Jorge Arriaga, guitarist with hardcore band Frontside, is a volunteer with the Ché Café Collective, which oversees UCSD’s food café and music venue. He attends the Monday-night meetings when the Collective decides which shows get added to the Ché calendar. It’s not difficult to get booked there.
“The only reason you’d get turned down is if the night you want is already booked or one of the [Ché Collective] core members aren’t available to be the manager for your show that night,” Arriago says. He says that if one of the ten core members agree to man the show, your lineup gets to play the Ché.
“Plus, you have to agree to provide food for the bands and some form of payment. The P.A. is already there. You only have to provide security if it’s a bigger show.”
Frontside has appeared twice at the Ché and on Friday Arriaga steps up with his first show as a promoter. He brought in local hardcore band Refuse, which will be making its Ché debut.
“There just aren’t a lot of venues out there,” says Refuse bassist Marcus Sanchez. “It’s not about the money. I just want to have a place to have fun and play with my friends.”
He says that Refuse (ages 18–20) is part of a popping Escondido punk scene with bands such as TMB and Piss Pants.
Since the eviction scare in March of 2015, when it appeared the UCSD administration was going to evict the collective, the Ché has carried on. There were 11 shows in September. Monty Kroopkin, a member of the collective, says the Ché is rolling on in limbo. He says UCSD administration has offered words of support and wanted to make some improvements to the building last summer, including replacing dry rot.
1000 Scholars Drive, UCSD
“But they wouldn’t give us a new lease. They still hold the eviction as a threat over [the Che’s] head.”
Meanwhile, he says students and non-students use the Ché for shows even as the campus venue stays open with no lease.
Refuse appears at Ché Café Friday, October 7, with San Diego’s Turn It Around and Frontside, L.A. band Life Moves On, and from Murietta, Born Guilty.