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Stories by Dave Good

This weekend's Mustache Bash makes ten and marks a national launch

Funk and polyester

“We had humble beginnings for sure,” says Michael Misselwitz of an event he cofounded and that he now describes as “one of those things that really can’t be explained.” The original Mustache Bash, he says, ...

Vaud and the Villains invade

The 20-piece ragtime act reads like demented dinner theater

“Your soul will be saved if you dance.” This is the motto of a large stage-band that averages around 20 members at any given time. Billed as a 1930s New Orleans musical show, Vaud and ...

Dirty Puppets get their act together

...play their San Diego debut at Brick by Brick Sunday night

A true tale of homemade music: through social media, Drew, a bassist, met Lucky, a band-less rock singer. Drew had a vision, and he shared it with Lucky: he wanted to start a combo, and ...

The only place I like to rehearse

Steve Poltz could have gone anywhere to make Folksinger — he chose San Diego

“I love the Belly Up. That’s kind of a home for me. We got our start there, opening for Buddy Blue.” When Steve Poltz says “we,” he is speaking to his breakout band the Rugburns. ...

The loud family

Charles McPherson — the nation’s preeminent bebop alto saxophonist

Charles McPherson says Dizzy’s when asked about a favorite local venue. “Through the years, I have self-promoted my own gigs there.” Approaching 78, McPherson is considered the nation’s preeminent bebop alto saxophonist. He lives in ...

Full-on guitar-driven

Joey Harris is inspired by his 14-year-old son.

“The Kraken is a wonderful, sweaty, worn-out, smelly, old-school surf bar just north of Solana Beach.” Guitarist Joey Harris grew up in Coronado. One of his first bands was called Fingers. They started that band ...

Diana Death likes the hourly-rate room

Also obsessed with YouTube videos about the supernatural.

“Hmmmmm...that’s a hard one,” Diana Death says when asked who her favorite local band is. Finally, she narrows it down to a name: “I’ve gotta give mad props to Deadbolt. It’s pure, old-fashioned three-chord rock ...

The secret lives of scientists

Nobody kicks sand on Biotech Beach

“I have to kill all of my cells.” In the weeks leading up to Christmas break, Dr. Christie Eissler talks about shutting down her experiments at the Zhou Lab in the Ludwig Institute for Cancer ...

Big Thief's first Masterpiece

Brooklyn-based indie rockers set up at Soda Bar Friday night

Messy, free-ranging, raw-boned music that sometimes comes with an explicit-language warning. Big Thief makes music that hangs together on a thread of workman-like monotony, using chords in progressions that were hoary and predictable way back ...

Hippies with electricity, Railroad Earth

The roots-rocking big band rolls into town for two this weekend

That old Coen brothers feature film titled O Brother Where Art Thou was in part responsible for the second coming of bluegrass music in America. The soundtrack, built almost entirely from Depression-era folk music, won ...

Gavin Turek and the nu disco

L.A. artist breathes soulful life into dance music

Straight out of the 1970s, with all the commingled smells of sweat and polyester and a big fat four-on-the-floor beat like God’s metronome, and soaring above it all is a lovely, lithe voice: that’s the ...

Bebop revivalist Miguel Zenón

Throwback jazz with a Latin twist hits ArtPower at UCSD

Miguel Zenón is not your grandmother’s jazzman — so many of them are, for better or worse. Ever since a handful of the perkiest among them invented bebop in the 1940s, followed by the next ...

Music before poetry for Robert Pinsky

Former poet laureate tours through town behind his Poemjazz

It turns out that Robert Pinsky is also a sax player. We spend minutes talking about the beloved Buescher 400 series tenor sax he once owned but that got stolen. “Tenor sax,” he tells me ...

When life hands you Lemon Twigs...

...join the pop-rock fun at Casbah this Thursday

The Lemon Twigs sound like a rough cut of the Beatles from way back before the Fab Four had gotten tight from playing all those marathon gigs in Germany. Throw in some Bay City Rollers, ...

Revivalists or revitalists?

Indie rockers who have discovered soul and R&B and, in their own DIY way, have revitalized that music

The Revivalists (no, they don’t live up to their name, but we’ll get to that later) are among the crop of indie rockers who have discovered soul and R&B and in their own DIY way, ...

Lemuria — violence with a smile

...feel-good indie-rock punk-pop with a garage band’s sense of the disorganized

The word “lemuria” can mean many things. Lemuria is a Belgian band, for example, or was a religious holiday celebrated in ancient Rome, or is a song title recorded by a Swedish symphonic metal band ...

Goodbye Terrible Youth, hello American Wrestlers

St. Louis-via-Scotland indie-rock act sets up at Soda Bar Thursday night

“A few steps behind the times” is how one reviewer describes the band American Wrestlers; the comment is spot-on. Who uses a drum machine anymore, right? Or, a timeworn tape recorder? There are a few ...

Thank You Scientist's lab rock

Stranger Heads Prevail at Casbah on Wednesday night

You could possibly generate earthquakes with this band’s music cranked at high volume. It’s like nothing you’ve ever heard, unless you listen to the Beatles and Kansas and Genesis and the Mars Volta and Frank ...

The many sides of Ariel Levine

From Bon Scott's Big Balls to Bowie's boas

“We’re gonna do the album from start to finish,” Ariel Levine tells me by phone from his Middletown apartment. Levine is a singer/composer/guitarist transplant from New York. “I’ve lived here for five years now.” The ...

Slow Hollows' new-gen new wave

L.A. act brings back hook-heavy synth-pop

Rock radio in the years leading up to Van Halen was overwhelmed with the sounds of a format called new wave, otherwise known as synth pop. A lot of that music was exported from Britain. ...

Punk-rock revivalists Barb Wire Dolls

Soda Bar stages the Greek five-piece on Thursday night, December 22

They’re a good three decades late to the dance, but don’t paint them into the retro corner. This is a living, breathing band, fresh, and coming off the launch pad as if they could restart ...

Dandy Warhols' dandy ear candy

The Portland band will slather Distortland all over the Belly Up stage on Thursday

“I never thought you’d be a junkie/ because heroin is so passé.” Who would think to give the smack nation its own pink and yellow television-style game show, complete with burning luxe cars, dancing syringes, ...

Steel Wheels grind into town

Roots group rolls with the hype into Brick 15 Sunday night

Fiddle music played by four traveling Mennonites. Put it that way and you might think that the Steel Wheels would not be a band that could chart and get radio play after scoring accolades at ...

San Diego Guide to Holiday Fun

Even if yuletide music burns your cochlea on contact ... something for you

I read somewhere that the reason you’re sad around Christmastime is because it’s a reminder of what you’ve lost since childhood: the belief that the world is a magical place that is interested in your ...

Tele Novella's macabre pop

...tastes like Halloween candy

Another band that’s in lust with the pop music of the 1960s. And why not? It was good material, and most all of it distinctive. Tele Novella has been compared to the girl groups of ...

Soul man: Lee Fields & the Expressions

Soul singer Lee Fields brings his Special Night tour to Belly Up

A hit with the younger crowd — this, after four decades of pounding the road and getting older all the while. Lee Fields is 65. And the irony is, the better he gets, the more ...

Gogol Bordello: not boring world music

Gypsy-rock big band rolls the caravan into the Observatory Saturday night

From a handwritten “artist statement”: “Gogol Bordello’s task is to provoke audiences out of post-modern aesthetic (illegible word) into a neo-optimistic communal movement towards new sources of authentic energy.” This, from a singer/songwriter and former ...

Elektric Voodoo's sonic hoodoo

Guitarist Scott Tournet of Grace Potter & the Nocturnals has a new San Diego band

It wasn’t long ago that a fellow musician and I were having coffee near Cowles Mountain and trying to figure out Scott Tournet’s new project. We’d both listened to his new album with his new ...

The engine behind Chicago Transit Authority

...is now the engine behind California Transit Authority

They started in college in 1967 as a Top 40 cover band. They called themselves the Big Thing. There were seven of them, and their original songs showcased the opposite sides of the band: tight-assed ...

Library lets in the noise

"Checked Out" experimental music fest plugs in at the downtown branch

“No, this is not the sort of thing that you’d expect to hear in the library.” Laurie Bailey is the arts, music, and recreation librarian at the Central Library in East Village. She’s talking about ...

Marc Ford's gut-level Americana

Black Crowes guitarist turns to The Vulture

By the time Marc Ford hits Ramona, his new album, The Vulture, will have been released. And some of the critics who had written him off before are now saying he’s making the best music ...

Brian Jenkins answers the camera's call

Another San Diego musician moves from the music studio to the movie studio

“I think I’m done with music. I’ve taken it as far as I can.” Riot House Records label owner and bassist/guitarist Brian Jenkins has joined the growing list of hometown musicians-turned-filmmakers with the release of ...

Holy Sons is about facing your personal reality

Emil Amos of Grails and Om brings his solo thing to town

Are we all not musical descendants of the Beatles? Or, have too many spins of Abbey Road left an indelible impression on one’s ability to hear music in any other way? There’s a distinctive Fab ...

Banjo maestro Danny Barnes

Barnes brings his four-string thing to Brick 15

And now for some banjo love: many have tried to make that instrument cool and failed. Danny Barnes, 55, from Temple, Texas, claims to not be affected by the limitations of it. And there are ...

Peter Sprague's guitar knows no genre

Sprague will be joined by vocalists Leonard Patton, Nina Francis, and Gregory Page at Java Joe's on Sunday

Peter Sprague alone on the small stage is enough. But double down by putting the show in an arts venue where there is no bad seat, and add Leonard Patton, Nina Francis, and Gregory Page ...

Cosmonauts launch A-Ok!

Orange County indie act hits the Hideout Monday night

As a recording unit, Cosmonauts are so tied in to pop culture’s past that they sound like many eras and genres all at once. The dudes can shift around from jam-band stuff not unlike demos ...

Dried Up: Gardeners in the drought age

Gardener war stories in the age of drought

Drought cost him 20 percent “Here? I do the trimming, the fertilizing, watering, and so on. This client, a commercial storefront on Herschel in La Jolla Village, wanted to save on watering, so they had ...

The Naked and Famous streak through town

Indietronica band out of New Zealand brings this year's Simple Forms to the Observatory

When that whole indietronica thing broke big, it was everywhere. It seemed oddly familiar, and friendly, as if it had always been around. It hadn’t, of course. Part of it was media push: during the ...

Manual plan

Bart Mendoza on the longevity of San Diego's super mods Manual Scan

“This is the one that officially makes me feel old,” Bart Mendoza says. Manual Scan, the band he started right out of high school with a few of his friends, will play their 40th anniversary ...

An injection of Seratones

Shreveport pop-rock group brings their wake-up call, Get Gone, to town

The Seratones, from Shreveport, Louisiana, are touring now in support of their debut album Get Gone. Each of the bandmembers has managed, in their short lifetime as a functioning unit, to incorporate at least half ...

Elephants at rest

Hills Like Elephants' frontman and drummer take a call from New York

“Sean Davenport and I decided to move to New York.” Michael Alan Hams offers this as the main reason behind Hills Like Elephants’ recent disbanding. Two days after the August 25 release of Tacet, the ...

Kalabash turns one

La Jolla music and art school celebrates a year and expands horizons

“I’m a songwriter,” Natasha Kozaily explains. “And when I teach music to my private students, I encourage them to write songs.” Not so much the method-book approach, the 30-year-old says about the curriculum at the ...

Sam Outlaw's crooked country

If you can't beat 'em... Country singers are setting up at rock clubs

Sam Outlaw, the country singer from Los Angeles, presents something of a cultural paradox. Country-music haters complain that their music’s lost whatever authenticity it may have had back when Merle Haggard and Patsy Cline and ...

How many does it take to run a Blonde?

Blonde Bar's Allen Colaneri says group-think is why the new venue's an early success

“End of an era. The neon sign is up for grabs. If interested email,” @BarDynamiteSD tweeted on August 10. A couple of weeks later, the new construction dust had barely settled inside the dance club ...

A lot of Grammys in the Tedeschi Trucks family

Country-rock couple brings the award-winning big band to Copley Symphony Hall

For those among you who never had the pleasure, the Tedeschi Trucks Band is about as close as you will ever come to approximating a 1970s spectacle known as the Mad Dogs and Englishmen tour. ...

Voice of rock Glenn Hughes

Hall of Fame bassist visits Brick by Brick

Who does Deep Purple, Stevie Wonder, and Black Sabbath’s Tony Iommi all have in common? That would be Glenn Hughes, the singing bassist from Los Angeles by way of England. One loses track of how ...

D Generation is a band for our times

New York '90s punk throwback act as relevant as ever

The sound of being pissed off, along with bad hair, leather jackets, black T-shirts, craftily damaged jeans. Rebellious vocals, same timeworn guitar chords, and the old one-and-three ground-pounders coming off the drums. Sound familiar? Not ...

How broke are you?

On the water, underwater. The pride, the shame, the debt.

A stray dog for Christmas Without a safety net: JoAnne (not her real name) earns $12 per hour driving a shuttle for a major auto dealer. She also drives Uber and Lyft on the side ...

Take that slow ride with Foghat

British hard-rock band bellies up to Belly Up

Through classic-rock radio’s reliance on one song, over the decades Foghat has been reduced to a footnote in the pantheon of rock and roll. Listeners young and old seem never to tire of hearing, yet ...

Folk Violator Kurt Vile

The Violators tour through town in support of this year's trip, b'lieve i'm goin' down

Yeah, that’s his real name. Kurt Samuel Vile, from Philadelphia, fronts a psych-pop band called the Violators and he plays his guitar with banjo-like sincerity. That was his first stringed instrument, the banjo, and he ...

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