@ The Desert Hot Springs Spa Hotel

By Lisa Morgan

There’s a running joke about the definition of a musician.  It describes a musician as someone who puts $5000 worth of gear in a $500 dollar car to play a $50 gig.  It’s only funny because in so many cases, it’s true. That’s what you do when you are compelled to make music, and being compelled to make music is what draws the line between a troubadour and someone with a hobby.

For 10 years running, Greg Veach and members of his band, “Radio 60”, have been hosting this jam session throughout the valley. From Dillon Roadhouse to Jackalope Ranch, the Eldorado Polo Club to The Handlebar in North Palm Springs, Veach has rung the dinner bell for our local musicians to come and show their stuff.  When one door closed, Veach would find a way to open another.  Now, the jam is comfortably settled in at the Desert Hot Springs Spa Hotel. The current rhythm section composed of James St. James on drums and Gene Beavers on bass start things off with Veach at 3pm and go until 7pm.  Woody Retro (bass, guitar and vocals) is also a frequent member.

All summer long, while folks sipped their beverages in the cool water of the Spa’s pools, Veach and his crew sweat out their deep arsenal of classic rock tunes to the delight of all.  It never took long before any number of players would start lining up, even some who have storied and renowned music or acting careers.  “Jake Busey (Gary Busey’s son) and Buddy Greco’s son stop by from time to time,” shared Veach.  “Nashville cats, Jann Brown and her husband Matthew Barnes are frequent guests at the jam; even Cindy Williams from Laverne and Shirley stops by the jam now and then.” Along with the more nationally known names, many of the desert’s favorite local artists will show up, including Stan the Man Foreman of The Roadrunners, Eric Frankson, Paul Villalobos of The Myx, Alex A, Frank Orlando, and Ernie Orta of The Voodoo Hustlers.


Veach’s path to music started in a Protestant Church.  “As a child, we sang hymns every  Sunday morning, Sunday night, and even Wednesday nights for the first 18 years of my life,” Veach reminisced.  “My mom sang alto and my dad sang bass, so I learned harmonies at an early age. In high school and college, I sang in the choir and did some musical theater. The Beach Boys lived near my high school, but the seeing the Beatles for the first time on Ed Sullivan in 8th grade was one of my most memorable experiences.

Gene Beavers is a retired phone company employee from Pennsylvania.  He played in bands in his home state until moving here a few years ago.  He also currently plays in Hotwyre with Buddy Greco Jr. and Doug Anderson at The Riviera in Palm Springs every Friday and Saturday. He also plays with Tim Cramer in his band Crimson Crow.

Woody Retro is seen there more than most and is considered one of the regulars by Veach.   “I’ve been doing this (music) for some 50 years now,”said Retro. “There’s been some great moments.  I played as an opening act for a couple of Philadelphia based headliners , like Youth Camp (the predecessor of The Hooters ) and the lessor known, “The A’s”, who had a few minor hits in the early 80s . I recall that was the first time I had girls asking for my autograph (that wasn’t for a child support check).”  More currently, aside from the Sunday Jam, you can find Retro with the Refills and The Beatabums at many local venues.

James St. James (drums) has been the go to stick man for many bands, locally and nationally known, such as Jesika Von Rabbit, the Evangenitals, Glenn Patrik, Mississippi Millie McClaine, Chan Romero, Queen Latifah, Joe Clay, Lainie Kazan, and Top Jimmy.  He plays for Radio 60 regularly, and can also be found every Friday Night at Jackalope with The Country Gentlemen featuring… well… me, Lisa Lynn Morgan (forgive the shameless plug).

If you want to know what true love looks like, come see the guys and gals of the Sunday Jam, along with the multitude of talented others. And don’t forget to bring your bathing suit so you can partake in the healing mineral waters, their 8 heated pools, their full bar and tasty restaurant.  It really is a good time and a great way to hear so many of our desert’s best music makers. And now that the weather is returning to perfection, I suggest you get there early.

Check out Radio 60 at their web site at www.radio60band.com