Backstage: A Cisco Adler Story
SETTING THE STAGE:
Summer is a busy season as each professional band tours the countryside while promoting their latest record and sharing news to come. Cisco Adler stopped by The Pier booth during the 5th Annual California Roots Music and Arts Festival in Monterey, CA to talk about his music, family, his new solo debut record, and what lies ahead in his career as an artist, singer, songwriter and producer. Adler signed posters and paraphernalia for fans prior to his set on the Original Stage. We gained some insight into his recording process, what it’s like collaborating with other artists, and what playing in Monterey means to him.
Like Father, Like Son: Monterey Pops to Cali-Roots:
Cisco was raised in a well-known music and film-oriented family. His father, Lou Adler, played a major role in organizing the Monterey International Pop Festival from June 16 through 18, 1967 at the Monterey County Fairgrounds. With performances by Jefferson Airplane, The Who, Janis Joplin, Otis Redding, and the Mamas & the Papas, the concert was immortalized when Jimi Hendrix lit his guitar ablaze and kneeled to worship the engulfed instrument.
Lou Adler also directed Cheech and Chong’s Up In Smoke, produced The Rocky Horror Picture show, and owns the world famous Roxy Theater in West Hollywood, CA.
“It’s funny because Monterey Pop was here and I’ve never even come to the fairgrounds, so it’s fitting that the first time I’m coming here, I’m playing. That’s the only way I would have it” Adler said with a chuckle. “You won’t find me at the Grammy’s until I’m winning one.”
Any father would be proud of his son if he was pursuing his passion, “I’m sure he gets a kick out of it. I just became a father and I know if my son follows in my footsteps I’ll be super happy.” Lou has always been Cisco’s personal and professional mentor, however, with Cisco’s keen abilities on the stage, behind the scenes, and in the studio, perhaps the mentee has become the mentor.
A Little Luck & A Lot of Hard Work
Cisco started the band Whitestarr at the age of 22, “I felt like a rock star. So I needed a band” & the band released two albums with Luv Machine in 2006 and Fillith Tillith in 2007 while also appearing on the VH1 show The Rock Life.
Adler became a popular target for paparazzi while he dated the likes of Paris Hilton, Mischa Barton, and Kimberly Stewart. Whitestarr’s drummer, Alex Orbison, is the son of famous rock and roll icon, Roy Orbison. Cisco left Whitestarr in 2008 to pursue his own career and spent much of his time in the last few years working with other artists in the studio. “It’s very different from being in a band. If you’re in a band with people you love, there’s the freedom, but it’s just a different adventure,” Cisco said.
The new freedom provided Cisco the opportunity to collaborate with artists like Schwayze, Mickey Avalon, Unwritten Law, Dirt Nasty, Wiz Khalifa, and G Love. His resume also includes sharing the road with ZZ Top, Kid Rock, Slightly Stoopid, and LMFAO.
Aloha & Mahalo!
Even though Lou Adler has been a Malibu, CA native for less than half a century, Cisco grew up with his mom on the island of Maui. The two experienced most of what the 227 square mile island has to offer, “I grew up there from nine to eighteen” Adler says with loving admiration, “we moved 27 times in 9 years. She’s a gypsy spirit.”
There is no surprise that traversing “The Valley Isle” with his mom created some aloha spirit within the young Cisco. Two of Adler’s latest releases are named after two of the most commonly used Hawaiian words, Aloha (I love you, hello, goodbye) and Mahalo (thank you). Most of the songs from those records are some of his favorite songs; so calling Hawai’i home must have had a positive effect.
The 2012 release, Aloha, featured guest appearances from G Eazy, the North Mississippi All Stars and legendary reggae artist Don Carlos. Mahalo debuted at #2 on the iTunes Reggae Charts and featured cameos from Carter Schultz of Aer and Huey Mack.
Writing, singing and producing an album can vary in method and difficulty, depending on the genre and skill-set of the artist. “The process in every record and every group is always different” Adler explained, “The solo process is more introverted maybe, and you sort of go inside yourself, rather than try to apply your thoughts to another artist and what their vibe is… it’s interesting.”
New Album: Coastin’
Between reaching Billboard charts and becoming a father, Cisco Adler has been in the studio producing and recording his second full length LP, Coastin’. Receiving positive reviews, Adler has been on the road to promote it. “It’s done, it’s rockin’ and it sounds blazin’. It was nice to get it done and actually have the time to promote it right.”
The first single from Coastin’ is called “Hypnotize”, featuring Matisyahu, and it’s a welcoming treat to hear the two sing the song together on the road or on screen. “Matis and I were talking about it and we just shot the video for ‘Hypnotize’, which is crazy.” The video was shot at an eerie looking house in Topanga Canyon, near Malibu, CA. Cisco described the set, explaining, “it’s like a fairy tale. It’s like Hansel and Gretel gone wrong. But the video is all about the silver lining.”
For the new album, Cisco also teams up with Rome Ramirez of Sublime with Rome for the second single from Coastin’ called “Only Life I Know”. It is an uplifting and catchy track that begins with some nice southwestern style guitar & a So Cal reggae sound where both rising stars give us their best smooth, smart and sultry vocals. Coastin’, released on Banabeat Records, includes 10 total tracks with Reggae, Hip-hop, Pop & Alternative sounds & another appearance by DJ Skinnie.
“I just wants to break and ruin everything,” Cisco said with a chuckle. The entertainer will hit the road to promote Coastin’ hard and reach out to the fans he adores so much. One way to reach his core audience is by performing at festivals where there is an established mellow acoustic/reggae presence like the ones organized by the California Roots team, “Obviously Coachella is more of a generational experience but this is a genre-ational experience.”
Watch: Cisco Adler – “Hypnotize” (Ft Matisyahu)