Today the Venice Paparazzi spotlight shines on the band NOCONA as described by band member Chris Isom.

How many years in Venice?   We’ve lived in Venice since 2009 or what many now term as “way back in the day.”

Tell us about your music/band:
Our band is a cosmicdemonilogical exploration through the sonic quadrants of the universe known as the “love sphere” or, in other words, the 7th circle of inner space only true and worthy travelers get to pass through after years of honing their chi and chakras to be in absolute unitary love alignment with the sun as it manifests during particularly beautiful Venice beach sunsets during the full moon. We are also an iconoclastic Americana band and don’t fit into any heterogenous “alt” music category, a term that has come to almost denote more of a conservative generic “pop” sound rather than anything that is truly an “alternative” to the never ending pap and pulp we are served up on radio and popular spotify “playlists”. We are not that. Only those on a life quest for the truly “alternate” in the way of an enlightening musical temporal, space and time journey through the nether regions of the very depths of the soul of all the world will understand our sound.

Chris Isom (center) and Adrienne Cohen Isom. Photo courtesy of NOCONA

Genre:  Rock ‘n Roll

Band’s Influences:
The Fugs, Ernest Tubb, Jimi Hendrix, 13th Floor Elevators, John Coltrane, Norman Blake, John Hartford, The Bad Brains, Daniel Johnston, Kenny Baker, Clovis Crawfish and the All-Star Bayou Band, Doug Kershaw, Slayer.

Your job in the band:  Guitar/Vox

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How many years have you been a musician, and how did you get into it?
Many years, let’s just say a long time, as in it was the 80’s, I went to CB/GB’s and the fire fell from heaven, I knelt to the floor, had the chili and PBR, and I was saved. I work for people who were born after I was already way into The Bad Brains, The MC5, James Brown and Sonic Youth and have seen almost all of those bands live, so, many years.

What would you say has had the largest impact upon your particular style?
Living in Venice and having a garage to jam in and periodic visitations from the ghosts of Jimi Hendrix, Hank Williams Sr, Jim Morrison and Tuli Kupferberg.


Elan Glasser, Chris Isom, Adrienne Cohen Isom and Justin Smith. Photo by Sean Rosenthal

What projects are your currently working on?

I write music for TV and film in a secret side project called “The Mezcals”

Past bands/ Albums recorded:
Have played in many bands, The Luvulator, Grand Mal, The Adam Green Band, The Mooney Suzuki, Ben Wah Fiesta, Paladino, Nocona and some I can’t remember.

Upcoming Shows:
Abbot Kinney Fest 2018 “Locals” Stage  4pm! Oct 6th Original Mike’s, Santa Ana

Sept. 30th NOCONA at Abbot Kinney Fest 2018 4pm “Locals” Stage LET’S PARTY!

Best memory/show:

We had a great show at Venice’s own Townhouse a few months ago and got to see Paul McCartney side stage at Bonnaroo a few years ago.

What advice would you give someone starting out in your field?
Practice, a lot and don’t be a jerk.

Favorite affirmation, mantra, or quote:
The truth is not that which we most staunchly defend but the answer we find ourselves most frequently returning to after careful exercise of logic and reason.

Finish off the statement “Music is…
… Lemmy and it then also follows, on the other hand, that Lemmy is God, therefore inexorably we must concede, finally, Music is God.

Photo courtesy of NOCONA

What brings you to the arts and how has it helped your life?
It hasn’t. Being an artist is a life of torture and pain, but screw all those other people.

List 1-2 things on your bucket list, and 1-2 on your VENICE bucket list:

  • Someday I will return to Las Trancas Tacos in Austin, Texas and order the Al Pastor, Asada and Pollo tacos… twice.
  • Have a birthday party at Benihana’s in Santa Monica
  • Return to the taco stand outside Mitsuwa and have a Sushi combo and Al Pastor, Asada and Pollo tacos.
  • Buy the most expensive bottle of wine at Lincoln Fine Wines.

Photo courtesy of NOCONA

Venice Questions:

Describe Venice:
Venice is an quaint oceanic paradise nestled between a 24/7 tourist trap, drum circle, tech and basic hipster futurama dystopia, tapas apocalypse and Hollywood movie star hideout. It exists somewhere between Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous, Silicon Valley and Mad Max Beyond Thunder dome.

Describe your perfect day in Venice:

Arise, greet the beautiful 73 and sunny new day, breakfast at Maxwell’s, stroll down to Rainbow Acres (wheatgrass shot, vegan bacon), play guitar until lunch, run to the Santa Monica Pier and back, meditate, record, read, play more guitar, go to sleep.

Anything else you want to share about yourself to the world?  Fun facts or accomplishments?
I won “The Sportsmanship Award” at the Ossining Soap Box Derby competition in 1988.

List any of your favorite Venice businesses, event(s) or activities:
Maxwell’s, Rainbow Acres, The Town House, Small World Books, and Marina Caregivers

Small World Books on the Venice Boardwalk

Among the many musicians and bands here in Venice, who are your favorites?
Paul Chesne Band, Matt Ellis, The Hot Club of Los Angeles, Lacey Cowden

Who has the best Venice nightlife?   Favorite places to watch live music?
The Cinema Bar, The Townhouse

Nocona at McCabe’s Guitar Shop. Photo courtesy of NOCONA

What is your craziest or fondest Venice experience?  NSFW

Any shoutouts or thank you’s?  Thank you to the nice member of the Venice police force who very politely told my kids to turn down their amps in the garage this past Saturday.

Who should Venice Paparazzi cast the spotlight on next?
Amaro Lumiya

Photo courtesy of NOCONA

How can one find you?


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