A longtime member of the local music scene has been tapped to help run the Del Mar Fairgrounds.
David Lizerbram occasionally sits in with Rio Peligroso when the Americana band plays the Riviera Supper Club. The bass player/singer is no longer a full-time member due to time constraints. He has also played and recorded with the Kite Flying Society and Paper Saloon.
Governor Brown’s recent appointment means Lizerbram, 35, becomes the youngest on the nine-member board that oversees the state-owned racetrack and venue.
Although he did donate $100 to Brown’s campaign (another recent appointee gave $25,900), Lizerbram thinks Brown picked him because of what he has to offer.
“I think they wanted somebody who was younger by a decade or two than most of the other board members, but who also has experience.” As an attorney who specializes in intellectual property and business law, he says he could be of help when the fair board scrutinizes contracts made to grandstand headliners.
“I heard there was an opening, so I put in my application. There was no lobbying. I think the people in Sacramento wanted some [appointees] who were not the usual suspects.”
Lizerbram grew up in La Costa and Rancho Santa Fe and now lives in South Park. He studied at USC film school and Loyola law school.
Lizerbram wants the 400-acre seaside venue to be home to bigger, better music events.
“San Diego is dying for a music festival that is the equivalent of Coachella or the Street Scene.” Although he says he is only one vote, he would “welcome proposals from promoters....But there are 300 events [annually] at the fairgrounds already. I wouldn’t want to shove anyone out of the way.”
The Fairgrounds was tapped to house the 2007 Street Scene but it was moved to the Cricket Amphitheatre.
In 1995, two sold-out Pearl Jam shows were moved from the fairgrounds to the Sports Arena when the sheriff’s department expressed concern over rowdiness.
“I had tickets for that show,” says Lizerbram. “I don’t know what went into that decision [to cancel]. Any proposals for bigger shows have to be reviewed for community impact. It has to make sense for the community.”
His most memorable Fairgrounds show? “I saw Soundgarden in ’92 or ’93.... I also saw the Flaming Lips, Weezer, and the English Beat.” Currently, AEG books the headliner bands for the shows held during the racing season. The Del Mar Thoroughbred Club — not the fair board — controls those shows.
“Historically, the perception in the music industry was that playing the fair doesn’t look good on the back of a tour T-shirt. In recent years the reputation has been elevated, and I want to continue that.”
Would Lizerbram step up at a board meeting and suggest, for instance, that the Del Mar Fair grandstand concert lineup would be better off with fewer tribute bands and more compelling original bands?
“I’ve played in quite a few cover bands. You have to remember, this is not the Casbah.”