Within a decade and a half of the first gray whale killing in Laguna Ojo de Liebre, it was fished out.
Daniel Powell 11 a.m., Dec. 8
Lawyers, Songs & Money, Rockstar Trouble in Paradise, & more
1 – Rockin’ Lawsuits: Clubs in Court
2 – Rockin’ Lawsuits: Lawyers, Songs & Money
3 – Rockin’ Lawsuits: Pain And Suffering
4 - Worst In Rock: Celebs In SD Find Trouble In Paradise
5 - La Jolla Drivers Suck
6 - Hard Rock Hotel Haters
7 - Bad Gig Stages
8 - Bad Reviews Of Local Venues
9 - Swing Dancer VS Juno
1 - ROCKIN’ LAWSUITS: CLUBS IN COURT
Operating a nightclub or running any event open to the public can keep you tied up in constant civil litigation. This is backed up by local insurance reports and court records. Most filings allege “personal injury,” “negligence” and “battery” --- most suits, tho not all, are settled between plaintiffs and defendants before ever reaching court.
High profile chains like Moose McGillycuddy’s have learned hard lessons about this inevitability. Of their seven locations, “PB actually had most of the problems in the early nineties,” acknowledges their Corporate Counsel David Osborne. The PB club faced over a dozen personal injury or assault suits between 1989 and 1995. “I think these are some of the problems that actually brought some of the major nightclub chains down, these lawsuits. And really associated with them are all the regulatory problems, department of ABC actions, vice complaints.”
One judgment against Moose’s amounted to over $78,000.00, awarded to well-known local radio DJ Michael Halloran.
“He was working at the club as a guest DJ,” says Osborne. “That was a situation where he was alleged to have been assaulted by a patron.” The assailant was supposedly on an “86’d” list which should have caused him to be refused admittance at the door, but he was mistakenly allowed in by bouncers.
Halloran claims the intoxicated patron, a large Samoan named Rodney, “harassed and threatened” him for around a half hour, and then tried to force open the door to the DJ booth.
“Nobody from Moose’s did anything about it,” alleged Halloran. “Bouncers normally present on the dance limbo floor had been sent home earlier.” He says Rodney punched him in the face hard enough to knock him back into the booth, fracturing his nose and injuring his jaw.
“That was one of the main cases that opened up [our] eyes to the problems associated with that part of the business, that risk,” says Osborne. He says the chain then became “very proactive in trying to deal with these types of situations, by offering rigorous training, from management on down, mostly in customer relations. Our lawsuits [dropped to] probably less than ten percent of the lawsuits we had back then.”
Assault by a fellow patron was alleged after a Cardiff Reefers show, in a suit filed against The Belly Up Tavern in Solana Beach. Cody Chytraus, a carpenter and construction worker, told me in a phone interview “I was stabbed in face twice with a beer bottle by somebody else who was there.”
He says the attack was unprovoked and that he was simply talking to a girl when someone shouted “Hey” and then struck him as he turned. “I just thought he’d hit me. I just felt two jabs to the side of the face.” His attacker was convicted and imprisoned, but Chytraus filed a personal injury suit against the club.
Chytraus was unable to pursue the matter, he says due to the expense involved. “I’ve still got permanent scars to my face. I basically just wanted my doctor’s bills taken care of. I still have plastic surgery bills.”
He estimates $35,000.00 in medical expenses, which he paid himself. “They actually ended up getting some pretty high priced attorneys and my attorney wasn’t all that good...I felt real discouraged that there was no way I could really collect or be covered through them [The Belly Up] and it all happened in their establishment.”
Eric Leitstein, longtime operator of ‘Canes in Mission Beach, has also run clubs like Schooners and Moose’s. He told me that lawsuits are inevitable, but that he prefers to fight them rather than settle.
“There was one where we just had to pay a guy thirty grand...Sometimes the companies settle.”
How many times a year was the club facing litigation? “A half dozen. My insurance [was] a little under thirty grand a year and, you know, we get these lawsuits. Is it standard in the business? Yes.”
“I mean, one lawsuit can cost you fifteen, twenty grand. We’re in the middle of one now where a girl’s suing us because she cut her leg on a piece of equipment in the club.”
Multiple defendants are often involved in a single lawsuit, such as when an event patron sues both a host venue and others who they feel are somehow liable for civil damages. Hired security companies are often included among the defendants.
Hans Jensen of the band Collage Menage filed a civil suit for assault against both StaffPro Security and UCSD’s Outdoor Amphitheatre, though the case never went to court and no judgment was ever filed. “I was basically forced to settle,” he told me. “I had one lawyer and they had six on the other side of the table. I couldn’t afford to pursue it any more, I had to take an offer that I felt wasn’t anywhere near what they should have had to pay.”
“I was watching Stone Temple Pilots. It was a general admission show, and I was about fifty yards from the stage when a guy barreled through the audience and insisted that I had a video camera, which I didn’t. He wasn’t wearing anything that said he was a security guard, just a backstage laminate hanging around his neck. He grabbed me and wrestled me around, and I tried to protect myself. He took me out of the audience and never identified himself the whole time, so I didn’t know why he was beating on me.”
Jensen says he was taken to SDSU's backstage, while several friends watched in disbelief. “As soon as I said that I wanted to press charges, he switched it all around and said I attacked him. And the cops told us that they’d have to arrest both of us, it was my word against his, so neither of us pressed any charges. I gave a report, and then I got a lawyer.”
Others on the stage besides performers can get the venue and themselves in civil hot water.
One-time 4th & B owner Bob Speth told me his club was not responsible. “What happened was we informed the promoter and the clothing company not to throw anything off the stage because it creates chaos as they’re trying to get to the item. And they, being youthful type of people, said ‘these guys don’t know what they’re talking about,’ and so they snuck up on-stage and against our wishes and instructions threw it [the snowboard] out anyhow, to be cool, so the guy got hurt...that’s why it’s pushed back to Third Rail because they’re the ones who did it after we instructed them not to.”
A potential plaintiff doesn’t even have to step into a venue to end up involved in litigation.
Gilbert E. Ortega, Jr. alleges he was on the sidewalk in front of Moose McGillycuddy’s in PB, handing out flyers for a benefit event, “Santa’s Funky Toy Drive.” “We were in suits, we weren’t making a nuisance and we were very cordial with people as we always are.”
“The manager came out and said ‘We don’t want you to pass out flyers here.’ I said ‘Well sir, this is for a toy drive, a benefit for children, it’s no conflict with your nightclub.’ It kind of ended there, he said okay.”
“Next thing I know, I’m talking to this woman I kind of know, and my peripheral version caught this man coming at me. It turned out to be one of the bouncers, and he just cold-cocked me. Laid me out. My flyers looked like a bunch of feathers just ruffling up in the air.”
He alleges that a second bouncer joined in. “These guys flat out came at me with everything they had. At one point, they ran my head into a wall! After I was pummeled for a good minute or two, the manager came out and said ‘Are you going to leave now?’ When I realized that he had authorized this, I lost it and I cold-cocked him. Then the bouncers start working me again!”
Ortega summoned police and was told that, since the manager also had blood on him, it was a case of “mutual combatants” and, if either of them wanted to press charges, then both of them would have to be arrested.
Ortega says he settled out of court when the cost of pursuing his lawsuit increased to alarming levels. He claims a third of his settlement went to cover his medical costs, including treatment for an injured jaw and twisted neck and extensive physical therapy, taking place over several months.
As if customers don’t find enough things to litigate with fellow patrons and bouncers, sometimes a bartender is the offending party.
Greg Wellong says he was celebrating his birthday at Buffalo Joe’s and was “severely burned when defendant bartender on his own initiative gratuitously served [151-proof rum] which [the bartender] intentionally set on fire.”
Wellong says he was told by the bartender to drink the beverage while lit, which resulted in facial burns.
Some civil suits originate with venue employees.
Carin Bell bartended at 4th and B for about a year and alleges that she was often threatened and even robbed by patrons. Reached by phone, she told me “We had voiced our opinions several times that the club was not safe, and that we needed more security. This one girl told me she was going to wait outside and kill me. I think that was a comedy night.”
Why did the girl want to kill her? “She didn’t pay me with enough, and I told her she needed more money. Another time some guy, called me a c-m-sucking whore because I cut him off. There was no bouncer that time, and another bartender had to go out there and escort him to the door.”
Bell’s friend Moletta Wick agrees. “I was one of the original bartenders hired on [at 4th & B],” she told me. “We ended up with eight out of twenty something bartenders that actually stayed there.”
Wick says the club had rowdy shows unlike anything she’s ever seen, and her resume includes several biker bars. “I mean, [co-owner] Don Ferguson, in our first week, got a bottle cracked over his head. It knocked him out, and we had to take him to the hospital!”
She says one of her worst nights was when the club booked the Long Beach Dub All Stars (former Sublime members). “I was working by the stage, and they came out of the dressing room and demanded alcohol from me...they told me ‘You’re gonna serve me now, bitch,’ just like freaked out on me. They pushed my bar away from me, it was a portable bar, and one guy pushed me up against the beer cooler and another guy started grabbing my liquor. They were saying ‘If you don’t serve me now, b-tch, I’m gonna have to kick your -ss and we just won’t play this concert and f-ck you’... my husband had to come down from our house to stand by the bar and protect me, because there was no security.”
Wick mentions a Big Bad Voodoo Daddy show where she and Bell became fed up. “We were training a new bartender, and she had gotten verbally assaulted. Then this guy physically tried to grab her and yank her across the bar, and grabbed me because I got in between them. I mean, there was this girl sitting on my bar and taking ecstasy...there were people having sex in the balcony.”
“When the show was over,” Bell says, “we spoke to the manager, and the owner came in and asked what the problem was. We told him that we didn’t have enough security, and that this wasn’t the first time we had brought it up. Apparently he [Speth] took Billy [the manager] upstairs and told him to fire us.”
Bell says she didn’t realize they’d been fired until the manager called her a few days later to leave a message. “When I called the club, he said ‘you haven’t to talked to Moletta? Oh, well, I had to let the two of you go.’ ” She says neither she nor Wick ever received a written warning or suspension and that they were told they’d been fired for insubordination.
Bob Speth, who owned 4th & B at the time, insisted to me that the women quit.
“They were yelling at my manager, calling him obscenities when I walked in the door. I said ‘It’s obvious that everyone’s really upset.’ I just took Billy out of the Vault to diffuse the situation. I never said anything to the girls. Then I told Billy I was going on a vacation, and to take them off the schedule until I come back. Give them a chance to cool off, to think about what they’d just done, and also I had my vacation so I didn’t want to deal with it. I wasn’t going to stay here when I had plane tickets to go to Idaho to go trout fishing.”
So when, according to Speth, did the women quit? “When I got a fax from them about a month after [the incident]. I immediately called them and said ‘what’s the problem?’ And they said ‘Oh we’ll get back with you.’ And they did, two months later, with a lawsuit. To this day, and you can quote this, I don’t understand!”
The jury at the civil trial was asked to considered “wrongful termination,” but the women had originally also filed for sexual harassment.
Speth and the club’s co-owner at the time, Don Ferguson, were singled out in the allegations. Wick says “They one morning made me stand in front of them and turn around so they could inspect my body because I had lost ten pounds and they thought it was remarkable. Like, threatening. I tried to walk away from them a couple of times, and they go ‘Get back down here now.’”
Speth points out that the sexual harassment portion of the suit was dropped, before the case ever went to court.
“The original [statement] was that the air molecules from the fan bounced on the floor, thusly bouncing up her dress and physically attacking her buttocks. That was the original one, and they amended it because everybody was laughing.”
“I’m a married guy, and they’re making these accusations, which of course they dropped before the trial ever started...they filed for everything, they said we were the dirtiest people in the world. Then, when we got to court though, then everything changed.”
Wick claims the club’s lawyers intimidated her by threatening to discredit her character.
“They tried to get Don Dokken to say that I had oral sex with him. I don’t know where the h-ll that came from, I was totally insulted when I heard about that. I’ve met Don Dokken, but I’ve never slept with the man.”
Asked about why they dropped the sexual harassment suit, Wick says “My lawyer I guess just didn’t feel like it was, I don’t know. I really don't know. I kind of wonder about that myself.”
Back when Speth was still running 4th & B, he told the Reader “I own the place, one hundred percent of it, and I live in a one bedroom apartment, $650.00 a month rent. Now the people, because of the size of this venue, perceive me as being wealthy...so what happens is, when somebody has a problem, they find an attorney and the attorney says ‘Oh, 4th & B, I went to a concert there, sold out, this guy’s got bucks. Let’s go.’”
2 – ROCKIN’ LAWSUITS: LAWYERS, SONGS AND MONEY
Lawyers love the music industry. Someone’s always suing someone else and the financial stakes can be substantial. Sometimes musicians sue each other, such as the royalty squabble between Beach Boys Mike Love and Brian Wilson.
Sometimes performers are sued by family – the late James Brown’s two daughters sued him over royalties they said were owed them via an agreement the singer refused to honor after the two women had him committed to a psychiatric hospital to be treated for painkiller addiction.
Sometimes, bands are even sued by fans. Creed singer Scott Stapp was at the center of a class action lawsuit because he was said to have put on a “lousy performance” in December 2002, in Chicago - fans wanted their money back plus two million dollars in damages over getting their hopes up for a great show only to be bitterly disappointed.
Anaya Suarez attended an Ozzy Osbourne concert at the San Diego Sports Arena in October 1995, during the singer’s “Retirement Sucks” tour. Nearly a year later, she went to the county courthouse on West Broadway and filed a personal injury lawsuit against Osbourne, Bill Silva Productions (promoter) and others associated with putting on the show, claiming that her close proximity to the stage resulted in her being seriously hurt.
Suarez’s lawyer contended that “Mr. Osbourne incited the crowd to the point of a near riot, waving his arms and encouraging the audience to ‘get out of your seats and show me what you’ve got.’ In the resultant activity, audience members were standing and jostling each other and pumping their fists in the air violently…Miss Suarez was so roughly accosted by the crowd that her head was struck repeatedly, she fell down, was kicked and received a serious brain injury.”
Her attorneys spent many months and filed over a dozen motions trying to subpoena the U.K. born Osbourne to come to San Diego to testify but, this being years before “The Osbournes” TV series featuring the singer’s residence in Los Angeles, his non-citizen status made this difficult. Suarez provided to the court a newspaper article mentioning that the singer owned a home in L.A. (he also had houses in England and Northern Ireland at the time), but in the end the subpoena could not be served.
Suarez ended up accepting a settlement offer from Osbourne’s attorneys, the terms of which are confidential and sealed by the court, and the entire matter was dismissed including the allegations of negligence against the promoters and security firms named in the original suit.
In one of the responses to the original filing, Osbourne’s legal counsel noted “If performers such as Mr. Osbourne were to be held legally liable every time they entreat audience members to rise from their seats, the concert industry would consist of little more than the occasional performances by John Denver, Kenny G and Yanni.”
Huntington Beach ska band Reel Big Fish performed at Soma in August 1997 and subsequently found themselves, along with Soma Productions, named in a negligence lawsuit filed by the father of sixteen year old Tessandra Reaume. According to a brief filed June 18th 1999, the girl was struck by a crowd surfer, causing her trauma which resulted in her knee buckling, whereupon she fell down and was further injured by the “rowdy crowd.”
Her father Timothy F. Reaume originally asked for a half million dollars in damages, naming Soma in the suit for “failing to prohibit or take any action to discourage crowd surfing.” The lawyer representing Reel Big Fish took exception to their being named in the suit and cited the sixteen year old’s own testimony in an attempt to have the band removed from the list of litigants. “She herself described [the band] as being ‘relatively clean cut, with more subdued music than similar bands.’” The judge agreed to drop Reel Big Fish from the suit and eventually a settlement was reached between Reaume and Soma Productions, the terms of which are confidential.
Poway’s own blink-182 were no strangers to lawsuits. In September 2002, they were the subject of a personal injury case nearly identical to the crowd surfing incident which landed Reel Big Fish in a hot skillet. Alexandra Cassie, a minor residing in northern California, is at this writing pursuing a lawsuit at the behest of her mother Janet Cassie, blaming the band, Clear Channel Entertainment and the Sacramento Valley Amphitheater for injuries sustained during a concert at that venue earlier in the year. The case has yet to be tried but the band has faced potential litigation since the release of their first official album.
Originally called simply “Blink,” the group’s origins date back to fall 1991, when Tom DeLonge met Mark Hoppus (Hoppus’ sister was dating one of DeLonge’s friends at the time). Hooking up with drummer Scott Raynor, they began playing local clubs and in 1994 they released “Buddha” on a small label run by friends in a band called the Vandals. They were signed to a one-album deal for Cargo Records and released “Cheshire Cat” in 1995. That’s when they came to the attention of a techno-industrial band from Dublin Ireland also named Blink.
The Irish Blink are comprised of guitarist/singer Dermot Lambert, bassist Brian McLoughlin, drummer Barry Campell and keyboardist/guitarist Robbie Sexton. They were just preparing to release their first album (which would go on to spawn four top-ten Irish singles) when someone sent them a copy of the Cargo “Cheshire Cat” record. In an interview posted at www.extreme-online.com, Travis Barker, who quit the Aquabats to join San Diego’s Blink after the departure of Scott Raynor, said "Blink was the original name of [our] band. But when we started getting exposure we nearly got sued by an Irish tech band so we added the 182 to keep the name.”
The threat of litigation is denied in a statement posted by the Irish Blink at irishsongwriters.com. “Contrary to anything you might read elsewhere, Blink`s manager simply phoned Cargo Records and asked them to inform the San Diego Blink that a band of that name already existed. We never sued the San Diego Blink and there was no court case. They simply agreed to change their name and an agreement was drawn up to avoid confusion. They became blink-182 and we continued on as Blink. Apparently there was also a Danish band called Blink but they changed their name voluntarily before we even heard of them. They are now called BL!NK.”
As to the “182,” members of the San Diego band have said in interviews that the number was chosen at random and at other times have claimed it represents "the number of times Al Pacino says everybody's favorite f-word in Scarface."
In 1997, blink-182 released "Dude Ranch" on MCA Records, which reached gold status in both the United States and Canada, and in July 1999 “Enema Of The State” sold over 100,000 copies within the first week of being in stores. Meanwhile, Dublin’s Blink released their second album “The End Is High” in the U.S. in March 1998, earning a “Spotlight Album Of The Week” profile in Billboard magazine and a subsequent American tour deal which saw them playing 113 gigs in 32 different states through 1999.
At least three booking agents filed lawsuits against the Irish techno band and their promoters during this tour, claiming they thought they were getting radio favorites blink-182 only to wind up with a numeral-deficient “Blink” and being faced with demands for refunds from angry patrons.
Stone Temple Pilots came together when Scott Weiland met New Jersey-born bass player Robert DeLeo at a 1986 Black Flag concert in Long Beach. The two Point Loma residents found they were dating the same woman but, rather than fight, they decided to form a band and ended up living together in the woman’s San Diego apartment after she moved to Texas. DeLeo’s brother Dean joined on guitar and Eric Kretz (who was born in Santa Cruz – as was Weiland – but was also living in San Diego at the time) became their drummer.
In their San Diego days, from 1987 through 1990 (when they moved to Los Angeles), they called themselves Mighty Joe Young. Bandmembers have claimed the STP motor oil logo inspired them to change their name to Stone Temple Pilots, because they could get STP stickers for free at gas stations and use them as promotional giveaways (rumors that the STP motor company filed a lawsuit over the band’s initials appear to be unfounded). After being signed to Atlantic Records in 1992, their first album “Core” brought fame, fortune and, in the case of drummer Eric Kretz, an acrimonious and expensive divorce.
On August 6th 2001, Kretz’ wife Shari sued the drummer for divorce in Los Angeles Superior Court, demanding $1.6 million dollars, or half his earnings, as well as financial support. She claimed Kretz had demanded she quit her “career in fashion” and that she’d gotten an abortion in 1992 because “Eric promised we could have another child when he was more financially able to do so.” She also claimed to have "discussed and added ideas portrayed through Stone Temple Pilots music, cover art, and video," contributing lyrics to the “Core” album and “providing inspiration for [the song] ‘Trippin’ On A Hole In A Paper Heart’” by "introducing Eric to subjects which expanded his creative abilities."
She also insisted she’d "designed Eric's clothing and his 'rock 'n' roll look'" and had improved his "physical image" because she "recommended that Eric look into surgical liposuction," and "nursed him" after the procedure took place.
The suit aimed to prove that, even though their legal marriage only lasted four years, ending in November 2000, their decade-long relationship had long been “business related’ as well as “quasi-parental,” with her being the parent to her husband’s perpetual rock ‘n’ roll childhood.
Also in her filing was the claim that Kretz had promised her “a large house on a large piece of land” and that he’d give her “lifetime support, and share his earnings” with her, to “provide a lavish lifestyle." Her request for divorce was granted and a confidential financial settlement was reached in early 2002.
Inga Vainshtein says she discovered Jewel Kilcher “playing in a filthy coffeehouse” and began managing the career of the then-homeless performer in 1993, introducing the future superstar to San Diego venue owners and lining up gigs. This continued after the release of Jewel’s “Pieces Of You” album in February 1995, and on through the period when the record suddenly picked up steam and shot up the charts almost a year later. She says she was fired by Jewel in early 1998, when Jewel’s mother Lenedra J. Carroll supplanted her role as the singer’s manager.
Vainshtein filed a lawsuit against Jewel and her mother at Los Angeles Superior Court in December 1998, seeking $10 million dollars for “breach of written contract, breach of covenant of good faith, declaratory relief, accounting” and “interference with contractual relations.” The writ also stated that, while Vainshtein was still supposedly in charge of the deal-making, Jewel’s mom solicited business advice from a psychic name Jackie Snyder, who channeled this wisdom “by communing with some entity referred to as Z.”
One of Vainshtein’s lawyers, Caryn Brottman Sanders, said “It's difficult to manage someone when your business decisions are being made by an ancient spirit. Let's just say that my client believes she has been very wrongly treated. She discovered Jewel when she had nothing. Jewel has risen from obscurity and abject poverty to become one of the most famous and successful recording artists of the decade. Her commercial success is thanks to my client.”
At the time the suit was filed, Jewel and her 48-year-old mother were sharing a 2.5 million dollar mock-Tudor mansion in San Diego. Just weeks later, Jewel's “Spirit” album debuted at #3 on the Billboard album chart, selling 368,000 copies during its opening week of sales.
In January 1999, Jewel filed her own petition in response to the lawsuit, declaring that she and Vainshtein never had a legally binding deal and that the contract with Vainshtein's company Cold War Management should be rendered void because Vainshtein acted as an unlicensed talent agency, in violation of California Labor Code Section 1700.5.
On May 30th 2001, the CA Labor Commission agreed, in a twenty-eight page written decision, stating that Vainshtein violated the California Talent Agencies Act and used “illegal booking tactics” while managing the singer. The ruling went on to declare the original 1994 management contract between Vainshtein and Jewel unlawful and void ab initio, meaning that the former manager had no enforceable rights under the contract. "With this ruling, the lawsuit no longer has any basis and should be dismissed by the court," Jewel’s attorney Larry S. Greenfield said at the time.
One of Vainshtein's attorneys, Dave Koropp, said the Labor Commissioner's decision has "no bearing whatsoever" on the suit and that the California Superior Court will determine whether the management contract was valid. Vainshtein filed an appeal to the Labor Commission decision on June 7th 2001, along with a request that the Commission force Jewel to pay her $1,843,450 in unpaid commissions. The appeal was denied and the California Superior Court has, as of this writing, yet to review Vainshtein’s still-pending original lawsuit.
In June 2003, the newswire service Reuters carried a press release stating that Jewel had signed a new management deal with Irving Azoff, former president of MCA Records and manager of the Eagles and others. Lenendra Caroll “will now oversee Jewel's charity endeavors,” according to the release which also quoted Carroll as saying "I have watched my energy and interest move more in this direction and away from management. With the crisis the industry is in, things have become much more difficult for artists . . . a high level of expertise is needed now."
3 – ROCKIN’ LAWSUITS: PAIN AND SUFFERING
San Diego’s civil court dockets are filled with lawsuits where “pain and suffering” is alleged by patrons and participants at area music events and nightclubs. Litigants seeking compensatory damage awards achieve varying degrees of success and failure: in general, settlements of course favor the accuser, while actual trials can go either way.
Filipino-American James Maddelana was 23 years old in June 1999 when he says he was assaulted by “three skinheads” at Vans Warped Tour, held that year in Del Mar and featuring Suicidal Tendencies and Eminem. As he explained it to me, “My friends and I were hanging out in the middle section, listening to a whole bunch of bands, and in the middle of it a mosh pit broke out, I think [during] Limp Bizkit or Suicidal Tendencies.”
“All of a sudden, I was jumped by three skinheads. I was in it [the mosh pit] for a couple of seconds, I got hit by one guy on the side and another guy jumped on my back and my knee snapped and collapsed on me and I fell on the floor. I don’t want to say it was a racially motivated attack but all my friends who saw it said it was! Either that or it was just three guys who were really good friends who just didn’t like me for one reason or another.”
“The thing that upset me was that the intensive care unit didn’t do much, they put a band-aid on me, had me sign over waiver that said everything was okay and then let me on my way.” He says he never read the waiver. “It was a little yellow form that they had everyone sign, they said it was mandatory for me to get help there.”
Maddelana says he went to a doctor over the next few days, who confirmed that serious damage had been done. “I tore the muscle that binds the knee together and there was a 3cm piece of bone that cracked, it was a major tear. It took nearly two years, three different surgeries, to get it fixed.” A computer technician at the time of the injury, he claims to have incurred $15,000.00 in medical expenses, which his personal insurance covered.
In February 2000, Maddelana filed a personal injury lawsuit in El Cajon district court, for negligence on the part of Universal Studios Inc., Vans Warped Tour, (security firm) Elite Show Services and promoter Bill Silva Presents. “Everyone kind of passed the buck. Del Mar said it wasn’t their fault, Universal Studios pushed it off to [promoter] Bill Silva Presents, the security people [Elite Show Services] said they weren’t responsible for it, they only work for the event and I was at risk because I was down there anyways watching the concert. At the hearings, they all had lawyers there. You have to take time out of your day and you sit in a room…I was facing five lawyers there, not including my own.”
His lawyer warned him the case wasn’t winnable, and he might even have to pay the opposing lawyers’ fees. “In the end, I ended up settling out of court, for the minimum amount they could give just so I could kind of move on.”
The terms of the settlement are confidential, but he makes it clear that he considers the amount insignificant compared to his pain and suffering. “The injury really stopped my life. I used to love playing basketball, I was really active in sports and I can’t do any of that stuff now. I still like going to concerts, I love music, but some things I won’t be a part of. I’ll make sure I don’t get in the front. Even at the Belly Up Tavern where, you know, you don’t think of a mosh pit, but when one breaks out I kind of scurry over to the side, I’m scared as Hell, you know?”
71 year old Gilbert Miller admits that his pain and suffering stemmed from an April ’99 altercation where he threw the first punch at bartender Stephen King, at downtown’s Hard Rock Café. This didn’t stop Miller from suing the club and their employee for “negligence,” a lawsuit he lost with humiliating finality.
Reached by phone, the native Oklahoman told me, in his laconic southern drawl, “Well, I was in the bar and I had a few drinks. I had some money on the bar, twelve or fourteen dollars, and the bartender just picked it up and put it in his tip jar. I didn’t give it to him, he just grabbed it…he probably thought I was intoxicated, and I probably was.” Miller admits to drinking earlier that day, in the Grant Grill, at downtown’s Star bar and the Corvette Diner in Hillcrest, telling me he was on his first or second single malt scotch at the Hard Rock.
“So I sit there and I thought about it awhile and I said ‘well that’s not right.’ And the [bartender] kept looking at me…he was avoiding me and I thought ‘well, I’m not happy with that, that’s not the way it should be.’ When he came back up on my end [of the bar], he got close to me, I reached over and I punched him in the forehead.”
He says some shoving ensued before he turned to exit the bar. “I didn’t want to get into a knock-down drag-out fight so I started for the door, I said ‘well I’ll just leave.’ And he came across the floor following me and he hit me, in the back, just as I reached the doorway…I ended up laying on the sidewalk, in pain.”
He says police were summoned and the bartender threatened to charge him with assault and disorderly conduct. No arrest was made, however. “They handcuffed me to take me down to detox, and I told them ‘I hurt, my rib’s busted, I know it is, I can’t move my arm,’ but they handcuffed me and put me in the car anyways and took me downtown. I was in pain, they kept me there for four hours and wouldn’t let me see a doctor…the next day, I woke up and I couldn’t breathe.”
67 years old at the time, 178 pounds, he says he went to the emergency room at Mercy hospital. “They did the X-rays and said ‘yeah, you got your ribcage busted, you got four busted ribs and your lung is getting fluid and we’re gonna have to drain it,’ so they run a tube through me and I was in the hospital for three or four days.”
He claims $3,600.00 in medical expenses, mentioning that Medicare and his HMO covered his costs. He found a lawyer willing to help him sue the Hard Rock Café and bartender King, even though the incident had started with Miller punching the bartender in the head, with no warning. I asked how the bar’s negligence had caused his injury.
“I mean, the guy hit me in the back when I went out the doorway.” I mention this wasn’t included in the police report. “Yeah, it didn’t mention anything about there having been a fight, it just said they had found me there on the sidewalk, which they did, and about them taking me to detox. That made it hard to prove my case against the guy. If I could have found a witness, I could have nailed their asses.”
In May 2000, a judge ruled that Miller and Hard Rock attorneys had to meet face to face for administrative mediation, in order to reach a compromise or settlement rather than going to trial. “We asked for $40,000.00 and the arbitrator ruled that we get nothing. I wanted to go to court, I wanted a jury trial, I would have loved to get up in front of the jury, but my lawyer was a lady, Elaine I-can’t-remember-her-last-name, right downtown in the chamber of commerce building, she says ‘I can’t go to trial on this, you’ll have to get you a new lawyer.’”
“The way it ended up going was the Hard Rock’s insurance company lawyers agreed to not charge me with court costs or anything if I agreed not to pursue the case any more, and if I promised not to go near any Hard Rock Cafe, anyplace in the world, for what they had at first written up as within thirty or fifty feet of the place!”
The actual ruling states “Plaintiff Miller hereby agrees to not contact, molest, harass, attack, strike, threaten, batter, telephone, send any messages to, follow, stalk, destroy the personal property, disturb the peace of, keep under surveillance or throw affairs of any and all Hard Rock Café Restaurants in the world. Further, Miller hereby agrees and shall stay at least 5 yards away from any and all Hard Rock Café Restaurants in the world.”
The former rate clerk for a motor freight company (he retired from a local trucking firm in 1991) says he still can’t believe how badly he lost. “I wasn’t happy with it at all. I was very disappointed that the arbitrator didn’t award me at least a nominal $10,000 or $12,000 for pain and suffering.” The issue of whether the bartender actually stole his money never came up in any of the filings or court dates.
Miller says he’s now fully recovered from his injury [“I fast walk, I play golf and I walk up and down fourteen flights of stairs in the building I live in”] and that the Hard Rock incident is the only time he’s ever been in a bar fight. “I never get 86’d.”
Lawsuits alleging pain and suffering don’t always involve physical injury. Sometimes, the pain is to the psyche - with these civil filings, the keywords are usually “emotional trauma” or “distress.” San Diego lawyer Robert Glaser claimed to have suffered “embarrassment and emotional distress” when he discovered women were using the men’s bathroom at a 1995 Elton John-Billy Joel concert, at what was then called Jack Murphy (now Qualcomm) Stadium.
The women had apparently resorted to the (surely less desirable) men’s facilities because of long lines outside women’s restrooms. In March 1995, Glaser filed a $5.4 million lawsuit against the city of San Diego, claiming that, upon discovering that women were using the men’s bathroom, sometimes squatting over the urinal troughs, he was ''angered, upset, embarrassed, distraught and (feeling) violated.’” He said his “civil rights to privacy” were violated by having to urinate ''in front of women in the men's bathroom.''
Glaser said he checked “six or seven” other men’s rooms, finding women present in all of them, and that he “had to hold it in for four hours” because he was unwilling to urinate with women present. He also named the beer vendor in his suit, claiming their irresistible product, prolific presence and superlative salesmanship had contributed to his eventual discomfort.
The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Glaser’s claim was unreasonable, ordering him to pay $2,000 in fines to the city for filing a frivolous lawsuit. He and his lawyer were also required to pay $2,000 to the concessions company Glaser had blamed for selling him the beer. Glaser took his appeal of this ruling appeal all the way to the California Supreme Court which, in December 1998, denied Glaser's appeal without comment. Glaser did not respond to emailed requests to be interviewed for this piece.
Rancho Bernardo High School band student Trevor LeBlanc presented a much more convincing case for his own “emotional distress.” In his civil lawsuit against the Poway Unified School District and RBHS band director Tom Cole, LeBlanc contended that Cole yelled at him and assaulted him for wearing the wrong color socks at the 2001 Tournament of Roses Parade, reportedly pulling him out of formation and saying "I ought to wring your [expletive] neck" and "I want to bash in your [expletive] face."
Then 16 years old, the student claimed the band director grabbed his throat, shaking him back and forth and pulling his instrument, a baritone horn, out of his hands. After the incident, LeBlanc quit the Rancho Bernardo High School band.
During the civil trial, associate RBHS band director Gary Horimoto testified that he saw Cole shake LeBlanc’s shoulders and pull the boy from the line formation, but he hadn’t seen Cole grab the student’s neck or swear at him. In November 2002, a jury found the youth’s “emotional and physical distress” to be worth $25,000.00 in damages, because Cole was negligent when he grabbed LeBlanc and yelled at him for wearing orange socks.
The actual band colors are blue and white.
4 - WORST IN ROCK: CELEBS IN SD FIND TROUBLE IN PARADISE
STEPHEN STILLS August 14, 1970 In late 1970, ex-Byrd David Crosby, former Hollie Graham Nash and Buffalo Springfield singer Stephen Stills were joined by periodic fourth voice Neil Young, as they prepared to promote and possibly tour behind their live LP “4 Way Street.” Stills eponymous first solo had spawned a hit record “Love The One You’re With” and his second solo disc was slated for the following year. Then Stills was arrested one hot August night at a La Jolla motel, reportedly incoherent and combatative with police. He was charged with “possession of dangerous drugs,” cocaine and barbiturates, and released on $ 2,500 bail.
(Hey Stephen, is that your face melting, or are you just peaking??)
In April 1971, Stills returned to San Diego for his court date. Rolling Stone #83 [5-27-71] said it was “to get his wrist slapped with a $1,000 fine (plus probation) for his not-often-celebrated coke bust.” The charges were reduced to a misdemeanor and band manager Elliot Roberts, in the same issue, refuses to elaborate on just how this major legal coup was pulled off. “It’s over now, so we don’t talk about it.”
Only recently have viewing-copies of Robert Frank’s long-suppressed documentary “C---sucker Blues” surfaced. The movie famously chronicles the Stones’ infamous 1972 tour, timed to promote “Exile On Main Street” [released April 12] and the group’s first time playing North America since the deadly 1969 Altamont concert. In the film, the San Diego International Sports Arena date isn’t so much a scene of decadence as indifference.
Backstage, Mick Jagger can be seen deciding what to wear over his purple jumpsuit – a silver lame’ jacket, black leather coat or raspberry polka dot shirt, his three main sartorial accessories for the tour. He ends up shrugging his shoulders to don a plain denim jacket that looks small even on his thin frame, muttering “I don’t care, it’s only San Diego.” The set was reportedly fair – it’s one of the few occasions they’ve performed “Honky Tonk Woman” live. The real show was happening outside, in the Arena parking lot.
The Bill Graham-produced event had, like the Stones themselves, sold out. Unreserved seating cost $6.50, among the year’s highest ticket prices (even aside from the free parking) in an era when Pink Floyd, Traffic and Chicago tickets cost local patrons $4 - $5. Around three hundred apparently ticketless youths milled around the Arena parking lot as someone, perhaps several someones, worked their way through the crowd, selling dozens of counterfeit tickets for anywhere from $10 to $20 each.
The actual tickets had been imprinted on a beige fiber cardstock with slightly raised ink – the counterfeits were offset printed with thick raised ink, fairly convincing except printed on a yellow-orange cardstock. Had the color been closer to the genuine tickets, most of the counterfeits might have gone unnoticed.
Hapless scam victims were refused admission and soon the crowd of angry, ripped off Stones fans and rowdy ticketless bystanders were moving threateningly en masse for the row of entrances.
Guards (one of whom later characterized the scene as “a riot”) were overwhelmed, dozens of people stormed the gates and ran into the hall and police were helpless do anything other than summon medical aid for a handful of mildly injured gatekeepers.
When it was reported that most rioters appeared underage, a Juvenile Delinquency and Crime Commission was set up to investigate whether local rock concerts in general and Stones concerts in particular should be restricted to only adult patrons (no city measure ever materialized). The scene was eerily repeated in July at a Montreal Stones show, where 3,000 victims of ticket forgers rioted in the streets. At the same concert, one of the band’s equipment trucks was dynamited by French separatists, making the San Diego date seem more rowdy than riotous by comparison.
Surviving counterfeit tickets from the Sports Arena show are highly prized collector’s items, sold and traded with certificates of authenticity signed by purported experts in rock and roll memorabilia. One eBay auction in late 2003 for an untorn San Diego 6-13-72 bootleg ticket, “certified authentic” (an authentic counterfeit?), attracted over 3,800 hits, drawing 65 bids and closing at $251.00, plus $7.50 insured shipping.
BRIAN WILSON June 1978: In late 1976, the mercurial Beach Boy was complaining about round-the-clock “treatment” administered by Beverly Hills shrink Dr. Eugene E. Landy, a controversial mental health guru who, with his staff, essentially dictated and controlled his subject’s every move.
Landy was fired by band management in December 1976 after it was discovered the doctor’s $90 hourly/$10,000 monthly salary had doubled. However, Wilson's new therapist Steve Schwartz was soon killed in a rock-climbing accident and before long the songwriter’s delicate mental and emotional equilibrium was, as Landy might say, “disharmonious.”
Wilson, without telling his wife or fellow bandmembers, inexplicably decided to escape his life entirely and hitchhike to Mexico. He wound up in San Diego a few days later, according to Steven Gaines’ biography “Heroes And Villains,” which describes a mentally fogged pop star millionaire wandering around the city for days, “barefoot and unwashed.”
“He was on a binge," according to Stephen Love, brother of Beach Boy Mike Love and sometime-band manager (he kept getting fired and rehired). Wilson’s wife since 1965, Marilyn Rovell, referred to the incident in later divorce papers as the beginning of their marriage dissolution, saying “He told me he wanted to know what it feels like to be a bum…[he was] playing for drinks in San Diego bars.”
Someone from a local recording studio recognized Wilson and attempted to get him to record a track, apparently unaware that Wilson was at the time basically living under a tree near the entrance of the Laurel Street Bridge in Balboa Park. That’s where he was discovered one afternoon, passed out and nearly comatose. "The cops found him in Balboa Park under a tree with no shoes on, his white pants filthy, obviously a vagrant, with no wallet, no money," according to another Love brother, Stanley. Wilson was taken by ambulance to nearby Alvarado Hospital and a doctor called Mrs. Wilson to inform that her husband was being treated for alcohol poisoning. She had already approved sending a private detective to San Diego to search for her missing husband, after a phone call from someone at the local recording studio who called CBS, the Beach Boys’ one-time label, with news of Wilson’s vagrancy.
Marilyn, with Stephen and Stanley Love, came to San Diego to take Wilson home but decided to leave him at the hospital a few extra days for treatment. Wilson’s mental and physical health was precarious and the Beach Boys were scheduled to begin sessions for a new album in Florida soon. Wilson flew to meet rest of the band straight from treatment, to record the group’s debut for Caribou Records at Florida's Criteria Studios. He was quickly supplanted as producer by Bruce Johnston when it became evident that Wilson was incapable – or unwilling – to do the job
Wilson and his wife filed for legal separation in LA Superior Court July 15.
Alvarado Hospital is also where, in August 1999, Brian’s daughter Carnie Wilson underwent her highly publicized laparoscopic gastric bypass (weight reduction) surgery, performed live on TV and the internet.
FRANK ZAPPA FANS December 13, 1979: Tickets for Zappa’s first eighties appearance in his one-time hometown [April 4, 1980] weren’t even on sale yet when several people were arrested for larceny, drugs, vandalism and indecent behavior. On the night before seats were due be released at 10am, about a hundred people were camped out on the pavement in sprawling lines, all leading to the Sports Arena ticket windows, Zappa fans (and a few scalpers) wholly intent on getting the best seats for this highly anticipated performance.
I was among the throng with apparently little to do besides napping in lawn chairs, playing Zappa bootlegs on car stereos and passing around joints with other likeminded layabouts all night long. Some friends and I talked others into holding our spots in line while we snuck into the nearby Midway Drive-In to see the new Star Trek movie. Returning to the Arena parking lot, we were amazed to see silver beer kegs lined up on each of the ticket window shelves, all tapped and flowing!
Everyone was standing around, filling plastic cups, passing them out – partytime, excellent! More kegs were being wheeled out of the wide-open Sports Arena doors and down the steps on handcarts, while other people were coming out of the building with gigantic bags of pre-cooked popcorn and garbage cans full of other snack bar goodies.
I never was clear on who first used a coathanger to pull the leverage bar inward from the other side of a set of glass Arena doors, opening the place up to be invaded by anyone brave enough to enter (which included most of us – er, them).
This was only the beginning of the bacchanalia. Everyone lined up at the pay phones to call friends and invite them down to what was quickly becoming a drunken overnight orgy and eventually about three hundred people were there – amazingly, no cops showed up. At least not yet.
The ticket clerks who threw open the windows of their booths at 10AM were greeted by the sight of precariously balanced (and completely emptied) beer kegs on the window shelves, a mountain of plastic cups and snack bar trash littering the parking lot and a subdued crowd of hungover young adults barely ambulatory enough to stumble up to the windows and pull out our wallets to mumble “gimme yer best seats.”
Various suspicious types and presumably frequent offenders were pulled from the crowd and questioned but I never heard about anyone being arrested for actually breaking into the Arena. One guy was busted for attempted larceny, for trying to pry open a ticket window gate, and a hippie looking guy who made a chair of one of the empty kegs was cited for possession of stolen property.
Several others were handcuffed and hauled away for being intoxicated or in possession of drugs (one guy had weed out in the open, another was passed out with a cocaine-covered mirror next to him when police approached).
A willowy redheaded girl, still inebriated, got into trouble by refusing to put anything on over her see-through panties and bra and the cops took her away. She’d been very popular all night, performing oral sex on several guys who shared cocaine with her, usually in full view of everyone in line and sometimes earning cheers from nearby voyeurs for her efforts, though she blew a couple of guys under blankets.
WE, of course, cheered her every erotic endeavor, and the morning near-nudity was a welcome respite from all the blue uniforms milling about. I heard the cops tried to charge her with public indecency but most of us found her pretty decent and I can find no account of her actually being charged in any newspapers.
Everyone I know looked for her at the concert itself (we were eventually allowed to buy our tickets) but subsequent sightings of the cokehead-redhead-who-loves-head are unconfirmed and remain the stuff of local urban legend.
GRATEFUL DEAD July 1, 1980: Dead fans, however believable their addled faculties may be, usually cite the band’s 1980 album “Go To Heaven” as the nadir of their recording career, though "Alabama Getaway" and "Don't Ease Me In" became later concert staples. That year’s tour still managed to bring out the tie-dyed and squinty-eyed in big numbers for an appearance at the Sports Arena. Advance press reports made it clear that local police were “on guard” for the expected influx of illicit drugs and illegal activity in the parking lot and audience seats.
Even before the show started, several people were arrested for smoking pot. One bust was witnessed from alongside the stage by Dead members Bob Weir, Mickey Hart and band manager Danny Rifkin.
The trio tried to intervene, cajoling onlookers to join them in separating the young potsmoker from police offers trying to effect the arrest. Cops pulled out additional handcuffs and arrested Weir, Hart and Rifkin for “suspicion of inciting a riot.” The three defendants had to return to San Diego several weeks later to face charges.
Their offense was reduced to a low grade misdemeanor, fines were paid and everyone walked out of the courtroom with a grudge against the SDPD that lingers to this day.
“We couldn’t believe what fascists they are down there,” Weir told Golden Scarab, a Dead fanzine, in 1999. “We almost never went further south than Irvine after that. We didn’t wanna set the kids up to be busted by a bunch of gorillas with no education, who hate rock and roll music.”
Based in Riverside, ska band the Skeletones have been around since 1986, earning frequent spins on 91X (who called them "the #1 ska band in California and perhaps the world") and steady gigs at Soma and elsewhere around town. On the occasion they played 4th & B, the band just about blew up the place, and that’s not a euphemism for a strong performance.
“The way 4th & B is, being a licensed establishment,” explains security guard Joel Meriwether, who’d worked at the club since its inception, “you can’t take liquor outside in open containers. So we told them ‘You can’t walk outside with your beer.’ It was one guy [he’s unclear whether a bandmember or roadie] and as they got their van loaded up, as they were leaving, I was at the back door where I usually am. I got called in to break up a fight, and so [co-owner] Bob [Speth]’s wife went to the back door to spot me while I was inside."
"The guy that was being a dick opened up the [van] window and threw what we thought was a cherry bomb at her. It hit the wall and exploded, kaboom, it echoed off the building.”
“Right as he did that, a cop was sitting up the street at 3rd and B and he looks over and sees the flash and everything and stops the van.”
“He’d actually thrown an M80. They called out the bomb squad, roped off the whole parking lot, the customers’ cars; they [the band] couldn’t leave. They had tweezers out there and were picking the stuff up for hours.” Meriwether says he recalls an arrest being made but can offer no further details. “I think he did some time. He was already on probation for some other stunt.”
The opening night of Snoop Dogg’s “Puff, Puff, Pass” tour ended early as the rapper left the Coors Amphitheatre stage after only 45 minutes. When he pulled the plug, Dogg had already been hit in the chest with a thrown red visor and members of his entourage standing onstage were being pelted with bottles and other debris. Someone from the audience tried to climb onstage and alleged gangmembers were pulling speakers from the stage and trashing them.
According to witnesses, it had nothing to do with the music - the people onstage were wearing blue colors. Offending/offended audience members were wearing red.
Suddenly it was Dr. Suess with tattoos as starbellied sneeches and barebellied sneeches threatened to go head to head in a violent confrontation. According to the Union-Tribune, a security guard suffered a minor injury after being struck by an unidentified object during the “disturbance” but no arrests were made other than a woman under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
As Dogg left the stage and house lights came up, the sound of microphones being slammed to the ground while still amplified was mistaken by some to be gunshots and a minor panic ensued. Chula Vista Police took the stage in what police Lt. Dan Linney called a “skirmish line,” as a show of force, but audience members quickly regained their calm and left the venue compound peaceably.
After the concert, Snoop’s tour bus was pulled over in Temecula. The police smelled marijuana smoke, searched the bus and found 300 grams of pot. A member of Snoop's entourage claimed possession of the herb, was cited for misdemeanor possession and released.
On October 19, two of the rapper’s tour busses were pulled over again, this time in Cleveland, for speeding, and six more bags of weed weighing 200 grams were found. Snoop and two fellow passengers were arrested for misdemeanor possession, making the “Puff, Puff, Pass” tour one of the most aptly named in recent memory.
ANTHONY KIEDIS June 26, 2001: The 38-year old singer of the Red Hot Chili Peppers was “rescued” by lifeguards at La Jolla cove, along with the lead actress from “Felicity,” 25-year old Keri Russell. Lt Rick Wurts, spokesman for San Diego County Lifeguard Service, told San Diego AP that lifeguards responded to a call about six people in the water who were “in distress and caught in a rip current” and four of them were “pulled to safety.”
Kiedis denies that he and his companions were in any danger. “Those [lifeguards] down there think they’re rock stars or something. Four or five of us were swimming not too far out [from shore] and this lifeguard comes cruising up on a surfboard and says ‘there’s a riptide, it’s gonna be really hard to swim back in.’ We were in absolutely no danger but he had us grab his board and pulled us in and then the beach was full of these Baywatch wannabees and reporters were calling me and it became a big deal that made all the papers.”
Russell’s publicist told reporters her client and Kiedis were in San Diego “visiting friends.”
In an interview posted at TV Guide online, Russell also accused the lifeguards of overreacting. "There was no drowning. I'm actually a fabulous swimmer…[we all] could have swam back in.” She took the press to task for post-rescue insinuations that she and Kiedis were some kind of item. "He was just a friend of someone who was there," she says. "He's not my friend ... I think he has a girlfriend."
RICKIE LEE JONES, lyrics from “Drunk On The Striped Table”
“I abandon the old way when I first got to San Diego.
I f----ed anybody I wanted to.
I was, however, gang raped by a blues band in an old school bus.
That was pretty horrible. There were only three of them.
I can't remember if I got the third one off me.
I think I did. I was so ashamed.”
5 - LA JOLLA DRIVERS SUCK
LA JOLLA DRIVERS SUCK
“I used to deliver pizza for Round Table,” says Starcrossed singer/guitarist Mark Haemmerle, “and every time I got off freeway 52 and went into downtown La Jolla, there was either an accident or someone who almost caused one.”
Thus was born the band’s popular sing-a-long anthem “All the F---ers in La Jolla Drive Like S--t.” Sample lyric:
“ ‘Cause your car cost more, don’t mean you own the road
Best get off my ass, don’t make me lock ‘n’ load.”
“So I wrote a song about how sh---y people drive in La Jolla. It’s not just people that live there; it seems to be everyone. I think, when you get in that area, it just seems to happen. For a video, I started collecting accident footage from every time I drive down there…I caught some footage of a fire truck and a police car at a two-car accident on the side of the road. I also got footage of the crazy traffic when one of the stop lights went out.”
Starcrossed guitarist Bridgit Bardell died last September from a heroin overdose. Mark Haemmerle formerly played with local goth bands Sleepy Hollow and Winter Winds, and currently runs the audio/video production company Devil Town Studios. He’s hosting an open mic night tonight at the Skybox Bar in Clairemont.
I haven’t been to downtown’s new Hard Rock Hotel yet, so I’ve refrained (so far) from mocking it. Tho it’s hard to resist after getting a press release from them announcing “Cindy Crawford Spotted At The Hard Rock San Diego.” THIS is news worthy of a press release?!? She’s dating one of the restaurant owners there, for gawd’s sake – are they that desperate for press, that a visiting girlfriend merits an all-points bulletin to local media????
And bragging about a room designed by the Black Eyes Peas in gonna seem, in two years, akin to bragging about wearing pants designed by MC Hammer.
The Website TripAdvisor.com is THE make-or-break source of hotel customer reviews - a recent gag on the TV show the Office was about how a bad review on TripAdvisor can destroy a hotel. And the Hard Rock SD is getting some bad customer reviews! Here are some excerpts:
1 - The towels were those strange cotton towels that feel nice to the touch, but just seem to move the water around. The bathroom and halls smelled of rotten eggs---seems to be a ventilation problem. One elevator was out of service and there was no lighting in the spa/workout room one morning. Be aware that there is a $15 "activity fee" charged --- not sure what for.
2 - I could not get my iPod to work with the stereo though and did not have the normal jack lead to plug my iPod into the AV system...There is an extra daily fee for "free internet" which is a bit odd and should just be included in the price. I had a meal at their "posh" restaurant "Nobu"one evening and found the food to be expensive and not very good, also the portions were extremely small. The lack of coffee making facilities in the room is very odd and I found myself cursing this whilst waiting for the coffee shop to open at 7:00 a.m. I was not prepared to pay room service for something that should already be in the room.
3 - There is an "IN Charge" on your bill for $15.00. They do not inform you of this until you ask at checkout (if you even do ask). This charge includes all the VOSS water in the room, the copy of Rolling Stone Magazine, some CD I never could find, use of the gym, long distance and local calling, and turndown service at night, which we did ask for, but never got... It would have been nice to know this stuff at check-in, but I guess if they don't tell you, you probably won't use the items, but they can still get their $15 from you.
4 - No coffee making facilities in the room. Strange decision as, presumably lots of people who stay here will be from the East Coast and up early. Certainly the guy I met in the gym at 5:30am felt the same.
7 - BAD GIG STAGES
From “The Seven Stages of the Bad Gig,” as posted online by Whole Hog, who describe themselves as “Satan’s favorite country band.”
Stage 1: the book – “The singer calls every restaurant in town that is, for whatever reason, willing to move a table out of the way to allow bands to play.”
Stage 2: the layout – “The band is mysteriously wondering how the promised Saturday night headlining show at Club Bass Player Is Sure To Get His D--- Sucked has morphed into a set on a Tuesday at Joe's Suds and Pies.”
Stage 3: developing the marketing strategy – “[There are no] promotion activities that do not involve harassing friends, co-workers, causal acquaintances, employees at the mall, and the band's parents.”
Stage 4: the 'sup doode – “This happens by a series of communiqués…At this point, the string of contact has taken place with approximately 158 people. Of the 158, four have committed to being there, and the other two band members’ parents are either playing bridge or will be out of town…”
Stage 5: the prep and primp – “[The] singer has trekked to Marshalls to buy a new gig shirt…[the] guitarist(s) doesn't bother to change the strings on his guitar or clean the electrical connections on his amp, but does go to CVS to buy some new SuperSpike hair gel…The bassist gets home from work, goes to his room, masturbates, and goes to sleep…The drummer can barely function on a normal day, and this one has him especially keyed up and irritated.”
Stage Six: The final countdown and who has a magic marker – “There are four setlists written in smudged and barely legible black grease; all four are different.”
Stage Seven: this is the end, my non-existent friends – “For the privilege of rocking to 12 people for 76 minutes, the band owes the pizza parlor $83.55. The singer pays it on his debit card and the band promises to settle up with him at practice. This will never, ever happen.”
8 - BAD REVIEWS OF LOCAL VENUES
Some local venues have earned bad patron reviews at user-written websites like clubzone.com and bookit.com. Please note these are unsubstantiated claims made by anonymous club patrons, and so should be taken with a grain (or pillar) of salt:
Pacific Beach Bar and Grill: “The place reeked of testosterone. Fights were breaking out everywhere, and my girlfriend got grabbed by the neck and some guy tried to force her to grind him. He got beat up [be]cause of it and we didn’t stick around any longs [sp].” (bookit.com)
“Their music sucks, DJ can’t even mix the music well. Floor near the bar was sticky!” (bookit.com
Typhoon Saloon: “Overflowed toilet, sticky dance floor, weak drinks, ugly dudes, dorky girls.” (clubzone.com)
J Bar, downtown: “I…was viciously assaulted...at the bar. I was accused of fondling some guy’s girl on her left butt cheek. The mix up was cleared up after I took the beating.” (bookit.com)
Stingaree, downtown: “On Saturday January 27, I was beaten up outside the Stingaree nightclub...we used their limo service, ate at their restaurant, and reserved a table at their club. [They] dragged me outside away from the cameras and beat me senseless. They sent me to the hospital with lacerations on my face that were stitched up. They also fractured some bones on my face. I have bumps and bruises all over my face and head.” (bookit.com)
9 - SWING DANCER VS JUNO
This email message was forwarded to me by a member of Swingorama, a local swing dancing club, regarding a series of complaints made to internet service provider Juno.
Dear Juno member, In the reply of the 56 letters you have sent in appliance [sp] with Juno's request for comments on our service, Juno Inc. and Code 42 of the policy contract has determined that your internet service be suspended permanently on any account under the household of [undisclosed La Mesa 91941 residence]. Here at Juno we strive for keeping our customers satisfied, when our efforts are thwarted by unruly customers that resolve to diminish us and make threats such as made in most of the letters sent, our service no longer is a right for the customer to have but a privilege.
Rightly held, that privilege will still give you unlimited e-mail but none of our courteous on-line service anymore as stated above. Statements made such as in Re: 34 - 'Your employees at Juno must be retards who smoke pot for a living' - is in direct disrespect to our staff who strive hard to fulfill all our customers needs daily. For this alone suspension had been considered but decided in Re: 38-56 due to the Code violations about threats to corporate employees, sponsors, office personnel, and all other Juno employees. Some examples:
'My mission in life is now to start a worldwide revolution against Juno by burning down all of its corporate offices and publicly hanging all of its sponsors.'
'Perhaps beating a heavy gong while someone is poking a Juno employee in the eye with a knife will let them know about the mental anguish caused by your foolish service.'
'Since Juno Internet service is the equivalent to a one armed invalid retard pumping a wind mill to start the electricity to activate the 2k modem which acts as a server for your Internet provider, I do wish to personally maim each direct employee and supporter of Juno.'
Perhaps reflecting on the harsh uneducated words spoken here and the suspended internet service can act as a motivation for sending a letter, not of threats but apology, to our staff, employees, and Juno Inc.
Sincerely, Diane Johnston.