Of local recording artists, not Switchfoot, Jason Mraz, or Louis XIV get the most radio airplay. For two years, Steve Poltz has gotten more radio exposure than anyone. His commercial jingle ("Minutes away, miles apart...take a Sycuan vacation") is unavoidable.
"I just fell into it," says Poltz. "Four years ago I opened for John Mellencamp at the Open Air Theater." In the audience was Sycuan's marketing director. "Two years later they contacted me and asked me if I wanted to do a jingle. I thought they were joking. He tells me he wanted to have the line 'Minutes away, miles apart' in it, but the rest was up to me.... So I go over to this guy's house to sing it for him. I think, 'If I can get this right, it will pay for my next record....' It was a good chunk of money."
But Poltz didn't ask for royalty points; he got a one-time fee.
"I didn't know the song was going to get so much airplay. I was never the smartest in business dealings. I signed my first publishing deal on the hood of a Cadillac."
Poltz does have points on "You Were Meant for Me," the hit he co-wrote with Jewel.
"I just bought a building," says Poltz. The building houses a bar, but he won't say which bar. "We bought the building, not the business. It's ironic, considering I haven't had a drink for one year. November 30 is my one-year anniversary."
Steve Poltz appears November 26 at the Casbah.