Self-taught guitarist Stevie Salas is a Mescalero Apache Indian who was attending high school in Oceanside when he first picked up guitar at age 15. Choosing a music career over joining the Coast Guard, he got an early career boost after being spotted by George Clinton of Parliment Funkadelic. Before he reached legal drinking age, Salas was already touring with Rod Stewart, and Mick Jagger tapped him for a 2001 tour. He also branched into film production, including the 2017 documentary Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked the World, chronicling artists such as Link Wray, Robbie Robertson, Randy Castillo, and Jimi Hendrix, whose paternal grandmother was one-quarter Cherokee. This week, that film was nominated for an Emmy Award as News & Documentary. He followed that up with a film about the Standing Rock conflict involving Native Americans attempting to prevent oil pipeline construction on Indian land. Salas has been working at a San Diego studio with actor Graham Greene, who’s narrating a short documentary Salas is doing called The Water Walker. “When I rock, I rock,” says Greene in a related Facebook post. “Pissin’ with the big dogs now.” Also in town for the sessions with Ben Moore are director James Burns (VICE) and writer/director Kevin Munroe (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Ratchet & Clank).
Based in North County, acoustic rock band FreeMartin includes David Rees, formerly with local 1980s/1990s band BigFins. “Since then,” he says, “I have been doing music and art primarily for games, software, and toys.” Rees’ song “Mac and Cheese” was a finalist in the 2011 International Songwriting Competition, in the children’s music category, with a judging panel that included Tom Waits, Jeff Beck, and Ozzy Osbourne. The newest edition of FreeMartin’s Shelter in Place Sessions features them covering the latter-day Monkees track “Me and Magdalena,” with the members (Rees along with Chris Crepps, Pat Morgan, and Ty Cox) playing their individual parts from remote locations. “It’s now my favorite Monkees song,” says Rees of the tune, which was originally created for the 2016 Monkees album Good Times! by Death Cab for Cutie songwriter Ben Gibbard.
Punk rockers City Windows - featuring transplanted former members of The Sky We Scrape (Chicago) and Deadhand (Las Vegas) - combine a variety of punk, indie, metal, and hardcore influences. Their debut EP Oxbow, just released via La Escalera Records, was recorded at Singing Serpent Studios with Ben Moore (Hot Snakes, Pinback, Rocket From The Crypt), mixed by Dave Holdredge (Lamb of God, Story of the Year), and mastered by Stephen Egerton of Descendents. A limited vinyl edition of 100 copies features music on side A, and printed art on the flipside. They were just featured by Tim Pyles on 91x’s local music program Loudspeaker, and they’ve been booked to play The Fest 19, running October 29 through 31, 2021, in Gainesville, Florida. Drummer Aaron Weislogel also plays with a new band called Pire, who just released their debut single “Arise,” a topical track that addresses “the threads of white supremacy and patriarchy that have been woven deep in our world, our communities, our very lives,” according to the band. The single is taken from their upcoming full-length Parasympathetic.
Charles Burton Blues Band
Born in L.A., Charles Burton has been playing blues, country, rock, and roots music for over 40 years. After making his initial mark on the L.A. scene, he relocated to Honolulu for much of the 1980s, and then spent most of the 1990s living and working in Tokyo, Japan before relating back to California. Burton has released several CDs with his Charles Burton Blues Band, earning a Best Blues Album nomination at the 2013 San Diego Music Awards for the album Sweet Potato Pie and winning the San Diego division of the 2009 International Blues Challenge. For the past decade, he’s been doing annual European tours, where he headlines everywhere from clubs to festivals, as well as doing a Scandinavian tour with Maury “Hooter” Saslaff (Big Jack Johnson & the Oilers) where they played over 200 gigs in seven months. A new Charles Burton Live CD was released by Lux Records on August 1.
Army of Love
Founded in 1983 by former members of Jonny Kat, Army of Love opened for REM and played local venues like the Spirit Club. Manager Tony Creed produced demos in L.A. and a self-titled EP was released in 1983. They opened for the Kinks in 1985 and recorded more songs with Creed, and then relocated to L.A. to record with Doobie Brother Jeff “Skunk” Baxter at Cherokee Studios. The group moved back to San Diego in 1987, after which they split. Bassist Jeffrey Bloom later played with World’s Cutest Killers, Sex & Free Beer, and Stone Horse. Guitarists Peter Kenvin and Tommy Andrews, as well as drummer Randy Willert, all went on to play with Voices, which formed in 1987. Somewhat surprisingly, Army of Love is featured in a new film, Mighty Oak, concerning a 10-year-old named Oak Scoggins whose musical talents inspire Army of Love to reunite and make new music, ten years after their singer-guitarist died in a car accident. The soundtrack features Coldplay, the Animals, and A Great Big World, and stars include Janel Parrish (Pretty Little Liars), Raven-Symoné (That’s So Raven), and Alexa PenaVega (Spy Kids).