“Psychedelic Rock on the Palm Springs Strip”
Written by: Steven B. Preston


A slow turning musical tide is coming over the Palm Springs strip, these are not cheesy cover bands or throwback “desert-rock” forgottens, but a new generation, drawing upon the history of the California psychedelic & punk-rock movements. At the heart of this recent blessing from the rock gods is the North Palm Canyon bar JDee’s Landing. Barely a year ago this was just another dive on the strip, karaoke and Monday Night Football ruled the patrons. But the past year has seen it grow into the deserts only true rock venue. (I am discounting any Village Pub cover band, or Red Barn butt-rock) JDee’s has consistently brought out of town rock, experimental, folk, punk, and psychedelic acts to perform at a meager $5 a show, (and often times free)

It was last month that Los Angeles’ The Entrance Band sold the place out, (there was a line outside until the band performed at 12:30am!) It was local rock mainstay Michael Durazo of Desert Hot Springs’ Slipping Into Darkness that brought the psychedelic heavies Entrance to the desert along with OC’s My Pet Saddle. Entrance, who recently inked a deal with Thurston Moore’s (Sonic Youth) label Ecstatic Peace!, have been touring the nation and been at the center of the Los Angeles-San Francisco Psyche/Freak Folk movement of late, and they will return to Palm Springs on February 19th.

Durazo is one of the local cornerstones involved with the recent wave of new music coming to the desert. He along with fellow rock band Dreamcacther (Palm Desert) are the main support for these gypsy kings that stop over in the desert while on their way in and out of Los Angeles. They will support Entrance Band when they return, and also when another member of the modern movement, Sleepy Sun of San Francisco, hit the desert on March 14th.
 
All the focus should not go to just the long haired children, but also to another promoting group known as The Ghost Channel. This trio, founded by Palm Springs’ Alex Callego, & Johnny Galvan, are the true foremen of the Palm Springs Strip. Booking shows week in and week out at JDee’s Landing, bringing out of town acts on a routine basis. The group’s personal mantra includes bringing music for “People who like to explore music, not eat it like junk food.” Callego and Galvan, along with friend/intern Dave Thomas bring the diversirty they felt was lacking in the Coachella Valley, booking So-Cal heros like Halloween Swim Team, Meho Plaza, & Not The Government while bringing out east coast up-and-comers Surfer Blood and The Chinese Stars. Los Angeles punk-cult icons Foot Village came out (twice thanks to these guys) helping to put Palm Springs back on the map.
The Ghost Channel doesn’t totally dis the home team, support for a lot of their shows often comes in the form of artist Christopher Chichocki and his newest project, State Rec. Part-time desert resident Griefshare plays often along with Psychobilly kings Los Mumblerz of Coachella.

 

Now it’s definitely not the 60s (or the 80s for that matter) and we’re still a ways away from West Hollywood (or East LA for that matter) but what is happening in an area most known for touristy shops, happy-hour street fair, and the Follies, is grabbing some looks, even if they’re from the women in fur coats and police officers who don’t even know what to do with these kids. Knowledge is power, and ignorance is bliss, especially in this town. So if you want to get out of the Josh Homme saturated past, and move on to the next experience, grab your face paint and head out to where the action is. Rock n roll on the Palm Springs Strip is here, but maybe only for the moment.

 

 
UPCOMING SHOWS
Feb. 19th – The Entrance band w/Slipping Into Darkness & Dreamcatcher
March 13th – Ghost Channel Presents Pre SXSW Showcase w/State Rec, Meho Plaza, Batwings Catwings, Kid Infinity, Whitman, and more TBA
March 14th – Sleepy Sun w/Dreamcatcher


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