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.

The Rebel Soul Of Nattali Rize

NATTALI RIZE plays The Cave / Big Bear Lake Mar. 8; press photo

NATTALI RIZE plays The Cave / Big Bear Lake Mar. 8; press photo

Social activism has always been at the heart of reggae music, from “Get Up, Stand Up” by Bob Marley and The Wailers to “No Blood For Oil” by Cocoa Tea. Nattali Rize continues this rebel spirit, bringing the sound and heart of reggae center stage.

“What got me into music was my mother’s impeccable taste in music,” describes Rize. “I grew up listening to the greats: Bob Marley, Led Zeppelin, Judy Mowatt, Santana, and The Eagles. You know, it’s a wide range of music, which was all old soul music, that evidently has an influence on an upbringing and soundscape that we grow up to.”

Elaborating further, “It’s not about when we get into music. We’re born with music in us; people are musical and people love music. It’s an element of our life that is creative and taps us into our higher selves. And also taps ourselves into a collective feeling of family, which is nice cuz that’s not something many other things in this current paradigm do.”

Rize’s love and passion for the music is a defining feature of her work, from her early days of busking to the current success of her most recent album, Rebel Frequency.

“It was never a hobby for me!” explains the singer. “From the moment I picked up the guitar, I knew that was what I wanted to do. And I was thirteen years old at the time.

NATTALI RIZE; press photo

NATTALI RIZE; press photo

“Building from the street, as in I was a street performer first, and going to the stage, you meet a lot of people. Whether that’s everyday people you meet and connect with or fellow musicians when you get into a band, all of these things inform and have an influence on you. I spent time in Jamaica so I can see the influence of the culture and reggae music; the birthplace of reggae music has had a big influence and inspiration for me personally. So have everyday people and what life is like cuz music, for me, is a reflection of what the times we are living in are like.”

This journey has given her extensive experiences in playing music around the globe. As a result, she has developed a unique live energy at her shows.

“Our show is high energy, deep dub, roots, and lyrical concert music,” spells out Rize. “Connecting with people is one of the best aspects. Touring and playing live shows is the opportunity to connect with people and just share and create this energy together. It’s new and different, cuz it is unique depending on who is in the room at the time, and when you play music and make music and put intention into these gatherings that we call concerts and shows, then you have the opportunity to harness the energy and intention. That’s the kind of vibration we bring to share with crowds and for them to take home, and to give us energy to get to the next show. Really, it’s a celebration of life.

NATTALI RIZE; photo Andy Ortega

NATTALI RIZE; photo Andy Ortega

“I really like playing this song of ours called ‘One People,’” states Rize. “We are a five piece band and for this song, we break it down to just guitar and vocals for the first part of the song. And this song just really speaks a whole lot of truth. It is a song that I wrote that kind of just downloaded and the lyrics just flowed out in one hit; it’s become a really popular song for my particular audience in all parts of the world. This song is always a joy because I let them sing the chorus with me, and they sing it so beautifully so it’s nice to hear.”

2019 is looking like another great year for the reggae singer. “Currently, we are well on the way to a new album, which will be released this year so that’s very exciting,” reveals Rize. “Right now, we are starting a six-week tour across America and the album we are gonna try and squeeze in, but tour life is very busy.

“After that, we have about a month before any more shows, so we are looking forward to finishing a new album and releasing it in the second half of the year and being back on the road sharing those new songs.”

Make sure you catch all the soulful excitement and vibrant energy Nattali Rize brings to all her upcoming shows in SoCal!

Marc Cohn Keeps It Fresh

MARC COHN plays The Coach House Mar. 8 and 9; photo Drew Gurian

MARC COHN plays The Coach House Mar. 8 and 9; photo Drew Gurian

“It’s one of my favorite places to play,” Marc Cohn replied when asked about his upcoming shows at The Coach House. “It’s been around awhile, and a lot of people have said maybe it could use a little touch-up paint here and there (chuckles).

“They’re great audiences and it’s just a great room to play. I must have played it a dozen times by now. It’s always one of my favorite shows to play each year.”

An annual favorite, Grammy winner Cohn spoke with Concert Guide Live about all sorts of things such as his childhood dreams, his first guitar, life’s early challenges as well as playing “Walking In Memphis” thousands of times, future plans with Blind Boys of Alabama, and of course, how it feels like a hometown gig when he plays at The Coach House.

CONCERT GUIDE LIVE: How many of the fans do you recognize at this point?
MARC COHN: There are some I definitely recognize, it’s sort of become a family thing and I have good family friends that live near by so they’re always there in the audience. So, it does feel almost like a hometown show to me.

CGL: Do you remember the first time you played there?
MC: I remember parts of my whole life just by remembering who was there at a particular time, which of my ex-wives was there, which of my kids was in attendance. My whole life has unfolded year by year at The Coach House.

CGL: Is it weird having everyone sitting down, possibly still eating?
MC: I don’t remember that as strange. In fact, I didn’t even fully process it was a dinner place until I played there several times. Dinner is usually long over by the time I hit the stage, so it isn’t like one of those dinner theaters where it feels intrusive.

CGL: What’s the lineup – do you play with a full band?
MC: It’s always different. This time it’s a full band but not a “conventional” full band. I have a percussionist, an amazing Hammond B3 player, I play guitar and piano. And my opening act at The Coach House is a great new artist that I’m really happy to give a platform to, she’s actually from Southern California, her name is Chelsea Williams, and she also sings and plays with me in my set and so does her harmonica player who is an extraordinary musician.

I’m always looking for ways to sort of change the show especially at a place like The Coach House where, you know, year after year you don’t want to be doing the same exact show.

MARC COHN; press photo

MARC COHN; press photo

CGL: Do you have a preferred guitar that you like to play?
MC: I have an old Gibson J45 a miraculous old thing from the 60’s and it’s only miraculous because I found it left-handed. I’m a left-handed guitar player and I can never find vintage guitars from back then. And this one I found years ago in Chelsea in New York City and it’s been my favorite road guitar and writing guitar for years, now.

CGL: Do you remember where and when you got your first guitar?
MC: My first one my step-mother bought me in Cleveland, Ohio, I don’t remember what kind it was, but it barely stayed in tune, so it wasn’t long until my brother got me an Ovation when I was 17. But my main instrument is piano so this guitar thing, even though it was my first instrument, I’m not all that plugged into.

CGL: Do you ever get tired of playing “Walking In Memphis”? How do you keep it fresh?
MC: From time to time. But considering I’ve played it thousands of times by now, I surprisingly have been able to keep it fresh. Occasionally I change the arrangement a little bit but not too much and of course like what we were talking about, when the lineup of the band is different that changes the song, too.

I guess the main ingredient in keeping it fresh is every night it’s a different audience. And they have a particular mood and feel and vibe and participation level so it’s really the crowd that keeps it new.

And the fact that I can still connect to what that song is about which is largely about the power of music.

CGL: What were some of your early musical inspirations?
MC: There’s just dozens. Everybody from Ray Charles, Sam Cooke, Beatles, Stones, The Band, all the great singer-songwriters that sort of put a light on my path that I ended up doing so James Taylor, Joni Mitchell, Jackson Browne, Bonnie Raitt, Paul Simon, the list goes on and on.

I was my most impressionable when some of the greatest music ever made was new. And so, I just willed myself to try and do what my idols were doing, cuz it moved me so much. A lot of that music, I just wanted to learn how to do it. I’ve ended up my whole life still figuring it out.

CGL: Was there a specific moment when you realized you wanted to do music?
MC: By the time I was 12-13 I had a singing voice. I had kind of a difficult childhood. My mom died when I was 2 my dad died when I was 12 so I had a need to express myself and to try and self-sooth, get through my losses which was quite early and unexpected and traumatizing. And I think it was between the fact that I could sing and the fact that I had something I needed to say (chuckles) just for myself that was the beginning of realizing that’s what I wanted to do.

Knowing that I’d be able to do it was a whole other thing but by the time I was 17 or 18 I was committed to trying. To at least trying to make it into a career.

MARC COHN; photo Erik Valind

MARC COHN; photo Erik Valind

CGL: What was it like to release your first album and then win a Grammy for Best New Artist?
MC: It was a dream come true. My biggest dream come true. I had been dreaming about all the aspects of being a recording artist ever since I was that 12-year-old kid.

I was already well aware of which record labels had the artists I liked so I wanted to be on either Warner Bros or Elektra or Asylum or Atlantic where I did end up. I was aware of the players that were given credits on the records that I loved. So being able to just get a record deal, number one, was my first dream come true.

And being able to play with some of my heroes – James Taylor is on my first record, drummer Steve Gadd who played with Paul Simon for years is on my first record, so that was a dream come true. All of a sudden, I was kind of in that world.

And then the biggest dream come true was that I made a record I loved. I really worked hard on that record and I tried really hard to keep it authentic and not try to make it sound like it was a current record but more of a timeless one. Luckily Atlantic let me do that.

And then the fact that it resonated with people, that was just beyond description. The Grammy was great, too. It was all of those things combined that were things I’d been dreaming about since I was a kid.

CGL: What do you like to do when you’re not touring or recording?
MC: I’m a father of four kids starting ages 12 all the way to 28. They all live where I live, in New York, and the time I spend off the road is time I need to have with my kids.

CGL: If you could be anyone other than yourself for a day, living or deceased, who would it be and why?
MC: If I could be someone else?
CGL: Yes, just for a day.
MC: Oh my gosh. That’s tough. That’s really tough… Hmm… I’d like to be my therapist and find out what he really thinks of me.
CGL: Are you sure about that?
MC: Well, it would be interesting. It would be a day well spent. Actually, I love my therapist so I would be happy to just spend some time with him and not really talking. And I’d also like to ask him more questions, so that’s one thing, cuz he’s actually been a lifesaver over the years.

Who else would I want to be? It would be amazing to be one of my heroes, I suppose, but see my thing is I would just want to spend time with them as them. I wouldn’t want to be them.

I think that’s the best I can come up with. That’s a wild question.

CGL: Is there anything else you’d like to talk about?
MC: I’ve been hard working on some new songs that I will be playing at The Coach House shows.

I will be doing a whole tour with the Blind Boys of Alabama, they’ve been singing with me a couple of years now and we’re playing with Taj Mahal. So that’s gonna be thrilling.

I’m going to be finished in a couple of months with an EP or a full-length CD I’m making with the Blind Boys. I have three new studio tracks and a bunch of live tracks that we’re gonna put out in June. That’s about all for now.

Insanity Of DMT Amaze On Bauhaus Tour

Jonty Ball S / Desert Mountain Tribe; photo James Christopher

Jonty Ball S / Desert Mountain Tribe; photo James Christopher

“Vodka! A couple of Red Bulls! Maybe some beer!” each member of Desert Mountain Tribe (DMT) shouted and then laughed about what they like to do prior to playing a show. “You gotta be just drunk enough, but not too drunk.”

Desert Mountain Tribe are in good spirits playing their unique atmosphere of psychedelic, melodic songs and captivating many new fans as they tour across the U.S. on the Peter Murphy 40 Years Of Bauhaus Celebration featuring David J. However, getting to the first night of the tour in Anaheim, CA, from their home base in England was a bit of a challenge.

“Thing is with that one, we literally got off the plane about two hours before and we were told that the security at the airport was going to take at least two hours,” Jonty Ball S (guitar/vocals) recalled. “We managed to get off the plane to the van where our trusty tour manager and driver, LG, was waiting for us. And we managed to make it across L.A. in an hour fifteen – from LAX to Anaheim – which is pretty insane – in the pouring rain!

“There was just like two and a half weeks to planning this thing which is insane for a whole America tour. But it’s all working out so far, we’re all good.”

Frank van der Ploeg / Desert Mountain Tribe; photo James Christopher

Frank van der Ploeg / Desert Mountain Tribe; photo James Christopher

The trio has gone through a couple of recent changes with drummer Frank van der Ploeg joining to play live with the group since mid-2017.

“What are you playing with, like a fractured knee or something?” Ball S asked Ploeg.

“Torn Meniscus,” Ploeg replied.

“I haven’t got a clue what that is,” Ball S admitted.

“Something in my knee is messed up,” Ploeg said, stating the obvious.

“He’s still drumming, he’s still doing it,” Ball S laughed.

Bassist Matt Holt is the most recent addition, joining at the end of 2018 and fitting in nicely, making the basslines his own.

“He did the first gig and he had nine days to get everything rehearsed, which is amazing,” Ball S explained. “But, I’m the original guy, I started the band about eight years ago.”

Other than Ploeg playing on the track “World” from 2018’s Om Parvat Mystery, neither he or Holt have been a part of any previous Desert Mountain Tribe releases – 2016’s debut album Either That Or The Moon or the EPs and single.

Matt Holt / Desert Mountain Tribe; photo James Christopher

Matt Holt / Desert Mountain Tribe; photo James Christopher

“But they will both be on the new album whether they like it or not!” Ball S threatened.

A question asking where the band name came from is greeted with dead silence followed by a slow, almost hesitant reply.

“There’s the truthful answer and then there’s the interview answer,” Ball S replied. “Well the truthful answer is it comes from DMT – have you heard of DMT?

“But the uh, (laughs), interview answer is ‘I like deserts, he likes mountains, and he likes tribes.’”

While the other two band members knowingly chuckle in the background, Ball S continues to explain.

“The thing is we can work out DMT but it’s not a good thing to keep saying yes it comes from the name of the drug, you know? It’s not a good selling point, I don’t think. You don’t want to limit yourself, do you?”

The current tour has been going great, having played about 50 dates with Peter Murphy before even hitting the states, which then adds another 15 – 20 shows overall.

“That’s a long, long tour, right?” Ball S questions.

“Yea,” Ploeg and Holt agree in unison.

Which begs the question, how do they keep entertained going from show to show, city to city?

“Frank,” Ball S revealed. “Frank keeps us entertained.”

“Uhhhh….,” Ploeg absentmindedly replies.

“That says it all, right?” Ball S laughed.

Celebrating The Smithereens Legacy

THE SMITHEREENS w/Marshall Crenshaw play The Coach House Feb. 10; press photo

THE SMITHEREENS w/Marshall Crenshaw play The Coach House Feb. 10; press photo

“I was really happy when they asked me,” Marshall Crenshaw said when Dennis Dikens (drums) asked him to sing with The Smithereens after vocalist, Pat DiNizio’s passing.

“It’s really exciting to play their music. I’ve known those guys forever, like before forever. I have a long-standing history with those guys. I knew Pat and everything.”

In January of 2018, about a month after DiNizio’s passing there was a tribute show for him in New Jersey, with a lot of old friends that was a highly emotional situation for everybody. Crenshaw played three songs which eventually led to an invitation to tour as guest vocalist for The Smithereens.

“The fan reception has been really strong,” Crenshaw added. “People want to hear this music. I feel like I’m just kind of there helping Jim (Babjak /lead guitar), Dennis and Mike (Mesaros/bass). It’s their legacy, too. They really are hungry to be out there, keeping the music alive and playing just for their own spiritual well-being.”

In 2004 Crenshaw toured with the surviving members of MC5, playing guitar with them, and taking a little vacation from his own music.

“It’s just really refreshing to do something like that once in a while, at least for me,” Crenshaw mentioned.

“That’s another body of work, the MC5, that catalog of theirs, that body of work. I have such high regard for it, so it was really fun. Interesting, too. Just like from a human-interest standpoint to hang around with those guys was pretty interesting. (laughs)”

Crenshaw learned at least 30 Smithereens’ songs for the tour including some of his favorites such as “Spellbound,” “Especially For You,” and “Top Of The Pops,” as well as some of the cover songs that are part of the band’s history.

“My favorite song by The Smithereen’s is “Strangers When We Meet”, Crenshaw shared. “I played on the record back in the day. I played keyboards on that track on the Especially For You album.

“And then they did a version of the same song with a guy named Alan Betrock who is gone now, no longer walking the earth, I’m sad to say, but Alan produced my first record which was an independent single on a New York label, Shake Records. That was Alan’s label. Alan opened the door for me to make records.

“The Smithereens hooked up with Alan and did some stuff and I was in on some of that. Then when they re-recorded the song for their album, I went back in and played it again.

“But it’s a beautiful song. And it’s a real quintessential Pat Dinizio song in that he got the title from an old movie which was kind of a thing he would do.”

Learning 30-35 songs was exciting but also challenging yet Crenshaw is willing to learn more if the band wants him to, claiming he’s basically at their service.

“The fact that I’m somebody who’s memory isn’t as good as it used to be, just to trying to cram all this information into what’s left of my memory and to get it to stay there was the challenge,” Crenshaw chuckled.

“Just learning all the words, because I didn’t want to use cheat sheets, I wanted to know every song by heart. It used to be easy for me to do that, if I learned a song, I’d remember it forever. Now, I sometimes just blank on my own songs when I sing them (laughs).”

But the group continues to tour, getting sharper, pleasing audiences that just want to listen to their beloved Smithereens songs and maybe even sing-along to a couple.

“It’s a great rock show,” Crenshaw enthused. “I love playing with them. We’ve had a lot of great gigs already. We’re sharp. We’re on our game. It’s a gas, you know?

“I like playing the Smithereen’s stuff. A lot of the songs are kind of dark, haunted sounding, and beautiful, too. The way the guys play… they just play in a way that’s really exciting. It’s just a great rock-n-roll band.

“It’s a really good two guitars and bass kind of thing with me out there, you know?”

The Smithereens with guest vocalist Marshall Crenshaw will play The Coach House Feb. 10.