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Stories by Jay Allen Sanford

Meet the Exbats

Ukulele ditties, then punk

“The moment we heard them, we loved them,” says Jaye MacAskill, one half of local comedic rock duo Pony Death Ride, of why she and her husband Joe arranged to bring Arizona's the Exbats to ...

Gym Class Heroes' Never Ending Summer

This is one of those shows where you’re probably a lot better off arriving early than staying late

For the last few years, after over a decade of nearly-annual Humphreys appearances (and a couple of side trips to the long-gone Anthology), smooth jazz cat Lee Ritenour has been staging most of his local ...

Will Live steal the show from the Crows?

Upcoming: Big Sam's Funky Nation, Tory Lanez, Fear, Counting Crows, Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks

If ever a band name fully complied with all truth in advertising laws, it’s Big Sam’s Funky Nation. Titular singer-trombonist Big Sam Williams is indeed large, both physically and sonically, there’s Bootsy-level funk afoot, and ...

Memorable brushes with fame

San Diego musicians recall meeting famous colleagues

We asked several locals to share their most memorable brushes with fame. Dave Gladish (Ristband): “I once met Rickey Medlocke of Blackfoot and Skynyrd in the Fort Myers airport. I told him I was playing ...

N-E-1 , anyone?

Tower Bar show reunites ska rockers for fourth time in three decades

“We were good, and we joined lots of people having fun in SoCal back in the early ‘80s,” says sax player Eddie Croft of vintage new wave-ska rockers N-E-1. “There was a scene that we ...

Boredom births "Big Booty Butt Cheeks"

Jumbotron showed up late for their own awards ceremony

“We were the dumbasses who showed up late and missed the presentation of our award,” says Edgar Alminar of electronic hip-hop duo Jumbotron, this year’s San Diego Music Awards winner for Best New Artist. Based ...

Meghan Trainor offers No Excuses

She had enough momentum to avoid the Best New Artist kiss of death

The Channel 93.3 Summer Kick Off Concert at Mattress Firm Amphitheatre on May 11 is headlined by The Chainsmokers, Miguel, and Ne-Yo, but oh-so-identifiable pop singer Meghan Trainor will be filling an awful lot of ...

Remembering Snoop Dogg's terrible, horrible, no good, very bad night

Chula Vista police formed a skirmish line on stage

For a while in the early 2000s, weed-loving rapper Snoop Dogg avoided the San Diego area. Really, who could blame him, after the first date of his 2001 Puff Puff Pass tour ended early, with ...

Record Release Roundup: Spice Pistols, Teenage Burritos, more

plus: Brian Jones Rock 'N' Roll Revival, MC Flow, and Berkley Hart

The release party for Punchcard’s new full-length, Making It Great…Again, takes place Friday, March 30, at Til Two. “The album focuses on the idiocracy of the American public,” says singer-guitarist Chris Vanoli, “allowing Donald Trump ...

Well Well Well - $6 cover art

Recording in L.A. was foreign to them

“We plan on releasing two EPs this year, with a couple of songs premiering every month until May,” says guitarist Seton Edgerton, one half of folky synthpop duo Well Well Well. The Poptimism EP was ...

The Grateful Dead get the evil beard treatment

Roots of Creation's Grateful Dub gets a live show, plus Violent Femmes, Poptone, and more

Psychedelia and reggae: they usually go together as seamlessly and happily as rhythm goes with blues, as Clapton goes with Cream, as A Day at the Races goes with A Night at the Opera. So ...

The easiest instrument in the world to play

“Nothing difficult in wiring a lunchbox at all"

“Ukulele is the easiest musical instrument in the world to learn and play,” says Ukulele Ray, Fender’s first sponsored ukulele artist. “With a single finger on a single string, one can create a chord, with ...

Trashcan Sinatras — the best of Groucho Marx and Tom Lehrer.

Plus Circles Around the Sun, Ariel Pink/Nick Hakim, the Floydians Ocean Alley

Two different types of psychedelic jam bands seem to fancy themselves heir to the devotional horde of Deadheads still willing, even anxious, to rejoin their tie-dyed and squinty-eyed brethren at the electric altar: those who ...

Alex scores!

Local music teacher soundtracks local-centric film short

“I’m producing and scoring the music for my first ever indie film short as part of the 60 day San Diego Film Con Challenge,” says multi-instrumentalist Alex Guillen. “It’s a timed competition called True San ...

Earthless sings of Black Heaven

Heavy-duty three-piece set to release first album with vocals

“Heaven is thought of as this beautiful paradise in the clouds, which may very well be true, but all I see is black,” says Earthless guitarist Isaiah Mitchell of the title to the band’s upcoming ...

Rick Springfield brings The Snake King to the Embarcadero

Plus new shows from lovelytheband, Prong, Jackson Browne, Joe Bonamassa

Life has been good to “Jessie’s Girl” singer Rick Springfield. So good that, despite not charting a U.S. hit since Ronald Reagan was president, the Australian rocker is headlining a two-night stand at Embarcadero Marina ...

Promises of paralysis and LOUDness

Record releases for month of March

Earthless will return to the first stage they ever played for a two-night release party at the Casbah on March 2 and 3, to launch their Black Heaven album. “Expect a sensory overload,” says guitarist ...

Welcome to the End of the World: Dead Milkmen to play Belly Up

Plus Dua Lipa, Anvil, and Murder City Devils, all in S.D.

It’s been around three years since the Dead Milkmen last came to town to play the Belly Up, and their just-announced tour will be heavy on tracks from their first new release since then, last ...

Dude, the official Zappa band is going to happen

"My eyebrows went up" — Frank's hologram to tour

“The image of Frank won’t be onstage the entire time,” says guitarist Mike Keneally of the just-announced Frank Zappa Hologram Tour, featuring Keneally and other former Zappa band members. “The concept as Ahmet [Zappa, Frank’s ...

The Moonwalkers are in town. And that’s not all.

San Diego also welcomes Jessie Ware, the Head & the Heart, and G.B.H.

Until a few weeks ago, it would have been easy to write off Detroit psychedelic rockers Moonwalks as just another DIY club crawler with too many guitar pedals and too little inspiration. The bass-guitar-drum trio ...

No more tears: Ozzy Osbourne will play Mattress Firm

38 Special, Xylouris White, and King Tuff also coming to town

Tickets go on sale Saturday, February 17, for Ozzy Osbourne at Mattress Firm Amphitheatre on October 9. The occasional Black Sabbath frontman says he’s quitting the road after his upcoming solo trek around the world, ...

Primus and Weird Al Yankovic are coming to town (not together)

Plus the Oh Sees, Eric Andersen, Bob Log III

Weird Al Yankovic brings his Ridiculously Self-Indulgent, Ill-Advised Vanity Tour to Humphreys on May 12. The road trip’s moniker refers to the fact that he’ll mostly be doing original songs, not parodies, and is leaving ...

David Byrne and others coming to San Diego

Time to Stop Making Sense

A lot of people will tell you that Stop Making Sense, featuring the Talking Heads, is the greatest concert film ever made. But that would seem to presuppose that one is already a fan of ...

“Jungle Love”? Racist? Aw, man...

Greg Douglass defends the Steve Miller song he defined with his riff

“Jim Cooper appears to be a nasty sexist pig who, if what his accusers are saying about him is true, should be driven out of office on the next livestock car,” says onetime Steve Miller ...

Imagery Machine recasts

New song every month, a step away from reggae sound

“We’re going to be releasing a new song every month in 2018,” says Imagery Machine singer Jennie Lynn. “We call the project the Monthly Machine…. The band came to the conclusion that trying to put ...

J-Pop fans can thank Tim Mays

Chai at the Casbah, Casey Hensley at the Belly Up, Alvvays at the Music Box, and Jack White at Viejas Arena

J-Pop fans can thank Tim Mays for finally bringing Chai to the Casbah on March 12, where the four-piece female band from Nagoya City, Japan, will make their San Diego debut. Chai’s memorable single and ...

They said they’d only reunite “When Hell freezes over.”

Catch shows by the Eagles, Psychedelic Furs, Kyle Craft, Pale Waves, and Lido Pimienta this year

For most locals who spent time in our cars listening to the radio in the ’80s, one could almost guarantee that any skip across the dial would find the Psychedelic Furs oozing out the back ...

It's good to be King Taylor Project

"We all have a big part in writing new music for the band.”

“The band started as something Josh and I joked about when we got engaged, that we were starting a ‘King Taylor project’ together,” says singer Sandi King of her collaboration with singer/guitarist Joshua Taylor. The ...

Local record releases in January

From traditional blues to songs "about things that keep me up at night"

Brazilian imports by the Salton Sea

"I got stuck inside the Taco Tuesday lifestyle.”

“We’re three foreigners playing punk-rock music in America,” says Fernando Nepo of O.B. trio Sameland, who all grew up in São Paulo, Brazil. “Back in 2010, I had just finished college and I wanted to ...

Get tickets: Louie Fontaine, Jack Tempchin, K. Michelle

And Wolves & Wolves & Wolves & Wolves

Imagine if O.B. karaoke host Jose Sinatra was from Denmark and fronted a Nordic version of Tom Petty’s Heartbeakers and that’s pretty much Louie Fontaine and the Starlight Searchers. Danish-born and now a son of ...

Be first in line for Glaare, Stone Foxes, and Antibalas

Or how about Yacht Rock Revue and the Mammals?

One of the strangest things you can do with music, among the most feel-good notions ever concocted by humankind, is to make it depressing. Even the blues manages to celebrate rising above, or at least ...

2018 concerts: Money Chicha, Charlie Puth, Dave Alvin, Flogging Molly

Shows coming to San Diego in the new year

Imagine that ’60s acid rockers Strawberry Alarm Clock were actually a South American cumbia band based in the epicenter of weird, Austin, Texas, and you either just imbibed a mind-expanding drug or you’re listening to ...

Check out the Wallows, Pheobe Bridgers, Brett Dennen, and Yanni

New shows coming to San Diego

The first time I heard “Pulling Leaves Off Trees” by L.A.’s Wallows, I had to check the readout twice to make sure a new Strokes track didn’t slip into the playlist. I was impressed enough ...

Violinistic rock

Alex DePue spilled out of the airplane with a suitcase and a fiddle

“I moved to San Diego from Philadelphia, and nothing really changed for me besides the weather,” says classically trained violinist Alex DePue. “I spilled out of the airplane with a suitcase and a fiddle and ...

Stalking Pete Best

"There was a man in his underwear with peppered hair, like a silly movie."

“We were shooting a documentary about the Beatles and [original drummer] Pete Best’s first journey to Hamburg about a year and a half ago,” says Christopher Leyva of how he came to be outside Best’s ...

Some surprises, some not for next year concerts

Ty Segall, Fozzy, John Prine, Juanes and Mon Laferte, Foreigner and Whitesnake

The sheer quantity of music on Ty Segall’s new album, Freedom’s Goblin, fills up four sides of its vinyl incarnation, a full 19 tracks due the same week he opens his 2018 tour at the ...

Broke San Diego musicians

"I owned a Jeep Wrangler, and I had to sell the doors and top to eat."

With paying gigs becoming scarcer, and the economic outlook not too bright, we asked several current and former locals to share their best “I was so broke...” stories. Marcia Claire (Coyote Problem): “In 1986, I ...

Hot tickets in cold December

Michael Rose, Mammoth Grinder, and Soft Moon, Jinger and Andrea Bocelli

Jamaican singer Michael Rose (or Mikal, as he now prefers to be called) came up in the heartland of the original reggae movement, Kingston, part of the same scene that spawned the Wailers, Sly & ...

Record Roundup, month 12

Switch it to 33 rpms and fire up the cassette deck

The new EP from Miramar-based pop-punk rockers Hard to Hit, Better Than I’ve Been, drops on December 1 at Soma. “This is our first show since March, as we had a lineup change, losing both ...

New shows in San Diego

Ziggy Shuffledust & the Spiders from Mars, Reverend Horton Heat, Kristin Chenoweth, and more

Over the past few years, a lot of great local players have shuffled through the David Bowie tribute Ziggy Shuffledust & the Spiders from Mars, including members of Creedle, but the central figure with the ...

Concert tickets make great stocking stuffers

Deep Dark Woods, Grace Mitchell, X Ambassadors, and more

Blame the Lumineers and Alabama Shakes for pop music’s sudden and unlikely fascination for turned-on-bluegrass, that blend of prairie folk and electric Appalachian blues that nowadays turns up everywhere from top-40 radio to the soundtrack ...

Unapproved by Country Dick (22 years ago)

Chris Giorgio has come a bit of distance since 1995

“It seems to me, Ocean Beach has long been a place for songwriters to feel creative and free,” says drummer and bandleader Chris Giorgio, whose upcoming album as Jackslacks, Earthling Sessions, includes an ode to ...

The 411 on 311 and Queens of the Stone Age

Plus Zebra, Bruno Major, and Crooked Colours

Back in early ’83, when a newly opened musicians’ shop out near Morena Boulevard was running TV ads starring a mullet-headed rock singer who crooned “Music Mart, your complete music stoooore,” one commercial announced an ...

Latest concert announcements in San Diego

Typhoon, Dan Auerbach, Dears, Front Country, more

There have been a few different Al Stewarts through the years. His first few albums were ambitious folk operas with a tendency toward epic historical storytelling. Then producer Alan Parsons helped the Scottish-born troubadour tap ...

Record-release roundup

Mittens, Parker Meridien, and Astra Kelly want to party with you

Singing airline pilot Sluka drops his 11th full-length, Colorful Radiation, on November 3, in a “visual album” combination of 3D, 4K, and Blu-Ray releases, with the first single, “Rise,” streaming online. “‘Rise’ is my reaction ...

Coming to a venue near you

Buckethead, Cake, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, The Boomshaka Music Festival, Eric Johnson, and more

The first time you heard about the guy who plays guitar while wearing a Michael Meyers mask and an empty KFC bucket on his head, you probably thought someone was either pulling your leg or ...

Be first in line for Chris Mann, Third Eye Blind, and Shovels & Rope

And do you like L.A. Witch or Converge?

Hillcrest’s Martinis Above Fourth has been mining a rich vein of TV-music-competition vets, often selling out the house, thanks to instantly famous faces who arrive with a built-in boob-tube fan base. In 2012, singer Chris ...

Harley Magsino ladles it up from a melting pot

“I’m always intrigued with textures and timbre manipulation."

"My music is a fusion of styles, really,” says multi-instrumentalist Harley Magsino. “With Moth & Sons, it’s a style drawn from trip-hop, drum ’n’ bass, ’90s R&B, grunge, and jazz concepts and principles. I’m also ...

Behind the fire at Mission Hills' ultimate Halloween house

Letters from Persephone

Over the course of 25 years of handwritten correspondence with my pen pal Persephone, none had ever been returned. Imagine my confusion when my last letter reappeared a couple of weeks later, unopened and defaced ...