When Ezequiel “Ziggy” Pelayo says, “We started Yeah Buddy Fest because we really just wanted to barbecue and party and hang out all day,” you believe him. When the 30-year-old musical renaissance buddy isn’t pouring drinks at Eleven, Tower Bar, or Ruby Room, he’s booking bands under Another Zeke Productions (eight years and running), playing drums with pop-punk outfits Moosejaw and Beside Myself, pressing vinyl with La Escalera Records, or silk-screening (Escalera partner William Castro owns B Street Hill screen printing company) shirts, record sleeves, and posters designed by his girlfriend, Jillian. Oh, and he just picked up another job at Starbucks to support the label.
“It was all about spending the whole day raging, you know? Just celebrating,” Ziggy says of February’s third annual Yeah Buddy Fest, which grew out of Yeah Buddy Tuesday shows at the late Zombie Lounge. This year’s festivities at Shakedown included ten bands, a hundred-some friends, and 25 pounds of Ziggy’s Love Chicken — a sweet and spicy recipe from back home in Guadalajara with a homemade honey-whiskey barbecue sauce.
“It’s all our friends,” Ziggy says. “We’re all Yeah Buddy. We all say hi to each other that way.”
The salutation is extended in La Escalera’s Yeah Buddy series — limited 500-copy split seven-inch runs of mostly pop-punk groups but also bands such as A Scribe Amidst the Lions, Sour Soul, Otro, and the Marsupials.
Spanish for “the staircase,” La Escalera’s dedication to supporting and elevating the music they love is evinced by nine record releases this year on vinyl, digital, CDs, and, soon, cassettes. Albums are available online and at shops around San Diego, Sacramento, Seattle, and Mexico City, and the label recently connected with Eager Beaver Records in Japan to broaden distribution.
“Remember one thing, we can all do our part,” La Escalera’s website reads. “La Escalera is not a group or a faction. It’s not a band or a label. It’s a movement. It’s up to you.”
Do your part and have a good time at the Tower Bar on Thursday, April 12, from 6 p.m. to 2 a.m., when La Escalera Records will be celebrating their one-year anniversary with four album releases, six bands (Prosthetic Arms, the Shell Corporation, the Mighty Fine, Bastards of Young, Beside Myself, and Kids Say the Darndest Things), and, of course, a mountain of marinated Ziggy’s Love Chicken.