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Steven Ybarra is a Texas-born Carlsbad resident who began studying music when he was three. He was the front man for 34Below, which released five CDs and toured nearly every state in the country.

After 1000 shows and years of climbing the rock and roll ladder, Ybarra suffered encephalitis, an acute inflammation of the brain commonly caused by a viral infection. Ybarra could no longer meet the physical demands of touring and performing and had to quit 34Below. Since 2005 he has been writing and recording new material and performing as a solo act at various venues around San Diego.

FAVORITE BAND OF ALL TIME?

"If I have to pick one, it'd be U2. This band has been a trailblazer in modern rock and pop as we know it. I don't think there are many souls in this world who have heard pop/rock music and do not like at least one song from this band."

BEST GIG?

"It would have to be a toss-up between the time that John [Ondrasik], the lead singer from Five for Fighting, who was our opening act, came up and sang one of my songs with me during our performance. But that would just about equal the time that we opened for Hootie and Blowfish and Darius came up and also sang a tune with me."

WORST GIG?

"If I had to pick one of the worst gigs ever it probably would be when I participated in a variety show. It was, like, out of bizarro world, sort of David Lynch meets The Twilight Zone. The talent was scary."

IF YOU COULD HAVE LUNCH WITH ANYONE...

"I would probably sit down with someone like George Martin or Quincy Jones, as their ability to hear melody and rhythm is unbelievable. I am sure I would learn a few things about authentic cadences that I could never experience in a music theory class. I would like to play them some of my tunes and get their input."

FAVORITE DEAD CELEBRITY?

"Elvis. It's amazing how much one individual could affect and change the entertainment industry in just a short period of time. Between movies, songs, and concerts, he seriously influenced pop culture."

FAVORITE LIVE CELEBRITY?

"I really do appreciate what Joel Osteen has done with his church in Houston. It is one of the biggest, if not the biggest, Christian church in America. I am not so much fascinated with the numbers but more with the message he preaches. He talks about the fact that all of us, through Christ, can be victorious over anything we believe by faith will happen."

WHICH BEATLE?

"Paul has contributed the most to pop music, overall. I know John was talented -- and if he were alive today he may have had as decorated a career as Paul -- but Paul was the most versatile, creating songs with Michael Jackson and Wings and still thriving in his solo career in his 60s."

THREE MOMENTS THAT SUCKED...

1. "When I had meningitis and I had to get a spinal tap."

2. "When my grandfather passed away."

3. "When my car was stolen -- inside were my two guitars, one of them the first I ever bought, as well as my computer with all my music and contacts in it."

WHERE DO YOU SEE MUSIC GOING IN THE 21st CENTURY?

"We will encounter more and more dissonance. A pop song today will not be like a pop song 50 years from now. The public will be more involved and educated about music and therefore not as impressed with the cadences that we know today. It will lose its simplicity even more than it has and become more complex."

WORST JOBS?

1. I used to have to clean beaten-down rental apartments after tenants would leave, and they would not clean up after themselves. It was disgusting.

2. I worked as a laborer in construction.

3. I was once a chauffeur for a crooked limo company.

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