We have movie legends, sports legends, music legends and here in the CV we have the pioneers of the desert rock movement who we consider “Desert Rock Legends.” Herb Lienau, Alfredo Hernandez, and Zach Huskey are a few of the musicians who some say haven’t gotten enough credit for their huge contributions to the scene, while others like Josh Homme, Nick Oliveri, John Garcia, Brant Bjork, Sean Wheeler, Arthur Seay and Jesse Hughes have received much notoriety and fame- justifiably so. Mario Lalli is referred to by many as the Godfather of Desert Rock, partly because of his generator party days and also for his immense talent and likeability. Gary Arce, Tony Tornay and Scott Reeder also belong on the pioneer list as well as many others not mentioned here.
Amongst those pioneering bands is Unsound, who lost their bass player, Britt Killen on October 22, 2011, at the young age of 44 to heart failure. This Saturday, April 7 at The Date Shed in Indio, many of these desert legends will come together to help raise money for Killen’s wife Loren and his daughters Reese and Josie.
During a recent interview I spoke with Killen’s close friend and Unsound band mate, Brian Maloney. “Britt had just found out the month before that he had heart problems. He only told his wife and one of his patients that he drove to treatments. He was an EMT. It really came as a shock to everyone. So now we just want to do what we can to help raise some money to help his family. Britt would’ve done the same for any one of us. He was a great friend and was always there when you needed him.”
Maloney and Killen were band mates in Scabies Babies before forming Unsound back in 1987, which included members; Maloney on guitar, Killen on bass, Ian Taylor on vocals & guitar and Jeff Bowman on drums, who took over for Tony Brown around 1990. Maloney says they performed their punk rock music everywhere for about 71/2 years before taking a break. About 4-5 years ago they got together to do reunion shows for special occasions. “Back in the day we were even a bigger band here in the desert than Kyuss was. Unsound owned the desert for a long time,” he states proudly. “It was Dead Issue and then us. Dead Issue is doing a special reunion just for this show and I highly recommend people taking this opportunity to see this band play.”
I can understand why, as Dead Issue is like an all-star desert line-up of Lienau on vocals, Lalli on bass, Dino Lalli on guitar, Quanah Lienau on guitar and Alfredo Hernandez on drums. We can also expect a few more guest appearances including Nick Oliveri (Mondo Generator, Kyuss Lives, QOTSA) to get on stage with Unsound. Maloney says they asked Josh Homme to come but he will be vacationing with his family at the time and won’t be able to make it.
For The Date Shed show, bassist Billy Cordell, (formerly of The Whizards, Brant Bjork, Half Astro), will stand in for Killen. Also on the bill is Half Astro with Herb Lienau on guitar & vocals, Mike Johnson on drums, Lienau’s son Quanah on guitar and Derek Timmons on bass. Mario Lalli’s band Fatso Jetson will also perform along with Sean Wheeler & Bubba Williams (Zander Schloss can’t make it). “We were really excited to get them since they are a national touring band, but Sean really wanted to be here for this,” shared Maloney. “We wanted to have bands play that had been friends of Britt’s for years.” Lalli says that it was Maloney’s idea to do this for Killen and then everyone wanted to be a part of it including DJ Ray Phillips, who is the promoter for the event and dialed in The Date Shed for the venue. Big Scenic Nowhere will also take the stage and Phillips says that the line-up for that band is whoever gets on stage, but could include Gary Arce, Tony Tornay, Billy Cordell, Mario Lalli, etc. It’s sounding like a Desert Rock Hall of Fame Induction show and one you don’t want to miss.
Even though this show is a result of these musicians losing a good friend it is to help his family and let everyone come together and share their memories of Britt and rock out in his honor. For more info check our back cover.