Locals who’ve made headlines by joining bands of established international players include Justin Pearson, who teamed up with Slayer’s Dave Lombardo to form Dead Cross, former area Yes tribute bandleader Jon Davison actually fronting Yes after they ditched Jon Anderson, Van Halen tribute frontman Mark Huff getting recruited by Quiet Riot, and local tribute specialist Eric Sage (who usually impersonates Jon Bon Jovi) somehow landing a brief gig headlining a 2000-teens version of the Bay City Rollers. San Diego singer Sean Peck — who led bands such as Nomad, The Three Tremors, and Denner/Shermann — is best known from locals Cage, who developed a huge following overseas, especially in Germany, where Peck’s fame and the respect accorded his talents by the German press tend to place him on the same level as OG metalheads such as occasional San Diegan Rob Halford. Peck is now fronting a progressive hard rock band called Death Dealer, alongside Symphony X bassist Mike LePond, guitarist Ross the Boss (the Dictators, Manowar), guitarist Stu Marshall (Night Legion, Dungeon), and Into Eternity drummer Steve Bolognese, who previously played with Ross the Boss. That lineup recently recorded the band’s third album, Conquered Lands, due to be released in the fall via the Steel Cartel label.
Jessica Lerner has been performing since age 8, including at local malls and private venues. By 2009, she had sung the Star Spangled Banner ten times for the San Diego Padres and Chargers and had fronted the Rockin Jazz Big Band. Accomplished on piano and guitar, Lerner was 19 when she recorded her self-titled debut, which was followed by a Christmas single, “From This Christmas and On.” She describes the title of her most recent full-length, After (h)Ours, as “A play on words. We had to record late at night because our studio is not soundproof — after hours — and the other part of it highlights that all of the songs tell stories about what happens in different phases of relationships: after ours.” She recently announced that she has taken on the stage name Jessie Lark and will be using that moniker for future recordings and performances. One of Lark’s frequent bandmates, Victor Santana (who also plays with Radios Silent), is recording with the Rogue Pilots as they work on their debut album with Rolling Stones producer Alan Sanderson at local recording studio, Pacific Beat.
Led by Oakland-based singer-guitarist Ethan Miller (who co-founded psych rockers Comets On Fire and Heron Oblivion), and featuring local guitarist Daniel Cervantes (Whiskey Circle, Mrs. Henry, Creature and the Woods), swamp jam rockers Howlin’ Rain have released a one-hour and 19-minute double album of unheard material called Lost at Sea: Rarities, Outtakes and Other Tales from the Deep on two-LP vinyl, CD, cassette, and digital formats. The release comes courtesy of Silver Current Records, the label behind previous Howlin’ full-lengths such as their fifth LP The Alligator Bride, which remains their most evenly distilled batch of liquor store bong rock. “Lost at Sea spans a decade of never before heard or released material,” says Miller of set (which was inspired by the Grateful Dead’s comprehensive fan-targeted archival releases), “including three epic outtakes from 2012’s The Russian Wilds, two outtakes from 2014’s Live Rain, as well as outtakes from Mansion Songs and The Alligator Bride, a 2011 exploitation film soundtrack theme, and multiple tracks from an unreleased lost album recorded in The Russian Wilds summer of 2012 as a power trio with what is now the Once and Future Band rhythm section.”
In 1993, DJ Greyboy was DJing at the Green Circle Bar when he decided to team up with Lenny Kravitz’s saxophonist Karl Denson (who also plays flute) to co-found the Greyboy Allstars. Together, they began building from a template of acid jazz and ’60s and ’70s soul jazz, for a sound Denson has described as barroom boogaloo. The duo had earlier collaborated on Greyboy’s albums Home Cooking and Freestylin’, featuring Greyboy spinning tracks over the band’s instrumentals. Their debut 1995 Allstars album, West Coast Boogaloo, features James Brown bandleader Fred Wesley (Count Basie, Parliament-Funkadelic), who has arranged for Ray Charles, Van Morrison, and has performed with the Allstars on stage as well. They released a live album in 1999 and then became somewhat inactive for several years, but have since returned to occasional touring and releases such as A Town Called Earth, Inland Emperor, and What Happened To Television? With almost no advance notice, the Greyboy Allstars just dropped their fifth studio album, their first in around seven years, Como De Allstars.
Art of Elan Keir GoGwilt
Created by Demarre McGill (principal flutist for the Seattle Symphony Orchestra) and Kate Hatmaker (a violinist with the San Diego Symphony), Art of Élan says it “Aims to expose new audiences to classical music, explore, and expand the horizons of the classical music scene, energize audiences and musicians alike, and ultimately educate and cultivate a future generation of classical music lovers.” This month and next, the ensemble is partnering with the San Diego Museum of Art to host an online video series featuring musical performances inspired by accompanying works of art from the Museum’s permanent collection. This edition features violinist Keir GoGwilt paired with a painting called Doors by Claudia Fernández. Born in Edinburgh, Scotland and raised in New York City. GoGwilt is a violinist, writer, musicologist, and founding member of the arts company, AMOC. She has soloed with ensembles such as the Chinese National Symphony, the Boston Modern Orchestra Project, and others. The performance takes place online Tuesday, July 21, on the Museum’s YouTube channel.