By Robin Linn

It all started with a fat kid in his garage and a handful of young aspiring musicians way back in the eighties. Mario Lalli (Fatso Jetson) was more than just one of the earliest cutting edge musicians to rise out of the hot desert sand he was the guy that brought everyone together. With generators, stages made out of cardboard, and a handful of bands out in the middle of the barren desert….a music scene was born. Later Mario would open Rhythm & Brews, and bring cutting edge punk, metal, and stoner rock (a yet to be named genre) to his small venue in Indio. Kyuss and later Queens of the Stone Age would find great success, spear head a sub-genre, and bring international attention to our unique and highly creative music…desert rock. Coachella Fest would eventually be born, and the rest is quickly becoming rock and roll history!

Since those early parties out in the middle of nowhere many of our key musicians have gone on to not only create & spread their own unique sounds, but to work in the Audio/Visual field doing major corporate events. So, now when they throw a desert party, it’s world class debauchery. For 10 days at a private ranch in Thermal, Vestal Village has become a city of tents on lush grassy acreage…just 5 miles away from Coachella Fest, a major music festival that brings hundreds of thousands of music fans from all over the world here during these two weekend events each April. Many of the artists that perform there….camp here. It’s a star-studded private affair that becomes a sea of tents, RVs, and has over a million dollars-worth of gear donated by Guitar Center, a giant stage, a full-on light show, a barn that has been turned into a black-light psycho-disco with a full bar, where many of the DJs who are performing at Coachella are entertaining the troops. Many of the musicians who have been performing at Coachella have been rehearsing, recording and resting up in between shows and on Friday, April 18th, they will open up this rock-star haven to local desert music fans who may not be able to attend Coachella Fest, or who are simply die-hard fans of the vintage desert music that we are famous for.

Jesse Hughes, the devilish leader of desert-rockers Eagles of Death Metal, counterculture icon, and front man for his solo project Boots Electric, has built a temporary space where musicians hanging out in the Coachella Valley next weekend are invited to come relax, create, practice, and even record. Located at the invite-only Vestal Village event, “Vatican City,” as it’s been dubbed by Hughes, will feature an air conditioned compound with plenty of high quality recording gear from Orange Amps and Blue Microphones, as well as PA and drum equipment supplied by Guitar Center. Those in attendance can also check out the latest products from Orange, who will be featuring the newest version of their Windows PC, the Orange OPC MKIV.

“I’m creating an artist’s Shanghai-la. It is a strictly invite-only, elite affair, but I will be producing a record of music from the weekend for the masses,” said Hughes. “The details of the participants are being kept completely secret and invitations will only go to the fortunate few.”

This Friday, the hottest party the Coachella Valley has ever seen will take place. The music is slated to start at noon and go to the wee hours of the morning. The lineup is stellar….EAGLES OF DEATH METAL featuring the devil himself…Reverend Jesse Hughes, FATSO JETSON ( A band that has been a major influence on music around the globe, featuring Mario Lalli, Larry Lalli, Dino Von Lalli, Tony Tornay) Robbie Waldman and Waxy, Parosella, War Drum, Caxton, CIVX, JF//Discord, and top secret special guests. So, the question becomes…will Josh Homme be swinging in to perform with EODM? We just can’t confirm that at the moment…but, we can confirm is that if you can find your way to this event…it promises to be a desert party of epic proportion.

We spent a night out at Vestal Village last Saturday and it will live on in our memories forever. When we arrived we were greeted by Mike Riley (Parosella) who gave us a personal tour of the facility. There is a huge staff of family, friends, and at the helm of this major music and artists event is our own Ray Phillips. Ray has organized everything from sponsors to technical support making sure this major event operates smoothly. Security and parking are all under control. Shuttles to Coachella Fest are on hand bringing artists and guests in and out to the show. Food, beverages, and all the trappings of a great party are plentiful. We hung out at Vatican City where Bobby Nichols on guitar joined Mario Lalli on bass and Marcus Bush (Parosella) on drums for a stunning jam, which was captured by Adam and the recording crew.

At the end…it was the other worldly jam that blew us all away, not the sandstorm. This Friday, we will be heading back out to do it all over again and take in all of the bands that we hold dear here in the Coachella Valley. The valley is booming right now and musicians are coming out of the woodwork to take part in this amazing party that takes place during this busy festival season. RSP Productions and Jesse Hughes have gone all out to provide an environment that honors the local musicians that are at the core of the scene that has erupted into a major music capital. It makes those of us that can’t find our way to Coachella Fest feel that we are still part of something magical. To see where things have evolved since those very early desert rock parties is crazy and beautiful!!!!!! I highly recommend you do not miss this event!