With late life for the 2016 SDMAs, perhaps it’s time to give the late Ramón “Chunky” Sánchez his lifetime-achievement props.
It was announced on 91X’s Loudspeaker show November 6 that the San Diego Music Awards was taking a year off this year with hopes to return next year. Through November 7 the SDMA website was still displaying the news from last year’s event.
Something called the San Diego Music Foundation oversees the SDMAs. The phone number listed for the Foundation no longer works. Its website lists Bar Pink’s co-owner Dang Nguyen as president and ABC channel 10’s Unherd executive director Scott Richison as director. Nguyen had no response. Richison stated via email, “The Foundation and Kevin are working on keeping the tradition he built alive and are excited about our progress.”
On November 8, the SDMA website was updated.
Kevin Hellman, publisher of CityBeat, ran the SDMAs during its 25 years. Hellman oversaw the sponsorship and the ceremony production. Hellman’s CityBeat has been silent about this year’s SDMAs. By phone last week, Hellman indicated he was no longer involved. “I haven’t been involved in the [San Diego Music] Foundation for months,” he told the Reader. “You have to ask [the Foundation].”
On November 8, the SDMA website was updated. Local artists were told they had to submit their CDs by mail by December 31 and that nominees would be announced on January 8. There was no mention of the 2017 venue.
The SDMAs have been held at SDSU’s Montezuma Hall, Spreckels Theatre, and Viejas. The 2015 event was held at Humphreys by the Bay.
“If they hold it at the House of Blues or Music Box, I don’t think it will have the same juice,” says one person who has been involved with the SDMAs in previous years.
Attempts to get more comments from Richison were not productive.
Producer/manager/radio host Lou Niles, who was involved with the SDMAs during its first decade, says he would miss them. “People complain that it’s a popularity contest or whatever, but it’s the only time everyone in local music gets together for a celebration.”
...by Los Alacranes
Local reggae band Big Mountain won SDMAs in the ’90s and returned to perform last year. “Kevin has done a hell of a job to try and keep it going,” says Big Mountain frontman Quino. “It hasn’t been easy. It was hard to get free passes from him, but that’s because he had so [many expenses] to cover.”
Quino’s biggest SDMA regret: “[Ramón] Chunky Sánchez was never given his dues before he died. I don’t think [his band] Los Alacranes was ever given an award.”
Promoter/band manager Al Guerra, who volunteered for the SDMAs for years and was given a lifetime achievement award, agrees. “For three or four years I was trying to get Chunky the lifetime award. He dies, and now we regret it.”