Me, Myself and Eye
“Last week, I released a song called ‘America’ about the recent and not so recent systemic racism in this country,” says man-of-a-hundred-bands Alfred Howard of his new collaboration with local singer Rebecca Jade, who on Monday night won Artist of the Year at the 2020 San Diego Music Awards. The tune can be heard on Howard’s website, and a vocal-only track was posted on his Facebook page that features video footage of Jade singing solo from a remote locale, in front of a blank backdrop. In addition to that creation, “I’ll be releasing two songs a week for a year,” Howard tells the Reader. “My mother will be doing two original pieces of art over the course of the year as well. The website is a subscription site and it will feature a lot of San Diego musicians.”
Howard certainly knows plenty of players, having recorded or performed with the K23 Orchestra, the Heavy Guilt, Karl Densons Tiny Universe, Umphrey’s McGee, Digital Underground, Garaj Mahal, the Slip, Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey, ALO, the Breakfast, and many others. As if he wasn’t already busy enough, Howard cofounded a new record label with his Heavy Guilt bandmate Josh Rice and Matt Molarius of Transfer, the Redwoods Music, whose debut release was a 7-inch single of the Midnight Pine’s “Caution.”
In order to keep new music flowing, Aether X have posted some demos in progress on their Facebook page, and members also took part in the recent 14-guitarist “San Diego Quarantine Guitar Collaboration 2020.” The track features players from RDG, Up the Irons, Woke Up Dead, Night Shadow, Strange Crew, Axe of Creation, Township Rebellion, Chosen Arrows, and 2lil2late, all performing their contributions from isolation. In addition, Aether X singer-guitarist James Brady, also from New Day Mile and Dolan Brotherhood, tells the Reader “Got some solo stuff coming out soon, Brady Guitar, should be on iTunes and Spotify. I’m exploring other personalities and the art of home recording in lieu of COVID-19. Aether X is still a thing, but this was a good excuse to explore a bit.” A new solo track, “Our Time Has Come,” is available on YouTube. “It’s an experiment with influences by Tom Petty and Puscifer, the lyrics speak for themselves. Recorded in my living room with GarageBand.”
Me, Myself and Eye
Me, Myself and Eye was a 1960s act now considered pioneers of electronic space rock, almost creating a techno sound with records like “I Come From the Andromeda Galaxy” and its flipside “You Look For Trouble,” recorded in 1969 at Fanfare Studios. The band was the mostly-solo brainchild of Carl Gerde, who lived on Chase Avenue in El Cajon and played in a short-lived group called the Yellow Jackets, which performed only a handful of gigs before splitting. Gerde was an ingenious electronics whiz who loved both the Beatles and, later, Scientology. He made elaborate recordings in his garage, often tackling topics such as his own abusive father (the inspiration behind “You Look For Trouble”). An avid UFO researcher who befriended principals from Area 51/Roswell reports, he reportedly struggled with mental illness, telling people he was experimenting with electromagnetic wave fields and the power of human thought, as well as building a machine that could bridge dimensions. A 1981 suicide attempt resulted in a coma that lasted just over ten years, until he passed away in 1992, at the age of 71. A copy of “I Come From the Andromeda Galaxy” recently sold for just over $300 on eBay.
Performing original compositions inspired by jazz, classical, and drum ‘n’ bass, initial members of Orchid Mantis included Nina Deering (vocals, vocoder, synth), Harley Magsino (e-bass), Caitlin Fahey Crow (cello, vocals), Rebecca Matayoshi (viola, vocals), John Smith (violin), Cliff Thrasher (cello), and Isaac Crow (drums, synth). Multi-instrumentalist Harley Magsino is originally from the Philippines and has his Masters from SDSU. Drummer Isaac Crow is a San Diego native known from bands like Latin Jazz Quartet, bLUMPY, and Humankind. Cellist Caitlin Crow has performed with Thousand Butterflies, and cellist Cliff Thrasher has been a member of the Mid-Century Cello Quartet and the Bonita Trio. After releasing a self-titled album, the lineup distilled down to a core foursome of Isaac Crow, Nina Deering (who played with Crow in Humankind), Harley Magsino, and Caitlin Fahey Crow. Deering was killed in a car accident on June 11.
Puttin on the Fritz
“I’m an up-tempo original artist who likes to do fun songs,” says Puttin’ on the Fritz frontman Fritz Jensen. His former band Collage Menage proudly proclaimed themselves The Jesters of Rock for over two decades, staging prop-heavy video-accompanied extravaganzas that aspired for all the pageantry and spectacle of a Pink Floyd concert, with the budget of a high school prom. Fritz, one of the twins who fronted every incarnation of that group, has been performing solo around town at various open mics, trying out new material as well as reworked tunes from the Collage catalog. “I like to perform my own original songs. I love to do performance rock, having props or anything else to stimulate the audience to enjoy the song.” A new version of CM’s party time favorite “Liquor Store Next Door” was recently uploaded to SoundCloud, in a decidedly different incarnation from the hard rock anthem found on CM’s album Dog Tacos. “This one is done in a country style,” says Jensen, who also hosts a weekly livestream performance series on Facebook Live.