vampires Everywhere decided to call it quits, I decided to try something new, something a little more melodic and Dead Girls Academy was formed around that idea,” Orlando recalls.

“I was starting something that would represent me now. I wanted to have a new persona and new feeling and direction for the music. I didn’t want to start beating a dead horse.”

Listening to the hard rock music the group performs definitely showcases this new direction. Personally describing what they play as a mixture of Motley Crüe and Nine Inch Nails.

“We start up with an idea whether it starts with a vocal melody or it starts off with a guitar melody, usually we just kind of work off that and create as we go.”

Orlando credits the creation of the group’s songs, especially those on Alchemy, for the strong cooperation that each member employs in their creation.

“We got a lot of people in the band that are very talented, especially writing for the new record, it’s very easy to write,” Orlando says.

DEAD GIRLS ACADEMY album cover

DEAD GIRLS ACADEMY album cover

Although Orlando says not everything is quite as smooth or as easy. For example, as part of their promotion for Alchemy, the group have been hard at work at creating a set of music videos.

Orlando isn’t ashamed to admit he does not enjoy this aspect of music.

“I’m not a fan of making music videos. You’ve got to stay perfect the entire time. It’s hard, man. It’s one of those things that’s very repetitive. You don’t really get the opportunity to exorcise your demons like you would playing live. “

Actually, being able to play music at live shows is a release for Orlando that recording music doesn’t quite offer. Orlando says that being able to play live with his bandmates is what he always looks forward to.

“I love playing live. I love connecting with people. I mean that’s what it’s all about. Everything else is just the creative part where you have to do a lot of hard thinking. I think the live show is where you can let loose and be yourself.”

Should you ask him what his favorite moment playing live is, he cites one specific appearance Dead Girls Academy made back in 2017. To him it not only represented playing at a terrific venue but a sentimental location.

“It was in New York City at Hammerstein Ballroom,” Orlando recalls. “It was sold out at 35,000 people. It was pretty memorable. I was born in New York City, so it was kind of cool having that experience.”

Orlando hopes to add even more experiences as Dead Girls Academy looks out towards the road as that is where fans can expect to see them for some time.

“At this point, we’re just going to keep grinding and touring and trying to get out to as many fans as humanly possible,” says Orlando. “We have about 38 more dates on this tour and then we are rounding out to go play festivals like at Epicenter and Welcome to Rockville, so we’ll be pretty busy on the road until probably summertime.”

BASS LIFT Descends On Los Angeles

Photo: Alex Varsa

Photo: Alex Varsa

BASS LIFT is finally here!! Orchestrated by the people behind CAMP TRIP, this is a highly anticipated event featuring a lineup solely consisting of local artists. Intense light shows, excellent music, and live art all come together to create a night full of festivities.

“BASS LIFT started as a fundraiser for my burning man camp, that I’m still a part of,” explains Devan Marydyks of CAMP TRIP. “It was designed to raise money for an art car. But this idea never came to fruition. The project fell through, and since the BASS LIFT brand was specific to LA, and the camp had done separate fundraisers with separate names…I decided to use the name and essentially adapt it to CAMP TRIP’s needs.

Photo: Alex Varsa

Photo: Alex Varsa

“We were looking to do a warehouse party fundraiser for CAMP TRIP. We took the name and we didn’t…. well, it is a good word for it, we recycled it. More tangibly now, it is a fundraiser for the CAMP TRIP event. Its essence is a warehouse party, so it very much caters to the underground scene. There’s a lot of after-hours parties in LA, so it is very LA in a way.”

For those who don’t know, this begs the question: What is CAMP TRIP anyways?

Photo: Alex Varsa

Photo: Alex Varsa

“CAMP TRIP started as a literal camp trip, a camping trip,” states Marydyks. “A lot of people think the name is a double entendre…but it’s not. It’s literally named because it was a camp trip among friends. It IS a funny entendre, but it definitely wasn’t intentional.

“So, we went out as a bunch of friends essentially, just had a couple of studio monitors with a handful of people. We just had a good time in the desert, everyone was contributing a little bit in their own way, and it was really memorable. I remember as we were leaving, we all were talking about how we needed to do this again. And it has all just snowballed from there.”

Photo: Alex Varsa

Photo: Alex Varsa

Now, it is a full-fledged 3-day event in the desert with fascinating productions and a reputation for curating lineups of highly eclectic artists.

One of the purest distillations of the spontaneity and excitement which surrounds CAMP TRIP is best illustrated in the story of an ice cream truck: “The second time we went out, they ended up bringing this wooden cutout of an ice cream truck that got used as a DJ booth,” reveals Marydyks. “And it ended up being the inspiration for a real ice cream truck I ended up buying. I remember saying I would buy one and no one believed me. But I found this old 1982 used Chevy on Craigslist, which I got for very little money.

Photo: SERVEEZY

Photo: SERVEEZY

“I showed it to everyone, and they just lost their minds. Just couldn’t believe I did it. We used it for a couple different shows. And I’m in the process of turning it into a real food truck now, which is why it hasn’t been at the CAMP TRIP events. It’ll be its own art car when its ready…called Mother’s Milk Truck. It will be a licensed soft serve truck you can DJ out of….so it’s gonna be ‘Frozen Treats and Nutritious Beats’. It’s set to premier at this upcoming BASS LIFT!”

Photo: Alex Varsa

Photo: Alex Varsa

There is no doubt that events such as this take a lot of planning and work, but in the end, it is completely worthwhile for Mardyks: “I think my favorite aspect to putting them on is the collaboration. What you get to witness when everyone comes together, has an idea, and actually pulls it off. When we all pull through and come together, when you get to watch all these different moving parts act as one…it’s a great feeling. I think that is one of the most rewarding parts about throwing shows in general.”

Photo: SERVEEZY

Photo: SERVEEZY

It promises to be a massive night, with an incredible lineup of LA’s finest bass music talent: heavy DnB vibes from Kronology, APX1, AIRGLO, Keekz, and Soothslayer; masterful grooves of house/breaks by Shleebs, Hardknocker, Johnny Darko, and a special b2b set from Jufro and Jn9ne; a secret headliner; plus, all the crazy visual art and stage productions the group has become infamous for.

Don’t miss the adventure that is BASS LIFT, taking place March 30th in DTLA.

The Irresistible Draw Of Queensryche

QUEENSRYCHE play Observatory/North Park Mar. 27 and The Fonda Theatre Mar. 28; photo Reuben Martinez

QUEENSRYCHE play Observatory/North Park Mar. 27 and The Fonda Theatre Mar. 28; photo Reuben Martinez

“It’s a great opportunity man,” declares guitarist Michael Wilton of Queensryche. “This is my hobby, it’s awesome having a job that is a hobby.”

Having released a slew of albums throughout their nearly forty years of existence, the band recently released The Verdict, further cementing their legacy as one of the most powerful heavy metal acts of all time.

This is no small feat, as this kind of longevity for a band is a rare commodity. “The uniqueness of the music, just believing in what we want to be, and having the steady communication with our fans. Not fitting into any trend or genre, kind of having a little bit of everything and that’s how we have always been. Just seems to work out that way,” says Wilton on how the band has achieved this.

Michael Wilton of Queensryche; photo James Christopher

Michael Wilton of Queensryche; photo James Christopher

“My advice for bands starting out is really take advantage of multimedia, really connect with your fans, and just keep building the communication with the fans. Just tour your asses off and build a following,” suggests Wilton for any struggling bands out there.

His passion for music has always been strong, even choosing it over a potential baseball career in high school.

“It wasn’t hard to choose,” recounts the guitarist. “When you’re in your teens, you know, you don’t know what’s going on in your mind. Wasn’t like I flipped a coin or anything. I went to a Black Sabbath show and saw Van Halen; saw Edward Van Helen open with the song “On Fire” and knew that was exactly what I wanted to do.”

Todd La Torre of Queensryche; photo James Christopher

Todd La Torre of Queensryche; photo James Christopher

Delving further into his story, he describes how he got his nickname “The Whip”: “When I was in my single digits as a young lad and hanging out with my friends, they said I whipped on the guitar and thus started calling me “Whip” at parties. Everybody caught on and it’s been a nickname for me ever since I was a kid. I kept it out of amusement, you know, it’s a pretty cool nickname.”

Ruminating on the bands’ recent album title, Wilton explains, “It’s the bands’ fifteenth album. The Verdict is kind of a strong statement; and if one looks at the picture on the album, he is a red hooded figure holding the scales of justice. And one realizes it’s a bit out of balance and you see the turbulent scene behind it. It’s kind of our view of the bits and parts of the world that we have seen. So not knowing what the future is gonna tell.

Scott Rockenfield of Queensryche; photo Reuben Martinez

Scott Rockenfield of Queensryche; photo Reuben Martinez

“I like playing all the new stuff, and it’s great to see the fans reactions to both the new and old stuff,” he conveys. “I think anything off The Verdict is my favorite right now cuz it’s so fresh.”

The bread and butter of almost any rock band is the live show, with its visceral energy and communal interactions. “The connection you get from the fans, seeing the joy in their faces. That is a high you can’t do with medicine, you know. It’s a real connection, and that’s what’s great about being in a band; connecting with the fans, getting that live access, and the fans reciprocate. That’s what keeps the whole thing rolling,” describes Wilton. “Whether it’s a hundred people or a thousand people, you give the same intense show.

Eddie Jackson of Queensryche; photo James Christopher

Eddie Jackson of Queensryche; photo James Christopher

“I think it’s gotten to a point where bands like ours tour so much, and that aspect of playing live starts to infiltrate the creative process,” Wilton points out regarding the live energy to the studio environment.

“The intensity found its way onto the music on The Verdict. And when you’re on the road all the time, ideas come up and you just put them into your computer, document them, and just keep them organized. When it comes time to record, you pull them out and we all start working on them as a band. It’s something I’ve been doing over 35 years, and it works the same way on each album.”

Parker Lundgren of Queensryche; photo James Christopher

Parker Lundgren of Queensryche; photo James Christopher

Speaking about coming to LA, he states: “It’s always fun to play in the LA area. Because obviously you have seen everything over and over and over again. Nothing is ever new in LA, but it’s just a good strong base. The fans are very respective of our heritage and legacy, and the support is just amazing. We get the hardcore fans, the new fans, the young fans, we get all ages.

“LA has been the springboard for so many fans; even though we are from Seattle, it’s always great to play LA. And I love playing the Wiltern, cuz it’s so close to my last name.”

Don’t miss the animal magnetism and feverish energy of Queensryche’s world tour when they hit the Fonda Theatre on March 28!

Dick Dale, A Coach House Icon Is Gone

Dick Dale; press photo

Dick Dale; press photo

Legendary guitarist, Dick Dale, an icon at The Coach House in San Juan Capistrano, has sadly passed away. SoCal fans were fortunate to hear Dale perform and tell stories at The Coach House numerous times partially because he and the owner go way back.

Following is an interview he did with Concert Guide Live nine months ago:

“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 Folgner’s 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 guitar”. 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 it in advertising because it limits his attendance.

Many years ago, he performed to 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?’,” Dale recalled.

“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.”

Mudhoney Bring Fun To Punk

MUDHONEY play The Casbah Mar. 8 and The Glass House Mar. 9; photo Emily Rieman

MUDHONEY play The Casbah Mar. 8 and The Glass House Mar. 9; photo Emily Rieman

Alternative Rock, Grunge, Punk, you name it and Mudhoney has been associated with it over the course of their 30-year career, which kicked off with the EP Superfuzz Bigmuff on Sub Pop exploded on the scene, not sounding like anything else at the time.

Three of the original members remain in the group with bassist Guy Maddison, the newest member, joining in 2001 and appearing on five of the ten Mudhoney albums including the latest Digital Garbage.

Concert Guide Live caught up with Maddison to hear his thoughts on songwriting, step aerobics, and some of his favorite songs to play live.

CONCERT GUIDE LIVE: You’re the newest member of Mudhoney, yet you’ve been with the band for half of their albums! What is your part in creating a song? Which comes first, the music or the lyrics?
GUY MADDISON: The music comes first. We all participate in the process, I like the others, bring riffs and musical ideas for songs, we jam out those riffs and ideas. Everyone makes suggestions for how the composition can be improved, so it is song writing by consensus. This is the case for nearly all songs, Mark (Arm/frontman) adds the lyrics after we have established a base for the music. Sometimes the music will need to be rearranged to fit the flow of the lyrics.

CGL: What was it like when you were learning the Mudhoney catalog? What challenges did you come across?
GM: As a fan of the band I was familiar with a lot of the songs. When I first joined back in 2001 Steve (Turner/guitar) and I sat out on his porch with a couple of acoustic guitars and went over a core group of songs that we started to use as the basis for a set when I first joined. The most common challenge I found, and I think is the same for anyone learning material written by others, is coming to terms with timings that you would not naturally write yourself.

CGL: Do you prefer to play live or recording and why?
GM: I enjoy recording, because of the endless possibilities in sound and arrangement that is available in the studio. However, I prefer the energy of playing live. The audience provide the energy and change the experience for sure. Also, there is the fun and often comical aspect of playing together with your friends on stage.

CGL: So, you’re playing with Adolescents and Clawhammer in Pomona – how did that come about and who is playing last?
GM: We’ve played with the Adolescents before and it was a great show in L.A. Clawhammer are old and very close friends of the band and have played many shows with Mudhoney over the years. The show like most, was put together by our booking agent. To tell the truth I have no idea who’s playing last? I hope it’s not us, so I can relax with a few quality ales and watch some quality bands…

Mudhoney "Digital Garbage" cover

Mudhoney “Digital Garbage” cover

CGL: What sort of a setlist are fans going to be treated to, will you be playing a lot from the newest album Digital Garbage?
GM: There will be a solid representation from the new album, with a good number of old classics and a selection of songs from over the years.

CGL: What song or songs do you especially look forward to playing live and why?
GM: Of our new album there are quite a few, probably because they are new and exciting to us. A definite highlight will be “Paranoid Core,” “Nerve Attack,” and “Hey Neanderfuck.” I really like how the old classic “No One Has” is sounding lately and “If I Think”, too.

CGL: Do you primarily play a Fender bass? What gear do you use to get your sound?
GM: I have a few Fender P basses that is the basis of my sound. I have recently replaced my pickups with Lindy Frallin pickups that are built to the specs of a classic Fender ’61 P bass, they have an awesome thick sound. I use a TC electronics RD 450 head to get my amp sound, the tube tome function is killer.

CGL: Describe a Mudhoney show to someone who hasn’t seen you before.
GM: It’s an overwhelming kaleidoscope of heavy punk rock, comedy and step aerobics.

CGL: Several years ago, Mudhoney played on the roof of the Space Needle – what was that like? I trust no one is afraid of heights?
GM: A couple of us had a little bout of vertigo, but once we got going it was all fine. It was an awesome experience and one I’ll never forget. Obviously, the view was spectacular. There is actually great archival footage of it on KEXP (as it was a simulcast) that anyone that’s interested can check out on the web. https://youtu.be/CsjSDQ_MrV8?t=2

CGL: Is there anything else you’d like to add?
GM: If you get the chance to recognize the work of nurses in your community, please let them know how important you think their work is! Hope to see y’all at our SoCal shows, as we intend to rock it to the ground! Cheers!

The Spinners Doing What They Love

THE SPINNERS play The Rose Mar. 8, The Canyon/Agoura Mar. 9, The Coach House Mar. 10; press photo

THE SPINNERS play The Rose Mar. 8, The Canyon/Agoura Mar. 9, The Coach House Mar. 10; press photo

“I’ll Be Around” The Spinners’ first million-selling hit single was only one of their many songs to hit the charts: “Could It Be I’m Falling In Love,” “Ghetto Child,” “It’s A Shame,” “Then Came You,” “Games People Play,” “The Rubberband Man,” and the list goes on.

During their heyday they appeared on Soul Train so many times it was like their second home. American Bandstand, too. They dressed to the nines in color coordinated outfits, keeping up on the times, aware of what people were wearing.

“We had our bell-bottoms and big ole boots and high-heels,” recalls singer Henry Fambrough, the last surviving original member. “That’s why my feet are kind of messed up now because of wearing high heels and trying to dance in high-heels. Oh my God. Oh yes, we had to follow suit.”

When asked what he likes about touring and performing live he says it’s in his blood. It’s what he does.

“I’ve been doing it all my life,” Fambrough said proudly. “I love it. Singing and entertaining people and being on stage, and watching the expression of a lot of people, the joy they get from our music, that’s the main thing. Everything’s good.”

Touring in the early days, getting the music out there, was a bare bones operation for many entertainers when they first started out, The Spinners included.

“We purchased ourselves a station wagon and we put our bags on the top and everything,” Fambrough explained. “Then we had all of the inside freed up. That’s the way we travelled. That’s the way most of the entertainers back then that could afford to buy themselves a shared transportation, that’s the way they travelled.

“Then after that, if you sold big like James Brown, or whatever, you purchased you a bus and go from there. Then that way you can carry all your instruments and your people with you. At the time we had three young ladies that we kept with us, helped us sing background because Thom Bell used ladies in our recording, you know.

“The musical director at the time, Maurice King, he just went ahead and did everything that Thom did but on stage. That’s what made us sound so great and true to the records.”

Even after 60 plus years of entertaining in front of an audience, a hint of nervousness still creeps in and touches Fambrough just before he takes the stage, but not like it used to.

“Once they call your name and you walk out on the stage and you see all the people and everything you forget about all that.”

THE SPINNERS; press photo

THE SPINNERS; press photo

Keeping his familiar baritone voice in shape over the years he’s learned to coordinate rest and practice in order to continue singing at such a high level. Treating his voice just like an instrument is key.

“You got to get your rest, that’s the main thing,” Fambrough explained. “Get your rest, do your scales every day. If you got an instrument and you don’t take care of it, it will fail you. You have to treat your voice the same way.

“I have a voice doctor and I see him about once every other month, and he’ll tell me what I ain’t doing right (laughs). If you don’t respect it and you don’t take care of it, it’ll go bad on you, you know?

“That’s why you hear a lot of entertainers, or entertainer, that will come out with a fantastic song and it will sell two, four, five million records and you don’t hear from them no more. Cuz they don’t take care of themselves.”

For new performers that are starting out Fambrough says it’s the same now as it was when he began.

“You got something in your mind, or you want to do a certain thing, or you got the act that you want to do, and you love what you’re doing and you’re good at it don’t let anyone talk you out of doing it.

“You got a lot of people out there that want you to do something a certain way, change this, change that – no – you stick with what you love and what you want to present to your fans. Your fans come to see you, they don’t come to see you mimic someone else.”

Keep an eye out for this legendary soul group to bring their memorable music, their synchronized moves, and professional entertainment to any number of venues in SoCal.