By Noe Gutierrez
Each week Coachella Valley Weekly will provide you with an update on several of our favorite artists and what they are up to.
DEREK JORDAN GREGG
Derek Jordan Gregg has probably been the busiest artist in the desert since the pandemic broke. As one of the masterminds behind the inaugural CVCV Virtual Fest, DJG helped bring many of the Coachella Valley’s top musicians to our handhelds and computer screens, all in the name of supporting the desert music scene. Since then, he has regularly performed live and released the Blues tune “House of Cocaine.”
The song, produced by David Williams at Melrose Music Palm Springs/Hollywood, is steps beyond what we are used to with his Facebook Live performances. The anthem is tenacious Blues Rock with Sean Poe on drums and Gene Beavers on bass. DJG sings his ass off and gives his guitar the green light to broach the heavy heart of the Blues. It’s nothing like I’ve ever heard from him.
We spoke with DJG this past week:
CVW: “House of Cocaine” is cut-throat Rock. Can give us some background on the song?
DJG: “I wrote “House of Cocaine” like ten years ago in Oregon after a pretty wild weekend with my good friend and former drummer Kai Fujita. This was before I chilled out and moved to the desert. Anyway, we knocked out a demo’s worth of pretty killer material in 15 minutes or so and I’ve been holding onto it until the right band configuration presents itself. The lyrics are garbage. I don’t give a shit but it’s a vibe. I’m looking forward to putting together a project for this stuff. It’s an homage to my favorite generation of music.”
CVW: How have you been holding up overall since the lockdown?
DJG: “I’m doing alright man. I’m keeping it together, I’m staying positive, peaceful and productive. It’s an accomplishment just to stay in a good headspace ya know? If you’ve managed to do the same I’m proud of you.”
CVW: You’ve had a great response to your live performances online. Do you believe this type of performance is going to remain once we are able to attend live shows?
DJG: “I think it’s a good idea for people to keep streaming. I live in a pretty controlled environment ya know? Not everybody who enjoys my music is gonna subscribe to the venue or atmosphere that I’m generally available in. Some don’t drink, some have anxiety, I don’t want to alienate anybody. Come one come all!”
CVW: Anything else new going on that you’d like to share?
DJG: “Well, I’d just like to encourage everybody to keep developing and creating, and sharing. If you have a gift, you have a responsibility to share it. I’m really excited to share new projects, my duo with Jetta King, my solo record, new The Hive Minds stuff and potentially another band, so please keep an eye on me, I’ve just barely started. I love you!”
Find out more about DJG on his Facebook artist profile and YouTube channel.
ARTHUR SEAY (HOUSE OF BROKEN PROMISES, UNIDA)
We also reached out to master shred-meister and riff-killer Arthur Seay for an update on all things Arty Love. Seay has been posting some of his own hilarious FB Live videos talking shop, shredding and covering any topic his viewers throw at him. “I do the live videos to keep sane, to entertain people and to connect in some way during this,” shared Seay.
Never a loss for words…never, Seay has been outspoken throughout his career and that quality is appreciated by many of his fellow artists. Seay was kind enough to exclusively share several unreleased HOBP songs with CV Weekly that are newly mixed and now ready for mastering. The music was to be released by mid-2020 but, as we all know, the pandemic interfered. “We had planned to release it this year, but we’re waiting to see what is happening in the world, so probably late 2020!” asserted Seay.
With working titles like “27 League,” “Creature,” “Fear Me,” “Straight Jacket,” “Under Cover,” “Way Too Far” and my favorite of the bunch, “Dystopia.” These songs are big and powerful with the heaviest intros I’ve heard in a long time from any Rock artist. With these songs, HOBP is injecting into the Rock world in 2020 what Mötley Crüe did for the genre in the early 80’s.
HOBP does what four and five-piece bands aim for. The trio envelopes an abrasive and melodic heavy sound that is unmistakable and untouchable. The guitar solo to Seay is the feather in the cap of each song. Expect the showmanship and swagger from one of the greats. Once 2020 truly kicks in, HOBP absolutely belongs on the biggest of stages.
We know Seay is a man of many talents; guitarist, producer, engineer, photographer, trailblazer, etc., but did you know the man is an artist? “I’ve been painting during this downtime. I wanna do an art and exhibition show of my paintings and photography after all of this. I’m thinking the Hi-Desert Cultural Center in Joshua Tree.” Seay has worked on many of HOBP and Unida’s graphics and artwork for t-shirts and tour posters.
Make sure to follow Seay on his social media pages and modelmayhem.com/9140 for more.
Empty Seat has had to endure the pandemic like all other artists and it hasn’t been easy. Before the restrictions, they were ready for lift-off and prepped to achieve the next level of success. As it stands now, the band is sitting on a goldmine of new songs and a single and video that are being readied for release. The first new music from the band in over a decade will be thumping your ears real soon. The video for “Won’t Wait” is near completion with director and producer Zak Kupcha of Circulation Media at the helm. The video, mainly shot at Little Bar in Palm Desert, California, is part performance and part message.
We spoke with Red, Ant and Rickey of Empty Seat to see how they are pushing through.
CVW: Thanks to Zak I saw the most recent cut of your new video for Won’t Wait. The aesthetics are awesome and the song is dynamic and rocking!
Ant: “This is just the start for ES. With the video, we wanted to capture the spirit of the nightlife and the fun side of life. I think we brought that vibe into this music video. The next track will definitely take you on another journey as we look forward with optimistic vibes and a future of ES sounds that are ever-evolving.”
CVW: Red, you’ve stuck to your guns all these years and it seems to be paying off despite the pandemic.
Red: “We are reflecting on a lot right now. We’re definitely excited for the video and single to come out soon! We have more to come as well. We have developed a certain sound and we are working on continuing in that direction; all uplifting that’s for sure, everybody needs that right now. We are in writing mode.”
CVW: Ricky, the band has had to remain resilient and not give up. What are your thoughts?
Rickey: “Yeah, there’s no quitting on this band, we continue to move forward each and every single day despite obstacles but regardless of what happens we ain’t stopping!”
Find out more about Empty Seat on their Facebook and Instagram pages.