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Fishbone Enters a New Phase as Members Look Back, And to a Future Without Curtis Story

One of Punks Founding Bands Continues On


Beyond Baroque has its hands full for 2017.

The historic arts hangout in Venice is one of the West Coast’s destinations if you want to know about the rise of punk in Los Angeles. This year is a pivotal year in punk as many of the bands we know celebrate their 40th anniversary.

Norwood Fisher and the Nextperience – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Fishbone’s Influence

“A lot of the bands you know started right here,” said Tequila Mockingbird, who works with the Punk Museum as well as Beyond Baroque. Among those bands she’s referring to are the band X, which also celebrates its 40th this year.

But punk is not without its diverse elements.  Fishbone was on hand the other night to screen the movie Everyday Sunshine and play some tunes. It was a celebration of the life of former band member Curtis Story and perhaps prepare the public for a new form of the Fishbone band.

2017 Donna Balancia

Angelo Moore and the Missing Links – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

New Bands

Splinter bands Norwood and The Familyhood Nextperience, and Angelo Moore and The Missing Links performed in honor and celebration of the life of ex-band member Curtis Story.

One of the big punk influences that emerged in that era was Fishbone, which featured one of the largest bands in memory. Anyone who has been to a Fishbone show knows it’s pure calamity, with stage diving, crowd surfing and great, upbeat ska-punk jazzy sound.

Angelo Moore and his theremin – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Beyond Baroque

In celebrating the “40 years of Punk” series, Fishbone members appeared at Beyond Baroque for a screening of the movie Everyday Sunshine. The film tells the story of Fishbone and how the band got its start, influenced by changing times in Los Angeles.

The band’s unique black-as-punk experience that started in the valley was the birth of a new sound.  At a time when Joey Ramone and the Sex Pistols took the East Coast by storm, Fishbone was one of the West Coast pioneers with its impressive perspective of punk from the multicultural view.

Flyin’ Jay Armant known for his stage diving and his horn – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Changes for Fishbone

But changes are afoot. In the movie Fishbone is depicted as the hot hit band that it is, but struggles are continual, many in part due to a changing record industry.  The loss of certain members has impacted the band greatly.

Norwood Fisher said a blood clot traveled up to Story’s brain from his leg and while he was ambulatory, he was never the same.

The Missing Links – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Party at Ground Zero

Fishbone is evolving yet again as the band members are doing their own thing. It’s not necessarily the end of the band, but the band may not present the way it has throughout its history.

The two new bands are entertaining as Angelo and his group scat it up with cool rythms and a fun front woman.  As for Fisher, he plugs along with projects and his music. He is hopeful Fishbone can keep on going. Judging by the sounds emanating from the Beyond Baroque it’s a good bet Fishbone will continue to “Party at Ground Zero.”

Angelo Moore with Tequila Mockingbird – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Dee Snider, Jesse Hughes and Hard Rock Royalty Pay Tribute to David Z on The Sunset Strip

Whisky A Go-Go Event Goes Off at 8 P.M.

Photo of Paulie Z By DONNA BALANCIA

Musicians at the Whisky A Go-Go will pay tribute tonight to bassist David Z, who was killed in a car accident while on tour with band Adrenaline Mob.

The event will be held at the Whisky A Go-Go on the Sunset Strip at 8 p.m.

Artists expected to perform during the special edition of the Whisky’s weekly jam session include Dee Snider, Jesse Hughes and Sebastian Bach.

David Z Foundation was created to keep children involved in music

Donate Now

A foundation to help support young people has been founded to keep alive his legacy of making music an important part of childrens lives. Go To

“David was such a champion of young people and music,” Dee Snider said in a Tweet. “It’s great that this is being set up in his name.”

David is the brother of the weekly jam session emcee and regular Paulie Z.  The family name is Zablidowsky. David only was 38 years old.

The musicians ask for patrons to get to the Whisky A Go-Go early tonight as there are space constraints.

Check out this video courtesy of Adrenaline Mob called “Doobie Mob”




Dead Cross Kicks off Two-Month Tour at Observatory in Santa Ana on Aug. 10, Drops New Video

‘Seizure and Desist’ a Dark Political Skewering


Don’t expect Mike Patton and company to leave any controversial subject unchecked.

Take a look at the latest video from Dead Cross, which kicks off a two-month tour at The Observatory on Aug. 10.

After The Observatory, the band, which is comprised of Mike Patton, Dave Lombardo, Justin Pearson (The Locust, Retox) and Michael Crain (Retox, Festival of Dead Deer), goes on to dates in Las Vegas, Phoenix, Los Angeles and Sacramento before hitting the East Coast.



Mike Patton, Dave Lombardo, Justin Pearson, Michael Crain = Dead Cross

Tour dates for Dead Cross

The band is promoting its much-anticipated self-titled album. On tour, Secret Chiefs 3, featuring Patton’s former Mr. Bunglebandmate, Trey Spruance, will open on most dates.

August 10  Santa Ana, CA  The Observatory *

August 11  Las Vegas, NV  Brooklyn Bowl

August 12  Phoenix, AZ  The Marquee *

August 14  Dallas, TX  Gas Monkey Bar & Grill

August 15  Houston, TX  Warehouse Live

August 16  Austin, TX  Emo’s

August 18  Tucson, AZ  The Rialto Theatre *

August 19  San Diego, CA  The Observatory North Park

August 21  Los Angeles, CA  El Rey Theatre

August 23  Berkeley, CA  The UC Theatre

August 25  Vancouver, BC  Vogue Theatre

August 26  Seattle, WA  The Showbox

August 27  Portland  Wonder Ballroom

August 29  Sacramento, CA  Ace of Spades

September 8  Baltimore, MD  Baltimore Soundstage

September 10  Philadelphia, PA  Union Transfer

September 11  Boston, MA  Royale

September 12  New York, NY  Gramercy Theatre

September 13  Brooklyn, NY  Warsaw

September 15  Detroit, MI  St. Andrew’s Hall

September 16  Chicago, IL  Riot Fest *

September 17  Milwaukee, WI  Turner Hall Ballroom

September 19  Minneapolis, MN  First Avenue

September 20  Lawrence, KS  Liberty Hall

September 23  Denver, CO  Ogden Theatre

* – Secret Chiefs 3 do not perform

Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers, Alabama Shakes, Charles Bradley Rock Arroyo Seco Weekend

Pasadena Fest Draws Mixed Music Demo


Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers ripped through the hits and put on an award-worthy rock and roll performance at the first-ever Arroyo Seco Weekend Festival in Pasadena.

The first day of the inaugural Goldenvoice event drew fans of Petty and Alabama Shakes, the latter of whose fan base concentrates mainly in the under-35 crowd. But up-and-coming and established rock, blues and Americana bands filled out the remaining weekend slots.

Estimates pegged the Saturday crowd size in the range of 45,000-50,000.

Most of those attendees Saturday came for the headliner, Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers, celebrating a 40th anniversary tour. They did not disappoint.

Tom Petty – Goldenvoice Media photo

The Hits Keep Comin’

Petty and his Heartbreakers brought out hit after hit, getting the devoted to their feet.

Highlighted by a backdrop of outstanding video work and complemented by a group of remarkable musicians, Petty took the stage with superb energy and humor.

Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers opened with “Rockin’ Around,” followed with “Mary Jane,” “You Don’t Know How it Feels,” “Forgotten Man,” “You Got Lucky,” and the anthem “I Won’t Back Down,” and other hits before and closing out with an encore of “You Wreck Me,” and “American Girl,” and taking time for a few stories along the way.

“They put on a great show,” festival attendee Justin Hagler said. “I’ve seen them 14 times, and it never gets old. True professionals.”

Mike Campbell and Tom Petty – Photo courtesy Goldenvoice Media

Mike Campbell

Petty’s partner-in-arms, Mike Campbell, was wearing dressy garb — a Japanese-style shirt — and trademark hat, and showed his prowess as guitarist and songwriter extraordinaire. Petty regaled the crowd with the story of how the two met back 47 years ago in Florida.

“In 1970, I went to look for guitar player to put together a band and saw an ad, there was no phone number, just an address, so I drove out there and it was a sketchy-looking place,” he said.  He added that his soon-to-be colleague “came out packing a 90-pound Japanese guitar plugged the thing in and played ‘Johnny B. Goode,’ and when he got to the end, I said ‘You’re gonna be in my band forever.’ And he is.”

But his other bandmembers all have a story too – a mix of longtime pals and colleagues including Scott Thurston, Benmont Tench III, Ron Blair, and drummer Steve Ferrone.

Alabama Shakes put on their ripping blues rock show with typically outstanding vocals and great guitar work.

Alabama Shakes – Photo courtesy Goldenvoice Media

Alabama Shakes

Shakes, as well as the Taylor Goldsmith-helmed Americana band Dawes, may have gained new followers among the Petty lovers at the Oak stage.

On the Willow stage earlier, Jeff Goldblum and The Mildred Snitzer Orchestra attracted its largest crowd to date. His band has had a regular gig at Rockwell’s for a couple of years. Star appeal goes a long way.

The highlight of the day was Charles Bradley and His Extraordinaires, whose cancer diagnosis loomed over the crowd as he sang the blues songs that have made him famous. Not a dry eye was in the house at many points during the show as the audience was touched by this legendary performer who gives his all to the fans.

Charles Bradley – Photo courtesy Goldenvoice Media

Charles Bradley

“If I could come out and hug every one of you I surely would,” he said. It is because of the love of the fans he proclaimed that he is cancer-free.

The food ran the gamut from designer hot dogs to spicy pizza and organic ice cream but the real headliner was the craft beer that drew long lines on a hot Pasadena day.

Blues great John Mayall was also on hand to wow the crowd.

Sunday: Mumford and Sons, Weezer

Mumford and Sons, Weezer, Fitz and the Tantrums, ZZ Ward, The Mowgli’s and Magic Giant take The Oaks stage, The Shins headline The Sycamore stage and Con Brio and Lettuce are on The Willow stage.

NOTES: Photo booths seem to be the marketing tool of favor as advertisers ranging from liquor companies to tourism bureaus all drew in concertgoers to strike a pose …

Lockers are available to rent on the grounds and there is shuttle service to the Rose Bowl adjacent site. Advice: Read security rules before passing through the metal detectors, info is on the website.


VIDEO: St. Vincent Announces ‘Fear The Future’ Tour Without Uttering a Word

St. Vincent Tickets on Sale June 27


St. Vincent will tour for the first time in two years with her Fear the Future Tour this fall.

She launches the tour Nov. 14 at Detroit’s Fillmore and wraps Dec. 2 at Kings Theatre in Brooklyn.

In addition to regular tickets for Fear the Future Tour the ever-clever Annie Clark will be selling an “enhanced experience” opportunity that includes a film screening and a poster.

St. Vincent accepts honor of ‘Record Store Day Ambassador’ for 2017 – For

The talented St. Vincent was named Record Store Ambassador earlier this year and released a somewhat controversial video in accepting the honor.

Nov. 14 – Detroit, MI @ The Fillmore
Nov.  15 – Indianapolis, IN @ Egyptian Room
Nov.  17 – Milwaukee, WI @ Riverside Theater
Nov.  18 – St. Paul, MN @ Palace Theater
Nov.  19 – Kansas City, MO @ Uptown Theater
Nov.  20 – St. Louis, MO @ The Pageant
Nov.  21 – Louisville, KY @ Whitney Hall
Nov.  22 – Nashville, TN @ Ryman Auditorium
Nov.  24 – Knoxville, TN @ Tennessee Theatre
Nov.  25 – Durham, NC @ Durham Performing Arts Center
Nov.  27 – Washington, DC @ The Anthem
Nov.  28 – Philadelphia, PA @ Electric Factory
Nov.  30 – Boston, MA @ House of Blues
Dec.  1 – Portland, ME @ State Theatre
Dec.  2 – Brooklyn, NY @ Kings Theatre

For more information, go to I Love St. Vincent

Living Colour Rocks the Canyon Club, Corey Glover and Crew Bring Elite to Agoura Hills Scene

Band’s ‘Personality’ Attracts Friends and Fans


Living Colour brought their style of bluesy punk to Canyon Club playing new songs and favorites to a packed house.

The band will release a new album, called Shade, in September.

corey glover donna balancia

Corey Glover is dapper – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Like a Fine Wine

Comprised of frontman Corey Glover, Will Calhoun on drums, Doug Wimbish on bass and Vernon Reid on guitar, this band only improves as the years go on.

The band is styled by the Style Diva herself, Leisa Balfour, who celebrated an early birthday during the Canyon show.

Vernon Reid is among the best and most underrated lead guitarists around – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Vernon Reid

Living Colour has got what it takes. If there’s such a thing as getting better like a fine wine, these guys have it nailed. Vernon’s guitar work sounds more and more remarkable each time out, Corey has the chops and the warmth of one of the best frontmen in the business, Wimbish plays one of the most wicked slapping basses in music and Will Calhoun is one of the most underrated drummers on the planet.

Bassist Doug Wimbish puts on a show - Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Bassist Doug Wimbish puts on a show – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Fans and Friends Visit Backstage

Their songs, in particular the hit “Cult of Personality,” electrify the room.

It’s hard to tell why Living Colour isn’t in the mainstream still after all these years. This band packed the Canyon and draws the fans even to side gigs, including supporting acts for other performers. Corey was on hand to celebrate the Sound Barrier reunion party at the Whisky A Go-Go several weeks ago.

Drummer Will Calhoun rips it on the kit – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Sound Barrier

Speaking of Sound Barrier, Bernie was among those hanging out with the Living Colour guys at the Canyon the other night. Sound Barrier recently released its single “I’m Just A Man,” and an EP is on the way.


A Collection of Photos: Living Colour at The Canyon Club

Bernie K. of Sound Barrier with stylist Leisa Balfour and Darius McCrary – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia









Exclusive Interview: Rick Derringer Plays Through the Work, Performs With The Standells in LA June 3

Derringer’s ‘Rock and Roll Hootchie-Koo’ Still Popular Today


Rick Derringer has a knack for turning play into work.

Derringer’s career began at age 17 with the hit “Hang On Sloopy,” which he co-wrote. He produced platinum albums for Johnny and Edgar Winter and went on to write classic songs like “Rock and Roll Hootchie Koo.”  He’s also played with Steely Dan and others.

Rick Derringer plays with The Standells – Photo courtesy Rick Derringer

Love That Dirty Water

The Standells are known for “Dirty Water,” which has become a theme song for the city of Boston, “Good Guys Don’t Wear Black,” “Try It,” and other songs — into a career spanning five decades.

Derringer produced Johnny Winter and Johnny Winter and Live. He tours all over the U.S. and not only produced Edgar’s biggest hits but also the band White Trash.

Derringer Collaborated With Johnny Winter and Edgar Winter

“I run the gamut in my projects,” Derringer said. “I’ve worked with Johnny Winter and Edgar Winter but I’ve also worked with Weird Al. The weirdest thing is he is one of the most dilligent hard working artists. He’s a nerd, a smart guy, and he’s funny.”

Rick Derringer – Photo by Carl Lender

Weird Al and Derringer

The result of working with Weird Al were awards and accolades including a Best Comedy Recording in 1984 for “Eat It.”  Derringer produced the first six of Weird Al’s albums.

“People are always suggesting titles for Weird Al, and they’re all one-joke songs. He’s good because he jam-packs the songs with jokes and that’s his purpose.”

Derringer has played with a range of people and is friends with plenty more. Back in the the early 1980s Todd Rundgren put on a benefit show for him at South Street Seaport after Derringer had his equipment stolen.

Derringer and Todd Rundgren

“It’s always been fun playing with Todd,” Derringer said. “It was certainly after the days after I left the McCoys, and he gave me the opportunity to go out and play. When I lived in Manhattan he lived a block from me. He’s asked me to play on a quite a few recordings. Recently he remarked the first time he heard “Frankenstein” was before it was released in my music room.”

Derringer will take the stage on June 3 at the Palace with the Standells and it will be the first time they’ve all played together in a long time.

It goes back to the 60s,” Derringer said. “The Standells were one of the first bands we toured with — It was a Rolling Stones tour where the Standells were also on the tour. They’re funny guys as well as having hit records. They haven’t lost their sound and people love them. Younger people would love to hear them. In those days they were called garage bands. It’s very great rock music.”

As for today, Derringer keeps moving along.

‘Real American’ To Debut on Alex Jones

“I just keep playing and recording,” he said. “One of my biggest songs is a song called ‘Real American’  – It’s the Hulk Hogan theme song. It’s been been used in quite a few arenas. That’s become one of our biggest songs. It’s from the ’80s, it was never released as a single. It needed a revamping and we recorded a new version for May 28.

“Real American” will be on Derringer’s label but he’s given first dibbs to Alex Jones, who will debut the song on his news channel. Sound ground May 28.

As for younger people and succeeding in the music business today, Derringer says it’s important to keep trying, no matter what.

“The challenge is to strive to be relevant,” Derringer said. “Listen to your own heart, follow you’re instincts music is a message from player to audience. If they try to make current relevence that’s not what it’s about. It’s a message from you to the audience. In the end that’s what you’re striving for.”

Check out this amazing video of Rick Derringer from 1973: Earns Three Finalist Designations for Southern California Journalism Awards

CR Finalist in Best Blog, Best Social Media


LOS ANGELES –, the Los Angeles-based music blog, nabbed three Finalist designations for the Southern California Journalism Awards, it was announced Saturday.

Social media for Reluctant Apostles story earned finalist spot in Southern California Journalism Awards – Photo © Donna Balancia

Work Honored

The blog, created, produced and maintained daily by journalist Donna Balancia, covers news, interviews and reviews related to music in California.

“The music business and the news business are both being threatened by technology and cuts in funding,” Balancia said. “It’s important to keep the spirit of creativity as well as the art of reviewing and promoting that creativity alive. I thank The Los Angeles Press Club on behalf of our writers and photographers, and the musicians we cover, for honoring our work.”

Smash Mouth duo Steve Harwell and Paul DeLisle hang together - Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Smash Mouth duo Steve Harwell and Paul DeLisle hang together – Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

The Important Role of Social Media

Digital communication plays an ever-increasingly important role today. The social media supporting the articles The Reluctant Apostles Play Molly Malone’s and Smash Mouth Performs at The Canyon Club were named finalists in the Best Social Media category. YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter all were incorporated into coverage. was also named a finalist in the Best Blog category. The blog is three years old and is the regional relative of, started by Balancia in 2012.

The 59th annual Southern California Journalism Awards gala will be held at the Millennium Biltmore Hotel on June 25. The program honors achievement in all forms of news, including work in student publications, online, on radio, TV and in print.

To attend the gala or to support the Los Angeles Press Club, go to

Nancy Wilson and Band, Roadcase Royale, Debut New Video ‘Not Giving Up,’ Play Local SoCal Gigs

Royale to Headline Coach House, Rose and Canyon


Check out Nancy Wilson and her new band Roadcase Royale perform the video “Not Giving Up” on

Roadcase Royale will be playing gigs at The Coachhouse May 31, The Canyon on June 1, and The Rose in Pasadena June 2

For more information go to the Roadcase Royale website


Fans and Friends Mourn Chris Cornell; Soundgarden Frontman Had Ties to Seattle And Sunset Strip

Wife Blames Meds for ‘Suicidal Thoughts’


Fans and the faithful followers of Chris Cornell were awakened Thursday to the shocking news that the Soundgarden frontman and grunge movement musician was dead from an apparent suicide.

** UPDATE: Cornell’s Wife Vicky blamed an anti-anxiety medication for the behavior that led to Cornell’s suicide.  She said in a statement that the singer was slurring his words when on the phone with her after the Detroit show.

Vicky Cornell blames Ativan, the anti-anxiety medication for husband's suicide - Photo courtesy The Promise

Vicky Cornell blames Ativan, the anti-anxiety medication for husband’s suicide – Photo courtesy The Promise

“When we spoke after the show, I noticed he was slurring his words; he was different,” Vicky wrote. “When he told me he may have taken an extra Ativan or two, I contacted security and asked that they check on him. What happened is inexplicable and I am hopeful that further medical reports will provide additional details. I know that he loved our children and he would not hurt them by intentionally taking his own life.”

Cornell’s wife, Vicky, insisted from the outset that her husband displayed no suicidal behaviors or desires prior to the concert. The police in Detroit where he played his last gig said there was little doubt the death was caused by suicide.

Cornell and Soundgarden played at the Fox Theatre on the last night of his life. Earlier in the night he — or his social media gal — Tweeted a positive comment about coming to Detroit. There were also Tweets in the previous days about Mother’s Day put out by his social media team.

Chris Cornell video by Margarito Granados

Connection to the Strip

But his connection to the Sunset Strip and Los Angeles was undeniable. It was a place he could hang out with fans and even try out his early material. In 2009 he was scheduled to play the now-defunct Sunset Strip Music Festival but cancelled.

LA fans and friends alike grieved the loss of one of the best performers and musicians of our times.

“I was a huge fan and the music had a profound effect on me and my friends,” said devoted fan Christine McLeod.

“I’ve seen Chris’ solo tours, I’ve seen Soundgarden and Audioslave,” she said. “His music had haunting and beautiful themes and brought me together with friends.”

Willie Basse said he was on tour with Soundgarden when he was a stage manager for a band called The Big F, which was comprised of members of Berlin.

“I’m grateful to have experienced him and to have worked with him,” Basse said. “He was never egotistical, He was intelligent, well read, kind and respectful. We talked and he told me stories of them playing to ash trays and bartenders when they started out. He said they were persistent.”

Cornell Plays ‘When I’m Down’ at The Troubadour in 2010:


The Promise: Cornell’s Foray Into Feature Films

Chris Cornell video by Margarito Grenados

While Cornell had many achievements, one that he was proud of was the creation of the song “The Promise” for the movie of the same name, based on the Armenian genocide. Money from the song was donated to charity.

On his Instagram page Tom Morello, Cornell’s bandmate in Audioslave, wrote:

“Been blasting #Audioslave & #Soundgarden & #TempleOfTheDog all day, headbanging through the tears. Chris seriously had the most amazing voice in rock in decades.

“He was a crafter of gorgeous melodies, soulful dark lyrics and bulldozer riffs. And he looked like THAT when rocking out,” Morello wrote.

Insiders said Cornell had the “It” factor but had a hard time managing all that goes along with sold out concerts, solo projects and the success.  But wife Vicky disagrees saying it was an Ativan overdose that caused the odd behavior.  The musician’s odd slurring and behavior can be noticed at the end of the video below.

Cornell wrapped “My Wave” in Detroit with a vague declaration to the crowd: “Living up to the hype!”  See video.

Remaining Dates Refunded

Regarding the Soundgarden tour, the last six engagements have obviously been cancelled. They include Rock on the Range in Columbus, Ohio on May 19; Pointfest in St. Louis May 22; The Fillmore in Denver May 22; Revention Music Center in Houston May 25; Dallas May 26 and Rocklahoma in Pryor, Ok on May 27.  Refunds for tickets are available at point of purchase, according to the Live Nation website.

Flaming Lips Play a Show That Puts Fantasyland to Shame, Wayne Coyne Tells Fans at the Ace: ‘Be Happy’

Light Show, Inflatables and Miley Cyrus


What’s pink and green with lights and inflatables all over?

It’s a Flaming Lips concert of course. Expect massive amounts of confetti blasting out of huge cannons on each side of the stage, dancing blow-up reptiles and brightly-colored, costumed unicorn and animal lovers everywhere at The Theatre at the Ace.

Wayne Coyne wants love and peace – Photo by Donna Balancia

There’s a party then there’s a PARTY. The Flaming Lips come complete with nonstop bouncing balloon balls, a wild light show, and colors that are unbelievable.

But few things in life are as colorful Wayne Coyne himself. He rides a horse of many colors, sports multicolor wings, and throws confetti at the audience. The fans love him.

Wayne Coyne covers ‘Space Oddity’ and rolls over crowd in a clear orb – Photo by Donna Balancia

Not only is he a compelling if not interesting musician with a faithful following, he is also a master showman and the display at the Theatre at the Ace was nothing short of remarkable.

The Flaming Lips ran through their famous tunes, new tunes off Oczy Mlody and generally had a blast.  All the time Wayne prompted the audience to continue screaming and having fun.

Flowers, love, peace and a massive light show; it’s The Flaming Lips – Photo by Donna Balancia

Parts of the upstairs at The Ace Hotel were shut off from the public as his friend Miley Cyrus was on the premises,  although she did not show up on stage.

Coyne doesn’t make political statements, but instead talks about happiness and uses vibrant colors to give the audience some momentary glee. Because, as he said, the world out there is not as happy as everyone is when they’re at a Flaming Lips show.

Flaming Lips fans – Photo by Donna Balancia

There was a lot of discussion about his inflatable rainbow, with metaphorical as well as physical references. He said the rainbow represents the happiness we all seek and there was a time when he didn’t want to use the inflatable rainbow. But he gave props to the inflatable rainbow wranglers and his crew in general.

Coyne said there were times when he lost faith in the rainbow – Photo by Donna Balancia

It can’t be easy or cheap to put on an incredible show like this.  There are many layers of lights, many stunts the go off seemingly without a hitch and a general weirdness that is loved by all in attendance.

The fans are devoted to Wayne Coyne – Photo by Donna Balancia

“It’s like he brings us back to being a kid again,” said a Sheree from Los Angeles. “As adults we lose that connection to being childlike and he brings it back. It’s beautiful.”

Fans of the Flaming Lips say the show is beautiful – Photo by Donna Balancia

Some of the highlights included the multicolor horse Coyne rides, the giant dancing blow-up reptiles and getting into the clear inflatable orb and rolling over the crowd set to “Space Oddity.”

Flaming Lips merch sells at a frantic pace – Photo by Donna Balancia

Coyne said they had thought twice about doing “Space Oddity,” beyond about six months after the passing of David Bowie.  But he told the audience he thought it over and it’s his tribute, and now the song will remain in the show, and the fans were happy.

And isn’t that the whole point?


The Blessings Rock The Heather Harris Photo Exhibit at Pop Obscure Records in Downtown LA

Musicians, Artists and Friends on Hand at Showing


The Blessings performed as fans of photography and music gathered at Pop Obscure Records in downtown L.A. for an exhibit by photographer Heather Harris.

Harris has been shooting rock stars for 50 years, but you would never know it by her youthful appearance and never ending passion for her craft.

Heather Harris and Marijke Koger-Dunham – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Musicians and Friends Celebrate

“Heather has been great to us,” said Jeremy White of The Blessings. “She has been supportive of us and she makes us look good.”

The Blessings, who have three CDs, played some of their well-known tunes in a mini-set, including “Shipwrecked on The Shore.”  Frontman Jeremy White said new music is on the way.

The Blessings band members were among the artists, local as well as well-known, who are  portrayed in the many photos that grace the walls of Pop Obscure. Pop Obscure is the latest entry into the vinyl-seller niche.  The store has racks and racks of old and new records.

Ron Young, wife Renee and Kurt Ingham at the Heather Harris photo exhibit – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

DoGs, Metalers and Photogs

Others on hand to see the work of Harris, which is on display through June 18, included musicians aplenty like Loren Molinare of The DoGs with his wife, Julie, Ron Young of Little Caesar with his wif Renee, Leslie Knauer of Precious Metal, Al Teman of Naked Hand Dance, Inger Lorre, Richard Duguay and wife Paula and snapper Ellen Berman and many others.

The Hailers, April and Robert – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Photos on Display and on Sale

Harris’ husband Kurt Ingham, known to many as Mr. Twister of the bands Chainsaw and Christopher Milk, was on hand to photograph the event.

Among the artists in the featured photographs which are for sale are David Bowie, Iggy Pop, Rod Stewart, The Blessings, James Williamson, Lemmy, The Bell Rays and many others.

For more information check out Pop Obscure Records.

Paula and Julie – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Jeremy White of The Blessings – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Ruby Friedman and Kurt Ingham alike attend the event – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Heather Harris and Twister – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Loren Molinare and Ellen Berman – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Photographer Alyson Camus and unknown attendee – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

The Blessings – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Musicians Alex Stiletto of Modern Kicks and Leslie Knauer of Precious Metal share some music talk – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Heather Harris introduces The Blessings at her photo exhibit and quickly departs the stage – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Kurt Ingham, known in his younger days as rocker Mr. Twister, stands next to a photo of him snapped by his wife, Heather Harris – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

California Rocker reviewer Craig Hammons with photographer Alyson Camus – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Lights Out Levine of The Blessings and Prima Donna – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Cool couples: Loren Molinare and wife, Julie, with Ron Young and wife, Renee; the guys are in the band Little Caesar – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Chris Carradine, Marijke Koger-Dunham, Kurt Ingham and Heather Harris – Photo (c) Donna Balancia

Kiefer Sutherland, Singer-Songwriter, Makes Success Out of Heartbreak on his ‘Not Enough Whiskey’ Tour

Songs Tell The Story of This Second-Generation Actor


Kiefer Sutherland took guitar in hand and hit the Southern California stages last week, moving from Stagecoach to the Roxy Theatre in West Hollywood to the Great American Music Hall in San Francisco.  And it’s clear he’s a hit.

It’s the “Not Enough Whiskey Tour,” but it should be called the “Not Enough Kiefer Tour” instead.  The fans love this guy, whether the multi-talented actor-turned-musician is a bully, a vampire, or a country singer-songwriter. The tour continues throughout the U.S. and Europe.

Kiefer Sutherland at The Roxy - Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Kiefer Sutherland at The Roxy – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

‘Down In a Hole’

Kiefer is out promoting his new album, Down In a Hole, a solid collection of tunes that all ages can relate to as they take some new turns on well-traveled country roads.

Kiefer’s music is smooth and rough at the same time, just like the song “Not Enough Whiskey” after which he named the tour he’s taking around North America and abroad. And maybe it’s reflective of his life as an actor, always summoning emotions for the character you portray and not having a chance to delve into your own. Well he’s delving now.

Kiefer’s songwriting is the strongest part of this act. In cases like this, we generally hold actors to a different standard than musicians, but if a performance draws the crowd and makes the ticket-holders happy, we’re in favor of it.  He’s vulnerable and real and the crowd loves it.

Kiefer and his band are on a worldwide tour – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Warm Stage Presence

Kiefer is no Johnny Cash or Elton John, two of his admitted favorites musicians, mainly because his voice needs a little work, but he’s on to something here with his songwriting and warm stage presence.  The fans seem overwhelmed by him and his music, and they sing along with every word as he plays.  Not only that, it appears the people come from near and far to see him, as at The Roxy there were Kiefer fans who came from as far away as inland California.

“My mom came with us tonight because she loves him too,” said Jared Scoville from Temecula. “My mom doesn’t go out too much because she’s older and she can’t walk that well, but we got in the truck and came here because she loves Kiefer’s music.”

From Vampires to Bad Boys and Beyond

Kiefer, who’s played everything from bad boy vampire to Jack Bauer on 24, has had the luxury of growing up in a creative household — his mother is actress Shirley Douglas and his father is actor Donald Sutherland.  The elder Sutherland has a prolific body of work and is known for his quirky roles. He’s perhaps best loved for his portrayal of World War II tank officer “Oddball” in the 5-star Clint Eastwood film Kelly’s Heroes.

And normally we would assume, like everyone else, that this actors’ kid has had an easy time of it, inheriting all the connections and good fortune from his famous parents. Instead, it’s been a different path for Kiefer, who’s had limited guidance from his family and has really gone out on his own.  He’s even been a rodeo competitor and started a record label.

Kiefer Sutherland tours to promote 'Down In a Hole' - Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Kiefer Sutherland tours to promote ‘Down In a Hole’ – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

No Cryin’ Cowboys Here

The new album, Down In a Hole, is a real departure from what we might expect from the rough and tumble millionaire actor.  The music is reflective and somber. As they say, if you’ve just broken up with someone, don’t listen to country music because it could only make you feel more sad.  Nobody likes a crying cowboy.  Kiefer doesn’t exactly cry, but it’s apparent he’s had his share of heartbreak.

The writing of these songs and Kiefer’s expression of these long-suppressed feelings is “cathartic” as he said in a recent interview with

Rick Brantley opened the evening with some down-home songs – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Kiefer and The Crowd

Well the songs may be “cathartic” for Kiefer, but the performances of those songs to packed Southern California crowds is nothing short of remarkable. His shows at the crowded Stagecoach, and packed houses at the Roxy and Great American Music Hall show Kiefer really connect. I don’t care how good an actor you may be, but hitting the stage with a guitar and putting your vulnerability out there for the world to see at a live performance venue takes guts.  Particularly for a TV and film actor, who is used to having a director of photography shoot his best side, having a director do another take just so the actor can look good or having an editor use a more flattering scene.

Kiefer at The Roxy – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

New Chapter for Kiefer

Kiefer is having fun and the emotional songs like “I’ll Do Anything,” and “Not Enough Whiskey”  do reflect on some of the mistakes he’s made in life. Regardless, we could all take a page from  Kiefer’s book.  He’s taken his heartbreak and long-buried emotions and turned them into performances that please the masses.

And he says he’s still working out his issues, which is good for the fans: He’s got some new songs on the way.

Video courtesy of Christopher Pack

The Buttertones: Dreamy Surf Guys Bring Their Cool California Style — And All the Girls — to The Hi Hat

New Album ‘Gravedigging’ is a Fun Retro Record


When you see The Buttertones, get ready for a new style of surfy beach music, cute guys and screaming women.

It’s part of The Buttertones’ scene and it’s a well-established routine. They’re not exactly The Beatles, but it’s the frenzy these guys cause among the females of Southern California that’s really something to see and appreciate. If they could put this kind of sex appeal in a bottle we’d all be better off.

The Buttertones, the women are falling for them - Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

The Buttertones, the women are falling for them – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

We missed a few opportunities to see The Buttertones in the last six months, once at their Aquarium of the Pacific gig on New Year’s Eve and the other recently at The Bootleg. We hear The Bootleg gig was complete with not only the screaming, swooning females, but plenty of stage divers, leaping into the audience like lemmings over the cliff.

Buttertones at The Hi Hat – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

But we managed to catch them at The Hi Hat, one of our favorite venues in Los Angeles — after all, the staff is awesome and the place is big enough to hold all the fans The Buttertones bring in tow.

Check out The Buttertones’ new album, Gravedigging on Bandcamp.

The Buttertones put on an entertaining show. They light themselves up and then have their routine. The songs are fast-paced and fun and the guys dress respectfully, something that seems to be increasingly more common, buttoned shirt, ties and even socks!

Richard Araiza of The Buttertones – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Their recent album, Gravedigging, is a gas, with some killer tunes with catchy, simple titles including “Geisha’s Gaze,” “Ghost Safari,” “Sadie’s a Sadist,” and “Morroccan Monsoon.” All upbeat and rowdy in a surfy and snappy manner. This show is so worthwhile and moves fast.

Silent X wrapped up the night at The Hi Hat – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

The Buttertones are: Bassist Sean Redman, guitarist/singer Richard Araiza, drummer/polyinstrumentalist Modesto ‘Cobi’ Cobiån, saxophonist London Guzmån and guitarist Dakota Boettcher. All accomplished and impressive musicians, and cute to boot.

Matter Room was a fun opener, Espresso really cranked on the drums, Violet Mindfield held the audience spellbound and Silent X was a great topper on the evening.

Energetic and innovative: The Buttertones – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Heather Harris to Exhibit Her Famous Rock Images at Pop Obscure Records From May 6 Through June 18

The Blessings To Play Opening Night Party


Heather Harris has had a unique perspective from her vantage point as rock photographer in the pit since 1967.  There isn’t much this sharpeye doesn’t see, and she shares her vision with others.

The well-known rock photographer is holding an exhibit May 6 through June 18 at Pop Obscure Records in downtown Los Angeles. Beloved local band The Blessings will play a set during the opening evening on Saturday.

“I enjoy going to local shows and you’ll see my photography exhibit includes not only big rock stars but also local artists,” Harris said. “Local artists become big artists, so we included some local people in my exhibit.”

Heather consults with James Williamson on a photo shoot – Photo © Kurt Ingham

Vast Catalogue of Photos

Harris has a remarkable body of work, but she goes under the radar because of her gracious humility. Many of the most well-known photos of rock stars featuring The Who, Prince and Iggy Pop were taken by the soft-spoken Harris.

Harris’ photographs of musicians have been published in Rolling Stone, MOJO, Billboard, Los Angeles Times, Creem, Music Connection, Warner Brothers, Penguin Books, St. Martin’s Press and many more. Spanning Buffalo Springfield to the Red Hot Chili Peppers, her work includes many of the most important figures in rock that came through her native Los Angeles throughout the past five decades. Check out her blog, Fast Film.

Heather’s photo of The Who – Photo © 1970 Heather Harris

Under The Radar

“A lot of people are surprised to see my old stuff as well, because people konw the images but don’t know my name,” she said. “What I think I’ve done is document music acts with a fine artist’s sensibility. It’s always amusing when they say ‘You did that?’ It’s funny that on Facebook any uncredited, good Stooges photograph leads people to say, ‘Is that one of Heather’s?’ Well, if anyone thinks any good photograph of the Stooges is by me, my work is done.”

Harris who has been shooting photos since the late 1960s has seen many changes in how photos are taken over the years. How has she preserved the images?

Photo of Paul McCartney © Heather Harris

Digitizing Images Today

“It takes money,” she said. “I have 40 years worth of images, when we had the earthquake in Northridge, the chimney fell into the bedroom closet and that’s where my pictures were. So it’s not as if they haven’t been endangered. Some people have full time assistants digitizing, I don’t have that. As far as the digital stuff, I backed up most of it on DVDs, I’d still like to get a book out because we still have books, since the middle ages, and that’s a form of preservation in and of itself.”

Harris said there are very few photographers she pals around with, and even fewer she admires.

“One of the music photographers I was most influenced by is David Gahr, and the most amazing thing about his photos is I’ve seen them in person and they look exactly like they reproduce,” she said.  “He had a beautiful tonality that reproduced exactly like it looked. His images would look good even in newsprint. He had a nightmare – his studio burned down but he had lots of books out there. I bought his book, The Face of Folk Music. His stuff always stands out as the best.”

Iggy Pop – Photo © Heather Harris

The Future of Photography

As far as equipment, Harris says that for her, it’s Nikons all the way and she shoots with a D3.

“You’ve gotta have full frame,” she said. “All the clients want huge files. Your friends complain but clients want huge files. I had always pushed film, I like the look better, I don’t use flash unless I have to. I use the little camera as a snapshot camera, it doesn’t scare people. It’s good enough for most usage.

As for the future of photography?

“The future already happened,” she said. “It’s the micromanagement aspect of the music business rather than visual experts controlling the media.”

The digital revolution has also played a role in Harris’ work and she has adapted. She said while digital is relatively inexpensive compared to the old days of photography, she also enjoyed shooting on film.

“I always took a lot of shots, even on film,” Harris said. “‘People ask why did you shoot black and white? There wasn’t fast color film until the 1980s. It was three times as expensive, but most of the publications were printed in black and white. Yeah it was expensive and also it was hard to duplicate and retain.”

Harris has had her share of wild experiences out in the field.

David Bowie Photo © Heather Harris

Scrapes In The Pit

“The funniest one is, the first concert I went to where they blocked off the stage from the audience and that was the Palm Springs Pop Festival which was before Woodstock in 1969,” she recalled. “They blocked off the stage with chicken wire, I just tore it down and took pictures of The Flying Burrito Brothers with Gram Parsons. Why do I only have one picture? Ten thousand people followed me and rioted. They rioted all the way to Taquitz Falls.”

Harris said there is one main difference in today’s music than when she first started out.

“When I first started going to shows there were more Titans straddling the Earth, Jimi Hendrix, like that but the opening bands sucked,” she said. “The big thing about the outfits that put on concerts here for the first time they tried to put on three good acts. Nowadays it’s hard to find bad bands, and there are a lot of good bands. But they’re not great.”

Harris said: “It’s a different world, it matches the bombardment of the current audience who want sound bytes and want things fast and short. I still think the greats of any art form can surpass the limitations of any era by being unique to themselves and universal so I think there’s still room for that.”

She added: “Music is wallpaper to most kids. But younger people like to go to the show and they get their friends jazzed to go to the show. But music fans are music fans. That’s one thing that won’t ever change.”

Pop Obscure Records is located at 735 S. Los Angeles Street in Downtown Los Angeles. For more information go to the Pop Obscure Facebook event page. 

Self portrait © Heather Harris

Deadmau5 Pop Up Store on Fairfax A Smart Marketing Program to Compliment to DJ’s Shrine Appearance


The success of the Deadmau5 pop-up store on Fairfax proves this ever-more-popular temp sales venue is a smart business model.

Musicians, celebs and sports figures are making their brand available on the street right to the fans. Kanye West, the Kardashians and many others have done well with the pop-up store.

In case you weren’t able to make it to the Deadmau5 shop, here’s an inside peek.

In a partnership with Fancy, Deadmau5 brought his cool style to LA, with T-shirts, hoodies, key chains, headphones and other cool items.

The shop — located at 346 N. Fairfax Ave. in the Fairfax shopping district between Melrose Ave and Beverly Blvd.– was open to the public from noon to 8 p.m. on Friday and Saturday to coincide with the DJ’s Shrine appearance.

Also featured in the store were many of Deadmau5’ personal collection of mau5heads on display, including a one-of-a-kind piece by Ron English created at the lots of stuff in a store pop-up in NYC. The head, available now online at created for charity with proceeds going to Win, the largest provider of homeless shelter and supportive housing services for women and families in New York.

Deadmau5 played a four-night sold-out run at The Shrine in downtown Los Angeles.  The shows, which feature his new Cube 2.1 live production, are part of his national ‘lots of shows in a row’ U.S. tour with support act Feed Me.

The store carried T-shits and cool tech, and if you had the cash, you could even pick up a pair of specialty speakers for $32,000.

Check it out.






Kansas Takes It to ‘Point of Know Return’ at 40th Anniversary of ‘Leftoverture’ at The Wiltern Theatre

Ronnie Platt is Golden, Kansas Plugs ‘Prelude Implicit’


It was a resigned era in the 1970s when Kansas the band made it big.  Wedged between the two mini-skirt decades of the 1960s with love-ins and protests, but before the new-wave Devo synth sound, kids were looking for a new style. They wanted to be different.

And Kansas, considered one of the first prog-rock bands of the day, made that transition a lot easier. Like their fans, the band wouldn’t be categorized into a specific niche that came before.

Kansas had a booming sound that sometimes was compared to other big bands of the era, like Boston, but with a violin and songs that border-lined on Jethro Tull, and with all the genius of Frank Zappa’s avant-garde innovation.

Well not much has changed — except band members — but for the most part, Kansas blew away the packed house at The Wiltern last night and gave the fans what they came to see: A real Kansas show.

Kansas is one of the early prog-rock bands and put on a great show at The Wiltern - Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Kansas is one of the early prog-rock bands and put on a great show at The Wiltern – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Kansas On Tour

“I’ve always wanted to see them and I never got to so this is going to be fun,” said Bob McGregor of Ventura. “They were always one of my favorites but I never got to see them when I was in high school.”

The band is on a major tour celebrating the 40th anniversary of Leftoverture, an album that set the music world on its ear, mainly for its hit single “Carry On Wayward Son,” written by Kerry Livgren. Livgren, a founding member of the band wasn’t at the Wiltern last night.

Rich Williams and his trademark eye patch has been with the band since 1974 - Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Rich Williams and his trademark eye patch has been with the band since 1974 – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Kansas Players

The 70s prog-rock band now consists of founding member and drummer Phil Ehart and early member Rich Williams on guitar, Billy Greer on bass and vocals, fabulous Dave Manion on keys, Dave Ragsdale on violin, Zack Rizvi on guitar and the outstanding Ronnie Platt on lead vocals and keyboards.

It’s not easy filling in the big shoes of Steve Walsh the original frontman, but Platt’s voice is remarkable, hitting the audience like a freight train on the power ballads yet gliding gently through the lighter fare.

The impressive Ronnie Platt, frontman, with guitarist Zak Rizvi - Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

The impressive Ronnie Platt, frontman, with guitarist Zak Rizvi – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Kansas on TV

Until the collection of songs is heard in one sitting, those who were mere radio listeners to Kansas in the heyday don’t feel the impact of all these hits. Many have been used for commercials, most notably “Carry On Wayward Son” in a Miller Lite spot and “Point Of No Return” for State Farm.

Regardless, the body of work in is significant and the performance at the Wiltern got the crowd to its feet on more than one occasion.

The Kansas crowd was captivated - Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

The Kansas crowd was captivated – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

The Prelude Implicit

Kansas introduced several of its new tunes off the album The Prelude Implicit, and honored the fallen soldiers in Afghanistan with the song “Section 60” marred slightly by disrespectful people at the back bar who were blabbing loudly throughout. If you’re going to be loud and obnoxious, why do you have to do it inside the venue while the band is playing?

Kansas songs reached a new generation through TV commercials - Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Kansas songs reached a new generation through TV commercials – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

The New Songs

Also impressive off the new album were the tunes “Refugee” and “Rhythm In The Spirit.”

Most of the audience members came to hear the hits and they got them: “Dust In The Wind,” “Point of Know Return” and of course, “Carry On Wayward Son.”

Kansas continues its great tour, bringing its famous tunes to the world. Did it matter that not all the original guys from the old days were at The Wiltern?  No, because on hand were those beloved  songs, the excellent sound, and the great memories.

Set List

Kansas at the Wiltern, April 26, 2017:

The Coming Dawn (Thanatopsis)
Hold On
Chasing Shadows
Reason to Be
Icarus II
Icarus – Borne on Wings of Steel
Point of Know Return
Journey From Mariabronn
Lamplight Symphony
Dust in the Wind
Rhythm in the Spirit
The Voyage of Eight Eighteen
Section 60
Carry On Wayward Son
The Wall
What’s on My Mind
Miracles Out of Nowhere
Opus Insert
Questions of My Childhood
Cheyenne Anthem
Magnum Opus
Portrait (He Knew)

‘Drama Rock’ by Dreamcar, Roisin Murphy and Lady Gaga, Debuts at Coachella Amid Innovative Acts, Music


Powered by Dreamcar, Roisin Murphy and Lady Gaga, “Drama Rock” made its debut at Coachella this year.

The Davey Havok-fronted band Dreamcar, and the Irish-born Murphy took the blending of music and art to a new level at the annual festival season-opener in the desert.

Tony Kamal and Davey Havok – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

The dapper Havok of the new group Dreamcar, sported a slick suit despite the triple-digit heat and he crooned to the audience like a torch singer from the 1940s. The act is very physical as Havok runs the length of the stage, jumps into the audience, high-fives the people and sings with tremendous, in-your-face force.  There seems to be a side of Havok that hasn’t left the hardcore punk behind, despite his tidy outward appearance. Havok has matured in his approach to music and he gives Tony Kanal and the No Doubt core a frontman that can carry the group forward.

Havok is clearly an audience favorite as fans scream for him and adore him — particularly the California contingent — as he’s from Ukiah, Calif.  The band played cuts off the new, self-titled album due May 12.

The many faces of the incredibly talented Roisin Murphy – Photo by Coachella

Roisin Murphy takes costume changes to a new level, as she must have changed either shirt, skirt or facial attachments at least 16 times during her set.  This amazing artist is like a combination of Gloria Gaynor and David Bowie.  It’s avant-garde music but set to the disco beat, which got all the festival attendees in the Gobi Tent up and dancing with each other.

Strictly from her appearance it would seem she is the Irish Bjork, as Murphy’s accessories are very bizarre.  Fuzzy flowers with faces, masks, and offbeat but feminine clothing is the name of the game here. The music, though, carries through the shenanigans and resonates with deep impact despite the visual whirlwind on stage.

Murphy’s a producer and has cut her teeth in the theatre and it’s easy to identify that background.  She was a special treat at Coachella and the festival would be well suited to bring on more performers like Murphy. Her latest album is Take Her Up to Monto.

Blossoms brought the drama among the press that surrounds a band on the rise – Photo courtesy of Coachella

Blossoms didn’t have theatrics to incorporate into their show, but the drama that surrounded the U.K band was noted as their appearance caused a splash with the media. There was a lot about Blossoms that drew the media and the fans around the Outdoor Theatre stage at the early part of the day. The music is upbeat and catchy. U.K. band is comprised of Tom Ogden, Charlie Salt, Josh Dewhurst, Joe Donovan and Myles Kellock.

Ogden made a sure bet that Blossoms is the only band at Coachella in which the band mates were all born in the same hospital. The hospital is back in Stockport, Manchester.

Also making a splash on the hot weekend 2 were Car Seat Headrest, War Paint, Toots and the Maytalls, The Allah Las, Grace Mitchell and Sunday headliner Kendrick Lamar whose Damn is a major hit.

Banks and Steelz had a great afternoon set and they brought Bishop Briggs up to the stage to join in on the song, “Wild Season,” and she held her own. Florence Welch is the featured singer on the song on the Banks and Steelz debut album, Anything But Words.

Will Toledo of Car Seat Headrest – Photo courtesy of Coachella

Then there’s the drama that goes with the artist who didn’t want his photo taken. We’re not sure what the purpose is for any musician to not want to be photographed by anyone when they are performing to the people who (sometimes) buy the music.

The artist who didn’t want his photos taken – courtesy of Coachella

Lady Gaga, whose tireless theatrics make people tired just observing, did not fail to impress on weekend 2.  This time, she brought her parents, but still veered little from the week before.  She played the classics as well as her new song, “The Cure.” She said she wanted to find out how many people had been listening to it since the song debuted the week before.  And as if not to be outdone by any of the other acts during weekend two, Gaga punctuated her final Coachella set with a dramatic fireworks display.

Lady Gaga and her men – Photo courtesy of Coachella

Radiohead Plays Perfectly, Interrupters with Tim Armstrong Steal The Second Weekend at Coachella

Highlights from Weekend Two in Indio


INDIO – Radiohead put on one of the strongest shows ever to headline the first night of weekend two at Coachella Music and Arts Festival.

In a near-flawless performance — technically and otherwise — Thom Yorke and crew put a cool touch to a hot second weekend at the Empire Polo Club.

Radiohead got the love from the crowd running through a setlist of old and new favorites, many from their latest album A Moon Shaped Pool.

“Radiohead is not a band, it’s my religion,” said concert-goer Jeff Alcott who came from Fresno to see his deity.

But Friday was highlighted by several outstanding performances earlier in the day.

King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard played strong at the Outdoor Theatre and The Lemon Twigs put on an outstanding performance at The Gobi stage, proving that brothers actually can get along.

King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard – Photo courtesy Coachella

The D’Addario brother-led band, The Lemon Twigs, played to the crowd in a combination of physical prowess and musical throwback. The guys have been working with Todd Rundgren, and it shows. They sound like Todd, perform like Todd and it’s great to see “The Wizard” get some overdue recognition from the younger set.

Tennis, who embark on a North American tour, said they felt they were well-received by the Coachella concert-goers, who ranged in age from teens to post-50s.

What stole the night was the action in the Sonora tent with Shannon and the Clams, Guided By Voices and The Interrupters.

Shannon growls her way through dynamic music and her 50s soda dountain style with music that appeals to all ages and including those old enough to remember the early days of surf-style rock and roll. But it’s clear Shannon and the Clams really get through to the crowds.

Robert Pollard delivered great songs, beer and whiskey – Photo (c) 2017 Donna Balancia

Guided By Voices put on show for the devotees as frontman Robert Pollard shared his beer and whiskey with the crowd.  Except for the people at stage left.

But it was The Interupters whose ska-rock energy and talent took the second Friday. The band is comprised of the raspy-voiced Aimee Interrupter on vocals, Kevin Bivona on guitar, Justin Bivona on Bass and Jesse Bivona on drums. They ran through their songs old and new, and it got especially good when they brought out Tim Armstrong from Rancid. He came on stage as an audience member who was picked to play guitar with the band.

“What’s your name?” they asked.

“Lint,” Armstrong replied.

Tim Armstrong joins The Interrupters – Photo (c) 2017 Donna Balancia

Lady Gaga was set to headline Saturday night and openers on various stages include The Blossoms, Car Seat Headrest, Roisin Murphy and Banks and Steelz.  Stay tuned.

Powerman 5000 and the Radioactive Chicken Heads Draw a New Arts Crowd to Our Favorite Bowling Alley

Powerman 5000, Chicken Heads Come to Lucky Strike


It wasn’t exactly the hoi-polloi, but Powerman 5000 and Radioactive Chicken Heads brought fans of the arts and entertainment to Lucky Strike for a special event, Scratch and Sniff.

Powerman 5000 looks a little different when unplugged - Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Powerman 5000 looks a little different when unplugged – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Each band did a stripped down version of their acts with Powerman 5000 playing an impressive acoustic set dressed as The Allman Brothers, and Chicken Heads cutting to their most basic calamitous songs.

Spider One, dressed as Greg Allman performs an acoustic set - Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Spider One, dressed as Greg Allman performs an acoustic set – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Powerman 5000 with its flamboyant frontman Spider One, created the art event coincidentally while ASCAP EXPO was going on next door at the Loews Hotel Hollywood. Say what you will about the topics of the pieces painted by Spider One, but the work is excellent and worth the price tag.

Spider One dressed as Greg Allman with a wig of long, white hair, and a bandana, and the rest of the band kept in genre as well.  It was a little odd seeing them in this costume mode, as opposed to their typical metal-style appearance. The evening was put together by Krsy Fox.

Spider One had an art exhibit in the back room, and his works include several robot paintings — from different eras — a James Bond tribute, as well as his renditions of Bela Lugosi and Frankenstein. The artwork is compelling and has a sense of humor to it, but then, would we expect any less from the brother of Rob Zombie?  I hope for the sake of our own further disappointment, that Spider refrains from drinking the foo-foo double lattes preferred by his renowned hard rock, horror-slinging sibling.

Powerman 5000 puts on a good show no matter what style it is, even if it’s with acoustic guitars and a box as was the case Friday night. The sound in Lucky Strike is excellent, so much so that Powerman 5000 recorded a live EP in there that night.  Not a lot of details yet. The proceeds from the album will go to an animal adoption charity.

The Radioactive Chicken Heads wrapped up the night in typical calamity — chasing each other around the stage, singing punk songs and even falling down.  It’s well worth any cost of admission to see this group and it’s entertaining on several levels.

We especially like that the Radioactive Chicken Heads don’t pull any punches. They know they’re punkers and don’t pretend to be anything else.  Their leader, Carrot Top, runs a tight ship and makes sure good conquers evil in the shows.

There’s a bit where a dancing cheese and a Rat Fink-looking Chucky Cheese come out and Carrot Top brings out a knife to — what else? — cut the cheese of course. Then they perform “Pest Control.” We loved El Pollo Diablo, who jabs Carrot Top with his pitchfork.  It is legend that El Pollo Diablo came from a Deviled Egg. They also do a song “I Looked Into The Mirror,” which Carrot Top does and lo and behold his evil twin appears and they do battle.

Anyway, it’s all in good fun. The Radioactive Chicken Heads have been around since the late 1990s and have gotten their fair share of attention in the press and have built a loyal following. Carrot Top’s imagination fueled this band as he said he always had characters in his brain.  He even wrote comic books on his characters.

Richmond Sluts Rock Harvard and Stone, Band Plays New Album, And Leaves for European Tour

Richmond Sluts Promote Catchy ’60 Cycles of Love’


The Richmond Sluts headlined a great Thursday night at Harvard and Stone, part of the Cheap Satisfaction series.

The Richmond Sluts are off to Europe - Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

The Richmond Sluts are off to Europe – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Our best local drummer, John Tyree, booked the night — he got the guys together for a Thursday night gig at Harvard and Stone. Not and easy feat having a band that is comprised of half LA members and half Northern Cal guys. Yes, Richmond, Ca., in case you wondered.

The Richmond Sluts keep rock and roll alive - Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

The Richmond Sluts keep rock and roll alive – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

But when they get together for a gig, wherever it is, it’s pure mayhem. And lots of fun too. The club should be renamed “Echo and Fuzz” after the retro rockers’ performance.


The scene is what lends a certain comeraderie with some of the local notables on hand, Johnny Witmer and Emil Edinger, the better half of promoter Asia Muka.

Frontman Shea Roberts takes over - Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Frontman Shea Roberts takes over – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

The Richmond Sluts took it to new levels as they ramp up for their European tour.

“We’re loved over there,” said keyboardist Justin Lynn. “It’s going to be a great tour.”

Dynamic frontman Shea Roberts said the French label, Beast, is coming along great and having success distributing the Sluts’ records. The new. 10-track LP is 60 Cycles of Love and it’s a winner. One of the songs we like is “Different Tune,” a haunting 1960s-style fuzzy anthem of relationships. Another standout is “Into These Eyes,” a bluesy rock n roll love letter.

The Sluts' new album is 60 Cycles of Love - Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

The Sluts’ new album is 60 Cycles of Love – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

We first caught up with The Richmond Sluts at James Williamson’s “Re-Licked” all-star punk show at The Bootleg back in January of 2015.  The Sluts did a nice job holding the fort as one of the openers.

The Richmond Sluts have certainly progressed in a few short years. There’s a new album and more stage presence.  Shea still does the crouchy dance thing and his voice is an unlikely cross between Elvis Costello and Jim Morrison. We love the surfy punk guitar style.

Hello Shea - Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Hello Shea – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

The band — John Tyree, Chris Beltran, Justin, Rob Easson, Lee Gallagher, Shea Roberts and Jesse Nichols — put on a tight set and they have a certain fan base that looks forward to their visits.

They’ve put out an LP on Disaster Records in 2001 and touring the US, The Richmond Sluts began to draw attention in the underground garage and rock scene, playing with bands such as The Brian Jones Town Massacre and, remarkably, Sky Saxon and the Seeds.

Check out The Richmond Sluts on Bandcamp. 

See video of The Richmond Sluts from Harvard and Stone:

British Punk’s Prolific Colin Newman: The Band Wire is Not Just Some Heritage Group from The 1970s

The Drill Fest by Wire Packs the Echo


Wire held its Drill Fest at The Echo and Echoplex, and it was a rare opportunity to see some of punk’s originators tell it like it is.

Judging by the attendance at the fest, which ran over three days and included performers like Mikal Cronin, Bob Mould and of course headliner Wire, it’s easy to see punk is very much alive today. Or it’s making a “curated” comeback at the very least.

The Pink Flag Guitar Ensemble – a roaring finale – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Drill Fest is not just Wire playing on tour, founder Colin Newman told

“Drill is curated by the bands,” Colin said. “It’s just another aspect of what the band do.

Colin Newman: 'Being influential is a double-edged sword' - Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Colin Newman: ‘Being influential is a double-edged sword’ – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Wire: Not Re-Living The Past

“The importance is it’s partly to us,” Colin said. “One of the things about Wire is we’re not doing the heritage circuit. We’re not trying to relive our past. It’s about us making connections to other artists, not necessarily younger artists, but artists of different genres, with different ways of working and in a way it’s putting ourselves in a situation and saying this is what we are, we’re not just some band from the ’70s living off our past.”

Great musicians curated at Drill - Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Great musicians curated at Drill – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Newman On Being ‘Influential’

Wire has been so influential to so many bands, but that’s an interesting conundrum, Colin said in typical fashion.

“It’s a double-edged sword, really,” Colin said.


“Because you don’t like everything that you’ve influenced,” he said. “But everything influences everything else in music. Music is a dialog.”

Musicians and friends - Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Musicians and friends – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

That dialog connected this weekend as the crowds at the Echo and Echoplex appreciated the music of many favorites.

Among those who hit the stages were:  Malka Spigel (Minimal Compact), Dean Wareham and Britta Phillips (Luna), Jason Falkner (The Grays, Three O’Clock, Jellyfish), Jessica Lipstate (Noveller), and Jess Labrador, and Shannon Sky Madden (Chasms).

Not just 'Part-Time Punks' The Drill is the real deal - Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Not just ‘Part-Time Punks’ The Drill is the real deal – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Other friends and players on hand included Rafe Mandel, Caroline Borolla, Geoffrey Halliday, James Hamblin, Stefan Nelson and Sandy Yang. Wire is Robert Grey, Matthew Simms, Graham Lewis and Colin Newman.



The Orwells, The Walters and No Parents Take No Prisoners in Physical Sets at The Regent Theater LA

Three Strong Bands Prove Punk Still has Legs


When The Orwells play a show, it’s more like a PE party.

Friends, fans and strong opening bands are the name of the game here and there are no disappointments.  The songs are good, the show is physical and the fans have a great time. The Orwells are touring to support their new album, Terrible Human Beings.

No Parents - Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

No Parents – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

The show at The Regent Theater last night was no different as punk performances were the order of the night and the fans loved every minute of three solid sets.

The Walters – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

You’ve got everything here — new punk music, fun performances and cute guys — and no shortage of girls on hand in the audience. After getting a load of the guys in the bands it was no suprise there were so many young women.  But The Orwells, The Walters and No Parents didn’t fool around and got straight to work.


Check out our review and additional photos at



See more at

Meat Puppets Rip Through Favorites as Show at The Echo With FdMdxFd Becomes a Family Affair


The Meat Puppets won over the crowd of the faithful Wednesday night as they took the stage and held a packed house at the Echo entranced. They didn’t miss a beat and it’s been far too many years since we’ve seen this great American band in action.

The guys, notably the Kirkwood clan — Curt, Cris and Elmo — along with the outstanding Shandon Sahm, ripped through fan favorites and showed the chops that have kept them rolling over the years.

Meat Puppets Fans

There are few bands as pure fun and who need to do so little to elicit the crowds’ adoration as The Meat Puppets.  Some of the players have changed over the years, and there have been breakups and reunions, but things seem to be moving along nicely for the Arizona players.

The drummer for The Meat Puppets, Shandon Sahm, is extraordinary — and not just because of his ripped physique  — his command of the kit is something to behold. He is the son of the legendary Doug Sahm of the Sir Doug Quintet.

Stonefield California Rocker

Stonefield – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Openers Stonefield and Ford Madox Ford brought a new influx of fans to the Echo, some who like young women with shoegazey style, and punkers from the 1980s.  There was profound talent on hand with the impressive Stonefield and Ford Madox Ford.

Dewey Peek and Chip Kinman are kin - Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Dewey Peek and Chip Kinman are kin – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Chip Kinman Punk Legacy

As the crowd increased in capacity during the night so did the curiosity about Ford Madox Ford.  Many of the punkers in the audience were not aware the lead vocalist in the band is none other than wildman Chip Kinman, who with his brother Tony created the sound of Rank and File and The Dils.

Family Affair

And as it was a family affair with The Meat Puppets, so it was also with Ford Madox Ford. Along with bassist Matt Littell and drummer S. Scott Aguero, Kinman was accompanied on stage by his son, Dewey Peek.  The group keeps the party rolling with serious rock and roll.  They’re working on a new LP and have a single out, called “Expect It.”  Check out the video for “Expect It” by Ford Madox Ford.

Ford Madox Ford - Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Ford Madox Ford – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia


Chip Kinman – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia


Ford Madox Ford – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia


The Meat Puppets - Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

The Meat Puppets – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia


Brothers Kirkwood - Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Brothers Kirkwood – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

EXCLUSIVE VIDEO: Chip Kinman and Ford Madox Ford Debut the New Vid for Bluesy Tune ‘Expect It’


Check out the exclusive video from Chip Kinman and Ford Madox Ford, called “Expect It.”  The video makes its debut right here on

Chip Kinman and Fdmdxfd - Photo © 2017 Deb Morrison-Littell

Ford Madox Ford – Photo © 2017 Deb Morrison-Littell

A Cool Video

Kinman, the well-known wild SoCal punker who rose to fame with his brother Tony in bands like The Dils and Rank and File, is at it again. This time, Kinman is working with another “kin” of his: His son, Dewey Peek.  On bass is Matt Littel and drummer is S. Scott Aguero. The video was directed by Rez Hat.

‘Collapse and Nothingness’

“The song ‘Expect It’ is about collapse and the complete nothingness that follows,” Kinman told “We had a great time making the video, a lot of beer and tacos, North East Los Angeles, dontcha know. It was filmed with a rare Swedish camera that makes everything look like TV in the Seventies, which is what life should be like anyway.”

Chip Kinman - Photo © 2017 Deb Morrison-Littell

Chip Kinman – Photo © 2017 Deb Morrison-Littell

Ford Madox Ford brings a bluesy sensibility to punk and will be taking the great stage at the Echo Wednesday night opening for The Meat Puppets.

Kinman has had his share of innovative bands, predominantly known for The Dils, and Rank and File. As for Ford Madox Ford, Kinman says it’s a fun and new style.

“We’re the only band that plays punk and blues at the same time,” Kinman said.

Check out “Expect It” here. Go to Fdmdxfd Facebook page for more info on the band. Wednesday’s show at the Echo is sold out.

Say 'cheese,' Dewey Peek - Photo © 2017 Deb Morrison-Littell

Say ‘cheese,’ Dewey Peek – Photo © 2017 Deb Morrison-Littell


Matt Littell - Photo © 2017 Deb Morrison-Littell

Matt Littell – Photo © 2017 Deb Morrison-Littell


Chip and Scott - Photo © 2017 Deb Morrison-Littell

Chip and Scott – Photo © 2017 Deb Morrison-Littell



At The Drive In To Release First Album in 17 Years, Announces Tour, and New Single, ‘Incurably Innocent’


At The Drive In will release its first studio album in 17 years, called in • ter a • li • a, which is expected to drop May 5.  The high-energy post-punk legends also announced a new tour including stops in San Diego, San Francisco and Los Angeles, and a new single, “Incurably Innocent.”

“Incurably Innocent” is the second track to be released in advance of in • ter a • li • a, now available for pre-order via Rise Records.

Cedric Bixler-Zavala performs with ATDI at The Hollywood Palladium - Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Cedric Bixler-Zavala performs with ATDI at The Hollywood Palladium – Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

“Incurably Innocent,” is described by vocalist Cedric Bixler-Zavala as “a song about sexual abuse and being able to finally speak out.”

in • ter a • li • a in Latin means “among other things.” At The Drive In is Cedric Bixler-Zavala, Omar Rodriguez-Lopez, Paul Hinojos, Tony Hajjar and Keeley Davis.

Produced by Omar Rodriguez-Lopez and Rich Costey at Hollywood’s Sound Factory, the 11-song 41-minute in • ter a • li • a picks up where Relationship of Command left off back in 2000 and is anticipated by fans.

Cedric Bixler-Zavala performs with ATDI at The Hollywood Palladium - Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Cedric Bixler-Zavala of ATDI, pictured here at The Hollywood Palladium, will tour in support of new album this May – Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

in • ter a • li • a‘s release will be supported a series of concerts beginning in El Paso and including headlining dates at the Bill Graham Civic Center in San Francisco, and the Shrine Auditorium.

Cedric Bixler-Zavala performs with ATDI at The Hollywood Palladium - Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Cedric Bixler-Zavala performs with ATDI at The Hollywood Palladium – Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia


Cedric Bixler Zavala of At The Drive In - Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Cedric Bixler Zavala of At The Drive In – Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Le Butcherettes will support on the new dates.

For more information go to At The Drive In’s Facebook page  For updates and tickets, go to here for ATDI merch


Cedric Bixler-Zavala performs with ATDI at The Hollywood Palladium - Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

At The Drive In packs the house at The Hollywood Palladium – Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia


At The Drive In puts on a high energy show - Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

At The Drive In puts on a high energy show as depicted in this award winning photo – © 2016 Donna Balancia

in • ter a • li • a  Tracklist:












Cedric Bixler-Zavala performs with ATDI at The Hollywood Palladium - Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Cedric Bixler-Zavala performs with ATDI at The Hollywood Palladium – Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia


At The Drive In, Live 2017:

3/17/17 – New Orleans, LA – Civic Theatre

3/18/17 – Atlanta, GA – The Tabernacle

3/20/17 – Washington DC – 9:30 Club

3/22/17 – New York, NY – Terminal 5

3/25/17 – Boston, MA – House of Blues

3/27/17 – Detroit, MI — The Fillmore

3/29/17 – Toronto, Canada – Rebel (formerly Sound Academy)

5/6/17 — El Paso TX — County Coliseum                                              

5/8/17 — Phoenix AZ — Marquee Theatre

5/9/17 — San Diego CA — Soma                         

5/12/17 — San Francisco CA — Bill Graham Civic Auditorium 

5/13/17 — Los Angeles CA — Shrine Auditorium

5/17/17 — Mexico City — Pepsi Center WTC

6/7/17 — Austin, TX — Stubb’s

6/9/17 — San Antonio, TX — Aztec Theater

6/10/17 — Houston, TX — Revention Music Center

6/12/17 — Dallas, TX — South Side Ballroom

6/13/17 — Oklahoma City, OK — The Criterion

6/15/17 — Denver, CO — The Fillmore

6/17/17 — St. Paul, MN — Palace Theatre

6/18/17 — Chicago, IL — Aragon Ballroom

6/20/17 — Columbus, OH — Express Live!

6/21/17 — Cleveland, OH — Agora Theatre

8/15-17/17 — St. Pölten, Austria — FM4 Frequency Festival 2017

8/16-19/17 — Paredes De Coura, Portugal — Paredes De Coura Festival 2017

8/16-19/17 — Kiewit, Belgium — Pukkelpop Festival 2017

8/25-27/17 — Weatherby, UK — Leeds Festival 2017

8/25-27/17 — Reading, UK — Reading Festival 2017

At The Drive In - Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

At The Drive In – Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia


Teri Gender Bender of Le Butcherettes will open for ATDI - Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Teri Gender Bender of Le Butcherettes will open for ATDI – Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia


Cedric Bixler-Zavala - Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Cedric Bixler-Zavala – Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

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