Palm Desert Scene
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The Palm Desert Scene is a group of related bands and musicians from Palm Desert in Southern California. Their hard rock sound – which is often described as desert rock – contains elements of psychedelia, blues, alternative rock, heavy metal, hardcore punk, and other genres, often featuring distinctive repetitive drum beats, a propensity for free-form jamming, and "trance-like" or sludgy grooves; typically performed with electric guitar, bass guitar and a drum kit.The musicians often play in multiple bands simultaneously, and there is a high rate of collaboration between bands. The Palm Desert Scene is also notable for producing stoner rock pioneers Kyuss. The term "stoner rock" is sometimes used interchangeably with the term "desert rock." However, not all Palm Desert scene bands are "stoner rock."
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The scene evolved from various Palm Desert bands' (especially Yawning Man's) marijuana-driven instrumental jam sessions in the desert.  It is largely known for its heavy, grinding riffs and association with the use of illicit substances, particularly marijuana, peyote, LSD, and magic mushrooms. These jam sessions inevitably contained some psychedelic rock influences. Possibly because of the scene's proximity to Mexico and Spanish speaking communities, there is a significant influence of Latin music on Palm Desert rock which is very evident with the El Miradors. Due in part to their roots as smalltime bar bands, many of the Palm Desert bands have strong blues elements in their music as well.
Palm Desert bands built a large local following by frequently performing at bars and parties in and around the isolated towns of Southern California's desert areas. The band Kyuss, specifically, performed shows at desert parties known as "generator parties." These shows consisted of small crowds of people, beer drinking, drugs, and the use of gasoline-powered generators to provide electricity for the musical equipment.Kyuss and Queens of the Stone Age member Josh Homme commented that playing in the desert "was the shaping factor for [Kyuss]" noting that "there's no clubs here, so you can only play for free. If people don't like you, they'll tell you. You can't suck."
The Desert Sessions
One remarkable project within this scene are the Desert Sessions, in which Josh Homme invites a group of musicians, most of whom are from the Palm Desert scene, to Rancho De La Luna, a studio in the desert, where they write, rehearse and record some 10 songs in one week's time. The songs are recorded and then never played again. The Desert Sessions series has now yielded 10 volumes, which have been released in pairs on CD but individually in 10" vinyl EP format. Though the series is commonly associated with the Palm Desert Scene, not all artists in the scene have participated, and there have been other artists to contribute to the project who are clearly not from the scene, such as John McBain of Red Bank, New Jersey's Monster Magnet, Dean Ween of Pennsylvania's Ween and England's PJ Harvey.
Notable bands and musicians with the Desert Scene include the following:
- Scene musicians
- Brant Bjork and the Bros
- Dali's Llama
- The Desert Sessions
- Eagles of Death Metal
- Fatso Jetson
- Fu Manchu
- Karma to Burn
- Masters of Reality
- Mondo Generator
- Orquesta del Desierto
- Queens of the Stone Age
- Slo Burn
- Ten East
- Thin White Rope
- Throw Rag
- Yawning Man
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