By Esther Sanchez

A couple weeks back I happened to be at Plan B in Thousand Palms to check out my buddies in Upper Class Poverty when I stumbled upon a 3 piece band whose name I have seen from time to time, but didn’t really know anything about. Their tight riffs and bluesy, funky orchestrations drew me in almost immediately and their influences seemed reminiscent of the eclectic stew that we know as desert rock. When I sat down with Sleazy Cortez I found my suspicions were more spot-on than I had imagined.

Frontman/bassist, Derek Wade Timmons: “I have always been drawn to the desert. My grandparents lived in Arizona and I loved visiting. Years ago when I lived in Indiana during the heyday of Napster, I was a really big Tool fan and I came across a video of them playing “Demon Cleaner” by a band called Kyuss. I was really into it and downloaded a couple of Kyuss songs. I think that was around 2000. That also linked me to bands like Queens of the Stoned Age, Mondo Generator and Fatso Jetson. Eventually I started doing my research and realized the connections between all of these bands that I loved. Next thing you know I am at a record seller every Wednesday ordering something from the desert and everything I found I fell in love with. That’s pretty much why I am here today. I came here to make music.”

Nick Hales, guitar/vox: “It’s so funny yet so telling. Like the average person born and raised here…I was clueless in regards to this sub-genre from my home town known as, ‘desert/stoner rock.’ Thanks to my dad I was blessed with a lot of classic rock influences and of course, like the rest of us…due to our age we are all about the 90s. It wasn’t until I met Derek that I was exposed to and schooled about desert rock. Seven years later I am still going through his extensive music collection and learning something new every day.”


Sleazy Cortez drummer and Indio native, Damian Garcia, along with the rest of his band, began his life in music very young and has taken part in a gazillion projects since he was a kid. Garcia: “We have known each other for a while so the chemistry required for making good, original music is there. We have all had a lot of projects over the years but I think we have something special here. We each have our own style that adds to the flavor that is Sleazy Cortez.”

If I had a special column regarding local bands to keep your eye on…Sleazy Cortez would be on the top of my list. Funky, soulful and hard, with some humor sprinkled about…these guys are cooking up something special and I highly recommend jumping on this band-wagon while it’s fresh. That way you can say you knew them, ‘back when.’