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Stories by Ken Leighton

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 ...

Thanks to the hookah

The Red Eye Saloon in Fallbrook followed the trend of many local nightspots when it stopped hiring live bands two months ago. But right next door, a new kind of music venue has sprung up, ...

Red rover, red rover, send Timmy back over

Alt-rock radio jock Tim Pyles is "coming home"

After eight years hosting FM 94/9’s Sunday night show The Local Pyle, which featured San Diego bands, Tim Pyles dropped a bomb on his bosses yesterday when he told them that he was leaving 94/9 ...

Shakedown shutdown

Singer/guitarist Travis Wheeler recalls the first time his punk/metal band Stealth Jackson tried to play the Shakedown. “The show was canceled because there was no electricity. It was, ‘Sorry, no show tonight.’ But it was ...

Radio free Roatán

If life hands you lemons...go buy a radio station in paradise. Keith Miller discovered a few months ago that the shrinking local radio industry that had employed him for 25 years had shrunk him out ...

Homosexual detester says what?

College board candidate "would make many people feel uncomfortable.”

“Satan is attacking our family by perverting the concept of marriage, which God created to be between one man and one woman only.” This is not a rant from a fundamentalist church in Alabama; it ...

Now you know: Tribal Theory

Southeast San Diego band Tribal Theory has managed to squeeze two tours of Guam and Hawaii into their nine-year career. The reggae-rock band, inspired by the Pacific Island sound, is presently putting together another working ...

Pull the plug

“Thought this day would never come, but after 22 years as main house band at Dick’s Last Resort San Diego, our run is ending in two weeks, Private Domain lamented on its Facebook page on ...

Oceanside pot dispensary forced to close

City attorney claims victory as another weed provider opens shop

While it may be getting easier for some marijuana dispensaries to stay open in San Diego, Halloween is the drop-dead date for one Oceanside storefront that has defied efforts to kill the business for almost ...

Q pop-culture radio show ousts its host

Jian Ghomeshi, the "cool guy on an otherwise stodgy network," caught with his pants down

It’s tough when you’re a public figure and you admit that you enjoy kinky sex. It’s even tougher when you’re, uh, in public radio. That awkwardness became a binational reality Sunday when it was announced ...

USS Halloran

San Diego’s on-air Energizer bunny is still going and going... But now he has a louder bass drum. Mike Halloran, the DJ who has always said he cared more about the music he played than ...

Judge rules against Ché

Attorney Bryan Pease considering grounds for an appeal on behalf of the collective

Superior court judge Katherine Bacal ruled Tuesday that the UCSD Board of Regents could evict the student collective that has been operating the Ché Café for 34 years. Once the written decision is issued, the ...

Bigger than KOGO and KFMB

Catholic KCEO to double wattage by end of year

Pro sports figures have long been major players in San Diego radio. John Lynch was a Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker before getting into radio management and launching San Diego’s first sports and modern rock stations (Mighty ...

Raze the arena?

On October 6, reporter Joe Lewis filed a report on 10News about the Valley View Casino Center. Lewis quoted the mayor of National City, who six years ago said, “The facility is in terrible condition ...

Hold on to that Fallbrook Hospital toe tag

Struggling facility to rely on Tri-City and Palomar Health for ER

With the Fallbrook Hospital facing a loss of $6 million that is growing at a clip of $500,000 a month, the directors of Fallbrook Healthcare District voted on Wednesday, October 8, to pull the plug ...

Full-blooded American redneck

Russel Hayden sings backup and plays lap steel, banjo, and harmonica for local country band Nancarrow. He started playing locally in a late-’80s punk band called P.S. Your Cat Is Dead. Having toured the world ...

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