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The Black Lips, Starcrawler and Timmy’s Organism Throw and Get Thrown at The Regent Theater

Stage Diving, Sex on Stage, and Masks Rule

By DONNA BALANCIA

The Black Lips brought the toilet paper and opener Starcrawler cleaned up the accolades at The Regent Theater.

Timmy’s Organism was in keeping with the punk-themed night with an interesting if not completely bizarre performance that included blue paint on the frontman’s face, a blond-haired-mask and silver cape on the floor. They’re worth checking out.

Black Lips put on a bone-crushing show at The Regent - Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Black Lips put on a bone-crushing show at The Regent – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

The headlining Black Lips never fail to bring the stage divers, but the people jumping were bigger than usual this time around. Some of the many leapers ended up on the floor or squishing smaller people in the front.  The carnage is a good reason to have a stage-dive weight limit.

But it’s all part of the fanfare as the Atlanta-born band has endured the afflictions of many punk bands — personnel changes as well as the ups and downs of a fickle music industry.

Black Lips – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Cole Alexander, on vocals and rythm guitar and Jared Swilley on vocals and bass have been around since 1999, enduring the toilet paper being hurled on stage as well as the occasional accidental tumble into the pit.  They are complimented by Jack Hines on guitar and vocals who was with the band in the early 2000s and then again from 2014 until now and Oakley Munson on drums and Zumi Rosow on sax, both of whom came on in 2017.

Jumpers about at Black Lips show at The Regent – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

The band has been faithful to Vice Records and its 2014 album Underneath the Rainbow hit No. 143 on the Billboard 200.  Its latest is Satan’s Graffiti or God’s Art? also on Vice Records.

The band played some of their classics and mixed in some new cuts.  On the set list, which was so mangled it can’t be printed: Raw Meat, Smiling, Scab, New Direction, Rebel Intuition, Occidental Front, Family Tree and more.

Starcrawler’s Arrow de Wilde – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Starcrawler opened for The Black Lips and put on a performance that left mouths agape as front woman Arrow de Wilde threw herself — and the crowd — into a frenzy. Included in the act is the singer-cum-mental patient look, autoeroticism as she has no problem touching her own body parts in public, stage-lying and visits into the audience.

Starcrawler – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

In the case of Starcrawler, not only is the song a good punk song, the performance is outstanding. Arrow de Wilde with her wide-eyed gaze and bone-thin appearance is the ultimate front person, she takes on an androgynous presence and slams the audience with her wild physical act.

Starcrawler – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Henri Cash doesn’t fool around either, leaping sky high and his half of the aggressive act takes on a whole other, but complimentary tone.  Drummer Austin Smith should be applauded for driving the wild sound and keeping the energy high.

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

Pasadena Fest Draws Mixed Music Demo

By DONNA BALANCIA

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.

The xx Release Digital Deluxe Version of Their Classic Third Album, ‘I See You,’ Play Glastonbury

By JOHN DALY

The xx have released a digital deluxe version of their classic third album, I See You. 

I See You is available on all digital services now and features three new songs: “Naïve,” which features a Drake sample, “Seasons Run” and “Brave For You.” The songs were previously available on the I See You boxed set but have never previously been available digitally.

To mark the news, The xx have today also revealed a video for “Brave For You (Marfa Demo).”

 

 

 

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

St. Vincent Tickets on Sale June 27

By DONNA BALANCIA

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 CaliforniaRocker.com

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

Arroyo Seco Festival Weekend Brings the Best of Music, Food to Pasadena Saturday and Sunday

By DONNA BALANCIA

This weekend, the Arroyo Seco Festival Weekend will bring together the likes of top musicians like Tom Petty, Dawes and Alabama Shakes while famous chefs will be showing off LA’s top cuisine.

Varied and Savory Food

Genghis Cohen; Beer Belly; Chego; Kettle Black; Ramen Hood; Sage; Sumo Dog; Wexler’s Deli and Wolf are among the varied restaurant selections representing at the inaugural year of the Pasadena music and food fest.

Weather forecasts show mid-80s for the weekend to help bring out the crowds to Brookside Park, beside The Rose Bowl Stadium.

The inaugural Arroyo Seco Festival boasts great music and food for this weekend

Three Stages of Music

The first Arroyo Seco Weekend is expected to be a top entertainment event with three stages of live music, and featuring top menus from the area’s most impressive restaurants.

Here are some of the featured performers in the lineup:

Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers

MusiCares Raises More Than $8 Million in Honoring Tom Petty as MusiCares Person of the Year

Dawes

Fitz and The Tantrums

Fitz And The Tantrums, Prima Donna, The Knitts For New Year’s

John Mayall

John Mayall, Known as ‘Godfather of British Blues,’ to play Del Mar Fair

Mumford and Sons

The Shins

The Shins Release Fourth Advance Track from ‘Heartworms,’ and Add Three New Dates to Tour

Since We Were Kids Rip It Up in Neighborhood Skate Pools and also In Their Punk Music

‘No Regrets’ About Longterm Friendships

By ALENA LIM

Since We Were Kids were formed in 2012 by old friends who are hardcore skaters. They’ve also been playing music together for a pretty long time.

A group of friends who are just doing what they love to do, the name Since We Were Kids couldn’t explain this group any better.

A lively performance by Since We Were Kids – Photo by Alena Lim

‘Aggressive Humor’

Their music is expressed through their aggressive humor mixing it up with intense energy during their live shows. They also have their own skate merch, which they created using their custom shape.

Since We Were Kids also test-rode the boards they sell to make sure the quality is ready and durable before being purchased. One of their best shows was at the skate shop. They enjoy spending their leisure time skateboarding in the back yard pools where they drain the water out.

Since We Were Kids – Photo by Alena Lim

What Came Before

Since We Were Kids released a demo in 2013 called, “The Setlist” after Irish Voodoo Records put out the Skatecore 7″ and a cassette tape which sold out rather quickly. They have two albums available on YouTube if you are interested in listening to their pieces. One album is called Hard Cements, No Regrets which was recorded in February of 2015. Due to the record pressing plants being backed up, the album wasn’t released until 2016.

Their second album Skatecore 7″ and cassette was recorded and released in 2014. They are currently in the process of recording a new song and will be releasing a music video for it.

Since We Were Kids – Photo by Alena Lim

‘Counterfeit,’ ‘New Jack City,’ ‘Poolside’

My personal favorites from the group are “Counterfeit,” “New Jack City,” and “Poolside.”

Since We Were Kids will be performing at the Kennedy’s Pub in Victorville on June 23. and Brook’s Bar in Riverside on July 1.

1. Band Members:

Danny-Vocals/Guitar

Art-Drums

Jason-Bass/Vocals

Patrick-Guitar

2. Where they’re from: San Bernardino, CA

3. Genre: Punk Rock

4. Location of performance:The Dive Bar – Las Vegas, NV

5. Band’s inspirations:

NOFX/Lagwagon/Rich Kids on LSD/No Use For a Name/Heckle/Ten Foot Pole/Pennywise/Face to Face/Weaksauce/Brainsick

6. Set list of songs:

Restored, Jokes on U.S., iMacs and Itracks, Counterfeit, New Jack City, Poolside, Hard Cement No Regrets, Resident Evil, The Winners Life, Posi Pride, Disposable Bandwagon, Subculture

 

With ‘Trouble Maker,’ Rancid Tells Us Where They’re Going With Hot Album: To The Top of the Charts

Rancid Tackles Important Issues with New Record

By DONNA BALANCIA

Rancid’s new record, Trouble Maker, was inspired by freedom of speech and people using music as a message, and they’re making their point. There aren’t too many who escape the band’s smartly crafted barbs on the new record.

America’s most undervalued punk rock and roll band tackles some tough subjects on their latest release, Trouble Maker. There’s no doubt Rancid is a national treasure, and has risen in importance, bringing the political messages as did our beloved The Clash. Trouble Maker proves Rancid’s hot date with The Big Time has finally arrived.

Rancid has a history of controversy and Trouble Maker is no different. The guys tackle some tough subjects in an upbeat way and continually create an aura of protest. The album starts with the truly fast and ripping “Track Fast.”

Tim Armstrong photo courtesy of Rancid

‘Ghost of a Chance’

It’s followed by the excellent and somewhat familiar sounding “Ghost of a Chance.”  Did Tim Armstrong and The Interrupters play it at Coachella when the Rancid frontman joined them onstage? Memory fails. That’s not the only breakdown as Rancid sings of failed love, society, and also dead great people throughout the new record.

Even the love songs on the record are under the gun, like the song “Buddy,” where even the loving nostalgia is tainted with a dose of pouring rain.

Trouble Maker addresses society’s issues – Photo courtesy Rancid

California Rocker Favorite: ‘Where I’m Going’

“Farewell Lola Blue,” is a great power anthem, a poignant — even for Rancid — tribute to a mystery WW2 dive bomber pilot.  But of course it has the Rancid beat and the guys rip out a powerful tune, one of the most fun songs on the record.

“All American Neighborhood” is about the demise of our country, doctors and pharmacists on the take, and how the shit has really hit the fan here in the U.S.  It’s not the first time Big Pharma has taken a beating, but nobody delivers it quite as quickly and efficiently as Rancid on this great song.

Rancid takes aim at Big Pharma, drug-dealing fake doctors and jerks in general with Trouble Maker

“Bovver Rock and Roll” truly is a great rock and roll song that brings a bit of 1970s power sound to the record. If they did it like that back then, like Rancid does it now, the 70s wouldn’t have died off.

Our favorite is the soon-to-be-megahit “Where I’m Going,” which blends an upbeat ska beat with a pledge that “You don’t understand where I am, or where I been or where I’m goin.'” But the guys are wrong.  With Trouble Maker, Rancid’s goin’ right to the top. Trouble Maker is a winner.

Check it out Trouble Maker for yourself — or better yet, BUY IT — and check out Rancid’s website for tour dates.

O’HEFFERNAN: Kris Angelis is Melodic, Hypnotic, and Addictive in Her New EP, ‘Heartbreak Is Contagious’

Love’s Demise Takes Front Seat on New Record

By PATRICK O’HEFFERNAN

I have been listening to Kris Anglis’ new EP, Heartbreak Is Contagious over and over since I recently had her on my radio show, partly because I can’t stop and partly because every time I listen, I hear something musically and emotionally new.  As with all things Angelis, Heartbreak is Contagious is melodic, hypnotic, and dense with addictive emotion.

Three of songs on the EP explore the pain of the love’s demise; the fourth is fun, funny, and foot-tapping but actually a cathartic part of the EP’s soulful narrative. Only Angelis could pull that off —  perfectly blending pain and heartbreak with laughter and catharsis in the same EP.

Kris Angelis keeps it real – Photo courtesy Kris Angelis for CaliforniaRocker.com

‘Heartbreak Is Contagious’

Heartbreak Is Contagious was written with and produced by Morgan Taylor Reid and Alexander Cardinale. The album follows her earlier The Left Atrium, in that it makes you feel what an emotionally defective heart feels like with stunning poetic lines like I swear there was a time /when you belonged to me/But I’m a two-way heart/ On a one way street.  Even deeper than the writing are the concepts: Taking a heart off life support in one song and a love as a home built by love but then turned into a solitary confinement prison when love dies in another.

The title concept is also deep, but, for an emotional EP, very logical.  When a heart breaks, two hearts are damaged and they can’t love others, or as she sings, Heartbreak is contagious, contagious/Its not like we can talk it out/we’ve run out of words somehow.    Simply put, when you can’t really love anyone, including yourself,  you often end up breaking someone else’s heart…your pain becomes contagious.

Kris Angelis – Photo courtesy Kris Angelis

Angelis as Singer-Songwriter

For me the most powerful song on the EP is “Life Support.” The song’s concept of a heart on life support is true to the corazón narrative, and the writing is as poignant and personal as anything Angelis has written, but the arrangement grips your heart and your ears. It begins with her gentle vocal fingers that slowly increase the pressure on your heart until she shocks it with electric paddles in full orchestration and an overdubbed voice drenched with urgency.  And then she takes you off life support and  lets you drift free, the pain ebbing back.

The last song, “Kevin Bacon” is almost from another world, a pop world.  It is bright and snappy and loaded with hooks.  As the drum machine taps out a dance beat she sings,

There’s something, there’s something in the air, in the air
Running your fingers, your fingers through my hair, through my hair
and then we’re kissing lipstick is everywhere, everywhere .

Wow; I am dancing everywhere, everywhere.

Kris Angelis

B Female Album

This EP was a stretch for Angelis, not only in the addition of a hooky pop song, but in the collaborative writing process – not her usual m.o.  She also wrote one of the songs in one day, also not her m.o.  The result of this stretch is the best thing this winner of the B Female Album of 2013 by the LA Music Critics Awards has done to date and I suspect it will rack up more awards and add many, many new fans.

Patrick O’Heffernan.  is the host of Music FridayLive! and co-host of MúsicaFusionLA

Kris Angelis. https://krisangelis.bandzoogle.com

Heartbreak is Contagious is available on iTunes, Bandcamp, Spotify

The Suffers, The Buttertones and Thee Commons In the Lineup at Levitt Summer Series by Spaceland Presents

Concerts Under The Stars Runs June 17-Sept. 10

By DONNA BALANCIA

Diverse musicians ranging from The Suffers to The Buttertones and Thee Commons will take the stage at The Levitt Pavilion for the 2017 Free Summer Concert Series.

Additional bands to play over three months include The Regrettes; Boogaloo Assasins; L.A. Witch; Prezident Brown; and Dos Lobos among many others.

The Suffers by Donna Balancia

The Suffers will bring their Houston soul to the Levitt Pavilion – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Accessibility and Diversity

The purpose of the Levitt Pavilion Los Angeles music series is to make live music accessible to everyone and to connect the community while celebrating diversity.

Every summer, 50 free concerts are presented at the Levitt Pavilion, featuring musicians who are well-known as well as emerging talent, spanning all musical genres.

L.A. Witch Sade by Donna Balancia

L.A. Witch will present their haunting surf sound during the Summer Concert Series at the Levitt Pavilion – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Music Under The Stars

Levitt Pavillion is a fun place to hear the music, share a picnic blanket and get into some music under the stars. It is estimated that more than 500,000 people have gathered in MacArthur Park to enjoy the concerts since 2007.

For more information go to the Levitt website 

For the full concert schedule check out the Levitt website 

HAMMONS REVIEW: Woolly Bandits and The Weirdos Bring Old Style Punk Back to ‘Destroy All Music’

Sweet But Wild Reunion at Echo

By CRAIG HAMMONS

After being held captive by my Uber driver I finally made it to The Echo for the long awaited homecoming of Hollyweird’s own premiere punks, the Weirdos.

I missed the opening act Dirty and His Fists, but maybe that was a good thing. Tonight was also going to be special as it would market he reappearance of the mighty Woolly Bandits.

Christa Collins Brings It

The Woolly Bandits are a high energy get up off your ass rock and roll garage band led by the majestic dynamo Christa Collins. A lot of Woolly Bandits fans were here tonight and ready to rock.  The crowd let it be known by giving them a thunderous round of applause as they took the stage.

They were like a rocket ship taking off as they ripped into their opening number, “Woman of Mass Destruction,” from their album of the same name.

I had no idea of what was going on behind me as I was front and center on this rock and roll ride to partyville.

The Woolly Bandits captured the crowd – Photo © 2017 Craig Hammons

‘Hard to Forget You’

The band was stage tight and well-rehearsed as they roared through song after song before getting to “Hard to Forget You,” which was the second song KROQ’s Rodney Bingenheimer played on his farewell show last Sunday night.

Christa prowls the stage like a panther who was just released from her cage. She is a mixture of Iggy Pop and Wendy O. Williams. She shakes her tambourine with a fierce vengeance and interacts with her bandmates and the audience by demanding a good time is had by all.

Rik Collins plays the bass like his fingers are on fire, guitarist mark bellgraph rips through every song like a man on a mission and tonight’s show had a keyboard played that added an extra layer to each song. Rik then joins in on vocals for “Bomp Shu Bomp,” a toe tapping shimmy shaker. The Woolly Bandits know they have a job to do and waste no time.

Christa Collins rocked the Echo – Photo © 2017 Craig Hammons

‘Shear, Intense Energy’

They deliver song after song with shear intense energy you can feel it in your rock and roll shoes. They went right into “Watch Your Step,” which let the keyboard player drive while Christa steered. Next was one of my favorite tracks, “I’m a Bug,” in which Christa sings “I’m a bug, I can’t get no love.” The Woolly Bandits raised some hell tonight. Let’s hope they don’t stay away so long and come back to kick out the jams.

A break in the action was needed before I get back into my punk time machine and head back to 1977 for The Weirdos. I have to give a shout out to The Echo as their staff is professional, cool, friendly and the bartenders are fast and mix a good Jack and Coke.

Rockin’ Reunion – The Weirdos are punk to the core – Photo © 2017 Craig Hammons

The Weirdos

After a pause on the patio I made my way back in only to find the place packed full of punk rockers reado to see the Denney brothers get their punk on. The Weirdos were packing clubs like the Whisky in 1977 and tonight was no different.

They came on stage like no time had passed and gave the fans a wide array of songs from “It Means Nothing,” to “Happy People.”

The Woolly Bandits – Photo © 2017 Craig Hammons

‘Helium Bar’

John roamed around the stage singing and staring into the audience lie he was ready to rumble and Dix pretty much played like it was “Helium Bar.” “The Weirdos showed us why they were one of the best punk rock bands from the era by still playing with abandoned passion and attitude.

They did “Destroy All Music,” and made all the punks and rockers happy to be in the house tonight. Now where did I park my time machine? I need to get back home!

PREMIERE: The Dollyrots Debut Video, “Other Trucker” on California Rocker, Duo to Play Roxy Theater

Punk-Pop Duo Plays CA Gigs with the Buzzcocks

By DONNA BALANCIA

The Dollyrots debut the new video for their song, “Other Trucker” right here on CaliforniaRocker.com. It’s a fun, upbeat tropical-toned pop tune, check it out here exclusively:

June 29, 30 at The Roxy

The husband and wife punk-pop duo of Kelly and Luis are gearing up to play four California dates with the Buzzcocks. They’ll be at The Roxy Theatre on June 29 and June 30, on July 1 they’re at Bottom of the Hill in San Francisco and July 2 they play Blue Lamp in Sacramento.

The band’s 2016 live album/DVD Family Vacation: Live in Los Angeles bowed at No. 15 on Billboard’s Heatseekers album chart. Barefoot And Pregnant earned The Dollyrots their first chart appearance, peaking at No. 7 on Billboard‘s Heatseekers.

The Dollyrots put on a great show – Photo courtesy Chris Barber

Dollyrots Album ‘Whiplash Splash’

Both chart appearances were preceded by successful crowdsourcing campaigns through  the popular app, PledgeMusic. This followed the group’s 2012’s self-titled LP, two albums on Joan Jett’s Blackheart Records, and a 2004 debut through the Lookout!/Panic Button Records.

In the meantime, Kelly and Luis have had two kids and take them on the road with them, touring all over the U.S. Along the way, they pick up more fans and even a new players in the band or two. A recent guest on drums was Rikki Styxx from The Two Tens.

Whiplash Splash is available on iTunes

Dollyrots ‘Whip’ It Out

The punk-pop husband and wife duo just released their sixth studio album Whiplash Splash and hit Billboard’s Heatseekers and Top Independent Albums first week out. Whiplash Splash is available on CD, limited-edition aqua-blue vinyl, and digitally on the band’s very own Arrested Youth Label with distribution via MVD Entertainment Group.

The Dollyrots’ signature sound shines through on the fan-funded new album, produced by the band and longtime producer John Fields. Here’s another video by the punk pop duo, “Jump Start This Heart” off Whiplash Splash.

 

California dates:

June 29  at TheRoxy – Hollywood, CA

June 30  at TheRoxy – Hollywood, CA

July 1 at Bottom of the Hill – San Francisco, CA

July 2 at Blue Lamp – Sacramento, CA

Metal Rocker Willie Basse to Perform Free Concert Tuesday Night at The Viper Room on The Sunset Strip

Battling Cancer Has Brought Changes, He Says

By DONNA BALANCIA

Willie Basse, who has given a boost to many fellow musicians over the years, will headline a fan appreciation concert at the Viper Room on Tuesday.

The popular Basse, known as “the cultural ambassador to The Sunset Strip,” says he wants to give back to the people who have been helping all along the way.

Willie Basse at Ultimate Jam Night in April - Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Willie Basse at Ultimate Jam Night in April – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Cancer Diagnosis

Basse was diagnosed with cancer a little more than one year ago and is fighting back brilliantly. A metal rock innovator, he cut more than a few impressive tracks with his band Black Sheep.

“I am a completely new and different human being,” Basse said. “I believe in love, and the disease has been a huge blessing. It demands that I change, connect with God, myself and my spiritual values.”

The Money Grind by Willie Basse – Photo courtesy Willie Basse

Keeping It Real

After a year of prayers, meditation and searching, cancer research, doctors, treatments and many serious lifestyle changes, Basse says he’s coming back. He has been keeping the energy up and getting support from friends and family.

Willie Basse and pal Slash – Photo courtesy Willie Basse

Viper Room Lineup

Basse’s musical lineup Tuesday features Italian virtuoso guitarist, Patrick Abbate, Scott Warren on keyboard, Troy Patrick Farrell on drums and Mitch Perry on guitar.

The bands Stonebreed and Brittney’s Rage will also perform. Doors open at 8 p.m.

You can donate to support Willie Basse Cancer Treatments via PayPal to rockscool@icloud.com

Check out the event page on Facebook 

Video courtesy of Patrick Abbate:

Check Out The Kills’ New Video For ‘Wait’ From ‘Echo Home – Non-Electric EP’ Out Today on Domino

A Beloved Tune Gets Revamped

By DONNA BALANCIA

When our favorite duo, The Kills, are a little bit quiet, the result is usually a great new tune.

In this case, check out the new, “non-electric” version of their classic song, “Wait” in a video of their in-studio recording session.  The tune is from Echo Home – Non-Electric EP — out digitally today, with a limited edition 10-inch  vinyl release available now.

Alison’s Killer Voice

The original version of “Wait” is off the The Kills first EP Black Rooster, released 15 years go. Alison’s voice really is prominent in the new acoustic version on Echo Home – Non-Electric EP.  The new EP also features “That Love” off  Ash & Ice‘s and a cover of the Rihanna song, “Desperado.”

Pre-order limited edition 10-inch: http://smarturl.it/EchoHomeEP

Pre-order Digital: http://smarturl.it/EchoHomeDL

Credits: Director / DP / Editor / Producer – Vern Moen; Camera Operators – Steve Ryan, Martín Vielma; Assistant Editor – Sutton York; Production Company – Long Beach Film Company; Colorist – Garrett Smith; Online Facility – Twinfolk Creative

 

Ageless Guitar Great Robin Trower Continues His Story, Makes ‘Time And Emotion’ Count With New Album

A True Original, Trower Wows the Wiltern

By DONNA BALANCIA

Robin Trower may have been one of the founding fathers of rock, but he puts on a heck of a blues show.  This is an artist not to miss, he’ll be in Portland Oregon Friday at the Roseland Theatre and he’ll be in Seattle on Saturday at The Moore Theatre.

After that it’s off to Europe in September for one of the most prolific guitarists of our era.

Robin Trower release ‘Time And Emotion’ and painted the album cover art seen on stage at The Wiltern – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Bridge of Sighs

The album Bridge of Sighs arguably influenced a host of musicians, and with it, Trower single-handedly altered the coolness factor of the blues in the early 1970s. He mixed a bluesy guitar with a new, trippy sound and was one of the early initiators of prog rock. Some have even gone so far as to call him “The White Jimi Hendrix” because of his similar psychedelic sound.

Today, at 72, Trower shows no signs of slowing down as he held a super cool audience mesmerized by his remarkable guitar work at the Wiltern recently.

Robin Trower Wiltern Balancia

Robin Trower goes on to tour Europe in September – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Time And Emotion

His new album, Time And Emotion, is excellent, with all the trademarks of the great guitarist.  If you want to know what an original, tried-and-true musician is, check out this album. There are several cuts from Time And Emotion that are super upbeat and a few that bear the signature sound and that familiar ringing A-minor note that hovers over the crowd.

Trower is a showman and includes the audience on every nuance of a sound. It’s like he’s having a conversation and telling his story.  And it doesn’t hurt that the story is told through his Fender Stratocaster that helps keeps the crowd in the moment.

You can download Time and Emotion here.

Foo Fighters Drop a Surprise Single and Rebellious Old Folks Video With Thunderous ‘Run’

Never Too Old to Crowd Surf

Photo by BRANTLEY GUTIERREZ

The Foo Fighters have surprised their fans and the public by releasing the powerful new song and video for “Run.” The single is available on platforms including iTunes and Amazon.

Check out the latest from an elderly Dave Grohl and company here:

 

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

Band’s ‘Personality’ Attracts Friends and Fans

By DONNA BALANCIA

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

BY DONNA BALANCIA

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:

VIDEO: Check out Iggy Pop Performing ‘Lust For Life’ at Punk Rock Bowling and Music Festival in Las Vegas

‘Godfather of Punk’ Scores Perfect Game As Festival Grows

Video and Photos by ALYSON CAMUS

Punk Rock Bowling fest in Las Vegas really scores.

And here’s the proof: One of the original punkers from the 1970s himself, Iggy Pop, takes to the stage. The fest has expanded to Denver and New Jersey, where you and your team can still score strikes. Check out this video by reporter Alyson Camus.

VIDEO: “Lust For Life”

Iggy Pop performs at Punk Rock Bowling in Las Vegas – Photo © 2017 Alyson Camus for CaliforniaRocker.com

 

The setlist for Iggy Pop’s performance at Punk Rock Bowling and Music Festival in Las Vegas – Photo © Alyson Camus

Iggy Pop at Punk Rock Bowling – Photo © 2017 Alyson Camus

 

The Godfather of Punk reigns over his people at PRB Las Vegas – Photo © 2017 Alyson Camus

All These Girls Can Rock Too! Rock And Roll Camp For Girls LA Teaches Young Women More Than Music

Rock N Roll Camp for Girls LA Empowers

By DONNA BALANCIA

Rock N Roll Camp for Girls LA is an empowering experience for young women – campers get to learn music and more from musician mentors. And the mentors in return, learn a lot from the kids.

Rock and Roll Camp for Girls is held in DTLA - Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Rock and Roll Camp for Girls is held in DTLA – Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Summer Camp and More

Rock n’ Roll Camp for Girls Los Angeles was founded in 2010 by the Raining Jane musicians. It started as solely a summer camp and there were 50 campers. But today the group serves two sessions of summer camp, a music video program and a counselor-in-training program. A fundraiser program called Ladies Rock Camp was created as a 3-day session to help build awareness and raise money.

The campers wrap up their session with a performance – Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

RCGLA Has Grown

But today the group serves two sessions of summer camp, a music video program and a counselor-in-training program. A fundraiser program called Ladies Rock Camp was created as a 3-day session to help build awareness and raise money.

Immaculate Conception School in downtown L.A. has been the home to RCGLA programs from the very beginning.

Mona Tavakoli, (L) one of the members of Raining Jane, is a coach and mentor – Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Confidence and Music Too

RCGLA does it all in the name of building confidence in young women — and of course, it’s done for the fun of learning to play music. Girls break up into separate bands, give their bands an identity and present their music at a popular venue at the end of the camp session. Last year the presenting venue was The Troubadour in West Hollywood.

Each camper joins a band, creates identity and music – Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Music Video Program

“I was able to create music videos because I was in the music video program,” said Malia Balancia, who worked in a team to create a music video for the local LA band Wasi. “What is so great about the Rock and Roll Camp for Girls is it builds confidence, you learn how to work in a team to create music and it gives everyone the chance to have a say in their projects.”

Counselors inspire — and perform — during camp – Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Sunday Fundays

The program has grown to beyond just summer. RCGLA recently launched its first series of all-ages events outside of Summer Camp, Sunday Fundays.

RCGLA was the first “Girls Rock Camp” to be established in Southern California. It was inspired by the Girls Rock Camp movement taking place around the world and especially by Bay Area Girls Rock Camp, and the first-ever Girls Rock Camp in the world: Rock n’ Roll Camp for Girls Portland.

Campers screen music videos and perform the music they created during the camp – Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

RCGLA is a proud member of the Girls Rock Camp Alliance.

For information go to the Rock N Roll Camp for Girls LA website.

Counselors inspire – Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

 

More information on the camp is available at the RCGLA website – Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

 

The girls show off their projects at the Troubadour last year – Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

 

Girls camp culminates in a performance at a popular LA venue – Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Alena Lim Review: Hideouts Blend Some Well-Liked Alternative Ingredients to Create Tasty Punk Treats

Sink In Opens Can of Cool at Slidebar RNR Kitchen

By ALENA LIM

Hideouts is a 5-piece alternative rock/pop punk band from Huntington Beach, formed in 2012 Hideouts released their debut EP titled Stuck Between Stories on November 20, 2012. The 6-song EP show various influences ranging from pop-punk stylings of bands such as Hit the Lights or Cartel, to the modern rock appeal of Jimmy Eat World, Anberlin, and Paramore, with a hint of aggression that may remind you of acts like Four Year Strong or Sleeping With Sirens.

Hideouts – Photo by Alena Lim

Fateful Meeting

The band came together several years later when five members kept crossing each other’s paths. Their interaction with each other made them realize that they all have unsatisfied taste and passion for writing high-energy music. This led the group to demo under the radar in their own metaphorical “hideout” to develop what would be their sound, and in turn led to them settling on the name: Hideouts.

Hideouts opened an introductory performance at the Slidebar Rock N Roll Kitchen with their song, “Photograph,” bringing the room their delicious and inspirational delight!

Hideouts Deliver The Goods

Their own sound wave delivers thunder to current fans, new fans, as well as long-term friends. I enjoyed their songs, “Alleybyes” and “Halos.” Their music is filled with energetic love and positive vibes which is great for inspiring the young generation for a drama-free world. Hideouts finished the performance with their song, “Pulling Me Down,” expressing their appreciation for the support of everybody as well as the fellow bands being there.

The Hideouts are currently touring with “Sink In,” “Summerfell,” “The New Varsity,” and “Crash Overcast.” This was also their close-out tour location which in fact happens to be their hometown. The release of their Stuck Between Stories, Hideouts are eager and ready to head out tour the world.

Hideouts – Photo by Alena Lim

Vital Statistics:

You can find their facebook @wearehideouts or Instagram @hideouts. They have a lot of followers! Their next event will be on June 1, Thursday at 8 p.m. at the MTL, located in Riverside.

Band members: Vocals/guitar: Dan Chavez; guitar/vocals: Tim Markel; guitar: Robby Friend; drums: Luis “Chocs” Campos; bass: Tomas Garcia

Where they’re from: Huntington Beach and Los Angeles

Genre: Alternative Rock/Pop Punk

Location of performance: The Slidebar Rock-N-Roll Kitchen in Fullerton, CA

Inspirations of the band: Yellowcard, Bayside, Saosin, Thrice, Paramore, Relient K, Jimmy Eat World, Coheed and Cambria, Anberlin, Acceptance, Cartel, Sleeping With Sirens

Set list of songs:

Photograph
Who I Could Be
Alleybyes
Halos
So Not Like You
Chasing Satellites
Pulling Me Down

Sink In

Sink In was formed in early 2015. This group defines the sound of modern pop-rock to a whole different level. Their music style has a refreshed ambient and technical twist to the genre. You can hear it in their first song that they performed called “Higher,” along with a series of flashing bright lights coming out from their giant amplifers in the back of the stage as well as their black-box crates they they used for standing on top of during their performance throughout their show. I was extremely taken by their unique style of sound that made me want more.

Sink In – Photo by Alena Lim

Minnesota Train

One of the pieces I enjoyed from Sink In is “Minnesota Train.” This is a very emotional song because it was dedicated to a well-loved friend who passed away from cancer. The song they closed with, called “Wither,” was the perfect finale to their performance.

Sink In took the opportunity to start touring and booking dates spanning nation-wide. Thanks to the incredible reception while on the road, the band hit the studio to record their debut release. The “Wide Eyes” EP showcases the group’s powerfully written lyrics, precision guitar riffs, and high-energy attitude.

Sink In – Photo by Alena Lim

Wide Eyes EP

Their Wide Eyes EP is currently available. They will be playing on May 25 in Houston, July 16 in Seattle, Aug. 9 in Kansas, and Aug. 11 in Franklin, Ind. More details of their work can be found on their facebook @sinkinpa and their instagram @sinkinband.

Band members: Tighe Eshleman (@tighesinkin): vocals; Cobrette Bardole (@cobrettesinkin): guitar; Brett Latorre (@brettsinkin): bass/vocals; Stefano Pigliapoco (@stefsinkin): drums/vocals

Where they’re from: Hershey, Penn., and Los Angeles
Genre: Pop/Rock
Location of performance: The Slidebar Rock-N-Roll Kitchen, Fullerton, Ca
Set list of songs:
Intro
Higher
Get Out!
Up There
Castaway
Minnesota Train
Love/Lust
Wither

EXCLUSIVE: Dave Pirner of Soul Asylum: ‘Chris Cornell and I Were Brothers in Arms During Tough Times’

Pirner to Play Tribute at Whisky A Go-Go Tuesday

By DONNA BALANCIA

Soul Asylum founder Dave Pirner said he and the late Soundgarden frontman Chris Cornell shared challenging times in the early days of the grunge-punk era.

“We were in bands that were trying to make it and it was tough,” Pirner told CaliforniaRocker.com in an exclusive interview. “We were brothers in arms, trying to do what we love and be successful at it. There was no champagne and parties. It was tough.”

Long-Time Kinship With Cornell

Pirner is expected to play a late night set of three songs Tuesday at Ultimate Jam Night, the weekly session on the Sunset Strip. The Soul Asylum founder who recently performed at the ASCAP Convention in Hollywood, said his relationship with Cornell goes back to the early 1980s. The first time Soul Asylum performed in Seattle, Soundgarden opened.

Pirner said: “When we were coming up, it wasn’t the hair metal scene at all. We were punk rock bands trying to turn thrift into a job. We had to figure out how to go forward, how to support ourselves and keep it together to continue to do what we love to do.”

Dave Pirner's Soul Asylum played the Whisky last July - Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Dave Pirner’s Soul Asylum played the Whisky last July – Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Respect for Talent

Pirner said he respected Cornell’s talent.

“I think Chris was one of a kind,” Pirner said. “He was a unique artist and an animal no one will ever see again. As a musician you put it out there for the people. It was shocking to me when I found out about his death, and it feels like he died for the cause. He was incredibly talented and he had a voice that was all his own. That’s why we listen to music, to hear a unique voice.”

Pirner, whose songs like “Runaway Train” are being appreciated by a whole new generation said he still works hard at his music. Soul Asylum’s latest album is Change of Fortune, which he supported with a U.S. tour last year including a stop at The Whisky. READ HERE

Dave Pirner of Soul Asylum points to the upper decks of The Whisky A Go-Go last year – Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Pirner’s Ultimate Jam Night Bow

Pirner doesn’t have a set list in mind yet for his performance at the Whisky Tuesday, but is giving it some serious thought right now.  He said he thought of the last time he saw Cornell.

“My last recollection was he was walking down the street in Minneapolis with the guys in the band and we were both going to an exhibit of comic book artists from Seattle,” Pirner recalled. “We were going to see some of our favorite comic book artists of the day. We said hi and caught up. We were brothers in arms.”

READ MORE ABOUT SOUL ASYLUM at CaliforniaRocker.com

Pirner lost his friend and Soul Asylum co-founder, Karl Mueller, who passed away in June of 2005.

“There have been too many losses,” Pirner said. “I’ve done a lot of tributes epecially lately, for Prince and Bowie and I really do miss Lou Reed a lot. But I feel you have to carry on the music.”

 

‘Positive Mental Attitude’ Required When Seeing the Ho99o9 Show With The Controversial Kate Moss

Echoplex Hosts Incredible Punk Pandemonium

By DONNA BALANCIA

There’s something new with Ho99o9; and it’s about time an interesting, semi-new genre came to town. From Brooklyn. And ok maybe the genre is not so new.

They call it “Horror Rap,” but this stuff that the band Ho99o9 does bares a striking resemblance to something called punk. There are stage divers — anyone and everyone had a chance to jump on and jump off.  There’s an obvious air of mass rebellion, and there’s a ton of crowd surfing going on.

Ho99o9 – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Mix of George Clinton and Bad Brains

Ho99o9 is like a cross between George Clinton because of the glam costuming, and The Bad Brains with a horror show thrown in. The stage is dark by deliberate decision and so is the fast-paced, punk-style music that accompanies the performance. People by the tens per minute jump on stage and take a running start in leaping off into the audience.

Pandemonium ensues at the Echoplex – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Ho99o9 makes the whole place one wild sea of moshing bodies — sometimes getting to the point of being scared you might get injured or squashed, or crushed by a flying body.  We’ve been to many shows over the years, but this is different. It’s quite a remarkable, energy-frought seen unlike anything we’ve experienced in many years and for that we say thank goodness.

Hiding behind the rigging is not a bad idea when attending a Ho99o9 show, at least no one will land on you and you have something to hang on to as the moshers push you further and further to the perimeter of the audience.

Jumping for joy at The Echoplex – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

This act is something to see and is not to be missed the next time Ho99o9 is in town.  There hasn’t been anything like this in a long, long, time. The Echoplex was filled to capacity to the point where there was no fear of jumping off the stage and landing on the floor — there simply was no space at all.

If the words were understood, we could probably analyze more fully what these guys were talking about Friday night, as English and non-English speaking people in the audience had a hard time. But it’s more about the audience — this is a high-intensity show, with fans slamming the stage with their hands, flipping speakers, slappling sweatshirts on the stage and being, as the band simply called them, “rowdy.”  But this was way, way beyond that.

Injury Reserve, The Bots, Kate Moss

Injury Reserve, The Bots, and Kate Moss were on the undercard and each band had a different style.  Injury Reserve brought its own set of people who are so devoted some even drove from as far away as Morongo Casino to sing along with the guys.

The Bots had a cool keyboard synthy style that was a welcome musical relief between high energy Ho99o9 and the extremely bizarre band Kate Moss.

Some said they thought opener Kate Moss should be banned.  It’s a violent act, with overtones of violence against women. And there’s fake blood all over. But the act didn’t seem any more controversial than a night at a dirty strip club. And nobody was complaining about the nakedness and the fake blood, but the guy wrapping the cord around the girl’s neck and pulling her hair may have been going too far.

Torturous opening act – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

It brought to mind the violent dance they did in the 1950s that also was so controversial for its time: The Apache Dance.  Done between a man and a woman, it, too was violent. After the Kate Moss set, it was time for cleanup on aisle 3 as mops came out to make the stage right again. With bodies rubbing on the wet floor, it’s not something anyone we know would want to go near for a while.

In all, it was one of the most entertaining and amazing nights ever. We’re glad Ho99o9 is finally getting some of the recognition it deserves.  One song we certainly loved and recognized was the cover of the Bad Brains’ Positive Mental Attitude, as we know it, the long-lost battle cry of the punks.

 

Suicycos, Fatal Riot, Sin Drogas Among Top Punkers Who Impress at Pico Rivera Hardcore in Vernon

Extensive Review of Pico Rivera Punk

By ALENA LIM

Pico Rivera Hardcore Presented a punk show that ripped the rafters at San Antonio Rose in Vernon.  Suicycos, Fatal Riot, Sin Drogas, Kid Unoriginal, Sirenhex, Destructive Bastards and IxCxS took over the stage and celebrated birthdays, reunions and good times.

Suicycos

Suicycos is a Suicidal Tendencies cover band that started in January 2006. They had their own scene back then in which they called it — and still do call it — Pico Rivera Hard Core. Suicycos have retain their original members since then. They’ve been active for going on 12 years. They cover the best songs from the best albums preferably from the 80s. All these songs are written by Louichi Mayorga, the original bassist from Suicidal. Suicidal Tendencies started as a four-piece band. Eight years later they became a five-piece. By then, their music had changed to Crossover/Metal.

Suicycos rock at Pico Rivera Hardcore – Photo © 2017 Alena Lim

It is sad to say that this is also the last show guitarist Moses will be performing with Suicycos due to personal reasons he can not continue to perform in the future. He has been with the band since 2006. The band does not have any plans on getting a replacement guitarist, therefore will retain a 5 pc. band. When the band first started, it was Ryan, Javier, Ruben, and Omar.

Suicycos

Photo by Alena Lim

Ryan asked Albert to join, then later Javier ended up moving to San Diego, so they were playing shows with only 4 members. Months later, they decided to bring another guitarist to keep the sound fuller as it was originally so that member was Moses who came along. Ryan has spoken to Javier about returning since Moses is leaving, so on this show, it was their first time playing with all six members. They did it once back in 2009, second time eight years later, and now for the last time.

Suicycos – Photo © 2017 Alena Lim

Suicycos opened up the show with the song, “Can’t Bring Me Down.” My favorite pieces that this band performed were “Suicidal Maniac,” “I Want More,” and “Subliminal.” If you would like to check this band out, their next show will be at the Riff Haus in Fullerton, CA on May 20th at 7pm.

Band members: Band Members: Ryan Lopez – Vocals, Ruben Malpica – Bass, Omar Arellano – Drums, Javier De Dios – Guitar, Albert Medina – Guitar, Moses Alcala – Guitar

Set list: You Can’t Bring Me Down; Suicidal Maniac; I Want More; Two-Sided Politics; Subliminal; Trip At The Brain; Possessed; War Inside My Head; Cyco Vision; I Shot The Devil; We Are Family; Possessed To Skate; Fascist Pig; Institutionalized

Fatal Riot – Photo © 2017 Alena Lim

Fatal Riot

Fatal Riot was formed in the early year of 2000. They stopped playing around 2007 and have now begun playing again for about a year. They started off their performance opening with their song, “Live to Die.” My personal favorites from their show are “Suicide,” “Unholy Water,” and “Drugs I Adore.”

Fatal Riot – Photo © 2017 Alena Lim

I totally loved the fashion statement Miguel [bass player] was pulling with his unique hairstyle, spiked wristband, and high-top boots with the brand name marked ‘Vegeterian Shoes.’ The H (guitarist) sports his look with his bright lime-green hair while he was shreddin’ away on his guitar. The crowd got so rowdy that one of them almost knocked a giant speaker over that was next to me! Of course, I came out in one piece!

Photo © 2017 Alena Lim

A fan by the name of Santiago said, “To me, this band is heading towards the right direction, playing with well known old-school punk bands. They were putting out CDs and a DVD which I bought. Wish I could have watched this band performed more….”

Fatal Riot doesn’t have any new albums out, but their album from 2005 and an EP from last year is available on their YouTube page and SoundCloud.

Band members: Rudy – Drums, Miguel – Bass, The H – Guitar, Robert – Vocals

Set list: Live to Die; Open; Brainwash; Texas; The End Is Near; Suicide; Death Consumes You; Unholy Water; Drugs I Adore; Kuklinski

Sin Drogas – Photo © 2017 Alena Lim

Sin Drogas

Sin Drogas (spanish for drug free or without drugs) formed in 2004. They stopped playing in 2008 because Alex (guitarist) joined the Navy which was the reason why the band broke up. Alex has known 2 of the other members Brian (Vocals) and Adrian (Bass) since 7 grade (1995). Alex met Robert in 2001. Every time Alex came to visit the other members, he would bug them to play together again. Convincing Robert to play again was the hardest part because of his moral beliefs between the name of their band and friends who drank in general.

Sin Drogas opened up with the song, “Sin Drogas.” One of the all-time favorites would be, “F*** It All.”

Photo by Alena Lim

This band coming back together to play for their friend, Meg’s birthday was an emotional event for the band themselves as well as their crowd of friends in audience. This is their 10-year reunion which is a very long time that they have stopped playing together. Everyone was pretty excited to watch this band play one last time. Photographers appeared to shoot once the band appeared, and audience packed the San Antonio Rose bar.

Photo © 2017 Alena Lim

The mosh pit got crazy. Sin Drogas’ reunion shows the meaning of true friendship with not just among friends, but that these friends are like family. Considering how long this group of friends have known each other shows the meaning of celebrating a fun-filled reunion night with others who care for each other.

Band members: Brian – Vocals, Alex on -Guitar, Adrian – Bass, Robert – Drums

 

Inner City Strife

Inner City Strife is another band that’s reuniting after 10 years to return to play one last time for their good friends for Meg’s birthday. Patrick (vocals) reminds us during his performance that it was like a family reunion. Even though we have aged, gained weight, have wrinkles or have kids, the passion of music lives in the heart. The passion of music doesn’t stop people from head banging, mosh pittin’ or to stop living your life the way you want.

Inner City Strife – Photo © 2017 Alena Lim

What I enjoyed most about the Inner City Strife show was the interaction between the two vocalists and their audience. You will catch Steven handing the mic to one of the guys in the audience, singing along to their performance while Patrick is handing the mic to the bass player, Steven to sing into.

I was thinking that since the stage was pretty congested, I’m pretty sure they didn’t want to over-pack the stage with too many microphone stands, so let’s just share the mic with each other shall we? Sometimes Patrick will take a step back in the dark beside Dean (drummer) for some space to breathe while he is singing.

Inner City Strife – Photo © 2017 Alena Lim

One of the good time favorite songs that Inner City Strife performed was, “Inner City Strife” and “Blurred Vision.” Sin Drogas, Inner City Strife, Suicycos, and TCSB who couldn’t make it that evening for the show are all long-term friends from El Rancho High School in Pico Rivera, CA which makes up the important part of this show!

Band members: Steven ‘MopTop’ – vocals, Patrick – vocals, John – guitarist, Steven ‘Deebin’ – Bass, and Dean – Drums.

Kid Unoriginal – Photo © 2017 Alena Lim

Kid Unoriginal

Kid Unoriginal is a punk rock band formed approximately 6 months ago and are influenced by a huge variety of punk sub genres such as oi, melodic punk, pop punk, skate punk, and a combination of technical/simple ideas.

Kid Unoriginal began their performance with their song, “Life Wave,” which is about learning how to cope with depression by making a conscious effort to not live in the past and to see a positive opportunity you can create for yourself in the future. Their 2nd song they performed called, “Party of 8” is a story where drugs that were taken are personified into 8 different characters. It’s basically about the journey and the come down.

Photo © 2017 Alena Lim

My personal favorite songs from the band such as, “Seasons” is about how times change, but people are enslaved by their behavioral patterns and repeat the same actions over and over. The hook is “seasons how they change, but the sound of your chains remains the same” Another favorite song I enjoyed is their last piece called, “Heroes” which is about finding out your heroes aren’t who you thought they were as you start to get older, but rather finding guidance through music instead. Although their show had some technical difficulties with a bad power strip where the speakers & microfones were consistently going out, they kept the show going as if nothing has happened.

Kid Unoriginal is currently working on releasing some demo material and recording an ep in the near future, but no dates have been set yet. For any updates on their upcoming shows, you can go to their facebook @kidunoriginal and instagram @kid_unoriginal.

Band members: Jerm – lead vox, rhythm guitar, David – bass, TC – lead guitar, and Roy – drums 

Set list: Life Wave; Party of 8; Separation of Church and Skate By Nofx;  Seasons; Caution By Operation Ivy; Wasteland; Heroes.

Photo © 2017 Alena Lim

Destructive Bastards

Destructive Bastards was formed in December 2007. They fluctuated from a 4 piece band to a 6 piece. They have also played throughout the US and had the privilege of playing some amazing shows with over 500 fans.

Destructive Bastards hopes to destroy any perceptions you may have of punk music and show what it’s really all about. That perception would be that punk doesn’t have to consist of simplified 3 chord melodies ranting about government or society though it very well could and there’s nothing wrong with that. This band is bringing you a different breed by integrating classical, blues, flamenco, metal, hardcore, and folkloric melodies in to the loud fast and aggressive back drop of hardcore punk. Destructive Bastards is here to give you an auditory orgasm.

Photo © 2017 Alena Lim

Destructive Bastards ripped the crowd beginning with their song, “Yes.” While lead singer, Anthony performs a series of jumping on stage and constant interaction towards his drummer. The next leading vocals, Siena switches off with Anthony on their roles in their songs creating a unpredictable, but interesting scene in their performance. I enjoyed their pieces such as, “Die For a Name,” “Going Insane,” and “Memories.” They finished off their show with their piece, “Punk At Heart.”

If you are interested in listening to Destructive Bastard’s pieces, you can look up their songs on YouTube. They currently have an EP. Their next performance will be a house party for another birthday event in Pomona on May 20th, Saturday (message them for flyer on their facebook @dbsgvofficial) and Jun 3, Saturday in South Central, LA.

Anthony – vocals; Siena – vocals; Jeremy – guitar; Roy – guitar; Angelica – bass; Steven – drums

Set list: Yes, Lies, Die for a Name, Going Insane, Greedy Bastards, Homeless, i Pledge Allegiance, Memories, and Punk At Heart.

Siren Hex – Photo © 2017 Alena Lim

Siren Hex

Siren Hex opened the show with an all-female heavy metal vibe to start off the evening with their song, “Tres Leches.” I enjoyed their performance on “Warriors of Our Time” and “Succubus,” and finally they finished their show with their final song, “Out Of Control.” They have their demo available on their facebook page @sirenhex of “Warriors of Our Time” if you would like to check out their piece. This band has been formed earlier this year on March.

Band members: Luna – vocals; Bee – bass; Mars – drums; Sheep – guitar.

Set List: Tres Leches, Neon Blade, Warriors of Our Time, Succubus, Evil in the Sky, Brujas de Metal, and Out of Control.

Photo © 2017 Alena Lim

 

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

Royale to Headline Coach House, Rose and Canyon

By DONNA BALANCIA

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

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’

Photo by HARMONY GERBER, Story by DONNA BALANCIA

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.

Todd Rundgren: ‘A Wizard A True Star’ Was Abomination to Everyone Else, But It Was My Defining Moment

Prolific Musician Addresses Berklee Commencement

By TODD RUNDGREN

“I barely graduated high school, I did not go to college, I did not qualify for a music school of the caliber of Berklee; I never would have passed the audition. And to this day I don’t know how to read music.

Compound that with the fact that I’ve never had a No. 1 record, single or album, personally, I’ve never been nominated for a GRAMMY; I’ve never been nominated, thankfully, for the Rock Hall of Fame, if nominated I will not run and if elected I will not serve.

Todd Rundgren at The Roxy – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

The Story is The Thing

And so I came to the conclusion the only thing I can possibly give you is my story and let you draw your own conclusions from that.

The one thing I did know growing up is I was a musician and it was apparent to everyone around me. Unfortunately I grew up in an environment where that was not necessarily a priorty.

I was a horrible student. I only wanted to do things that interested me in school and as soon as  I lost interest I was disruptive and that continued for pretty much my entire so-called academic life until I just barely graduated high school found myself on the street. And there were two things I could do at that point. I could try and get a job and generate enough money to go to an engineering school to learn to program computers or I could take my chances as a musician and I spent a few weeks on the street and fortunately I found my way into a band in Philadelphia.

At the time I was a guitar player and guitar was my obsession, literally my obsession. It was the only thing that mattered in my life I didn’t think about songwriting I had yet to write a song, I didnt feel qualified to be a frontman or a singer, the guitar suited me well and I was able to develop enough technique to impress the people around me and get a job in a local blues band which is what I did.

Todd says he can’t read music and was a lousy student but always knew he was a musician – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

‘Upheaval in The Music Business’

That didn’t last very long because there was a lot of upheaval in the music business and everybody in my band which originally modeled after the Paul Butterfield Blues Band, a bunch of white people playing black music, to a band of white people taking acid as soon as they discovered the Grateful Dead they wanted to go to the country and get their heads together … I started a band called The Nazz, which lasted about 18 months and then I found myself on the street again.

And this is probably a more pivotal moment than when the Nazz got discovered, but by the time I found myself on the street I probably didn’t even have a guitar any more. I was still a musician but I didn’t have an instrument to play,  and I took any job I could get. I would up designing lights in a discotheque and living with clothiers in the West Village, which later affected my sense of style by the way.

But I was fortunate that I had left some good work and was asked to join the Albert Grossman Organization, which was essentially a repository for some of the greatest acts in the world … and they were just starting to get into the record business they asked me to come in and interface with a lot of the old folk acts who had yet to get updated to the 60s, which is when this all happened. And I got paired up with acts like Ian and Sylvia, and James Cotton and all of these legacy artists…

My big breakthrough was when I was involved in the production of Stage Fright The Band’s third album, and from there I became a successful producer.

At one point I got the bug to make a record of my own. A vanity project, I had no intention of becoming a performer. I just felt I had earned the right to make a record for myself. I was still writing, learning abour writing actually. I made a record it had a minor hit We Gotta Get You a Woman it played here in Boston until militant feminists misunderstood the lyrics and threatedned to bomb the station, so the record only got so high and then dropped off.

At first I was not a performer at all, I had no idea what it was like to take my music on the road and perform it for people and when I first performed I couldn’t get through a 20-minute set without blowing my voice out, that’s how far behind the performance curve I was.

But I perservered at that and I perservered at the songwriting and eventually I had a breakthrough, it was called Something / Anything. And while it had several singles on it the biggest thrill for me was when I met Wolfman Jack, who had a half a million watt radio station broadcasting out of Tijuana which he did from his home in LA and he became my champion and that helped me a lot because he could reach Chicago from Tijuana, which wasn’t legal for any American radio station. Something Anything was a big boon to me. But then people started referring to me as the male Carol King. And I was a Carol King fan, but it bothered me to be compared to somebody else. You don’t want to be compared to other people you want people to be compared to you.

I went completely a 180-degree direction. Was pilloried  by the label as well as the critics for not following up the success of Something/ Anything. But there were two things to keep in mind I was a successful record producer so I didn’t have to fret about the success of my own records and secondly I started to see music as something as something different than what I previously assumed. I was writing what everyone was writing what everyone else was writing, I had plumbed a relationship I had in high school for three whole albums and suddenly realized I didn’t care about this girl any more. What am I doing?

Have the fearlessness, Todd tells graduates – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

‘Use Your Experience’

And I also realized there were a lot more things in my head from my experience. My dad hated rock and roll, and we didn’t play it in the house, but I would get to hear Ravel, I would get to hear Bernstein, Gilbert and Sullivan a broad range of stuff … I didn’t realize that that was a significant part of my musical makeup and that I was writing like a hypocrite. And so I made this crazy record called A Wizard a True Star in which I threw out all the rules of record making and decided I would try to imprint the  chaos in my head onto a record without trying to clean it up for everyone else’s benefit. The result was a complete loss of about half of my audience at that point.

But … Trent Reznor and other artists have cited that as being a major influence on them and so I have a special pride for what essentially was my act of tyranny after having achieved commercial success. This became the model for my life after that. The irony was that I never learned anything in high school but when I got out of high school I learned to learn. Ever since then I have absorbed anything that can be put in front of me that is of interest. I so I learned not only how to expand my range of musical expression. But I also learned things like computer programming and video production, and other sorts of things any of you can absorb if you don’t leave here thinking your education is finished.

Today this appears to be the end of something, but It’s really the beginning of something for you. I recognize there’s great loss associated with this ceremony as well as triumph. There are friends you may be saying goodbye to that you might never see again in your life, but the most important thing you can take advantage of in the world of music is to see yourself. I eventually got to the point that music meant to me self exploration more than anything else. I could objectivize my ideas and listen to them and see if I was full of crap or not or if I might be in the right direction and I encourage everyone here to be brave in that respect. To be fearless in that respect. I have lost the ability to be insulted by critics.

You never know the actual impact of what you do today and how it will actually turn out in the future. That album A Wizard A True Star, which was such an abomination to everyone at the time it came out, eventually became a signature moment in my career and I hope everyone will feel the freedom and the fearlessness to undertake that  when the time comes because you may find that’s your defining moment.”

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