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Tour San Diego venues past with Devon E. Levins

“I couldn’t believe that the singer of Manifest Destiny was the door guy.”

Morricone Youth’s Devon E. Levins: “The original concept itself spawned from San Diego.”
Morricone Youth’s Devon E. Levins: “The original concept itself spawned from San Diego.”

Devon E. Levins of Morricone Youth has played just about every kind of rock and roll, and just about everywhere in San Diego’s city limits.

“The last night of the old Casbah was memorable in 1994,” recalls Levin, who lived in town from 1987 to 1998. “I played two sets with both aMiniature and Creedle opening for Drive Like Jehu.... ‘Karaoke with Creedle’ in 1992, when we tried out lead singers on stage at the old Casbah as well as the Half Man/Half Pie record release party, where a half-naked Ryan Fox pretended to throw a Julian Pie Co. pie in Tim Blankenship’s face on stage and instead pie-ed himself. Casbah cover sets as Rocket & The Crips, Guns & Creedle, and Ziggy Shuffledust & The Creedles from Mars. Creedle had plenty of fun shows at the Che over the years as well.”

“Holy Love Snakes was my first band I joined in San Diego, in 1988,” recalls Levin. “It [was] started by Dan Brewer a number of years before I met him, playing at the Spirit Club a lot. Although on Cargo/Headhunter [Records], HLS was more during that late ’80s/early ’90s time, when first-wave hardcore and thrash metal had arguably run its course, but grunge/indie rock had not really kicked in with full force.”

“Creedle was more kitchen sink, everything goes, arguably more punishing on the band members and the listener with roots in punk, jazz, metal, noise, prog, and typical indie rock. It was formed out of the ashes of a number of San Diego bands, that had all broken up at the same time — Holy Love Snakes, Pulltoys, If Tomorrow, and Daddy Longleggs.”

“aMiniature and Rust were never my bands. I was more of a sideman, as they were run by John Lee and John Hogan, respectively, and I played local shows and toured some after their former guitarists left them. I played with Napo briefly, but I never played any shows with them. I did do a couple of Fern Trio improv shows as well as Christina Chabalaba’s Charvana.”

Asked about his favorite shows seen over the years, he starts out with an obligatory “Geez, there’s too many. But the first that come to mind are tons of shows at the original Casbah, like Jesus Lizard two times, Nirvana with Dale Crover on drums pre-Nevermind, Zeni Geva and the Caspar Brötzmann Massaker, the Pixies at The Bacchanal, Crash Worship, and Trumans Water virtually any time they played.”

“Bad Brains and the Buzzcocks at Iguanas - does Tijuana count? - Fugazi at La Paloma, Drive Like Jehu’s first show at the original Soma, The Flaming Lips at the Spirit, Danzig on his first tour at Rios. P-Funk at the Belly Up where I felt the funk, when Bootsy played his bass walking through the audience.”

Asked about favorite places to eat, drink, and party down, Levins remembers several places fondly. “Dao Son 2 was my favorite Vietnamese restaurant where I have not found an equivalent since. The Vietnamese crepe, chicken lemongrass, and garlic chicken all make me hungry just thinking about them. The Pink Panther was where I met many lifelong friends when I was relatively new to San Diego. I couldn’t believe that the singer of Manifest Destiny was the door guy.”

“The Windsock, merely because it was as unique as a karaoke bar can be and walkable from my last place in Middletown. I recently revisited it a few months ago when Top Gun was on TV. [The Windsock was] the best part of that film. Period.”

“All of the Off The Records (Hillcrest, Encinitas, and College) helped me learn more and more about music. My record collection wouldn’t have been the same without them.”

He moved to NYC in 1998, following some friends who’d gone over first. “My now-wife and I had always wanted to live in New York for at least a year or two to have that experience, me for music and her for art. I was very inspired by the downtown avant garde music scene, initially at the old Knitting Factory, later Tonic, and now the Stone.”

Morricone Youth started in 1999, with the idea of re-interpreting soundtrack music, or furnishing new music to films. “The funny thing is that the original concept itself spawned from San Diego as something that Chris Stillwell (Greyboy Allstars), Steve Kader (Donkey Show/B-Side Players,) and I discussed doing in the mid-late ’90s, but it never materialized.”

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Morricone Youth’s Devon E. Levins: “The original concept itself spawned from San Diego.”
Morricone Youth’s Devon E. Levins: “The original concept itself spawned from San Diego.”

Devon E. Levins of Morricone Youth has played just about every kind of rock and roll, and just about everywhere in San Diego’s city limits.

“The last night of the old Casbah was memorable in 1994,” recalls Levin, who lived in town from 1987 to 1998. “I played two sets with both aMiniature and Creedle opening for Drive Like Jehu.... ‘Karaoke with Creedle’ in 1992, when we tried out lead singers on stage at the old Casbah as well as the Half Man/Half Pie record release party, where a half-naked Ryan Fox pretended to throw a Julian Pie Co. pie in Tim Blankenship’s face on stage and instead pie-ed himself. Casbah cover sets as Rocket & The Crips, Guns & Creedle, and Ziggy Shuffledust & The Creedles from Mars. Creedle had plenty of fun shows at the Che over the years as well.”

“Holy Love Snakes was my first band I joined in San Diego, in 1988,” recalls Levin. “It [was] started by Dan Brewer a number of years before I met him, playing at the Spirit Club a lot. Although on Cargo/Headhunter [Records], HLS was more during that late ’80s/early ’90s time, when first-wave hardcore and thrash metal had arguably run its course, but grunge/indie rock had not really kicked in with full force.”

“Creedle was more kitchen sink, everything goes, arguably more punishing on the band members and the listener with roots in punk, jazz, metal, noise, prog, and typical indie rock. It was formed out of the ashes of a number of San Diego bands, that had all broken up at the same time — Holy Love Snakes, Pulltoys, If Tomorrow, and Daddy Longleggs.”

“aMiniature and Rust were never my bands. I was more of a sideman, as they were run by John Lee and John Hogan, respectively, and I played local shows and toured some after their former guitarists left them. I played with Napo briefly, but I never played any shows with them. I did do a couple of Fern Trio improv shows as well as Christina Chabalaba’s Charvana.”

Asked about his favorite shows seen over the years, he starts out with an obligatory “Geez, there’s too many. But the first that come to mind are tons of shows at the original Casbah, like Jesus Lizard two times, Nirvana with Dale Crover on drums pre-Nevermind, Zeni Geva and the Caspar Brötzmann Massaker, the Pixies at The Bacchanal, Crash Worship, and Trumans Water virtually any time they played.”

“Bad Brains and the Buzzcocks at Iguanas - does Tijuana count? - Fugazi at La Paloma, Drive Like Jehu’s first show at the original Soma, The Flaming Lips at the Spirit, Danzig on his first tour at Rios. P-Funk at the Belly Up where I felt the funk, when Bootsy played his bass walking through the audience.”

Asked about favorite places to eat, drink, and party down, Levins remembers several places fondly. “Dao Son 2 was my favorite Vietnamese restaurant where I have not found an equivalent since. The Vietnamese crepe, chicken lemongrass, and garlic chicken all make me hungry just thinking about them. The Pink Panther was where I met many lifelong friends when I was relatively new to San Diego. I couldn’t believe that the singer of Manifest Destiny was the door guy.”

“The Windsock, merely because it was as unique as a karaoke bar can be and walkable from my last place in Middletown. I recently revisited it a few months ago when Top Gun was on TV. [The Windsock was] the best part of that film. Period.”

“All of the Off The Records (Hillcrest, Encinitas, and College) helped me learn more and more about music. My record collection wouldn’t have been the same without them.”

He moved to NYC in 1998, following some friends who’d gone over first. “My now-wife and I had always wanted to live in New York for at least a year or two to have that experience, me for music and her for art. I was very inspired by the downtown avant garde music scene, initially at the old Knitting Factory, later Tonic, and now the Stone.”

Morricone Youth started in 1999, with the idea of re-interpreting soundtrack music, or furnishing new music to films. “The funny thing is that the original concept itself spawned from San Diego as something that Chris Stillwell (Greyboy Allstars), Steve Kader (Donkey Show/B-Side Players,) and I discussed doing in the mid-late ’90s, but it never materialized.”

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