By Tracy Dietlin

Nick Hales is a beast on the guitar! He currently is playing in 6 different bands/projects that cover several musical genres. He was nominated for Best Guitar Player at the 2018 CV Music Awards where his band Sleazy Cortez performed at the After Party. That band also won one of the 2018 CV Music Showcase preliminary rounds.

Hales was born in Palm Springs and raised in Indio. “I’m definitely a desert rat.”

He says he was about 10 when he started playing on a classical guitar from Spain. “I started to play basic songs like “Iron Man,” Highway to Hell,” etc. Around 8th grade I started taking guitar classes at CDA.”

Aside from playing guitar he also plays bass. “I used to play piano for a couple years, but I didn’t keep it up like I did with the ole guit-fiddle,” shared Hales.

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I asked Hales to tell us about the first band he was in.

“It was an alt metal band called Fist Full Of Glass. My best friend Chris King started playing guitar about a month after I did. Franko and Pedro Hernandez were on drums and bass. We we’re together for 6 years, until we did an album and broke up.”

Hales shared a little bit about each of the 6 bands he’s currently in and why each one is important to him.

  1. “Sleazy Cortez (joined August 2010) – My main squeeze, I have the most fun playing/performing in this band.”
  2. “Cakes (joined October 2018) – Much like Sleazy, a band with no particular genre. Whereas Sleazy is more rock/punk/funk oriented, Cakes goes down a whole other rabbit hole with a more blues/reggae/samba kind of deal.”
  3. “Unity Frenzy (joined March 2018) – Strictly reggae, I actually play bass for this band, started out just trying to play bass in a band again, now I have a home in the reggae scene.”
  4. “MoZaiq – Typically, I’ll do stand-in bass for them every now and again when Dub Wallace can’t make it. Love these dudes.”
  5. “Stevie Jane and I (circa November 2018) – Acoustic cover duo. We’re gearing up towards playing restaurants and bars for money, although I really want to do something more original together down the road.”
  6. “Captain Ghost (joined December 2018) – More driving rock/punk band. Brad has a great voice for the style we do. Hoping to go on tour later this year!”

So what drives him to be in that many bands?

“To put it simply, I just love doing it, although I may be a bit of a band slut,” Hales shared with a chuckle.

If he could only be in one of those bands which one would it be?

Hales replied: “Sleazy fo sho!”

Hales said that the most exciting point of his musical career so far has been that the Sleazy album has 40,000 hits on YouTube so far. That’s impressive!

When I asked what type of guitar he plays, he replied laughing, “One that works when I plug it in. I have a couple Ernie ball music man guitars, Gibson Les Paul, Schecter, my first was a Squier Strat and I still play it to this day.”

His influences include: Jimi, SRV, Angus Young, Ed Mundell from Monster Magnet, The Atomic Bitchwax and Johnny Winter.  He’s currently been “stuck on a good blues bender and listening to Stevie Ray Vaughn live albums.”  He most respects, “The independent bands and musicians who make a living crunching it out day by day.”

Who would he most like to open for?

“Doesn’t matter! I’ll upstage them and get kicked off the tour!”

He says his songwriting process is “usually melody and progression first before any lyrics come. Lyrics are usually last or sometimes a miracle if they come along.”

His goals for 2019 are to record songs with every project he plays in.

His Top 3 headliners for Coachella would be:  “Gary Clark Jr., Lonely Island, Mastodon and for this year’s lineup I would probably go see Aphex Twins and Ty Segall and that’s about it. Stagecoach always have more acts that I end up liking over Coachella. BRING BACK ZZ TOP PLEASE!”

And how about Headliners for Desert Trip? “Hmm… well I guess ZZ Top, Heart, ELO, Rush reunion, The Cars, Eagles, Steve Miller Band, plenty of good candidates here.”

I wouldn’t be surprised to see Nick Hales performing on the Coachella stage with one of his many bands in the near future.