Back to profile

Stories by Andrew Hamlin

Kate Pierson's Guitars and Microphones

B-52s singer's new solo record revolves around positive activism

“Mister Sister,” hymn to a cross-dressing or possibly transgendered “you” who escapes to “everyone’s party wish list,” makes even more sense in the wake of the Surpreme Court decision in June, which applied specifically to ...

Sacri Monti skate, but they’re no skate band

Stoke for krautrock

“The only fans that come up to you after the show are music nerds or prog-rock dads.”

Young Goodman Gano

Violent Femmes frontman talks religion and rock with the Reader

If you don’t know of the Violent Femmes, you surely know “Blister in the Sun,” so popular I once heard a frat-boy chug-a-lug singalong with it at my college — which doesn’t have frat boys. ...

Mommy, look, a pirate!

Like dust in the wind, them wayward sons of Topeka, Kansas, blow into the San Diego Fair

Kansas, the wayward sons of Topeka, carry on at the San Diego County Fair on Friday, July 3. And we’re told to watch for a new album in 2016. Founding guitarist Rich Williams took some ...

The Ting Tings' Super Critical

Not too critical...it is disco

Disco! Disco! Disco! Okay, provisional disco. With Andy (of all people) Taylor of Duran Duran at the board and onboard with song scribbling, the world’s two most creatively obnoxious long-in-the-tooth juvenile miscreants spend a half-hour ...

Ticket to Write taps into rock journalism’s main vein

“The big struggle to emerge in the film is print journalism versus the Video Age.”

Bryan Ferry's Avonmore

Just for fun, try singing this set’s “Send in the Clowns” along with Paul Simon’s “Late in the Evening,” or versa vice. Pretty much the same song, yeah? Gets me each time around. Ferry, of ...

Spoon and the Tasmanian Devil

Indie rock act remembers past San Diego shows while looking forward to two nights at Observatory North Park.

Wilder times for Grossmont High alum

"Yeah, he was always a Country Dick kind of guy. He lived and died rock and roll.”

San Diego’s Eliot Wilder fooled around Grossmont High and then L.A. and ended up in Boston. His latest work, Quartet, fuses classical and hip-hop. He took questions over email. What was the music scene like ...

OK GO's artistic turn-ons

Interview with drummer Drummer Dan Konopka

OK Go pop-rocks stunning, single-take videos featuring everything from wait-a-minute optical illusions to chorus lines on Honda electric mini-scooters. They play House of Blues on May 1. Drummer Dan Konopka took some email questions. What ...

Neil Diamond's Melody Road

"Nobody dies. Nobody takes drugs. No sobs in the darkness."

“Would that make it a better song?” Lou Reed asked a caller into an NYC radio show. Caller wanted to know if the dead girl in “Street Hassle” was real. Lester Bangs didn’t print the ...

They Might Be Giants rocks science

The problem with confetti

“The frightening afterbirth of grunge lives on with bouncers enforcing photo policies with the death penalty.”

John Mellencamp's Plain Spoken

That leadoff track adds up everything in its unequal-length verses, the pieces of a life, the happier bits fallen out, rotten pieces in a too-humid jigsaw — and every equation equals no peace. That’s the ...

Guinness played its part

Having gigged with everyone from Robyn Hitchcock to R.E.M., Scott McCaughey brings his Minus 5 to Balboa Theatre downtown on March 24. He took some email questions from the Reader. What San Diego music memories ...

Appropriate language

Gang of Four just released the year’s best album so far, What Happens Next. They play Belly Up March 25. Guitarist Andy Gill chimed in over email. What are your memories of playing San Diego? ...

Hot space and the Juice that gets you there

Medeski, Scofield, Martin & Wood will launch you from your seat with their latest record

Let’s talk about space. I could talk about the sticky funk (not stinky — funk’s already a mite impolite), the stickwork (Billy Martin so light on the skins I do believe he’s learned from writing ...

Leonard Cohen's Popular Problems

“Slow” opens and sets the tone — not, oddly enough, a tone of “slow” but a statement of intense personal vision, with humor, with openness, but only partial openness. This is how I’m doing things, ...

Heaven & Earth, by Yes

“Wimps,” Robert Christgau sneered, comparing them to Talking Heads — who were wimps, he proclaimed, without “vagueness or cheap romanticism.” But that was ’77; the Heads (whom I love) left us; and four Englishmen, fronted ...

Stevie Nicks's 24 Karat Gold: Songs from the Vault

The too-expensive deluxe version, which this isn’t, adds two of the most righteous songs, including one about a rendezvous with God; neither version omits the weakest cut, “Cathouse Blues,” an arched cat back before the ...

Redeemer of Souls, by Judas Priest

A wonderful friend of mine, gay, wants to know what the new Judas Priest album is all about (lyrically). I tell him that (lyrically) it’s about blood, glory, bloody glory, steel blades, fighting and dying ...

Press the button

Bassist Peter “Hooky” Hook, best known for his work with Joy Division and New Order, split from his former bandmates in a rip heard ’round the world back in 2007. He’s currently touring with his ...

Bite the Hand, by Three Minute Tease

Anton Barbeau’s second album with his Three Minute Tease (no hyphen) comes dedicated to his great friend and all-around under-hyped genius, Scott Miller (late of Game Theory, late of the Loud Family, late of the ...

Minus the disco ball

Vince Clarke, the keyboardist/non-singing half of synth-pop duo Erasure, called in to the Reader having “just arrived in Chicago.” His half-continent connection’s a bit scratchy, with dropouts, but he seems alert and earnest. He looks ...

Erasure's Violet Flame

Vince Clarke promises us a disco extravaganza on this tour, and truth to advertising, this new set’s got plenty of shake. The slip-sliding slightly less-than-booming bass beat, a legacy from the new EDM and the ...

Barb Jungr's Hard Rain

Some of the righteous ones, this season, hurt to listen to. Barb Jungr’s been threshing splendor out of Dylan, Cohen, and a few others, many seasons now, and so this one comes acutely calibrated. She ...

Billy Hart's One Is the Other

“He’s not a metronome,” volunteered one of my resident jazz experts on Billy Hart, age 73, who’s logged time with Wes Montgomery, Stan Getz, Chico Freeman, and three of Miles Davis’s straightest-up hardest-rockin’ sets. And ...

Late-night Nirvana

RedRumsey’s hazy and macabre memories of old SD.

“I found a dead body in the doorway. It was gone in the morning, and no one believed me.”

Goodbye Yellow Brick Road

40th Anniversary Super Deluxe Edition

The misogyny trilogy still rankles, lyric-wise anyway, although “All the Girls Love Alice,” which can’t even decide if Alice’s customers rank with the young girls or “middle-aged dykes,” seems to have grown some cred of ...

I need a bigger amp!

Nik Turner, Hawkwind founder, amphetamine mystic of space rock, nominally of England but probably from a few solar systems over, has been known to sport full-head makeup, paisley camouflage, and alien armature. But according to ...

Ian Anderson's Homo Erraticus

Ian Anderson’s second solo album since quietly deep-spacing the Jethro Tull band moniker, and to boot his third excursion into his avatar Gerald Bostock, a child prodigy turned troubled adult. Only this time Bostock mostly ...

Potluck with Tori Amos

“I usually am backstage furiously learning something before I walk on.”

Unraveling the Lovebirds

“Not sure if there was a specific point. Just like loads of relationships...it kind of gradually happens before your eyes but when the time came it seemed to come from nowhere.” That’s Lindsay White, half ...

Dizzy for Neruda

San Diego jazz guitarist and singer Chuck Perrin admits that he wasn’t initially transfixed by the poetry of Pablo Neruda. “I do not speak Spanish,” he explains, “[so] I didn’t really come to appreciate the ...

People just call me "Lee Fields"

Soul-funk cooker brings his Memphis stew to Casbah Monday night

Lee Fields, bringing his stomp-down soul funk revue to the Casbah on June 30, doesn’t so much mind being called “Little JB” — in homage to James Brown, in whose shadow all soul-funk revues do ...

More on the midway

They’re a working band. But they’re still in high school. They’re coming to the San Diego County Fair this year. Twice. And, they are not afraid to bossa nova. Half Moon Portrait, with guitarist/singers Ari ...

Devo from the ground up

“We were self-effacing metrosexual Yoni worshipers who always left our hotel rooms clean.”

Forged in the horror of the Kent State shootings, bolstered with bracing irony and a handful of religious and pseudoscientific screeds, Devo (short for “de-evolution”) took showmanship, synthesizers, and science fiction to the masses. They’re ...

Guided by amp buzz

Dayton, Ohio’s Guided by Voices burst onto the indie scene in 1994, though obsessives and the faithful will note that they’d been together 11 years by that point. After decades of chaos and ever-shifting lineups, ...

John Newman's Tribute

John Newman’s debut opens with a slow string section, a voice that sounds like the singer reading out great acts of ages past, and an electronically whirl-winded “Crystal,” from the AT&T Natural Voices® synthesized voice ...

Buzzo’s new voice(s)

Recalling previous trips to San Diego with his long-running, ever-heavier band the Melvins, Buzz Osborne, coming to the Casbah on June 10, tells the Reader that he remembers “lots of [gigs] over the years but ...

Theater 101 with Howlin’ Rain

Asked the origin of his signature stage move, combining an upstrum with a backwards stagger, Howlin Rain’s Ethan Miller specifies: “You gotta try and let yourself be natural and find some natural swing...with your playing. ...

My name isn’t Julian

“Yeah, I’ve played a few times,” recalls Sean Lennon, of gigging in San Diego. Lennon, now touring behind his new album Midnight Sun, his newest collaboration with his girlfriend Charlotte Kemp Muhl under the name ...

The classic, current Drake Bell

Jumble the letters of Drake Bell’s name and you can spell “rockabilly”

Former TV star (Drake & Josh, filmed in San Diego)–turned–plunking tunester Drake Bell has a new persona ready to spit-shine: rockabilly boogie! He took some questions from the Reader over email. What are your memories ...

Drake Bell's Ready Steady Go!

The Kinks’ “Sunny Afternoon,” with its grousing about the taxman taking “all my dough,” might refer on the sly to Drake Bell’s ongoing bankruptcy, just as sardonic observations elsewhere on the glitter life sound like ...

William Shatner's Ponder the Mystery

Let’s assume he’s serious. Simplifies matters. And unlike his previous, Seeking Major Tom, this one has no well-known originals to brain-sprain yourself over. He’s by turns polemic, stumbling, provocative, gravely. You need his grit, too, ...

Craft/science

After four EPs and three full-lengths, the Dum Dum Girls, masterminded by Dee Dee Penny (née onetime San Diego resident and Grand Ole Party drummer Kristin Welchez, aka Kristin Gundred), seems poised to go ubiquitous, ...

School of Rock's sympatico vibe

Asked why San Diego’s School of Rock chose to open an new branch in Encinitas, music director Tyler Ward credits popular demand and sympatico vibe. “We have recently had tons of requests from families in ...

Animated Numan

Synthesizer maestro and resident alien of alienation, Gary Numan’s music was, and is, dark, strong, and rich — goth when goth wasn’t cool. He took time from touring behind his new album, Splinter (Songs from ...

Carla Bley's Trios

Pianist/composer Carla Bley, 77 years old now, knows outrage and energy; her early masterwork Escalator Over the Hill ends with repetition infinite — or at least, until the needle punches through the lock groove at ...

Pop fell away from the heart

Asked how San Diego treats his now-L.A.–based band Xiu Xiu, singer Jamie Stewart tells the Reader via email: “It has been mixed. There have been shows that were totally sold out and the people were ...

Harsh Toke's Light Up and Live

San Diego’s own, here, live for the fumes. They live for each new spume. Imagine that perpetually smoking RV from Breaking Bad and substitute some stinky green, which at least won’t kill you quite so ...

Win a Pair of 3-Day Passes to
KAABOO Del Mar

Join our newsletter list

Each newsletter subscription means another chance to win!

Close