Mike Peters Presents The Alarm

MIKE PETERS presents THE ALARM Jul 9 Belly Up, Jul 11 The Concert Lounge, Jul 12 The Coach House; photo James Christopher

MIKE PETERS presents THE ALARM Jul 9 Belly Up, Jul 11 The Concert Lounge, Jul 12 The Coach House; photo James Christopher

Mike Peters, or The Alarm, or Mike Peters presents The Alarm, how ever you want to put it, the music has been saying it all since the 80s. Three SoCal dates are on the books for July so we thought we’d re-run an interview with Mike from 2017.

The Alarm have been crazy busy in America this summer with a ton of live shows including dates on Vans Warped Tour as well as their own headlining gigs not to mention a new documentary.

“It’s great, we love being on tour and playing our music,” founding member, Mike Peters said. “We’re lucky to be alive and playing music in 2017.”

With a multitude of dates in SoCal, it’s The Coach House that Peters has a great affinity with in Orange County.

Mike Peters/The Alarm; photo James Christopher

Mike Peters/The Alarm; photo James Christopher

“It’s a special place in some ways ‘cause it’s where the last Alarm gig with the original lineup took place,” Peters recalled. “The audiences have come with all the changes that have gone on and rallied round and supported me as a solo artist and have been there for me. It’s a bit of a home away from home.”

This time The Alarm is performing as a full band with Peters’ sons helping the crew with the show and setting up equipment.

“They’re on the summer holidays and they’re both musicians,” Peters mentioned. “They’re having an amazing time. They’re loving it.”

Vans Warped Tour has a certain reputation of bands and genres that at first glance seemed at odds with a group such as The Alarm. However, the audiences have been very receptive, and they’ve increased their social media followers.

“It’s been a challenge, of course, but we’re still a modern band and can mix it up,” Peters explained. “It’s breathed a lot of life blood into the group.

Jules Peters/The Alarm; photo James Christopher

Jules Peters/The Alarm; photo James Christopher

“Seeing how young bands play and react in modern times has been good for us. It’s never good to re-tread old ground. It’s always great to take up challenges. And I’m sure the Vans Warped Tour will really inform the future of the group and keep us relevant. It keeps us in the modern context which is what we always strive for.”

For a band that first toured America in 1983, creating a 25-minute set out of their huge wealth of music required great discipline.

“It’s a really good opportunity for us to get together and think about how we put our music across and I think we came up with a great set,” Peters said. “We get 11 or 12 songs in, a really good representation of where we came from. It comes over great as far as I’m concerned.”

Peters often refers to a 1976 Sex Pistols concert and hearing “Anarchy in The U.K.” as inspiration for wanting to learn how to make music himself.

“I got a guitar from a guy that my sister was going out with and he showed me how to play a couple of chords and I never looked back,” Peters recalled. “I just played along to records in my bedroom and tried to go see bands when I could.

Mike Peters/The Alarm; photo James Christopher

Mike Peters/The Alarm; photo James Christopher

“I grew up on glam rock – David Bowie, Marc Bolan and TREX, Slade, Sweet, those kind of bands in Britain. And when it became Punk rock it was The Clash, The Pistols, Joy Division, Siouxsie and The Banshees, Buzzcocks. The purest song would be a three-minute punk rock single, that was what I loved the best.”

Today, the songwriting is inspired by his life and what he’s been through. Both Peters and his wife are Cancer survivors and he has been living with leukemia for 21 years.

“Music has kept me strong, kept me one step ahead of the disease and allowed me to become a father and a musician. I have a charity called Love, Hope, Strength, we give a lot back through that to society and like I said, I’m very lucky to be alive and play music in 2017.”

When it comes to the actual songwriting, it’s usually the music that comes before the lyrics. But it’s all jumpstarted by a phrase.

“Somebody says something to you or you read something or hear something and that triggers something in your imagination that makes you want to say something and that becomes the title and then the lyrics flow from there.

“I think after you have a phrase then the music instantly follows. You can hear it all in your imagination straight away just because you’ve given birth to it.”

Following the exposure Peters has enjoyed being around a lot of modern bands and seeing a little bit of what’s going on with the next generation, Concert Guide Live was curious what sort of advice he had for bands starting out today.

“Stay off the internet. Go underground. Do it with posters and aim at your own audience. Don’t try to be global before you become local.

“If you’re gonna make it, you’re gonna make it. Don’t be on the internet a lot. You’re better off staying off the grid. Be punk rock, go underground, you go dark, people will find you.”

Iron Butterfly Psychedelia Returns To The Coach House

IRON BUTTERFLY play The Coach House Jul 9; promo photo

IRON BUTTERFLY play The Coach House Jul 9; promo photo

Sixties psychedelic group, Iron Butterfly, best known for the song, “In A Gadda Da Vida”, from the album of the same name that sold over 48 million copies, will bring a slice of musical history to The Coach House July 9. Following is and interview we did back in 2016. Check it out:

“We don’t really dress up for the occasion, the guys are in their 60s,” percussionist Mike Green said.

“There may be a tie-dye shirt here or there, or Indian moccasins, mainly because it looks good on stage. We also have a sixties style light show.”

Back in the day, the band used to make sure there was a certain kind of beer or food in the dressing room, or maybe a bottle of whiskey.

“Now all I want is Pepto Bismo and Advil,” Green joked.

Returning from an 18-city tour, and with a couple of summer festivals on the horizon, Iron Butterfly are set to play a handful of local SoCal shows.

While some audiences may be skeptical about the changing lineup of the group, Iron Butterfly was never about one member, it was about a specific sound of the band, which the current lineup captures.

“We go out and play the original songs, it’s not a tribute band, we are Iron Butterfly,” Green said.

A little background history goes like this. Green, who has known the group since the early days, assembled the current incarnation of Iron Butterfly with the blessing of “In A Gadda Da Vida” drummer, Ron Bushy, who is presently on a medical hiatus.

“There was never a percussionist with the original Iron Butterfly,” Green explained.

“Ron wanted to add a percussionist to augment the sound because it is very percussion driven due to his famous drum solo.”

Iron Butterfly 2015/2016 promo graphic

Iron Butterfly 2015/2016 promo graphic

Rounding out the band are Ray Weston (drums) who started touring with the band after Bushy took ill; Dave Meros (bass) joined following the death of Lee Dorman; Eric Barnett (guitar) has been a long time member of Iron Butterfly; and Phil Parlapiano (keyboardist) who recreates the ethereal, churchy organ that is as critical as the drums to the overall Iron Butterfly sound.

“I wanted to find people that knew the sound, liked the sound, and were familiar with it,” Green said.

Over the years, there have been several lineups of Iron Butterfly with some of them using the name illegally. Now Bushy owns the name and Green is his partner in licensing the group so there should always be a true representation of the band, it’s music, and the whole Iron Butterfly experience.

“This is the most solid incarnation, with the remaining original members’ blessings,” Green said.

“Come and return to a different place in time and experience Iron Butterfly.”

Tommy Castro Keeps Moving It Forward

TOMMY CASTRO rescheduled to Jun. 25; photo Bob By Request

TOMMY CASTRO rescheduled to Jun. 25 at The Coach House; photo Bob By Request

Tommy Castro, a regular at The Coach House, had to reschedule his recent show due to the COVID-19 coronavirus to Jun 25. We thought it would be fun to re-run an interview he did back in 2014 when the Devil You Know Album came out. Read on:

“If you go to an online music site and you just play the title track it kind of tells the story of where this record is going to go. Although it does go a lot of places!” Castro laughed.

A couple years ago Castro began to perform as Tommy Castro and the Painkillers, which is a four-piece band and without a horn section.

“I was looking for a more guitar-driven, a little more rockin’, edgier, leaner sound,” Castro explained.

“The whole idea behind the album, ‘The Devil You Know’, was this new direction of mine. I basically like to keep things fresh, try new things, combining old influences and moving forward.

Tommy Castro; photo Jayson Carpenter

Tommy Castro; photo Jayson Carpenter

“A lot of this music reminds me of when I was a kid and just learning to play. Playing in garages with my friends and just having fun. This new music reminds me of that feeling.”

Fans, musicians, peers and anyone who is familiar with Tommy Castro over the years is responding to the new music favorably.

“There’s a different enthusiasm that I’m hearing from different people that are commenting on the album,” Castro said.

“So it feels real good to be at this stage of my career and still be able to do something that really matters. We’re creating new art with new energy and it’s real. It feels good!”

Throughout the course of his career, Castro has worked with a multitude of artists including the blues revue he entertains on the Legendary Rhythm & Blues Cruise.

“With my musical career and history of all the things that are probably more memorable would of course be playing with BB King, Buddy Guy, and John Lee Hooker,” Castro said.

“And all of the people that guested on my album are all amazing musicians and I’m lucky to be able to collaborate and perform with them.”

Also appearing at The Coach House will be r&b, soul legend Johnnie Taylors’ daughter, Tasha Taylor. “We used to go out and sing with him and perform with him until he died and now she’s out on her own,” Castro said.

“She did a song with me on the album along with many other special guests like Joe Bonamassa, Tab Benoit, and Marcia Ball.”

Finding your own voice or what sets you apart is essential for new musicians at the beginning of their career.

“Find out what it is about you that’s different than everybody else and expand on it, use it and work hard. I think a lot of young people come in to the business thinking that it’s not work. They think it’s going to be such a great thing to do because it won’t be like work at all. But it is very much like work at times if you do it right. So that’s the bad news,” Castro heartily laughed.

“You put this energy into something that you care about it’s different than just working hard. It’s working hard to a purpose.

“I think that’s why I still have a career because I’ve worked very hard at my business.”

Lights Out Cells Up!

UFO's Phil Mogg; photo James Christopher

UFO’s Phil Mogg; photo James Christopher

After 50 years of hard rocking, hard touring and presumably hard living, UK’s UFO are calling it a day. No more short stops in towns around the globe, living out of a suitcase, or climbing on and off a tour bus. Fifty years. That’s right – fifty!

UFO (l-r Vinnie Moore, Phil Mogg); photo James Christopher

UFO (l-r Vinnie Moore, Phil Mogg); photo James Christopher

But, Feb. 21, 2020, UFO rocked the Tally Ho in Leesburg, VA and they rocked it hard. The only way they know how. They captured the audience the moment they heard the opening notes of “Mother Mary”.
By the way, this was one heck of a loyal audience. They refused to let a chilly 31-degree (and dropping) night keep them from going out and packing the venue, lining up around the block in two directions before the doors were even open. I doubt anyone has been following the band for 50 years, but hearing people talk, the majority have been fans for many, many years. And they were excited to be there!

UFO's Andy Parker; photo James Christopher

UFO’s Andy Parker; photo James Christopher

All through UFO’s classic set – “Lights Out,” “Only You Can Rock Me,” “Too Hot To Handle,” “Rock Bottom,” to name a few – everyone listened intensely, savoring every memorable note, following every lyric, one last time. The split second a song would end, the crowd would roar with satisfaction and elation.

I’ve seen UFO countless times and once again the epic “Love To Love” which is usually referred to as “Misty Green and Blue” took the audience to a whole new level. The back and forth of Vinnie playing acoustic and electric, the highs and lows of the melody, all teasing the inevitable badass solo, that is NEVER long enough.

UFO's Rob De Luca; photo James Christopher

UFO’s Rob De Luca; photo James Christopher

This night, Phil Mogg took the stage looking exceptionally dapper wearing a stylish hat and polka dot blazer, which he removed halfway through the third song, not missing a beat, of course. He later joked about all the rock star moves he knew including microphone twirls. He even pushed Vinnie Moore to join him in sucking in his cheeks demonstrating the ultimate rock star pose.

UFO's Neil Carter; photo James Christopher

UFO’s Neil Carter; photo James Christopher

As the night was nearing the inevitable, Phil mumbled a few words negating the point of leaving the stage and coming back for a couple more songs. Instead, Vinnie teased the gentle opening notes of “Doctor Doctor” and then, right on cue, both the band and the audience exploded into an orgasmic, fist-pumping, rock-n-roll frenzy.

One more song to follow – “Shoot Shoot” – and it was all over – turning the night into a bittersweet but satisfying memory.

Cummings Brings His Blues To Town

Albert Cummings; photo Jennifer Mardus

Albert Cummings; photo Jennifer Mardus

“I’m still kind of a kept close secret, you know what I mean?” Albert Cummings mentioned. “But hey, if The Coach House knows about me the secret is getting out – that’s exciting!”

A blues, rock guitarist, with nine albums under his belt, if you haven’t listened to him, now is the time! His new album, Believe, comes out on Valentine’s Day, and you can see him live at The Coach House Feb. 13, a place he’s only played once before.

“You could just walk in and feel history. I love playing places like that,” Cummings recalled. “Everybody you ever wanted to hear or listen to has pictures on the wall. I gotta bring a picture, get myself up there somehow. Really cool. So happy to play there.”

Albert Cummings album cover art for "Believe"

Albert Cummings album cover art for “Believe”

Cummings headed to the legendary Muscle Shoals studio to record Believe, fully intending to do an all covers album. He began to notice that his cover songs on previous albums seemed to get more radio airplay than his original material.

“I got like nine albums with 11 or 12 songs on every one and maybe one out of that is a cover,” he declared. “That means over 100 songs are out there that are originals. I was like wow; they’re only playing the covers.

“Then I realized the blues DJs they want to have their show popular – this is only my opinion – they play songs people are familiar with. So, I was originally going to do a 100% cover album just so I could get some more play because the airplay gets me to places like The Coach House (laughs).”

Albert Cummings; photo Jennifer Mardus

Albert Cummings; photo Jennifer Mardus

However, once he got to Muscle Shoals and started playing with the other musicians, he thought better of it and did six originals and five covers.

One of those covers is a rendition of “Little Red Rooster” which features some nice guitar solo work. In fact, all of the guitar solos sound fresh and natural, not forced throughout the album.

“I know that if I try to do a guitar solo after a track is done, if I don’t get it in the first two, three, it just goes downhill from there,” Cummings explained. “I always end up picking from my first three.

“I think if you’re thinking you’re stinking. The more you think about it the worse it becomes. You can’t think about music. It’s gotta come from your heart. It can’t come from your mind.”

But it’s the originals that really stand out. Songs like “Going My Way” with its nice solid groove and guitar work or “Call Me Crazy” which really catches fire and jams. The guitar gets pretty wild and you wish it would go on forever. Maybe it will in a live setting.

“Oh yea, that’s one of those four-hour guitar songs,” Cummings laughed.

Albert Cummings guitar; photo Jennifer Mardus

Albert Cummings guitar; photo Jennifer Mardus

Cummings never played with a band until he was 27, then a couple years later he was doing an album with Double Trouble which was the only band he’d ever listened to.

“To do an album with those guys is over the top,” he said. “Pinch me, I can’t even believe it happened.”

Coming from a rural area out in the hills of western Massachusetts, about an hour from Albany, once he started a band there was no place to play. He knew he’d have to go to Albany if he wanted to do anything with his music.

“If you’re gonna go fishing you don’t go to an empty stream,” he quipped. “So, I went to Albany and I started to do really well, and people were starting to fill up.”

It was here, in Albany, that he caught Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble at the RPI Field House and a whole new world opened up.

“I didn’t know what blues was as a music until I started listening to Stevie,” he admitted. “And what I think was cool mostly about Stevie was he introduced me to everybody else in a way. Like I didn’t know who BB King was, or Freddie King or Albert King or all those people.”

Sometime later, the Field House contacted Cummings to be the local headliner at a blues day concert they were putting together for the students, the faculty and the public. They asked him who he thought they should get as the National headliner.

“I just jokingly said ‘why don’t you get Double Trouble to come play with me?’ and I was not qualified to say that, but I said it,” Cummings laughed. “And they said, ‘that’s a great idea’.

“So, I had to send this little demo out that I had which was my first CD which was Albert Cummings and Swamp Yankee… the CD was The Long Way.”

Albert Cummings; photo Jennifer Mardus

Albert Cummings; photo Jennifer Mardus

Much to his surprise, two weeks later Double Trouble agreed to do it! As a result, the last time Cummings walked into the RPI Field House was to see Stevie Ray Vaughn and Double Trouble play, then literally the next time he walked in there he was fronting them!

“Then we booked another gig that night in Saratoga, NY which is about 45 minutes north. We played a large club and we played this sold out show and it was just incredible.

“I’m taking Chris (Layton) and Tommy (Shannon) home, it was just the three of us, it’s 2:30 in the morning and they’re telling me ‘Albert, what we heard on your little demo and what we heard tonight are two entirely different things. You need to do an album’.

“And I’m like, ‘Well, I don’t know how to do an album’. And they said, ‘We do’. And then they said, ‘We want to produce your next album and we want to play on it.’ And I’m like ‘ok’.

“So, I’m literally driving. It’s late at night, I drive by two exits on the highway I’m so floored. My head is just spinning I’m still intimidated and scared but I had to say, ‘I’m so sorry guys, I just drove like a half an hour out of the way. I’m so sorry. (chuckles)

“We set it all up, exchanged numbers at the end of the night and I was still skeptical, yea, right. How the hell can that happen? And sure enough. Next thing I know I’m on an airplane going to Austin, TX, where I’ve never been before.”

Albert Cummings; photo Jennifer Mardus

Albert Cummings; photo Jennifer Mardus

Cummings was further surprised when Layton called him at the airport to let him know he was going to bring Reese Wynans along to play, too. This turned out to be the first time since Vaughan died that Double Trouble did an entire album with another artist.

“I was so green, but the album came out great, cuz those guys are so good,” Cummings marveled. “They took care of me, they brought me under their wings, and they helped me. They made me think of things differently. They made me understand how to build a guitar solo.

“I remember asking them ‘what would Stevie tell me to do?’ and they said, ‘play from the heart’, and that’s what that album’s called, From The Heart.

To this day, that experience still resonates with Cummings both in the studio and performing live.

Be sure to check out his new album or any of the previous nine and catch him live. This secret needs to be exposed!

Coco Montoya Cherishes The Blues At The Coach House

COCO MONTOYA plays The Coach House Jan. 16; photo James Christopher

COCO MONTOYA plays The Coach House Jan. 16; photo James Christopher

Fans in South Orange County have been fortunate to see blues guitarist, Coco Montoya play at The Coach House many times over the years. In fact, they’ll get another chance Jan. 16.

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

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

Coco Montoya; photo James Christopher

Coco Montoya; photo James Christopher

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

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

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

Coco Montoya; photo James Christopher

Coco Montoya; photo James Christopher

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

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

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

Wild Child Channels The Doors

WILD CHILD plays The Coach House Jan. 11; photo James Christopher

WILD CHILD plays The Coach House Jan. 11; photo James Christopher

“Probably the number one comment we have received for many years is, ‘I never got to see The Doors live but I feel this is as close as I will ever get. Thank you for doing this. I was born at the wrong time and missed it’,” Dave Brock (founder/vocalist) shared.

SoCal is fortunate once again to experience the sensation that is Wild Child, as they return to The Coach House with the ultimate tribute to The Doors Jan. 11, playing songs such as “Hello, I Love You”, “Touch Me,” and “Light My Fire” to name a few.

Wild Child; photo James Christopher

Wild Child; photo James Christopher

“The Coach House has a long history of hosting some of the best bands that ever played,” Brock said. “If the walls could talk… The level of entertainment there is always at the top. The setting is very intimate yet holds a fairly big crowd for a club. There’s not a bad seat in the house. People have a great time there.”

Concert Guide Live caught up with Brock to find out how it all began, about the attention to detail in both the sound and equipment, and much more.

CONCERT GUIDE LIVE: Did you ever see Jim Morrison play live?
WILD CHILD: Although I was alive when The Doors were playing, I was far too young to actually see them in person. My brother was eight years older than I and saw them as a teenager. He loved The Doors.

I remember one time driving home with my mother and brother as a small kid. The long version of “Light My Fire” was on the radio and I remember my brother yelling out loud that this song was going to last all the way home. I was aware of The Doors as a child, but they really didn’t get on my radar until midway through college, when I was going through a phase of discovery as most young people do. Questioning… everything. Exploring, testing the boundaries. Examining everything I was ever taught or told. This is great music for those at that period in their life.

CGL: How important is it to you and the rest of the band to play the songs as close to the originals as possible?
WC: Probably the most important thing that Wild Child does, is playing the music as close as possible to the original. Whether it be the studio recorded version or perhaps a great live version. Or a combination of the two.

Wild Child; photo James Christopher

Wild Child; photo James Christopher

Our instrumentation is exactly what The Doors had. We were able to find a very rare Gibson portable organ, as Ray (Manzarek) used to play live on stage. Very ominous sounding keyboard that is impossible to simulate with a synthesizer. We also had Ludwig Custom make a drum kit exactly like John Densmore’s. Same Gibson SG guitar Robby (Krieger) used to play.

But it does not stop there. It’s mandatory in this band to play the songs exactly like the original members. No one interjects with their favorite licks they have learned over the years or plays in a different style. We realize what people are paying for and what they deserve.

CGL: What is one of your favorite songs to play live?
WC: What I like most about The Doors songs is that for the most part they are very different from each other. It’s almost like walking through an art gallery, each song is like a different painting. With lots of visual imagery and poetry. The band is comprised of such different types of musicians. A boogie-woogie keyboard player, a flamenco guitar player and a jazz drummer in the same band. Crazy good!

CGL: What is the longest tour you ever went on? How did you keep yourself engaged while constantly riding a bus?
WC: The longest tour I was ever on was in Europe. Mostly Western Europe. However, it was only for about a month and a half. I have never done extremely long tours. Probably why I have had such a long career. I have also very rarely done bus tours. I prefer sleeping in hotels. Our equipment / crew needs are so small that we really don’t even need a bus. I went on a few bus tours with Ray Manzarek and Robby Krieger of The Doors, when I was their singer. That is how they preferred to tour. Those were great times, but I hated leaving a five-star hotel room to bump down the road in a bus overnight. The closer I can get to a normal life on the road, the better I feel about it.

CGL: Tell me about the moment that led to you deciding to do a tribute to the Doors?

Wild Child; photo James Christopher

Wild Child; photo James Christopher

WC: While attending Long Beach State University I became a big Doors fan. I heard a radio ad about the Jim Morrison rock opera at Gazzari’s night club on the Sunset Strip in Hollywood. So, I went to it the next evening. It turned out to be a live audition and not really quite a rock opera, yet. I showed up and they let me in for free. All they needed was my name for the clipboard. Later I found myself being called on stage to sing a song. The only one I knew was “LA Woman”. Never before doing something in front of a crowd, held a microphone etc., I was singing “LA Woman”. When it was over, Jim Morrison’s sister, Anna came out of the crowd and had photos taken with me. Soon after they offered the lead role to me. That’s what got me into this mess. But I really have enjoyed it. After that journey ended, I took some time off and then formed my own band, Wild Child.

CGL: How many songs do you know? Are there any you’d still like to learn?
WC: I’ve probably done every song The Doors have done at one time or another. However, for our show I have to realize that most people coming to see us only know what they’ve heard on the radio and may not even own any of the albums. So, I have to be careful with how many obscure songs we add to a set of music. Maybe two or three at the most. Luckily the hits are not poppy or corny.

CGL: Vocally, what do you do to keep your voice and range in shape?
WC: My secret to vocal longevity is attributed to these two things. First of all, I sing in my own vocal range. Where a lot of people doing other people’s material actually have to sing outside their normal range to accomplish that. That is very hard on your voice.

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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.

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.”