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Stories by Ken Leighton

Brandon Van Ekelenburg was a very angry kid

Brandon Van Ekelenburg (aka Van Brando) switched from heavy metal to rapping.

Soulless P.B.

The building formerly known as Canes and then SoundWave is coming back as a club, but with less emphasis on big-name concerts.

Brother Walrus

Longtime San Diego DJ Rich “Brother” Robbin, back on the air at 105.7/The Walrus.

Underground burlesque

Interview with lounge singer David Patrone, who has teamed up with cabaret and burlesque dancers.

No changes afoot after arrest of Humphreys’ talent buyer

Talent buyer/manager of Humphreys Backstage Lounge, Jeremiah Smith, was arrested for felony drunk driving. Will that change the Shelter Island venue’s ability to book shows?

B Street rave

4th&B nightclub may reopen, this time as a dance club featuring electronic music.

Leucadia’s Calypso Cafe closes

The Calypso Cafe, which opened in Leucadia in 1995 and featured music seven nights a week for most of its existence, held its final show this New Year’s Eve. Located in a converted house, the ...

Pardon our dust

Little Italy venue Anthology to close in 2013 for repairs and renovations

4th & beyond

With the court’s recent 4th&B verdict, will Public Enemy still take the stage at the downtown venue on December 12?

Death-metal support group

Interview with Ghoulgotha founder/guitarist Wayne Sarantopoulos about death doom metal.

Is this mic on?

Are Arbitron’s Portable People Meters fairly measuring the San Diego listenership of FM 94/9?

I call it blunk

SDSU student/musician Ariel Schwartz says Associated Students has stopped paying to host bands and only includes DJs for entertainment.

It's a raid!

Show Palace gets raided by multiple agencies on night of Alejandra Guzman show. Nothing was found, show proceeded. Insiders suggest state bureau of Alcoholic Beverage Control was exerting pressure.

I came from punk

San Diego ska band Buck-O-Nine turns 20 years old.

Your Guy Doesn't Spit Fire

Jason Lee of Oceanside started doing Kiss tributes 36 years ago. “I remember being six years old and putting the pillows in a semicircle around the couch like a stage. I would air drum with ...

Commercials: The New Frontier

Vokab Kompany and other San Diego bands sign on to do jingles for Metropolitan Transit District.

Black Moses

Hip-hop promoter Reggie Sinatra to bring Talib Kweli to the Show Palace, a Latin-music venue.

Shepard Fairey's Graphic Activities

Shepard Fairey avoids a six-month prison sentence for lying to prosecutors.

End of Metaphor

Metaphor Cafe closes its doors after an August 26 show , at which police showed up and found minors drinking alcohol.

Punk-Rock High

Premiere of Music High, a film inspired by Tom Voris of the Fabulous Rudies.

Rapping Sailors

Matt January, formerly a Navy man, talks about the rap act he honed while aboard on the USS Nimitz.

Stiff Drinks, Bad Carpeting

Bar Leucadian gets its music permit revoked due to cocaine sales on the premises.

Cantautor Latino Snubs Carlos Olmeda

Singer-songwriter Carlos Olmeda showed up ahead of time to perform at the San Diego County Fair. He was told he was too late.

Embrace the Suck

Garret Michaels, FM 94/9 program director since ’02, is escorted to the door.

Jesus and Mary and Brad

Brad Davidson’s band the Wipers inspired Kurt Cobain to start Nirvana.

They Aren't Promoters

Red Wizard gets booted off the band lineup following an article in the Reader.

Dark Cloud

Kelly Formaldehyde Facebooked that Ruby Room personnel were rude rude to her. OMG! There went that relationship.

Rock and Roll Is About Money

Oceanside hard-rockers Red Wizard find that "it’s hard for a band to get any exposure now unless they’re paying for it."

Mom-and-Pop Radio

Tristan Prettyman and Jason Mraz were going to get married. And then he came up with a righteous reason not to. She’s laughing now, though.

Sunny Rude Receives Nuisance Noise Citation

After being cited by party-pooping cops, Sunny Rude may have to pay almost $7000 to play about 35 minutes of music.

Big Deals at the San Diego County Fair

When the San Diego County Fair paid $80,000 to Gym Class Heroes to be a Grandstand headliner in 2007, one talent buyer said the New York hip-hop quartet was paid $45,000 more than they would ...

Hard Rock Gives It Away Now

Since October of last year, the Hard Rock Hotel has hosted a once-a-month concert featuring headliners that would normally play Casbah or Belly Up. And the shows are free. The Soundcheck concert series is held ...

Fatty Weighs In

Fatty Freelunch has been around the block. “We were the first band to play SOMA, and we were the last band when it closed.” Ms. Freelunch is talking about Len Paul’s original south-of-Market venue downtown. ...

Punk-Rock Politico

For the 16 years, Dicky Demonic has been thrashing it out in North County punk bands with his in-your-face, lefty politics. Demonic has been known to go off on cops, the rich getting richer, and ...

Take a Hikey, Mikey

“They hired him to improve the morning-show ratings and he ended up bringing them down like a big anchor.” That’s how one employee at a competing modern-rock station described Mike Esparza’s two years at FM ...

Is This Mic On?

Jefferson Jay says the open-mic scene that launched Jewel and Jason Mraz is not as vital as it once was. Jay, who started hosting acoustic showcases in 2003, thinks, however, that there is still enough ...

Seaside Sellout

Will the March 16 show headlined by local reggae band Stranger be the last show ever at Sound Wave (formerly Canes)? No shows are being booked at the 700-capacity beachfront venue after that date. The ...

Trilingual Rock

“I have one friend who straight up told me that if he can’t understand the lyrics he can’t get into our music,” says singer/songwriter/guitarist Pablo Garduno about the fact that some of the lyrics of ...

No More Rude Radio

“It was pretty scanty,” says Ras Charles about the turnout at last year’s Tribute to the Reggae Legends show at the Sports Arena. “You could have played football in there.” Charles had a vendors’ booth ...


The man who helped 91X regain its mojo, Garrett Capone, is leaving the station to work in artist development with the New York–based Crush Management company, which handles acts such as Train, Wavves, Gym Class ...

Contentious Corner

Ali Nilforshan says he will be taking back 4th&B, the downtown venue he owned from 2003 to 2009. The current owners, Vince and Judy Puma, say that is not going happen. Nilforshan says he sold ...

Abstract Swing

As Declan Halloran sees it, the all-age local band scene is easy to sum up. “The bands that play at Soma are either pop-punk, cookie monster [sreamo], or ska. They pretty much come in one ...

Taking Back 4th&B

The former owner of 4th&B, the 1500-capacity downtown concert venue, says he is in the process of taking the club back from its current owner and that he is suing Live Nation, the concert promoter ...

The Elephant Has Landed

Four years after he launched Hensley’s Flying Elephant, pro skateboarder-turned-accordionist (Flogging Molly) Matt Hensley has sold the music venue he built from scratch. “I had help from friends. We built the entire pub.” The artwork ...

That's Not Rockabilly

Newly appointed Del Mar Fair trustee David Lizerbram says he wants the fairgrounds to host more major music events. That’s just not going to happen, according to promoter Garry Thayer, who organized the Hellbilly Fest ...

Not Neighborzly

Bassist Jay Crew says he walked out of reggae band Bad Neighborz last year because lead singer Erik Trogisch was mangling his songs. “Erik screams in the mic. He has no dynamic control. Erik would ...

A Better Cookie Monster

“I was a dark kid,” says Dane Reinhart about why he started screaming death metal at 15. “I lost my dad to cancer [when I was] 9. I wanted to be the frontman so I ...

Fairgrounds Just Got Fairer

A longtime member of the local music scene has been tapped to help run the Del Mar Fairgrounds. David Lizerbram occasionally sits in with Rio Peligroso when the Americana band plays the Riviera Supper Club. ...

Naming Rights

Blink-182’s new CD, out September 27, has the harmless title Neighborhoods. But the potty-mouthed pop-punk band from Poway is known for releasing albums referencing enemas and masturbation. The title Take Off Your Pants and Jacket, ...

Mays Plays Musical Venues

“Boycott 4th&B!!!” That tweet could have come from a disgruntled ex-bouncer or a band that didn’t get drink tickets. It appeared August 21 on the Casbah’s Twitter stream and was gone the next day. The ...