Juli Crockett is one of those peculiar people that can’t seem to stop; in addition to possessing both a BFA in theater and an MFA in directing experimental theater (not to mention being on track to earn a PhD in philosophy as we speak), the vegan PETA activist, singer-songwriter and playwright also performs in three different music groups.
Crockett’s 7-year-old musical project The Evangentials has given her the opportunity to perform internationally and left her with an EP and two full-length albums, with one more on the way. But, the seven-piece band—which also features vocalist/multi-instrumentalist Lisa Dee, guitarist Henry Bermudez, drummer Kristy McInnis, violinist Andrea Baker, accordionist/banjoist Ari DeSano and current bassist Nathan Phelps—wasn’t always about music; it began in the back rooms of an Internet sex shop as a joke.
“I met Lisa when we were working at an Internet-based adult toy company,” says Crockett. “The name actually came from when they were trying to name a new manufacturing wing for the company and I would just rattle off funny names for things and make up words. I came up with the name Evangenitals.”
“My boss thought it was so funny he bought me the URL. So, I built a fake website for the fake band.”
Crockett and Dee began attending open mic nights near their homes regularly and eventually, The Evangenitals’ strings were cut and they became a real band.
“We just became militant about going to open mic. We were just using The Evangenitals because that was the website we had,” says Crockett. “I think there’s a great semantic meaning to it in terms of it being a combination of ‘evangelistic,’ which means being excited and incredibly zealous about something, and ‘genitals,’ which is the origin of creation.”
The Evangenitals have performed internationally over the years (most notably at last year’s Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland), but the band always returns home to make a stop at Pappy and Harriet’s in Pioneertown, just as they will on Saturday.
“Lately we’ve been traveling a lot and Pappy’s is one of the regular stops for us and one of our favorite places to play. So, it’s been really good and heading over there is always a lot of fun,” said Crockett. “When we play Pappy’s we’re the only band all night long, so we’ll play three and half hours of music. So, you’ll kind of get the full spectrum, [from] the early days to the very new.”
Over the years, the band has played with various members, shifting through genres. But, the core of the band solidified and The Evangentials, while undefinable, retained a sound all their own.
“In the past two and a half years we’ve had a pretty consistent group. Our rhythm section kind of shifts around. We kind of have a core and then some flexibility with who else is playing with us at any given time so we can go places and do things,” says Crockett.
“A lot of people have a hard time trying to explain exactly what our genre or sound is. We’ll do songs that are so sweet they’ll make you cry and could belong on mainstream popular radio and then I will start cursing like a sailor and sing about things about anal sex because it happens. For some reason, it all makes sense – that’s what most people report. We can take people on a wild trip of different influences, genres and style but it all has some kind of internal ties being Evangenitals.”
The Evangenitals at Pappy & Harriet’s, 53688 Pioneertown Rd., Pioneertown, (760) 365-5956; www.pappyandharriets.com, www.evangenitals.com. Sat, Dec. 18, 8PM.