Scott Marks 3 p.m., Oct. 19
Che Cafe Underground Documents Local Music History, Misheard Lyrics, Local Radio History, Penetrators Reunion, Obscenity VS Parody, more
NEW COMPREHENSIVE LOCAL MUSIC DATABASE IS LAUNCHED
IT'S DONE!!!! And growing every hour....
If you wanna see a list of over 1,5000 San Diego bands, with links to full profiles, photos, discographies, articles, MP3s, etc, checkout http://www.sandiegoreader.com/bands/search/
Believe it or not, you can click on ANY LOCAL MUSICIAN'S NAME (around 4,500 musicos listed!) and bring up bios of every notable band they've ever been in! Try it here with Rob Crow ---
AND, if that wasn't cool 'nuff, click on an instrument, say like this here link to "Drums" - BAM, a list of EVERY DRUMMER IN SAN DIEGO!!!
We've been working on this massively cross-linked Local Music Database for over two years now, covering a century of San Diego history --- if you're a local performer who wants to add or edit a page, go to http://www.sandiegoreader.com/band/edit/
More anon!!!! JAS
CANDYE KANE’S BRAS-4-SALE
A new musical based on Candye Kane's early life story, the Toughest Girl in the World, will debut in workshops at the Diversionary Theatre January 29th thru February 1st. The production includes many of her songs, with guest pianist Sue Palmer, a longtime Kane associate.
The well-endowed blues chanteuse seems comfortable with public fixation on her 44GGG size breasts (though she no longer plays piano by slapping them on the keys). On her website candyekane.com, she sells pillows made from her own bras.
"They are each guaranteed to be worn by me and no two are alike,” she says. The price? Around $300 each (per bra, not per cup), plus $20 shipping, She says she was inspired to create boob-art by fans who constantly ask to purchase her used bras and panties. "If the fans want to take them apart to masturbate on, that's okay. But I make the pillows so beautiful that they would never want to take them apart." According to the website sales pitch, “Custom designs and lettering will also be considered. Color choices may not always be possible. It depends which bra will be leaving my underwear drawer!” Kane says she’s gotten interest from retail stores, but that she currently recycles her undergarments on a per-order basis. A 50% deposit is required upon ordering and it takes 8 – 10 weeks to get your custom Candye Kane Therapeutic Bra Pillow. “They are beautiful, one of a kind, conversation pieces and they are the next best thing to resting your head on my own 44GGs…they really are fun, soft, comfortable and add to the decor of any home!" She’s talking about the bras, guys - the breasts aren’t for sale or rent. *********************************************
CHE WEBSITE DOCUMENTS LONG-GONE
Founded in 1980 as an all-age vegetarian eatery and gathering place for those interested in radical politics, the Ché Café at UCSD quickly became a haven for San Diego’s underground music scene. Though touring bands eventually became a staple of the venue, early shows mostly featured local groups that played punk, garage, mod, and psychedelic sounds.
More than two decades later, the musicians involved in the Ché Café’s early days are scattered around the world, but a new blog (www.cheunderground.com) is keeping their memories alive. Former Noise 292 guitarist Matthew Rothenberg, who first played the venue in 1983, created the site in February '08.
The Ché scene, says Rothenberg, “…did so much to shape us as people and performers but didn’t leave much of a historical record.”
"I've dubbed the project 'Che Underground,'" says Rothenberg. "Among the other marketing niceties we overlooked back in the day, we never named our scene, but we were instrumental in opening up UCSD's Che Cafe as a rock 'n' roll venue."
"I'm currently in the New York area working in publishing," says Rothenberg (who also played in Three Guys Called Jesus), "and most recently I'm the cheerleader for this reclamation project aimed at salvaging and restoring the work we did in the little scene that centered on the Ché Café in 1983-84 and included the Answers, Hair Theatre, Noise 292, the Rockin' Dogs, and the Wallflowers."
The website’s focus is on those five bands who came together around the Ché Café in the summer of 1983. The site notes the regular performances by Ray Brandes (the Tell-Tale Hearts), Tom Ward (the Nashville Ramblers), and Ted Friedman (the Gravedigger V).
"This is a story I've wanted to tell for a long time; a vibrant SD music scene that brought together punk, mod and art crowds; cross-pollinated North County and downtown; influenced a slew of local musicians; then disappeared without a trace."
"I'm working with the members of the five core gigging bands -- the Answers/Mirrors, Hair Theatre, Noise 292, the Rockin' Dogs and the Wallflowers (not Jakob Dylan's!) -- to reassemble the work we did in the early '80s. We've got a Web presence now, and we have a ton of audio (like, whole lost studio albums!), video, photos and flyers."
Built around reminiscences in postings from the musicians who frequented the venue, the site offers an insiders’ view of the San Diego music scene of the era. Though the emphasis is on bands that performed at the venue, filmed and recorded material done at other venues is included. Highlights include audio of the Morlocks live in San Francisco and a previously unseen video from the Mirrors.
Rothenberg has made attempts to inform the current Ché Café organizers about his website but has thus far been unsuccessful.
“I hope they’re flattered,” he says. “I’ve tried to contact them, but I’m a little confused about who at the co-op might take an interest. We’re thinking of sending an ambassador to their weekly veggie chili dinner.”
The Reader's own San Diego Music Encyclopedia (1,300 bands and still growing - www.sandiegoreader.com/bands/search) has been adding entries on Che Underground performers, with help from Rothenberg. "I’ve got our musicians tuning up their biographical notes for submission; they’re all very excited about the prospect of shedding new light on our wonderful old scene."
Below concert flyer is just one of MANY on the site - this 1981 show at the then-booming Adams Avenue Theatre paired hardcore punk bands with local mod groups Manual Scan and the Crawdaddys - note the text "Be there between 9:30 and 10 if you want to miss the mod bands!"
The guy in the photo? “Hahhaa! That’s me in about 10th grade,” posts onetime Wallflowers singer Dave Rinck on the Underground site. "BTW, I lent that t-shirt I’m wearing in that photo to Johnny Thunders, who wore it when he played at the Bacchanal in SD circa 1982.”
Dave Ellison posts his recollection of this show, including singer Lux Interior getting fed up with locals jumping on the stage, especially one guy who tried to steal band equipment. "At the end of the song, he [Lux] took the mic stand, holding it at the top, and put the base of it against the guy’s face. He held it there for several seconds (the guy couldn’t move because of the crowd pushing against the stage), then smashed the guy in the face with it, the heavy metal base of the mic stand."
Ahhhh, good times!
Che Underground site operator Rothenberg, now a resident of Maplewood, N.J., says plans are under way for a reunion concert next summer, though it won’t be held at the Ché Café.
“Everyone’s over 21 and can have a drink now.”
- By Bart Mendoza SAN DIEGO
RELATED ARTICLES ON THE READER SITE:
A Little Town South of LA: '80s Underground San Diego - by Keith Boyd
I remember the 1980s in San Diego. It was a period of rapid transition in this town. The city was moving on from its “Navy Town” roots and showing the very first signs of becoming the sprawling monster it is today. While this process had certainly started it wasn’t anywhere near a done deal. San Diego still felt like a true collection of neighborhoods where you could run into the same handful of likeminded folks digging music, art or films. The problem with San Diego was that it lay in the shadow of LA.
In the '80s, the I-5 still felt like a wilderness trip from Sorrento Valley to almost Long Beach and in that space SD seemed to languish culturally. The big bands tended to either not play here or play only on off nights (to a certain extent this is still true). Add in the relatively isolated neighborhoods and the transitory nature of military families and you had a situation in which not a lot of home grown bands had truly sprung up.
The '80s saw the first true cracks in this wall. A smallish group of local youth formed bands and played house parties until there were venues (many available thanks to one Tim Mays). Once this ball was rolling things took on a life of their own and San Diego saw the first of several blossomings of great music.
Several names come to my mind; the majestic, flute driven, psych-epics of Hair Theatre, the driving hypnosis of Wei Wei T’nango and the feral tribalism of Crash Worship.
Amongst the better venues was UCSD’s Che Café. The Che always had the feeling of being for and by the kids and this combined with their left-centric ethos inspired a fierce loyalty amongst patrons. They also brought in some great touring acts from the then burgeoning Post-Punk Underground. I saw an excellent show with Spot 1019 and Camper Van Beethoven there once and it blew my mind! In order to document and reconnect this scene there is a newish website called Che Underground and it’s a great living piece of our local music heritage.
While the site primarily focuses on the specific bands who played (and the scene) at the Che, there has been a natural expansion including other related SD music acts... (CONTINUED AT www.blogsandiego.com/80's_san_diego_music.html )
RIP HAPPY HARE, LEGENDARY LONGTIME LOCAL DJ“Happy Hare is off the air...” Longtime local legend Happy Hare passed away on Monday, January 5. Mainly remembered for his morning DJ stint on KCBQ, he was 81. Beginning in 1955, he was an almost constant local presence, alongside such other fondly remembered characters from the Silver Age of Radio like Jim McInnes ("JM in the PM"), Shadoe Stevens, Gabriel Wisdom, Gary Allyn, etc. “The last couple of years, we would talk radio and family over coffee/bagel at the Pt. Loma Einstein Bros,” posts DJ Chris Cantore at http://www.chriscantore.com . “Truth be told, in a weird way, Hare reminded me of my (hero) Grandpa Joe.” “With his amazing positivity, Hare would often call my house to ‘check in,’ and share a story or two, or three, or four. My favorite, how he saved a Beatles concert in Cleveland.” Here are a couple of wonderful rock tales Happy Hare shared with the Reader --- 4-4-56 and 4-5-56 – Elvis Presley: "This is the first time that the Hancock is going to rock and roll, while still in anchor!" The titular host of NBC's Milton Berle Show [aka Texaco Star Theater] introduced Elvis Presley to a live audience on the deck of the aircraft carrier USS Hancock, docked at the Naval Station in San Diego bay. Presley's first-ever California performance included "Heartbreak Hotel" (on its way to becoming his first #1 hit) and a few others. The singer gamely acknowledged the raging controversy about his "shocking" onstage pelvic gyrations by taking part in a comedy sketch. Presley introduced Berle, dressed as Elvis (world's first Elvis impersonator?), saying "Mah twin brother, Melvin Presley." Berle/Melvin then takes credit for all the hip-wiggling, saying "I gave him his singing style - I used to drop grasshoppers down his pants." Elvis' sexually-charged "singing style" was no joke to San Diego police, however. The next two nights, both of Presley's concerts at the San Diego Arena on 8th and Harbor Drive (aka Glacier Garden ) were sold out and police presence was heavy. Over both evenings, several young women were removed from the Arena, reportedly for "hysterical and lewd behavior." The Shore Patrol had to set up a floating blockade behind the venue, after two teen girls in their underwear and carrying soaked dresses emerged from the water to make a run for Presley's dressing room (they were caught by police and released, presumably after their garments dried). Three people were arrested. "Some girls broke into the bathroom of Elvis's dressing room and stole the toilet seat," recalled KCBQ disc jockey Don Howard in a 1979 interview with localKicks Magazine. "His Cadillac was covered with obscene messages, and two sailors were arrested for masturbating during the show from watching the antics.... After the concert, the police arrested 12 girls running nude through the halls of the El Cortez Hotel, looking for Elvis.” “I introduced him [to the stage],” says longtime local DJ Happy Hare Martin, “and he rushed out and sang the first chorus of Hound Dog, which I could not hear above their primal screams. Then…he began wiggling and rotating his pelvis. This is when half the girls lost control of their bladders.” Martin had been with Elvis backstage in the hours leading up to the show. “Elvis was a blonde,” he says. “I kept his secret for many years, until I learned that he had been outed…When I entered the dressing room, I was flustered to see that the King had no clothes. He was pacing buck naked in the dressing room…Seeing me, he grabbed his gold Lamé suit and covered himself. Too late. I had caught him.” “In contrast to his black head of hair was a golden wheat-colored tuft [down below]. Yep, he was a natural blonde, alright. ‘You ain’t gonna tell nobody, are ya?’ he asked, almost pleading. I nodded a firm no, and that was that. I later learned that Tony Curtis was his idol. He regarded Tony as the ultimate babe magnet, so he dyed his hair raven black, just like Tony's…the kid obviously did not realize that his hair could have been [turd brown], and it would not have mattered.” Ticket sales for the two 1956 concerts (with his new backing band the Jordanaires) reportedly totaled $17,250, with 11,250 fans attending. The day after the second San Diego date -- April 6 -- Presley signed a seven-year movie deal with Paramount. Three weeks later, "Heartbreak Hotel" hit number one. When Presley was scheduled to return to the Arena June 6, Police Chief Adam Elmer Jansen (the city's longest-serving Chief, at 14 years) had had enough. "If he puts on the same kind of show that he did last April, I'll arrest him for disorderly conduct," he was quoted saying in the Union (repeated nationwide after newswires picked up the story). "I've had enough complaints from parents to assure me that twerp is not doing the kids any good." Late in the year, the city Social Services Department held a series of hearings, to discuss whether Presley should be banned from playing in San Diego . Presley escaped town without being arrested or banned and in fact returned years later to pack them in for three more sold-out performances, after Police Chief Jansen retired - November 15, 1970 (ticket sales 14,659), April 26, 1973 (15,050 attendees) and April 24, 1976 (17,500 attendees). ************************************************** 9-58: Ritchie Valens had two hits on the charts -- "La Bamba" and "Donna" -- when longtime local DJ Harry "Happy Hare" Martin persuaded him to perform at the 1958 opening of Clairemont High School. “The Principal called and asked me to do something for the new kids,” Martin told me in March 2008. “I was full of myself in those days. I said ‘Sure’ and got on the phone…I took it for granted that he [Valens] knew me, and I asked him about coming down to San Diego to sing for the new school. No mention of money. He immediately said yes, no doubt thinking that anyone this audacious must be important.” “There was no opposition from the school, all were thrilled that I could get someone with two or three songs on the Hit Parade.” When Hare picked up Valens at the airport, the rising rock star emerged from the plane with his guitar slung around his neck and carrying a small amp. “At the school, all of the students were in the yard, because they were still painting the new auditorium. Ritchie didn’t seem to mind. He sang two songs that I recall, ‘Donna’ and ‘La Bamba,’ and some other newer songs, all on the red clay, in the broiling sun, for the better part of an hour.” “Many kids broke into impromptu dancing and that egged Ritchie on. Him playing, and them dancing and celebrating, [it was] a musical fiesta. A South L.A. Latino kid, connecting with 2,000 young Anglos…it was historic. No autographs or pictures…things were more structured in those days.” Valens was literally on the brink of superstardom as he flew back to L.A. that evening. “If it had been a couple of months later,” says Hare, “I would have had to put him up in an expensive hotel and paid him a lot of bucks. But, that day, he was just a simple kid wanting to help.” Valens perished in the same February 1959 plane crash that also killed Buddy Holly and the Big Bopper. ********************************************** ****************************************
LOCAL RADIO HISTORY PART 1: JIM McINNES - THE LAST DJ - DJ Jim McInnes spent 28 years in radio before being fired for the first time a few years ago by Clear Channel/101.5 KGB FM. McInnes had spent most of disc jockey career ["And over half my life!"] at KGB, where he helped launch the Homegrown local album series....
LOCAL RADIO HISTORY PART 2: THE O.B. RANGER RIDES AGAIN - RETURN OF A ‘70S COUNTERCULTURE HERO - “We were going after the progressive rock or the album rock crowd,” says radio DJ and programming vet Gary Allyn about his early seventies on-air gig in San Diego. “Of course O.B. was the center of the hippie movement in that period, flower power and the drug culture and all that”....
LOCAL RADIO HISTORY PART 3: LOCAL JOCK SAYS HE WAS STALKED - A REAL LIFE PLAY MISTY FOR ME? - The dark side of audiological obsession formed the basis of the 1971 Clint Eastwood thriller Play Misty For Me (the actor's directorial debut). Portraying a jazz radio DJ for station KRML in Carmel California, Eastwood's character finds his life upended by a high-strung female fan who repeatedly calls his show, to request her favorite song....
THE CASBAH’S 20TH ANNIVERSARY – CELEBRATE IN THE ATARI LOUNGEThe Casbah’s 20th Anniversary celebration continues – Rosey at http://www.sddialedin.com is selling merch at most shows, and she says the Anniversary shirts are selling out fast, so make sure you get there to get one, or order direct from Rosey ---- Among the many bands reuniting to play the Casbah this month are Lucy’s Fur Coat, the Dragons, Radio Wendy, Furious IV, the Answers, the Penetrators (which saw many of its members later become Beat Farmers) on Saturday January 24, and Uncle Joe’s Big Ol’ Driver with Creedle (Friday January 23). The Penetrators are also rumored to be planning another reunion gig on Saturday night at a private party near Ocean Beach, on Lotus Street….. Also worth celebrating is the oft-overlooked back room at the Casbah……… “The Atari Lounge is there so you can take a break from the band or get away from someone you don't want to talk to," says Casbah owner Tim Mays of the club's roomful of vintage video games, pinball machines, and pool tables. "We've had games here since we first moved to this location in early 1994. The Jurassic Park and Guns N' Roses pinball machines were pretty popular for a long time. We also had a sit-down Pac-Man that was hugely popular. Someone [a Casbah customer] actually bought it from the guys who own and maintain our machines." (brettbanducci.com) Sandy Thomas, bassist for O.B.-based Xlent, says, "I spent a year in the Atari Lounge living in a total '80s time warp, going for the 'perfect Pac-Man.' That's surviving through 255 screens and eating every single dot, every ghost, every fruit and energizer, and never missing a single one. I reached the million-point mark five different times, but I only broke two million once. Believe it or not, that actually got me laid, and that score should add a million to my Pac-Man points." A perfect Pac-Man score is 3,333,360. "For ten years I'd been telling people about a video game I loved as a kid called Star Castle," says Rookie Card singer/guitarist Adam Gimbel. "It was actually black and white, with colored plastic on the monitor to make the center rings red and yellow. No one believed me. When I moved back to San Diego ten years ago, there it was in the Atari Lounge." As of this writing, the club's arcade games include Galaga, Off Road, Centipede, a Donkey Kong console that only works sporadically, and a tabletop Ms. Pac-Man nearly always stacked with the quarters of waiting players. "I'm a Ms. Pac-Man snob," says singer-songwriter Marie Haddad. "Not just any machine will do. It has to be a sit-down table version, and it has to be fast. Sure, there are other Ms. Pac-Man's around town, but the joystick doesn't respond like the Casbah's, or it's a stand-up machine, or it's geriatric slow." She says her high score is "somewhere in the 95,000s," and her dot-gobbling prowess earns her occasional perks. "I was back there playing between sets, and a guy who'd been playing Galaga turned around to watch me...before I finished my game, he bought me a vodka tonic and called me 'the Eddie Van Halen of Ms. Pac-Man. '" Grant Reinero of the Focus Group likes how the tabletop Ms. Pac-Man allows players to battle head-to-head. "One time I was in the Atari Lounge by myself, and I was sitting at the Ms. Pac-Man and searching my pockets for a quarter. Nothing. No change at all. In defeat, I resigned myself to just sitting there and watching the game's demo screen over and over." "Just then, a girl's voice cut through the sludgy tones bellowing out of the main room. 'Are you gonna play?' I looked up to see a raven-like beauty in an antique dress. She pushed her hair back behind her ears and sat down at the other end of the game." "'I don't have a quarter,' I said. She reached into the pocket of her dress and produced two quarters. 'Wanna play me?'" "We took turns jamming the joystick in a mad frenzy. The flashing screen lit up her perfect pale features as we played. What began as a friendly game soon gave way to a ruthless power-pellet--eating contest. With my last turn I lost myself in the maze, becoming the insatiable yellow creature on the screen. The ghosts finally cornered and killed me, and I screamed out loud." "I looked up to see her staring back at me, her chest heaving with excitement, her eyes wide with adrenaline. I told her, 'That's the best I've ever played,' and in one motion she grabbed the back of my neck, pulled my cheek to her lips, and whispered in my ear, 'Thanks for the game.' " Two other Atari Lounge consoles are currently down, with the busted skateboarding game rumored to be replaced soon with either Space Invaders or Tempest. The Casbah's pool tables are always in good repair, and one cue-ball clash has become the stuff of local legend. "Eddie Vedder and I played a game of pool many, many years ago," owner Mays told Bart Mendoza. "He came down one night to see Jonathan Richman…He came in incognito with a floppy brim hat and a jacket , we got to talking to him, he was a really great friendly guy, very straight forward. And there were some people hanging out in the back playing pool." "So anyway, Eddie and I are playing pool, and I don't know how it came up, but he said 'If I win, I get your bar, if you win, you get my publishing deal.' So I thought, Okay. And he beat me pretty handily. He actually beat everybody he played that night." "Anyway, six or eight months later I get a call from someone who said they heard on the radio that Eddie Veddar had bought the Casbah. Then I got more phone calls. Apparently, and I just found this out recently, Mike Halloran told Marco Collins [ex 91X DJ, then at Seattle radio] the story, so Marco Collins put the story out there and it got picked up. Needless to say, when Eddie comes in, we take care of him, just so he doesn't call in his note." *********************************************************
WHY THE PENETRATORS
The Penetrators at Western Audio recording studios in Kearny Mesa, May 15, 1980. "Need good personality art," reads the photo assignment sheet. Standing in the back of the room are Gary Heffern, Chris Sullivan, and Jim Call; Chris Davies and Dan McLain sit in the foreground. At the time of this photo, only Chris Davies earned a living playing an instrument (guitar). Heffern worked for the phone company, Sullivan at a radio station, and Call managed a theater in P.B. (where McLain sold popcorn).-->-->
You can purchase this photo at the San Diego Historical Society Reaserch Library or online at www.sandiegohistory.org. For more information call 619-232-6203 ext. 127.
The Penetrators and the Musical Legacy They Left Behind -
It’s easy enough to take much of what the local scene has to offer today for granted. Local airplay is a given, at least on the local shows, and the pop machinery is such that there are now literally dozens of local nightspots where a group can perform original music. But in the late seventies, it was a different time indeed. No cable television, no MTV, and VCRs were rare. People now crank out landfill CDs in their bedrooms while once having something immortalized on vinyl was a big deal. Original music, especially anything that wasn’t from the cookie cutter radio mold, was considered radical. The police frowned (heavily) on it at the time, but then so did some of the public. So it was against enormous odds that the Penetrators took hold of the public consciousness.
True enough, when the Penetrators first exploded on the San Diego scene in the late seventies, they were considered by many to be a punk band. Time has shown them to be much more than that. They were precursors to what eventually became known as roots rock, but their sound was actually a unique mix of many different styles. Elements of surf, new wave, sixties garage, R&B, even nascent electronica, all filtered through their music. Just as important, the band were pioneers of the do-it-yourself ethic, inspiring legions of musicians, this one included. They found locations in which to play — from small but essential stages such as those at Abbey Road and the Skeleton Club to the local Lions Club and the Glorietta Bay Recreation Center. A personal highlight was a show at La Jolla Country Day School. If they could set up a P.A. and play, they were there. And they built a huge following, becoming arguably the first stars of the modern day scene.
The core of the band originally centered around the vocals of Gary Heffern, Chris Sullivan’s bass and most important, secret weapon Dan McClain on drums. Original guitarist Scott Harrington departed just prior to the release of their first EP, Untamed Youth, in 1978. He was quickly replaced by Chris Davies, whose staccato surf-inspired guitar attack was the perfect foil for Gary’s over-the-top vocals.
Their first big break was a gig opening for the Ramones at SDSU circa 1978, but it was with their 1979 single “Sensitive Boy”/”Stimulation” that the band truly hit their stride. Adding Jim Call to the band on drone keyboards and sax gave the band a broader palette from which to create. And they were up to the challenge, although in actual time the time between their first and second 7-inch vinyls was mere months, the difference in music was light years — much more confident and driven, pointing toward today’s eclectic modern rock scene.
By the release of 1980’s certifiably classic Walk the Beat EP, the band was on the verge of big time success, even selling out Golden Hall and crucially gaining airplay on influential Los Angeles radio station KROQ. In today’s context, that’s the equivalent of RFTC selling out Qualcomm Stadium, with no radio airplay. Pieces in the local press, as well as the L.A. Times and an infamous cover story in the San Diego Reader only added to the legend. The band did receive major label attention, with Capitol among their suitors at one time. The band also shot a series of five videos at A&M studios in Los Angeles for tunes that include “Walk The Beat” and “I’m With the Guys.” The videos remain unreleased, but there is, in fact, a sizeable amount of footage available from both live shows and TV appearances, such as their 1982 two-song set on the Cox Cable TV local music show in 1982...
Not So Quiet on the Set - Bart Mendoza
In 1989, Mojo Nixon made his film debut in Great Balls of Fire, portraying James Van Eaton, drummer with Jerry Lee Lewis (played by Dennis Quaid) and other ’50s-era Sun Records artists. Nixon, a proficient drummer, spent several weeks studying vintage TV clips and changed his drumming style to match that of Van Eaton. However, as it turned out, the skills of Nixon and movie bandmates John Doe and Jimmie Vaughan were never utilized. The actors mimed Lewis’s original Sun Records recordings.
A decade later, blink-182’s Tom DeLonge and Mark Hoppus portrayed ’60s surf duo Jan and Dean in the 1999 CBS-TV mini-series Shake, Rattle & Roll. Their musical input in the program was minimal, singing a bit of “Dead Man’s Curve” in a scene set around a publisher’s piano.
In 2004, Jason Mraz portrayed Dion DiMucci of Dion and the Belmonts fame on NBC-TV’s teen drama American Dreams. Set in the ’60s and based around Dick Clark’s music-TV show American Bandstand, the plotline included Mraz as a guest on the show crooning his own take of DiMucci’s “Ruby Baby.”
Only one local group has been re-created for cinematic purposes — Rosie and the Originals. The part of Rosie Hamlin was played by Jeanette Jurado of vocal trio Exposé. Jurado and actors playing the band sang Rosie and the Originals’ lone hit, 1962’s “Angel Baby,” during a scene of an early ’60s teen dance in the 1995 film My Family.
According to Nixon, attention to detail in Great Balls of Fire was important to his role, but only to a point. “Van Eaton told me he used to put his wallet on his tom drum to deaden the sound. When I did it for a scene, the producer told me not to bother, since you probably couldn’t see it on the screen anyway.”
Nixon spent a month in London and three months in Memphis working on the film and cites his time between takes as the most exciting. Although the band was miming, the equipment was real, so the musicians would jam whenever the cameras weren’t rolling. The ad hoc band even managed to squeeze in a few gigs. “We were staying a block off Beale Street, so we went and borrowed equipment from one of the bands playing in a bar there. The crowd wouldn’t let us pay for our drinks, and we got to play rock ’n’ roll where it all started. Does it get any better?”
Though Nixon is now semiretired from music and concentrates on his Sirius Radio show, The Loon in the Afternoon, if the opportunity arose, he would jump at the chance to play ’50s rocker J.P. Richardson — the Big Bopper. The singer of 1958 hit “Chantilly Lace” died in the plane crash that killed Buddy Holly and Ritchie Valens and has been portrayed in several films, including The Day the Music Died, due February 3. Nixon considers his own booming voice and larger-than-life personality a perfect fit for the part. “That’s a role I was born to play,” he laughs.
An additional bonus to Nixon’s acting in “Great Balls of Fire” was getting co-star Winona Ryder, who played Lewis’ 15 year old wife in the movie, to spend a little of her movie off time co-starring in his video for “Debbie Gibson is Pregnant with My Two Headed Love Child.” Naturally partner in crime at the time, Skid Roper also makes an appearance.
Debbie Gibson commented on Nixon’s song in an interview, claiming to have written a response song to the tune. It remains unheard. :http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mz1YGBCFNiI&feature=related
Mojo Nixon as 50’s era Sun Session / Jerry Lee Lewis drummer James Van Eaton: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MDo6EkJtKqs&feature=related
Blink-182 as 60’s surf duo Jan & Dean: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KhCFRcAl7ys
Jason Mraz as sixties icon Dion: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tKtnSTpkWfo
Rosie and the Originals recreated in this clip: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VCYknTY6u4A
And just because I’m a completist, here’s two more role playing clips from locals:
Blink-182, collectively, as sixties TV show icon Theodore “Beaver” Cleaver, in this “Leave it to Beaver” parody: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4tgPhdGPaZM
And very minor indeed, but Jewel appears in the Judy Garland role of Dorothy in this stage production of “The Wizard of Oz”: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LNntXzI1EkU
NEW MUSICIAN INTERVIEW: MARY DOLAN
In Bloom - Singer-songwriter Mary Dolan — a fixture in the San Diego music scene in the ’90s — was off the local radar for several years. “Our son Jack was born in November 2004, the day before my ...********************************************************* MISHEARD LYRICS For anyone who ever sang “and there’s a wino down the road” during “Stairway To Heaven,” www.kissthisguy.com invites posts from those who’ve long mistaken or misheard song lyrics. Entries feature the actual lyric followed by listeners’ erroneous interpretations, with some contributors describing when and where they first found out the real words. Searchable by song title or artist, several artists with local ties evidently need diction lessons. Blink 182 – real lyric from The Rock Show: “I fell in love with the girl at the rock show/She said ‘What’ and I told her that I didn't know.” Misheard as “I went down on the girl at the rock show/She said ‘What’ and I told her Garfield was a show.” Also, blink’s title lyric to What’s My Age Again was misheard as “Where’s my Asian friend?” Gary Puckett & The Union Gap – real lyric from Woman, Woman: “Have you got cheating on your mind?” Misheard as “Have you got cheese on your mouth?”
Iron Butterfly’s title lyric from 1968’s In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida was variously misheard as “In a garage in Toledo,” “In the garden I pe-d in” and “I'm the god of Velveeta.”
Tijuana native Carlos Santana was mistranslated, with his title lyric from Oye Como Va misheard as commercial pitches for imaginary products called “Jimmy Cocoa Pops” and “Oil-Up Cocoa Butter.”
Tom Waits wrote Innocent When You Dream with the bittersweet line “I gave my love a locket and then I broke her heart,” misheard in a much darker context as “I gave my love a lockjaw and then I broke her arm.”
Stone Temple Pilots – real lyric from Big Bang Baby: “We used to see in color, now it's only black & white.” Misheard as “You should see them coming, Hall & Oates in black & white.” Real lyric from STP’s Big Empty: “Her dizzy head is conscience-laden.” Misheard as “Her lazy head is constipated.” Real lyric from STP’s Plush: “And I feel that time’s a wasted go.” Misheard as “And I'm feeling like a ham and mustard shake.”
Jewel would seem to have the worst pronunciation skills of all local artists (insert your own dental joke here), with over a dozen misheard lyrics from several different songs quoted. Real lyric from Foolish Games: “I got my eggs, I got my pancakes too.” Misheard as “I got my AIDS, I got my backaches too.” Real lyric from You Were Meant For Me: "I kinda like it in my brand new place." Misheard as "I found a maggot in my bran-oat flakes." Real lyric from Deep Water: “And when you're drowning in deep water, and you wake up making love to a wall.” Misheard as “And when you're drowning in deep water, and you wake up making love to a whale.” Jewel’s line in “The Morning Song” which says “We'll sit on the front porch, the sun can warm my feet” was misheard as “You’ll sit on the front porch sucking on my feet.” From the same song, “Don’t worry about what your sister said” was misheard as “Don’t wonder about that ol’ Sister Sledge.” Finally, Jewel’s title lyric to Who Will Save Your Soul? was misheard by one whimsical (or deeply disturbed) listener as “Who will shave your mole?” Performers with local ties also have Misheard Lyrics listed at www.amiright.com:
Pearl Jam is at #3 on a list of “Most Difficult To Understand” bands. One time OB surfer Eddie Vedder sang “Whoa, I’m still alive” but was misheard pitching “Whoa I love Amstel light” and whining “Woe I’m sterilized.” A line from later in the song, “And if so, if so, who answers, who answers?,” was misheard as “And I smoke, smoke, Winstons, Winstons.” From PJ’s “Animal,” the line “I’d rather be with an animal” was misheard as “I’d rather speed with an enema” and “I’d rather pee in a urinal.” From PJ’s “Satan’s Bed,” the line “Jump off a cliff, don't need your help, so back off” was misheard as “John Bobbitt, please don't leave your nuts on my car.” Eddie Vedder sang Glorified Version of a Pellet Gun, misheard as “Low-flying version of a pelican.” Finally, from “Better Man,” the line “Can’t find a better man” was, despite the song title, variously misheard as “Can't find my bed again,” “Campfire or a Batman,” “Can't find the butter man,” “Can't find a beer again,” “Can't find a buttered ham.” More misheard lyrics of performers with local ties can be found at ivillage.co.uk:
POD’s title lyric to “I And Identify” was misheard as “I am a dental file.” From their song “Sleeping Awake” (on the Matrix Reloaded soundtrack), the line “explain these motions and metaphors, unlock these secrets in me” was misheard as “In pain this moping and metal force, unlock these sequestered inmates.” P.O.D.’s real lyric from Youth Of The Nation “told the world how he felt, with the sound of a gat” makes a gun reference (gat), mistaken as a unique suicide weapon when misheard as “Took his own life with the side of a cat.” The title lyric itself was misheard as “use your imagination.”
From Switchfoot’s “Meant To Live,” the line “Dreaming about Providence and whether mice or men have second tries” was misheard as “Dream about pounding dents and whether nicer men have sucky tires.”
Jason Mraz, in “On Love, In Sadness,” sang “And we just lay awake in lust and rust in the rain,” but this was misheard as “And we just layaway in Los Angeles a rusted ring.” Additional local-centric Misheard Lyrics can be found at www.iusedtobelieve.com:
Bauhaus, with local scenester David J, were singing “Bela Lugosi’s Dead,” misheard as “Bella The Goose is dead.”
The Beach Boys, who once owned a Mission Beach nightclub, sang in Kokomo of “that Monserrat mystique,” misheard as “that man’s a rotten stinker.
Local casino shill Kenny Rogers sang of Lucille leaving him with “four hungry kids and a crop in the field,” misheard alternately as “four hundred kids had a crap in the field” and “four horny kids and a box of oatmeal.”
Part-time Encinitas resident, the late George Harrison, had his title lyric to Got My Mind Set On You misheard as “Oh God, my mom sat on you.”
North County’s David Gates wrote one of Bread’s biggest hits, Make It With You, misheard as “naked with you.” In “Hello I Love You,” onetime Clairemont Boy Scout Jim Morrison sang “Do you hope to pluck this dusky jewel?” --- misheard as “Do you hope to f-ck this dusty Jew?” Blink 182 seemed strangely enthusiastic about Judaism in “What’s My Age Again?” when “Why would you wish down on me?” was misheard as “While a Jew was down on me.” Jason Mraz’ “The Remedy” confused several medically uninformed listeners, when the line “is sure to outlast his catastrophe” was misheard as “a sugar high blast of colostomy.” In the same song, “We will cure this dirty old disease” was misheard as “She has the dirty hoe disease.” Jim Croce played Lothario in the title lyric to “Time In a Bottle,” only to be misheard as the far less romantic “Mime in a brothel.” In Croce’s “Operator,” the observation “Guy she said she knew well and sometimes hated” was misheard as the decidedly more troubling “Guy's just such a nude that sometimes I hate him.” From Ratt’s “Round And Round,” the line “Tightening our belts, abused ourselves” was misheard as “Titanium bells appease the Celts” and “Taco Bells and pizza sells.” Finally, POD’s attempt at a shout out for their old San Diego ‘hood in “Boom,” singing “I never knew that a kid like me could take his mic around the world and flash the big S.D” was misheard as the less local-centric “could take his bike around the world and flash a big ass Dee.” One listener spent years thinking the Cal Worthington Ford TV commercial theme “Go See Cal” was actually a song about a “Pussy Cow.”
And that, boys and girls, is why Mission Beach High’s own Frank Zappa invented the lyric sheet in 1964 (debuting the following year in his Freak Out LP). ********************************************
OBSCENITY VS PARODY = THE MUSICAL MIND RAPIST
“Each time, the content in question was satire. And each time my point was all-but-obvious, but the people going against me took my point the least reasonable way, I think intentionally.”
Sometimes, just his song is deleted, such as “I Love God” (“I wanna f-ck God, I’m not even kidding”) and "Jesus Saves" ("I shanghaid a bus full of Jewish children, had my own mini-Holocaust, yay!")
Christ says his obscenity-laden lyrics are “my calling-to-arms against day to day cowardice and apathy.” He resents emails complaining about titles like “T-tty Cancer Is Karma,” and he keeps reposting his musical video for “Rape Is Funny” on YouTube, despite it being deleted by site administrators on multiple occasions.
RECENT MUSIC DOWNLOADS?
1. King Crimson, "Happy With What You Have to Be Happy With"
2. Metallica, "The Outlaw Torn"
3. Tool, "Eulogy"
“The above songs facilitate negative energy, which is useful when writing about negative subjects, which I often do.”
4. Tori Amos, "Winter"
5. Sarah McLachlan, "Building a Mystery"
6. Phil Ochs, "There But For Fortune"
“These are melancholy songs that serve me well as mental enemas, for all the negative energy that's leftover after my own [song]writing.”
“Fight Club. To me, its main theme is the inevitable inviolability of self-determination. You cannot escape it, try as you might.”
BIGGEST POLITICAL CONCERNS?
1. “Eugenics, also known as abortion rights.”
3. “Faith-driven atheist/theist fanatics.”
4. “Otters and seals getting their necks caught in 6-pack plastic litter.”
LAST TWO BOOKS READ?
1. Essays and Aphorisms, Arthur Schopenhauer
2. Fundamental Principles of the Metaphysics of Morals, Immanuel Kant (“Both are books about ethics.”)
Arial">Hitler.org: “Online versions of Hilter's writing, and translation of speeches that he gave. Why visit it? In this day-and-age of everyone hating what they're told to hate, simply because they're told to hate it, politics get muddled and lazy. If a historical figure, his actions, his ideology is worth hating, then it's worth know why. Hitler.org is a great way to learn not only why to hate Hitler, but also why the elites of our culture want to you to simply hate him…there are many stark parallels between Hilter's politics and the USA's.”
FINISH THIS SENTENCE: IF I HAD A MILLION DOLLARS…
“…I would consult with a range of economists, ecologists, and political analysts; develop talking points, based on what I believe, coupled with what I learn from them; then co-ordinate a nation-wide speaking-engagement schedule, with every school, church, etc. that would have me, and explain to children of all ages (3 to 30 to 130) how having a million dollars won't solve anything for you, if your priorities are bad.”
TOP 5 GUILTY PLEASURES
1. “Saying things simply to disarm people.”
2. “Swearing profusely; I do this to make it clear that swearing isn't simply the sign of a weak vocabulary, weak mind, etc."
3. “Group sex.”
4. “Earnestly engaging proselytes (Jehovah's Witnesses, Mormons, etc.), until they want to leave.”
5. “Bragging about my dick size in public. When I do this, it's usually to diffuse petty undermining that's going on around me.”
SOMETHING ABOUT YOU FEW WOULD KNOW OR GUESS?
“I listen to Ani DiFranco.”
MORE BLOG ENTRIES:
"Pussycat Theaters - When 'Cathouses Ruled California" -- for the first time, the detailed inside story of the west coast Pussycat Theater chain of adult moviehouses, which peaked in the '70s but later died out. Told by those who actually ran the theaters! http://www.sandiegoreader.com/weblogs/bands/2008/aug/07/pussycat-theater-history-when-cathouses-ruled-ca-n/
"Before It Was The Gaslamp: Balboa's Last Stand" - Cover story 6-21-07: In the late 70s/early 80s, I worked at downtown San Diego's grindhouse all-night movie theaters, for the owner of the Pussycat Theatre chain, Vince Miranda - this detailed feature recalls those dayz, the death of the Balboa Theatre, etc.
"Battle Of The Peeps" - feature article about a weird gig I had in the mid-'80s, running a strip club called Jolar, for the nation's second biggest pornographer, Harry Mohney (Deja Vu Showgirls founder).
"Field Of Screens" - Cover story 7-6-06: Complete theater-by-theater history of San Diego drive-ins thru the years, including a few which screened X-rated fare for awhile.
THE KOMPLETE KISS KOMIX KRONICLES - Comprehensive collection of stuff I’ve done about working with Kiss on a comic book series, along with a bunch of never-before-seen artifacts from the Kiss Komix archives AND an article by Kiss comic author Spike Steffenhagen, offering his own very-different take, ala Rashomon, on the same events I describe in my essay...
ROCK 'N' ROLL COMICS: THE INSIDE STORY - In 1989, local Revolutionary Comics ("Unauthorized And Proud Of It") launched Rock 'N' Roll Comics, featuring unlicensed biographies of rock stars, most of which I wrote. Some performers, like Frank Zappa and Kiss, were supportive, while others like New Kids On The Block considered our comics akin to bootlegs and sued. In June 1992, publisher Todd Loren was found dead in his San Diego condo, brutally murdered...
NEW KIDS ON THE BLOCK VS REVOLUTIONARY COMICS - The inside story of how a hugely successful boy band tried to sue local-based Rock 'N' Roll Comics over an unauthorized biography of the group, sparking a court case that established, for the very first time, first amendment rights for comic books. Illustrated by comic superstar Stuart Immonen (Superman, etc.)...
OVER A MILLION CARNAL COMICS ARE IN PRINT - Here's how and why we made some of the top-selling erotic comics of all time, right here in San Diego, including what Gene Simmons has to do with it all, backstage tales of porn stars, and more confessions of a comic pornographer...
COMICS AND CENSORSHIP - DON'T BE AFRAID, IT'S ONLY A COMIC BOOK - A local-centric history of comic book censorship, and the fight for the rights of comic creators...
TWILIGHT ZONE AND STAR TREK WRITER GEORGE CLAYTON JOHNSON PRESENTS - The inside story of a local horror comic book series featuring Robert Bloch, author of Psycho, plus sci-fi king Larry Niven, Zap Comix co-founder Spain Rodriguez, Matthew Alice artist Rick Geary, Vampire Lestat painter Daerick Gross, yours truly JAS, and many more...
THE BIRTH OF IMAGE COMICS: INSIDE STORY OF A LOCAL PUBLISHING POWERHOUSE - Illustrated tale revealing how Spawn creator Todd McFarlane and local comic artist Jim Lee (the Punisher, etc.) conspired to create the ultimate creator-owned comic books...
THE ROCKETEER AND OTHER FAMOUS '80S COMICS BEGAN RIGHT HERE IN SAN DIEGO - Here's a detailed history of local Pacific Comics, who recruited comic superstars like Jack Kirby to create one of the first successful indie comic book lines. Pioneers in the fight for comic creators' rights and royalties, former employees and operators reveal how they did it, and what went so terribly wrong...
************************************************** How I Snuck Into Around 100 Local Concerts -- Not that we advocate breaking the law, mind you -- most of these venues are long gone, and the statutes of limitations have passed, so here's what I did and how I did it. http://www.sandiegoreader.com/weblogs/bands/2008/aug/21/viejas-pays-20k-to-local-cover-band-plus-casb74f5f/ *********************************************** *********************************************** Turn On, Tunes In, Drop Out -- A History of Personal Music Players http://www.sandiegoreader.com/weblogs/bands/2008/aug/21/viejas-pays-20k-to-local-cover-band-plus-casb74f5f/ ********************************************* ********************************************* Soundmen Sound Off -- Locals talk about the perks and perils of running the soundboard. Includes former Grateful Dead/Owsley sound guy Jimbo James, Jeff Kelley of Price of Dope and more. http://www.sandiegoreader.com/weblogs/bands/2008/aug/21/viejas-pays-20k-to-local-cover-band-plus-casb74f5f/ ************************************************* ************************************************* Concerts Are Making You Deaf -- The research is done and the results are in - your ears are f-ucked! An audiological overview, including interviews with locals who know a bit about ear damage. http://www.sandiegoreader.com/weblogs/bands/2008/aug/21/viejas-pays-20k-to-local-cover-band-plus-casb74f5f/ ************************************************** ************************************************** Horn If You're Honky -- Musical car horns, and the honkies who love them. Can your car horn really help you pick up women? Who's buying car horns that sound like machine gun fire? Do women need No Honking Zones to feel safe on the sidewalk? http://www.sandiegoreader.com/weblogs/bands/2008/aug/21/viejas-pays-20k-to-local-cover-band-plus-casb74f5f/ ****************************************
UNDERAGE SWING DANCERS
DARK METAL IN SAN DIEGO - Glorifying Satan (portrayed as an actual anthropomorphic being) is a popular motif and marketing axis for many groups, amusing rock critics as much as it horrifies the PMRC. Most of these local bands have one thing in common; using morbid narrative, death-centered ideals, and grotesque imagery as their greatest focus and priority, often (IMO) at the expense of musical form...
A HISTORY OF DEATH METAL - Comic strip by JAS and Kiss Comics artist Scott Pentzer...
GOTHS FOR JESUS: PASTOR DAVE'S CHRISTIAN GOTHS - From the start, Pastor Dave was interested in starting a ministry for goth kids. He saw in them a fondness for the iconography and rituals endemic to church tradition (crosses, candles, incantations, etc.), as well as great intellectual capacity, emotional depth, and spiritual yearning....
RACIST ROCK: DO THE WHITE THING - a History of SoCal Racist Rock - White power rock music provides the rallying call which unites racists and Nazi-inclined Skinheads who hope to develop a common culture - or at least present the appearance of one. Racist rock expouses hostile ideology, directed against non-whites, particularly anyone of Negro or Jewish descent; the lyrics are angry, nihilistic, and all about advocating intolerance, if not actual violence, against minorities....
CREEPY OLD GUY GOES TO A RAVE - For a tutorial in rave culture, I first read the message board archives at socal-raves. The group philosophy stresses individualism and a come-as-you-are acceptance of all who enter. However, at the parties attended by your humble-and-humbled forty-something narrator, an unmistakable dress code was evident, with certain constants seeming to be at least preferred, if not required.....
WHERE IS THE READER'S HIP-HOP COVERAGE? - “Rap isn’t synonymous with hip-hop,” I’m told by DJ EVS (real name Evan McGinnis), of the three-piece Mission Infinite. “I think KRS-One [a social/political rapper, co-founder of Boogie Down Productions] defined it best: ‘Rap is something you do, hip-hop is something you live.’ Rap is the style of how you compose your words, the rhyming and rhythm. Kind of like scat. Hip-hop is how you talk, how you wear your clothes, more of the lifestyle”.....
STAR TREK: THE CONTINUING MISSION - INTERVIEW WITH PATRICK McCRAY - Star Trek: The Continuing Mission is a fan-made noncommercial, nonprofit enterprise, not necessarily authorized by Trek owners at Paramount, but not discouraged either. Since the demise of TV’s Star Trek: Enterprise, productions like The Continuing Mission are helping to keep the franchise alive with fresh, new stories....
Like this blog? Here are some related links:
OVERHEARD IN SAN DIEGO - Several years' worth of this comic strip, which debuted in the Reader in 1996: http://www.sandiegoreader.com/photos/galleries/overheard-san-diego/
FAMOUS FORMER NEIGHBORS - Over 100 comic strips online, with mini-bios of famous San Diegans: http://www.sandiegoreader.com/photos/galleries/famous-former-neighbors/
SAN DIEGO READER MUSIC MySpace page: http://www.myspace.com/sandiegoreadermusic
JAY ALLEN SANFORD MySpace page: http://www.myspace.com/jayallensanford
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