At the 15th San Diego Music Awards ceremony on September 12, founder Kevin Hellman acknowledged that it would be his last year as SDMA executive director.
"I hope to have an announcement by March 1," says Hellman about his replacement. His position wasn't salaried, but the next executive director may be paid. One candidate is Al Guerra, who has managed Sprung Monkey and currently manages Ryan Ferguson. Guerra hosts the 91X local music show Loudspeaker as well. Another prospect is Bart Mendoza, a 25-year veteran of the local music scene who plays guitar and sings in the Shambles. Mendoza is a music writer who has contributed to the Union-Tribune and City Beat.
Hellman organized the Entertainer Music Awards for seven years until that North County paper folded in 1990. He then founded the SDMA and staged the first ceremony in 1991 at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, La Jolla. Hellman says the SDMA board of directors (which includes himself, Guerra, and Mendoza) will select the next director. According to Hellman, the last SDMA took in $68,000, $40,000 of which was given to Taylor Guitars to provide 20 Baby Taylor guitars for public schools. Event production expenses cost over $20,000.
"Some [local musicians] say they don't care about the awards, but they walk around with the award all night long," says a local musician who has never been nominated. "In 1993, Country Dick Montana said, 'I don't care about that damn thing,' then he walked around with a grin on all night. He wouldn't put it down."