Back to profile

Stories by Ken Leighton

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 ...

Police protest EDM?

Former 4th&B concert venue won’t open under Avalon name as expected this fall. New owners say they are lining up permits before they begin construction; insiders say the city doesn’t want electronic dame music.

AMSD: Unplugged unplugged?

No pews for you

A new pastor plans to remove the pews at United Methodist Church in Normal Heights so he can interact more with congregants. But, no pews means that Carey Driscoll will have no seating for his Acoustic Music San Diego audiences. So, he’ll end the ten-year-long series of shows.

Sun Diego drops in on Nineteen Nineteen

Oceanside’s Ocean House was poised to become a big nightspot, say investors; then, Sun Diego, a surf-shop chain, allegedly agreed to pay $29,000/month in rent, $7000 over the price that was to be paid by the disappointed investors, a group of Carlsbad businessmen that included owners of the Boar Cross’n and Mas Fina Cantina nightspots.

Powwows and ghost dances

Mario Carrillo, singer/songwriter/guitarist of Cloud Feather, is a Native-American member of the Juaneño tribe. About a fourth of his band’s repertoire is about how rich tribes are not helping the poor ones.

Mosh pit hip-hop

GG Allin and GWAR had a baby, and they named it Sloat Dixon

At Mission Bay High, Sloat Dixon sported a mohawk and played in punk bands such as Common Ground and Black Republic. Now he plays drums for Yuma-based cow-punk band the Tramplers. Thanks to a random ...

The rise of 91X, the demise of its original DJs

Leave Mexico out of it

Erik Thompson wonders why no one has made a movie about the 91X he worked at 30 years ago. Driven by an exploding new wave and punk culture, 91X was one of the first commercial ...

Average Joes of Dark Globe

Grunge-shunning Dark Globe regroups two or three times a year, even though they broke up in 1994.

Gay blues

Blues singer Earl Thomas, whose same-sex marriage is imminent, explains the circumstance of being a performer in a genre that is typically hetero oriented.

Priest on steroids

Sean Peck, front man of San Diego heavy metal band Cage, talks about their heyday ’90s and how the gigs started drying up in Europe after he punched out Blaze Bayley of Iron Maiden.

Drummer found dead

Purple Church drummer Michael Prince found dead in Oceanside.

Concert kryptonite

Both concert venues RIMAC and Jenny Craig Pavilion (at UCSD and USD, respectively) have had a sharp decline in shows presented there, largely due to the fact that booze can’t be sold when school is in session.

The flip side of vinyl

Mark Alan Hamilton bought a downtown record store in 2007 (Fiesta Records) and his timing couldn’t have been worse. Now he says vinyl is making a comeback (probably so we’ll publish an article about his record store).

When Metaphor Café was crazy bananas busy

Shane Culpeper, a studio owner/producer/promoter, talks about his experience in attempting to bring back the Metaphor Café and how it didn’t work out; he’s still looking for a venue.

Which Bad Company is your Bad Company?

KGB/101.5 airs commercials for Bad Company with Paul Rodgers featuring the music of Bad Company with Brian Howe. This is a big deal (to some).

Garage offerings

Creative compound

Chris Cote, cofounder/drummer/singer with Kut-U-Up, extols the wonderful offerings of the Garage, a music-and-art venue in Encinitas that opened last year.

How supply meets demand at the Wave House

The Wave House in Mission Beach will present Barrington Levy July 4. Promoter Eat.Drink.Sleep is charging only $10 for tickets but will raise the price as the date comes closer.

Join our
newsletter list

Enter to win $25 at Broken Yolk Cafe

Each newsletter subscription
means another chance to win!