Back to profile

Stories by Andrew Hamlin

Whitney Shay shares thoughts on her "deeper rhythm and blues cuts"

Local singer spent six years contemplating her new album, A Woman Rules The World

Deeper cuts

A film I really dug

"I basically came up with the idea to do a film because I didn’t want to start yet another band"

A film I really dug

Underground acoustic jam

We’d disappear from the stage, take an elevator to the top level and then let it zip

Dispatch, founded in the ‘90s, disbanded in the early aughts, and back for more in 2011, takes pride in self-sufficiency as they travel the world without major label money. They bring it to the Cal ...

Great moments the world over

“No matter how hard ones tries, there will be some times one will not be able to stop [musical] dissidents.”

As the oldest son of singer/songwriter/bandleader/mystic/political agitator/polygamist Fela Kuti, Mr. Femi Kuti, now 56, knew from an early age that he had some big shoes to fill. But he toughened up while playing in his ...

Transcending Barriers

We realized how important it would be to work across the border.

Sharon Katz travels around the world with her band, the Peace Train, putting on musical events to promote peace and cross-cultural understanding. The South Africans “Transcending Barriers” program, scheduled for July 21, starts at the ...

Worst show at the Epicentre

I forgot to bring my capo

San Diego native Alex Lievanos, 21, sings, writes songs, and plays several instruments. In advance of coming back to SOMA on July 7 (opening for the Grove Collective), he took questions over email. Where in ...

Salt on the keys

All it took was one class for jazz pianist Danny Green

San Diego native Danny Green studied classical piano as a child, but flipped over to jazz, built up a base of local fans, and earlier this year released One Day It Will, mating his jazz ...

A rock and my disinclination to kick at it

Seven haiku

Library sink tableau two pages hardcore porn small sunscreen tube The bride and the groom and a little brown-haired girl sticking out her tongue Fourteen hours waiting for this train hello again, wink the stars ...

Brazilian rhapsody in Solana Beach

Bebel Gilberto records EP at Belly Up

Born in New York City but raised in Mexico and Brazil, Bebel Gilberto springs from a musical family — her father the bossa nova pioneer João Gilberto, her mother the singer Miúcha — and she’s ...

What is a rock star?

Grossmont professor Raul Sandelin's Throttle the Sun asks the question

Grossmont College professor Raul Sandelin premiered his new music documentary Throttle the Sun on September 14th as part of the college’s Fall Concert Series. In the film, he’s interrogating the history of, and the changing ...

Melvins' walk with love and death

"Heat? The cops usually leave me alone."

Here comes Buzz Osborne, leader of the Melvins, back with drummer Dale Crover and Redd Kross’ Steven McDonald on bass. On July 5th they hit the Casbah, far enough from the beach for Osborne, who ...

From the X-rated Jolar Arcade to the Belly Up

Gary Wilson will be rolling around in flour, paint, and duct tape

He may not be a native, but Gary Wilson — singer, composer, multi-instrumentalist, collector of alien sunglasses, secret-agent lounge musician fetishist of flour and paint — must rank at the top of San Diego music ...

Tinariwen — from a Moroccan oasis

Grammy-winners play Belly Up with Dengue Fever Thursday night

Tinariwen’s founder, Ibrahim Ag Alhabib, watched the execution of his father, a rebel in the 1963 Mali uprising. A few years later he found musical inspiration in a film, The Fastest Guitar Alive, starring Roy ...

Modern English melts fantastic

English new wave group tours through town behind their latest, Take Me To The Trees

Modern English will always be “I Melt with You” to America — an essential ’80s love song that singer Robbie Grey once admitted is about sex during nuclear war. They’re back with a new album, ...

H.P. Lovecraft churned out fiends

Fungi From Yuggoth and Other Poems read by William E. Hart

Howard Phillips Lovecraft (1890-1937) lived whenever possible in Providence, Rhode Island (although a short-lived marriage dragged him scraping and screeching to NYC for a jaunt). He grated through poverty, obscurity, frustration, nursing his personal obsessions ...

High school survivalists the Regrettes

With a Warner Brothers record deal, no regrets for these four teens

They’re too young to hold office and at least two of them can’t vote, but the Regrettes, four teens pushing back against conventional notions of beauty, status, and worth, have a Warner Brothers recording contract, ...

Sprinkle Stephen Pearcy over Southern California

The Ratt frontman is back with solo Smash...and suggests Ratt may be right behind him

Back to work on Ratt and related projects, singer Stephen Pearcy celebrates the release of a new solo album, Smash, on January 27. The former San Diegan took some questions from L.A. Been back to ...

Tour Italy with Keith Jarrett

Multi-disc Multitude of Angels offers the piano mans final solo tour

“Over the Rainbow” would be the last piece he’d play in public for a few years. As he remarks in his liner notes, he was already sick when he did these concerts. He didn’t know ...

Mr. Robinson's frontier spirit

Psych-n-blues-rock band Chris Robinson Brotherhood takes the stage at the Observatory on Friday

Ex–Black Crowes singer Chris Robinson brings the Chris Robinson Brotherhood to the Observatory North Park on December 16. In between the phone signal cutting out in Appalachia, he took some questions. Where am I reaching ...

Pansy Division's Chris Freeman on Beatles, Kiss, and Trump

Soundtrack of my life

Out-and-proud punk-poppers Pansy Division hit Soda Bar November 4. Co-founder Chris Freeman took some email queries. What are the band’s most memorable San Diego gigs? “Opening for Green Day at the Sports Arena on Halloween ...

The biggest kit in the world

Drummer Terry Bozzio sets it up at Dizzy's

Drummer Terry Bozzio’s survived playing with Frank Zappa, Jeff Beck, and a slew of prog-rock lineups. He brings a concert-length solo performance on “the world’s largest tuned drum and percussion” set to Dizzy’s on October ...

Cyndi always sang

Ms. Lauper is back on the charts — the country charts

Cyndi Lauper’s sung R&B, electronica, classics, obscurities, and picked up a Grammy and a Tony for writing the Kinky Boots musical. She brings her new country album, Detour, to Humphreys by the Bay October 3 ...

Gary Wilson's flour power

Still catchy, still creepy, still obsessive, still (mostly) masked...

Still catchy, still creepy, still obsessive, still (mostly) masked, still rocking the white-framed cat’s-eye sunglasses he’s favored for decades, longtime San Diego resident Gary Wilson has a new album out, Friday Night with Gary Wilson, ...

Planets realigned

Jazzy hip-hop trio Digable Planets reunite, tour

Ishmael “Butterfly” Butler, having spent many years with the psychedelic hiphop team Shabazz Palaces, reunited with his earlier band, Digable Planets, for their first tour since 2005. They land at Belly Up on August 20. ...

Chastity blog

“We’ve always had a good time going to the beach and eating burritos in San Diego. Really great burritos!”

Guitarist/singer Julia Shapiro, guitarist Lydia Lund, bassist Annie Truscott, and drummer Gretchen Grimm formed Chastity Belt mostly for laughs at Whitman College, then moved to Seattle and got serious. They visit the Casbah on Wednesday, ...

The London Suede's aquatic Night Thoughts

Contractions and negatives in song titles — “Don’t Know,” “Can’t Give,” “What I’m Trying” — convey the anguish

We won’t have the new Meat Loaf until the kids go back to school this September, so lucky for us the Suede decided to carry on in the face of lineup changes and, dare I ...

Durans' empty chair

How the British pop band still records, tours without a dedicated guitarist

Duran Duran, still Duranimal after all these years, brings their new multimedia blitz and their new album, Paper Gods, to the Sleep Train Amphitheatre Tuesday, August 2. From his home near Hammersmith, London, drummer Roger ...

In the flow with Sonny & the Sunsets

"Yeah, it would be fun to live in San Diego like those two…"

When not writing, singing, sharing one-act plays or investigating psychic phenomena (see below), Sonny Smith from Sonny & the Sunsets stumps for his new album Moods Baby Moods. The band hits Soda Bar on the ...

Unreleased master — Herbie Mann at the Whisky, 1969

Pop songs become springboards. Into the air, a double-flip, then deep down.

Coltrane was dead. And flautist Herbie Mann's band didn't boast the jaw-dropping hive mind of Miles Davis’s Second Great Quintet. What Mann had was a splendid band of creative misfits. Among others: incendiary guitarist Sonny ...

From Europe to Elysium

Al Di Meola talks fusion music and its classical ties

From the streets of Jersey City came guitarist Al Di Meola, who toiled in the fusion group Return to Forever, at age 20, and eventually went solo, combining rock, jazz, classical, and electronic approaches. He ...

San Diego psych-rockers Earthless and Harsh Toke split sides

Acid Crusher/Mount Swan due to drop May 27

It might have been fate, it might have been celestial machinations, it might have been the two bands’ mutual love, but Earthless and Harsh Toke, two of the heaviest, THC-est bands on the San Diego ...

Industrial-strength Filter

Cleveland band's coming through town with Crazy Eyes

In 1987, R. Budd Dwyer, state treasurer of Pennsylvania, climaxed a press conference by killing himself with a revolver. Filter’s signature tune, the facetious-but-still-regretful “Hey Man Nice Shot,” released in 1995, is about Dwyer, who ...

Resident Putin

The Residents are not who you think they are — wait, who do you think they are?

Two key points about the Residents: nobody knows who they are after 40-plus years (though they’ve taken to calling the three people on stage “Randy, Chuck, and Bob”), and they always employ masks, costumes, and ...

Rocket From the Tombs reduces "Sonic Reducer" — again

Black Record covers covers

“You’re not my friend/ and that is fine,” croak-warbles David Thomas for starters. Circa 35 years ago, longtime Thomas-watcher Greil Marcus summed up the then-new music of Thomas’s Pere Ubu band, as someone who’d been ...

Joy sounds insane

San Diego psych-rock trio talks about their new record release

Heavier, and, I must say, humbler than ever, San Diego’s own Joy comes fulminating back with their latest platter, Ride Along! Originator Zachary Oakley took some queries via email. The new album’s out on 4/29. ...

Third Eye open

Third Eye Blind frontman Stephan Jenkins overcomes his writer's block

Third Eye Blind took six years between their last album, Ursa Major, and their new platter, Dopamine, owing in large part to leader Stephan Jenkins’s struggles with writer’s block, a problem he tried to cure, ...

Magma from another planet

A music so specialized it required its own language — Kobaïan

Even the most conceptually aggregated rock bands usually stop short of creating their own language. Call them prog, call them avant-garde, call them way out, but Magma founder Christian Vander took that plunge decades ago, ...

Sesame Street dreams

Eleanor Friedberger shares a secret and a dream

Eleanor Friedberger first went around the world as half of the Fiery Furnaces, which cut nine albums covering almost every base of Western music. The band went on hiatus in 2011. Friedberger comes to the ...

Def Leppard does Def Leppard

...clichés tossed like salad, mixed like milkshakes

“He lost his arm in an arm accident,” as the noted futurist Mike Hamrick noted about Def Leppard’s drummer Rick Allen — but that’s left Allen stronger. Given pedals to cover his missing left appendage, ...

Fighting monsters with Cave Singers

Seattle act tours through town behind its new record, Banshee

From the residue of Seattle band Pretty Girls Make Graves, the Cave Singers arose in 2007. Now they’re touring their fifth album and first crowd-sourced recording project, Banshee. They play the Casbah on Sunday, February ...

Clarinetist down!

Ben Folds brings his new concertos to town for the San Diego Symphony

From the Ben Folds Five through solo projects and rubbing shoulders with William Shatner, Regina Spektor, and Weird Al Yankovic, pianist/composer Ben Folds likes to keep folks head-scratching. In concert with the San Diego Symphony, ...

Vanessa Carlton navigating parenthood while on tour

How chill I am

Singer, songwriter, keyboardist Vanessa Carlton brings her new stark tunes from her album Liberman to the Casbah on Sunday, January 24. She took questions over email on working with producer Steve Osborne (New Order, U2), ...

Music Complete a slow obsession

New Order still hooks without Peter Hook

They’re missing Peter Hook. Without his bass leading the charge or waiting to, everyone lays back. Cool lapsing into cold. Heatless — but seamless — groove slipping between disco, disco with electronica synth touches, razor-chop ...

The Serious Chicken

Seattle surf-pop act Tacocat's at Casbah Monday night

Seattle’s Tacocat — singer Emily Nokes, guitarist Eric Randall, bassist Bree McKenna, and drummer Lelah Maupin — brings their surf/pop/throb/costume riot to the Casbah on December 7. Ms. Nokes sat for some email questions. Which ...

Everclear's Art Alexakis talks addiction from a Starbucks

Thank you, universe

Art Alexakis, leader of Everclear, brings the band to the Music Box on Saturday, November 21. Alexakis took time out from hunting down a Starbucks in Greensboro, North Carolina, to take a few phoner questions. ...

Herstorical L7

Los Angeles grunge girls reunite for a night at San Diego Music Thing

L7, the loud and raunchy female quartet featuring guitarists Donita Sparks and Suzi Gardner, bassist Jennifer Finch, and drummer Dee Plakas, formed in 1985, broke big in 1992, broke up in 2001, and reunited last ...

The Cult's Ian Astbury checks in from Texas

Tripping over the moment

The Cult, fronted by Ian Astbury, invades House of Blues on November 19, stumping for their new album Hidden City, the final installment in a three-album trilogy. Astbury took questions over the phone — and ...

Talk of claws, casseroles, confinement, and alcohol

Barrence Whitfield's back Under the Savage Sky

Won’t say the guy’s name, but he was a drug dealer with a name fitting that occupation. He held down an all-nighter DJ slot at the campus station, and I sat up with him once ...

Chemistry of Garbage

Shirley Manson and bandmates arguing over title of new album

Shirley Manson’s back together with her Garbage bandmates Butch Vig, Duke Erikson, and Steve Marker. They hit Humphreys Concerts by the Bay on October 6. She took some trans-Atlantic phone questions from the Reader. What ...

What it was like to sit next to Lester Bangs for six years

Jaan Uhelszki on El Cajon's famous rock critic

"A truly good friend. He was truthful to the point of it being painful. A tremendous amount of fun, and up for anything. He would tell anyone anything, often to his own detriment.”

Get $5 off any Reader event

Sign up for our email list to get your promo code

Close