People’s Picks

Posted June 26, 2008 in Feature Story

Stinger’s Bar and Nightclub owner Don Snyder’s local bands to watch for


Buddha Bomb—James Brown may be known as the hardest workingman in show business, but Buddha Bomb is the hardest working band in the IE. They have yet to disappoint me, all energy and fun. 


Inhale—You may not want any of them to dating your daughter, but their combination of dub, rock, reggae and punk kicks ass. 


The BBQ Kings—Bob Nye and Pat (AKA Uncle Dick) have been rockin’ Riverside since 1993 . . . and I still love hearing them play “Bad Luck Charm.” 



Lo-Fi Studios recording engineer Maria Baglien’s Top Five IE Bands


In checking the pulse of the Inland Empire music scene, my Top Five do not represent the current music trends, but instead show the history of rock music and it’s roots.  Some of these bands are not the most visible in the Inland Empire Music Scene, but they represent solid songwriting and musicianship from the area.  These bands have released great music in the past year and are still rockin’ the local music scene and beyond!  


Death of Me 

Part-time Cracker songwriter Chris LeRoy took a project that turned from tragedy (death of partner singer/songwriter Mike Wilkerson) to the birth of an exceptional album, Life’s So Hard, Make It Softer (2007), and continues with a new band who will perform again at The Fourth Annual Cracker/Camper Van Beethoven Campout at Pioneertown, September 2008. 



Real life rock and country performed effortlessly by cool singer and slick guitarist Mark Nemetz and his band, with three albums available and playing everywhere in SoCal. 


BBQ Kings 

Out of the wreckage of the ’80s Riverside punk scene, this two-man rockabilly band with guitarist/vocalist Bob Nye at the helm, has stoked the coals of roots rock since 1993 with their raw and swampy sound.


The BellRays 

Aretha Franklin—actually Lisa Kekaula—still fronts the MC5 in this re-tooled version of The Bellrays, and is once again touring Europe (a must see live band) promoting their Hard Sweet & Sticky (2008) album.


Matt Coleman (and all the musicians that play, write and record with him)

Singer/songwriter Matt released his long-awaited Grin Of Living earlier this year, performed with the contributing musicians at the CD release party at the Fender Museum, and performs solo and in a variety of bands.


The Vinyl Hours’ own Tina Bold’s Ten Local Bands to Watch Out For! 




Location: Riverside

Genre: Ambient, Psychedelic, Electronic

This one-man show brings you “organic geometric electric sonic architecture.” Music to get all five senses tingling.  


Phoenix & the Turtle

Location: Yucaipa

Genre: Indie, experimental

This is not the Brady Bunch, but it’s a family affair, which includes a husband & wife team, a brother, and a brother from another mother. All familial ties aside, their music melds a beautiful string of classical and avant-garde sounds . . . and some “controlled chaos” for balancing the scales.   


BBQ Kings

Location: Riverside

Genre: Alt. Country, Rock

If love songs were really murder ballads (like I think they are), this would be the band to prove my conspiracy correct. This two-piece can be heard at a local BBQ, or cabaret near you. 


Time for Change

Location: Pomona

Genre: Hardcore Punk 

Keeping the tradition of hardcore alive, Time for Change may be young, but they know their history. Conveying a direct, straightedge message through music. 


Hobo Jazz

Location: Redlands, Moreno Valley

Genre: Folk, Jazz, Blues

This trio could just as easily play at your grandma’s retirement center as it could the local bar—no matter the venue, it all has the same effect. Loads of fun, ala ’20s–’50s style.



Location: Ontario

Genre: Experimental, electronic 

You just might be able to dance with the ghosts in the Haunted Mansion at Disneyland to the “blasphemous doo-wop” vocal / instrumental tracks of Zombelle (a.k.a. Shan A).  Tired of being the lone vocalist, she picked up the guitar and other instruments, like pipe wrenches and such, to add to the sound landscapes of her releases and live shows. 



Location: Riverside

Genre: Alt Country 

I think half of the Inland Empire has performed with this alt-country band that hails from the tumbleweeds and the outskirts of Mead Valley . . . I mean Riverside. Hop in your truck and listen to the slow, steady guitar of Bucksworth’s “Tex Message” as you wave goodbye to your baby, with guitar in hand and no regrets . . . Austin-bound.   


All or Nothing H.C.

Location: Norco

Genre: Hardcore Punk 

Female-fronted hardcore, in-your-face, jump-in-the-pit, and raise your fist to the sky, good ol’ fashioned punk rock, with political activist lyrics that make you question your meager existence. 


Johnny Cheapo

Location: San Bernardino

Genre: Rawk & Roll 

Yeah he’s a rock & roll sinner, but what people don’t know about Cheapo is that he’s really a music saint. Always up for doing a live show whether there are two people in the audience or 200, his live shows are full of antics and entertainment for all. Look out Neil Diamond, Johnny Cheapo’s in the room. 


Soul of the River

Location: Riverside

Genre: Jam, Rock 

A three-piece progressive (yet chill) rock band, with sounds best heard with a drink in hand (whether it’s a diet coke or a margarita) gets the hips swaying and the feet tapping—and what band wouldn’t with song titles like “Sex in the Morning?”


The Vinyl Hours with DJ Tina Bold  “from Patti Smith to Patsy Cline since 1992!” 

KUCR 88.3fm & (live-stream); Every Thursday, 7PM–9PM. For more info visit &



Skinnie Magazine’s Editor-In-Chief, Hans Fink’s Top Five IE Bands


Sleeping Sea King

The recent winners of Skinnie Magazine’s 3rd annual Battle For Warped Tour, The Sleeping Sea King, simply put, rocks the hardest of anyone in the IE. For now. Will they be dethroned?



Riverside’s best-kept secret, these three unassuming looking guys create a huge wall of cacophonous sound, all with no guitars. This is the kind of band that is so strange yet so talented, they can (and do) play anything from punk to jazz to reggae.



The heaviest band to come out of the IE bill’s itself as “evil pop music.” Kind of accurate . . . sure, it makes you want to break people’s faces, but at least it has a catchy beat and is easy to dance to.


Cardiac Black

You know you need your dosage of punk rock, and you know you and your friends are going to split hairs over the stupid little subgenres of punk; pop, gutter, street . . . who cares? Cardiac Black rules the whole punk rock palette. So quit your bickering.


Genghis Conjob

Nothing says rock & roll like five big, sweaty, hairy dudes, each armed with some kind of alcohol addiction and ridiculous facial hair. Nothing.


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