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Stories by Michael Hemmingson

Indie Lo Presti

San Diego singer/songwriter Danielle Lo Presti has written and recorded music for VH1, the Lifetime Network, Clear Channel, and the 1996 movie The Nutty Professor. In 2000 she went guerilla-style and founded her own indie ...

Bill's "Birthday Suit" Recognized

San Diego--based three-piece bill was recently named one of Rolling Stone magazine's top 25 MySpace bands. "Basically, a friend sent us a message telling us [about it]," says Riyadh Drebika, the band's manager. "All we ...

Off the Deep End

"I play classical piano, badly -- mostly just to learn my parts," says mezzo-soprano singer Molly Wilmot, who lives in La Mesa. "My dad put me in piano lessons, where I learned music theory and ...

Strange Wave Of Chaos

Anya Marina keeps busy. Weekdays (9 a.m. to 2 p.m.), she's a DJ on 94.9 FM.; on weekends she's performing at venues from San Diego and Los Angeles to Portland. She once went to Hollywood ...

See Ya

Greg Laswell is the latest in a string of local musicians to have a song featured on a national television show. His "High and Low" played on an October episode of CBS's crime show Without ...

Studio Project Goes Live

'My Next Dilemma started as a studio project, and three albums later we find we are starting to do shows," says San Diego--based guitar player and vocalist Todd Miramon. "The songs come from mostly experiences ...

Mohawks and Bathrobes

“We do different game show themes to interact with the crowd.”

Musical Space

"There are so many bands named, like, 'the Razor Light Symphonic Turtle Doves.'"

San Diego three-piece "bill" prefers to have their name spelled with a lowercase b. "Happens to be two of our dads' names and can be spelled on your right hand," says bass and sax player ...

With Rebel Yells?

At Billy Idol's August 12 Del Mar Fairgrounds show... "The stage perimeter was blocked off by a seven-foot metal fence that was covered to prevent viewing," says an attendee. "It was a V.I.P. area only. ...

Does Steve West Count?

The Reaganomics are an '80s cover band, churning out the pop tunes that bring back glorious high school memories for many middle-aged clubgoers. "Our very first show was about two and a half years ago," ...

"He Keeps Asking for a New Brain"

"He keeps asking for a new brain," says Joaquin Torres, guitar player for San Diego band Frogsbreath. Torres speaks of his band's bass player, Brian McClure, who is in the University of Utah's medical center ...

Always a Rush

If you've ever been kicked out of Winstons in Ocean Beach on a rowdy night when a popular reggae or blues act is onstage, chances are you were bounced by Ted Washington, front man for ...

Monster Megamix

How did The City's Finest meet? "I've known Brian and Robby since we were in middle school, although I didn't join the band until just before college," says rhythm guitar player Chris Lenz. "I used ...

Lazy Hands

Discussing San Diego's newly famous acoustic guitar crooner, Jason Mraz, Jason Turtle says, "When I was performing with Jane Lui, we had a few gigs with him and were beginning to try to collaborate. This ...

Cheeky

'We just got back from a mini-tour up the coast," says Cheeky frontman Shant Salakian. "We went as far as San Louis Obispo. It was a new experience for us. It's the first time we've ...

Tied Together with A Patented Algorithm

ChrisChrisChris is a different kind of band: front man Chris Decatur is live onstage in San Diego while the other performers beam in from different locales. Bassist Chris Capri and drummer Chris Hardy are transmitting ...

A Troubadour’s Travails

'It seems that I am in the midst of a wicked streak of bad luck this week," blogs San Diego-based singer/songwriter Laura K at myspace.com. "It all started Sunday afternoon, during an otherwise enjoyable visit ...

Walking the Line

Cash'd Out is San Diego's newest Johnny Cash cover band. The success of the recent biopic Walk the Line has not hurt the group's popularity. The band consists of Douglas Benson on vocals and guitar; ...

Insomniac Minstrel

'The problem with music is musicians" is Aaron Bowen's motto on his page at myspace.com. He took up the violin in the first grade, but the guitar became his instrument of choice. Aaron suffered a ...

Coffeehouse Crooner Dreams Big

'A few months back I had this amazing music dream," says local acoustic soloist Kim DiVincenzo, sitting with her laptop at Hot Java before going onstage to play. "It is kind of that cheesy famous ...

Punk Marketing Tactic

After 1 a.m. in O.B., I left Winstons and walked down Newport Avenue to the beach. I spotted a sealed Drunkin Punkin Idiots CD on the sidewalk, recorded by a band of the same name. ...

The Dream Is Over

Lennon’s death remembered, 25 years ago this week.

Along with many vidiots my age, television was the teat that nurtured us all, and I was less weaned than most. I recall "discovering" the Beatles on a Smothers Brothers show from October 1968 (which ...

As the Fog Lifts

"Hey, I know that guy from somewhere," a dude at the Casbah claimed last Wednesday night. He was talking about Ted Washington, onstage with his group Pruitt Igoe (more "performance art" than rock and roll). ...

Breathe in the Jazz

'Our vocal group at school had been offered the opportunity to record an on-air spot at Jazz 88.3 for a festival at City College," says La Mesa resident and jazz vocalist Karin Carson. "I went ...

The Beast

'The upright bass is the most organic instrument you could get your hands on," said Cecil Bowman at Guitar Trader on El Cajon Boulevard. This was three years ago. "You'll have fun," he continued, taking ...

Dateless Loser No Blue Man

Tim Curns, one half of the Dateless Losers (with Gabriel Lander), was recently flown out to New York to audition for a slot in the Blue Man franchise. "I sent in my résumé," says Tim, ...

Disbelief Bounce

King of Tribes is a troupe of urban San Diego DJs who spin the sounds of hip-hop and reggae. They include Dash Eye, Rashi, Kofi, Unite, and MC Tefsa and can regularly be found at ...

Spooky Girls Wanted

Livejournal.com user "Mzkitten" posted on her blog recently: "I was wondering if anyone lives in the San Diego area who would like to go-go dance with an up-and-coming psycho-billy band...at the Zombie Lounge [Sept. 3]. ...

Tech Mystic

Tim Walter is the technical director at On Broadway, downtown -- that's a fancy name for a VJ (video jockey). "There's a unique balance found in the chaos, which, as of late, is very joyful," ...

Panic System

It's all in the DJ and what he/she chooses to spin, right? Downtown's On Broadway has a regular duo with an eclectic collection: Morgan Young and Wendy call themselves the Vagabond DJs. The ambience? "A ...

A Dream, Perhaps?

When I moved to Ocean Beach two years ago, a friend told me, "There's a stripper bar a few blocks down. I've never checked it out." He was talking about Dream Street, and when I ...

Bloody Fingers

'I dreamed I was playing onstage and I was really confused because the song I was playing didn't seem to be the same song the rest of the band was playing," says Kyrsten Hopkins, bass ...

Godzilla Sells

Godzilla and his Monster Island cohorts invade San Diego every summer as part of the International Comic-Con. Dealers sell Japanese toy creatures based on movie characters and television shows like Ultraman. Some of the vinyl ...

Porno Kings (and Queens) of San Diego

“Actually, I had about a dozen different pen names — seems like they changed on every book. For a time I was known as Longjon Jones.” And that, he admonishes me, is how I will ...

It's a Crime

DEFRAUDING AN INNKEEPER Location: 660 K Street, Gaslamp Quarter Time/Date: 1:45 a.m. on 6/5/05 Investigation: Officer Ramirez #6056 and I responded to a radio call to take custody of Ryan A. A. had been placed ...

Vinyl Feel

“They served Tater Tots all night.”

Robot Talk

“It was nice to see she’s human.”

Wandering Jew

"Yoko Ono came in and ordered a latte. I gushed about John Lennon for about five minutes."

I Was on the Dance Floor

"I was on the dance floor with my friends when this guy started dancing next to us," states Rachel Groom in a battery report on file with the SDPD. The incident happened at 2:30 a.m., ...

A Candlelight Vigil Was Held for Jacob Faust

A candlelight vigil was held for Jacob Faust on April 4. He had been fatally shot three times by a San Diego police officer around 1:45 that morning in front of the Golden West Hotel ...

The Song that did in Nikko Smith

The song that did in Nikko Smith on American Idol last Wednesday night was "One Heart, One Hand" from the musical West Side Story. "The first part of the song was out of tune," said ...

I Wanted to Tap People on the Shoulder

"I wanted to tap people on the shoulder and remind them of black women's contribution to American music," says Calvin Mason, writer/director of Raisin' the Rent, a musical that opened last Friday at Caesar Café ...

"Are these movies pirated?"

"Are these movies pirated?" asked Officer K. Wadhams. "They are copies," suspect Tommy Grant conceded. In SDPD crime report #05-016812 filed on March 18, Wadhams was on routine patrol and noticed a group of males ...

The Only Theater-Friendly Mayor

"The only theater-friendly mayor this town has had was Maureen O'Connor," said Tom Hall of the San Diego Foundation. "She wasn't known for her arts and culture appreciation, but she understood the politics of it." ...

When U2 Plays the Sports Arena

When U2 plays the Sports Arena on March 28, the venue will have a new name: the iPayOne Center -- a discount real estate brokerage in Carlsbad that has agreed to pay $2.5 million for ...

"Edmond, the Son of Gloucester, Comes Onstage with an iPod"

"Edmond, the son of Gloucester, comes onstage with an iPod," says Stephanie Robinson, composer for the San Diego Repertory's production of King Lear. Robinson, a Ph.D. candidate in music composition at UCSD, has been working ...

Mermaids and Invites Only

"I'd have the biggest, most rockin' music collection of any of your desert island castaways."

Former Oceanside Resident

Former Oceanside resident and El Camino High School graduate Denise Richards is seeking a divorce from actor Charlie Sheen, whom she married on June 15, 2002. Court papers filed Wednesday, March 2, cite "irreconcilable differences." ...

Static-X Has Parted Ways With Guitarist Tripp Eisen

"Static-X has parted ways with guitarist Tripp Eisen, effective immediately," states a February 28 press release from the heavy-metal band. The last time the band played San Diego was September 1, 2004, headlining at Soma. ...