If the summer is your favourite season, and you want to discover a band that perfectely embodies all its different emotions from bittersweet to euphoric then ORQUESTA DEL DESIERTO is your band (and mine, too). Although the line-up features members from the Earthlings, Hermano (Steve Dandy Brown) or Goatsnake (Pete Stahl) f.e. this isn't just another heavy doom blues supergroup. OdD are playing some sort of semi-acoustic latin-tinged sound, with a slight psychedelic feel and fronted by the soulful and outstanding vocals of Pete Stahl. Since the days of the legendary DC Hardcore group Scream, I'm a fan of his voice and I can't imagine no other singer for OdD. But you can be sure that the other involved musicians are also putting their heart and soul into the music, and the latest album "Dos" is the next proof. Once again, the band have spent some time in the legendary Rancho de la Luna studios to record the material, and some months ago it was time for the first European OdD tour. At first, I want to meet the band in Cologne when they played in the 'Underground', but due to difficult personal circumstances I had to stay at home. What a shame! So I decided to contact Steve Dandy Brown a few weeks later for our interview, and he was so kind to answer my questions. Well, he got a lot to tell and the result is one of the most interesting interviews in the Cosmic Lava.
Hello, Dandy. It's been a while ago since you have played some shows here with OdD. What are your memories abut the first European Orquesta tour, and what were the best gigs you played here in Germany?
Damn, Klaus, it's only been about a month and a half since we were there! Really, though, I can't put into words how absolutely amazing the Orquesta tour was. To tell you the truth, I was extremely surprised by the reception that Orquesta received in Europe. When we left here, my thoughts were, "I'm about to take a band over to Europe that is pretty new and unrecognized. Maybe we'll have a chance to play for thirty or forty people each night, and start to build something." I was absolutely blown away by the fact that each night we played to nearly packed houses. It wasn't that the venues were enormous, but seeing 75-100 people in the audience every night just blew my mind. I think, though, that the thing that impressed me the most was the reaction those crowds had to the music. Again, I was wondering what most of the people in the audience would be expecting. Orquesta is sort of based around guys that have made their name playing heavier music, and I think we came over labeled as "stoner rock." It was truly incredible to see the look on the faces of most of the folks in the audience when we walked on stage with acoustic guitars! I really don't think they had any idea what was going on . . . well, at least the one's who had only come to the show because they knew Pete was in Goatsnake, or Mario was in Fatso Jetson . . . or even if they were fans of Hermano.
It was a crazy evolution through every show. At first, the audience had no idea what to think about the band, but it seemed that by the middle of every show everyone was starting to catch onto the vibe of Orquesta, and actually seemed to enjoy it. I think it was something way different than what they came expecting. By the end of the show, it was unbelievable to see the reaction of the people who had come out, to see that they had actually been able to catch onto and enjoy something far outside of the norm. I have never in my performance experiences seen an evolution in an audience like that. As far as gigs in Germany go, I would have to say that Jena and Belfield were my two favorites. Jena is always a pretty strange city to visit, but extremely unique in regard to cities in eastern Germany. There is something extremely far away, at least emotionally, that fascinates me about Jena. Bielefeld, of course, because it was the last night of the tour, and those gigs are always emotionally charged.
You've also played one show at the Underground, a small club in the suburbs of Cologne. They own a small stage, and I ask myself how eight grown men had found enough space on the stage.
That's always the problem when playing live with Orquesta. There is rarely a club date where we aren't wondering how the band is going to fit on the stage. For our shows in Europe, though, we only brought a six-piece band, which made it a little easier. I would say that at least twenty five percent of the shows, though, a couple of us had to stand on the floor! Really, that's the intimacy of a club gig anyway. That's why I've always enjoyed not only playing club gigs, but seeing shows at clubs as well. There's something about being right on top of the artist that gives the listener more of an insight into the emotions that are being expressed. I couldn't even imagine, though, the problems we would have fitting into some of those venues with the full Orquesta line-up. With all eleven pieces, we would probably have to let the audience stand on the stage while we all played on the floor.