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Stories by Michael Hemmingson

Friend of Shamu

When Chris Cantore signed off from his shift at 91X on December 14, 2007, he told listeners that he was unsure if he would be returning to the job after a two-week vacation. Cantore’s on-air ...

The Gothic M.O.

Call Me Alice is in the final stages of completing their new CD How Motivation Killed the Man, scheduled for release this fall. At least, that seems to be the plan. The San Diego techno-goth ...

Wages of Art

Zack Wentz, primarily a drummer and vocalist, is somewhat of a minimalist with regard to band lineups — Kill Me Tomorrow is a three-man act, and the offshoot, Tender Buttons, was one person on keyboards ...

Bert's Fan

If given a chance for an alternate profession, Brenda Xu would work for Sesame Street, “writing skits for Bert and Ernie. Bert’s such a great ‘square’ character. I love his mundane sensibilities.” The San Diego ...

Klezmer Gypsy Punk

Di Nigunim is a 13-member band, making it difficult to perform on small stages and a challenge to coordinate rehearsals and gigs. The band’s instruments include the cimbalom, accordion, piano, violin, trumpet, euphonium, guitar, trombone, ...

Big Hair, Big Party

Lipstick N Leather is a hard-working hair band that covers the oldies of the late ’70s/early ’80s, when glam rock was, you know, cool. Lipstick N Leather has gigs every weekend, from House of Blues ...

Instant Groove

Incomplete Neighbor’s debut album, Suspended Electric Coma, hit the streets May 9 featuring ten original pieces of art on the cover and inside the CD sleeve. Each band member painted several canvases which were compiled ...

Hey, Hoochie Mamas

In March of this year, Revolt in Style called the Buzzbombs “San Diego’s Favorite Party Band.” The rockabilly trio is all about having a good time. “Our crowds are always so much fun,” says Johnny ...

Not the Loudest

In junior high, Kelly Dalton started writing songs and playing in bands and then began gigging, touring, and recording in his teens and 20s. “In the late ’90s I was in a punk band called ...

Our Favorite Drinks and Where We Drink Them

You don’t know how to make a Tora!Tora!Tora!?

There are times, sometimes in the midst of otherwise polite conversation, when it comes out that I make my living writing for the Reader. The follow-up to this revelation is almost never “Oh, that’s right, ...

Less Agro

Solo musician Derek Papa is a nostalgic fellow. “I would like to see those stage guitar holders come back,” he says, “the ones that don’t require a strap, they just suspend in midair. They were ...

Can't Get Enough Journey

What is it about the ’80s that keeps us looking back? Michael Mahin, guitarist for San Diego–based Neon Nation, an ’80s cover band, has a theory. “Most ’80s music was utterly escapist,” he says. “It’s ...

Bouncers: 97% Nothing, 3% Hell and Terror

No Slashed Tires “It’s nothing like Road House, there’s no Patrick Swayzes,” says Ted Washington, who divides his time as a bouncer between Winstons in Ocean Beach and at the Casbah in Middletown. Other bouncers ...

Nuke the Atoll

Christmas Island was formed in August 2007. “Lucy [Wehrly] and I had already been dating awhile when we decided to play music together and record some songs,” says Brian Island. Brian’s on guitar; Lucy’s on ...

Darkwave Batcave

Robin Roth can be heard on Rock 105.3 FM Monday through Friday from 10 p.m. to midnight, but she’s best known for the Friday night 11th Hour spot when she plays noncommercial goth and industrial ...

Eclectic Electric

Matt Resovich is one of those musicians who keeps busy and often commits to many projects at a time. He’s performed with the Black Heart Procession, the Album Leaf, Mung, and Battling Maxo over the ...

Jet-Set 'J

When asked about her stage name, DJ Miss Lisa says, “I used to be a go-go dancer, and when I was at Taxi in La Jolla [a club popular in the ’90s, gone but not ...

Friends Like These

The Modlins wear suits and skinny ties and play what they call “oldies-influenced indie-pop.” That may lead you to assume that the band plays obscure cover tunes from the early 1960s, but the Modlins play ...

You Blog, You’re Out

Solana Beach, summer 2002. A job interview. “So you like to post on the Internet a lot,” said the human resources person. “Yeah,” I said. “How do you know?” “Did some online investigating.” The term ...

Greetings from Tijuana

Can't judge a story by its cover.

The End of the World A mile east of the Tijuana International Airport is an area police call El Fin del Mundo, the End of the World, where drug-cartel assassins dump their victims. Both Mexican ...

Donkeys in the Gig Rig

A brief mention in the May issue of Spin provided San Diego band the Donkeys with some national exposure, but the A&R reps at the major labels have not come a-knockin’ just yet. The band ...

I Was Hoping It Would Come to Fists

March 11, 2008 — It’s past noon at the Round Table Pizza in the Price Center at UCSD, and there are three groups of young men watching European soccer quarterfinals on five different large plasma ...

Time to Kill

“I know it sounds lame, but I actually did come down here [to San Diego] seven years ago to follow my dreams of grandeur,” says Ambient Bob, bass player for the Vulgar Herd. What was ...

When the Tattooed Lady Sings

American Idol contestant and San Diegan Carly Smithson was eliminated from the show last week. Yet, sales of her failed 2001 album, Ultimate High, have never been better: last week, Amazon had it ranked at ...

Haters

“Things are bad enough with the cops and the drug gangs,” a Tijuana emo fan says while drinking beers with friends at the Nelson Hotel bar on the corner of Primera and Revolución. They are ...

If There Are Families Here in San Diego, I'd Like to Find One

The facts of life for kids on the street

People Buy You Booze D. is dressed as if he is off to the ComicCon or a Clockwork Orange theme party: boots laced up to his knees, raggedy black and red clothes, an old leather ...

Fresh Every Time

Young Mass (a.k.a. Fifth Element) is, at age 21, the youngest member of the rap and hip-hop collective Digital Underground. His family moved from Chicago to San Diego when he was 10. At the 2003 ...

Mystically Influenced

Originally a three-piece band, Merkaba Bandits moved here from Washington D.C. last year and added a fourth member. Their sound is a mixture of contemporary pop and classic rock, heavy on lyrics and vocals. Merkaba ...

No Rehash

Vegitation is San Diego’s solution to keeping reggae fresh and green. They produce original reggae songs instead of rehashing those Marley tunes that most reggae acts perform at local bars and clubs. Vegitation played for ...

Barely Legal

The Atoms are a young band, barely old enough to play the bars around town. The members came together at Bonita Vista High School in 2003 with a dream to play music. They have a ...

Sinatra Speaks

José Sinatra is a good-time party and music man around town, first as front man for the former José Sinatra and Troy Dante Band and now as host of the “O.B.-oke” at Winstons, which draws ...

Paul Has Contributed the Most

Steven Ybarra is a Texas-born Carlsbad resident who began studying music when he was three. He was the front man for 34Below, which released five CDs and toured nearly every state in the country. After ...

Jesus Don't Mind

"I had to empty the honey buckets twice a day. That job was worth five bad jobs."

Love it Local

"While living in L.A., one of my jobs was talent scouting for child actors and models. It sucked."

"I Love an Exotic-Berry Wine Cooler."

Jon Shimmin is a hard-working local drummer with a day job; at night, he's at area clubs behind the skins. He has played in several bands such as the Reaganomics, Junk, and Negative Filter. Sometimes ...

Sucker for Donuts

John Hermsmeier, a.k.a. Josh Herms, is a local drummer for hire. "I came to San Diego in 1996 to begin my freshman year at Point Loma Nazarene University," he says. "I developed a number of ...

Invisible Man

'I play for a myriad of artists in a variety of venues," says Brandon "the Sideman" Walters. Walters can be seen all over San Diego -- and up and down the West Coast -- performing ...

My Little Moog

AntiQuark is a San Diego electronic music duo with an international feel and flair. Ant Dakini is originally from Torino, Italy, and when she is not composing music she works as a marine biologist specializing ...

Happy Kid

Sacha Boutros attended the University of San Diego on an athletic and academic scholarship. "I played soccer growing up; I learned how from hall-of-famer Jean Willrich." She played soccer semiprofessionally for ten years. Going pro ...

The Sarcastic Killer

San Diego’s mean streets

A boy 3-1/2 months old was the youngest homicide victim in San Diego County during the first half of 2007. The oldest was a 75-year-old woman. Both were killed by family members, allegedly, the infant ...

Across the Line

Negative Filter is a three-piece hard-rocking band that began playing gigs in Tijuana and music festivals across the state of Baja. They now live in San Diego and rock out stateside. "As for politics, right ...

Heart in the South

Singer Kitty Baudoin moved to San Diego in the summer of 1994 after spending five years in Hawaii and has lived here since then -- with "many trips home to New Orleans thrown into the ...

Jewel Has the Floor...

"I know firsthand what it's like to be young and without a roof over my head," Jewel told members of the House of Representatives on Tuesday, June 19. She testified at a hearing on "the ...

Playback

Few bands reunite, especially two decades later. The Playground Slap, originally from Jamul, is now based in Cardiff-by-the-Sea and back in the game. When they first played together, from 1982 to 1988, the Playground Slap ...

Cruel Mistress

"There's just no substitute for the rush you get from banging on loud guitars and heavy drums."

Astra Plus Malcolm

She was born in Marvel, Arkansas, and delivered by Dr. Wise," it says on Astra Kelly's website. "Early interest in music was fueled by family jams, school choirs, and formal music studies." "I've been living ...

Bring Back the Soul

San Diego's Marcia Claire is one busy bassist -- she currently plays in four bands: Citizen Band ("power country rock on ephedra, caffeine, and Jameson"), the Cindy Lee Berryhill Band, the Barbara Nesbitt Band ("beautiful ...

Don't Ditch Choir

'Freshman year in high school, I signed up for choir thinking it would be an easy class to ditch," says San Diego composer Cathryn Beeks. "Instead I ended up figuring out that I wanted to ...

The Short Skirt Dilemma

'I thought he was crazy [to want to produce me]," Molly Jenson says about San Diego colleague Greg Laswell, "but we met one afternoon and wrote a song in our first meeting." Laswell eventually produced ...