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Stories by Ken Leighton

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 ...

It's about the...baseball?

Modern-rock station FM 94/9 to broadcast Padres games starting next spring

John Reis went on FM 94/9’s local music show this past Sunday to talk about the record-release party for his local band compilation Hardcore Matinee next Sunday, May 15, at Bar Pink. The musician/producer/bar-owner, who ...

The Shadows of Nasty City

Surf-punk four-piece outgrows hip-hop high school

If you go to Sweetwater High, chances are good you are into hip-hop. “That’s just what all the kids from National City are into,” says Andy Saldana, singer/guitarist of Los Shadows. “Our area is gangster ...

Katching up with Kut U Up

The Riding in Vans with Boys band on their comeback

Chris Cote was returning from Australia last week when he says he almost triggered a biosecurity brouhaha. “I was bringing my wife back this tiny cactus in this cool little aboriginal vase when I realized ...

Sheila E. will help launch North County concert series

Grand Tradition Estate and Gardens in Fallbrook schedules "Jazz and Wine" concerts

Shelia E., the percussionist who was once Prince’s musical director, will make her first local appearance since her former fiance's death at a new North County outdoor concert series. Inspired by a sold-out David Benoit ...

Coachella perks for Prayers

San Diego's "cholo goth" duo get the star treatment

Things are different now for Rafa Reyes, the heavily inked former gangbanger from Sherman Heights who many of us know from the days when he slung veggie burritos at Pokez. “We got to meet the ...

Eat the record

Visiting North County's Spin Records on Record Store Day

Last weekend marked the seventh time Spin Records has celebrated the annual Record Store Day. “It’s our biggest day of the year,” says Ken Kosta, who brought Spin Records to Carlsbad 23 years ago. “We ...

Sale of 4th&B could mean the end of the venue

Tearing down the house?

The downtown venue that hosted James Brown, Kings of Leon, Black Eyed Peas, X, Snoop Dogg, and TV on the Radio during its 17-year run, and which was slated to be refashioned into a state-of-the-art ...

Isbelle's thrill for life

Local rock-roller Toni Isbelle dies when her car is hit by an airplane on a Fallbrook roadway

Shane Zelm was one of the couple hundred friends who paid tribute to Toni Isbelle last Monday at Skateworld in Linda Vista. Tears were flowing as fellow members of the Starlettes roller-derby team paid tribute ...

Funny openers

San Diego comic Steven Briggs discusses the comedy/music connection

Making fun of hip-hop is part of Steven Briggs’s act. “Rappers are proof that freedom of speech exists. Most of them just talk about booty...over and over. If they didn’t have a beat behind them, ...

Piano, not keyboards

Brett Harris of Wind Playing Tricks on instrumental San Diego

The recent passing of Keith Emerson underscores how keyboards don’t play as big a role in pop music as in the days when Emerson, Lake, & Palmer, Deep Purple, Yes, and Edgar Winter ruled the ...

Surf-punk Chuck

Label startup Chuck Records rides a trendy wave

Erica Buenconsejo’s father died when she was a baby. But his rock ’n’ roll spirit drives San Diego’s newest record label. “My dad had a great punk-record collection,” says Erica about her dad, Chuck Petrowsky. ...

Viejas doubles down on live music

New Viejas in the Park venue looks to draw major-name acts

Viejas Casino, the once thriving host of touring music headliners, is about to unveil a new venue that may re-establish the resort as a host for major artists. The new Viejas in the Park venue ...

Fallbrook Golf Course sale falls through

“They created a monster that didn’t need to be created.”

On March 10, the Union-Tribune headline read: “Fallbrook Golf Course Closing Monday.” The next day, owner Jack Lamberson said he wasn’t closing his course after all. Lamberson says he decided to keep the 56-year-old course ...

CodeBlue goes deep house

Local electronic artist finds more support in his bedroom

It’s the best of times, it’s the worst of times — for electronic dance music. “EDM has become so huge in San Diego that we get some of the biggest artists, like Oliver Heldens, coming ...

Fallbrook's underworld of artists

Canada band Daring Greatly finds a new home in North County

It was a book about making bold life choices that inspired Dail Croome to quit his job, sell his house, and hit the road with his two sons and two other musicians. Croome: “I had ...

Promoters of the local dream

Radio shows as career-launching platforms

Tim Pyles loves Sundays. That’s when he gets to play the local bands that excite him... on 100,000 watts. “The Schizophonics…the Sesh…Adam from Burning of Rome…the Prayers, even though they are controversial. [Front man] Rafa ...

Surreal Vokabulary

Local hip-hop jam band goes genreless

“We were just outside of Ferndale, Washington, when the wheel from our Thomas the Train trailer completely flew off and shot a hundred feet in the air,” says Vokab Kompany vocalist Matt “Burkey” Burke. The ...

Switchfoot has left the building

...but their Bro-Am studio/performance space stays vital in Encinitas

After one year of operating the Bro-Am Studios, Encinitas’ multiplatinum band Switchfoot has moved on from their 600-square-foot practice studio/performance space on Highway 101. The space shared the name of the band’s annual Bro-Am Surf ...

Mr. Buck's Full Contact bric-a-brac

Davit Buck sets up shop selling rock-and-roll oddities

Some people know Davit Buck for fronting such wild and woolly local bands as Jack Septic, Bad Apples, Mother Russia, Subterranean Horses, Mother Bitch, and John Wayne Gacy Daycare. The only band name that caused ...

San Diego tube amped over SoundDiego TV

“Daye was just a huge music fan who was out and about and going to shows all the time.”

Note to music fans who want to get on TV: it pays to be seen at shows. Or at least it did for the host of SoundDiego, the weekly half-hour music-and-interview show that is starting ...

If you like Bernie, you'll want Caballero

Council District 7 candidate's headquartered on his kitchen table

Jose Caballero has no problem that his race to unseat incumbent Republican Scott Sherman in city council District 7 isn’t thought to be “contested.” He says the media, pundits, and political bosses all seem to ...

The fresh and weird Anya Marina

One-time San Diego DJ and coffee-shop-pop singer makes good in the big city

Anya Marina is a singer/songwriter who got her start in San Diego but has moved on. On to releasing four studio albums and opening for national acts such as Chris Isaak, Jason Mraz, and Paolo ...

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