Walter Mencken 2:37 p.m., March 1
When Tom Jones Met Elvis, Sexy Lyrics, Watchmen Review, Local Band Ch-Ch-Changes, more
The READER wants info about RECORD RELEASES AND UPCOMING RECORD RELEASE EVENTS! And we want to INTERVIEW the performers - rather than just print the when/where/how-much-will-it-cost-me, our new column includes quotes from the band at hand, why Reader readers should checkitout, what yer up to, and maybe we'll ask a stupid question that gets a great answer - been known to happen! Have you READ our paper????
So SEND ME ANY AND ALL info about upcoming record releases (and about the upcoming record, 'natch), here or at email@example.com, and I'll get back to you with a query or three. The writeups run in both the print edition and online, and all are eligible for the daily spotlights, etc -- JAS
Press illo to play the Overheard song!
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
HERE’S THIS WEEK’S NEW Overheard in San Diego
AND THE NEW Famous Former Neighbors
WHEN TOM JONES MET ELVIS
Since ‘ol Tom Jones will be playing a sold-out show at the Belly Up on Monday, March 9 -----------
Here's a Tom Jones-related excerpt from my Reader feature "How Not To Interview a Celebrity" -------------
Worst interruption or distraction: Courtney Love's cootchie [Civic Theater 12-12-94]:
Backstage at 91X's Christmas concert, I was trying to have an earnest conversation with legendary crooner Tom Jones, but seated on a bench just opposite where we stood was Hole singer Courtney Love.
Love kept lifting her short raggedy dress to her chin every time Jones looked in her direction, knees akimbo far more than was necessary for us to ascertain that she wasn't wearing panties and that her hygiene routine apparently didn't include razors or wax.
Love winked at Jones with every flash but the Welsh sex symbol, to his credit, didn't even acknowledge the dark and frightening pelvic forest she was trying to lure him toward.
That is until just as I was turning off my tape recorder to leave, whereupon he leaned over and whispered in my ear "On the bright side, I don't have to worry about her throwing her undergarments at me!"
"How Not To Interview A Celebrity" - includes Stan Lee, Rick Danko and Gene Simmons (see above photos), as well as Axl Rose, Arthur Lee, Dr. Dre, Robbie Krieger, Gene Roddenberry, Pee Wee Herman, Tom Jones, Arthur Lee, Randy California, Vampira, Traci Lords, and more. http://www.sandiegoreader.com/weblogs/bands/2008/aug/21/x-jam-cancellation-controversy-plus-how-i-snuck-in/
SEXY LYRICS = Teen Sex???
Teenagers who listen to songs with degrading sexual lyrics are more likely to engage in intercourse or pre-coital activities, according to a report in the April issue of the locally-published American Journal of Preventive Medicine.
Surveys conducted with around 700 ninth-grade students at three urban high schools indicate that those with the most exposure to degrading lyrics (as determined by researchers), up 14 hours each week, were more than twice as likely to have had sexual intercourse.
Among students claiming to be virgins, “Those in the highest third of exposure to lyrics describing degrading sex were nearly twice as likely to have progressed along a non-coital sexual continuum, compared to those in the lowest third,” according to Brian A. Primack, MD.
“In fact, exposure to lyrics describing degrading sex was one of the strongest associations with sexual activity.”
Itunes currently sells “clean” versions of digital albums without explicit lyrics, while the Wal-Mart chain will only carry albums like Nirvana’s In Utero if the song title “Rape Me” is replaced with the inexplicable (and perhaps even dirtier sounding) “Waif Me.”
MySpace deletes any account flagged by another user as containing explicit or offensive music.
“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” with the lyric “I wanna f-ck God, I’m not even kidding.”
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.
WHO WATCHES THE WATCHMEN?? ME!! HERE’S THE FIRST
WHO WATCHES THE WATCHMEN?? ME!! HERE’S THE FIRST
Okay, the credits are still onscreen, so let me get one thing out of the way first.
Now then, realize that I’m a guy whose entire adult career has involved comics. I worked my way up from retail comic shops (most notably Comics Etc. in the Mira Mesa mall), to wholesale distribution (Pacific Comics, then Diamond Distribution, then Bud Plant), and then I became a comic book creator (around 200 comics, so far) and, eventually, a comic publisher, to some fair measure of success, albeit very little acclaim (see links after review for more). Reader readers know me as the guy behind Overheard In San Diego and Famous Former Neighbors (in case yer new ‘round here - if you are....nice to meetcha, set a spell why dontcha, maybe checkout my comic strips at the above links later if yer looking fer more) -------------
So I’m a big believer in the power of comics, to entertain, to inform, and – at their best - to engage.
Watchmen – The Movie was the most engaging comic book-related movie I’ve seen. And the most entertaining. AND - as I'll get to when I talk about my fellow moviegoers tonight - it most certainly informed. Most amazingly, against all odds, the film did indeed manage to capture a lot of the storytelling form and underlying heart pioneered so successfully by the original Watchmen comic creators.
Which is not to say it was a perfect movie…..
For one thing, the music misfires. Frequently. Songs by the likes of Simon and Garfunkel and – gawd help us – Nena (“99 Luftballoons,” fer chrissakes), are far too fixed in our real world recollections to be anything but jarring in the Watchmen universe.
Yeah, yeah, Luftballoons is about nuclear war, one of the movie’s “big” themes, and Hendrix sings “Two riders were approaching” just as Owl Man and Rorschach are staggering thru the snow to Ozymandias’ arctic hideaway (having ridden there in the Owl Ship) – chuckle chuckle. Now get back to the movie -----
The performances (all but one) are pitch perfect.
They would/will be, I think, even to most people who HAVEN’T read the source comics. Jackie Earle Haley as Rorschach in particular -- it’s hard to believe that he's the grown-up geeky kid from Breaking Away (a 1979 fave of mine).
The problem with Rorschach, in the film AND the comics, is the apparent celebration of his sociopathic actions/dialogue/costuming/worldview, which is taken a step further yet in the film than in the comics (especially the revolting accompanying movie sound FX, all the more quease-inducing in perfect 21st century Hollywood S-T-E-R-E-O-ON-S-T-E-R-O-I-D-S).
This becomes doubly troubly when one is surrounded by a theater audience peppered with enough of its own sociopaths that Rorschach’s MOST abhorrent actions, and his sickest inner monologues, were greeted with hoots and cheers that didn’t indicate the slightest trace of irony, let alone what should pass as "humor."
Real people will always be scarier than the worst of movie mustache twirlers ----
BUT, to accept Watchmen as alternate reality – something that could REALLY be real, in a really real world --- for real --- one must accept the premise that there HAS to be a Rorschach in a Watchmen world. As dark is to light, as night to day, yin to yang, frick to frack, Beavis to Butthead....you know what I mean.
The Watchmen world needs Rorschach like it needs air, earth, and water --- i
The Watchmen world needs Rorschach like it needs air, earth, and water --- if only to counterbalance the childlike, chimerical (and ultimately idiotic) optimism at the other end of the superhero spectrum, the shallow end of the pool, where costumed heroes pose for newspaper photos with their leather hip boots planted heavily atop the unconscious head of a fallen evil-doer.
Where the good guys always win.
When the stars always - eventually - align, for even the most starcrossed of lovers.
Where – to paraphrase Kink-y Ray Davies – heroes never feel pain, and heroes never die.
Rorschach is the deep end of the pool. WAY deep. OFF the deep end, in fact, and falling fast toward bottomless ------
The other characters all ring fairly true to their comic counterparts, and I think they’ll feel real to non-comic types too. Despite (and sometimes thanks-to) the often silly costuming (superheroes, by definition as much as design, dress funny).
I mean, great moviemaking transcends genre, and everything about Watchmen: The Movie is pretty great, from the performances to the costumes, the tech, the script, the minute set details, even Doc Manhattan’s otherworldly blue glow and his occasionally 50-foot penis –
There are so many amazing and striking visuals that I could spend the next ten hours just listing the ones I noticed --- stuff like how the Comedian's teardrops roll down the countour of a jagged facial scar he suffered at the hands of the pregnant mistress he was murdering, with said teardrops then disappearing like phantoms into the graying grizzle of his unshaven (but still cleft and manly) chin.
There’s a much bigger story being told in Watchmen than the end of superheroes, or even the end of the world ----
Bigger even than the various love stories that unfold (a couple of the movie’s other rare misfires happen during the “sex” scenes, even/especially when suddenly there are at least FIVE blue penises flopping around Doc Manhattan's very flustered young girlfriend).
The big picture is the one of humanity itself. Watchmen holds up all the ugly, for all to see, side-by-side with all the love, the power, the piety, and all the other messy ingredients that make up mankind. Holds them up and presents them as one long unchanging, unending sequence ("sequential art" is a phrase commonly - perhaps wistfully - used to describe comics), ie one of those old “infinity cover” comics, where someone is holding a comic with a cover of them holding the comic, with a cover of them holding the comic, with a cover of them holding the comic, the same image repeated again and again, unto infinity, with no indication that one image is greater or less - or first or last - compared to the others.
Watchmen: The Movie holds all of this up before us, (im)perfectly framed within the felt trim that surrounds the movie screen, with no one facet of mankind deemed greater, or lesser, or more or less important than any other. Each ingredient that makes us the malicious, miraculous, bug-fuggen crazy mofos we are, each is necessary, in equal measure, to what we were, are, and will ever be. For better or worse.
Which is depressing.
As is Watchmen: The movie.
Me, I give 9 and a half stars.
In awhile, I'll be able to watch Watchmen on DVD, without those idiot Rorschach "fans" (???) who verbally orgasmed around me tonight when he killed the midget – sorry, little person - from Seinfeld (the film’s only casting/acting misfire…I kept expecting Kramer to stumble in….).
THEN I'll probably give it a 10 ------------- just watch, man ----------
5:45 a.m. - PS: I'm not about to start patronizing indoor theaters over drive-ins. DIs get 99 per cent of my theatrical business - Until tonight, I've only seen two full movies indoors in the last ten years (Spider-Man 1 and the Exorcist re-release). Also indoors, I've seen two partial movies in ten years, whose bugfuggen audiences drove me from my seat, both the same night (Very Bad Things, where they were laughing thru a drawn out bloody prostitute murder, and that movie about middle easterns being rounded up in NY concentration camps, I can't be bothered to look up the name)
That said, I'm astounded at the state of the art in indoor movie SOUND!!
Holy crap, I almost fell out my chair during a few explosive moments, probably cuz of living so long in the CA quake zone and always being ready to bolt out the nearest door whenever the seats shake ----
Not much else (other than the movie) impressed - charging $4.75 for a medium coke should be prosecutable. And I can't believe people put up with the volume and repetition of plain old commercials on the screen, pretty much nonstop between films. Especially the same spots over and over and over and over -maddening ---
Before Watchmen tonight, my other indoor movie was Coraline in 3D, a stop-motion creepy crawly based on a story by comic guys Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean and produced by many of the crew behind Nightmare Before Christmas and Corpse Bride. Even without Burton and Depp, it was a fine movie, and not at all bad in 3D. I didn't realize they'd refined 3D so much, and it was cool that I could take off the glasses and still watch a pretty regular looking movie, other than occasional short bits designed for stereoscopic (possibly quadroscopic?) separation.
Another neat factor was that I was the only person in that theater, for the whole flick - not one other patron ever came thru the doors (one of the smallest rooms in a big multiplex). It was KINDA like being in my car at a drive-in ----- I could scratch anywhere and anything I pleased.
My kinda movie night -------------------
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.)...
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...
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...
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...
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...
NEW MUSIC STORIES - MARCH 4TH
The Ultimate Palate Cleanser - Singer-songwriter Kenny Eng is a self-taught guitarist. “I took piano early on,” he says, “but basically picked up the guitar by ear...” ( More Ultimate Palate Cleanser )
The Stage-Mom Thing - “It’s very hard to find young musicians, especially who know Latin music,” says 15-year-old jazz pianist Chase Morrin. “Not only to find the skill necessary...” ( More Stage-Mom Thing )
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Local acts going through changes include frequent SDMA inductees The Coyote Problem. “We’re taking a break,” emails top Coyote Peter Bolland. “Maybe a long one...I’ve decided to step away from the microphone to honor other areas of my life for awhile. Being the front man in a rock and roll band doesn’t hold the same joy for me as it once did. Instead, I feel my joy pulling me in other directions. Artists are restless by nature."
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Lower Definition – the only unsigned local band to play the Taste of Chaos 2006 Sports Arena date – has lost two founding members, drummer/manager Valentino Arteaga and bassist Stefan Toler. “The future of Lower Definition is not 100 percent clear yet,” say remaining band members, who blame the failure of their album The Greatest of All Lost Arts.
“We slaved over this last record for months and handcrafted every topic discussed in it, just to have it not catch as well with the masses. We didn’t expect to sell a million copies or go platinum, but our individual views on success obviously weren’t in sync…[now] we don’t know who is going to be in this band, or when we’re going to start making our ‘comeback,’ or even if we’re going to go by the name Lower Definition.”
Also in limbo are Jack the Original, whose singer/guitarist Gabe Lehner has formed a new band with Steven Bradford of Get Back Loretta (annual SDMA winners 2005 through 2008). Calling themselves Metrofique, the duo are recording songs more mellow, simple, and acoustic-based than their respective bands. “Unfortunately, Jack the Original is on a long hiatus,” says Lehner. “We never officially broke up, so we’re just a band on hiatus that will hopefully do something really cool again someday. We have a second album almost done, but now I have no idea when it will be finished.”
Bassist James Armbrust and drummer Mark Maigaard have left Louis XIV, replaced by Shaun Cornell (Dirty Sweet, Kemistry, Transfer) and Andy Ridley(The Silent Comedy, Fono). The new lineup made its live debut February 16 at The Casbah.
Louis’s occasional fifth member, local violist/keyboardist/guitarist Ray Suen, remains on tour with the Killers, whose February 18 appearance at the U.K. War Child benefit landed Suen onstage with members of Coldplay and Bono of U2. “I’ve tried to stay level-headed about the things that happen while I’m traveling with the Killers,” Suen posted the next day at www.sddialedin.com, “but, seriously, last night was pretty freakin’ rad.”
Titanium’s last show with drummer Alan Spurgeon took place February 27 at Pyrate’s Hideaway (“We need a drummer, spread the word”).
Motley Crue bassist Nikki Sixx has apologized for verbally browbeating a fan from the stage during the band’s February 2 Sports Arena appearance.
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In a video clip circulating online, Sixx is seen talking to the audience while he tosses a plastic water bottle into the crowd. A moment later, a plastic bottle is tossed back toward him, causing the bassist to cuss out a woman in the audience.
“F-ck you, suck my d-ck,” says Sixx, taking his bass partway off to hold up over his head as he walks aggressively to the edge of the stage, pointing at the woman and gesturing for her to come closer.
She wisely declines, whereupon Sixx is seen spitting into the crowd. Taking the mic again, he calls the woman “a f-cking whore” and continues to hurl expletives and anatomical invitations. After putting his bass back on, he points into the crowd and announces “Aw, she’s f-cking crying.” The band then launches into “Primal Scream.”
“I got pretty p-ssed,” posted Sixx on the band’s website. “The way it happened is, I threw a bottle of water to some fans and didn’t realize the very bottle I threw to the fans was thrown back at me. I have to admit, bands get pretty p-ssed when people throw sh-t at you onstage. I didn’t even think it was the same bottle so, with that being said, I’d like to say I’m sorry to the fan who threw the bottle back at me…"
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“We moved in all together in a house out in North Hills, in the
Hoping for their big break, they’ve instead found tough breaks. “We fired our drummer Nick Hanson, due to things that we don’t feel like discussing,” says Clabeaux. “Chance Bray, our singer and guitar player, had a serious accident that prevented him from playing for months.”
“He fell in the shower and broke his fall on the soap dish, severing two tendons in his right hand and lacerating two optical nerves, plus he hit his head on the shower floor, causing a concussion and knocking him unconscious. When he came to on the shower floor, there was blood all around him, with the water still running, like [the shower scene in] Psycho.”
Bray was rushed by ambulance to the hospital, where he underwent emergency surgery to save the use of his middle and index fingers. “All he cared about was whether he’d be able to hold a pick. It took two months for his hand to heal, however the build-up of scar tissue in his middle finger has left it immobile. Another surgery is required to fix it.”
Asked the origin of the band's name, Clabeaux says "[It] came from the foothills behind our neighborhood in El Cajon...years ago, the property was sold to build a new housing development and a Wal-Mart. The hills were a part of all of our childhoods...we felt as if they had been stolen from us. We decided to carve 'Stolen Hills' in one of the concrete slabs in remembrance of the hills. When the band formed, we shortened the name."
MORE NEW MUSIC STORIES FROM THE MARCH 5TH ISSUE
A.I.L.D. RE SRO DVD! BFD? IMHO...
"It's hard to believe that we've been a band for as long as we have yet have never released an official DVD documenting our first 7 years," says As I Lay Dying singer Tim Lambesis. The band's first DVD This Is Who We Are will be a 3-DVD set. Produced and directed by Denise Korycki (Cannibal Corpse), the set includes concert performances (including footage from a San Marcos Jumping Turtle show) and an audio/visual history.
"We've included so much content that you hardly have to like our music to be entertained," according to Lambesis. "With that said, it feels good knowing how many diehard fans over the years have supported our band and their simple enjoyment of our music has given us the chance to see the world!" The set is scheduled for release April 14.
Disc #1 – Main Documentary – approx. two hours: This complete band history includes in depth artist interviews and commentary, interviews with friends and family, as well as observations and road stories from colleagues and bands that have worked with and befriended As I Lay Dying since the band's inception.
Disc #2 – LIVE performances (w/ the current lineup): Over an hour and a half of live performances captured at As I Lay Dying's Southern California shows in November 2008 including the Jumping Turtle near San Diego, The Grove, and Seacoast Community Church, and international festivals such as Wacken and With Full Force, and US festival Cornerstone.
Disc #3 – music videos and bonus features including more touring stories, profiles on personalities and more.
As I Lay Dying (named after the book by William Faulkner) formed in 2001. Guitarist Nick Hipa Hipa describes the band’s music as “brutal, energetic, melodic metal”; drummer Jordan Mancino calls it “metal with ska breakdowns.” The band signed with Metal Blade Records in 2003 and spent 2006 supporting their album Shadows Are Security with opening slots for Slipknot and performances at Ozzfest events around the country.
Asked about being occasionally called “Christian metal,” Hipa says “All of us in the band are Christian dudes and we’re vocal about it and I think our lifestyles and our lyrics reflect that. But at the same time, we also tend to opt to play in the normal music scene because that’s what we love doing.”
As I Lay Dying was named “Artist of the Year” at the 15th annual San Diego Music Awards in 2005. Their album An Ocean Between Us was released August 21, 2007, featuring guest guitarist Adam D from Killswitch Engage. The following week, it cracked the Billboard charts at #8. It lasted eight weeks on Billboard’s Top 200 Chart before dropping off.
At the 2007 San Diego Music Awards, the band took home the trophy for “Artist of the Year” and later that year embarked on a European tour. Their song “Nothing Left” was nominated for “Best Metal Performance” for the 50th Annual Grammy Awards in 2008.
In 2008, singer Tim Lambesis’ side band, Austrian Death Machine, released its debut album, Total Brutal, on Metal Blade Records. Lambesis also appeared on the TV show LA Ink, getting a tattoo Jesus rocking out, while As I Lay Dying won Artist of the Year at the '08 San Diego Music Awards.
A few things about the band members you may not know:
Lambesis: “I often get anemic from a blood-iron deficiency, but you can’t tell just from looking at me. I haven’t fallen off the stage or anything.”
Hipa: “I’m Hawaiian-Japanese, not Mexican.”
Double-bass drummer Mancino: “I love Disney movies, theme parks...pretty much everything to do with Disney.”
As I Lay Dying appear at the Hollywood Palladium on April 3.
ROCK TO RICHES – LOCAL TEACHES ROCK STAR SECRETS OF FINANCIAL SUCCESS
“You can learn a lot about funding from David Bowie, and about branding from Dave Matthews,” says local drummer and author Lee Silber. His new book Rock to Riches, co-written with Andrew Chapman, is a tutorial on what he describes as “Building your own business the rock and roll way. Learning important business lessons about multiple income streaming from Jimmy Buffett is much more interesting and fun than trying to learn from [wealthy investor] Warren Buffett.”
According to Silber, “If you look at the most successful recording artists, many are also astute business people. Madonna, Kiss, and Garth Brooks have all been smart with their money, and not afraid to market themselves and profit from their efforts.”
The San Diego native - an avid surfer - started his first business at age eleven, repainting his neighbors’ mailboxes, later launching a successful chain of surf shops with his two brothers called Waves and Wheels Surfcenters. His first book, The Guide to Dating in San Diego, was followed by thirteen more books, with Rock to Riches being the first of a two-volume deal with Capital Books.
“The thing I stress most is being systematic and getting organized. I’ve learned a lot about being organized, despite my natural, right-brain tendency to want to hang onto everything I have ever owned or borrowed, and keep it out where I can see it.”
“The way I operate now, and what I teach, is that if it’s not on a list, it doesn’t exist.”
Silber's co-author is Andrew Chapman. "Andrew and I met a LONG time ago at a booksigning I was doing at the Barnes and Noble in Encinitas," says Silber. "We hit it off right away since he is also an author and a musician. In fact, we are teaming up on another book right now for Career Press. The idea for Rock To Riches was Andrew's, but because of my prior success in publishing and enthusiasm for the topic, we teamed up."
Regarding their joint writing methods, Silber says "Nobody would ever be able to tell, but Andrew and I wrote entire chapters by ourselves. I can barely remember which is which when reading it now. We worked to our strengths. You also may never be able to tell (but I thought I'd mention it) that Andrew prefers KISS, head-banger music, and more or the modern bands while I like everything from the seventies. I also went WAY back to pull examples from early rock stars, too."
The book is published by Capital Books, based on the east coast. "Our goal for the Rock to Riches book is to sell out of the first printing as fast as possible. That's why I am so thrilled you may be able to get us some much needed exposure in the Reader, the only paper local musicians really read."
The book's Abbey Road-inspired cover certainly conjures up the notion of rock star riches (tho not even Sir Paul McCartney was rich enough to buy back the Beatles' publishing - I wonder how hard he's laughing now at the financial woes of the guy who outbid him, Michael Jackson?). Says Silber, "In the [book cover] photo, my wife is John Lennon, I'm Ringo, and Andrew Chapman is George Harrison."
“I’m a very big fan of Roger Zelazny’s work, and I’ve read all the Amber Chronicles,” says singer/songwriter Eben Brooks, who just finished shooting an elaborate video for his song “Champs Élysées,” inspired by Zelazny’s sci-fi classic Courts of Chaos. “We chose Lestat’s to shoot at, because the writer and director wrote a script that fits perfectly with their setup and décor. Lestat’s has great stone gargoyles!”
Brooks explains the video story: “In Courts of Chaos, from the original Chronicles of Amber, there’s a scene where the protagonist is worried that one of the cornerstones of reality has been destroyed…the only way to save the universe is to create a new cornerstone. While he’s doing that, he lets his mind wander as he creates this new ‘pattern,’ to anchor reality once again. I read that passage, and the imagery was so powerful that I found myself thinking about it a great deal over the next several weeks.”
He says he’s influenced by sci-fi songwriting. “I’ve always been a big fan of Jethro Tull, who tend to weave fantasy and sci-fi elements into their songs. Hawkwind writes music heavily influenced by Michael Moorcock, and there’s always Led Zeppelin’s work based on Tolkien.”
Around a dozen people scheduled to appear in the video were no-shows. “An hour after shooting was to begin, we were frantically calling people to come to Lestat’s. Even the makeup and wardrobe girl ended up on camera, because of the lack of people.” The video for “Champs Élysées” – which opens on one of Lestat’s stone gargoyles - can be viewed at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nsTT2s....
Formerly with the Celtic folk band The Wild Oats (1991 – 2002), Eben Brooks has been playing monthly at Lestat’s since 2000.
ROCK & ROLL HOMICIDE by RJ McDONNELL
“I moved to San Diego in the 1980s and intended to earn a living as a musician,” says author RJ McDonnell, whose just-released novel Rock & Roll Homicide is set amidst the local music scene. “However, I shattered my wrist a few months after my arrival and my plans changed.”
The book concerns Little Italy native Jason Duffy, a musician-turned-private eye investigating the death of a local singer. “Jason’s client is the widow of the deceased rock star,” says McDonnell. “She suspects that the record company, based in downtown San Diego, was involved in her husband’s death…he also investigates the band members, as well as a roadie and a groupie.”
Suspects among the murdered singer’s band include an alcoholic drug addict drummer on the verge of being booted from the group, a bassist who camouflages his rock star status by living in a lower middle-class neighborhood, and a lead guitarist who wrote half of the band’s songs and lives well beyond his means.
The investigation takes Duffy to a Mission Beach bar that resembles London’s West End in PB, a T.G.I. Fridays in El Cajon, Jake’s restaurant in Del Mar, and a Steve Poltz concert at the Belly Up. He also makes trips to Rancho Santa Fe, Cardiff by the Sea, Alpine, and Southeast San Diego.”
“My depiction of San Diego as home to a record label featuring an emerging headline act is my way of acknowledging the quality of music originating in San Diego,” says McDonnell, who resided locally for 26 years but now lives in Pennsylvania. “My love for music and belief in the San Diego music scene has never changed.”
Rock & Roll Homicide by RJ McDonnell is retail priced at $25.95 and is available on Amazon and at www.rockandrollhomicide.com.
FORTY SCHMORTY; LIFE KEEP HAPPENING by EVE SELIS & MATTIE MILLS
Singer/songwriters Eve Selis and Mattie Mills have written a book, Forty Schmorty; Life Keeps Happening. “During the process of writing the book,” says Selis, “Mattie was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 45, and I became pregnant at age 43.”
“Mattie and I helped each other get through this journey,” says Selis. “She went through her chemotherapy with courage and the knowledge that she was going to kick cancer’s ass, not the other way around. I felt powerless over the disease, but knew our friendship would help us conquer anything.” Selis’ sister is a breast cancer survivor.
“As for my pregnancy, our friendship provided support…Mattie had two children in her forties, and had her fourth child at age 45. She was a great inspiration and help to me, because it had been so long since my first pregnancy…my daughter is thirteen years old.”
In addition to their book, the duo blogs about their experiences at FortySchmorty.com, which offers merchandise including BBQ aprons, tote bags, and string thongs, all emblazoned with the FortySchmorty logo. Selis recommends the latter as a gift for men, to purchase for their forty-something wives.
“Most males have been very curious and said that they’d love to read our book, just to get a better idea of what’s inside a women’s mind. It definitely helps answer a lot of questions men have when their wives are going through difficult or challenging times.” In addition to the book, blog, and website, related FortySchmorty podcasts are available from iTunes.
THE SUMMER I DIED by RYAN C. THOMAS
“My first paying sale was a story called ‘Cookies Have No Souls,’ for Space Squid Magazine,” says Buzzbombs guitarist Ryan C. Thomas (aka “Johnny Fuego”), whose side gig is as a horror and sci-fi author. “Up until that sale, all my stories were freebies for webzines or fiction magazine that paid, like, $5 a story.”
The executive editor for North County’s Ranch & Coast Magazine says his first novel The Summer I Died, published by Canada’s Coscom Entertainment (mainly known for comic books), pits rural teens against a razor-happy killer with a man-eating dog. “It’s my attempt to do a written version of a slasher film.” Thomas’ short stories have been published in anthologies like DreamGoblin and Twisted Cat Tales.
The Summer I Died concerns Roger, a nebbish comic book geek of the new Millennium variety, ie less Comic Book Guy and more Kevin Smith but still likely to cut in front of you in line to meet Scott Bakula. Gun totin’ dope smokin’ buddy “Tooth” would like to drag his friend-slash-pet-nerd into a more adventurous and thrill-filled life, far from the four color bubble our hero Roger has so far immersed himself in. As bad luck would have it, he does just that ------
The Summer I died is available at Amazon and at www.ryancthomas.com.
HEAVY MENTAL by IAN SHIRLEY
Author Ian Shirley is by definition what you’d call a rock ‘n’ roll writer, and he would be even if most of his works didn’t concern rock music in some form or other. The same way you can’t help but hear ‘50s doo-wop in your head when you read Christine, or the Sex Pistols whilst you read anything by Richard Meltzer, Shirley’s books seem to come with their own internal aural soundtrack.
In the case of his newly released sci-fi novel Heavy Mental, Shirley actually recorded a song, “Spy on Love,” essentially soundtracking a bit of peep show-inspired naughtiness from his rockin’ opus – you can find that MP3 here.
Dig that ‘70s porn wah-wah!! You can almost smell the chlorine urinals and feel the sticky floors, huh?
Heavy Mental concerns a metal singer named Brett Ray, who finds himself whisked off to another world/reality/dimension/dreamscape/acid peak, ala Adam Strange or John Carter, only instead of becoming a People’s Hero he becomes an accused pigf-cker -------
Far less dunderheaded than heavy metal/cartoon rocker spoofs like Cartoon Network’s Metalocalypse or Britain’s Bad News, Heavy Mental is loaded with nods to the lores and legends of rock, displaying an encyclopedic fondness of the genre and sprinkled with enough witty musical in-jokes to read like a transcript of the best episode of Mystery Science Theater ever dreamed up ------ think "Hitchhiker's Guide To The [Hawkwind]Universe" meets an imaginary Ramones In Space cartoon...by Ralph Bakshi. On acid. G-o-o-o-o-o-d acid.........
Ian Shirley is the author of the definitive books on Bauhaus and the Residents, and he’s written for Mojo, Record Collector, and other pop cultures mags - his first sci-fi novel Shadowplay was published in 1998.
Shirley also authored Can Rock & Roll Save the World, an exhaustive history of comic books and comic strips which have crossed over into the world of rock and roll, and vice versa (a subject of particular interest for me, having perpetrated some of the Rock ‘N’ Roll Comics covered in his colorful art-heavy book).
Heavy Mental was released in October '08, and is available at Amazon, and at www.safpublishing.co.uk.
WHERE'S THE READER'S HIP-HOP COVERAGE? We get a lot of emails asking this, and (hopefully) readers have noticed increased coverage throughout the music section, including Blurt, Lists, Of Note, and Club Crawler... http://www.sandiegoreader.com/weblogs/bands/2007/aug/30/where-is-the-readers-hip-hop-coverage
CELEBRITY HOUSE HUNTING IN SAN DIEGO - Real estate broker Jeff Paiste has squired several famous musicians around San Diego in their search for decent digs to lease or rent, including Bread frontman David Gates and the late George Harrison.... http://www.sandiegoreader.com/weblogs/bands/2007/sep/13/celebrity-house-hunting-in-san-diego
JUDGE JUDY TAKES ON THE BELLY UP TAVERN - So I was watching an afternoon repeat of Judge Judy (I like it when she yells at dumbasses), and lo and behold the episode involved the Belly Up Tavern in Solana Beach. It was the case of “Beauty and the Bouncers”.... http://www.sandiegoreader.com/weblogs/bands/2007/sep/13/judge-judy-takes-on-the-belly-up-tavern
BACKSTAGE RIDER COLLECTION - Deep inside 50 rock and pop star dressing rooms.... http://www.sandiegoreader.com/weblogs/bands/2007/sep/13/backstage-rider-collection-50-rock-star-contracts
BACKSTAGE RIDER ON THE STORM: He Removes the Brown M&Ms Or "Ray Charles Demands a Chicken Fried Steak" - an interview with the Backstage Rider who fulfilled celeb contracts at Humphrey's, the Catamaran, and other San Diego music venues.... http://www.sandiegoreader.com/weblogs/bands/2007/sep/19/backstage-diplomat-he-removes-the-brown-mms
BACKSTAGE RAIDER - HE MOOCHES MEALS FROM ROCK STARS - How one local transient practically lived off backstage buffets.... http://www.sandiegoreader.com/weblogs/bands/2007/sep/19/backstage-moocher-living-off-rock-stars
NEW LOCAL MUSICIAN ONLINE RESOURCE - courtesy of Ike Turner and Tubby drummer Bill Ray, who is also giving away drum tracks at billysbeats.com ---- for FREE.... http://www.sandiegoreader.com/weblogs/bands/2007/sep/24/gigsandiego-new-musician-resource-courtesy-bill-ra
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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