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Stories by Dave Good

They named Mt. Helix after a snail

There are so many La Mesas

“I hear them screeching” Frank Arredondo has seen them, romping down his La Mesa street as if they owned it: coyotes. “I sit out on the front porch, and I smoke and drink coffee. Usually ...

San Diego altruists

Eyes aimed at: homeless, El Cajon highschoolers, Camp Kesem, Habitat for Humanity

“After I graduated from high school, I went to Honduras. I stayed for a year in a little neighborhood where I developed relationships with teenagers, and moms at home taking care of their kids. These ...

San Diego Reader 2019 Music Issue

Guitar-based bands, children of hip-hop, jazz stories, funk scene, record label turmoil, art of music

Guitar bands spotted in the wild Here’s a fun-fact: contrary to popular opinion, guitar-based bands aren’t on the endangered species list. They may not generate the national coverage they once did, but if you venture ...

Could be wood frame house in Alabama, but it's El Cajon Blvd. storefront

Why would anyone sing in church these days?

“If you want, I’ll give you a hug,” a tall man with silver hair says to a seated congregant. “I give man hugs,” the silver-haired man says after the two have bro-hugged. It’s noon on ...

Sugaray Rayford’s Electric blues: a heavyweight jam with Al Kooper, Slash, Def Leppard’s Vivian Campbell and others

The ex-Marine has soul gravel in his pipes and the ghost of Teddy Pendergrass running through his veins

Sugaray Rayford is a heavyweight of the electric blues. Born in Texas, the 6’5” Rayford has said that by the age of four, he was in church seven days a week, singing in choirs. His ...

Lettuce the band: “let us” play with celebrities like Dave Matthews and Lady Gaga

A modern kind of funk: old enough to sound familiar but fresh enough to be relevant

“Brings forth a new vitality to classic funk.” That say-nothing dash of corporate-speak was lifted from the Lettuce band’s own bio. Try this instead: Lettuce the band sets classic funk on fire, and from the ...

“Feral” blues rocker Tinsley Ellis rivals early Jeff Beck and Eric Clapton

Award winning guitarist is not a stranger to such praise

It’s like the Holy Grail, the search for one’s own musical identity. Then again, if individuality is even possible in this era of over-saturation, does it matter? Blues-rock guitarist Joe Bonamassa is huge box office ...

New and nuanced with Pedro the Lion’s David Bazan

Introspective, but in a blue-collar way

Good plain rock and roll. And that’s no small achievement, considering that by now, every possible note and chord combination has likely been played. Nothing new to be done. And yet, somehow, Pedro the Lion ...

The connection between The Band’s Rick Danko, and Danko Jones

Will the Canadian power trio strike gold here?

Canada: some of our better rock and rollers from over the years have come from up north. Joni Mitchell, Barenaked Ladies, Neil Young, Rush, Tokyo Police Club, Arcade Fire, and Ronnie “The Hawk” Hawkins, to ...

Turkish for ‘turquoise’

Turkuaz tend to write live and on the fly

“Dirty funk” is how one critic described the Turkuaz package. Some might call them blue-eyed funk, which is not meant as a pejorative statement. Unlike funk’s originators, Turkuaz inherited, rather than politicized a rarefied kind ...

The 78's traditions resonate

"People like real, genuine music. That's not surprising."

“There’s a lot of good shit happening right now.” Whitey Morgan says this in answer to my question about the present-day state of traditional country music. “Sometimes, I see three generations of families at our ...

Plain heavy-metal fun

Judas Priestess is “The world’s only all-girl tribute to the metal gods”

They’re not a spot-on imitation of their namesake band, but was that ever the idea? Judas Priestess is plain heavy-metal fun — five gifted women metal-heads who deliver a shot of club-sized Judas Priest. Priestess ...

Instant hit

YouTube sensation Charlie Rae wants to “bring back feeling”

It’s all true, Charlie Rae says, the story about how a random passerby recorded her one day while she was busking, uploaded the performance to YouTube, and 500,000 hits later, she was a social media ...

Sarcastic adenoidal madness

Les Claypool has released an album almost every year since 1988

Les Claypool: unless you were a diehard Primus geek, I doubt you can remember the names of the other two guys who were in that band. Claypool is another thing entirely. As Sting was to ...

Curious blips and scratches

Thundercat wrestles sounds from his instrument that aren’t normally associated with it

Stephen Bruner, from Watts, California, grew up in a musical home. Both his father and his brother are heavy hitters who earned their reputations performing as sidemen with frontline jazz artists. But Bruner’s childhood is ...

Stoner rock

This is one musical dinosaur that didn’t go extinct

Even though the calendar proves otherwise, the members of Fu Manchu, a San Clemente band that dates back to the 1980s, seem not to have aged much. Still sporting the Vans skater gear and way-long ...

Brothers to Brotherhood

This is a jam band with the Grateful Dead’s fingerprints all over it

Chris Robinson is long of beard and graying, but still in possession of the skills that pushed his old band the Black Crowes to another level entirely. Back then, in front of the Crowes, Robinson ...

Improbably seasoned

Kid Jonny Lang didn’t sound like a kid

Blues music is appreciated even in the most un-blues-like corners of the world. North Dakota, for example. It may be possible to trace the radiation of that music into such desolate territory back to a ...

Close and distant

Cat Power’s Wanderer hits home

By the time Chan Marshall reaches San Diego as her alter ego Cat Power, she will have released Wanderer, her first album of new music in six years. The reviewers at Pitchfork gave it a ...

From Chula Vista keggers to the big leagues

The original P.O.D. is still at it

Right around the Millennium, it was a good time for rock and roll music. The early 2000’s saw a trend of hybrid bands that mixed hardcore, punk, hip hop, and grunge. Nu Metal, or Rapcore ...

The latest spin on America’s oldest music

The Record Company: file under “blues trio”

Some have tried it with two and made big noise, but trios are the foundation of rock and roll. Consider the Wombats, Cream, Nirvana, Motorhead, the Beastie Boys, ZZ Top, Green Day, the Black Rebel ...

No-frills four-on-the-floor roots rock

William Clark Green writes simple melodies and words that make you think

William Clark Green from Flint, Texas is a country music band leader with a rock-and-roll heart. Not recycled Top 40 rock made into country music with a violin and a string of clichés for words. ...

The Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band: country blues’ lethal weapon

The Guit-gun is a small-bore shotgun the Reverend converted into a guitar

I’m guessing it’s not easy to be the Reverend Peyton. His particular apple fell from the Charley Patton tree of the blues, and though it may have bounced, it did not bounce far. Patton, who ...

Halloween comes every day for Michale Graves

The former Misfits lead singer continues to write ambiguous and frightening songs

It’s a familiar face, albeit one decorated from ear to ear in fright makeup. Some of you may remember Michale Graves from the Misfits. Graves, from New Jersey, won the audition for lead singer in ...

More skate park or Whole Foods than faux vampire

The Growlers can blend a generational tapestry of genres that sounds complex, but is not

Some of the best rock music has been made in California. The Growlers are the present-day sum of that Golden state legacy. Imagine the Heartbreakers, but with random hints of surf rock, garage rock, British ...

Ozzy Osbourne: the Grammy-winning Rock and Roll Hall of Famer is road-dogging it

Fifty years in the business from Black Sabbath to Hollywood celebrity

So many years, so much Ozzy. He’s the guy who famously chomped a bat on stage, a story that’s been told and re-told so many times now over the years that it’s become myth. Then ...

50 years of East L.A. blues-rock

The Delgado Brothers Band came out of the scene that gave us El Chicano, Los Lobos, and Cannibal and the Headhunters

50 years of East L.A. blues-rock

San Diego's young guitar heroes

Tonight it's loud and packed and hot

“Six. Four. Seven,” the man at the microphone shouts like a preacher. He holds a red raffle ticket up in the air. Proud Mary’s is a Kearny Mesa restaurant, and tonight it’s loud and packed ...

Dean Ween's high school heat and weirdness

That old joke is still funny

Dean Ween's high school heat and weirdness

In underpants and a jumbled falsetto

Some of Oxbow's studio albums have titles too offensive for print

Too offensive for print

Who pays attention to the bass player?

Petros Klampanis reaches for emotion rather than intellect, and groove rather than form

Who pays attention to the bass player?

Feels just like home

"There was deep musicianship, and none of these people were professional”

Feels just like home

They didn’t know we were seeds

Each member of this five-piece can handle lead vocals

“They tried to bury us / But they didn’t know we were seeds.” Hometown Latin-American rockers Jarabe Mexicano re-worked the old Bob Marley protest song “Get Up, Stand Up” and released their version of it ...

A little yes, a little no

Without ever claiming to do so, he has updated American blues music

Joachim Cooder released Fuchsia Machu Picchu earlier this year. It’s an EP he says was inspired by his daughter, who is now three years old. The songs layer instrumental sounds, some recognizable and some not. ...

Darkness as always

Listening to those early songs feels more like eavesdropping

“I don’t want to try to explain my songs,” Lemuria’s Sheena Ozzella sings. Dark, but not hardcore – that’s Lemuria. “Omitting you, I get to brood in Diogenes’ tub,” Diogenes being the ancient Greek cynic ...

Alien and familiar

Modesto even took band naming rights from a Wu Tang Clan song

Buyepongo is about as multi- everything as you can get: multi-lingual, multi-instrumental, multi-cultural, multi-genre. It boils down to the music and rhythms of Central America, but by way of Long Beach. Cool jazz meets merengue, ...

"A complete other zone from the rest of music"

Neil Young wrote these words

“It sounded like they were in a complete other zone from the rest of music.” Neil Young wrote these words in his autobiography Waging Heavy Peace: A Hippie Dream. He wrote them about Givers, a ...

Warm, dark saxophone sounds

Buss has a big tone, as if his tenor sax is powered by something other than breath.

“There are more people playing jazz music at a higher level than ever before in the history of jazz.” That’s Ian Buss’s answer when I ask him about choosing a career playing straight-ahead jazz music ...

Huge, gritty garage rock

In The Whale also sounds like so much more than just one guitar and one drummer

Lilyhammer was a Netflix series about an American mobster who chose Norway when he entered the witness protection program. There, the mobster (played by Steven Van Zandt of The Sopranos and E Street Band fame) ...

Cheech and Chong doing Big Hair-era covers

Anything that goofs metal’s inherent lies is funny

Heavy metal hasn’t been this much fun since Van Halen made it music that a person could sing along to. In general, the genre takes itself far too seriously. Metal music comes couched in grand ...

Friends said she sounded like a dude

The Last Gang: Three-chord punk kids who grew up listening to the hardcore

“Good music for bad people,” is how Brenna Red once described her band’s oeuvre. The Last Gang is an Orange County punk trio born almost an entire generation after the West Coast’s punk scene faded. ...

Electric folk, the kind that gave Seeger the shakes

These are noble days for Willie Nile

“Me? I’m in a rock and roll band.” Willie Nile sings that line from “Sweet Jane” almost as good as did the song’s creator, Lou Reed. Now 69, Nile, looks like he could be Reed’s ...

Part of the grand inventory

Vincent Herring plays it like the music never died

Vincent Herring is a part of the grand inventory of straight-ahead jazz alto saxophone players. His is not a name that leaps out, perhaps, which reduces Herring’s significance not one bit. The trouble with the ...

JD McPherson, keeping the rebellion alive

He perfected that three-chord frenzy that stems from hormonal urgency

What came to mind the first time I heard JD McPherson’s band? My childhood. He reminded me of being four years old and leaving out of Texas in ‘57 with my mom and the music ...

Las Rosas - straight out of the '60s

About as intellectual as a Facebook meme

In 1964, the Kinks invented garage rock. Even though garage was more or less finished by 1968, the concept never really went away. Las Rosas, a Brooklyn trio, knows this. The heart of that ancient ...

Right time, right place, right friends

Madeleine Peyroux is the anti-Billie, the anti-Edith

When Madeleine Peyroux comes around this time, she’ll be travelling light. It’s a trio gig with guitar, acoustic bass, and her voice to support the jazz-and-blues singer’s 20 years of recordings. I think her own ...

The Surfaris know you want to feel good

"Wipe Out" starts with the mother of all drum solos

“Our career was a skyrocket.” It’s Bob Berryhill, the last original member of the Surfaris, phoning the Reader from his home in Laguna Beach. “We started in December of 1962.” The band was Jim Fuller, ...

Hot Snakes slither back to San Diego

"I think I still know all their songs by heart."

“Hot Snakes?” my pal said. “I totally loved that band. Are you going?” That’s been the standard comeback among friends who were club-age back during the 1980s and 90s, when San Diego’s indie punk scene ...

The British Breakthrough Act of 2007 is back

The Fratellis' split didn't last

Just as Joey, Dee Dee, Johnny, and Tommy were not really Ramones, Jon, Barry, and Mince Fratelli aren’t related, and they aren’t Fratellis. It’s an inside joke. Remember the bad guys in The Goonies? That’s ...

Pink Talking Fish nails the tricky Triple Tribute

I half-expected to see flying pigs during their Floyd covers

The name of the band says it all: Pink Talking Fish is three tributes in one. The band re-creates the music of Pink Floyd, Talking Heads, and Phish. But not by playing one song at ...