Band lineup changes are as common as busted guitar strings, but several local ensembles have undergone nearly complete personnel changeovers.
“The entire band was fired by the singer who founded the band,” says Subliminal Trip percussionist Dustin Becker, whose younger brother Jason (aka J-Bird) formed the Ocean Beach–born group. “J-bird had Subliminal Trip when he was 12, and now he’s 23,” says Dustin by way of explaining why J-Bird kept the band name for an otherwise all-new lineup, while longtime guitarist Joel Brust joined fellow ex-Trippers (bassist Garrison Cyr and drummer Colin Holz) to form No Kings. “Arguments had started to arise with Colin and Gary, who were found on Craigslist to start with, about them wanting to manage the band and book gigs. Which was not okay with J-Bird.”
J-Bird is the sole holdover, now accompanied by brother (and band manager) Dustin, alongside bassist Sam Hartjen and drummer Edward Fugatt (both formerly of No Dinosaur), trumpeter/keyboardist Felix Sierra (Soul Malady), guitarist Ryan Parker, and Tony “DJ Turbo” Bilancia. Hartjen also plays bass in Reason to Rebel, and the new Trip already has two ex-members: Tommy Estrada (Reeform) and horn player C-Money (Slightly Stoopid). The apparent open-door policy can be heard on their new single “It’s a New Day,” which features guest singer Lady Cellie.
Band of Gold, fronted by bandleader James Peña (from the Santa Ysabel Indian Reservation) and Teresa Bell Peña, plays classic Motown and R&B. The duo recently replaced the other three members — Minnesota transplant Marty Banas, Hien Vu from Indiana, and native San Diegan Ruben Gonzales — with two San Diegans, Bobby Renteria and Edison Salvador, and Detroit guitarist/singer Dean Aronoff.
An all-new group of Homeless Sexuals will back singer Davit Buck when they debut June 29 at Soda Bar. “I’m still friends with everyone in the old band,” says Buck. “Poe emailed me...says he wasn’t into playing guitar anymore. Rob Logic [guitar] quit to concentrate on the bar business and is booking shows at Bancroft in Spring Valley, where Poe bartends on Saturdays. Chris Menna [drums] is busy teaching music to high school students. That’s his priority.”
New Homeless Sexuals include Chris Henry (Screamin’ Yeehaws), Tim Helton (ex–Coda Reactor), and Alan Stewart and Joe Fabri (both of Media Control). “The old lineup never practiced,” says Buck. “I think we had maybe two practices in five years. The new lineup, we do four-hour practices once a week.”