Desert Dragon Breathing Fire Into L.A. Hard Rock Scene

Desert Dragon performing in January to a sold-out Canyon Club audience, opening for Blue Oyster Cult.

Desert DragonDesert Dragon is an Award-winning band from Los Angeles, California formed by guitarist Greg Patnode (Road Angel, No Morals (with shredder guitarist John Levin of Dokken). Patnode wrote and produced the self-titled debut album “Desert Dragon,” with the exception of song “Can’t Stay Away,” which was produced by Geri O’Halloran.  Desert Dragon’s debut album – recorded in different parts of Los Angeles from 2007-2010 and officially released in December of 2010 – is a mix of different styles of Hard Rock, Blues, Country Rock (“Texas Border,” “Best of Kin” and “Take it Easy Now”), with a hint of Middle Eastern influence (“Desert Horizons” & “North Star”). The album has been compared to the likes of Pink Floyd and Queensryche (“Save My World”) by Michael Laskow of respected music-placement company, TAXI. Desert Dragon’s blues and country rock songs have also been favorably compared to  Jason Aldean & Montgomery Gentry (country’s rebel acts).
The group took some time right after their sold-out show at the Canyon Club as the warm-up act for Blue Oyster Cult to be . Here’s how it went.

All Access Magazine AAM: It’s so hard to keep a band together that isn’t constantly working. How has Desert Dragon successfully managed to do this?

Nick: Everyone gets along real well, that makes it easy when it comes time to gather for work.

Desert Dragon

Danielle: Thanks to the hard work of Greg Patnode and Seymour (and) the magic of music.

Rick: A lot of practicing.

AAM: Bands aren’t always fond of this question, but it’s one that needs to be asked: What genre (style) of music do you consider DDB to be? (If more than one genre, please state).

Nick: It’s psychedelic classic rock. Kind of 70’s/80’s anthem rock with crazy keyboards from YES or ELP.

Ross: Classic Rock/Jam Rock/psychedelia

Rick: Hard Rock with a new twist

Thiago: A mix of different influences by 80’s and 90’s

AAM: Viewing the bigger picture here, what role does a rock band such as yours play as a spokesperson of culture in today’s society?

Nick: I don’t know that anyone’s setting out to be a cultural spokesperson but I will say it’s an escape. Music is entertainment and if we can give people some enjoyment or detraction from the worries of daily life, then mission accomplished.

Greg: Speaking for myself as a guitar player for Desert Dragon, being a spokesperson of culture today while we definitely do not advocate throwing TV’s out the window or violence of any kind when it comes to our music, Desert Dragon does try to relate to many different people including fans of classic rock, blues, alternative & psychedilia which is basically the drug culture of the 70’s where Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Aerosmith, etc., who made their mark on the music and is still influencing us today! If we can speak to those who are also seemingly left out then so be it!  We cross many genres with our music as our influences go way back to Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Aerosmith, etc.  It’s still awesome to listen especially the long instrumental intros and guitar solos.

AAM: It’s no secret the music business is in disarray today with the advent of free downloads, fewer major record stores, and the dreaded “pay to play” among other things. That said, what does DDB see as its future road to fame and fortune?

Nick: You have to roll with the punches and adapt to the changes in the industry. The old ways are never coming back, so it forces artists to find new and interesting way to tap into a desired audience.

Greg: I do believe fame & fortune is a blessing that comes with a lot of hard preparatory work and great songs, great live shows, a good producer(s), a lot of marketing and work, work, work.  Not necessarily touring all the time but definitely getting your name out there. We spent the year before last (2012) marketing more than touring as the EP DESOLATION just came out and hit college charts, then Billboard Charts (2x!) and then reviews then started coming in. And then in 2013 doing more shows  to get our name out there in the Los Angeles area especially.  If you love what you do the music will eventually get to the level where it is supposed to be you shouldn’t have to push.  And never give up if you believe in your music.

Ross: I believe the fame & fortune comes with publishing and putting your songs in movies, commercials etc.  A lot of bands lately have come by that way.

AAM: Is your band from the desert, or do you all believe in sword and sorcery? Or is it some other reason? In other words, how did you choose Desert Dragon for the group’s name?

Greg: No it’s not from the Desert but the story behind the name is I like the look of dragons and Jimmy Page from Led Zeppelin wears a lot of dragons and I am a fan of his, and also like the desert so it’s a compilation between the two.  Desert Dragon is a name that breathes fire.

AAM: Other than the wonderful year-round weather we enjoy, are there any other positive reasons for bands to make Los Angeles their home base anymore?

Nick: With technology you can distribute your music globally from any place on earth. But there is still the advantage of being in LA. It’s still the entertainment capital of the world, and any large opportunities filter through this city more frequently than others.

Rick: It a great place for any music genre or bands…there is an audience for every genre.  We all live her anyway! (except for Thiago who lives in Las Vegas but it’s close).

AAM: In closing, why should someone who hasn’t yet experienced the music of the Desert Dragon Band give it a listen?

Danielle: Just because he/she hasn’t yet experienced Desert Dragon!

Nick: I encourage people to try new things, be it checking out a new band, watching a new movie, trying a new food, whatever. You may be surprised by the experience.

Rick: It’s new and the music has taste.

Thiago: It’s rare to find a new band with an old-school sound.

Greg: do I really need to say something here? (laughs).