James Call: Keyboards

Genre: Rock

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From 1978 to 1985, James Call played keyboards in the Penetrators, the proto-punk band that helped to create the San Diego alternative music scene. “We were thinking that heavy metal was dirtbag, over-the-hill dinosaur rock. We thought we were the Next Big Thing. We played a gig with what was then Mickey Ratt [later Ratt]. They made fun of us for being punk rock new wavers, and we made fun of them for being a heavy metal hair band. Here was San Diego saying we were the Next Big Thing, but they went on to get huge.”

In addition, Call co-hosted the Sunday night Adventures in Paradise show, which aired on Sunday nights on 91X from 1983-85. “We were the first ones to do eclectic radio since the old KPRI underground days of the ’60s and ’70s. There’s very little radio I listen to now.”

In the mid 1990s, Hall spun classic lounge music while DJing at the Hanalei. “That ended when they remodeled.” By the time the year 2000 rolled in, Call had been DJing at the Pure Platinum strip club (formerly Dirty Dan’s) on Pacific Highway for over seventeen years. “When I first started, Aerosmith, AC/DC, and Bob Seger were huge,” said Call about the most popular topless tunes of 1983. “Prince and Madonna have always been big.”

Call says that nude and topless dancers need to understand that “guy music” works best in a strip club. “Sometime I’ll try and talk a dancer out of doing a particular song. If you have a room full of people who are all hopped up after Tupac and Old Dirty Bastard, you probably don’t want to follow it with Sarah McLachlan...I remember one dancer who always wanted to [dance to] Joni Mitchell. The guys started looking around and getting real antsy.”

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