Heads have been scratched, queries have been made: folks wanna know more about “The San Diego Music Awards” that tops the Casbah bill on March 29. “Truthfully, it’s not much different than an extension of Creedle,” said guitarist-vocalist Devon Goldberg last week of his latest band. He’ll head west from his home in Queens once again to play wide-ranging arty rock/jazz/metal/film-score-ish music in SD (and miss hosting his Sunday soundtrack specialty program Morricone Youth on Manhattan’s East Village Radio). But unlike last month’s Creedle set at the Michael “Stimy” Steinman Memorial — offering originals like “Rabbi Steinman’s Happy Hour Frito Boats” plus Devo, Descendents, and Minor Threat covers — it will be the live debut of a new band with all-new material. “That February show was all about Stimy. This new stuff is all over the place. Over half are instrumentals. I sing a bunch, Rob sings a bunch...”
Yes, The SDMAs — mandatory upper-case T — marks yet another group for Rob Crow, the SD singer-guitarist-etc. known for his many bands, from the seminal Heavy Vegetable over two decades ago, to today’s internationally successful Pinback. (An intro to his excellent new free-form-radio podcast Rob Crow’s Incongruous Show makes light of same, rattling off various incarnations: “Whether you know him as ‘the fat one in Pinback’ or ‘San Diego’s foremost overrated indie-rock man-child’...”) Crow, an enthusiastic Creedle fan from their 1991 inception through ’98 breakup, has become part of the band in recent years, regularly playing — and encouraging — Creedle’s semifrequent reunion gigs. Along the way, he and Goldberg began writing songs for the new project, which also includes familiar core Creedlers Tim Blankenship on bass/vox, drummer Dion Thurman, and saxist Gabe Sundy.
“We’ve already partially recorded 16 songs for an album,” Goldberg revealed. “But most have only working titles that might change.” The sound is, as expected, eclectic: tracks range from something suggesting a surf-metal makeover of an Erik Satie-ish classical piece, to a Melvins-style tear through an Astor Piazzolla tango.
But, the name? “Rob’s idea,” chuckled Goldberg. Essentially, it seems to be a playful moniker, acknowledging how some older scene vets still refuse to take the (lower-case t) San Diego Music Awards too seriously — and who recall when the SDMAs were regarded by many as a cheesy joke in itself. “Once we get the cease-and-desist from [non-band SDMA founder-president] Kevin Hellman,” he continued, “maybe we’ll change our name to SLAMM” (SD CityBeat publisher Hellman’s forerunner ’90s publication, ridiculed for having ignored local alt/punk bands while, curiously, running cover stories on a Hellman-guided act — and regular early-era SDMA nominee — like Natasha’s Ghost).