Sirhan Sirhan founder Jason Blackmore wasn’t at the San Diego Music Awards last week when his band won the Best Hard Rock Album award. He assumed his “balls-out hardcore rock band” would continue to get the hometown cold shoulder.
“When we got signed to a label [Anodyne, in 2007 – home of the Meat Puppets], no one seemed to care that much. Our record [Blood] is in all the Best Buys, but we didn’t get one single CD review in the local press.”
Blackmore suggests that except for maybe the Night Marchers or Louis XIV, no local bands have recently spent more time on the road than Sirhan Sirhan.
“When we go out, we do, like, 40- to 50-date tours. We’ve done three tours so far this year.”
Blackmore works as a doorman at the Turf Club in Golden Hill, which allows him to take time off to tour. He says that dream job is now up in the air.
“The landlord is taking over in November. I have been working there for seven and a half years. Tim [Mays, co-owner] gave me a job right after I moved here [from Kansas City].” Blackmore is not sure if he will stay at the Turf Club or work at Mays’s new restaurant in La Mesa, the Riviera Supper Club. (Other longtime Turf Club employees – including players from Lady Dottie and the Diamonds, Bartender’s Bible, and the Nightmares – will stay on, and some will go to La Mesa.)
Blackmore says he recently had to pull the plug on a fourth tour that was to start next week.
“Gas prices keep going up, but the [venue] guarantees stay the same; clubs are still paying bands what they were paying four years ago.”
Blackmore is buoyed by the condition of Alex Organ, his drummer. Two years ago, Organ woke up with numbness in his left hand.
“I didn’t know if I had a stroke or HIV or what,” he said at the time. After $25,000 worth of tests, Organ said he was told he had contracted multiple sclerosis. For a while he couldn’t tie his shoes. For a couple of shows he taped his drumstick to his hand with duct tape. Blackmore says Organ can now hold both sticks.
“He has stabilized,” says Blackmore. “It hasn’t gotten any worse. But the doctors say it will not get better. He could always have a relapse, but he is doing everything he can to remain healthy.”