by Lucinda Perez

Like the song suggests, the town is getting painted… and all that jazz.

The Coachella Valley isn’t getting painted any old color though, the desert rock scene is being painted purple. The bandits responsible? None other than The Purple Gang.

Nick Cheney provides the vocals for the group, to the sounds of Shawn Growell’s electric guitar riffs, Louis Rabago’s bass playing and Daniel Perry’s steady drum beat.


In 2011, as a part of College of the Desert’s jazz music program, the four members found themselves without any additional symphonious stimuli to occupy their musical minds. That is when they decided to get together and form The Purple Gang.

The band does not rely solely on their jazz background to drive their music however, though you get a taste of it in their raw, funky sound. “[…] like an F-16 engine in a Prius,” the band describes themselves – a perfect means of escape for the gang’s musical creativity.

“We’re a fun, energetic and quirky band,” they elaborate. You need only look at the subject matter of some of their songs to understand their quirkiness: friendships, bullies, women and dancing, and the occasional tall-tale of zombies, pillaging and outlaws, of course.

The Purple Gang may not be quite as eccentric as they may sound; the music they play and perform is all very important to them. Growell, Rabago, and Perry are all music majors at COD, who are looking to further enhance their musical undertakings in any way possible.

Currently, the band is working on an EP, which will feature 8 songs from The Purple Gang; they hope to have the EP in the hands of the masses by the end of May. The gang is also working on a tour, that they’ll start in July.

While they may boast about their epic quests in slaying dragons, The Purple Gang also plays the part of a modern-day, raw, funk rock Robin Hood. They, along with their friends and family, use their love of their community to help support local organizations.

The Purple Gang is putting their musical prowess on display on June 16 at TKB Bakery, 44-911 Golf Center Parkway, Indio, CA 92201. The show will benefit SafeHouse of the Desert and Cup of Happy, East.

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