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Good and Sometimes Bad

'I'm a-fixin' to join the pro bowling tour," writes Steve Poltz in a recent blog entry at www.poltz.com/blognews. "I think music is stupid and it all sounds like noise to me. I really feel like I have style and grace when I bowl."

His fans would be heartbroken if he gave up the six-string for three holes in a bowling ball -- Poltz is San Diego's most colorful acoustic guitar-wielding iconoclast. He formed the Rugburns with Robert Driscoll and was instrumental in launching Jewel's career. He released his first solo album with Mercury Records in 1998 and has since created his own label, 98 Pounder Records.

TRICKIEST MUSICAL PROBLEM PLAYING LIVE?

"Trying to read the room when first walking out onstage. There is usually some sort of vibe out there, and I try to see where the audience wants to go. I don't like using set lists because I much prefer improvising. I would get bored using a set list and doing the same show night after night. It is really fun taking a group of strangers and making them join your cult."

INSTRUMENTS USED?

"I own about 30 guitars. Several of them are Taylors -- I am sponsored by them. I have names for all my guitars, and my favorite one is named Flowerpot. There is also Clackety Clack, Trailer Park, Shithead, Steak Knife, etc. I wrote most of the Rugburns stuff on Flowerpot in my living room and on the road. I have a very strange relationship with that guitar. I feel I am too attached to it. It is a Taylor 510 that was built around 1982. I bought it off of a junkie in Santee around 1983. He had it advertised in the PennySaver. I talked him down to 700 bucks, and it was love at first sight. Not with the junkie but with the guitar. I wrote the big Jewel hit 'You Were Meant for Me' on it. After we wrote it in Mexico I said, 'That song sucks. You can have it.' She took it back to Atlantic Records, and they said it was a hit. Little did I know it would go all the way up to number one or two. Me and Flowerpot now had what I like to call 'fuck-you money.' We got to do whatever we wanted -- which is good and sometimes bad."

MOST MEMORABLE SHOW/ENCOUNTER WITH FANS?

"In the Rugburns we got to do a couple shows with the Ramones. This was in Cleveland in front of about 6000 peeps. Sold out. The promoter came in to our backstage room before we went on and said, 'Don't take it personal if the fans start throwing shit at you. It means they love you! Ramones fans just want to see the Ramones.' We came out onstage and right away somebody threw a lemon at me and it hit Flowerpot right in the heart and left a crack. I picked up the lemon and undid my pants and squeezed it all over down my boxers and then squeezed it in my mouth. The crowd went nuts, and after the show I met Joey Ramone and watched from the side of the stage while he ran off to throw up in a trashcan. It was pure poetry."

TOP FIVE FAVORITE BARS/CLUBS IN SAN DIEGO?

"I recently got thrown out of Nunus, so I have decided that it is time to give up the bottle. I have been ejected from a few bars in my day, but this was embarrassing. The Ould Sod on Adams Avenue. I really love playing live at the Casbah. It would be cool to live in one of those apartments right above it. Java Joe's. Joe is a gambler and a smoker and golfer and all-around good soul. The Liar's Club. Louis owns the joint, and he makes good cheeseburgers and has greasy hair and reads Stephen King novels to old folks at nursing homes in his spare time. I really respect that."

TOP FIVE END-OF-THE-WORLD DISCS?

1. Elliott Smith, From a Basement on a Hill

2. Rickie Lee Jones, Pirates

3. The Replacements, Let It Be

4. Jesus Christ Superstar, soundtrack

5. Styx, The Grand Illusion

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'I'm a-fixin' to join the pro bowling tour," writes Steve Poltz in a recent blog entry at www.poltz.com/blognews. "I think music is stupid and it all sounds like noise to me. I really feel like I have style and grace when I bowl."

His fans would be heartbroken if he gave up the six-string for three holes in a bowling ball -- Poltz is San Diego's most colorful acoustic guitar-wielding iconoclast. He formed the Rugburns with Robert Driscoll and was instrumental in launching Jewel's career. He released his first solo album with Mercury Records in 1998 and has since created his own label, 98 Pounder Records.

TRICKIEST MUSICAL PROBLEM PLAYING LIVE?

"Trying to read the room when first walking out onstage. There is usually some sort of vibe out there, and I try to see where the audience wants to go. I don't like using set lists because I much prefer improvising. I would get bored using a set list and doing the same show night after night. It is really fun taking a group of strangers and making them join your cult."

INSTRUMENTS USED?

"I own about 30 guitars. Several of them are Taylors -- I am sponsored by them. I have names for all my guitars, and my favorite one is named Flowerpot. There is also Clackety Clack, Trailer Park, Shithead, Steak Knife, etc. I wrote most of the Rugburns stuff on Flowerpot in my living room and on the road. I have a very strange relationship with that guitar. I feel I am too attached to it. It is a Taylor 510 that was built around 1982. I bought it off of a junkie in Santee around 1983. He had it advertised in the PennySaver. I talked him down to 700 bucks, and it was love at first sight. Not with the junkie but with the guitar. I wrote the big Jewel hit 'You Were Meant for Me' on it. After we wrote it in Mexico I said, 'That song sucks. You can have it.' She took it back to Atlantic Records, and they said it was a hit. Little did I know it would go all the way up to number one or two. Me and Flowerpot now had what I like to call 'fuck-you money.' We got to do whatever we wanted -- which is good and sometimes bad."

MOST MEMORABLE SHOW/ENCOUNTER WITH FANS?

"In the Rugburns we got to do a couple shows with the Ramones. This was in Cleveland in front of about 6000 peeps. Sold out. The promoter came in to our backstage room before we went on and said, 'Don't take it personal if the fans start throwing shit at you. It means they love you! Ramones fans just want to see the Ramones.' We came out onstage and right away somebody threw a lemon at me and it hit Flowerpot right in the heart and left a crack. I picked up the lemon and undid my pants and squeezed it all over down my boxers and then squeezed it in my mouth. The crowd went nuts, and after the show I met Joey Ramone and watched from the side of the stage while he ran off to throw up in a trashcan. It was pure poetry."

TOP FIVE FAVORITE BARS/CLUBS IN SAN DIEGO?

"I recently got thrown out of Nunus, so I have decided that it is time to give up the bottle. I have been ejected from a few bars in my day, but this was embarrassing. The Ould Sod on Adams Avenue. I really love playing live at the Casbah. It would be cool to live in one of those apartments right above it. Java Joe's. Joe is a gambler and a smoker and golfer and all-around good soul. The Liar's Club. Louis owns the joint, and he makes good cheeseburgers and has greasy hair and reads Stephen King novels to old folks at nursing homes in his spare time. I really respect that."

TOP FIVE END-OF-THE-WORLD DISCS?

1. Elliott Smith, From a Basement on a Hill

2. Rickie Lee Jones, Pirates

3. The Replacements, Let It Be

4. Jesus Christ Superstar, soundtrack

5. Styx, The Grand Illusion

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