By Esther Sanchez

In case you have been living under a rock for the past couple of decades, let me be the first to let you know that, believe it or not, “Desert Rock” is a thing. Conceived and birthed right here in the Coachella Valley, desert rock (sometimes referred to as  ‘stoner’ rock) has developed into its own genre that has put this area on the radar of music lovers all over the globe and the momentum is growing every year. If someone were to ask me what or who people are talking about when they refer to the “desert rock’’ sound that has become a signature claim to fame in our little valley, there are a handful of bands that come to mind. These are bands that, along with roots and history in the Coachella Valley, they possess distinct qualities in their sound that set them apart in a genre that has become the quintessential sound-track of Coachella Valley’s internationally acclaimed rock music scene; bands that set a tone and built a foundation for an ever-evolving musical movement that clearly isn’t going away anytime soon.

Lakota is one of those bands.

Although the band itself has been active for less than two years, its members all have roots and connections within the Coachella Valley music scenes from many notable projects over the years. Seasoned with solid talent and a plethora of experience in rocking like nobody’s business, Lakota has created a sound that is jam-packed with key ingredients that easily justify their place in the desert rock genre, yet set them apart as unique and recognizable amongst other bands in the same circles. Their groove can be described with adjectives such as, “psychedelic,” “heavy’’ and “raw” which is exactly the kind of sound they are striving for.


Landerra Sean Carillo(drums): “We actually recorded our first album completely live in the studio. We wanted to do it the way they did back in the 70s…old-school recording without tricks and very minimal dubbing. Just a band in a studio playing their songs. We wanted it to be as real and as raw as possible.”

Born and raised in the desert, over the years Landerra has been a member of multiple So-Cal bands including, Waxy and Odyssey 9.  Although his dad was a drummer, he is primarily a self-taught percussionist who was in his middle-school’s marching band until he started Palm Desert High School where he decided that marching wasn’t his thing and that he would rather play music in garages with his friends and cousins. It was during his teen years that his mother took him to his first Native American pow wow where he watched traditional, native drum groups perform ceremonial songs that moved his heart and captivated his imagination. Landerra: “There was something about the drumming and the singing and the ceremonies that were calling me. I was a young man with indigenous roots and I was lost, looking for identity and belonging. I started attending pow wows on my own. I would stand around the drum groups watching and before I knew it, some of the elders invited me to sit down and join in. That led to me becoming a member of a drum group called Iron Bull with whom I traveled and performed for about 5 years. It was during that important time in my life that I was led on the spiritual journey that helped me figure out a lot.”

It was later in his life’s journey as a musician that Landerra’s path would eventually lead him to his current band mates. Although they would know each other for some time before anyone would ever conceive of what is now Lakota.

Like Landerra, Lakota bassist and support vocalist, Charles Pasarell is a native to the Coachella Valley, and former member of the respected desert rock band, Waxy. Pasarell is the son and namesake of Charlie Pasarell Jr, a former Puerto Rican tennis player, International Tennis Hall of Fame inductee, sports administrator and founder of the current Indian Wells tournament. Coming from such fascinating roots, as one might imagine, Pasarell, has been blessed with a life full of interesting experiences and opportunities. That being the case, Pasarell mentioned that, although his interests vary widely and are occasionally short-lived, his draw to music has been a constant in his life for as long as he can remember.

Pasarell: “I guess I have always been somewhat musically inclined. Both of my grandmothers were pianists and one of my grandmothers had an uncle who was a concert pianist in Puerto Rico. It was there in Puerto Rico that I actually learned how to play piano by watching my grandmother play. I have always been a very visual learner. I was about 5 years old and really intrigued by her playing so I would watch her fingers closely as she played and literally figured out how to play songs by copying her. Not that I would consider myself a pianist. I enjoy dabbling in a lot of instruments but I only consider myself skilled in guitar and bass.”

It was those bass skills that persuaded both Landerra and Lakota frontman, James Childs to solicit their friend, Charles with an offer to join a brand new band called Lakota.

Landerra: “The timing was meant to be. I had recently parted ways with Odyssey 9 and James had returned to L.A. after an extended stay back in the UK when he called me to ask if I was interested in starting a new group. We always got along well and had like-minded goals so I was confident in the idea early on. Once we got together we wrote and recorded demo tracks for the majority of our debut album in a relatively short time. Lucky for us, Charles was willing to come in on bass and work his magic to complete our sound.”

After spending some time with Child’s, it was easy to see why Pasarell and Landerra were confident in their decision to be a part of his newest brainchild. Childs was born in Bristol, UK and has spent a large portion of his life learning the music business at every level and carries with him a huge helping of experience to any project he is working on. During the 80s, Childs started playing in local bands around his hometown and eventually, through immense amounts of work, he achieved some commercial success in the 90s as a member of the UK band, Airbus.

Childs: “Back when I first started in this business, before artists could self-promote on YouTube and produce their own music using simple computer programs, the old way of the music industry was to have one goal; landing a contract with a major record label. Eventually that did happen for Airbus. Unfortunately, to our surprise, that accomplishment did not fulfill our young, naive fantasies of fame and fortune. We spent most of our advances and earnings on recording equipment and related band expenses and spent much of our time in the studio writing and recording which, on one hand is good because I now have countless songs I can pull from at any moment, but with hindsight, I would have done things differently and put more emphasis on touring.”

Child’s time with Airbus is what brought him to Los Angeles in 2000. After the band parted ways, he began playing with, recording and producing tracks for various artists which is how he came to meet and join forces with desert rock icons such as Chris Cockerell (Kyuss), Alfredo Hernandez (Kyuss, Queens of the Stone Age) and many other recognizable characters that have impacted the desert rock movement. It was only a matter of time before one of the Coachella Valley connected bands he was part of ended up going on tour overseas with Waxy. During their time traveling together, bonds were formed and unbeknownst to them at the time, the seeds were planted for what would someday become a band called Lakota.

Nearly 10 years after touring together as buddies in separate bands, Lakota is preparing to launch their west-coast tour in June, 2015 followed by a European tour in late fall of 2015. Lakota is currently recording their second album which they expect to complete near the year’s end.

Check out Lakota’s music, videos, tour dates and more at and like them on facebook at

Photos by Esther Sanchez

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