by Lola Rossi-Meza
Hot new band: The Collective features a mix of the former band Evaro with Bobby Nichols
Solo guitarist, Bobby Nichols performs every Friday from 6 until 9 p.m. in The IW Club located at 44-500 Indian Wells Lane in Indian Wells. (760) 834-3800. Every Saturday, he performs at The Fix located at 73-580 El Paseo in Palm Desert. (760) 340-3040. However, he may leave a bit early this Saturday, September 15, and head over to The Hood Bar and Pizza, (760) 636-5220, located at 74-360 Highway 111, for the downbeat at 9 p.m. to perform with a hot new band: The Collective. Members include: Bobby Nichols on guitar, lead vocalist Gabriella Evaro, Gene Evaro, Jr. on bass and drummer Ben Kennedy with two percussionists; Mitchell Arganda and Piper Robison.
I remember hearing a few members from The Collective, when they performed every Thursday in the group Evaro at Space 120, the old Blue Guitar, on Thursday, October 29, 2009. A date I remember because I was very impressed with their intriguing original music paired with their free-spirited performance. It was obvious the talent from The Evaro Family Dynasty, including all their Aunts, Uncles, Cousins and their Father, musician, composer and producer, Gene Evaro, Sr., was still alive and now continues with a new generation. Add veteran musician Bobby Nichols to this new mix, and you definitely have something creative, fresh and different, yet very original.
Born Bobby Moses Nichols in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, his father’s administrative job brought him to Brazil where he spent the first six years of his life and learned to speak Portuguese and English. The family then moved to Santiago, Chile, where he added Spanish to his vocabulary. His father accepted a position as Director for a mental health agency and moved the family back to the United States when he was 11. They moved several times and while his father was teaching a grant writing class, he met some of the Cabazon Tribal Members, which later brought the family to Indio, California.
His older brother started taking guitar lessons and soon, Nichols found himself wanting to do the same. “When I was 14, I started singing and writing my own songs,” said Nichols. “I play with a lot of rhythm, and intricate rhythms, and I feel being exposed to various types of music as a child, has influenced me as an artist.” He listened to The Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Jimi Hendrix and Led Zeppelin, while also enjoying Carnival and samba music. He started playing professionally in instrumental bands when he was in his early 20s. They played R & B as well as fusion and jazz. With the Roger Atlas Quintet, he had the opportunity to open concerts for Spyro Gyro in Miami. He also played with a number of musicians who were prior, part of and future members of the Allman Brothers, a more bluesy rock side of improvisational music.
“I love the spirit of the music. I love a good hook, I love a simple melody that the audience can remember and I really love a full-on rhythm section that can keep up with me and interact with me, while we are playing.” He is very excited about the festival circuits that have been emerging over the past 15 years, where 10 to 20 thousand people are hanging on every note that people are playing. “Whenever I play my own material with the energy that I play with, I am able to have that freedom and I usually get a great response from the audience.”
The music The Collective is crafting is arranged to play a certain way, but it originally starts in an improvisational manner and goes from there. They record everything and get ideas for songs from their rehearsals. “Every time we get together, we are writing something, it is oozing out of our pores. I am playing with people half my age and it is exciting because they are so talented, and it just clicks.”
Gene Evaro, Jr. is a great writer and multi-instrumentalist and very creative. “I gotta tell you, the music we are doing is groove oriented, very rhythmically moving and lyrical. At the Joshua Tree Music Festival, we had over 2,000 people in attendance who really loved it. We had many people after the performance, express to us their appreciation for the music we create. We have a unique sound that is very hard to ‘pigeon hole’ which is really what I like.”
You can follow them on Facebook. Bobby Moses Nichols and also The Collective JoshuaTree.
“In working with these musicians, the cool thing is, we all have the same vision and like to go where all genres of music meet. We love everything and have a very sophisticated flair. They are disciplined musicians, like me. Their energy combined with mine, brings us a very diverse audience, a collection of all ages.” We will keep you posted on the release of the CD they are currently recording.