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BJ Jezbera’s mariachi-infused folk

Skank armies and death metal Britney

BJ Jezbera wants to absorb from everyone and play everywhere.
BJ Jezbera wants to absorb from everyone and play everywhere.

Asked for his most colorful stories about gigging around town, singer-songwriter BJ Jezbera gives the impression that he knows just a little bit more than he’s telling. “I feel like a question like this,” he explains, “really deserves a face-to-face conversation in a dimly lit dive bar, over cheap beer and some Skrewball. Because that’s the only way I can piece together the many memories I have made in this scene. A couple of my favorite stories are about the time I went on tour with Quel Bordel and we played Drinking Dreidel in our hotel, or the times I played the Anime Conji conventions and partied with people dressed as characters from every cartoon.”

A lifelong resident of Chula Vista (“West of the 805!”), Jezbera recalls that he “started by stealing the acoustic guitar my older sister had in her closet, while she was out of the house. Eventually, I just stopped putting it back and she let me have it. The bands that influenced me as a 14-year-old to start a band and write my own songs were groups like Blink 182, Alkaline Trio, and Green Day. I’ve always been drawn to bands and musicians who can craft a story into their songs, where the lyrics are something you can really dive into. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve drawn influence from so many artists who I view as storytellers, everyone from Johnny Cash to Snoop Dogg. I try to absorb as many different kinds of music as I can to stay inspired, sometimes even a jingle from a TV show like King of the Hill makes its way into my set.”

As for songwriting, that too started out close to home. “I began when I was about thirteen or fourteen with my friend Indy in our band Element-X. The songs were exactly what you expect young teenage boys who were into Blink-182 and NOFX to write. Our two biggest songs were ‘Army of Skanks,’ plucked from the movie Mean Girls, and ‘MILF.’ I think I have always sung to myself, just whatever gets stuck in my head, but never considered myself a ‘singer.’ I was a theatre kid growing up, and, although I had to sing in the occasional musical, I never really liked it. It wasn’t until I started playing in bands and getting to write my own lyrics and sing them how I wanted that I began to enjoy it. Right now, one of my favorite songs to sing is a song I wrote called ‘Don’t Go,’ a sassy little emo-punk tune. Either that, or my death metal version of Britney Spears’ ‘…Baby One More Time.’”

Jezbera describes his most recent release, the Canciones Con Queso EP, as a “very fun mariachi-infused folk album,” recorded at Mannequin Vanity Records with both American and French players. He promotes his work by gigging as often as ten times per month, all while holding down a day job in Miramar at Cutwater Spirits. “I just love what I do, and I am driven to keep pushing by peers and all the hard work I see them putting in. I’m not a very competitive person, but there is a part of me that wants to play every show, every venue, every night. That part of me keeps me hungry for more. That, plus a copious amount of coffee.”

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BJ Jezbera wants to absorb from everyone and play everywhere.
BJ Jezbera wants to absorb from everyone and play everywhere.

Asked for his most colorful stories about gigging around town, singer-songwriter BJ Jezbera gives the impression that he knows just a little bit more than he’s telling. “I feel like a question like this,” he explains, “really deserves a face-to-face conversation in a dimly lit dive bar, over cheap beer and some Skrewball. Because that’s the only way I can piece together the many memories I have made in this scene. A couple of my favorite stories are about the time I went on tour with Quel Bordel and we played Drinking Dreidel in our hotel, or the times I played the Anime Conji conventions and partied with people dressed as characters from every cartoon.”

A lifelong resident of Chula Vista (“West of the 805!”), Jezbera recalls that he “started by stealing the acoustic guitar my older sister had in her closet, while she was out of the house. Eventually, I just stopped putting it back and she let me have it. The bands that influenced me as a 14-year-old to start a band and write my own songs were groups like Blink 182, Alkaline Trio, and Green Day. I’ve always been drawn to bands and musicians who can craft a story into their songs, where the lyrics are something you can really dive into. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve drawn influence from so many artists who I view as storytellers, everyone from Johnny Cash to Snoop Dogg. I try to absorb as many different kinds of music as I can to stay inspired, sometimes even a jingle from a TV show like King of the Hill makes its way into my set.”

As for songwriting, that too started out close to home. “I began when I was about thirteen or fourteen with my friend Indy in our band Element-X. The songs were exactly what you expect young teenage boys who were into Blink-182 and NOFX to write. Our two biggest songs were ‘Army of Skanks,’ plucked from the movie Mean Girls, and ‘MILF.’ I think I have always sung to myself, just whatever gets stuck in my head, but never considered myself a ‘singer.’ I was a theatre kid growing up, and, although I had to sing in the occasional musical, I never really liked it. It wasn’t until I started playing in bands and getting to write my own lyrics and sing them how I wanted that I began to enjoy it. Right now, one of my favorite songs to sing is a song I wrote called ‘Don’t Go,’ a sassy little emo-punk tune. Either that, or my death metal version of Britney Spears’ ‘…Baby One More Time.’”

Jezbera describes his most recent release, the Canciones Con Queso EP, as a “very fun mariachi-infused folk album,” recorded at Mannequin Vanity Records with both American and French players. He promotes his work by gigging as often as ten times per month, all while holding down a day job in Miramar at Cutwater Spirits. “I just love what I do, and I am driven to keep pushing by peers and all the hard work I see them putting in. I’m not a very competitive person, but there is a part of me that wants to play every show, every venue, every night. That part of me keeps me hungry for more. That, plus a copious amount of coffee.”

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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