EVANGELICAL (characterized by ardent or crusading enthusiasm; zealous) GENITALS (the organs of creation; the sexual organs; the private parts) The Evangenitals were once a fictitious band - a fib on a phony website born to amuse it's founders and maybe a few friends. On a whim, Juli Crockett, Lisa Dee, and Brett Lyda - who all worked at the same sex toy company in L.A. (like the Sex Pistols) - brought the ghost to life and debuted a handful of 'hillbilly truck-stop lullabies' for Arlo's open mic night at the legendary Mr T's Bowl in Highland Park. The crowd response was fanatical and the path was clear. Overnight, the Evangenitals became bona fide headliners packing houses and making converts, young and old, every inch of the way. Juli Crockett, the group's principal songwriter and lead vocalist, is also a playwright, a stage director, and a PhD student in philosophy. She is rumored to be the inspiration for Hillary Swank's character in the Oscar winning feature film 'Million Dollar Baby' and has her own page on Wikipedia. As Juli's pro boxing career ended due to injuries during training, she started writing songs and collaborating musically with good friends Lisa Dee and Brett Lyda. Lisa Dee is an operatic soprano with an extensive resume in classical music and experimental jazz. She is the group's 'sophisticated lady' and her ability to take years of musical training and distill it into a simpler southern approach for the band is likely one of her greatest assets. Brett Lyda, additional songwriter and principal guitarist for the band, is often referred to as 'coach' by his bandmates for being the group's other musical director. He prefers to lay low and let the girls rock the limelight but on a really loose night you might find him singing like the 'ball hog' he really is. After a couple years of developing an extended family of fill-ins on the drums and bass, the Evangenitals finally found their skin-beating soul mate in George Bernardo (who has gigged with the likes of Bad Company, Chuck Berry, and Bo Diddley). Jason Chesney (Old Californio) and Geoff Brandin (Supreme Beings of Leisure, Vanduras) occasionally play bass with the band. The music is tuneful, steeped in irresistible vocal harmonies and shimmering guitar arpeggios. The tempo of the songs veers from quietly introspective to balls-out raucousness in the blink of an eye. The overall timbre of the voices -- Lisa Dee's trained soprano, Brett Lyda's steady tenor and, in the lead, Juli's heartbreakingly vulnerable, almost tentative contralto, lends a hypnotic quality to their performances. Lyrics are key: Juli's meditations on love and sex and the meaning of the universe are witty, often outright funny, simply-put and as lean as a welterweight stepping down in class. Says Juli, 'I always want to pare it down, to see how honest I can be while revealing the squishiest of emotions and allowing myself to be sometimes horrifically simple. Everything else that I do -- the directing, the playwriting -- seems to be an exercise in being hard, smart and philosophical. For me, music is very different: it's an experiment in being simple. I know that I'm a complex person, but with my music, I want to see how basic I can get.' As performers, there's an intimate magnetism about their performances that has, in remarkably short order, attracted a loyal following in the So Cal music scene.
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