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Stories by Jay Allen Sanford

RIP Marshmallow Highway guitarist John Ruckle

Also played with Clemson Weed Band & Heat Show Band

Marshmallow Highway formed in the late 1960s, with its definitive lineup of guitarist John Edward Ruckle, drummer Rod Howard (whose family home in Linda Vista served as their rehearsal studio), and Marc Intravaia, who played ...

Aerosmithian rock balladry

Deaf Havana, Jamila Woods, Aly & AJ, Smashing Pumpkins

It sometimes seems as if British alt-rockers Deaf Havana are embarrassed by the top-five chart success of their biggest release, 2017’s All These Countless Nights. Formed in 2005, their fifth album from last year, Rituals, ...

San Diego Comic Fest to feature album art painter William Stout, Rhino Records artist Scott Shaw!, Digital Lizards of Doom

Happening March 7-10 at Four Points by Sheraton

“We always try to make it clear that we’re not on some kind of anti-Comic-Con crusade,” says San Diego Comic Fest co-founder Mike Towry. “We just miss the kind of event we had back in ...

Effortless proficiency on Dobro, mandolin, acoustic bass, piano, sax, and even the clarinet and bassoon

John Jorgenson, Damned Things, Supersuckers, Citizen

John Jorgenson is one of the first and few guitarists since Dick Dale or Stanley Jordan to so quickly establish an instantly recognizable signature sound. His playing can easily be picked out from that of ...

"Rising white nationalism & the current U.S. administration, respectively"

A Freudian trilogy from electro-opera singer-songwriter Trishes

“Ego is the first of three releases that describe the struggle between parts of oneself, each named after Freud’s constructs of self,” says electro-opera singer-songwriter Trish Hosein, aka one-woman band Trishes. “Ego will be followed ...

Luke Perry Comics & Stories

Locally produced Perry comic book

The Luke Perry biographical comic book was produced by Hillcrest-based Revolutionary Comics in 1992.

Stephanie Richards’ New York tribute album drew titles from Allen Ginsberg, Maya Angelou, Jack Kerouac

Plus March releases from Jake Najor, Josh Rosenblum, Ready Set Survive, Touchies, more

Jazz trumpeter Stephanie Richards pays tribute to New York City on her sophomore album Take the Neon Lights, due March 1. A video is streaming online for “Brooklyn Machine,” named from Allen Ginsberg’s poem “My ...

Hand-stamped authentic via Woody Guthrie

Ellis Paul, Gary Clark Jr., Jenny & the Mexicats, O.A.R.

There’s an art to telling stories through music that has nearly been lost since the advent of multitracking. It takes a fierce kind of bravery to face an audience armed only with a guitar, mic, ...

Band Argument's analog-digital hybrid

“We have samples of banjos, steel drums, didgeridoos, flutes, and synths, among other things.”

“This project is an analog-digital hybrid,” says former Big Bad Buffalo drummer Jordan Krimston of his new group, Band Argument. “It’s a classic rock band setup — two guitars, bass, drums, vocals — but everything ...

Twisted doo-wopian hooks

Dickies, Father John Misty, Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit, Coheed & Cambria, Chainsmokers

Pop-punk originators the Dickies have never been shy about their love for the Ramones, and not just the pure pop masterworks co-created by Phil Spector. The San Fernando Valley band worships every twisted doo-wopian hook ...

New look for “King Without a Crown” writer & more just announced concerts

Matisyahu, The Faint, the Lemonheads, Billie Eilish

Matthew Paul Miller, aka Matisyahu, earned a lot of early press for being the first widely known Hasidic Jewish reggae performer to incorporate rapping and beat-boxing into his music. You could run down a calculator ...

Syncopated soulful groove of the Suffers & more Just Announced concerts

The Suffers, Hot Flash Heat Wave, Jack Tempchin, The Church

Houston’s The Suffers were still trying to match their funky 1970s “Workin’ at the Car Wash” R&B sound to contemporary reggae and dub music when their first singles and debut Make Some Room EP dropped ...

Will 13 Point Brewing make Lemon Grove the new La Mesa?

Brewery will also focus on live original music

“I think the last show I played in Lemon Grove was a place called the Pelican Pub a million years ago and, prior to that, an all ages venue called Mesopotamia,” says Manganista singer-percussionist Matt ...

San Diego singer alleges Gene Simmons groping, sparks new war with Ace Frehley

Former Sleazybeats singer puts the kibosh on Kiss reunion

Former Sleazybeats singer puts the kibosh on Kiss reunion

Record roundup with Avenue Army, Donnis Trio, Matthew Logan Vasquez, Sisster, Roger!, Winterhawk, Gary Wilson and more

Notes from the San Diego band new release bin

70s/80s cult DIY outsider Gary Wilson has enjoyed a renewed career since being discovered working at the local Jolar porn shop and having his eccentric but adventurous back catalogue reissued. Now a hot touring attraction ...

Party like it’s 1965

Gene Evaro Jr., Driver Era, Turnover, Reptaliens, Mdou Moctar

Rarely has an artist summed up both their sound and philosophy as succinctly as Gene Evaro Jr. does on his album, song, and video for “Like It’s 1965.” Nearly everything he says, does, sings, and ...

Ryan Bingham: snarky desert troubadour

Plus Bad Suns, Little People, Bryan Ferry

Americana singer-songwriter Ryan Bingham may not be breaking any new ground in the roots music field, but it is called roots; you’re not supposed to dig ‘em up. Maintaining sagebrush authenticity isn’t a problem for ...

Honkabilly queen Rosie Flores & more local newsmakers

...and Buck-O-Nine, Hostile Comb-Over, Silent, Switchfoot, Loons, Tom Delonge, more

Over a decade after their last album, 2007’s Sustain, ska-punk rockers Buck-O-Nine will drop a new full-length in April via Cleopatra Records. The band has been in semi-retirement, with only occasional performances and one-off releases ...

Sunflower Sutra

Bassist Sean Hicke steps forward

“I’ve always written a ton of music, but I didn’t really have enough time to lead my own groups until recently,” says jazz bassist Sean Hicke, who just released his debut solo album Sunflower Sutra. ...

Honky-tonk swagger and bitter laments

Watsky, Green Leaf Rustlers, The Lil Smokies , Tedeschi Trucks Band

Former Black Crowe Chris Robinson may be looking more and more like he posed for the Shroud of Turin, but his voice has only gotten stronger through the years, as heard over the course of ...

RIP local comic book creator Batton Lash (Wolff & Byrd, Counselors of the Macabre)

Wrote Archie Meets the Punisher and more

His local Exhibit A Press published Wolff & Byrd, Counselors of the Macabre and others

Nearly novelty

Danko Jones, Nashville Pussy, Novo Amor, Cold Cave, Baby Bushka

Canadian rock trio Danko Jones will make their first appearance at Observatory North Park (having previously favored the Casbah and Brick By Brick) on February 10, where they’ll presumably preview their upcoming ninth studio album, ...

Club 33 footage resurfaces of early '80s Tell-Tale Hearts, more

The Monroes and The Beat Farmers also appeared on the Cox Cable public access TV program

“I’ve been looking for that footage for 35 years,” says Ray Brandes of a recently uncovered 1983 video performance by his influential garage band, the Tell-Tale Hearts. “I don't remember much, other than going out ...

Pop-punk lounge act's novelty punch preserved

Smoking Popes, Cuco, Welles, Shawn Mendes

Had Frank Sinatra had been born in Chicago circa 1971 and grown up on Naked Raygun and the Ramones, he probably would have founded the Smoking Popes. Their pop-punk-lounge act has retained the novelty punch ...

My sexy Bohemian style

Record roundup

Nine years after their last recording, Demasiado has reunited to release a two-song cassette, Dark Summer, featuring rerecorded versions of two vintage tracks, “Soul Coat” and “Blood Filled Fly.” The band essentially became inactive in ...

Black Mirror Bandersnatch - your own private rabbit hole

Interactive, sure, but who's really controlling who?

What do you get when you mix VR, time travel, and mind control?

What real music sounds like

Steely Damned II will stage a rare performance at the Music Box on December 30

“It’s not an interpretation of Steely Dan,” says guitarist Hank Easton, whose tribute band Steely Damned II will stage a rare performance at the Music Box on December 30. “It’s like the records, but with ...

Bowie-ish theatrical affectation

Dani Bell & the Tarantist create baroque pop with shimmering soulful vocals

“David Bowie embraced being different and made it sexy,” says the frequently masked frontwoman of Dani Bell & the Tarantist, who arrived in San Diego in 2005 but didn’t don a superhero cape and start ...

Bilingual dream pop

Marias, Band of Horses, Electric Six, Ian Anderson

Listening to bilingual dream pop band the Marias is like being presented with a soundtrack to the weirdest second hand store you ever went home and told your friends about. Everything is vintage and stacked ...

The concert game

Gordon Lightfoot, Citizen Cope, Al Stewart, Toby Keith

I realize that all the morbid online dead pools are betting on the upcoming tours by 76 year-old Paul McCartney (coming to Petco Park June 22), John Prine (now 72), and/or the Rolling Stones (70s-and-up) ...

Lester Bangs birthday bash

“He was always rebellious about church, school, and top 40 music.”

“Many in El Cajon and La Mesa are committed to making this an annual event, kind of like a Mother Goose Parade for rock music aficionados,” says English professor Raul Sandelin, organizer of the First ...

Zen-sounding lyrics and flashcard-ready artwork

Mae, Magic City Hippies, Future Generations, Justin Timberlake, White Denim

Formed in Norfolk, Virginia in the early 2000s, underground-experimental rock trio Mae named their just-released album, somewhat haughtily, Multisensory Aesthetic Experience. That might lead one to expect a noisy and probably pretentious band, perhaps playing ...

Aboriginal Beatle Puppies

Record roundup with Yale Strom, Mount Pleasant, Bruin, Stevie Salas, Richard Filaccio, and Low Volts

Klezmer musicologist Yale Strom has a new album with his Broken Consort, Shimmering Lights, featuring traditional Yiddish, Ladino, and Hebrew Khanike songs inspired by the sounds of Morocco, Poland, Spain, and elsewhere. "We have a ...

Casbah turns 30 with weeks-long celebration

Pivotal local acts from the ’70s through ’90s will stage rare reunions

Countless local bands made their first mark at 2812 Kettner, the original Casbah locale opened in 1989 with fixtures purchased from a defunct Farrell’s ice cream parlor that for some reason sported at least one ...

Flannel-bearing northerners

Melvins, Corrosion of Conformity, Zomboy, Kikagaku Moyo

Everyone talks about how influential the Melvins were to the music made by subsequent generations of sludge and alternative bands, but less discussed is their influence on fashion and the way musicians are perceived by ...

Intercontinental collaboration

San Diego’s Quel Bordel unite with BandàpArt to form French-English folk punk supergroup

“After all these years on the road together, we’ve come up with a few original songs, and we’re finally releasing an EP with three originals and one cover,” says singer-guitarist Jake Skolnick of BandàBordel, a ...

Soul light

Emily King, the Bad Plus, Red Dragon Cartel, Lady Lamb

The Music Box has been stepping up with contemporary high profile acts this year, and their 2019 schedule continues the trend toward currently charting, buzz-heavy acts, especially light soul and radio pop singers like Emily ...

Last Waltz from the Voice of San Diego

Gary Heffern’s Last Waltz, Blackberry Smoke, Lettuce, Dream Theater

Even though he’s been living in Finland for the past few years, Penetrators singer Gary Heffern will forever be the Voice of San Diego to just about anybody who went clubbing around town in the ...

“Rational Discourse is Gay”

Anal Trump’s first 100 songs

Anal Trump, Rob Crow’s not-so-secret collaboration (under pseudonyms) with Cattle Decapitation’s Travis Ryan, dropped their album The First 100 Songs via Joyful Noise on Election Day. It features selections from each of their previous EPs ...

Cheers without the beers

Jefferson Jay produces animated Christmas series with cast of actors with challenges

“We’re producing the first animated series with a cast of actors with challenges, The Hunt For the Great Christmas Tree,” says singer-songwriter Jefferson Jay of the project he’s writing and directing. “I was working at ...

San Diego’s greatest raucous rockabilly

Paladins, Peter Murphy and David J, North Mississippi Allstars, Kiss

A case can be made that the Paladins is greatest band ever to come out of San Diego. If by greatest, you mean most dedicated to a musical cause (in their case, raucous rockabilly), longest-lived ...

Prison bars and guitars

Local musicians teach San Ysidro prisoners how to play the blues

“Being with the prisoners was a very rewarding experience,” says acoustic blues singer-guitarist Robin Henkel of volunteering for Jail Guitar Doors, a guitar and songwriting workshop then held at the East Mesa Reentry Facility, a ...

Liquid light shows on spinning mirror balls

Poolside, Eric Burdon & the Animals, Districts, Still Woozy, Smokey Robinson

What do you get when you cross the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack with the Grateful Dead? Disco jam band Poolside shines their liquid light shows on spinning mirror balls, creating a syncopated psychedelic sound that ...

Jolar shutters nude dancer booths at College Grove

"Convoy is going to be flooded with girls"

"Jolar just let all the girls go and they are getting rid of the booths," reports a former employee of the longtime College Grove adult boutique where women have been performing private nude dance shows ...

Record Roundup: After (h)Ours with Jessica Lerner, more

Hargo, Midnight Track, Lexington Field, the Lulls, Josie Day, Unwritten Law, more

Due in November from Midnight Track, Lexington Field, the Lulls, Josie Day, Unwritten Law, more

One-note joke

Unearth, Okilly Dokilly, Atmosphere, Naked Giants

Inspired by what’s become known as the New Wave of Swedish Death Metal, Unearth debuted out of Boston in the early 2000s as kind of an entry-level Pantera, but with more denim and less leather. ...

A particularly Spielbergian stage show

Thumpasaurus, Parquet Courts, Andrew McMahon, New Kids on the Block

L.A. punk-n-funk rockers Thumpasaurus are the musical answer to the question “What if Pee Wee’s Playhouse had a house band featuring Parliament Funkadelic, led by Captain Beefheart?” Expect a particularly Spielbergian stage show when the ...

The Silent Comedy: writing songs in the midst of dark days

“‘Help, help is on the way, but not today’ is about as hopeful as we get.”

“The hardest thing about being in a band with your brother is that you have a lifetime of history that colors every situation,” says Joshua Zimmerman of spending around a dozen years in the Silent ...

Gift Machine: “We approach this with an almost religious fervor”

“Musical monks will be on hand to bless copies”

“We checked prices for Abbey Road, and it actually wasn’t that much more than the services that we have used in the past,” says Dave Matthies, singer for the Gift Machine, of how their upcoming ...

Too filthy for phonics

Wheeler Walker Jr., Brockhampton, Thou, Matt Nathanson

Kentucky smartass Wheeler Walker Jr. returns to the North Park Observatory, where his appearance late last year sold out, for a November 30 set that happens to coincide with the release date of his third ...

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