California Rocker

Award-Winning Online Music Magazine

Kiefer Sutherland Plays Stagecoach, LA and SF, Says He’s Grateful to the Fans for Support of Tour, Album

Sutherland and His Music Break the Actor’s Mold


Kiefer Sutherland told journalists he was honored that the California audiences have accepted him and that writing music presents him with new challenges he enjoys.

“I live in Los Angeles and we would play everywhere but Los Angeles, we would play south of here, so this is for me, where it started,” Sutherland said on a conference call with California Rocker and others.

“I can’t say how generous and kind the audiences have been,” he said. “With regard to playing something like Stagecoach, we were so thrilled to have been invited –when you take a look at the acts, to be given an opportunity to play for an hour or 45 minutes it’s a real privilege so for that we’re just grateful for the opportunity.”

Photo by Beth Elliott

He said he is looking forward to playing Stagecoach on Sunday, The Roxy on May 3 and Northern California’s Great American Music Hall on May 4. His new album is called Down In A Hole. 

“To play the Great American Music Hall in San Francisco, that gets to be a special thing,” he said. “It’s an intimate experience. What I’ve enjoyed the most is at the end of a show whatever preconceived notions I have about the audience or what they think about me, we have more in common than what they think. That started here in California and I’ll be grateful for that.”

Sutherland, known for his role on Designated Survivor and the Fox series 24 said he had shaky times starting out on tour and he’s learned a lot.

“The biggest thing I’ve learned is I won’t quit,” he said. “The first few shows it was not easy. I had to force myself to get out there and do it, I think I was very nervous and did not know what the outcome was going to be. But I pushed through it and that’s what I’ve done all my life. Then I got to a place where I really enjoyed it and I can’t say enough about the audiences we’ve played to for the last year and a half.”

Sutherland is “well into the second record,” he said, adding that his family — including his father Donald Sutherland — may want not be delighted with how they’re portrayed. But it’s all fodder for stories, he says, and he’s delighted about touring. Even though he’s been in scores of movies and on TV, he said performing is the latest bug he’s got.

“It became one of the most exciting things I’ve ever done,” he said. “It required me to open up like I never have before. At the beginning I doubt anything ever made me that scared in the first few shows I’ve played, like 20.

“It’s become a whole new way for me to partake in telling a story and that’s what’s the driving force and what excites me about working as an actor as well. There’s something about the excitement and the newness of it. I now approach Designated Survivor with a new enthusiasm I haven’t before.”

Sutherland, whose music leans towards the country genre pretty heavily said he expected he would be able to use his acting in his music but he was wrong.

Kiefer Sutherland will do a California swing as part of his tour – Photo by Beth Elliott

“I thought I was going to be able to use 30 years as an actor certainly to help me on stage but I was wrong,” he said. “For 30 years I was able to work as an actor and have a character and when I go on stage with the music the songs are personal and they’re mine and I leave myself in a more open position than ever before.”

“In both circumstances I’m telling stories and that seems to be the part of it I like the most.”

Sutherland, known for his starring role in the ABC series “Designated Survivor” and Fox series “24,” also starred in movies like “Stand By Me,” “The Lost Boys,” “Young Guns,” “Flatliners,” “A Few Good Men,” “A Time to Kill,” “Dark City” “Melancholia” and most recently, a western called “Forsaken.”

April 30 Stagecoach Festival – Indio, Calif.

May 02 Belly Up – Solana Beach, Calif. (SOLD OUT)

May 03 Roxy Theatre – Los Angeles, Calif.

May 04 Great American Music Hall – San Francisco, Calif.

May 06 Mississippi Studios – Portland, Ore. (SOLD OUT)

May 07 Tractor Tavern – Seattle, Wash. (SOLD OUT)

May 09 Urban Lounge – Salt Lake City, Utah

May 10 Fox Theatre – Boulder, Colo.

May 12 Choctaw Event Center – Grant, Okla.

May 13 3Ten – Austin, Texas

May 14 Gruene Hall – Houston, Texas (SOLD OUT)

May 17 Terminal West – Atlanta, Ga.

May 18 Singin’ River Live – Florence, Ala.

May 19 Exit / In – Nashville, Tenn.

May 20 Fubar – St. Louis, Mo.

May 21 Thalia Hall – Chicago, Ill.

May 23 The Birchmere – Alexandria, Va. (SOLD OUT)

May 25 Bowery Ballroom – New York, N.Y.

May 26 Stephen Talkhouse – Amagansett, N.Y. (SOLD OUT)

May 27 The Stone Pony – Asbury Park, N.J.

June 01 Skraen – Aalborg, Denmark

June 03 Rockefeller – Oslo, Norway

June 04 Debaser Strand – Stockholm, Sweden

June 06 Mojo – Hamburg, Germany

June 07 Heimathafen – Berlin, Germany

June 08 Technikum – Munich, Germany

June 10 WUK – Vienna, Austria

June 12 Gloria – Cologne, Germany

June 13 Gibson – Frankfurt Am Main, Germany

June 14 La Cigale – Paris, France

June 16 013 – Tilburg, Netherlands

June 17 Melkweg – Amsterdam, Netherlands

June 18 Rockhal – Esch-Sur-Alzette, Luxembourg

June 20 Bierkeller – Bristol, UK

June 21 Worthy Farm – Pilton-Somerset, UK

June 21 O2 Academy – Birmingham, UK

June 22 Islington Assembly Hall – London, UK

June 23 Trucker & Country – Interlaken, Switzerland

June 25 Glastonbury Festival – Pilton-Somerset, UK

June 26 Manchester Gorilla – Manchester, UK (SOLD OUT)

June 27 SWG3 – Glasgow, United Kingdom

Aug. 11 Boots & Hearts Festival – Oro-Medonte, Canada

Sept. 23 Bourbon & Beyond Festival – Louisville, Ky.


  1. Can’t Stay Away
  2. Truth In Your Eyes
  3. I’ll Do Anything
  4. Not Enough Whiskey
  5. Going Home
  6. Calling Out Your Name
  7. My Best Friend
  8. Shirley Jean
  9. All She Wrote
  10. Down In A Hole
  11. Gonna Die

Deadmau5 Pop Up Store on Fairfax A Smart 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.






The Cranberries Release a New Album, ‘Something Else,’ and Announce a New North American Tour

Beloved Irish Band To Make Stops at Wiltern, Masonic in SF


The Cranberries have released Something Else, featuring re-worked renditions of their major hits, as well as brand new material, including the single “Why.”

Something Else is available today via BMG on digital and CD formats, and includes Cranberries songs like “Linger,” “Zombie,” “Dreams,” and “Ode To My Family.”

Last year, over two weeks in the University of Limerick, at the home of the Irish Chamber Orchestra, Dolores laid down vocals as small booths were created to record the instruments as if live.

Cranberries’ ‘Something Else’ available now

She now sings her songs not as a young lady, but as a mature woman now, with the capacity to throw her life at the music, the benefit of hindsight, she said.

“I prefer them like this,” she says of the new recordings of old songs, “With a little bit more experience behind them, with a new lease of life. They sound fresh again.”

Cranberries Tour Dates:

Check out Something Else Tour Dates:

11 Sep – Nashville, TN; Schermerhorn Symphony Center

13 Sep – Atlanta, GA; The Tabernacle

16 Sep – New York, NY; Terminal 5

18 Sep – Washington, DC; The 9:30 Club

20 Sep – Philadelphia, PA; The Fillmore

21 Sep – Boston, MA; House of Blues

23 Sep – Montreal, QC, Canada; Place des Arts

24 Sep – Toronto, ON, Canada; Rebel

26 Sep – Detroit, MI; The Fillmore Detroit

28 Sep – Chicago, IL; Riviera Theater

29 Sep – Council Bluffs, IA; Stir Cove at Harrah’s Casino

01 Oct – Denver, CO; Paramount Theatre

04 Oct – San Francisco, CA; Masonic Auditorium

06 Oct – Los Angeles, CA; The Wiltern

Artist/fan club pre-sale begins May 2 at 10AM local time. VIP packages will be available.

Velazquez Review: Rise Against Rocks Troubadour With Insane Show, Album ‘Wolves,’ To Drop In June

Mosh Pit, John Fogerty, All Part of the Show


In anticipation of the June 9 release of their new album Wolves, Rise Against played a packed house at The Troubadour last night, as part of a U.S. and European tour.

Not surprisingly, the show was sold out, and housed many eager fans who were fortunate enough to get tickets within the minuscule time frame they were available. Rise Against hasn’t played at the venue since 2006, so I couldn’t imagine anyone passing on the opportunity to see them there again.

Fan jumps on stage and sings with Tim McIlraph – Photo © 2017 Jonathan Velazquez


The night started off with British-American trio, Sharp/Shock. They played an energetic 30-minute set for an enthusiastic audience. They threw in a special cover of The Clash’s “Police On My Back” towards the end of their performance, before finishing with “Troublemaker,” from their 2016 release, Unlearn Everything, via Heart and Skull Records.

Sharp/Shock - Photo © 2017 Jonathan Velazquez

Davey Warsop of Sharp/Shock – Photo © 2017 Jonathan Velazquez

Packed House

Rise took the stage promptly at 10 p.m. to find a packed house waiting for them. They began their run of cuts with “Give It All,” a fan favorite that certainly got the room moving. before moving on to tracks spanning all of their releases. About halfway through the set, the band took time to play several songs from the new record, including “Wolves,” “Welcome To The Breakdown,” and lastly, “The Violence,” which is available listen to online. Tim (lead vocals, guitar) was so excited to play them, he “performed the splits” during Wolves.

Joe Principle the bass player for Rise Against has a laugh – Photo © 2017 Jonathan Velazquez

‘State Of The Union’

The band returned to familiar material by bringing out “State Of The Union” to a frantic crowd, that stormed the front to scream with Tim and the rest of the band (I looked a bit funny on the balcony, screaming along behind my camera).

Creedence and John Fogerty’s Influence

They then took a moment to converse with the crowd about the bands that influenced them as musicians, which included Creedence Clearwater Revival. The just so happened to have “Fortunate Son” on their set, and everyone caught on and stormed the front again to sing with the band. They would play a couple more tracks before launching into a staple in their live performance, “Prayer Of The Refugee,” as a set closer. Such an enormous mosh pit for such a small room! So much energy in the room! There was very little oxygen left for anyone!

Rise Against – Photo © 2017 Jonathan Velazquez

‘Hero of War’

Tim came back on stage to perform the acoustic track, “Hero of War,” from 2008’s Appeal To Reason, before Zach (lead guitar), Joe (bass), and Brandon (drums) joined him and played “Blood-Red, White, and Blue”, before ending the night with one of their best songs, “Savior.” I’m certain many people lost their voice by the end of the night, but gained a very special memory in exchange. Check out the Rise Against website for more information.

Rise Against at The Troubadour – Photo © 2017 Jonathan Velazquez

Rise Against in San Diego, LA in July

Rise Against will be back on the road in the U.S. this summer with Deftones in support of Wolves. Though the nearest date on that tour will take place in Chula Vista at the Mattress Firm Amphitheatre on July 7, they will be back in Los Angeles shortly after, and will headline the Shrine Expo Hall on July 13.

Sharp/Shock 9 p.m., Rise Against 10 p.m.

Venue: The Troubadour. Los Angeles, Calif.
Rise Against

Give It All
Black Masks and Gasoline
Re-Education (Through Labor)
Welcome To The Breakdown
The Violence
State Of The Union
Fortunate Son (Creedence Clearwater Revival Cover)
Prayer Of The Refugee
Hero Of War (Acoustic)
Blood-Red, White, and Blue

Rise Against Members:
Tim McIlrath (lead Vocals, guitar)
Zach Blair (lead guitar)
Joe Principle (bass)
Brandon Barnes (drums

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)

California Rocker Q and A with Duane ‘DT’ Jones: SWIRL the Band Roars Back with a Strong New Album


The band SWIRL has tight music and a clear message: Choose your path, stand up for it, don’t let negative voices deter you.

The music from SWIRL is powerful – hooks that don’t let you go, achingly crisp guitar licks, percussion so sophisticated it sounds simple, and an unerring sense of how it all should come together. The band’s journey has been a long and winding road that has gone through Los Angeles, Japan, the U.S., various recording studios, a film score and support gigs with for top of the pile hard rockers.

With the release of their new self-titled album, SWIRL, they are headed for the top of the hard rock pile themselves. SWIRL founder Duane “DT” Jones stopped by for a chat about their new album.

PO: I have been listening to your music all week. I love the sophistication of your arrangements and your playing chops. I want to get into the lyrics in a bit – because they are in many ways the heart of your music, but first – how did this band get formed?

DT. The easiest way is to start with the drummer. After years and years of walking around the house I finally ask my mom, who is this person? She said, well, that’s your brother. My brother is the drummer. For us that was the easy part of getting together. Then we added a base player and singer from a previous incarnation of the band in the Northwest. After some family tragedy we moved to southern California – I moved to SoCal to join my brother. And then Claude Snow said he lost a guitar player, he is thinking about going into the studio and why don’t I think about working with him. I was coming out of my funk from my father passing away, and Claude and a few other people get me back into music. We did some shows and I really liked the singer and the bass player. The sessions with Snow never happened but I stole the singer and bass player and that was how SWIRL happened.

PO: You did lot of touring, went into the studio in 2008 and produced your first album, and then it wasn’t until 2011 that you re-emerged with some new music. what was going on between 2008 and 2011?

DT. A lot of touring. We have been together since 2008 – there have been no band changes. We are still very much in love with the idea of working together. When you are doing the independent band thing, sometimes you want to move on, but not us. We have stuck to our guns and together. Part of that is that first thing we did when we got together is toured -50,000 miles, opening for RATT, Bullet Warriors, Cinderella – anybody a stage and electricity. And in the process we found out that we liked each other in those three years on the road.

PO: In that period the band developed a knack for lyrics that are are both narrative and musical. The lyrics in “Rise Up” are a great example:

You got your boots you got your suits the attitude and from the outside/all the right moves
House on the hill another shot another pill/do whatever it takes just to make it through the day
Handcuffed in gold you been bought you been sold/can`t complain for the money you slave

If you read those lines without music they are a melody in themselves they are poetry. Who does the lyrics?

DT. I will give all credit to Alfred Ramirez. He puts phrases together like that and I am in awe of him. I am in the same boat as you – where did he come up with those lines. I am just happy we are in the same band. He is very much about writing things that people can relate to – he tells a story, paints a picture. It just works.

PO: You are from Washington State and then Southern California but your toured for three years. You must have played the East Coast – New York City?

DT. We have played New York – we played Times Square with RATT and a few times with LA Guns and other bands. We are looking to tour very soon for “Rise Up”. The video for “Rise Up” debuted Monday and we are excited. It has been a great spring for us, with the release of Dich Day film with our music, interviews, reviews so there is focus on us now. It is time to tour. Check for dates.

PO: Several of the songs on the new album were for the movie Ditch Day, which is out now on Amazon Prime and in Europe. You scored a number of songs for the film – were they written for specific scenes?

DT. The way that worked out was my brother was working on another project whose writer’s wife was working on Ditch Day. We were in the studio creating the songs for the album and the producer took a demo to the writer, who played for his wife, the film’s producer and they loved it. We didn’t write the songs for the movie, but they used them. All the credit goes to Megan Waters, the producer and assistant director of the film

PO: The song “Spell” in the album is really full of hooks. The lyrics “ I feel a change coming over me/I was blind now I see/I won`t waste another minute on you and me are a really good hook. Did you plan that? To create lines that stick in your ear?

DT. I don’t believe so. It was a classic love gone wrong story as told by Alfred in his genius way. That is just him…that is what he does.

PO: “Spell” was used in the film. How did the director decided to use it in the film?

DT. I recall vividly being at the screening party. It is a horror film. Three fourths of the band all watch horror films. I don’t – I am the quarter who does not like horror films. I got into it when our music was in it. But that scene – I missed it. I was sitting in the screening on the big screen next to my bass player – there is a party scene going on at the screening and I am looking around — and my bass player leans over a says “you do know that this is us right now, don’t you?” And I was like “Oh hey, it is!” So I missed it.

PO: Another song used in the film is “We Are Alive” which is very direct both musically and lyrically and an interesting choice of music for a slasher film. It sounds more like a political critique. Does “We Are Alive” sort of boil down your personal determination?

DT. I have talked to Alfred about it and I feel comfortable saying this now – that was a former employer of his. Somebody upset him and he wrote a great song about it.

PO: Breakups and former bosses are often a source of great material.

DT. Yep. When you let the pain in, the lyrics flow. You get the best stuff

PO: DT as you have moved forward, the band has gotten better and better musically – each of you have developed amazing chops. Has there ever been any friction because of it – anybody wanting to be a prima donna and show off their skill?

DT. No. First things first. Everyone’s sole purpose is to serve the song. We recognize how well we can play but no one is sitting there saying they are a virtuoso. Whatever the songs needs is what we do. Part of that is the history of the band. We have been in the studio with Fred Coury from Cinderella and with Carlos Cavazo from RATT and Quiet Riot and Matt Thor from Rough Cut and a Grammy-nominated engineer. so those are our recording mentors. We learned our lessons there and went into the studio in Wildomar California and produced it ourselves. We were sitting with the mixing engineer in the studio and remembered and applied a lot of the lessons learned in working with the people on the top of the pile in the rock world. That’s what helped us learn to write and record those songs.

PO: Last question. How has your music changed over the years?

DT. We got a little more modern in our production, but the way we write is the way we write – . It usually starts with me creating something on the guitar, then I sit down with Brian (Bam Bam Jones) and work on arrangements and then we take it to Shane (Carlson) and Alfred (Ramirez) and they will add their parts to it. The stylistic differences between our two albums are due to my brother. He wanted to go to a little more modern, including guitar tone and tuning and writing. I was resistant because my heroes where classic hard rock guitar players like Warren DeMartini, but he got me to listen to more modern players. I thought “what would it sound like if you put someone like DeMartini into Nickelback, or Creed – you know – let’s try it out.” That was the mentality — to see if it comes across.

Patrick O’Heffernan. Host, Music FridayLive!, Co-Host MúsicaFusionLA

Check out the SWIRL web page 
SWIRL, the album, is available at,  iTunes, and Spotify

Legendary Band Kansas Won’t Let Lead Singer Write The Set List: ‘There Are Just Too Many Big Hits’

Ronnie Platt Chats on Eve of Wiltern Concert


Ronnie Platt sometimes has to pinch himself. He is up on stage most of the time now singing to crowds in the tens of thousands on any given night as the frontman for Kansas.

“Sometimes I can’t believe it,” he said. “I grew up on Kansas music and I’m glad I don’t put the set list together or the shows would be six hours long, there are so many hits.”

Platt has been fronting the group for three years.

“Kansas has enough music in their library so it’s really great that we’re putting new music out,” he said. “It’s something I never thought I’d be doing is touring with Kansas and working with Kansas.”

He said he’s happy the band and the fans have the faith in him. And he’s liking the crowds pretty well in return.

“We must be doing something right even the skeptical Kansas fans are won over by the end of the second song,” he said. “This band is all about the music.

Growing up in the heartland, Platt says, he was influenced by some important regional bands.

“Chicago is one of the bands that I loved at an early age,” he said. “My sister is four years older than I am and I used to listen to her albums. She had two or three Chicago albums I borrowed.

“There are really two sides of me,” he said. “I’ve been a commercial musician and fan and I consider commercial bands to be Journey or Foreigner, but deep down I’m a prog rocker I love Rush, Yes, and Genesis and of course I’ve loved Kansas.”

“I guess having a similar tonality to Steve, got me work, it paid for a few Chicago hotdogs.”

Stealing Sister’s Records

“My sister played piano all four of my grandparents play piano,” he said. “My godfather was a semi professional singer, I grew up on WLS radio. WLS play deep purple and then they would play the Jackson five things weren’t so streamlined back then.

Ronnie thanks his family and his beautiful wife for allowing him to go on with music as a career but it is been a long haul eat once even work in a pizza parlor.

“Yeah if you come over to my house I’m used to making 60 pounds of pizza at a time so you better come over and be ready to eat a lot.”

The Kansas tour schedule is rigorous, the band will be playing the West Coast and then it’s off to Europe for 10 days in June. Kansas returns to come back to play Joliet and Grand Rapids and then it’s Europe for the whole month of July and then Kansas comes back in August.

Ronnie said Kansas crowds are very diverse these days.

“The Kansas fans have changed even in the short time I’ve been in the band,” he said. “I think it’s because wayward son has been in a commercial or two and also on the show supernatural. Kansas as a young audience because of that they want to see the band that did that song. I’ve seen more and more teenagers coming to our shows and you know what they call that: Job security.”

Audience Diversity

“Our audiences are as young as 12 years old and the oldest people there are about 70, ” he said. “There’s wide appeal and again I attribute that to the music and kudos to Phil and Rich Williams. They keep in the band going and we’re even still putting out new music.”

In January and February, Kansas will go back into the studio to do another album.

“Phil (Ehart) and Rich (Williams) don’t allow me to write the set list because we’d have to put on a six hour show with all the songs I love to perform,” he said. “Also, the songs are not like two-minute Beatles songs, they’re seven, eight, or nine minutes long.”

Check out ‘Get Loud,’ a Women’s Power Ballad from Nancy Wilson’s Hot New Band, Roadcase Royale

Nancy Wilson Weighs in on Women’s Rights with New Song


Nancy Wilson has been busy. Her new band, Roadcase Royale recently completed a video of their song “Get Loud,” and there’s more music to come.

Check out the latest video by Roadcase Royale here:

Roadcase Royale features Liv Warfield of Prince’s New Power Generations.

“Get Loud” is the group’s first single and is available now on all major digital outlets.

In addition to “Get Loud”, Roadcase Royale’s second single, a hard-rocking, bluesy track titled “Not Giving Up,” is set for release on May 12.

In addition to Warfield and Wilson are Warfield’s lead guitarist and musical director Ryan Waters and Heart veterans Dan Rothchild on bass, Ben Smith on drums and Chris Joyner on keys.


The Jay Clark Band Creates ‘Country Metal’ Genre While Making Great Music on New Breakthrough Album

This One’s For The Underdog


For anyone who’s had down times while trying to make your way, The Jay Clark Band has an inspirational album, “Cocked and Loaded,” that may give you a second wind.

Jay Clark puts out one for the underdog with ‘Cocked and Loaded’ – Photo courtesy of Jay Clark

If there were such a genre as Country Metal, then Cincinnati-based The Jay Clark Band has it all wrapped up. His voice is as good as any metal rocker out there today and the wailing country rock guitar brings us back to the day when it was the most popular genre out there. Remember Lynyrd Skynyrd?

The driving rythm and the great lyrics on “We Won’t Be Pushed Around” makes every underdog feel victorious.  Everyone has experienced times when they’ve been picked on for no reason. Well here’s a ballad that turns the tables, with excellent lead guitar and powerful keyboards, succinct vocals and explosive lyrics.

“Freight Train” certainly captures the power behind the thought of plowing ahead no matter what the odds. It’s definitely good to have it playing in the car if you’re on a great getaway.

The lead single, “The River,” which features Adam Cunningham is a great song, but not the kind of tempo we would have thought would be worthy of early release.  With all the other songs that make you want to go party or carouse, why the elegant “The River” as a lead single?

The band is tight. Tommy Harden is on drums, Eli Beaird and Mike Brignardello play bass, Jeff King is on electric guitar, Steve Nathan plays the keys, John Willis  and Larry Beaird are on acoustic guitar, Adam Cunningham is on vocals along with Tania Hanceroff and the record was engineered by Jim DeBlanc, mastered at Yesmasterstudios in Nashville and production was at Beaird Music Studio.

Jay apparently tried out his material on his Facebook page. Actually he’s very entertaining and the lo-tech quality on Facebook makes it even more interesting that the recordings came out so absolutely the opposite with exacting sound and hi-caliber quality.  Check out his Facebook videos and are sure as God made little apples, a smile will come to your face.

Keep your eyes peeled for The Jay Clark Band because they may be coming to a little honky tonk or rock and roll bar near you this year. Check the band out on Bandcamp.

Overall, Cocked and Loaded is an excellent record. It gives us a sense that country rock may be making a comeback only with a metal twist. After all, don’t headbangers and rednecks both love good music?

‘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.

Julian Lennon, Nancy Wilson Celebrate ‘The Art of Women’ Exhibit at Diltz’ Morrison Hotel Gallery

New Paths for Beloved Artists Theme of the Night


Julian Lennon and Nancy Wilson were on hand to celebrate The Art of Women, a photo exhibit at Morrison Hotel Gallery Thursday night.

Super selfies: Julian Lennon and Timothy White - Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Super selfies: Julian Lennon and Timothy White – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Women on Display

The event was co-hosted by Nancy and gallery co-owner Timothy White at the Sunset Marquis-based showroom. Nancy is depicted in some of the remarkable portrait photography on display.

Both Nancy and Julian are busy, going in new directions. Julian has just released a children’s book and Nancy has been working a new band called the Roadcase Royales. But both took the time to stop and pay honor to the women of music and film as photographs of everyone from Audrey Hepburn to Stevie Nicks are hanging at the West Hollywood gallery.

Henry Diltz, Timothy White, Geoff Bywater and Nancy Wilson have a heart to heart – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Nancy Wilson on Tour?

Nancy was accompanied by her husband Geoff Bywater, who said the two have been enjoying a life that is incredibly busy, with blended families, family pets and entertainment projects. There may even be a tour in the works for 2018, we’re told.

Gallery owners Henry Diltz and Timothy were socializing with a good turnout of friends, benefactors and journalists during an evening of amazing photography and stories.

Art lovers from all over Hollywood attended the opening - Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Art lovers from all over Hollywood attended the opening – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Julian on The ‘Why’ Years

As for Julian, his latest project is his children’s book which he says he created because he wants to reach families and open a dialogue about our world today.

“It’s been beautifully illustrated and has an educational message,” Julian said. “It’s aimed at 3- to 6-year olds, which many say are the ‘Why?’ years, ‘Why is the sky blue,’  ‘Why is the ocean dirty,’ so it’s about striking up a conversation with the kids today and the parents so they consider everything they’re dealing with in the future. And to imprint what the state of the world is right now, let’s hope it’s not too late as it is,” he said.

Julian said the book was a natural progression of his outreach and compliments his work in other media and the work of his foundation.

Julian Lennon wants families to have conversation - Photo ˙© 2017 Donna Balancia

Julian Lennon wants families to have conversation – Photo ˙© 2017 Donna Balancia

“I think after writing songs and having done documentaries and having started a foundation the only thing missing was reaching the children,” he said. “It was actually the co-writer Bart Davis who said ‘What do you consider then,’ and it seemed like the most natural thing to do.

Julian’s foundation is going strong.

“We deal with a lot of issues,” Julian said. “We have a couple of main causes like clean drinking water, it’s health and education and the protection of indigenous cultures and their land. Those are key elements. Occasionally we do other projects with other organizations like Music For Relief, so we work with a lot of different organizations. When they need help we help them and visa versa It’s all about teamwork in that field no question.”

Nancy Wilson shows off a cherished photo of herself in Heart - Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Nancy Wilson shows off a cherished photo of herself in Heart – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Morrison Hotel Gallery continues to bring a cool crowd to the Sunset Marquis for its events. Over the last few years the gallery has hosted the works of everyone from Diltz and other fine rock photographers to Jamie Hince of The Kills, Patty Boyd and many others.

Morrison Hotel Gallery has locations in New York, Miami and on Maui.

Sound Barrier Performs at Whisky A Go-Go, Set to Release Music Through Tom Morello’s Firebrand Records


The Afro-Metal band Sound Barrier has reunited and will release their music through Tom Morello’s Firebrand Records label, Morello announced during a blowout night at The Whisky A Go-Go.

Hold the phone, Sound Barrier is back - Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Hold the phone, Sound Barrier is back – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Sound Barrier and its members put on a great show with special guests and performed their new single “Just A Man,” which will drop April 28.

The legendary band inspired the likes of The Bad Brains, Fishbone and Living Colour. Corey Glover, the dynamic frontman from Living Colour was on hand to celebrate the occasion during Ultimate Jam Night at the Whisky.

Tom Morello and pals like Corey Glover, DJ Will, and Dug Pinnick celebrate the return of Sound Barrier - Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Tom Morello and pals like Corey Glover, DJ Will, and Dug Pinnick celebrate the return of Sound Barrier – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

“In the 80s there was apartheid in music, where if you had a certain color skin, you could only play a certain kind of music,” Morello said in introducing Sound Barrier. “I realized that as a brown-skinned heavy metal guitar player I confronted a thing called ‘The Jimmy Hendrix Curse’ and every single gig that I played somebody would yell ‘Foxy Lady dude,’ or ‘Burn your guitar dude,’ or ‘Play some Hendrix’ because that was the only reference point they had.

Stars of metal and rock celebrate at Whisky - Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Stars of metal and rock celebrate at Whisky – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

“Cut to some years later I’m attending a stuffy Ivy League university putting on my spandex and heading into downtown Boston for Wednesday metal nights where we’d watch metal videos all evening long and I was blown away by a video I saw it looked to me like a black Judas Priest and the name of that band was Sound Barrier. I just couldn’t believe what I was seeing.”

Sound Barrier’s Bernie Kimball is an original – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Others in attendance included former God Forbid musician Doc Coyle, Dug Pinnick from King’s X and KXM, and Sin Quirin from Ministry. In addition, awards were given to several rock influencers including Willie Basse, musician and producer and one of the influencers of the Sunset Strip and producer Bill Metoyer.

Bernie Kimbell ripped up the vocals, Spacey T Singleton plays guitar, Stanley E. is on bass and Eric Valentine is on the kit. Valentine took over for Dave Brown, who died from cancer in 2013.

Gorillaz Announce Massive North American ‘Humanz’ Tour With Stops at The Forum, SF and Las Vegas


The Gorillaz — masterminded by Damon Albam and Jamie Hewlett — will put on a North American tour, including stops in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Las Vegas.

The past few weeks have seen Gorillaz score a successful debut of their 360-degree “Saturnz Barz (Spirit House),” launch a mixed reality app, release five tracks from the Humanz album, and announce international festival dates after their Demon Dayz festival at Dreamland Margate UK.

It’s the first time since the Plastic Beach tour that the Gorillaz hit the road here. The launches July 8 in Chicago and runs through the fall. Tickets go on sale Friday, April 21 at

Tickets purchased online for select dates listed below will receive a choice of either a standard physical or standard digital copy of Humanz. Instructions will be sent via email shortly after ticket purchase. For tickets purchased after Humanz April 28 release date, instructions will be emailed 7-10 days after purchase.

The Humanz Tour traveling extravaganza will feature Albarn, Hewlett’s enigmatic characters and a touring ensemble of human musicians joining Gorillaz Murdoc Niccals, Noodle, Russel Hobbs and 2D, as they bring to life the new tracks and classics spanning the Gorillaz catalogue.

Gorillaz will be joined onstage by a stellar lineup of featured artists—the new album offering such possibilities as Jehnny Beth (Savages), Danny Brown, Benjamin Clementine, De La Soul, D.R.A.M., Peven Everett, Anthony Hamilton, Grace Jones, Zebra Katz, Kelela, Mavis Staples, Vince Staples, Popcaan, Pusha T, Jamie Principle and Kali Uchis, among others.

Lady Gaga Pops Her Coachella Cherry with Dynamic Show, Drops New Single ‘The Cure’


Lady Gaga blew away the estimated 100,000 fans during her theatrical and long overdue appearance at Coachella Saturday night.  And she dropped a new single just for the occasion, called “The Cure.”

Gaga on the big screen – courtesy of Coachella

Resplendent in her Coachella virginity, Gaga’s new name should be The Chameleon as she opened the show in a Marlene Dietrich looking black-leather outfit complete with retro leather motorcycle cap, and channeled Madonna, The Beatles and Elton John during her 90-minute performance.

Lady Gaga’s new song, ‘The Cure’ is available on iTunes – Photo courtesy of Coachella

She ran down a setlist for the ages, including crowd favorites, like opener Scheisse, John Wayne, Just Dance, Alejandro, Mirror on the Ceiling, Edge of Glory and Pokerface.

Gaga gave props to Beyonce — whom she replaced as the Saturday night headliner when Bey withdrew on doctor’s pregnancy-related orders — by performing “Telephone,” complete with Queen Bey’s voice recording.

Gaga’s setlist included favorites like ‘Pokerface’ and ‘Bad Romance’ – Photo courtesy of Coachella

Before performing Born This Way, Gaga said “I remember when I put this record out it caused trouble. I love to cause trouble.”

Her new song, “The Cure,” has a great quality to it, and Gaga dropped the bomb at the end of the show that the song is available on iTunes

Lady Gaga – The Cure  

Gaga doesn’t stop, as all night long she ran the stage and glided through several costume changes that ranged from leather Berlin to multicolor go-go pants to glittery black Malibu-like bikini and mesh.

She wrapped the show with “Bad Romance” and told the loving audience that she and most of the dancers on the stage have been together 10 years but never played Coachella because they were always too busy touring. She made up for it Saturday night. On to next weekend.

Stevie Wonder Presented With First-Ever ‘Key of Life Award’ at The ASCAP EXPO Closing Event in Hollywood


Stevie Wonder was presented with ASCAP’s inaugural “Key of Life Award” Saturday, at the marquee closing event of ASCAP’s 12th annual “I Create Music” EXPO in Los Angeles.

“The Key of Life” award, presented to Wonder by ASCAP President Paul Williams and Janelle Monae, was created in recognition of Wonder’s contributions to the world through his music, dedication, and giving heart.

The award ceremony was followed by a conversation between Wonder and Grammy-winning singer, songwriter and actress Janelle Monae about Wonder’s approach to songwriting and his successful career. Wonder gave advice to a room packed with professional and aspiring songwriters, discussed the state of the world and spoke about his creative and professional experiences.

The “Key of Life” Award, which was created for Wonder in Braille, reads: “Presented to Stevie Wonder, Who inspires and elevates the world through his songs, his spirit and his boundless heart.”

In the future, the honor will be presented to music creators who best exemplify Wonder’s legacy through their commitment to the art form.

Watch Coachella 2017 Live Via Webcast On Three Channels All Weekend Presented by Goldenvoice


Can’t go to Coachella? Never fear, there are three live channels from which to watch live performances all weekend long.

Check out Coachella Live on three channels here:


Mark and Sarah Hudson, Soul Asylum’s Dave Pirner, Butch Walker, and The Hooters, Jam at ASCAP


The “I Create Music” Center Stage Showcase at ASCAP EXPO surpassed all expectations with master of ceremonies Mark Hudson keeping the throngs howling with laughter and a musical entourage that played their hearts out.

Hudson is a one-man Las Vegas show with snappy one-liners that are sometimes all too real in the world of music.  His musical talent is only surpassed by his ability to connect with the audience.

Butch Walker, flanked by Sarah Hudson and Dave Pirner - Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Butch Walker, flanked by Sarah Hudson and Dave Pirner – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

It was a night of stories by all singer-songwriters involved, including Hudson, his daughter, Sarah Hudson, Butch Walker, Dave Pirner of Soul Asylum and Eric Bazilian and John Hyman of The Hooters fame.

The format was a round robin of playing tunes each musician is either known for, or in the case of Mark Hudson, songs that never got out there mainly because they were rejected by Don Henley.

Mark Hudson and daughter, Sarah Hudson - Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Mark Hudson and daughter, Sarah Hudson – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Daughter Sarah is known as a prolific and petite dynamo, with a new album Songs From the Sea, and she’s worked with a range of top performers, including writing credits with Katy Perry. She gave a knockout rendition of “Dark Horse,” the hit single she co-wrote with Perry.

Whatever got Walker fired up for his finale song — maybe he found a second wind after hearing so many of Mark Hudson’s jokes — and impressed the crowd with “This Bed’s On Fire.”  He’s produced everyone from Pete Yorn to Avril Lavigne, Keith Urban and Carly Rae Jepsen.

Pirner quipped”We got a band here,” when he got some backup on songs including “Runaway Train” and “Black Gold.”


Eric Bazilian and Rob Hyman brought a reminiscent touch to the evening when they talked about how they worked with Cyndi Lauper on “Time After Time,” and performed the hit song.  Rob said Cyndi was flipping through the TV Guide and saw a listing for the Roddy McDowell movie by the same name and scooped it up for the song.



Coachella Releases Set Times for Weekend One: Duelling Headliners Will Mess With Your Mind


Coachella Weekend One has released the set times and don’t expect Weekend 2 to be too much different. Here’s the skinny:



Broke L.A. Draws The Fans as ‘Little’ Music and Arts Festival May Soon Start to Outgrow its Locale

They Were Out In Force for The Arts


Broke L.A. drew a large and diverse crowd of concert goers, animal lovers and ecology-minded people in celebrating its seventh year. The line to get in wrapped down the dusty, industrial road, proving the festival’s popularity.

It’s impressive how the fest has grown and offers comedy, artwork (some that you even walk on) and music and food to a fan base that is hungry for it all.

“I love this festival and even if you’re not broke it’s fun,” said Ariel Lipcombe, 25, who lives in downtown Los Angeles. “It’s a beautiful day, there are cool people here and the music is good.”

Kid Wave - Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Kid Wave – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

The Highland Park-based fest is held in a contained warehouse area, but it may not be enough space for next year at the rate the fest is growing.

The music offerings are most interesting as there’s an array of up and coming bands, which Brokefest promotes each year. The food trucks — mostly sandwiches and ice cream — and vendors were popular, with everything from plants to ecologically minded clothing up for sale.

Kolaj - Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Kolaj – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

But this year, the festival seemed to attract a broader range of attendee.  In addition to those who like D.J.s, electronic and synth-style music and hip-hop, people were at Brokefest to see some bands that are mainstays of the local scene.

Bloodboy, Ugly Sweaters, Kolaj and Kid Wave drew the fans, as did La Bouquet, James Supercave, Candy Cigarettes and Send Medicine.

Ugly Sweaters - Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Ugly Sweaters – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia












John Geils, Founder of The J. Geils Band, Found Dead from Unknown Causes in Groton, Mass., Home at 71


John Geils of The J. Geils Band passed away from unknown causes at the age of 71.

Geils was born in New York City and raised in Morris Plains, N.J.

Geils founded The J. Geils Blues Band while at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, where he was a mechanical engineering student. The J. Geils Band was comprised of Magic Dick Salwitz, Danny Klein, Stephen Jo Bladd, Peter Wolf and Seth Justman. The band’s debut album was released in 1970.

J Geils Band in 2012 – Photo by Rich Engelbrecht

The J. Geils Band had a gritty rhythm and blues rock style, and one of the band’s most notoriously amusing and brutally honest records was Love Stinks, released in 1980.  The rock ballad “Love Stinks” is known around the world.

The J. Geils band was perhaps best known for the 1981 album, Freeze Frame and the song “Centerfold,” which hit No. 1 for six weeks. The band’s 12th album, Freeze Frame, hit No. 1 on the charts for about a month in 1981 and stayed on the charts for more than a year.  The songs “Freeze Frame,” “Centerfold,” “Love Stinks” and others are popular today, reaching a younger audience through licensing to American TV commercials.

Geils was known to have a passion for cars. He loved Groton, Mass., where the affection was reciprocated when the town named Dec. 1, 2009 as J. Geils Day.

A cause of death is pending.

Tom Cusimano of The Walcotts Talks Music, Gives Exclusive Solo Show For


Tom Cusimano of The Walcotts sat down with for an exclusive interview and a mini session.

He played the song “Coalinga” off The Walcotts’ new album, Let The Devil Win.

It was a cool hang at the KORG USA Artist Lounge in Burbank, where Cusimano talked about The Walcotts’ upcoming gigs and music in general.

The Walcotts album, 'Let The Devil Win'

The Walcotts album, ‘Let The Devil Win’


Today It’s All ‘Americana’

The band –which puts a new spin on a legacy Americana style that’s similar to Little Feat — is set to play Stagecoach on Saturday, April 29.

Cusimano, whose band has four core members but plays with up to nine people, said fans are really connecting. But don’t go putting his band in a niche.

“We have fans in the country music sector, because I think, like Rock and Roll in the 1960s, 70s and 80s, there are a lot of different kinds of music that’s called one thing, in our case it’s ‘Americana.’ If Steve Winwood and Traffic, Neil Young and Tom Petty, were coming out today, they’d be probably be put into this ‘Americana-Country’ world.”

Tom Cusimano of The Walcotts said the band is set for Stagecoach - Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Tom Cusimano of The Walcotts said the band is set for Stagecoach – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Music’s Evolution

Musical tastes are changing, Cusimano says.

“There’s no real outlet for bands like mine any more,” he said. “It’s mostly pop and hip hop out there.”

“There is a subset of country where you find the Jason Isbells and Chris Stapletons, and in fact, Chris is the reason we’re on the map,” Cusimano said. “We were touring with him when he blew up.  He went from selling 90,000 units to half a million in like a week’s time.  There is a want in that genre. We’re not country like he is, but there are enough similarities.”

Go To The Fans

The Walcotts play where the fans are, he said.

“We’ve played Nashville more than any other city other than Los Angeles or San Diego,” Cusimano said. “Two of the songs are on the record because we were in Alabama. Mussel Shoals was about two hours away.”

And in that magical music environment, the band wrote “Good To See You, Gotta Go,” and “Curious and Kind.”

Check out The Walcotts at Stagecoach on April 29 and go to The Walcotts website.

Hammons: With New Album, ‘Back From The Grave,’ The Sloths Connect With Young Audience

Tom McLoughlin: ‘Fifty Years Later We Are Living The Dream’


Sometimes you find rock and roll and sometimes rock and roll finds you.

I got up early on this Sunday morning, grabbed a cup of coffee and checked my Facebook page.   I saw a listing for the Muscochella Music and Arts Festival at Chapman University and as I scrolled down I saw The Sloths were playing at 2 P.M.  The Sloths are a band whose reputation precedes them and has never left them for almost 50 years.  I have heard so much about The Sloths and now I will have the chance to see them live in Orange County on a Sunday afternoon.  I was freaking out and was ready to rock.

Sloths original frontman Tommy McLoughlin has a way with the gals - Photo © 2017 Craig Hammons

Sloths original frontman Tommy McLoughlin has a way with the gals – Photo © 2017 Craig Hammons

When I got to the festival a light jazz band was playing some funky grooves while everyone leisurely relaxed on the grass between the two stages.  Next up was a folky cat that was playing a George Strait song which forced me to evacuate the area for a short time.  As I wandered back I saw the Sloths setting up.  I went over to the stage and saw my buddy Rik Collins (Wooly Bandits, Motobunny, and The Seeds) who is now playing guitar and bass for The Sloths.  I told him how excited I was to be able to see a band that was part of the early rock and roll revolution of the ’60s.  He said “You are in for a really good time”.

The Sloths have a new album, 'Back From The Grave' - Photo © 2017 Craig Hammons

Tom McLoughlin: Frontman, professor and film director – Photo © 2017 Craig Hammons

The stage was set as these rockers came out of the garage to play in the broad day light to us eager and privileged fans.   The Sloths started with “7 and 7 Is,” a song that paid tribute to one their early influences Arthur Lee and Love.  Next up was the toe tapper “A Cutie Named Judy” originally done by Jerry “Boogie” McCain.  Lead singer (as well as film professor and director)  Tom McLoughlin was already in full tilt rock and roll mode working the stage like it was 1965 and whipping the crowd into a frenzy.   The next song “Never Enough Girls” was originally written for Joey Ramone.  The Ramones did record a version but Joey was never able to lay down the vocals.  The song was offered to The Sloths and they made this infectious track their own.  Once you hear this song you will never get it out of your head.


The Sloths: American Rock N Roll to the core - Photo © 2017 Craig Hammons

The Sloths: American Rock N Roll to the core – Photo © 2017 Craig Hammons

New Album ‘Back From The Grave’

The Sloths played most of the songs off their new album that was 50 years in the making titled, The Sloths: Back From the Grave.  It was now time to take this party to the people and Tom McLoughlin jumped into the audience to sing their song “Lust.”  We all started dancing around him in sort of a hippie communal kind of way, feeling the music inside where it feels so good.

Tom, who also teaches film at Chapman University returned to the stage to address the crowd of almost all college students.  He said “we all have dreams and what happens after you all get out of this place is to never give up your dreams, sometimes you do a bunch of other stuff like get married, have kids, get a crappy job and then somehow by God’s crazy sense of humor it turns around and you get to get to do what you always wanted to do.  It happened to us up here 50 years ago we had the dream and 50 years later we are living the dream.”  Tom should do the commencement address for this year’s graduating class.

Glad I got to connect with The Sloths - Photo © 2017 Craig Hammons

Glad I got to connect with The Sloths – Photo © 2017 Craig Hammons

The Sloths are all solid musicians.  Original founding member Michael Rummans (singer, songwriter, guitar and bass) has never left the garage and plays with a vengeance and appreciation of the music that mean so much to his life.  New lead guitarist Ruben De Fuentes has played with Blue Cheer and Steppenwolf took some incredible leads.  He may be quiet on stage but unleashes supreme shredding when it is time to shine.  Drummer Ray Herron keeps the beat going and keeps these boys on track.  We are all blessed that after all this time these 60’s rockers found each other to reunite the passion and power of The Sloths.

Professor Tom McLoughlin: 'Never Give Up Your Dreams' - Photo © 2017 Craig Hammons

Professor Tom McLoughlin: ‘Never Give Up Your Dreams’ – Photo © 2017 Craig Hammons

The clock was ticking and it was now time to play the song that first put them on the map “Makin Love.”  This song is considered a true 60’s classic and has just been re-released on 7 inch vinyl for record store day.  The crowd ate it up even though most probably never even heard it before.  Without stopping they went right into their closing number “Gloria” by Them. The Sloths had one more number to do but due to time restraints had to close out their set.  The small but mighty crowd cheered as these 60’s icons said “goodbye.”

The Sloths connect across a broad swath of fans - Photo © 2017 Craig Hammons

The Sloths connect across a broad swath of fans – Photo © 2017 Craig Hammons

This is the dawning of the age of The Sloths.  They are back after all these years and deserve all the respect and recognition that comes their way.  Go buy the new album, go see them live, go online and read their story, dance and have fun.  You can thank me later.   But most of all remember to live your dream.  The Sloths did and you can too.

Skullcandy and Vans: Vote For Bands Forget Your Friends, The Knitts or Kid Bloom to Play Warped Tour

The Vote is On; Lewis Del Mar Headlines


The first of three Skullcandy Stayloud Showdown concerts will took place at Berric in Los Angeles, drawing fans of a diverse range of music.

Bands played and fans get to vote to give their favorites a chance at playing on the Vans Warped Tour. Forget Your Friends, The Knitts and Kid Bloom each performed and headliner Lewis Del Mar capped off the evening at The Berrics in downtown L.A.

Forget Your Friends @fyftheband

The Knitts @theknitts

Kid Bloom @kidbloomusa

Lewis Del Mar headlined the event and ran through a few favorites as well as some new tunes.


The Skullcandy Stayloud Showdown is a competition style event that enables bands to vie for a spot on the Vans Warped Tour. Two additional Showdowns will be held, in Austin, Texas, on May 18, and New York on June 8.

Each concert is live streamed on the Skullcandy Facebook page and fans cast social media votes to choose the bands they want to see at the  Vans Warped Tour.

For the moment, it looks like Forget Your Friends was ahead in the voting. What did they think of playing in a skate park?

“It was way cool I loved the esthetic, it got me in the right mood,” said front woman for Forget Your Friends, Charlie Kennedy. “It would mean everything that we practice every weekend we don’t skip a day, this is what we’re working towards.”

For Stayloud Showdown news, venue lineups, winning bands and other updates follow @Skullcandy on social media. Visit Skullcandy Stayloud Showdown for information on how your band can compete for a spot on the Vans Warped Tour.

Festival Season Kicks Off in The USA as Los Angeles Event ‘Broke L.A.’ Proves It’s Rich in Talent


Broke L.A. is rich in talent for 2017.

The festival that started out as a cheap alternative to Coachella has grown in many ways.  Broke L.A. has positioned itself to be the festival season-opener in the city, cleverly moving its start date up. It boasts some innovative musical and comedy acts and there will be some cool food offerings and art installations that are not to be missed.

It’s actually the seventh year of Broke L.A., and the artists are more diverse and more talented each time out. The fest runs from 2:30 p.m. to midnight on Saturday.

There will be more than 50 musical acts across four stages. This year, we’re looking forward to performances from Candy Cigarettes, Send Medicine, and James Supercave.

Candy Cigarettes among featured performers at Broke L.A. - Photo courtesy Lane Mueller

Candy Cigarettes among featured performers at Broke L.A. – Photo courtesy Lane Mueller

Candy Cigarettes

Candy Cigarettes, also known as Portland-based Lane Mueller, is a one-man singer-songwriter, a self taught multi-instrumentalist, and producer. At 24, he’s already made a name for himself with his songs, which have graced movies and TV. You know Candy Cigarettes, you just haven’t connected the name with the familiar tunes.


“Probably my biggest feat with licensing was a song named ’Weary Is’ in a film called Big Gay Love,” Lane told “The movie went on to win quite a few awards at various festivals. It had Buffy the Vampire Slayer’s own Nicholas Brendon in it too which was cool.”

Lane’s been at this music thing a long time.

“I started becoming more serious about my music and songwriting around 22, even though I had been recording myself since I was 14,” he said.

But with all that music history and all the time he’s devoted to music, Broke LA will be his first local gig.

“I was really excited when they put me on the lineup because its my first out-of-state show,” he said.

Send Medicine

Send Medicine brings its alt-surfy coolness to the fest. The band started out as a solo project of Toronto-born Julian Hacquebard and he was joined by bandmates Aaron Stern, Lauren Grimaldi, Ryan Glennan and Curran McDowell. We like the use of the Theremin.

Check out one of the band’s videos here

James Supercave

James Supercave is another one of our anticipated performers. He straddles the line between Americana and alternative and his music keeps you going.

Art + Food

In addition to new music, the fest presents LA’s up-and-coming comedians, art and food.

There are also photo booths, activism hubs featuring voter registration, petition signing, letters to congress and more, 30+ local business vendors, puppy adoption celebrating Los Angeles becoming an official No Kill city. The fest is dog friendly til 7 P.M.

Broke LA merchandise is for sale for the first time ever.

Featured Musicians

Brasstracks, James Supercave, Bloodboy, La Bouquet, Kid Wave, Kolaj, Ugly Sweaters, BRAEVES, Thumpasaurus, Fellow Bohemian, Candy Cigarettes, CRNKN, sober rob, omniboi,  PHAM, John Givez, Malcolm Anthony, Noah, Harris Cole, ARDENCY, Marko Penn, Devmo, Yung Skrrt, dylAn, FOFADI, Ta’East, Pusher, AWE, Grimecraft, R3LL, Fan Fiction, Neo Fresco, Hikeii, Honey, $yrup, DJ Clickbait,  Boyo, Dream Machines, Zealyn, Tickle Torture, Raener, Velvet, Goosehappen, Emerson Star, Send Medicine, Iconique

What: Seventh Annual Broke LA Music & Arts Festival

When: Saturday April 8th, 2017 2:30pm – 12:00am (last entry 11:30pm)

Where: 4560 Worth St, Los Angeles, CA, 90063

Price: $25 Admission

For more information go to

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:

%d bloggers like this: