'The show was a who's who of the early- to mid-'90s local music scene," says Jason Bang, whose public-access TV program Leche: The Musical aired on Oceanside's KOCT from early 1993 through early 1995. Each 30-minute episode was shot at venues like Soma ("Len Paul was always fine with me shooting, provided the band was good"), the Casbah ("Tim Mays was always nice"), Bodies, and the Worldbeat Center. "I even shot interviews on the streets of the Gaslamp, at Cargo Records' HQ, and at the Independent Music Seminar in '93 or '94. We taped live footage of Tanner, Drive Like Jehu, Inch, Deadbolt, Heavy Vegetable, Three Mile Pilot, aMiniature, Swivelneck, Creedle, Boilermaker, Rust, and Uncle Joe's Big 'Ol Driver."
Other great moments: "Rob Crow [Heavy Vegetable/Pinback] urinating into a bottle, Pall Jenkins [Three Mile Pilot/Black Heart Procession] talking through a Malcolm X poster, and Swivelneck -- I was interviewing Swivelneck on the streets of the Gaslamp, and they were discussing how the Mormon Temple in La Jolla was a spaceship. They also mentioned that Earth was inhabited by space aliens. As this transpired, a drunken homeless guy came up to the singer, threw has arms around him, and they started wrestling....
"[The program] came to a halt when KOCT decided it could no longer fund that area of public access." A DVD compilation is in discussion. "We taped footage of one of Powerdresser's last shows with Denver Lucas in 1994, and I shot the final video interview with him before he disappeared." Lucas was last seen alive by roommates on November 2, 1994, allegedly high on LSD and heading for the cliffs of Encinitas. His badly decomposed body was discovered over a week later off Carlsbad Beach and originally listed as a "John Doe" until fingerprints were matched to musical instruments in his home.
"During the interview, he admitted to doing drugs -- mushrooms, acid, and any other hallucinogenic drugs that he felt like doing," recalls Bang. "He also put across a message of love. He said, 'If you're with someone that you love, tell them now while you have the chance.' Before he passed away, he agreed to do a bit in the TV show called 'Dear Denver,' where he'd answer letters about love and life to anyone that wrote in."
WHAT'S IN YOUR MUSIC PLAYER?
1. Mastodon, Blood Mountain ("The greatest metal opus of the last five years.")
2. Jeff Buckley, Grace ("A masterpiece that will always bring to mind heartbreak and sadness, by someone who left us way too soon.")
3. Public Enemy, It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back ("The greatest hip-hop record of all time, classic and untouchable.")
4. Morrissey, You Are the Quarry ("He's still making relevant records that are largely ignored by the masses, which I'm sure he's quite pleased by.")
DESERT ISLAND DVDs?
1. Reno 911 -- The Complete First Season ("I'll watch this to keep my spirits up until the rescue team arrives. The commentaries are entertaining and informative, and if you don't laugh at the shows themselves, you need to reduce your Prozac dosage.")
2. Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law, Vol. 1 ("Quick, sly, and witty humor. The defense rests.")
3. Ernest Goes to School ("So bad that it'll inspire me to find a way off that island.")
BEST TV SHOWS?
1. Robot Chicken ("I can't believe this show is allowed to air. It's insane, but not in a Charles Manson sort of way.")
2. South Park ("The best and funniest show on TV, addressing every social issue imaginable.")
3. Championship Ballroom Dancing ("This is the show that taught me to dance. Ten years and 32 trophies later, I have this PBS program to thank.")
FAVORITE TWILIGHT ZONE ?
"The one where the guy is in charge of keeping the Devil locked up ["The Howling Man"], but since the Prince of Darkness is such a smooth talker, he's able to convince his captor to release him."
WORST SONGS EVER?
1. "Informer," Snow ("Back when Vanilla Ice was popular, someone thought this guy could do the same numbers.")
2. "Knockin' Da Boots," H-Town ("An ugly, ugly song that attempted to get all the ladies turned on but probably had the opposite effect.")
3. "Achy Breaky Heart," Billy Ray Cyrus ("The suicide rate probably tripled shortly after this song came out.")
FAVORITE LOCAL EATERY AND BEST DISH?
"At the Golden Hill Café, the cheddar cheese omelet runs about $3.50 or so. I'm proud to say the aftermath doesn't involve explosive diarrhea but rather a grin on your face and a satisfied appetite."
FINISH THIS SENTENCE: "IF I WERE A CHARACTER ON GILLIGAN'S ISLAND..."
"...I'd be poor and penniless, while the producers continue to rake in DVD sales as I'm forced to make appearances at fan conventions, in my old Island outfit, just to pay the rent."