Local Music Issue

Posted June 16, 2011 in Feature Story

Just because we are a bit east of LA, doesn’t mean the IE can’t hang when it comes to music. Our local musicians have gone on to become recognizable names from one-hit wonders like Alien Ant Farm to old school garage ska punk bands like the Voodoo Glow Skulls. Even highly successful names have relocated to the IE. Chali 2na lives in Moreno Valley and at one point Snoop Dogg was a resident of Claremont. And our scene spans genres from singer/songwriter types to hardcore metal heads. Whether you’re in the desert or closer to Lalaland, the Inland Empire has something to offer for everyone. Here, at the Weekly we celebrate our local music scene and bring you some of the best up and coming IE artists to date. You never know, your next favorite band could only be a few blocks away.




ZIP CODE: Upland.

NOISE MAKERS: Jonathan “Johnny Plague” Cooke (vocals), Art Cruz (drums), Nick Eash (lead guitar), Andrew Glover (bass), Nick Piunno (rhythm guitar), Alana Potocnik (keyboards).

BEEN AROUND THE BLOCK: With various line-ups since 2002 (originally as Bleak December—the band adopted its current name in 2005).

FOR FANS OF: Whitechapel, As Blood Runs Black, Born of Osiris.

LATEST SPINS: Against the World (April 2011).

STOMPING GROUNDS: “We play the Glasshouse a lot, it’s one of our favorite venues in the whole country because that’s where we started out,” says drummer Art Cruz. “It’s always a wild time when we hit Pomona—we’ve shot videos there and done multiple filmed shows there so you just might see that venue being represented in a Winds of Plague DVD one day!”

ON THE WEB: facebook.com/windsofplague.

WHY YOU SHOULD GIVE A HOOT:  Winds of Plague’s progressive take on deathcore hints at the future for this often generic genre. Incorporating pseudo-orchestral Wagnerian interludes and 420-friendly breakdowns into their otherwise ultra-aggressive assault, WoP engage the ear on multiple levels.

SOMETHING COOL ABOUT THE IE’S MUSIC SCENE: “There are a lot of great bands in the scene. The hardcore/metal scene in the IE has been growing and is really great right now. The hip-hop scene is pretty rad too,” says Cruz. “The IE has always had a great band scene that I think is the perfect summation [of] SoCal music. There’s punk rock and the whole alternative/ska scene if that’s what you’re into; there’s great rap here and there’s other metal bands like us who completely shred. We love where we’re from and we’re proud to have the whole Inland Empire behind us!” (Paul Rogers)



ZIP CODE: Victorville (hometown) and Riverside (school).

NOISE MAKER: Walter Cabal (vocals, guitars and tambourine).

BEEN AROUND THE BLOCK: Walter was the lead guitarist and main songwriter for Versa before the group disbanded in 2009. October will mark Walter’s second year as a solo artist.

FOR FANS OF: Pedro the Lion (a.k.a. David Bazan), Mark Olson, Tom Waits, Conor O’Brien (Villagers); fans who like honest music and a good story.

LATEST SPINS: “Shadow of Doubt,” the new debut single from the forthcoming Between the Lines.

STOMPING GROUNDS: The Barn (UCR), Coffee Depot, Riverside Plaza and the Saturation Arts Festival (all in Riverside), The Wire in Upland and Chain Reaction in Anaheim. 

ON THE WEB: www.mayspace.com/waltercab; www.facebook.com/cabalmusic; twitter.com/CabalandCrew.

WHY YOU SHOULD GIVE A HOOT: Like the theologians and musicians he cites as inspiration (C.S. Lewis, G.K. Chesterton, Tom Waits and David Bazan), Cabal’s is heavy on honesty and inherent truth. His penchant for honest storytelling has taken him from open mic nights and into the limelight alongside acts like Logan Utah’s Battle School, Yosemite Valley’s From Indian Lakes, Ontario’s The Motel Life and New York’s Thieves and Villains.

SOMETHING COOL ABOUT THE IE’S MUSIC SCENE: “Here at the college, or maybe it’s in my area, sometimes there seems to be a gloomy air of apathy that runs around. When I see bands that are honest about music or playing music for the value for it, it really helps me to have hope that the gloomy air, the apathy, hasn’t hit everyone. I’ve seen small bands . . . continue what they’re doing, and that honesty really rings at me and is something I’m attracted to. The Inland Empire is homey, not a tiny place, [but] a place with an innate sense of community among people.” (Nancy Powell)



ZIP CODE: Apple Valley

NOISE MAKERS: Jamie Baca (bass), Ahmad Ibrihim (guitar/vocals), JR Kurtz (drums/samples). 

BEEN AROUND THE BLOCK: Since 2006 (though Ibrihim and Kurtz have played together since 2002).

FOR FANS OF: The Mars Volta, Mahavishnu Orchestra, Primus.

LATEST SPINS: Murdrum EP (2010).

STOMPING GROUNDS: The Glass House and Aladdin’s Jr. (both in Pomona). DIY shows all over the IE.

ON THE WEB:  HYPERLINK "http://www.last.fm/music/Tygers+of+Wrath" www.last.fm/music/Tygers+of+Wrath or search ‘em on Facebook.

WHY YOU SHOULD GIVE A HOOT: Tygers of Wrath opened for . . . And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead at the Glass House in Pomona earlier this month and represent the cream of a crop of underground post-punk prog bands currently germinating in garages worldwide.

SOMETHING COOL ABOUT THE IE’S MUSIC SCENE: “Pomona has been amazing for us, and the Glass House is absolutely our favorite venue to perform . . . they have the BEST crowds. I’d say 2nd Street, Pomona is the best IE spot to experience the arts,” says drummer JR Kurtz. “We’ve met great bands throughout the IE—like Subvert, Bolt from the Blue and Trinitron Meets the Mars People—who’ve always had our backs for show-hopping and just having a great time.” (Paul Rogers)



ZIP CODE: Claremont.
NOISE MAKERS: Biff (drums/vocals), Steve (guitar/vocals), Bill (bass), Nathan (guitar/vocals).
FOR FANS OF: ’60s garage rock/pop/psychedelia.
LATEST SPINS: A track on Smooth Sounds: The Future Hits Of Wckr Spgt released last year.

STOMPING GROUNDS: “Our usual venues are Black Watch Pub, The Press Restaurant and Characters,” says Bill. “We’ve also played at dA Gallery, 51 Buckingham, Old Baldy Brewery, Rhino Records and Claremont’s Friday Night Live.”
ON THE WEB: www.theuncalledfor.com.

WHY YOU SHOULD GIVE A HOOT: Biff describes the act as a “sonic assault with attempted harmonies.” Nathan adds, “We don’t wear any costumes or have any gimmicks. We just get up on stage and rock.” Plus, three-quarters of the band was once in Big Breakfast, another terrific local act. Need we say much more?

SOMETHING COOL ABOUT THE IE’S MUSIC SCENE: “It rocks, we always have a great time with the bands we gig with in the Inland Empire,” says Nathan. (Waleed Rashidi)



ZIP CODE: Yucaipa.

NOISE MAKER: Shaye Taylor Esparza (vocals/keys).

BEEN AROUND THE BLOCK: Shaye started performing at 14, inspired by the women performing at the Female Acoustic Showcase, which travels to different outdoor shopping areas like Victoria Gardens and Del Lago in Corona. She now performs with them. 

FOR FANS OF: Fiona Apple, Tori Amos, Jesus.

LATEST SPINS: Rain released with her former band, Shaye & the Dreamers. Shaye is recording her solo release in July. 
STOMPING GROUNDS: Coffee Depot in Riverside, Time in a Bottle in Redlands. You can catch her through summer Friday nights at Redlands at Night in downtown. 

ON THE WEB: www.shayetaylor.com.

WHY YOU SHOULD GIVE A HOOT: In October the sweet sixteener won “Best Female Vocalist” at the Inland Empire Music Awards. “It was like in the movies, where I was like, ‘Did they just say my name?’” ShayE says. ShayE dreams of the day she hits it big. “FM is next,” she says.

SOMETHING COOL ABOUT THE IE’S MUSIC SCENE: It’s not easy for a diminutive little white gal to get up at a blues club. ShayE understands skeptics, but she also believes IE audiences are open-minded. Looking back at a male dominated gig at Ray’s Downtown Deli in San Bernardino, she remembers stopping them in their tracks. “People were looking at me like, ‘This little girl wants to play a song,’” she says. “But I got up and belted it out. I felt like I had to prove myself a little bit but then I got respect.” (Arrissa Owen)



ZIP CODE: Corona, Riverside, Glendale and Moreno Valley; all over the Inland Empire.

NOISE MAKERS: Robb Sackett (vocals), Michael Head (guitars), Scott Ramsey (guitars), Jason Smolchuck (bass guitar), Joseph Estrada (drums), Brian “BALD-EZ” Balderas (electronic sampling).

BEEN AROUND THE BLOCK: Although some of the guys have known each other since high school, Intake.ca’s current line-up has been jamming and gelling together for the last two years.

FOR FANS OF: Deftones, Slipknot and Nine Inch Nails. Intake.CA is built for techno-metal junkies.

LATEST SPINS: The video for “Sound Off,” their first single off the new five-track EP Fatal Exception 06, is available on YouTube.  

STOMPING GROUNDS: The Vibe in Riverside, Angels Roadhouse in Corona and Yucaipa, Goodfellas in Rancho Cucamonga, Friar Tucks in Pomona, Stinger’s Bar and Nightclub in San Bernardino, Tap Daddys in Hemet, The Hudson Theater and The Key Club, both in Hollywood, and clubs in Orange County.

ON THE WEB: www.myspace.com/INTAKEca; www.facebook.com/INTAKEca; intakeca.com. 

WHY YOU SHOULD GIVE A HOOT: Their sound may be loud and obnoxious, but the guys of Intake.CA sure know how to rock a crowd. Their high energy showmanship recalls the likes of Mötley Crüe, Rammstein and Zombie Nation. 

SOMETHING COOL ABOUT THE IE’S MUSIC SCENE: “We’ve been around over the years and the music scene has died down, as a whole. When we’re on stage, we put out high energy. You won’t get a show where a guy stands on stage and stares. We are definitely a live band . . . high-energy, fast-paced, all around a great show. Watching local bands, they don’t have the showmanship they used to. It doesn’t matter if we’re playing a dive bar with 15-20 people or the Key Club in Hollywood with 400 people. We put on a high energy show, and people compliment us for it.” (Nancy Powell)



ZIP CODE: Rancho Cucamonga and Upland.

NOISE MAKERS: Tori Hernandez (lead vocals), Nate Vizcarra (guitar), John Rosete (guitar), Jordan Fournier (bass), Marco Merida (drums/vocals).

BEEN AROUND THE BLOCK: They’ve played together for a year. Some of the band is barely graduating from high school, so in teen years they’ve been together for about 564 years. (“We’re melodic, but in your face,” drummer Marco Medina says of their boy-girl screamo sound.)

FOR FANS OF: The Devil Wears Prada, Underoath

LATEST SPINS: Self-titled EP released in December. They are finishing up their first full length, Burning Letters and Unspoken Words. Themes range from heartbreak to optimism and despair.
STOMPING GROUNDS: The Press Box and Chain Reaction in Anaheim, The Roxy in LA. 

ON THE WEB: www.myspace.com/beautifuldisasters.

WHY YOU SHOULD GIVE A HOOT: They’ve graced the marquee at the Roxy and competed for a chance to tour on the Warped Tour. They’re young hustlers. “We want to bring something fresh, not just be another cookie cutter band,” Medina says. “We want to try to mix up the genre.”

SOMETHING COOL ABOUT THE IE’S MUSIC SCENE: Fellow local band Notte Bella serves as metal-core mentors. (Arrissia Owen)



ZIP CODE: San Bernardino.
NOISE MAKERS: Alan Miller (vocals, guitar), Daniel Garcia (drums, vocals), Jim Cox (bass), Gabe McCormick (guitar), Matt Paramo (guitar).

FOR FANS OF: Rx Bandits, Trail of Dead, Hey Mercedes, Refused, Osker and Glassjaw. “We all listen to different stuff: From Al Green to Zeppelin, and everything in between.” 

LATEST SPINS: We Are the Future released this year

STOMPING GROUNDS: “We’ve played all over the IE, Riverside, Redlands, San Bernardino, Colton, Rialto, at all sorts of venues—bars, restaurants, coffee shops, churches, and small venues,” says Miller. “We play a lot in San Bernardino at Maxwell’s Street Bar and Grill on Highland and Del Rosa.”

ON THE WEB: www.wedoitlive.com.

WHY YOU SHOULD GIVE A HOOT: “We try and play hard and make it a fun energetic show for the crowd,” says McCormick. “We move around a lot, well, except for Jim, and try and jam into and between songs to keep the music flowing.”

SOMETHING COOL ABOUT THE IE’S MUSIC SCENE: “When we first started we had the cops called on us at like four house parties in a row,” says Cox. “We played a house party in San Bernardino with our friends in Bobby Conundrum and the cops came but let us keep jamming as long as we kept kids from hanging out in the front yard. Good times.” (Waleed Rashidi)



ZIP CODE: Canyon Lake.

NOISE MAKERS: Casey Crescenzo (vocals, multi-instrumentalist), Nick Crescenzo (drums, vocals), Maxwell Tousseau (guitar, vocals).

BEEN AROUND THE BLOCK: The band collaborates with different musicians from around the area, sometimes bringing them on tour. Members have their own studio and also support and record tons of local talent.
FOR FANS OF: Forgive Durden, As Tall As Lions, Arch Tyle Set, any great prog-rock with a flair for the theatrical.
LATEST SPINS: The Color Spectrum, a series of nine EPs (Black Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, Violet, White) being simultaneously released on June 14. Massive doesn’t even begin to describe it.
STOMPING GROUNDS: The band has performed at The Glass House more times than you can count, so that’s definitely its home base in the IE, but Casey has also played solo shows in smaller venues and bars across the entire area. 

ON THE WEB: thedearhunter.com.

WHY YOU SHOULD GIVE A HOOT: The Dear Hunter toured with Dredg, Circa Survive, Coheed and Cambria, and headlined a ton of its own international tours. The band puts on an energetic live show and its first four albums, Act I-IV, form a more or less cohesive narrative. 

SOMETHING COOL ABOUT THE IE’S MUSIC SCENE: The Dear Hunter is closely involved with the IE music scene because Casey has a studio build into his house where he records dozens of bands from Temecula, Murrieta, and all around the Inland Empire. He’s growing the scene. (Kevin Longrie)



ZIP CODE: Rialto and Riverside.

NOISE MAKERS: Alydda T. Mauri (vocalist).

BEEN AROUND THE BLOCK: Has been performing for about 15 years. Started performing as Amore in 2010.
FOR FANS OF: Keri Hilson and Alicia Keys; a mixture of neo-soul and R&B with a pop twist.
LATEST SPINS: The Makings of Amore (slated for mid July).
STOMPING GROUNDS: Sevilla in Riverside, Jazz Café in Claremont, Downtown Riverside’s Christmas Lighting Ceremonies and various open mic events. You can catch her next month at the Fox Theatre in Redlands for a special birthday bash and performance.

ON THE WEB: www.myspace.com/amoreizhere; www.facebook.com/amoreizhere; twitter.com/amoreizhere.

WHY YOU SHOULD GIVE A HOOT: While she began performing at a young age, Amore broke into the IE scene just last year. She made waves when she was named R&B Artist of the Year at the Inland Empire Music Awards that same year. And she’s proud to rep the IE—not Los Angeles.

SOMETHING COOL ABOUT THE IE’S MUSIC SCENE: “I think there’s a lot of undiscovered talent out this direction and because of where we’re located, I don’t think we get as much spotlight on our city . . . LA is considered the ‘hot spot’ and I want people to know that there are hot spots out here as well as good talent . . . There are so many talents and varieties [of music].” (Lynn Lieu)


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