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Stories by Ken Leighton

Local rappers soundtrack New York tagger

San Diego Film Fest selection utilizes local artists

City Heights–raised D. Dove has been rapping since she was 14. “There’s not a lot of opportunity. Besides the sheer number of other MCs in San Diego, this is simply a hard city to break ...

Rooster House?

It’s now up to Kodiak, a five-man punk-metal band from North Park, to keep a local tradition alive. For more than ten years the loft above the bar formerly known as Scolari’s Office has been ...

Rewritten Law

It is not surprising that Unwritten Law is still going. The pop-punk band had radio hits (“Seein’ Red,” “Up All Night,” “Save Me [Wake Up Call]”), six albums, Warped Tours, and plenty of fans who ...

Back in the air!

Steve West brings his Sunday morning classic-alternative show to FM 94/9

No one has lasted longer on the local radio airwaves than Steve West. On Sunday, the Resurrection Sunday cat begins another life, resurrecting himself with a new show on FM 94/9. The British-born West, inspired ...

Band on the border run

Radios Silent, four straight-ahead rockers whose members reside in Point Loma, Tijuana, and Ensenada, embrace the idea that being a borderland band means twice the opportunities. A recent weekend saw them play Friday at the ...

Pop goes the Groupie

Austin Steele owes his neighbor. Before his pop band even had a name, Unwritten Law frontman Scott Russo would invite the 16-year-old singer/guitarist and his band over to record at his home studio. “I knew ...

Hip-hop U

While much attention has been given to the plight of the Ché Café, the larger Porter’s Pub (550-person capacity) has been proceeding with little fanfare, presenting national artists, often to a packed house. In the ...

Ché Café digs in its heels, lawyers up

Attorney Bryan Pease says UCSD colluded to decertify the on-campus co-op.

The attorney who helped stopped the removal of the seals from Children’s Pool in La Jolla, has signed on to halt the removal of live music and healthy food from the Ché Café, UCSD’s 34-year-old ...

Heavy metal hits hip-hop backstage

Live Nation cancels Sleep Train hip-hop concert because of "an active investigation" into last week's backstage murder

The canceled hip-hop show that was supposed to happen Saturday, August 23, at the Sleep Train Amphitheatre in Chula Vista may trigger some big changes in the concert industry. Headlined by Wiz Khalifa, the “Under ...

Fast-track Frights

Singer/guitarist Mikey Carnevale has no idea why the Frights was nominated as Best Live Band for this year’s San Diego Music Awards. The punk trio from Poway has no dancing go-go girls, matching suits, or ...

Baja’s next big thing?

Like most people who live in Calexico — the border town about 90 miles east of San Diego — Anthony Ramirez often heads south to the much larger Mexicali, on the other side of the ...

They are killing the Walrus

Goo goo g'joob

The tusked mascot tasked with filling San Diego’s airwaves with oldies is getting harpooned. The station will soon be rebranded as the New Max 105.7. The Walrus handle was installed five years ago by then-station ...

Rock ’n’ roll therapy

Singer/songwriter Josh Blevins knows Gunner Gunner’s reputation as the band that really hustles with posters, social media, and intense person-to-person lobbying. Blevins tells the Reader that it’s the best way to keep getting the prime ...

This man could shoot you

"I’d say 80 percent of the wheelchair off-ramps between San Ysidro and Oceanside were cut out by me.”

Steve West and 91X part company

Longtime alt-rock radio personality and Resurrection Sunday host on his departure

With posts decrying “an end of an era,” and lamenting “there goes our music,” social media was reacting to veteran DJ Steve West’s surprise separation Wednesday from 91X. West joined 91X a month after 91X ...

Amy and Freddy and Charro and Ethel

“If I was a drag queen, my name would be Sheeleeta Corndog.”

“Reality shows aren’t real,” says Amy Armstrong, who was given a unanimous thumbs-up by the judges on America’s Got Talent and was promised on air to move on to a third competition in Las Vegas. ...

Follow that guitar

It’s been over a year since Fallbrook guitarist/singer Larry Robinson, 64, was beaten to death at the music store where he worked. His extended musical family is still looking for answers. Robinson played around greater ...

Brick back in the mix

As was first reported by the Reader on May 2 of this year, ex-members of As I Lay Dying bought Brick by Brick, which has been closed since February. The Bay Park music venue was ...

What the fair will bear

The San Diego County Fair may not be known for its adventuresome booking of bands, but few can claim that the annual expo underpays the acts. It was reported in 2007 that one of its ...

Nancarrow sees the (country) light

Graham Nancarrow’s upcoming tour grew out of a chance meeting at a memorial for his father, newscaster/ecologist Loren Nancarrow, who died last December. “This lady saw us play at the Reuben H. Fleet theater,” singer/guitarist ...

Want to play the arena?

San Diego’s live-music venue options have been shrinking over the past five years. Bucking that trend is the arrival of a new venue — within a venue. While it still does not have an name, ...

Rocking Rachmaninoff

Dave Mustaine’s appearance with the San Diego Symphony was an ambitious collaboration of rock and classical. San Diego’s Mosaic Quartet is all about mixing rock and Rachmaninoff. Three members have studied at a conservatory. They ...

Heavy Glow Hauling Co.

It’s been over a year since Heavy Glow has played a local show. But it’s not because the psychedelic/metal trio doesn’t like to play. “We did five tours last year,” says singer/guitarist Jared Mullins. Their ...

Heavy metal hitman

Steroid defense tossed, Lambesis will serve six years

Tim Lambesis, the lead singer for world famous local metalcore band As I Lay Dying, was taken away in handcuffs May 16 to start a six-year prison sentence for paying to have his wife murdered. ...

Sick slabs of sound

It seems the days when surf and skate companies could be counted on to help local bands are coming to an end. Last year, Volcom folded its record label it ran for 18 years, leaving ...

Brick by Brick is in play

...and you won't believe who the players are

On May 1, the day before As I lay Dying lead singer Tim Lambesis was to be sentenced for his role in paying for his wife's murder, the fate of three of his former bandmates ...

This is heartbreaking

SRH founder Kevin Zinger started connecting with the action-sports crowd in 1991 by selling T-shirts and caps at local shows by Sublime, Slightly Stoopid, Pennywise, NOFX, 311, and Korn. This Saturday’s SRH Fest at the ...

The Roof arrives

Just as the success of the Moonshine Flats country bar downtown seems to signal a turnaround in the live-music scene, word is that the Gaslamp will get another live venue in late May or June. ...

Country conundrum

Country music makes KSON San Diego’s second-most-popular radio station. So, why are there are so few venues for live country music? Sure, country superstars such as Toby Keith, Kenny Chesney, and Tim McGraw can be ...

Another music venue pulls the plug

Bay Park bar the Griffin acquired by Regal Beagle group

Another San Diego music venue has pulled the plug. The Griffin, the Bay Park bar known for its quality sound system and presenting nationally touring headliners such as Imagine Dragons, Crosses, Nico Vega, Band of ...

North Park Theatre a game-changer?

The remodeled 85-year-old North Park Theatre is positioning itself as a viable concert venue. Co-owner David Cohen tells the Reader that they’ve installed a new sound system, a removable seat configuration that will allow the ...

Calypso on a Baja beach

Only the Belly Up has a greater tradition of bringing live music to North County than Gilles Knafo. He opened the Calypso Cafe in 1995 as a Mediterranean-style restaurant and dinner club. His seven-night-a-week blues, ...

Ramona’s only home team?

The Ramona Music Center is a storefront music store with a recording studio/rehearsal space in the back. It’s the only business of its kind serving this small, rural town in San Diego’s backcountry. Seven years ...

Mojo Workin’

San Diego’s multimedia, spaz-rappin’ hillbilly

While he has released some ten albums, appeared in a handful of movies, had years of MTV exposure and tons of radio airplay for his novelty hits (“Debbie Gibson Is Pregnant with My Two-Headed Love ...

Sex Pistols salute

The Super Bowl halftime show got close to punk with the once-revolutionary Red Hot Chili Peppers. The founder of local Sex Pistols salute Rotten Johnnies maintains that all threatening rock eventually becomes safe. “If enough ...

Medal music

Larry Groupé had no problem that Canadian figure-skater Kevin Reynolds used his music for the Olympics. “My brother called me from back East.” says Groupé, Oceanside’s two-time Emmy-winning composer. “They got the Olympics three hours ...

Anthology to reopen

Back-door deal

Clarification from the editor We received a letter on March 19 from Mr. Berkson's law firm stating the following facts: Although our client Howard Berkson did at one time have an interest in India Street ...

Metal boots on the ground

“We don’t have a problem with Soma, but it seems like bands with no talent get to play [Soma’s] main stage. It’s all about who you know. It makes it difficult for bands that are ...

Belly Up Unincorporated

Most clubs that host national acts rely on one of the “big three” concert companies — AEG, Live Nation/House of Blues, Nederlander — to route headliners to their stages. The Belly Up Tavern has never ...

Tribal tuba

American banda Estrella de Pacifico sings some songs about Mexican thug life — with that fun polka beat.

American kids don’t just pick up the clarinet or tuba like Mexican youth do. Dario Velasco, 20, is a student at Southwestern College who plays in Estrella de Pacifico, one of a handful of local ...

Marine rescue

Shocks of Mighty, the rock-steady band Michael Thompson formed, turns 20 this year. Trumpet player/singer Thompson’s allegiance to the proto-ska sounds created in Jamaica in the early ’60s wasn’t what his other bandmates wanted six ...

Brick Bye Brick?

Another local music venue has its back against the wall

Could Saturday be the last show at Brick by Brick? On Tuesday afternoon rumors started circulating that the venerable Bay Park nightspot was rescheduling some of its shows booked for February. Tuesday evening Brick by ...

Venue News: Belly Up loses a talentbuyer; the Griffin offers its 48 license

There are a couple of significant changes afoot on the local music-venue front, as Belly Up in Solana Beach is about to announce a new talent buyer and the Griffin in Bay Park is up ...

Another reggae casualty

Radio reggae show Yard Sound, hosted by Ras Charles, gets yanked by Palomar College station KKSM (1320 AM).

Stevie’s no identity thief

The Styletones were paid a one-time fee for the use of their version of Sam and Dave’s “Hold on I’m Comin’” that ran in a Super Bowl TV ad for milk last February. Steve Harris ...

Wreckers’ haul wrecks Wrex the Halls

Attendees to events at the Valley View Casino Center (Sports Arena) frequently park offsite, where their cars are frequently towed, resulting in $300 fines. Arena operator Ernie Hahn says it’s egregious the way tow trucks line up after events begin.

The hooks

Interview with 91X DJ Steve West, here since 1983, playing the “classic alternative” hits when they were new, alternative — not classic. Meanwhile, competitor FM94/9 played the same three hits every two hours on November 25. Bad FM94/9! or giving the people what they want?

Cailin's a Bieleber

Local starlet appears with Justin Bieber in his new video "All That Matters"

It wasn't her dad that got Cailin Russo a gig to costar with Justin Bieber in his new video for “All That Matters.” Russo was born a couple years after her singer/guitarist dad Scott Russo ...

Shock: the Monkey

Sprung Monkey regrouped five years ago. Their fifth studio album (“sweat-drenched, down-and-dirty rock and roll,” according to Summers) is set for release on November 26.

Rent hike terminates Tiki House

"This is just one more death knell for live rock and roll in San Diego.”

Why is the Tiki House closing after 39 years of hosting bands in Pacific Beach? Could it be that the roadhouse couldn't keep up with the much larger bars? Was P.B. becoming too precious for ...

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