This Saturday, July 19th @ 9PM Benefiting California Fire Wives

Featuring: JoJo Leone, Caxton, Pictures From Eden and Deadend Paradox

by Lisa Morgan

Season? What “season”? Things don’t seem to have slowed down much at all for Schmidy’s Tavern, under new ownership for just over a year now. With their commitment to bringing various live music and treating customers the way they’d like to be treated, things appear to be heating up, so to speak, for this local business. This Saturday you can see for yourself, what is making this Tavern so successful. Schmidy’s Tavern, along with sponsors Coachella Valley Weekly, Crater Lake Vodka and Lotus Elixir, is hosting four popular local bands for a night of great music and good times benefiting California Fire Wives organization. The event is being called, “Schmidy’s Haute Lei”. The $5 cover provides each attendee with a flower lei and a smurfy blue Crater Lake, Lotus Elixir slushy as they enter in to one of the “haute-est” nights of music in the valley.

Schmidy’s Haute Lei Music Menu:

JO JO LEONE: Jo Jo will be warming up the Tavern with an arsenal of soulful popular music. He’ll be playing a skillfull set of acoustic covers with a voice that can sing anything from Gavin Degraw to Gnarles Barkley, Kings of Leon to Adele. Leone has been a touring musician since the tender age of 14 and has shared the stage with major R & B artists as a vocalist/percussionist all before becoming a permanent fixture in the Las Vegas and Palm Springs music scenes. Now back in the Coachella Valley after a two year absence, he has returned to continue performing in the cities that he loves.

CAXTON: The band that won Best Female Vocal and Best Band Overall at this years CV Music Awards, is back after their last show at Color Your Mind in Coachella with Fatso Jetson and Waxy. They return with several new songs that are set to be recorded this year. Your ear is sure to bend delightfully to the rich, strong, beautiful, voice of vocalist, Christina Reyes, in total control as it skips along a true yet unpredictable melodic path. Her voice and keys, along with Brett McLaughlin on Bass/Vocals, Adam Surdin on Guitar/Vocals and Brian Pelletier on Drums will help you understand why this original group of musicians won such high honors. You will find their music simultaneously contemporary and vintage, and almost theatrical in expression. Caxton will invite your ears to yearn for the story line as you sense the satire and the earnestness in the delivery atop a very solid but happy rhythmic bed, original guitar leads and tastefully played keys. This four piece alternative indie-pop ensemble has filled LA’s Viper Room, House of Blues, Glasshouse, The Roxy and countless other venues throughout southern California. Oddly at ease and pleasantly cohesive both in spirit and at play, their music and energy reflect a gathering of souls who simply like to be around each other, with or without the music. So when they perform songs like “Plotting a Murder” or “Monster” there is no darkness in it. Instead, you’ll find that it’s absolutely delightful. Caxton has released two full-length albums and a string of EPs that have found their way onto the permanent playlists of hundreds of those who have had the pleasure of seeing them perform. You can find their music at Plotting to release more music this summer, Caxton is a constant creative work in progress and may be one of the most fun bands to watch as their star climbs. And it will climb, I assure you.

Miss Reyes shared with me what the nominations leading to the awards meant to her. “I am incredibly honored. We’ve been a band here for a while, and the band has always been noticed. I’ve always enjoyed being part of that, but it was pretty amazing to be identified individually as a nominee. But I thought
I never stood a chance in winning considering all the veteran singers like Giselle Woo, Nicky Valley, Chelsea Sugarbritches and…well, you! I thought people would look at the nomination ballot and say to themselves, ‘Who the Hell?’. We all felt the same way about the band nomination. We would have bet our lives we weren’t going to win it. We even sent our drummer, Brian, home so he could get to work and maybe allowed ourselves a little too much to drink. When they called our name, it was just Brett and I. We looked at each other like, ‘Did they just say our name? No! They didn’t. They did?!’ I even told Brett, ‘Oh no! I’m not talking! Brett said a couple of things and handed it over to me. I was so unprepared. I’ve admired all of these musicians and bands, it was unbelievable. But I love how the CV Music awards gave me the opportunity to get to know everybody – to put faces to the names and the music. I’ve gotten to meet and collaborate with so many people since then. I feel like a genuine part of this rich music community now.”

PICTURES FROM EDEN: This band, nominated in the CV Music Awards for Best Rock Band, Best Band Overall, and Best Male Vocalist (Paul Cotterell), has played the world famous Whiskey A GoGo in Hollywood on multiple occasions, opening for bands Missing Persons and Gene Loves Jezebel, and most recently opening for Modern English here at The Hood in Palm Desert. The band, made up of singer/songwriter Paul Brian Cotterell, guitar demi-god and face-melter, Tom Collins, the lovable Dennis Gallagher on bass and drummer Steve Ussery (school teacher by day, drum monster by night) have a brand new member. Paul proudly shared, “My wife, Karen, and I are completely stoked to have brought our new little girl home a couple weeks ago – Livia Eve Cotterell born 6/28/14 at 7lbs. 12oz. Life-changing doesn’t begin to describe it. Having her is like the missing piece to the puzzle. I fall in love every time I look at her. Hard to imagine life without her now….even with the mass of dirty diaper’s she’s completely capable of destroying. I never thought I’d fall in love with something that poops so much!”

PFE has made it a point to benefit local charities in most of their events, when they can. At their last event, Pi Palooza, held at Schmidy’s Tavern in March, they were able to raise over $3,000 for Christopher’s Club House and Palm Springs Animal Shelter. They’ve even been seen performing a free concert for the kids at the Cathedral City Boys and Girls Club. “As musicians, we have a unique opportunity to engage and speak before captive audiences,” shares Cotterell. “There’s no better time to raise awareness and support for local charities and organizations with extremely noble causes. Musicians have the power to do so much to help their local communities, it’s really inspiring to see how many bands give their time to support and fund-raise for these groups. We hope to do a lot more of it down the road.” Regarding upcoming adventures for the band, Paul says, “The band is taking a moment to celebrate some huge news that just broke a few weeks ago, the details (date, location, etc) will be announced shortly and everyone is invited once we work out the details. But along the lines of news we can break now, we’re just out-of-our-skin excited to announce that Tom Collins has officially broken down and gotten a haircut. I know some will assume this news as misleading or a downright fallacy, but imagine our surprise when he showed up for practice 45 lbs lighter! Crack the champagne, it’s about to get ridiculous!”

“This summer we’re working diligently at a new album/project that will be released later this year,” Paul continued. “We’ll have more details as we go, but we’re beyond excited to be working with music phenom, producer/songwriter, Esjay Jones, as well as rock legend, producer/engineer, Bjorn Thorsrud (Smashing Pumpkins). It’s a refreshing new direction for us with some big surprises ahead. But for now, we’re just enjoying the process and letting the creative juices flow. We’ll definitely keep everyone up to date as we progress.” PFE is also looking forward to meeting up with their San Diego friends and fans Saturday, July 26th, and rocking out the Tin Can Alehouse for a special birthday show/party for drummer, Steve Ussery. If you can make it out that way, it’s going to be guaranteed fun. They’ll hit the stage around 10 pm but you’ll definitely want to come in early as space is limited.

DEADEND PARADOX: This alternative desert punk rock band is quite possibly one the best bands in it’s genre flying under our desert music scene’s radar. This band and their music, born and bred here in the Coachella Valley, cut their teeth on the same ideals and punk rock influences from which their musical upperclassmen developed the infamous Stoner Rock genre. All three self-taught musicians fell on the sword of original music from their beginning in 2008, pumping out a quality catalog of pulse altering, uniquely melodic and lyrically strong songs. Eddie Airada on drums is a hybrid, tireless, athlete behind the kit. Chris Dub on bass could double as a bouncer; the only thing bigger than he is on stage, is his soulful, tasty bass rhythms. Alex Antonio is well known and respected among fans and peirs alike for his lead guitar, vocals and lyrics. Zach Huskey, co-founder of the internationally renowned Dali’s Llama, and CV Music Award’s Trail Blazer recipient singled Alex out as one of the better young guitar players in the valley. “He’s well rounded; not stuck in any one style. You can have a conversation with him and talk about Johnny Thunder (late, great rock/punk rock guitarist best known for his work with the New York Dolls and The Heartbreakers) and he knows who that is and has studied him. He’s alright. He’s a good songwriter and a good singer…he’s one of the better young cats in our music scene.”

Schmidy’s Haute Lei will raise money for California Fire Wives. California Fire Wives is a local organization formed to assist the families of fallen or injured fire fighters active or retired. Donations can be made on site at the event or at

Relating links:

Benefit: Schmidy’s Haute Lei, Saturday, July 19th 9PM-1AM $5 @ Door at Schmidy’s Tavern, Highway 111 & Fred Waring, Palm Desert
Event link:

California Fire Wives Contact: Krystal Lathrop (760) 574-6468/ email

JoJo Leone:

  • Caxton

  • Deadend Paradox

  • JoJo Leon

  • Picture From Eden Photo by Lani Garfield