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Stories by Ken Leighton

Anti-Trump spitting

Cypher at the Hostel welcomes rapping world travelers

The aggro spirit present in many rap lyrics bubbled up when an impromptu curbside verbal battle between two local crews got physical outside the Tower Bar in May of 2013. Don’t expect any inter-artist aggression ...

Music scene emerging in Tijuana's southern neighbor

Ensenada rocks DIY

Maybe the best sign that Ensenada’s music scene is starting to get active is that its world-famous strip joint just shifted gears. Drummer Jehovah Boggeano says Anthony’s was around way before he moved to Ensenda ...

And the winner is...

San Diego Music Awards back on at House of Blues

Kevin Hellman says he was convinced to come back and resurrect the San Diego Music Awards, which will be held March 21 at the House of Blues downtown. Hellman told the Reader two weeks ago ...

Kids still get a hardcore voice

San Diego teens pick up where their big brothers' bands left off

Take Offense lead guitarist Greg Cerwonka says playing at Saturday’s hardcore five-band mosh-fest is just part of the circle of punk-rock life. “When we were younger we would see older bands we looked up to,” ...

Late life for the San Diego Music Awards

After being announced it was off for 2016, the awards are back on

It was announced on 91X’s Loudspeaker show November 6 that the San Diego Music Awards was taking a year off this year with hopes to return next year. Through November 7 the SDMA website was ...

Vintage vinyl victory

Beat Box Records in Barrio Logan turns two

Access Hip Hop in P.B. and Beat Box Records serve the hip-hop community from different angles. Access sells new hip-hop albums by current artists. Beat Box sells the 40- and 50-year-old soul, jazz, and funk ...

Hip-hop believin'

Rapper Biggie Babylon's "Small Town Girl" scores a hit with a Journey riff

In 2006 local Iraqi-American rapper Timz got national attention when his anti-war video got him exposure on Fox News. “From there it went viral,” says Alvin Shamoun, who, like Timz, was also a member of ...

Pirate promotion

Orange County–based concert promoter John Reese doesn’t want to take on the "two behemoths"

A former bouncer who launched his own security company and then parlayed his concert access into a gig as the tour manager for Guns ’N Roses, penetrated San Diego’s closed-shop concert business. “I think its ...

SeaBase — all about that bass

All-star all-bass San Diego band covers all bases — lead, rhythm, utility?

Tom Perry hates it that the bass player gets ignored. “Usually you can’t even remember the bass player’s name. But ladies love the bass. Can you imagine...when we play it’s three times the estrogen.” Perry, ...

Ms. Moz

Tijuana No's Ceci Bastida reimagines Morrissey

Ceci Bastida fronted ska-punk band Tijuana No, considered by many to be Tijuana’s most successful band. Between 1989 and 2000 Tijuana No toured the U.S. and Mexico and released three albums, spearheading Tijuana’s thriving ska ...

The Bulbs: high-watt rock

Borderland band joins SoundDiego at Blonde Bar

Anytime the Bulbs rehearse or play a show, border crossings are involved. Two of the Bulbs live in the U.S. The other two live in Tijuana. “I guess you could say we are a bi-national ...

Keeping up with the Kinmans

San Diego punk originals the Dils now do blues-rock with new outfit Ford Madox Ford

Don’t expect the Dils to throw a 40th-anniversary show honoring the birth of punk in San Diego. Along with Chula Vista’s Zeros, Carlsbad’s Dils created local punk from scratch. Because of their leftist tunes like ...

Alternative air

“Millennials who care about hipness aren’t going to listen to traditional radio anyway.”

San Diego does not seem to be able to support two alternative stations. In the latest Nielsen ratings, FM-94/9 was again in a sorry 18th place among all local stations while 91X was even worse ...

Status Ché

The latest from the UCSD campus collective that was on the brink of expulsion

Jorge Arriaga, guitarist with hardcore band Frontside, is a volunteer with the Ché Café Collective, which oversees UCSD’s food café and music venue. He attends the Monday-night meetings when the Collective decides which shows get ...

Soma gets wet

After 30 years, the all-ages place opens up some beer space

After 30 years as an alcohol-free establishment, Soma, the all-ages rock venue that played a role in launching local bands Blink-182 and Pierce the Veil, just hosted its first show serving beer. Soma owner Len ...

Quartyard concept

Urban venue loses its space but finds its way

Good news: you get a 30,000-square-foot lot of prime downtown real estate to hold events. Bad news: the East Village property is so in demand that plans are afoot to plop a highrise on the ...

Grand Daddy Purp will be protected

Marijuana — the new legal specialty

Oceanside attorney David Branfman has no doubt that marijuana will become legal for recreational use statewide in November. He is so sure that he has already reconfigured his four-person law practice anticipating what seems to ...

A flamenco twist

Jimmy and Enrique give popular rock the Latin treatment

Jimmy Patton plays a nylon-stringed guitar. Enrique Platas handles percussion (cajon and bongos) and while the duo is primarily instrumental, when Platas sings, he sings in Spanish. Their seven-year-old flamenco White Stripes act has served ...

Sheila E. and her own drum

Latin percussionist talks Prince, Fallbrook set

Latin percussionist/bandleader Sheila E.’s local connections are deep. Uncle Javier helped bring punk to San Diego when he launched the Zeroes in 1976. Uncle Mario has long been a vital part of the rock scene ...

La Jolla snuffs out its 33-year-old Concerts by the Sea series

Nonprofit team thinks, Make them miss us

Having La Jolla in your name can choke your bottom line. “They think that everyone in La Jolla is rich and they can charge us whatever they want.” Ron Jones was one of the ten ...

Retro Attaboys

Fanny & the Attaboys keep it roots-true

Frontwoman Tiffany Christie of Fanny and the Attaboys knows her old-timey quintet may have gotten more attention if they were around 20 years ago when retro-swingers like the Squirrel Nut Zippers and Big Bad Voodoo ...

Casey Turner puts Waves in space

Former NASA engineer get his song onto the Space Station soundtrack

Before he started working at NASA, Casey Turner played in a punk band while studying mechanical engineering at the Florida Institute of Technology. “Our band was called Liquid Image because we played punk and we ...

Tolan's travels

Tolan Shaw finds his muse is international

Some artists use special effects in their videos, others convince a celebrity to make a cameo, and still others don costumes...or no clothes at all. Last week Tolan Shaw released the video for his new ...

Billy Bacon rides again

Tex-Mex rocker returns to town for a record-release

When Billy Bacon launched the Forbidden Pigs in 1984 he was as happy as a pig in a roots-rock poke. His Tex-Mex trio was buoyed by a flourishing San Diego roots scene that included the ...

Harley's hobby

The scariest band in the land, Deadbolt, getting busy again

I told Deadbolt frontman Harley Davidson that the funniest line I’d ever heard uttered by a rocker onstage was at Belly Up. His voodoobilly band was playing to a full house at the Solana Beach ...

Throw Rag throw-down

Salton Sea's desert-rock quartet back together for a few...

San Diego rocker/promoter Davit Buck has regrouped his Homeless Sexuals to join locals the Downs Family, the Screamin’ Yeehaws, and one of his favorite area bands, the veteran Salton Sea desert rockers Throw Rag, at ...

Small Culture in the famine spot

To remain solvent, like many musicians, Jerik Centeno does the computer-app taxi thing

Jerik Centeno of Small Culture moved to San Diego three years ago to pursue a career in audio production. “All through high school [in Kau’i] all I wanted to do was record and mix bands. ...

Nipple of the month

Lo-Fi Nipple regroups for a tour — of San Diego

Guitarist Bill Reynolds of the garage-surf band Lo-Fi Nipple describes how they prepared for this Saturday's show at Strangers in El Centro. “We sent them a box of CDs to give out before we got ...

Yes, again: Fallbrook Golf Course a no-sale

Use of land as garbage dump is not off the table

On Tuesday morning (July 26) sheriff's deputies were on the greens at Fallbrook Golf Course just before 7 a.m. The cops were there because of veteran golf-course operator Harold Vaubel, who just a few weeks ...

Trios only

Vista's strange show-stopper — no bands bigger than three!

One brewery owner laments that the City of Vista’s music scene is stuck in neutral even as its beer industry is exploding. “We’ve been working with the city to do live music,” says Hans Haas, ...

Nudists welcome gypsies

San Diego's first Gypsyfest to be held at a nudist resort

The cofounder of Quel Bordel, San Diego’s “world punk” band, first discovered the site for their upcoming music festival when they were scouting for a site for band photos. “We were looking for abandoned train ...

Another indie music store swan song

One more North County music merchant readies to shutter-up

The music store credited for helping launch the career of country artist Barbara Mandrell is folding after 60 years. Oceanside Music Supply, which maintained the same old-school, full-service music-store vibe it had from when it ...

Edgartronic's transition

San Diego DJ finds his/her true self in San Francisco

“Being able to DJ at this year’s Pride Festival is a surreal kind of homecoming. I get to come home and do what I love to do in front of my hometown crowd...but as my ...

Concert artist brings energy and hair

Artist Jimmy Ovadia creates a new gig

Most jobs associated with concerts have been around for years — musician, roadie, sound tech, merch guy. Jimmy Ovadia created a new job description, and he says it’s been his primary means of support for ...

Ms. Midday Hilary Chambers changes stations

Local alt-rock jock returns to 91X from unsure footing at FM 94/9

Is it another case of DJ musical chairs or a key player jumping off of a sinking ship? Hilary Chambers, who only uses her first name on the air, spent the past eight years at ...

Enter the Fro zone with AJ Froman

O.B. band hopes the Zappa rock documentary provokes interest in odd prog

This year marks the 50th anniversary of Freak Out!, the first of some 60 Frank Zappa albums. Last weekend a new documentary called Eat That Question: Frank Zappa in His Own Words was released to ...

New hope for Fallbrook Golf Course

“If he wants to tear things down, I want to build them up.”

On June 30, the Fallbrook Village News reported that the beleaguered Fallbrook Golf Course was closed “due to change in management.” The paper missed a major detail about the 56-year-old course, which has come under ...

Moshing with Methodists

Church sets up a hardcore hangout called the Industry in Chula Vista

The most surprising thing about last Friday’s “Mosh for Orlando” show in Chula Vista wasn’t that local punks played for free for the Pulse/Orlando victims, it’s that it was held by a church. And moshing ...

Alt-rock jock Hilary Chambers returns to 91X

DJ musical chairs or is FM 94/9 not "about the music" anymore?

Is it a case of DJ musical chairs or a key player jumping off of a sinking ship? Hilary Chambers, who just uses her first name on the air, started as a local alt-rock DJ ...

NPR not facing an existential crisis

KPBS programming honcho takes issue with Wall Street Journal piece

KPBS-FM’s programming chief is not happy with how his station’s network was depicted by the Wall Street Journal. A June 17 article painted NPR as a sinking network with an aging and shrinking listenership. Young ...

Tijuana free to rock again

Mexico's back in the rock concert/festival business

Chim Arrieta Espinoza, singer/guitarist with Tijuana-based Rabbit Fever says the Mexican government has opened up to live-rock events. Arrieta has put on a number of multiband shows in small venues in TJ and San Diego ...

Latin for Wolves

Melvus keeps the voice of their dead brother alive

On June 5 the Los Angeles Times noted how bands such as the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Guns ’N Roses survive while the scenes they created 30 years ago have “withered” due to fewer ...

Pierced the radio veil

Local post-core quartet is blowing up

It pays to play well. Even if there aren’t many people there to see you. “The other day I went to the Ché Café and there were, like, ten kids there,” says singer/songwriter/guitarist Vic Fuentes ...

The Mice embrace the weird

Twenty-year punk trio and their bar the Bancroft bring a new sound to East County

The three punk Mice have been playing for 21 years. “We actually started two years before as Billy Club,” explains singer/bassist Travis Poe. “Our lead singer Matt went away to rehab and never came back. ...

I've made thousands off those idiots

San Diego artists on their Gigtown gigs

While the local booking company Gigtown remains controversial, one San Diego band and a hardcore critic are glad they’re here. Launched last year by Andy Altman with a reported $3 million investment by his father, ...

No cover, no problem for three San Diego clubs

...and the bands still get paid

Hosting original bands without a cover charge has become a successful business model at three San Diego nightspots. The owners of the Salty Frog in Imperial Beach, the Manhattan in Chula Vista, and the Pour ...

Punk band pines for "Oceanslime"

Shit Outta Luck prefers its beloved Oceanside on the gritty side

The boys in Shit Outta Luck are protective of their turf, which they say is slipping away. “We are old-school punk, and we all grew up in Oceanside,” says the drummer, proudly named One-Eyed Jew. ...

Unherd — televising the dark side

Zaragoza, Halloran, and Terich to host new locally produced music show

When pop-culture columnist Alex Zaragoza was approached about hosting a weekly TV show about music, she wasn’t sure if the guy was for real. “The first thing I said was, ‘You do know I’m not ...

A teepee for Blau

B-ball great Bill Walton lends his Balboa Park–adjacent backyard for music video shoot

While Bill Walton’s son Luke is getting all the media attention for being named the Los Angeles Lakers’ new head coach, his backyard teepee stars in a new music video. “Bill was so nice to ...

Rockers with walkers

Coachella grounds will host two Desert Trip weekends this fall

The band that once put on their own free show at Altamont with drugged-out bikers as security now rolls a little differently. Anticipated demand for the Rolling Stones (along with The Who, Neil Young, Paul ...

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