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Stories by Dave Good

JD McPherson, keeping the rebellion alive

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 ...

June 7, 2018
Las Rosas - straight out of the '60s

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 ...

May 31, 2018
Right time, right place, right friends

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 ...

May 24, 2018
The Surfaris know you want to feel good

“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, ...

May 17, 2018
Hot Snakes slither back to San Diego

“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 ...

May 10, 2018
The British Breakthrough Act of 2007 is back

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 ...

May 3, 2018
Pink Talking Fish nails the tricky Triple Tribute

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 ...

April 26, 2018
Megadeth metalman captivates classical crowd

“Andres Segovia on steroids.” Shred metal guitarist and Megadeth front man Dave Mustaine’s own words, when asked to describe bandmate Kiko Loureiro. That would have been back in 2015, following the announcement that Loureiro had ...

April 19, 2018
Hipsters with guitars

Fruition is a five-piece act that is often labeled a bluegrass-alt country-jam band, and depending on one’s point of reference, the band can fit into any or all of those genres. Fruition’s three-piece vocal harmony ...

April 12, 2018
The California Honeydrops get a little love

Livin’ for today / singin’ for tomorrow... Is it safe to say that some of the world’s best New Orleans-style funk and soul bands come from the West Coast? Probably no. But our track record ...

April 5, 2018
Keeping blues out of the Museum of Past Glory

The last time the soul band Southern Avenue blew through town, I commented in these pages that maybe a decade on the road would put grit into their sound. Sounds like they’ve done it in ...

March 29, 2018
Power and bombast gained with age

As the gods of metal age: the short list includes Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Saxon, Black Sabbath, Udo Dirkschneider, and those other German head-bangers, the Scorpions. Most of these bands have retired, thought better of ...

March 22, 2018
San Diego's jazz people

“There’s live jazz every night here in town.” When I arrive, Robert Dove, a tenor sax player, a jazz guy, is waiting at the Ken Club’s bar. We pool our resources: between us, $22 dollars. ...

March 14, 2018
Gigs in the retirement digs

“It’s like no other scene. It’s an audience that’s appreciative,” Peter Marin says, “but, in another way.” Marin, 63, is a jazz singer. He performs at venues throughout San Diego, including senior retirement homes. “For ...

March 14, 2018
Hooked on accordion

You could call this story “Just Being There.” It’s about how Matt Hensley, from Vista, went from pro skater to being a working member of Flogging Molly. “The only odd thing,” he says by phone, ...

March 7, 2018
You can’t not look at Langhorne Slim

“Life is confused,” Langhorne Slim sings, “and people are insane.” Slim’s a 37-year-old singer/songwriter oft-branded as alt country. “Can we be happy for a while/ Can we just sit down and shut up and smile?” ...

February 27, 2018
Responsible to the blues

Readying to tour in support of her newest release, Love Is an Army, Janiva Magness checks in from her Culver City digs. We talk about artistic development. Magness is a blues singer. Electric blues at ...

February 21, 2018
Grails not nearly as shape-shifty as prog rock

Right about the point when you’re thinking this is a band that should have never left the garage, Grails delivers. The band has a sound that is its own: in this case, nuanced, shadowy, ominous ...

February 14, 2018
Pure Prairie League's pop-radio sugar

Possibly the most baffling love song ever recorded comes out of Ohio. It was released sometime during the early 1970s, and just about anyone from back then will know these words: “I can see why ...

February 7, 2018
Each chord as delicate as a prayer

Your basic acoustic piano is a bunch of wires strung at varying degrees of tension across an iron frame sandwiched inside of a wooden box for resonation. One controls said machine via 88 keys laid ...

January 31, 2018
Kung Fu's new funk jam

Live electro-fusion throwdown: in the band Kung Fu’s own words, they describe themselves as a part of the new-funk movement. Not that funk didn’t need revising — it did. Consider that the funk of old ...

January 23, 2018
Labels come and go, John Hiatt stays

You can’t make this stuff up. John Hiatt, from Indianapolis, left home as a teen troublemaker in a rock band. He landed work in Nashville — not as a dishwasher or a grocery bagger, but ...

January 17, 2018
Anthony Smith eases up on piano, reinvents himself in New York

No, not a CD-release party, although jazz music will be played live. It’s a book-signing party, the author of which is central to the band. Anthony Smith’s back in town after four years in New ...

January 10, 2018
Jams at the Kraken, Mr. Peabody's, Cafe La Maze, Pal Joey's, Prohibition, Bourre, Panama 66, Proud Mary's, Border X, Navajo Live, and Downtown Cafe

We’re going to have a lot of musicians here tonight, and they all get a turn. Okay?” A half dozen men circle around a thin man with a top bloom of white hair in long-sleeved ...

January 3, 2018
Petty gig at Casbah

It was a dark month, October. When reports of Tom Petty’s sudden death got leaked by the press, the loss felt personal. In the minutes and days and weeks to follow, Swiss psychiatrist Elizabeth Kübler-Ross’s ...

January 3, 2018
The Croce vision

Alas, the public imprint from having notable parents. I’d resolved not to make mention of mother Ingrid, the famous restaurateur, nor Jim, the famous singer who died in his prime. But in the end, I ...

December 27, 2017
L.A. Witch to fly in to the Casbah

“Expect 30-something minutes of reverb,” L.A. Witch frontwoman/guitarist Sade Sanchez has said of her band’s debut release. The L.A. music scene has long gone stale, but with this kind of raw music coming out today, ...

December 20, 2017
High-schooled Starcrawler

It’s almost as if Starcrawler read the list of how to be a ’60s American garage rock band. Loud-ass lead guitarist with much skill and many exciting poses? Check. Smokin’ rock and roll rhythm section ...

December 12, 2017
Coco Montoya, the last guy you should copy

Some years ago I was invited to sit in on a masterclass taught by blues guitarist Coco Montoya. I play blues sax. Possibly the organizer thought I’d gain some new insights. “I bet each of ...

December 6, 2017
Andrew McKeag Band: Just call it "dad rock"

“I don’t like to be told to turn my amp down.” This is Andrew McKeag on the phone. “People don’t understand how much fun it is to hear a loud rock band.” Some of you ...

November 29, 2017
Single-minded Joshua White

“It’s a celebration of my new music,” is how pianist Joshua White describes 13 Short Stories when he checks in by phone. “The new album, it tells a story of the band, of us as ...

November 22, 2017
Troubling lullabies by Chad VanGaalen

Chad VanGaalen’s got a troubling voice. The Canadian singer/songwriter sounds like a cross between another Canadian named Neil Young and a smoke alarm. He uses that singing voice to bait a listener into simple-sounding little ...

November 15, 2017
Tal's got serious jazz-fusion chops

Who didn’t see it coming? If you witnessed Tal Wilkenfeld in concert with Jeff Beck in the past couple of years and thought of her as the bass player, you were only partly right. Yes, ...

November 8, 2017
Sharon's Worm World in Ramona makes me feel so good

The road to Sharon’s Worm World is in turn blacktop, gravel, then finally Ramona dirt. Sharon McLaughlan, the worm farm’s founder and namesake, is waiting at the crest of the dusty lane that ends at ...

Son Little's 21st-century blues

Blues for millennials. Which is another way of saying blues for an audience that doesn’t necessarily dig the blues. Or gospel either, for that matter. No bad on millennials. Blues, gospel, and soul is not ...

November 1, 2017
Band name and credo rolled into one

Different, yes, but not so much so as to strand a listener in that “I want to like this band, but...” purgatory. The World Is a Beautiful Place and I Am No Longer Afraid to ...

October 25, 2017
Mastodon helps let out the scream

I used to think the Black Crowes were a loud band until I experienced Mastodon. The back story: I’d been granted a working-category stage pass back when San Diego still hosted Street Scene weekend concerts. ...

October 18, 2017
Repurposeful Rising Appalachia

“I heard the sound of a thunder, it roared out a warnin’/ Heard the roar of a wave that could drown the whole world.” Not surprised to hear Bob Dylan early in the soundtrack of ...

October 11, 2017
Walter TV channels ABBA

I’m going out on a limb to say this, but I hear echoes of ABBA here and there in Walter TV. Which is not meant as a bad thing. In fact, it’s the haunted-house version ...

October 4, 2017
Len Rainey, here when Mission Valley was hopping

“They’ve been calling me blues all these days,” says Len Rainey. “But I do a lot of R&B, some soul, some rock. I even used to play jazz fusion,” he says, sounding a little surprised ...

September 27, 2017
Toadies unzip the bodybag

“The band never went all the way away.” Vaden Todd Lewis would know. As one of the Fort Worth band’s founding members, he is also one of its survivors. The band broke out in 1994 ...

September 20, 2017
Southern Avenue, streetwise beyond their years

Southern Avenue is the name of a street in Memphis. On it, at 1932, is Soulsville, the original home of the legendary Stax Records. It is also the name of a band, a brand new ...

September 13, 2017
A swim with the Sharks and Dennis Quaid — CANCELED

After publishing this preview, the Dennis Quaid and the Sharks show was canceled so a benefit could be held for the victims of Hurricane Harvey. Art imitates life, which is busy imitating art: not exactly ...

September 6, 2017
No one calls Thundercat Stephen Bruner

Thundercat claims Miles Davis as an inspiration, along with jazz bassist Ron Carter and a pianist named Mary Lou Williams who was mostly active during the golden era of jazz, but you’d have to dig ...

August 30, 2017
U.S. Bombs target Soda Bar

If there is any truth to the rumor, the last thing Joey Ramone heard in this life was U2’s In a Little While. He died in a New York hospital in 2001. But, there are ...

August 23, 2017
Lafayette Falkquay's purple Strat shoots straight

Pure and greasy, raw, nasty, sexy, down-home Texas-style blues: there are possibly three or four authentic blues performers in San Diego, and Lafayette Falkquay is at the top of the stack. He’s a product of ...

August 16, 2017
Bad weather coming? No, it's Steve Earle.

He seems to own a measure of calm, but one watches Steve Earle in the same manner you’d track storm clouds. Long of beard, aging into his own vision of himself, Earle, 62, is like ...

August 8, 2017
Wheeler Walker Jr: consistently revolting and funny

Parental advisory: Wheeler Walker Jr is possibly the filthiest country singer on record. “But tonight it’ll do,” sings Walker Jr, about a man facing thin odds and even poorer options on the tail end of ...

August 2, 2017
Buttertones slather on the West Coast 1960s

Surf rock, as written and performed by players who were raised on grunge. Otherwise, the Buttertones are all over the place, with sonic influences from bands like the Gun Club all the way back to ...

July 26, 2017
Blackberry Smoke likely to fill Belly Up

Blackberry Smoke looks like they just stepped out of a 1960s promo photo shoot — wardrobe, hair, and all — that one where the band Blue Cheer posed on a pier with their mountain of ...

July 19, 2017

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