Quantcast
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs

Bread & Salt & Bonnie

The Wright stuff — Fresh Sounds in Barrio Logan

Bonnie Wright, creator of the Fresh Sounds series, says back off to cover bands. She prizes originality.
Bonnie Wright, creator of the Fresh Sounds series, says back off to cover bands. She prizes originality.

If you ever meet Bonnie Wright, here are a few things to expect: (1) She will quickly put any music knowledge you think you harness to immediate shame; (2) her neverending quest to seek out original musical voices will not only make you feel like a lazy pop connoisseur, it will also drown you in a sea of musicians who “you should check out”; and (3) she might borrow you to help her move some mic stands and rugs into a storage space.

Wright lives and breathes music, original music in particular. She “hates cover bands.” After her children had grown, Wright re-examined her career path. “I asked myself, ‘What do you do when nobody’s looking — when you don’t have to be interesting or charming?” Wright said. “I was sitting in on a class at the UCSD Music Department where they had these Thursday noon seminars, and I heard this woman speak named Susan McClary who’s a professor. She’s a musicologist, and I didn’t know anything about musicology. I thought, Man, that’s it. I quit my job.”

Since she started Spruce Street Forum in 1995, Wright has been at the forefront of bringing original, experimental music to San Diego with her Fresh Sounds series. She often scouts bands and artists during visits to New York City. For example, Wright selected solo percussionist Ian David Rosenbaum for this fall’s series after she heard him playing a piece in the Lower East Side on flower pots.

A big switch is underway for Fresh Sounds. Nestled next to a bright pink Baptist church is the 40,000-square-foot Bread & Salt building in Barrio Logan. The series is moving to this new artist enclave, which will host special events, art galleries, work studios, and more. The space is still in the midst of heavy renovations, but Wright is crossing her fingers that everything will be good to go by the time her fall series starts in mid-September.

While bringing concert supplies over to her new space in the Bread & Salt building, Wright was kind enough to answer some questions for the Reader.

Reader: How do you choose your performers? Do they solicit you, or do you track them down?

Wright: I tend to track them down. I have no specific criteria, but since my goal is to bring music to San Diegans that they wouldn’t hear otherwise, I tend to have out-of-towners. I started this when I was at UCSD. I was working with George Lewis. He was a member of the AACM, which is the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians. So, he knew all the members of that — Anthony Braxton, Leroy Jenkins, and a bunch of great musicians. So, a lot of them came. I had traveled with him...I was sort of his “off-the-campus” manager. I met a lot of musicians, and because everybody loved George, I had credibility when I started my own series.

R: How do you determine what will work for the series?

W: I don’t care if it’s been done, as long as it’s not usual here. It doesn’t have to be brand new, it just has to be unusual and genre-stretching. Not what we usually hear here. And since I get to make all the decisions, I choose what I want to hear again. On the less selfish side, I want to give the musicians a chance to perform their music. There are different ways to present music. One way is to try to please your audience. In order to please your audience, for the most part, they want something that is comforting. In order to be comforting, it has to be familiar. And that is exactly NOT what I do. I do it the other way...to try and say, “Okay, here is something adventurous that you may not have heard before. Let’s give the musicians a chance to show you what they can do, and maybe you will like it. But how are you gonna know unless you hear it?” I don’t like everything I go to in New York, but how am I gonna hear the stuff I do like, if I don’t go?

R; How would you describe the crowds that show up for Fresh Sounds?

W: Totally different. It depends on the concert. Three of the four concerts next season are contemporary classical. I may get contemporary classical people, but I have no idea. Sometimes they are young noise guys. Sometimes they are people who are just, overall, interested in music. Some are old, some are young. I have no idea.

R: Over the years, what has been the most challenging aspect of keeping Fresh Sounds going?

W: The easy answer is money because I don’t spend a lot of time fundraising. I send out a fundraising letter. I have a few people who help me out. I keep it really small on purpose, so I don’t have debt. If I had more money, I would bring in bigger groups, but other than that, it’s trying to get an audience. I can’t pay for advertising. I Facebook, I Twitter, I do interviews and hopefully get coverage from the press. I love to have an audience mainly because it’s embarrassing when someone comes here from New York and there’s not many people in the audience. But then I realize... I had a trio here from New York and there were, like, 30 or 35 people, and I said, “Oh, I’m so sorry we don’t have more.” And they said, “Bonnie, it happens in New York, too.” It’s the nature of what I do.

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all

Previous article

Hancock Street to get sharrows

"This area will be the next Little Italy"
Bonnie Wright, creator of the Fresh Sounds series, says back off to cover bands. She prizes originality.
Bonnie Wright, creator of the Fresh Sounds series, says back off to cover bands. She prizes originality.

If you ever meet Bonnie Wright, here are a few things to expect: (1) She will quickly put any music knowledge you think you harness to immediate shame; (2) her neverending quest to seek out original musical voices will not only make you feel like a lazy pop connoisseur, it will also drown you in a sea of musicians who “you should check out”; and (3) she might borrow you to help her move some mic stands and rugs into a storage space.

Wright lives and breathes music, original music in particular. She “hates cover bands.” After her children had grown, Wright re-examined her career path. “I asked myself, ‘What do you do when nobody’s looking — when you don’t have to be interesting or charming?” Wright said. “I was sitting in on a class at the UCSD Music Department where they had these Thursday noon seminars, and I heard this woman speak named Susan McClary who’s a professor. She’s a musicologist, and I didn’t know anything about musicology. I thought, Man, that’s it. I quit my job.”

Since she started Spruce Street Forum in 1995, Wright has been at the forefront of bringing original, experimental music to San Diego with her Fresh Sounds series. She often scouts bands and artists during visits to New York City. For example, Wright selected solo percussionist Ian David Rosenbaum for this fall’s series after she heard him playing a piece in the Lower East Side on flower pots.

A big switch is underway for Fresh Sounds. Nestled next to a bright pink Baptist church is the 40,000-square-foot Bread & Salt building in Barrio Logan. The series is moving to this new artist enclave, which will host special events, art galleries, work studios, and more. The space is still in the midst of heavy renovations, but Wright is crossing her fingers that everything will be good to go by the time her fall series starts in mid-September.

While bringing concert supplies over to her new space in the Bread & Salt building, Wright was kind enough to answer some questions for the Reader.

Reader: How do you choose your performers? Do they solicit you, or do you track them down?

Wright: I tend to track them down. I have no specific criteria, but since my goal is to bring music to San Diegans that they wouldn’t hear otherwise, I tend to have out-of-towners. I started this when I was at UCSD. I was working with George Lewis. He was a member of the AACM, which is the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians. So, he knew all the members of that — Anthony Braxton, Leroy Jenkins, and a bunch of great musicians. So, a lot of them came. I had traveled with him...I was sort of his “off-the-campus” manager. I met a lot of musicians, and because everybody loved George, I had credibility when I started my own series.

R: How do you determine what will work for the series?

W: I don’t care if it’s been done, as long as it’s not usual here. It doesn’t have to be brand new, it just has to be unusual and genre-stretching. Not what we usually hear here. And since I get to make all the decisions, I choose what I want to hear again. On the less selfish side, I want to give the musicians a chance to perform their music. There are different ways to present music. One way is to try to please your audience. In order to please your audience, for the most part, they want something that is comforting. In order to be comforting, it has to be familiar. And that is exactly NOT what I do. I do it the other way...to try and say, “Okay, here is something adventurous that you may not have heard before. Let’s give the musicians a chance to show you what they can do, and maybe you will like it. But how are you gonna know unless you hear it?” I don’t like everything I go to in New York, but how am I gonna hear the stuff I do like, if I don’t go?

R; How would you describe the crowds that show up for Fresh Sounds?

W: Totally different. It depends on the concert. Three of the four concerts next season are contemporary classical. I may get contemporary classical people, but I have no idea. Sometimes they are young noise guys. Sometimes they are people who are just, overall, interested in music. Some are old, some are young. I have no idea.

R: Over the years, what has been the most challenging aspect of keeping Fresh Sounds going?

W: The easy answer is money because I don’t spend a lot of time fundraising. I send out a fundraising letter. I have a few people who help me out. I keep it really small on purpose, so I don’t have debt. If I had more money, I would bring in bigger groups, but other than that, it’s trying to get an audience. I can’t pay for advertising. I Facebook, I Twitter, I do interviews and hopefully get coverage from the press. I love to have an audience mainly because it’s embarrassing when someone comes here from New York and there’s not many people in the audience. But then I realize... I had a trio here from New York and there were, like, 30 or 35 people, and I said, “Oh, I’m so sorry we don’t have more.” And they said, “Bonnie, it happens in New York, too.” It’s the nature of what I do.

Sponsored
Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

Nature joins antifa, burns large swaths of California in protest

Fiery and Not at All Peaceful
Next Article

Kukai: founder of the “mantra” school of Buddhism

Expressions of innate wisdom
Comments
1

Is she related to the Wright in Pink Floyd???

Sept. 4, 2013

Sign in to comment

Sign in

Art Reviews — W.S. Di Piero's eye on exhibits Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Best Buys — San Diego shopping Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits City Lights — News and politics Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Famous Former Neighbors — Next-door celebs Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town Here's the Deal — Chad Deal's watering holes Just Announced — The scoop on shows Letters — Our inbox [email protected] — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Of Note — Concert picks Out & About — What's Happening Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Pour Over — Grab a cup Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Set 'em Up Joe — Bartenders' drink recipes Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Sports — Athletics without gush Street Style — San Diego streets have style Suit Up — Fashion tips for dudes Theater Reviews — Local productions Theater antireviews — Narrow your search Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Waterfront — All things ocean Your Week — Daily event picks
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
Close