By Esther Sanchez
Upper Class Poverty consists of a set of desert-raised brothers and two out-of-state transplants, all of whom are primed to make their mark on the Coachella Valley music scene and beyond. Recent participants in the Coachella Valley Music Showcase at the Hood Bar in Palm Desert, their high-energy sound, progressive riffs and quality vocals elicited praise from the judges and for those of us that were UCP virgins, impressions were made.
I caught up with the guys at the house/rehearsal space, nestled in a fantastically secluded corner of Thousand Palms where 3 of the 4 members of the group live.
Mikey Hendricks (bass), Corwin Hendricks (drums), Rob Lawrence (guitar/lead vox/lyrics)and Joseph Borck (guitar/backup vox) sit in a half-circle around me, dogs frolicking around us, while they reminisce on their journey as a band up to this point.
Rob: “I was born out here in the desert but spent most of my youth in Seattle. One of the goals I had when I moved back out here was to start a band and Corwin was one of the first people I met. My sister said she knew this drummer who wanted to start a band and introduced us.”
Corwin: “I had been teaching drumline/drum corps for a long time and always wanted to start a band. When Rob and I met, our tastes in music really clicked and the chemistry was there. We had another band with our original bass-player, Chazz Shapiro, who actually came up with our current band name but Chazz ended up having to move. We went on hiatus for about 6 months or so without really playing at all until Mikey decided to join us on bass.”
Mikey Hendricks, Corwin’s kid-brother and the youngest guy in the group is also admittedly the “responsible” guy in the band who is often on his way to bed while his bandmates are still up for shenanigans. A trait that has definitely paid off considering the fact that Mikey owns the house they live in and bought it on his own when he was 21 years-old.
Mikey: “I was in bands in High School but Corwin and I never played music together. I stopped playing for a while and then a couple of years back I started playing for Eevan Tre & The Show and although I enjoyed it, my work situation was causing conflict so it didn’t work out. Since then it has changed and I figured, why not? We are in the same house anyway. If we are going to live together we might as well play together. One of the reasons I bought this house was to have a place to make music.”
Corwin: “And I’m excited because I get to play in a band with my brother.”
The newest addition to UCP, Joseph Borck, migrated to the high-desert from Indiana, “by accident” so he says…which is also somewhat descriptive of how he ended up a member of the band.
Joseph: “About 4 or 5 months ago I met this girl at a bar and she told me some friends of hers who were musicians were having a party in Johnson Valley at what ended up being Rob’s dad’s property. I decided to go and took my acoustic guitar, Rob was there with his guitar and we sat around the bon-fire jamming all night. We exchanged numbers in the morning.”
Rob interjects with a chuckle: “You’re number in my phone is still under, Joe/Johnson Valley. The chemistry was just there. People were asking us how long we had been playing together and we were like, ummm….an hour or two?”
With their lineup complete and a steady stream of gigs throughout the valley over the past few months, UCP seems to have come out of nowhere and hit the ground running.
Corwin: “With the momentum we have going, we plan on keeping on doing what we are doing until the end of the season. Once summer hits we will probably take some time to record an album… so we have stuff coming up.”
UCP will be performing along with dozens of other Valley favorites at the upcoming, End of the World Festival at Schmidy’s Tavern.
To keep tabs on UCP, like them on facebook. www.facebook.com/UpperClassPoverty