Robert Plant, the first of the golden-haired rock gods, who fronted Led Zeppelin, has sold a third of a billion albums, is a Rock and Roll Hall of Famer and the recipient of multiple Grammy Awards, performs June 9 at San Manuel Indian Bingo and Casino in Highland.
Plant is no stranger to San Bernardino County. He has made quirky appearances at one of the smallest venues imaginable, Pappy & Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace, a honkytonk saloon in the desert north of Yucca Valley.
As it turns out, a number of rock ‘n’ rollers have some desert rat in them, and this is one of the places they like to come. Among the faces in the crowd: Eric Burdon, Leon Russell and Johnette Napolitano, lead singer of Concrete Blonde.
Here’s an item on Robert Plant that appeared in February 2006 in Tight But Loose: The Led Zeppelin Magazine (www.tblweb.com.uk):
More on the Robert Plant appearance last week at the small club Pappy & Harriet’s in Pioneertown, near Joshua Tree. Robert had been there the previous evening to see Wanda Jackson perform at the venue, and hearing of the loose jam atmosphere the next night, said he would call in. Sunday night features local friends and musicians who go under the name “Thrift Store All Stars.” The band did their first set and was joined at the end by Robert for a run-though of Elvis “Love Me Tender” and “Fever” and closing the first set with Zeppelin’s “Thank You.” After the band took a break they returned for a second set with Robert again joining them at the end for versions of “Sea Of Love” and “Money,” after which Robert was handed the “tip jar” to pass amongst the hundred or so audience members. “If I Was A Carpenter” was next for the band, followed by “For What It’s Worth” and “Season Of The Witch,” before finishing off with the gospel song “Oh Happy Days.”
Here’s an item from the April 2011 issue of American Way, a magazine published by American Airlines:
About 125 miles east of Los Angeles and 32 miles north of Palm Springs, Calif., there is a cinematic mirage. Here, on the desert floor among the tumbleweeds and Joshua trees, lies an Old West-style town straight out of “Little House on the Prairie.” But one thing is not a hallucination: That long, curly mane of untamed locks that’s slinging sweat onstage at the tiny, little-known roadhouse in the center of “town” does indeed belong to Robert Plant. And, yes, he really is spitting out Zeppelin tunes for a mixed crowd of leather-clad bikers, urban hipsters and cane-wielding retirees.
It’s just another typical night at Pappy & Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace. Pappy & Harriet’s mythological evolution from a film set “cantina” in the 1940s and ’50s to an outlaw biker burrito bar called Cantina in the ’70s to the Tex-Mex-flavored Pappy & Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace during the ’80s might be the stuff of Hollywood legend. But thanks to its latest owners, two ex-New Yorkers from film and music backgrounds, its rising status over the last few years as an intimate, cult-classic venue where some of the world’s most recognizable musicians forget they’re famous and kick back and relax among fans and Santa Maria-style barbecue is approaching mythological.
On any given weekend night in Pioneertown (the town is best known as the backdrop for classic Western flicks and TV shows like the 1950s “The Cisco Kid”), you can stroll into Pappy & Harriet’s for some ‘cue and a cocktail, and perhaps sit by the fire chatting with the likes of Plant, the Arctic Monkeys, Billy Corgan (of Smashing Pumpkins) or Victoria Williams. All without the crowds, bodyguards or Ticketmaster. 53688 Pioneertown Road, 760-365-5956, www.pappyandharriets.com