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"I knew I wanted to move to California since the fifth grade," says singer/guitarist Jared Andrews. "It's the promised land of music. There is no real scene in Indiana."

Andrews says Sublime interested him in Southern California, but it was Slightly Stoopid that made him and bassist Tom Robertson move to San Diego last year; with drummer Stephan Silva, they call themselves Elephants in Mud.

"The first place we lived at was in City Heights," says Andrews. "We went straight to the ghetto. Our next-door neighbor was a meth dealer, but it was still better than Indiana. If you get pulled over with a joint, you get six months' probation and a weekend in jail."

What do they think of the local scene?

"There are a lot of 35-year-old booking agents who want to latch on to young bands. They are the leeches of the scene. Last summer we were getting ready to record our first record. We gave all our money to our manager, who took off to Florida... One thousand dollars may not seem like much, but for an underground, unknown band, it's a year's worth of shows....

"At Dream Street, they give you a stack of tickets. At the end of the night you have to show up with the money or the tickets. Because no one knew who the hell we were, we just gave out most of our tickets. We shot ourselves in the foot. We ended up paying $90 just to play our first show."

Andrews maintains his reggae/punk/hip-hop trio is one of the few local bands without musical boundaries.

"Name one real punk band in San Diego. Everybody is trying to fit into a certain formula. If bands think that you have to play the same Ramones or Sex Pistols riff, then it's not punk.... Punk rock was never about flogging a dead horse.... The Clash had no boundaries. That's what made them punk rock."

Elephants in Mud appear November 15 at 710 Beach Club.

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