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Though they won the Best Alternative album category at last week's San Diego Music Awards, the Bloody Hollies were not at Viejas casino to pick up their statuette.

Drummer Matt Bennett says the reason for his band's absence was because "We were waiting on a girlfriend. We had practice that day.... Some bands are the darlings of press and radio. Everybody knows who they are. We look at San Diego as one of 100 cities we have to do well in." The Bloody Hollies leave next month for a three-and-a-half-week tour of Europe.

One big head-scratcher was why Pierce the Veil was asked to perform instead of any better-known bands. "I didn't know them from you and me," says Kevin Hellman, who organizes the SDMAs. "Each year we try to get someone to play who is not that well known."

How did the largely unknown Kemistry (with members of Sprung Monkey) win Best New Artist instead of acclaimed bands such as Drowning Men, Society, Burning of Rome, and the Muslims? "It's a public vote," explains Hellman. "Anybody can hustle people to vote for them."

For the first time in three years, the SDMAs were not emceed by Troy Johnson, music editor of City Beat (a major sponsor of the event). Hellman said he decided to use an offstage announcer instead of an emcee this year. Hellman said he did not know why Johnson didn't show up.

Last week it was announced in a press release that Johnson "...sold his first book to New York City's Arcade Publishing." Set for release next June, the book, titled Family Outing, is about being raised by a lesbian mother.

"Back then, there was little to no degree of 'cool' associated with homos," Johnson is quoted as saying in the press release. "Judging by what I heard from the media and even family members, it was hard not to believe I was being raised by a woman who had gotten caught in the psychological wood-chipper and come out a pervert. There was a time when I actually thought my mother might want to give me a hand job."

Hellman says this year's SDMAs took in over $43,000; of that amount, he expects $25,000 to $30,000 will be diverted to music education for elementary school students.

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