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Stories by Ken Leighton

Shotgun ambassador

Deejay "Shotgun" Tom Kelly goes radio silent

San Diego’s most recognized radio deejay has learned that his gig is over. After 18 years at L.A.’s classic hits station KRTH-101, Shotgun Tom Kelly was told his contract as the afternoon drive-time host would ...

Gregory Page and friends to perform free Balboa Park concert

"This is a gift from us and the city of San Diego."

While a Balboa Park centennial committee blew through $2 million before it was disbanded after coming up with nothing, a group of accomplished acoustic artists are banding together for an old-timey, low-tech, free-admission concert Saturday ...

Foreign exchange with Quel Bordel

How to tour Europe and come home with cash, and other advices from the local gypsy-rock act

Follows is some “how to” advice from San Diego band Quel Bordel. How to get a tour in the south of France and come home with money: Quel Bordel singer/guitarist Jakovich Skolnick met the band ...

Where's my robot?

Random Gibberish puts the tunes back in 'toons

There are plenty of freaks and geeks at Comic-Con, but to Matt Sernaker, who has been to every Comic-Con since he was three, the fantasy convention always comes up short in one area. “I never ...

Jumping Turtle's fire sale

North County club Jumping Turtle hits a hurdle

An auction house ad last week announced, “Complete restaurant/bar/live music venue sale!” That August 13 fire sale was at the Jumping Turtle and a surprise to the bands scheduled to perform at the venue near ...

Mrs. Mess's nightmare

Some Kind of Nightmare going through one of their own

Punk-rock veteran Cliff Cunningham takes some credit for talking Some Kind of Nightmare into a life on the road. “It was sometime in 2010 and I had just played with them at the Pier View ...

Echo Park Social Club breaks through with an Aloha song

Local band skirts radio play rules and finds themselves in heavy rotation in Hawaii and Peru

Radio doesn’t have the make-or-break power it held from the 1950s until MP3s arrived in the late ’90s. Still, nothing jumpstarts a career like a Top 40 hit. But in order to get on the ...

Music Box winding up, Avalon on the horizon

Latest news on the San Diego nightclub scene

After being dark for two-and-a-half years, the Little Italy space formerly known as Anthology has been renamed the Music Box and crews are racing to have the remodeled restaurant/bar/music venue opened in time for the ...

Bands out of storage

Storage unit companies cleaning house

Seedheads frontman Kevin Pulido says the lack of affordable practice space countywide may impact the ability of his five-man reggae band to stay together. They were just kicked out of Storage West, a San Marcos ...

Slamming with Tigers

Folk-punk band drops its latest — in a shoe store

The future of the long-threatened Ché Café now looks promising. But Soda Bar booker Cory Steirs, who booked many shows at the Ché over the years, says the on-campus club would not have made it ...

Lucy's drenched in sweat

Lucy's Fur Coat reunites for two nights at Casbah

The promise of San Diego as “the next Seattle” was never fulfilled. But that creatively fertile time was saluted with the release of the feature film It’s Gonna Blow: San Diego’s Music Underground 1986–’96. Many ...

Original San Diego punk band regroups and re-energizes

First-wave Executives

The first time I saw the Executives play was when I hired them to open for a Penetrators show I was promoting at the La Paloma Theatre in Encinitas. Lead singer Mike Jenks explains 35 ...

A weekend to remember at Casbah

Lucy's Fur Coat cancels Friday and Saturday, Dragons host rock and roll memorial on Sunday

The long awaited return of Lucy’s Fur Coat planned for this Friday and Saturday at the Casbah has been postponed. The first Lucy's show in seven years featuring all original members has been canceled due ...

Kraken's still makin' noise

Cardiff club's band schedule has been reinstated

Today’s U-T full-page-headline: LIVE MUSIC SILENCED AT KRAKEN NIGHTCLUB. Bands booked to play the seaside nightspot were told on Tuesday that their shows were cancelled indefinitely because the owner was “worried that a series a ...

San Pedro psicodélico

Border band talks about the difficulty of breaking out of TJ

“I played All My Friends three times,” says guitarist Aris Chagoya of Tijuana-based San Pedro El Cortez about the annual music fest, which was held in June near Rosarito. “Usually, it was half electronic and ...

Scene Not Heard

A second compilation from San Diego's unsung punks

“All these people said they would use our music on their comps. The problem is, those comps never came out.” That’s why longtime punker Ugly Lenny of Inciting Riots became Ugly Lenny record producer when ...

Epicentre cuts the cord

All-ages venue calls it quits in Mira Mesa

“You’re killin’ me,” says Brian Witkin, founder of Pacific Records, about the news that the venue that gave him his break in the music business was ending live shows. “I met my wife when we ...

Rock-and-roll food CHON

North County prog rockers launch European tour at the all-ages Irenic

Progressive rock, the complex, jazzy instrumental music that flourished with King Crimson and Return to Forever didn’t weather as well as other genres from the ’70s and ’80s. “I think those bands got hit with ...

Can Ché stay?

UCSD chancellor agrees to meet with Ché Collective on Wednesday

In what could be a major development in keeping the Ché Café alive, UCSD Chancellor Pradeep Khosla has for the first time agreed to meet with key members of the Ché Collective 2 p.m. Wednesday. ...

No bully pulpit

Cholo-goth duo Prayers make Pet Shop Boys tough

“I’ve been stabbed. I’ve been shot. I’ve stabbed people. People have stabbed me.” Rafa Reyes says he proudly claims the Sherman Grant Hills Park gang he joined at age 13. His street-savvy tattooed choloness mixed ...

Reggae on the Coast canceled

What's high-definition radio?

Does reggae not matter in San Diego or should the folks who run modern-rock station FM 94/9 stay out of the reggae concert business? Those were the questions being raised on June 29 when Lincoln ...

South Bay serenade

The Bassics bring the San Diego music scene to their neighborhood in Imperial Beach

What is Imperial Beach famous for? “I don’t know, [HBO’s] John from Cincinnati...Lords of Dogtown was shot at the pier,” says Bassics lead singer Sam Martinez about his hometown. “Sand Castles, I guess. But there’s ...

Blowing up the Baja stigma

Glasmus goads gringos into coming south of the border for the Fourth

As Mousiky, guitarist for Tijuana’s Glasmus, sees it, there are a couple reasons gringos should consider spending the Fourth of July in Mexico. “I hear [fireworks] all the time down here. In September, when we ...

F the Snykes

Surf-punk trio on self-promotion and the vans Battle of the Bands

The winner of Friday night’s Battle of the Bands at Soma wins a slot in this year’s San Diego Warped Tour show, August 5, in the Qualcomm Stadium parking lot. The pop-punk Snykes are one ...

Love's 'hose

North County band the Gift Machine share memories of Kurt and Courtney

Dave Matthies, the singer/guitarist for the psych-tinged indie band the Gift Machine decided he needed a cyclops monster and colorful swirls coming out of the mountains for the music video for their song “Telemetric Mayhem.” ...

Out at the Fair

Nick and Mel bring their satirical song stylings to the Del Mar Fair this year

While the Bruce Jenner story leaves many confused, Nick & Mel, a music and comedy duo, try to demystify transgenderism by breaking it down into song. “Our music is unapologetic acerbic androgyny,” says Nick Walker, ...

La Jolla millionaire goes for Denver green

Marc Paskin aims to cash in on pot ads via Colorado radio station

La Jolla publicity maven Marc Paskin has remade himself into the pied piper of pot on the public airwaves and he says he will eventually do the same in San Diego. Published reports have said ...

Agent Dad

Skate punk Mike Palm and Agent Orange drop in at Brick by Brick this weekend

“I think he just scammed me.” Agent Orange founder Mike Palm was talking about the New Mexico highway patrolman who pulled him over on Interstate 10 in the middle of our phone interview. “He said ...

Ché has a pulse

Campus collective staging shows until the goon squad shows

When UCSD administration had an eviction notice posted on Ché Café in March, images of supporters getting hauled off by sheriff’s deputies drove four TV crews to the 35-year-old food co-op and music venue to ...

Viva Oceanside!

Who was responsible for naming streets in the Valley of the Dead Casinos?

Although there is no obvious connection between Oceanside and Las Vegas, a housing tract that was built in the early ’60s was laid out on nine streets named after Las Vegas casinos. Last month, Riviera ...

Trouble at TriCity hospital, nurse testifies

“They are not in a position to raise the capital. They just aren’t.”

When Fallbrook Hospital closed in December, it was kind of an “I-told-you-so” moment for Nathan Kaufman, a San Diego–based expert who has a 35-year career consulting over 80 hospital districts nationwide. Of Fallbrook’s demise, Kaufman ...

Stalins of machine punk

If drum machines have no soul, neither do humans

As Hadi Fever sees it, having a drum machine is more punk rock than having a drummer. “A lot of original punk had the attitude of experimentation as opposed to conformity, which a lot of ...

Platform 1888 approved

Fletcher Parkway in La Mesa about to get a whole lotta venue

In a July 2014 Blurt, Aaron Dean was introduced as the La Mesa landlord behind a redevelopment that meant the end to a Fletcher Parkway strip mall and its neighborhood bar. Dean mentioned at the ...

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, ...