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Stories by Jay Allen Sanford

“When the world is full of butterflies and sunshine again”

“I started performing music in public during my high school years and had a successful band in Cleveland, Ohio back in the 1970s called Buckeye Biscuit,” says light classical jazz guitarist Ron Franklin. “We’re mentioned ...

Tamar Berk doesn’t need your permission

While still living in Chicago, singer-songwriter Tamar Berk played in power pop group Starball, known for their 2001 track “New Year’s Day” (“I wanted to write a holiday song”). She movied on to an electro-punk ...

January 20, 2022
The sometimes unpredictable path to motherhood

Academy Award-nominated Andra Day began singing at Chula Vista’s First United Methodist Church, then studied music at the School of Creative and Performing Arts. Her 2012 cover of Jessie J’s “Mamma Knows Best” peaked at ...

What winners of those KSON, KCBQ, KGB give-aways got

It feels good to be a winner. Who doesn’t love being the best — or at least the first, or the luckiest? People congratulate you, make you feel special and singled out. And you get ...

Julia Sage’s huge learning curve

A songwriter since early childhood, Julia Sage plays Chilean folk, blues, and Americana. She performs bilingual songs as a solo artist, as part of Grampadrew’s Flim Flam Revue, and with her band the Bad Hombres. ...

January 6, 2022
“We Are Our Computers’ Genitalia”

The Frequency Conspiracy features members of Raven, Last in Line, 24-7 Spyz, and Seventrain. Their Quarantine Covers album contains “Sailing” (Christopher Cross), “Carry On Wayward Son” (Kansas), “Life in the Fast Lane” (Eagles), “Hell Bent ...

January 6, 2022
RIP Famous Former Neighbor Betty White

Online newspaper editors have been sitting on prepared obituaries for part-time Rancho Santa Fe resident Betty White, who just passed away at age 99, for as long as there's been an "online." The Reader has ...

January 2, 2022
Direct from Dandy’s Stardust Dive

“This album has been a long time in the making,” says Julia Sage of her new full-length Desnuda. “We recorded three of the singles a long time ago now. ‘Ni de Aquí, Ni de All ...

December 30, 2021
Stills and Nash saw what David Byrne missed

Since 1991, Kearny High grad Marc Intravaia has been collaborating musically with Eve Selis, who won Best Americana or Country at the 2008 San Diego Music Awards. “The best thing about maintaining a musical collaboration ...

Drone machines shaking the entire warehouse

Mechanical engineer and musician Tristan Shone is the man behind the industrial drone-doom one-man band Author & Punisher. A new album called Krüller is due February 11 via Relapse Records, featuring newly upgraded musical machines, ...

December 23, 2021
Masked Singer Surprise: Jewel bets on the Queen Of Hearts

Fronted by Canada-born Sherri Anne, Sister Speak combines alt-blues rock with world music. “The idea was a collaboration of musicians supporting the expression of the woman’s voice through music,” says the spokesperson for local Taylor ...

December 16, 2021
Scott Wilson’s Saturday Night Live surprise

Local singer-songwriter and cinematographer Scott Wilson says he was taken by surprise when Saturday Night Live recently did a parody version of Marc Cohn’s “Walking in Memphis” video in a musical sketch called “Walking in ...

December 9, 2021
Making masks and music for soccer moms

Western-tinged Dani Bell & the Tarantist is yet another band championed by local star Alfred Howard, who performs with the group and signed them to the label he co-owns, Redwoods Music. Singer Dani Bell (Boychick) ...

December 9, 2021
Half-baked tracks with organic music quality

According to a November 20 online message posted by pop-punk rockers Local Natives, “We covered a few songs for and were in last night’s episode of The Shrink Next Door streaming on Apple TV+. To ...

December 2, 2021
The return of the day of the Locust

“I just want to change the way people look at music, or maybe just destroy it in general.” That’s The Locust singer Justin Pearson, who also heads up the band’s record label Three One G. ...

November 25, 2021
A 41-minute Night Parade of One Hundred Demons

Inspired by Krautrock and Japanese psychedelic bands when it launched in 2001, psych rock power trio Earthless features drummer Mario Rubalcaba (Rocket from the Crypt, the Black Heart Procession), guitarist Isaiah Mitchell (Nebula), and bassist ...

November 25, 2021
“I didn’t know it was the last time I would see Tomcat until his funeral.”

Singer-guitarist Larry Teves, AKA Chickenbone Slim, premiered his third Chickenbone Slim & the Biscuits album Sleeper at Proud Mary’s just before the Covid lockdown, on February 7, 2019. “On the 8th, I played my last ...

November 18, 2021
Brutally heavy and intentionally alarming

Brought together by skateboard icon Danny Way, Spray Allen is an alternative desert rock band with a mildly psychedelic blend of ‘70s to ‘90s influences. Founded by drummer Wade Youman (Unwritten Law, Demasiado) and bassist ...

November 11, 2021
Skateboarder Steve Caballero goes pop-punk

Pop-punk band Urethane was formed during the 2020 pandemic shutdown by professional skateboarder Steve Caballero, who has also played guitar with bands such as the Faction, Odd Man Out, Soda, and Shovelhead. He’s joined in ...

November 11, 2021
Famous musicians usually don’t hang out

“Our band Back to the Garden is backing Richie Furay for his farewell concert in New Jersey next month,” reports guitarist Marc Intravaia of the group’s upcoming November 14 gig, their second time playing with ...

November 4, 2021
25 years of Overheard in San Diego weekly cartoons

It usually surprises people to discover that my own artwork was never published in a single issue of Rock ‘N’ Roll Comics from 1989 through 1994. Nor did my drawings ever appear in any Carnal ...

November 3, 2021
Nathan Raney’s Season of Serenity

There are plenty of musical Nathans in San Diego — nearly four dozen of them show up in the Reader’s Local Music Database, including well-known talents such as Nathan Hubbard, Brown, Lewis, Williams, Jarrell, Welden, ...

Wrath of the former band members

Heavy metal band Cave Bastard was founded in 2014 by bassist Troy Oftedal, a former member of Cattle Decapitation who left that group in 2009, and guitarist Nick Padron, formerly of Bridge Jumper. Their initial ...

October 28, 2021
Hot Rod Harris and Black Hesher survive after death

I found out my friend Tanner died from a Facebook post. The weird thing was, I had to scroll really far down through his timeline to discover his death, because posts had continued to appear ...

October 27, 2021
Little apes on a little rock in a sea of nothingness

With a new single called “I’m An Idiot,” pop singer Scoobert Doobert’s current album Big Hug is the follow-up to last year’s Little Hug EP. “The goal of my Big Hug LP is simple,” he ...

October 21, 2021
Keeping Up With Commander Cody

“He was the real deal, not an ounce of artifice in him,” says guitarist Greg DouglassG of George Frayne, best known as Commander Cody, who passed away September 26 from esophageal cancer at the age ...

October 14, 2021
Comes with a plastic bag of cemetery dirt

Extant since the late 1990s and fronted by Jeff Freedman, The Yucks were founded by drummer Bill Yuck. They’ve been a longtime staple of the local scene, with a five-song EP called Full Of It ...

October 14, 2021
The suite of uncommon sorrows

UC San Diego Professor of Music David Borgo is a saxophonist who plays tenor, soprano, and a variety of other instruments from all over the globe. He cites multi-instrumentalist Dr. A.J. Racy, from UCLA, as ...

October 7, 2021
“Somewhere between Meat Loaf and King Louis XIV”

Roger Shy, aka Valentino Frankenstein – who for a time called himself Raven White – has reportedly passed away from Covid. The Escondido musician played keyboards and guitar, and sang alongside his longtime love Cher ...

September 30, 2021
Invalidated by faux-placebo social expectations

The new six-song Jordan Krimston EP All Commodities includes tracks such as “Quiet Conversations,” “Spare Key,” and “Dog in the Manger.” “I recorded these songs at Singing Serpent with Daniel Charlson of Dark Horse Coffee,” ...

September 30, 2021
Skateboarding toward a musical horizon

Pop punk rockers Urethane came together during the 2020 pandemic shutdown. The group was founded by professional skateboarder and guitarist Steve Caballero (The Faction, Odd Man Out, Soda), with War Fever singer-guitarist Tim Fennelly (living ...

September 23, 2021
Dahmer's Diner, Nico, Deadheads, Paul Williams

Eating people is the ultimate control You won’t find Dahmer’s Diner on the bill at the Cannibal Bar in Mission Beach. In fact, DD has been banned from all but two venues in town, SOMA ...

September 19, 2021
Feeding souls with instant DharmaDen

“Around May 2020, I started this project to showcase local San Diego talent,” says Eric Neilson of his DharmaDen mobile media production company. “With all the music venues closed at the time, we offered our ...

September 16, 2021
Superficial pursuit of a sociopathic narcissist

On August 31, guitarist Nick Hipa of As I Lay Dying announced his departure from what he called “a superficial pursuit.” Hipa (who in 2014 called the band’s frontman Tim Lambesis a “sociopathic narcissist in ...

September 16, 2021
Staring at the son of a Beat Farmer

“At this point, album two is sitting in my hand while I drink a beer on my night off as I listen to it again,” says storyteller Nathan Raney (son of Beat Farmer Jerry Raney), ...

September 9, 2021
Mike Keneally: when Zappa did Zeppelin

Not even Frank Zappa realized that his March 25, 1988 concert in Uniondale, New York would be the final time he’d ever perform in the United States. “As a Long Island native, I was very ...

September 2, 2021
“I don’t want to play ‘Brown Eyed Girl’ for the millionth time”

“The Covid lockdown was a mixed blessing for me,” says former Steve Miller Band guitarist and songwriter Greg Douglass. “After two weeks of staring at Netflix, my eyeballs began to melt, so I went down ...

September 2, 2021
Infected and Contagious demo of doom

Founded during the 2020-2021 pandemic, cinematic throwback rockers Superweapon cite among their influences Queen, Styx, Alice Cooper, Ozzy Osbourne, Zak Wylde, Dimebag Darrell, Eddie Van Halen, George Lynch, Rush, Journey, Muse, and Rammstein. The band ...

August 26, 2021
Hot times at the Honeysuckle

Okay, I’ll tell you about how I almost went to jail dressed as Tonto the Indian. But fair warnings: it’s the most 1970s tale you’re likely to hear this week, and it’s definitely NSFW (for ...

August 25, 2021
Crhymes lets the government pay for his next record

“I was able to secure a PPP loan with the SBA to support my music career,” says southeast San Diego rapper Cesar “Crhymes” Tellez. Despite losing 15 months of career traction to Covid, “the blessing ...

Geza’s got 3 million bucks and nothing to lose

Born in Budapest, Hungary, Geza Keller is a physicist by day whose Infinite Optics company earns $3 million in annual sales. He was three years old when he and his Canadian-born Hungarian mother fled the ...

August 19, 2021
Demons & Angels & Doves, oh my!

Birth is a new psychedelic band featuring members from retro rockers Astra, along with current or former members of Joy, Silver Sunshine, and Radio Moscow. The lineup includes Conor Riley (Astra, Silver Sunshine) on keyboards, ...

August 12, 2021
For Glass Spells’ Shattered, isolation equals inspiration

Synth-pop group Glass Spells has released a music video for “Shattered,” the title track of the album that drops this week via Negative Gain; the band says it was “inspired by nostalgic synth-driven classics. The ...

August 5, 2021
Electronic illusions of nocturnal wonderlands

San Diego native Christian Ariza, aka Rad Cat, is a 25 year-old Mexican American DJ and producer turned solo artist. He began writing songs as a teenager, first learning guitar and then studying production techniques, ...

August 5, 2021
A joyous fantasy realm of gas station hot dogs

Howlin’ Rain describes their sixth studio album, The Dharma Wheel, as “a six-track, 52-minute dive into a joyous fantasy realm of exaggerated present.” Due October 8 via founding member Ethan Miller’s label Silver Current Records, ...

July 29, 2021
Drones over Encinitas capture a good omen

The upcoming Summer Years EP You Can’t Live There Forever will be released by Ecni Records (Beach Goons, The Joy Formidable), previewed so far by a single for their track “This Light.” According to singer-guitarist ...

July 22, 2021
Dewey Defeats Truman... again?

“Our 12-inch vinyl EP is still months out, due to the crazy pressing backlogs, so in the meantime, we’ll be doing several digital releases,” says Dewey Defeats Truman singer-bassist James Reader, who’s working with Scott ...

Beating and seasoning a 3-headed monster

MC Riston Diggs (the Known Unknowns) recorded his debut album, The Blvd Experience, following the completion of a nine-year Navy career where he served as an aviation administrator. His video for “Post Traumatic Stress Disorder,” ...

July 15, 2021
Music Scene SDTV online program debuts with San Diego Music Awards nominees

“We’ll shoot a good deal of the show in studio,” says producer M. Florentino Buenaventura of the new online Music Scene SDTV program. “But like most news outlets, we plan to have correspondents out on ...

Tamar Berk dreams of Super-8 and struggles

Indie pop singer-songwriter Tamar Berk grew up playing piano and started writing songs on guitar as a teenager. Regarding her new album The Restless Dreams of Youth, she says, “I was an incredibly restless child. ...

July 8, 2021

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