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Stories by Ken Leighton

Three of clubs

The Reader's on the case of all that empty space

The California Theater hasn’t hosted a show since 1989.

The Legend begins

Pacific Beach studio breaks through the rehearsal/recording barriers and puts on some shows

First came the band. Lucky Lucifer is a well-traveled P.B.-based “gothic Americana, garage-rock” band. Then came the label. Lucky Lucifer front man Joe Luciano, 29, launched Legend Records in 2012 so that unsigned local bands ...

Reason to Rebel finds a reason to challenge

North County reggae-rockers have a new drummer and a new record

Although it is advertised as a Reason to Rebel record release, Saturday’s Casbah show will not have any new vinyl pressings for sale. “We were going to release a split seven-inch with [L.A.’s] Mothers Anger,” ...

Pyrate Punx slam for autism

Local show promoters find a cause and a new place to play

“Yes, it’s gone. I hear it’s going to be a shoe factory.” Erik Reed was proud of the shows he promoted at the Stronghold, the Barrio Logan art collective and music venue that has hosted ...

Beach fest band gets some NFL draft love

Hawaiian football star calls out the Green

On Thursday, just after Marcus Mariota became the second pick in the NFL draft, nationally syndicated sports talk radio hosts threw out some fun facts about the Hawaiian-bred quarterback/celebrity. They noted that the 21-year-old quarterback’s ...

Couldn't afford Coachella? Check out Lupepalooza Chuckfest

Weekend Coachella tickets carried a face value of $375. Some resold on Craigslist for twice that amount. Then you have this weekend’s Lupepalooza Chuckfest on the grounds of a Calexico Swap Meet. It’s named after ...

Szikla’s new baby, Cloudside

Scott Szikla did what most singer/songwriter/guitarists do — he started a band. First it was the Shattered Hope, then Silent Lune. But it was because of his entrepreneurial spirit and outgoing personality that he got ...

What it's like to sing the national anthem at a stadium

100 feet away from a wave of humanity

Singer/songwriter Caroline Corn, who sang the national anthem at last Thursday’s Padres home opener, can be forgiven if she doesn’t recall the Padres’ most famous anthem rendition. She was only four when Roseanne Barr sang ...

Lemon Grove Prescotts

Lemon Grove Punks hustle for venues. Tattoo salons, rec centers, taco shops, ice cream parlors. “We played at a local donut shop. It was an awesome show but it started to get wild,” says PSO ...

Existential Donkey

Unlike Harsh Toke, Soft Lions, and Prayers — San Diego bands that headlined at this year’s South by Southwest music festival — the Donkeys were one of many bands who made the trek to Austin ...

Day the music died

After the big-label era...Banana Dang!

“When they wanted someone to talk to the TV cameras, no one was dressed for it.”

Ché Café sit-in is a bust

“No pun intended, but I think it’s kind of a cop out.”

“We won’t go easily.” Raquel Calderon and about 50 other Ché Café volunteers were on hand at 5 a.m. for a meeting at the Ché building to discuss Miranda rights, anticipating the arrival of the ...

"Psycho" hits local airwaves

New Muse track wasn't intended for radio. Say what?

As far as radio songs go, the new “Psycho” by Muse ain’t no “Hey There Delilah.” The accompanying video has an oppressive drill sergeant screaming “You’re ass belongs to me now…I’m gonna make you a ...

Oceanside kicks dispensaries to curb

But it's like playing a game of “whack-a-mole,” says city attorney

The North County toke board tally changed today, March 18. It’s now City of Oceanside, 3. Pot dispensaries, 0. Oceanside city attorney John Mullen said last week that the future for the two remaining medical ...

Dude, this is a joke

Many bands thought the worst thing about the collapse of the major-label music industry was that there was no longer anyone to pay for music videos. Orange County’s Terminally Ill, making their San Diego debut ...

Last gasp for Ché Café

Could disconnect between UCSD and student collective lead to forced eviction?

Insiders say they expect Ché Café’s eviction notice will be posted as soon as St. Patrick's Day. Once it’s up, the Ché Collective and its supporters will have five business days to get out. If ...

Every 25 years...

“A band never really truly breaks up until someone dies.” That is how bassist Mike Jones describes Saturday’s first smART Teens show in almost 25 years. All four original members — Jones, guitarist Joe Comacho, ...

Turn up the deep end!

Singer/guitarist Elias Avila of Groms learned about 1960s-style garage rock at the border. “For about two years, me and my dad lived in Tijuana. It was a good two hours to get across the border ...

Church thief who tested dirty comes clean

Pastor forgives robber and asks him for advice

On Sunday, March 8, 19 days after St. Michael’s Episcopal Church in Carlsbad was broken into and robbed of dozens of silver and gold chalices, cruets, and ciboria, the items were found by a sheriff’s ...

Crowd sourcing

San Diego music festivals past and present

What makes a music fest work in San Diego? Ten-thousand pounds of crayfish. That, plus accordions, those metal washboard things you wear on your chest, and Mardi Gras beads. Many San Diego music fests have ...

End of days for Ché Café?

Letter from UCSD administration suggests campus collective gets out before they're put out

The Ché Café Collective must get out or the sheriff’s will lock them out. That was the bottom line of a letter sent to the collective and distributed Tuesday evening from UCSD Vice Chancellor of ...

When one door closes...

"There’s definitely not enough venues, especially with the closing of the Ché [Café].” Singer/guitarist Joshua Kmak laments the fact that while the scene is plumping up — thanks in part to garage-rock combos such as ...

Age integration or keep ’em separated?

Soma did not serve alcohol when it opened in downtown San Diego in 1986 or when it moved to a Bay Park warehouse in 1994. The all-ages/no-booze policy continued when Soma moved to a remodeled ...

Yes, Droopy, you got the job

Roger Hedgecock announces departure from talk-radio show

On February 23, Roger Hedgecock, announced on the air that March 27 would be his last day hosting his nationally syndicated three-hour talk show on KFMB (760 AM). He started his career as a radio-show ...

Church thieves strike in Carlsbad

Pastor comes across "spiritually violent" scene on Ash Wednesday

Like it was for most Episcopal priests, Ash Wednesday was a big day for Rev. Doran Stambaugh. He arrived at St. Michael’s at 7:40 a.m., 20 minutes before his first of three services that day. ...

Mod and pop

Agreed, Kung Fu Monkeys, punk and ska will never die

“Five years ago here in Tijuana and all of Mexico was in a cartel drug war. Order has been restored.”

Bro deal

Thanks to Tijuana’s Jorge Fonseca, it’s no big deal for a band to fly in from Europe and play two different countries in one weekend. Fonseca’s day job is with the Mexican electric company (CFE). ...

Vista’s lavender vortex

While at a desert music festival last November, Jarrod Heidt hooked up with some of the bands he’d book at his new Vista venture. “It was the third annual Borrego Mi Diego. It was like ...

Captain Beyond DNA

A critical mass of local bands is thriving, owing to the loud, expansive psych-metal of Earthless. “It’s all based around an underground, heavy psychedelic vibe,” says Earthless drummer Mario Rubalcaba, a former pro skater and ...

Imperial Bassics

The Martinez brothers say their cue to start their band was an omen. “We found these two guitars sitting right outside a neighbor’s fence,” says Sam Martinez, lead vocalist/rhythm guitarist of the Bassics. “It was ...

True to Ponty

Chris Vitas was still attending Monte Vista High in 1969 when he started playing electric fiddle in Montezuma’s Revenge. Locals remember them as the wacky (the name referenced diarrhea) country band that packed the Del ...

Rhymes about guns

"I’m just speaking about urban life. I’m a storyteller, nothing more."

This is the first weekend that Brandon Duncan has seen his family since June 17, when he was taken from his Lincoln Park home and booked into the George Bailey Detention Center. His grandfather died ...

Extension accord

Two ill-fated UCSD music venues, Ché Café and Porter’s Pub, appear to be back in business. The Ché Café is a 35-year-old nonprofit run by a student collective with support of well-connected student alumni. Since ...

Q is gone, Fresh Air survives

KPBS drops show once hosted by Jian Ghomeshi, accused of sexual assault

Former rock singer Jian Ghomeshi was fired by Q producer CBC (Canadian Broadcast Corporation) in October when former lady friends claimed he got violent with them during sex. San Diego’s top-rated public radio station initially ...

Resurrection buzz

Could 2015 be the year that Street Scene (or something like it) comes back to life? The resurrection buzz comes with the arrival of the Kaaboo Festival September 18–20 at the Del Mar Fairgrounds. The ...

The Koala and Charlie Hebdo

Former UCSD editor talks about "Jizzlam" issue that followed 9/11 attacks

The closest thing San Diego has had to French satire magazine Charlie Hebdo would have to be the Koala, UCSD’s sometimes profane student-run humor paper. Twelve people, including key Charlie Hebdo staffers, were murdered this ...

I am the Delta Lady

Joe Cocker lifted Rita Coolidge

“Joe was very private, almost shy. I think the reason why he drank and did the other stuff was to bring himself out.”

Observatory North Park

O.C. interest purchases North Park Theatre

The story of the Observatory’s arrival as one of Orange County’s top music venues started when a computer systems installer named Jon Reiser decided he had grown out of the 300-capacity Detroit Bar, a club ...

Two new stages

A new venture called Quartyard will take over two-thirds of a downtown city block and present live concerts May through October. Attendees will be served by a full-bar, beer gardens, and food trucks. Quartyard is ...

Our plan Everything

Touring bands and booking agents will tell you local opportunities are few compared to the thriving hard rock scenes in L.A., the Bay Area, or Texas. But the five guys in A New Challenger Approaches ...

Maybe the city council called the DEA

Clinic about to get raided

Five employees and a manager at Chronic Pain Releaf were recently given misdemeanor citations for working at an unlicensed business according to Oceanside Police spokesman Lt. Leonard Cosby. He says they were cited under Oceanside ...

No twang in paradise

Americana singer/songwriter Mark Stuart has ricocheted between Austin and San Diego. The homegrown founder of Bastard Sons of Johnny Cash first relocated to Texas eight years ago. “Everything except the music scene is wonderful in ...

Enter Entercom

“This market can't sustain a winning sports team, let alone two or three sports radio stations.”

Could wide receiver Eddie Royal replace “Royals” by Lorde? Could Brandon Flowers of the Chargers take the airwaves from Brandon Flowers of the Killers? Local radio stations KSON, KIFM, and FM94/9 were sold on Monday. ...

Mainstream U.

UCSD administration first took aim at the Ché Café, and now it has its sights set on Porter’s Pub. “It’s like they’re giving themselves chemo but killing off all of the wrong organs,” says a ...

Zero-tolerance Oceanside

Pot shop allegedly reopens under a different name

The day after the City of Oceanside closed the Nature’s Leaf marijuana dispensary on October 31, city attorney John Mullen drove by the shuttered business near the intersection of Interstate 5 and Hwy 78. “I ...

Bad publicity

Brandon “Tiny Doo” Duncan raps about gang life, but he had never been to jail until June 19. “I just got out of the shower and was headed to work,” Duncan, 34, tells the Reader ...

Cookie Monster rock

Call it “screamo” or call it “post hardcore,” locals Focus in Frame say they have no intention of backing away from the guttural groans that identify many modern metal bands. Detractors slag the incomprehensible singing ...

Pulso del Barrio

B-Side Players founder Karlos Paez makes it clear that he’s a benevolent bandleader. He’s still friends with his former B-Side bandmates. All 52 of them. “We just had our 20th reunion at the Belly Up,” ...

A question of safety...and address

UCSD close to getting its way with the Ché Café, but the collective is resolute

UCSD pulled the trigger last week. The school went to court November 19 to obtain a writ of possession for the Ché Café, to evict the collective that has operated the café and venue for ...

Acústico sidecar

The 13 years Ken Horne played guitar in the Dragons made that dirty glam-rock band a vital part of San Diego’s home team. They released seven albums and played alongside Mastodon, X, and went on ...

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