Hot New Bands Emerge from First LA Rock Lottery




By DONNA BALANCIA

The first LA Rock Lottery got off to a rousing start with five musical groups that represented some of the best in alternative, avant-garde and rock.

That’s because the people involved came from all different backgrounds but made beautiful music. Especially since proceeds from the day-long battle of the bands-style event at The Echo goes to charity.

The band 'Paradise' featuring Mikal Cronina and Andrew Martin - Photo © 2018 Donna Balancia
The band ‘Paradise’ featuring Mikal Cronina and Andrew Martin – Photo © 2018 Donna Balancia

“It was a little scary coming into it, but It was cool playing with different musicians from different genres, but it worked out,” said Mikal Cronin whose morning selection from the hat drew him into a band they named “Paradise.”

Others in his band were Andrew Martin of Moon Honey,  Marcus Savino of The Mae Shi, Ammo of Brass Box and and Matthew Stolarz of The Active Set.

Thee Commons' David Pacheco and violinist-rocker Kaitlin Wolfberg at LA Rock Lottery - Photo © 2018 Donna Balancia
Thee Commons’ David Pacheco and violinist-rocker Kaitlin Wolfberg at LA Rock Lottery – Photo © 2018 Donna Balancia

The Beginnings of LA Rock Lottery

Chris Weber started Rock Lottery in Texas and moved it to New York with Tierney Stout at the helm. Now they’re bringing the annual event to Los Angeles and it was an apparent success.

Mike Watt with the group The Smoking Nurses - Photo © 2018 Donna Balancia
Mike Watt with the group The Smoking Nurses – Photo © 2018 Donna Balancia

“It was an amazing bonding experience,” said Chelsea Davis, who drummed for her band of the day, Salem Sluts.  Her credits include MOON, 30 Seconds to Mars and Berlin.  In her band, Salem Sluts, were Tiffany Preston of Rainbow Arabia, Evan Weiss of Sparks, Alex Estrada of Silver Snakes and Ryan Wilson of Division Day.

Jake Courtois of "Gene's Jacket" - Photo © 2018 Donna Balancia
Jake Courtois of “Gene’s Jacket” – Photo © 2018 Donna Balancia

Hot talent was abounding. With The Smoking Nurses, the tone was very avant garde with a little western thrown in. That’s because band members were Mike Watt and Charlie Overbey of The Broken Arrows, and also in the band were Jared Tankel of The Budos Band, Patty Schemel of Hole, and Kelcey Ayer of Local Natives.

The Smoking Nurses - Photo © 2018 Donna Balancia
The Smoking Nurses – Photo © 2018 Donna Balancia

Gene’s Jacket had a rockin sound with Brian Kesley of Joseph, Jake Courtois of Patients, Roger Brogan of Spectrum and Luna and Leslie Stevens and Christian Owens of Cass Mccombs.

The Salem Sluts - Photo © 2018 Donna Balancia
The Salem Sluts – Photo © 2018 Donna Balancia

The night finished up with Red Nephew, which got its name mainly because Kaitlin Wolfberg’s nephew is a Republican, she said. She was joined by David Clifford of Jail Weddings, renowned drummer Max Bernstein, David Pacheco of Thee Commons and Joe McGarry of Pop Noir.

Alex Estrada of Salem Sluts - Photo © 2018 Donna Balancia
Alex Estrada of Salem Sluts – Photo © 2018 Donna Balancia

Pacheco said his band didn’t come up with fancy names for the songs, either, simply referring to them as “Song Number 1,” “Song Number 2,” and “Song Number 3.”

And sometimes simple is best.