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

Ken Leighton and the Reader

Switchfoot, Dinettes, Queen Bees, ASCAP, Billie Joe Armstrong, Brandon "Tiny Doo" Duncan, Agent 51

Biilie Joe Armstrong at Moustache Bar - Image by Flor Gonzalez and Victoria Villanueva
Biilie Joe Armstrong at Moustache Bar

How Leighton came to the Reader:

It was the end of 1998 when I was told by then Reader music editor Jennifer Ball that editor/publisher Jim Holman wanted to have someone exclusively write breaking news stories about the local music scene.

I took on parts of the local scene I thought needed to be exposed. That would include the monopoly of Ticketmaster, which is no longer as big of an issue. We wrote about an abusive and tyrannical San Marcos bar owner. And we took on the monolithic radio conglomerate called Clear Channel (now iHeart Radio) .

Troy Johnson, music editor of City Beat was so pissed that I pointed out that the local show he hosted did not have the ratings Channel 6 said it had that he went on live radio to challenge me to boxing match. There was the City Beat editor who wrote that the Reader was being sued over a story I wrote about scam concert promoters who ripped off bands and ticket buyers at a parking lot show. There was no lawsuit.

Leighton's favorite stories he wrote for the Reader:

One of the first stories I did when I started three-blurts-a-week was about Switchfoot in January, 1999. I was happy to be the first local writer to cover Switchfoot, Jason Mraz, Sam Outlaw, and Daring Greatly, the Canadian-turned-Fallbrook band who were struggling with immigration issues just as they were breaking.

My background in music included working in publicity for Chrysalis Records (1976), Capitol Records (1977), North County concert promotions as Big Beat Productions (1980-84), Belly Up Tavern promotion/marketing (1987-99), Fiesta del Sol booking/fundraising (1999-2007) and owning the Royal Dive in Oceanside (2007-14). Writing for the Reader gave me the opportunity to do stories on the Penetrators, the Kinman Brothers (The Dils/Rank and File), and the Dinettes, almost four decades after I first met them.

I was proud that I had a part in naming a venue that still survives. I did a story that Alma Rodriguez, who had been struggling with oppressive landlords over her all-age venues, was opening a new, unnamed music venue. I used the phrase “queen bee” to describe her. My editor at the time, Robert Nutting, used "Queen Bee" in the headline and Alma ended up naming her venue Queen Bees.

But two stories I did on bar ownership explored how the music licensing agencies BMI and ASCAP can arbitrarily charge struggling bars as much as they want, to stay in business. Nobody oversees them. The stories started in 2000 and later with the plight of Ramona Mainstreet which quit music for a while because of the fees and lawsuits filed by ASCAP/BMI.

I loved covering the ska and punk scenes in TJ and the fully costumed 16-member bandas who would stop and play Ensenada in bars that wouldn’t even charge admission. But maybe my most famous Mex-music blurt was when Billie Joe Armstrong played TJ last year.

The one story that made my blood boil was the story broken by Channel 10 about local rapper Brandon "Tiny Doo" Duncan who was arrested at his home because of his artwork on his album.

It's a good feeling that you can move the needle. Brandon Parkhurst of Kut U Up said that an article we did 11 years ago helped him pull himself out of a lifestyle rut.

The most-read Reader music story of 2017 was the blurt on Anilee Griffin who booked Hensley’s Flying Elephant in Carlsbad and who booked and co-owned The Shakedown near the Sports Arena. I knew her parents before she was born. Everyone loved her.

The most inspiring music story I did had to be about the struggling 21-year-old mariachi musician who never gave up just as the immigration assholes closed in around him.

The biggest bang blurt I wrote had to be the 2006 story I did about Poway band Agent 51 which had been signed to Billie Joe Armstrong’s Adeline Records five years earlier. There was a marked similarity between Agent 51’s “She’s My Heroine” and Green Day’s “Boulevard of Broken Dreams.” Threatened litigation from Encinitas-based Surf Dog Records and Agent 51 against Green Day and Warner Bros. Records resulted in a six-figure settlement. At least one band member used the money for a down payment on a house.

Holman allowed me to segue into news. The most moving story I did involved a drug addict who broke into St. Michael’s Episcopal Church in Carlsbad and who turned himself in.

In the last year I was fortunate to break the news that a wave park is planned on the site of a defunct swap meet, that Fentanyl is now legally manufactured in Oceanside, and that Larry Flynt wants to sell vibrators in North County.

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

Previous article

Building paradise in San Diego

Mission Valley, Tijuana gardens, Otay Mesa, downtown skyscrapers, One Paseo, Rancho Santa Fe mansion
Next Article

Luna Bay Booch's San Diego origin story

Woman owned hard kombucha brand brewed elsewhere, now sold locally
Biilie Joe Armstrong at Moustache Bar - Image by Flor Gonzalez and Victoria Villanueva
Biilie Joe Armstrong at Moustache Bar

How Leighton came to the Reader:

It was the end of 1998 when I was told by then Reader music editor Jennifer Ball that editor/publisher Jim Holman wanted to have someone exclusively write breaking news stories about the local music scene.

I took on parts of the local scene I thought needed to be exposed. That would include the monopoly of Ticketmaster, which is no longer as big of an issue. We wrote about an abusive and tyrannical San Marcos bar owner. And we took on the monolithic radio conglomerate called Clear Channel (now iHeart Radio) .

Troy Johnson, music editor of City Beat was so pissed that I pointed out that the local show he hosted did not have the ratings Channel 6 said it had that he went on live radio to challenge me to boxing match. There was the City Beat editor who wrote that the Reader was being sued over a story I wrote about scam concert promoters who ripped off bands and ticket buyers at a parking lot show. There was no lawsuit.

Leighton's favorite stories he wrote for the Reader:

One of the first stories I did when I started three-blurts-a-week was about Switchfoot in January, 1999. I was happy to be the first local writer to cover Switchfoot, Jason Mraz, Sam Outlaw, and Daring Greatly, the Canadian-turned-Fallbrook band who were struggling with immigration issues just as they were breaking.

My background in music included working in publicity for Chrysalis Records (1976), Capitol Records (1977), North County concert promotions as Big Beat Productions (1980-84), Belly Up Tavern promotion/marketing (1987-99), Fiesta del Sol booking/fundraising (1999-2007) and owning the Royal Dive in Oceanside (2007-14). Writing for the Reader gave me the opportunity to do stories on the Penetrators, the Kinman Brothers (The Dils/Rank and File), and the Dinettes, almost four decades after I first met them.

I was proud that I had a part in naming a venue that still survives. I did a story that Alma Rodriguez, who had been struggling with oppressive landlords over her all-age venues, was opening a new, unnamed music venue. I used the phrase “queen bee” to describe her. My editor at the time, Robert Nutting, used "Queen Bee" in the headline and Alma ended up naming her venue Queen Bees.

But two stories I did on bar ownership explored how the music licensing agencies BMI and ASCAP can arbitrarily charge struggling bars as much as they want, to stay in business. Nobody oversees them. The stories started in 2000 and later with the plight of Ramona Mainstreet which quit music for a while because of the fees and lawsuits filed by ASCAP/BMI.

I loved covering the ska and punk scenes in TJ and the fully costumed 16-member bandas who would stop and play Ensenada in bars that wouldn’t even charge admission. But maybe my most famous Mex-music blurt was when Billie Joe Armstrong played TJ last year.

The one story that made my blood boil was the story broken by Channel 10 about local rapper Brandon "Tiny Doo" Duncan who was arrested at his home because of his artwork on his album.

It's a good feeling that you can move the needle. Brandon Parkhurst of Kut U Up said that an article we did 11 years ago helped him pull himself out of a lifestyle rut.

The most-read Reader music story of 2017 was the blurt on Anilee Griffin who booked Hensley’s Flying Elephant in Carlsbad and who booked and co-owned The Shakedown near the Sports Arena. I knew her parents before she was born. Everyone loved her.

The most inspiring music story I did had to be about the struggling 21-year-old mariachi musician who never gave up just as the immigration assholes closed in around him.

The biggest bang blurt I wrote had to be the 2006 story I did about Poway band Agent 51 which had been signed to Billie Joe Armstrong’s Adeline Records five years earlier. There was a marked similarity between Agent 51’s “She’s My Heroine” and Green Day’s “Boulevard of Broken Dreams.” Threatened litigation from Encinitas-based Surf Dog Records and Agent 51 against Green Day and Warner Bros. Records resulted in a six-figure settlement. At least one band member used the money for a down payment on a house.

Holman allowed me to segue into news. The most moving story I did involved a drug addict who broke into St. Michael’s Episcopal Church in Carlsbad and who turned himself in.

In the last year I was fortunate to break the news that a wave park is planned on the site of a defunct swap meet, that Fentanyl is now legally manufactured in Oceanside, and that Larry Flynt wants to sell vibrators in North County.

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

Building paradise in San Diego

Mission Valley, Tijuana gardens, Otay Mesa, downtown skyscrapers, One Paseo, Rancho Santa Fe mansion
Next Article

Vista City Attorney and James Buss donate to Trump campaign

Chula Vista's Jill Galvez barred from voting on fire trucks
Comments
0

Be the first to leave a comment.

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 News — 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