This weekend, former Ché Café sound engineer and booker Bob Bellerue will enter the UCSD venue for the first time in 15 years. He'll perform as Halfnormal, his L.A.-based noise project. Bellerue ran the boards from 1987 to 1991, a period during which Rage Against the Machine appeared at the Ché.
"[Back then it] was a bizarre combination of things between the whole hippie garden vibe and then the punk rock or post-punk or post-whatever music scene.... You had this amazing rock scene, which was for me the people who were in Pitchfork, Fishwife, Heavy Vegetable who have all become rock stars in their own right. Then you also had the Crash Worship element, which really turned people on their heads in the same way the Dead did, but in a more pagan, industrial way. Then, also, they had Daddy Long Leggs, which were a funk-metal-punk thing, which turned a lot of kids on to groove and rhythm."
Bellerue left San Diego after dropping out of UCSD during the "next Seattle" years, when bands such as Drive Like Jehu, Three Mile Pilot, and Rocket from the Crypt signed to major record labels. When that happened, he lost a lot of his passion for San Diego music and moved to Colorado to study poetry and Buddhism.
"I think we gave Rocket from the Crypt their first gig outside of house parties," Bellerue says. "The thing that really sticks out from that period of time was that people were just interested in doing their own thing. They knew about music that was going on in the world, but they weren't necessarily trying to make it big. They were just trying to have fun."