Original Kiss guitarist Ace Frehley moved in 2009 to San Diego, where he lived in a condo near Balboa Park with local singer Rachael Gordon, who turned up on his next solo album. By the end of 2015, Frehley was recruiting locals like Ray Brandes to help with his covers album Origins Vol. 1. The following year, he and Gordon moved to Rancho Santa Fe, though the duo has since had a very public and acrimonious falling out. Frehley hasn’t let that or the pandemic shutdown deter his plans to release Origins Vol. 2 on September 18. A video is streaming online for his cover of Deep Purple’s “Space Truckin.’” The single was recorded with his longtime studio drummer Matt Star and keyboard player Rob Sabino (Peter Frampton, Simon & Garfunkel). “‘Space Truckin’ was recorded years ago, and then I just re-recorded some parts and changed it a little,” says Frehley. “We never ended up putting it on a record, so it was just sitting around. It turned out very well. Rob Sabino is a very accomplished studio musician, and we actually grew up in the Bronx together, so we go way back.” Other album guests include Robin Zander of Cheap Trick, former KISS comrade Bruce Kulick, John5, and Lita Ford.
Blink 182 drummer Travis Barker is still building his reputation as the busiest drummer in California, guesting on tracks covering multiple genres, as well as working on new music of his own. He recruited Lil Wayne and Rick Ross for his song “Gimme Brain,” the first release under his DTA Records label, a joint venture with the Elektra Music Group to explore cross-genre collaborations and develop new artists. “All Of Me,” a new single from the second album by Los Angeles duo The Score - comprised of Eddie Anthony (vocals, guitar) and Edan Dover (keyboards, production) - features Barker guesting on drums. He also appears on the newly-released deluxe version of POORSTACY’s debut album The Breakfast Club, drumming on the track “Choose Life,” inspired by a famous monologue from the UK film Trainspotting. In addition, there’s a new collaboration track with Run the Jewels called “Forever.” Other artists Barker has recorded with recently include nothing,nowhere, ILLENIUM, 03 Greedo, and Lil Nas X.
Having first gained local attention with the New Archaic, who won Best New Artist at the 2009 San Diego Music Awards, Tolan Shaw began honing his solo act around ten years ago, performing at local coffeehouses and opening for touring artists such as Matt Costa, Jon Foreman, and the Format. He won first place as Best Songwriter at the 2011 San Diego County Fair in Del Mar, and took first place in the Fair’s 2013 Singer-Songwriter Contest. Over the past couple of years, he’s been selling music to TV shows including his track “Good Day,” heard on MTV’s Undressed and an SDSU recruitment ad, and both “Eyes” and “Never Met You” were on CBS’ The Young and the Restless. “Last week, I found out a song I co-wrote with Marti Amado Corr for German film and TV company, Sonoton Music, was placed in an end scene of a Turkish TV show on Fox Turkey called Sen Çal Kapımı,” says Shaw. “A week later, it has over a hundred thousand plays on Spotify, is number six on the Top Viral chart in Turkey, has 250 thousand hits on YouTube, and hundreds of people from Turkey and other foreign countries are reaching out about the song. What a cool way to connect globally with people through music and media.”
Acoustic/electronic/world/folk performer Andy Robinson first earned notice as a drummer, formerly with local progressive rockers Horsefeathers and L.A. underground groups like Elton Duck and Invisible Zoo. He’s known as an accomplished dulcimer player, and he recently became an endorsing artist for Louson Drums, which manufactures a wearable Cajon. In addition, “I play the kalimba [and] I play mostly acoustic instruments, but I really love synthesizers, with their infinite sound-making potential. I drum, I play harmonica, I loop, I sample, I sing, but I don’t sing actual words very often.” His track “The Open Door” was nominated Best New Age Song at the 12th Annual Independent Music Awards, with judges including Suzanne Vega, Tom Waits, Ziggy Marley, Judy Collins, and Weird Al Yankovic. His albums include Exotic America, Music Bucket, and 2017’s AndyLand, which he promoted with a series of performances at area garage sales. “I’ve released another song from my album-in-process,” says Robinson. “‘I Thought I Knew America’ is about how we seem to be waking up from the American Dream. Tripp Sprague on bass, Chelsey Moore on backing vocals, I play dulcimer and everything else.”
Based in Ramona, Eyes Like the Sun was a popular rock group harkening back to the sounds of the 1980s. After splitting, several members re-formed as post-hardcore band named Thousand Below and signed to Rise Records, releasing their debut album, The Love You Let Too Close, in October 2017. Fronted by singer James Deberg, last year’s release of their second album Gone In Your Wake was preceded by a single for “Chemical” and a video for a new track, “Disassociate,” followed by a tour with Of Mice & Men. They just debuted a video for their song “171 xo,” featuring the band performing indoors and on a rooftop. Their upcoming acoustic remix EP Let Go Of Your Love, featuring four reworked tracks from Gone In Your Wake and one new song (the title track), drops August 21 via Rise Records. Sumner Peterson of Dead Lakes appears on the new version of “Chemical.”