Most people in the Coachella Valley do not know much about the little city of Desert Hot Springs. Outside of it’s neighboring cities it is pretty much unknown to the rest of Southern California. Yet, there is an elite, exclusive, and international community of people who do know the hidden wonders of this dusty gem in the desert. Calista Carradine is one of those special people who’ve learned the secrets of the Spa City. It’s just before her Memorial Day weekend show at Wang’s In The Desert and I had an opportunity to ask her some questions.
Kung Fu Girl Falls for Boy, Couple Lands in the Spa City
Carradine tells me that she has been a frequent visitor to Desert Hot Springs for many years due to her mother’s residence here. It was during an extended visit beginning in 2013 that she crossed paths with a promoter named David Ross. They developed a professional relationship and tight friendship, laying a solid foundation for what was to come. Tensions built over time and the air between them was becoming increasingly electrified, like the feedback off a head amp and guitar pickup. The lightning finally struck when “[David] danced with me to Purple Rain“ said Carradine. In late spring, 2015, the couple decided to take a place together and David found a gorgeous apartment in the hills of Desert Hot Springs. She says “I love it. The music, no traffic, the valley is beautiful” about their new home. Truly, this is as close to a fairytale romance as two folks in the Southern California entertainment industry can hope to get. It is really inspiring to see these two work together.
“In a world full of music, through hot desert nights the sparks of love began. We met at the Joey Covington Tribute Concert August 31st 2013. Ran into each other again in December and after 5,000 Facebook messages, not to mention all night phone calls and endless texts and emails with the dance floor often beneath our feet our friendship grew into what would inevitably blossom into a deep seeded and enduring love and partnership. The long awaited french kiss finally occurred accidentally under the stars leading us head long into total bliss. We are truly grateful for that kiss and ALL THAT COMES WITH IT!”
— Calista Carradine, from her Facebook Life Event
Giving “D-Town” Creative Community Some Love
Ross and Carradine are connecting with the local community, attending events and meetings, building relationships with the various creative professionals and emerging talents residing and working in our city. They have become involved in the recent efforts to build our creative economy, taking leadership and expert advisory roles in the new Art Zone cultural district committee (www.dhsartsdistrict.wordpress.com). Part of this skills-based volunteer work is producing and promoting a new community arts and music festival. Hoping to promote the creation of the Art Zone and draw in audiences across the region, the committee elected Ross to oversee music production and promotions for the event. Ross is working closely with Bernard Hoyes, the elected Art Curator for the event; The Art Zone committee was created by Mayor Scott Matas when he took office in November 2015, and is overseen by City Council members Yvonne Parks and Joe McKee.
Calista says “The festival sounds like a great idea for the community. I think I would enjoy being involved with that. I love the vision that it would be supporting” about the new community event. Desert Hot Springs is lucky to have these two busy entertainment professionals contributing their time and sharing their skills and knowledge for the benefit of a modest little town like this. They truly have a vision for this place, a vision that is shared among all the organizations and individuals that are donating their resources and volunteering their time to develop a vibrant, equitable, healthy community in Desert Hot Springs and around the valley.
Move Over Coachella…
David produces an online music talk show, The Coachella Valley Music Show, which Calista hosts at Fantasy Springs Casino, and he organizes benefit shows and music festivals around the Desert. The couple have teamed up professionally in a big way and seem to be taking the Coachella Valley’s entertainment industry by storm. Although working with top professionals and mainstream commercial media, they are not forgetting the struggling local musicians in their own community. David gave a full show segment and interview with Calista to Desert Hot Springs local band, The CMFs, a classic rock style power trio of exceptionally talented high school kids that are playing venues alongside veteran acts all over the desert. They are one of a handful of local acts that may make critical connections to the industry through David and Calista’s show and events. Stay tuned for their next discovery from the D-Town music underground…
I asked Calista what some of her favorite local music artists were and here all time favorites as well.
“Aw, jeez. There are so many I’ll just name a few for now. Dianna Bogart, one of Mark Greggs band is pretty awesome. I forget which one, Lucky Tong, I dig the Beatabums and the Refill’s, Brad Mercer is excellent especially when he plays with his family. There are so many great musicians all over this valley. We enjoy dancing to Will Denato as well as the Zulu band. I have favorite musicians more than I have favorite bands.”
David’s hard work managing and promoting Calista’s music career is starting to pay off. Their support of new youth outfits like The CMFs and The BrosQuitos, both qualifying acts in the Tachevah Music Festival competitions, while forging alliances with critically acclaimed masters seems to be a keen strategy. Carradine’s local popularity, international notoriety and unique collaborations with new talents and legendary veterans, are all beginning to build serious buzz around this dynamic duo.
Everybody “Wang Chung” Tonight
The imminent free concert event at Wang’s In The Desert tonight, Sunday, May 29th at 6pm, promises to be an outstanding musical smorgasbord. “It is a great line up and I expect great weather” says Calista. She is not kidding either, the lineup is amazing!
Carradine has been working with Solomon King, a multitalented phenomenon hailing from Detroit with credits as diverse as the lead role in the 2009 film “The Phil Spector Incident” to a stripped down, minimally produced old-school blues album entitled “Medicine” produced in 2011 by the esoteric, Marvin Etzioni. He’d been driving a blitzkrieg of unique and memorable gigs, sometimes with touring band, The Chosen and sometimes not, from Chicago to Hawaii. That is, up until early 2016 when he began working on new recording projects in LA. Other than one performance in March, he has been, and still is, in the studio. So, this appearance is rather special as he has not been seen on a publicly promoted stage for about three months.
“His live shows are unpredictable, spontaneous and attended by all ages, colors and races who seek something different from the usual rehash of blues standards (though King is known to hash up a standard from time to time).”
The core band includes King on guitar and vocals along with keyboard and vocals by house music legend, Denise Motto known for her 1987 underground dancefloor sensation “I M N X T C (Jack Your Body to the Beat)”, and anchored by a rock solid rhythm section with Cris Aldrich on drums and Jim Moraco on bass.
On May 25th, David and Calista spent the morning on a live broadcast with Jimi Fitz for his weekday radio show “Fitz in the Morning” on CV 104.3 Smooth Favorites. Jimi has been a lead vocalist since the 1980’s. He was a guest on the latest “Coachella Valley Music Show” episode, and returned the favor by having Calista and David on his show this week. Fitz will be making a special guest appearance and performance at Calista’s concert tonight. In fact, a lineup of special guest performers will be joining Calista for unrepeatable renditions of a variety of material including “some choice originals of mine and some of [King’s] as well as one that we wrote together and, well you’ll just have to show up” Carradine teases.
Special guests include:
- Alvin Taylor (drummer for George Harrison, Elton John)
- Lesli Carroll ( featured soloist with The Temptations and The Four Tops for 16 years, played with Rick James, Bonnie Raitt, David Crosby)
- Paul MacKey (winner of multi Academy Awards)
- Stephen Beckmeier (Greg Allman Band)
- Mikole Kaar ( Pete Christlieb, Bill Watrous, Johnny Hammond Smith)
“It is a great line up and I expect great weather”
— Calista Carradine
Entertainment writer for The Desert Sun, Bruce Fessier, had this to say in his May 25th article about the Memorial Day weekend performance at Wang’s:
“Showcase event: Calista Carradine, daughter of the late actor David Carradine of “Kung Fu” fame, has demonstrated a strong aptitude for singing the blues or blues-based rock at venues throughout the Coachella Valley. She’s also the congenial host of the online talk show, “The Coachella Valley Music Show.”
But her appearance at Wang’s In the Desert could be her break-out performance. Her talk show producer and boyfriend, David Ross of Ross Management and Productions, is promoting the hell out of this show. If it lives up to the hype, it should be a great event.”
— Bruce Fessier, The Desert Sun