Coal miner’s great granddaughter

Don’t even get Cleopatra started about her great-grandfathers...
  • Don’t even get Cleopatra started about her great-grandfathers...

“There’ll be a number of special guest artists all doing a few songs each, among others, Jeff Berkley and 22 Kings,” says Cleopatra Degher, whose debut full-length Pacific drops September 12 at Lestat’s. The album was produced by Degher’s father Darius, who fronted local 1980s new-wavers Darius and the Magnets before going on to record with Warren Zevon and others.

Past Event

Cleopatra Degher CD release

Mixed by Jeff Berkley and mastered by Gavin Lurssen (T-Bone Burnett, Jackson Browne), Pacific features Degher backed by Escondido band Second Cousins. “Pacific is what I am, and it’s how the album feels to me. It also reflects the place I’m living in now, on the coast by the Pacific Ocean, rather than in southern Sweden, which is where I lived for a long time. Also, my Italian great-grandfather’s name was ‘Pacifico.’ He was a hot-headed coal miner, completely unlike his name. He lost the use of the thumb on his right hand when he bet someone in a bar that he could break a beer bottle by smashing it straight down onto the bar vertically. Severed the tendon forever. Oh yeah, he also had a glass eye....

“And don’t get me started about my other great-grandfathers. I also had one in Sweden who lost a bet that he could swim across the Malmo canal in January. He drowned.”

By comparison, Degher’s “worst-gig” story doesn’t seem so bad. “Back home in Malmo, Sweden, when I was in high school, I played with my band at this venue called Arena 305, which was a youth music center subsidized by the city. Which is a cool thing they do in Sweden. It was our first proper show as a band, and I was nervous, so I forgot to invite people to it. The only people who were there were the staff and our parents. Probably didn’t help that outside it was 35 degrees Fahrenheit, with sleet — typical Malmo weather.

“I happened to just be getting over a cold and, once we started playing, I kept getting these terrible cough attacks during the songs. I thought I was about to either pass out or puke onstage. I was totally scarred by the experience.

“Even today, I’m paranoid about getting cough attacks while singing.”

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