As environmentalist Jim Bell prepares to launch his fifth run for mayor, he says local bands will continue to play a role in his fund-raising efforts.
"If you're trying to save the world and you're not having fun, you're probably on the wrong track," says Bell. "Music and dancing releases people and opens up minds."
He says "bands are lined up to play" the keg parties he stages at his Ocean Beach house on Voltaire Street. Bell says he's held 100 such fund-raisers, featuring bands such as Vegitation, Psydecar, the Travel Agents, and Deep Rooted.
"If the cops come because of noise, we just shut the music off," says Bell. "We haven't seen [police] in a long time.... We soundproofed our front room." He says he has never encountered any problems hosting all-age parties with live music and help-yourself beer.
"We charge a $5 donation at the door, and beer is free. But you can't get beer unless you have a bracelet that says you are 21. We have someone watching the keg."
Bell, who pays bands half of the money taken at the door, says, "They can make as much as $300 or as little as $40."
Bell has spent many nights dancing to reggae and jam bands at Winstons.
"I don't go there as much as I used to. It got old after a while. I found other venues. I like the Kava Lounge.... The hip-hop people have gotten to know me."
Does Bell think he ever has a chance at being elected?
"In the 2004 election, I won all three precincts west of Sunset Cliffs Boulevard. Overall, I got just under 19,000 votes or 7.6 percent.... Congressman [Bob] Filner endorsed me on September 1 at his annual birthday/picnic in Chula Vista."
One of Bell's detractors is former mayor/talk-show host Roger Hedgecock.
"He tried to paint me as a communist or a socialist or something like that," says Bell.
T. Irie Dread and Skajah appear at Bell's next fund-raiser on December 1. "It will also celebrate my 66th birthday."