Diana Rein Talks About Her New Band the Papermoon Gypsys and the Upcoming Woodystock Rock ‘n’ Blues Festival

Diana Rein and the Papermoon Gypsys. Photo courtesy of Doug Deutsch PR

Diana Rein and the Papermoon Gypsys. Photo courtesy of Doug Deutsch PR

The 4th Annual Woodystock Festival returns to the high desert on Saturday, October 1 and Sunday, October 2. This promises to be a great weekend of fun, blues and rock music on the 10 acre Woodardville Ranch in Apple Valley. One of the headlining bands for Saturday’s lineup is Diana Rein and the Papermoon Gypsys. Diana, the “Six String Siren,” sat down with the LA Beat to talk about their music and the upcoming Woodystock Festival.

diana-rein-new-live-pic-by-sue-bustamanteQ: Which came for you first, the guitar or the singing?

A: The singing, for sure. I started singing when I was really, really little and used brushes and objects like spoons as my microphone. I heard music with my ears at first and then it came out through my voice. Then not too long after, I started playing piano, actually. I remember writing my first composition on piano and it was a very weird piano piece that I played at a recital. I think it was great to learn how to play piano first before picking up the guitar because I learned to read music and I learned some music theory. Then when I picked up the guitar, I was 16 and it just moved me so much more; I got chills when I heard guitar and when I started playing the guitar. It was just a more apropos instrument for me to get my emotions out.

Q: How did the Diana Rein and the Papermoon Gypsys come about?

A: I had just finished my album, Long Road and released it in May and was working with my publicist, Doug Deutsch to get the word out. One of the first radio interviews he got me was with KX 93.5 in Laguna Beach and Kenny “Big Daddy” Williams hosts that show, so since it wasn’t too far from my house, I was able to go there in person and play a few songs. During the interview, I expressed to Kenny that I was looking for a band and we kind of just left it at that. He actually mentioned at the end of the day that he’d play bass for me and then a couple days passed, maybe a week, and I heard from my publicist that Kenny thought maybe we could do more with this and merge both bands and get things going. That way we could play my originals and his originals and also play a bunch of blues covers. At the same time, Kenny “Big Daddy” Williams was hosting an open jam at Costello’s in Mission Viejo, so I was able to go up there and play with them every week and it just felt really good. So it’s been just amazing with me and Kenny both doing the work to get the band up and running and out there with Doug helping us with publicity. It has happened pretty quickly.

Q: “Rebel With A Cause” is a great song. Tell me about it…….

A: I saw a picture of James Dean, he was smoking a cigarette and it was just him looking really buff with some smoke coming out of his mouth and it had just a really cool, ethereal feeling. I said “I’ve got to write a song about this picture”. So I started with a riff, a guitar riff and no verse, which has a broody feeling to it. It is about the men in my life that have been ‘rebels with a cause’ and the cause was to ruin me, it was to break my heart. I’ve learned my lesson since, because I’m married and I chose to marry the man that did not mess with me, but there have been men that messed with me and it’s kind of kept me hanging on for a long time and it’s because—-I don’t know why……..I just need to be loving myself and feel like I don’t need that emotional abuse. I am so happy that I have grown out of that and I totally love myself and in turn I’ve found a relationship that gave me a good type of love in turn.

kenny-big-daddy-williams-by-sue-bustamanteQ: You’re working with an amazing guitarist, Kenny Williams. What’s he bring to the band?

A: Oh my goodness, Kenny brings so much. I feel like I joined into a legacy, it’s like BB King and other blues players from the past passed on to younger players and I feel like I was searching for that. I’m really lucky that I hooked up with Kenny. We talk about music and all sorts of other things, he’s teaching me things about playing guitar and I get to listen to him when we’re playing on stage and it’s just constant, constant learning and you can’t get this from a computer. You can’t get this from a lesson online so I’m really fortunate to get it in real life onstage. He’s just a really great, compassionate person he’s giving and being there, writing together, so we’re just sharing a lot of music together and it’s powerful. Otherwise, he’s really amazing too with getting us out there management-wise. He and I work social media really hard. It’s so much better with the force of two people rather than just one.

Q: “Stone Free”, the Jimi Hendrix cover, is an amazing song that you do. How did that come about?

A: That one was in Kenny’s wheelhouse. He used to play that. He’s a Jimi Hendrix lover and he has played that for a long time, so when I came in he suggested that we do that. I love the song too; it’s kind of a challenge since Jimi Hendrix talk/sings in the song, getting into his rhythm. I can’t do Hendrix, I’m just going to sing it like I would sing it, kind of find my melody in there because it’s hard for me to talk/sing unless it’s a little rap. We do a song called “Someday Baby” by R. L. Burnside and I get to rap a little in that. But I still found the melody in that too! So that came about because of Kenny and I’m really happy that we do it because it’s high energy and Kenny can go crazy on the guitar with that song. He plays behind his head, plays on the floor, does all sorts of effects with his pedal board, its really fun!

Q: Are you looking forward to playing at the Woodystock Festival?

A: Yeah, I am! I always hoped and prayed that I could have been born to play in a band at Woodstock, so this is really great for this to happen during my lifetime. So anything where I can play outside and be amongst the sky and nature around me is a welcome show. I think it’s going to be really, really fun!

Q: So you really like the blues?

A: Blues lovers all have a united bond. I feel like we all have this bond that we’ve acclimated to a genre of music that really resonates with our emotions and how we get our emotions out there, we we get in touch with our emotions, so I hope to meet you all at Woodystock and share in our love of the blues together.

Diana Rein and the Papermoon Gypsys will perform on Saturday at the Woodystock Festival. Other bands playing at Woodystock include country-blues artist Kenny Cederholm; blues band Crooked Eye Tommy; The Lillies, who combine the avant-garde sound of some of the sixtie’s indie great with the blues, the ‘Reverend’ Smack Jonez, who electrifies crowds with his mix of blues, rock, funk and soul; Electric Parlor, an L.A.-based quartet rooted in rock ‘n’ roll; and Victor Crain, a high desert favorite whose playing was once favorably compared to the late Jimi Hendrix. He’ll be playing some down-home blues that are sure to please.

The Woodystock Rock ‘n’ Blues Festival takes place on Saturday, October 1 and Sunday, October 2. Music starts at 11am each day. Tickets are $20.00 per day in advance, $25.00 at the gate/day of the show. 2-day tickets are available for $35.00 in advance and $40.00 at the gate/day of show. Camping tickets are $10.00 per night/per vehicle. Kids 12 and under are free. The event takes place at the Woodardville Ranch at the end of Chicago Road in Apple Valley.many different vendors, from food to BBQ spices and more, will be in attendance at the event. Woodystock is hosted by KJAY Epic! Radio.

Tickets and info for Woodystock can be obtained by calling (760) 963-4994 or going to the website or the event’s Facebook page.


Ed Simon

About Ed Simon

Ed is a native of Los Angeles who loves food and food cultures. Whether he's looking for the best ceviche in Colombia, the best poke in Hawaii, the best tequila in Jalisco, the best Bun bo Hue in Vietnam or the best Taiwanese Beef Roll in Los Angeles, it's all good food! He also loves a good drink. He's had Mai Tais in Hawaii, Bourbon in Kentucky, Tequila in Mexico and Rum in Jamaica. His wine escapades have taken him to Napa, Sonoma, the Willamette Valley and the Santa Ynez Valley. And he's had beer all over the world! Music is another of Ed's passion, writing and interviewing many classic rock, rock and blues musicians. Getting the great stories of road experiences from them is a particular delight. Traveling also fits in with Ed's writing, exploring all over to find the most interesting places to visit, even in out of the way areas.
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