“So far, Deicide is the only show I haven’t been able to move up here,” says Joe Troutman, who last week walked away from his four-year job booking the Jumping Turtle in San Marcos to work for the year-old Mainstage in Ramona. Around a half dozen events scheduled for October through January will happen on their original dates, but relocated to Ramona.
Troutman says the jump was due to “disagreements with the owner. I was responsible for over 80 percent of the booking, but then someone else was doing the weekend shows.… I ended up walking away, even though I had to lose my deposit on Deicide.”
Another factor was Turtle opposition from various city factions that resulted in several event restrictions. “The all-age shows were a huge problem, but in Ramona all ages are permitted as long as they’re accompanied by an adult.… We’ll have a 21-and-up section, where alcohol can be served. Plus, now I can start selling tickets online, and I’m officially allowed to charge a cover, where we had to ask for ‘donations’ [in San Marcos].”
At 50 feet wide and 14 feet deep, “The Ramona stage is twice as big as the Turtle’s,” says Troutman, “and we also have a dressing room behind it, with its own bathroom, which we didn’t have [in San Marcos]. There’s a full soda bar, too, instead of just Coke from a [faucet] gun.” Jumping Turtle’s seating capacity is 213, while the Mainstage is around 350.
The Mainstage interior retains much of the original layout of the single-screen theater that operated in the locale for over 50 years, beginning in 1947; venue owners Orrin and Cheryl Day bought the building in 2002. Says Troutman, “I think it has the potential to be comparable to the House of Blues.… The only other place up here that even does live music is Molly Malone’s, and that’s more of a dive bar.”
Troutman’s October 31 Halloween show features a lineup typical of upcoming events, with Portuguese spook-rockers Moonspell, along with Divine Heresy, Book of Black Earth, Secrets of the Moon, and La Mesans Ruines ov Abaddon.
“After 11 years of booking shows,” says Troutman (who also booked the Longshot Saloon and Brick by Brick), “I’ve developed a real niche for underground hard rock and heavy-metal bands.” He reveals that a so-far-unannounced show will feature cartoon metalheads Green Jellÿ, who draw upwards of 1500 people at downtown’s Comic-Con International.
“When they played the Turtle, they didn’t have anywhere to put their costumes.”