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Stories by Jay Allen Sanford

Originally known as We Are Going To Be Awesome

Drummer Brandon Young and bassist Jon Jameson were both in Noise Ratchet before spotting singer Matt Vasquez busking at a trolley station and forming Delta Spirit. They first earned national notice touring with Tokyo Police ...

June 24, 2021
Mark Hoppus of Blink 182 announces cancer battle

"For the past three months I've been undergoing chemotherapy for cancer," posted 49 year-old Blink 182 frontman Mark Hoppus online on Wednesday, June 23. "It sucks and I'm scared, and at the same time I'm ...

June 23, 2021
San Diego corporate giants: PSA, Sheraton Hotels, Jack-in-the-Box

Thought for Food Bob Peterson (husband to Mayor Maureen O’Connor) opened his first Jack-in-the-Box restaurant at 63rd Street and El Cajon Boulevard in 1951. Peterson had expanded his chain to include 350 units by the ...

June 19, 2021
Bitchin’ Sauce brothers band

Originally a duo called Neck and Neck featuring J.T. Moring and Annie Rettic, folk-Americana-blues band Gemini Junction includes members based in Encinitas and Ocean Beach. Moring, who sings and plays banjo, guitar, and percussion, is ...

June 17, 2021
Strawberry Moons find “Love in the Time of Virus”

“We’ve got a new song and video out for ‘Love in the Time of Virus,’ and yes, it’s about the pandemic, at least in a 1984-ish, story-song way,” says Strawberry Moons singer-guitarist-keyboardist Will A. Lerner. ...

June 10, 2021
Inspired by cannon explosions and C. S. Lewis

The trio that makes up Sonido De La Frontera - Karlos Paez, Luke Henshaw, and DJ Unite - describe their music as “the combination of Soundsystem culture, hip-hop production aesthetic, and the sounds of Latin ...

June 10, 2021
Lower-case-letter-loving

Blues guitarist Laura Chavez grew up near San Jose and was still in grade school when she began playing guitar. By the time she graduated high school, she was already a working musician, going on ...

June 3, 2021
The garibaldi did it

The new album from Darius Degher (Sham Saints, Darius & the Magnets) features instrumental music inspired by surfing. “Groundswell Corduroy is a low-temperature variant of surf-rock,” he says, “the teen effervescence long gone, but it ...

Painting with a glass of mezcal

Jamal Smith (aka 10-19 The Numberman) is one half of Parker & the Numberman, a hip-hop trio with Jack King and Brandon Zamudio. Their EP Early was nominated for Best Hip-Hop Album at the 2011 ...

May 27, 2021
San Diego live music is back

Phil Keaggy at Legacy International Center June 27 Built on a locale that formerly hosted a motel and liquor store, Mission Valley’s newest concert venue is part of an 18-acre Bible-themed resort complex that offers ...

May 26, 2021
Multiple National fiddle championship titles

Filipino-American producer/artist Lecx Stacy spent his early childhood in Chula Vista and grew up in Mira Mesa. The local scene helped shape his musical tastes, as he hung out at venues such as the Che ...

May 20, 2021
MIA at the SDMAs

The San Diego Music Awards nominations were made public at the beginning of May, with qualifying material required to be released between January 1 and December 31, 2020 in order to be eligible for trophy ...

May 13, 2021
A recording studio right next to dad’s bedroom

Fronted by singer-guitarist Travis Trevisan, Tape Deck Mountain began by releasing all their recordings on cassette tapes. Inspired to become a musician after seeing the Smashing Pumpkins, Trevisan’s first band Liberty Park had to change ...

May 13, 2021
Partly inspired by Pee-Wee’s Playhouse

The Chris Holmes project the Rightovers has a new Kruise Kontrol EP coming out via Portland label Jigsaw Records on June 5. “Our last show was in December 2019 at the Soda Bar,” says Holmes. ...

May 6, 2021
As I lay burning - AILD frontman in hot water over firepit burns

As I Lay Dying frontman Tim Lambesis in no stranger to legal problems, having served time for attempting to hire a hit man to murder his wife. This time, he's in civil hot water. A ...

April 30, 2021
Steam Powered Giraffe culls the herd

A surprise new song and video from costumed rockers Steam Powered Giraffe appeared online this month. “Fart Patrol” is their first new release since last year’s ambitious 1896 album, which came with a separate acoustic ...

April 29, 2021
First-ever recipient of Miranda Lambert’s Women Creators Fund scholarship

Evening’s Empire is an alternative rock band fronted by Rock ’n’ Roll San Diego honcho Shannon Woods, aka Shannon Sabin of the reformed Dinettes, alongside guitarist Sam Strohbehn and bassist David Skolnik. They released their ...

April 29, 2021
RIP Van Bates, aka Black Hesher

Van Bates - aka Black Hesher - has reportedly passed away. Originally from Boston before relocating to Lemon Grove, Bates grew up in the North Street projects, a colorful but hard life that later inspired ...

April 24, 2021
Turning down an offer to join the Grateful Dead

As one half of the folk duo Berkley Hart, Jeff Berkley has toured the world and performed countless concerts with Calman Hart, including a continuing series of themed shows paying tribute to pop culture touchstones ...

April 22, 2021
ConcertsCafe launches with consumable merch

“I’m a musician and entrepreneur who believes in the power of music,” says Curbside Vinyl bassist M. Florentino Buenaventura of the new ConcertsCafe website he helped launch from Miramar this month. “Our live streaming concert ...

April 15, 2021
Recorded on a trial version of Garage Band

It’s been around two years since Josh Rosenblum released his album Move Yourself. “The album is labeled as pop rock, but our jazz, funk, and blues roots always find a way into our music in ...

April 15, 2021
The funkier, groove-orientated side

Fronted by Nine Inch Nails drummer Ilan Rubin, the New Regime recently released two live performance videos off their third album Heart Mind Body & Soul, “You Can Be” and “Smoke and Mirrors,” with six ...

April 8, 2021
The Zeros documentary is in production

“It’s go time. This is not a drill. The Zeros documentary is in production,” says Javier Escovedo, who is working with filmmakers Anthony Ladesich and Michael Webber on a movie about his influential 1970s punk ...

Spinning out of control, upside down, and inside out

Hardcore punk rock band the Undertaking was founded in 2018 by Brent Jasperse (drums), Keith Butsko (guitar), and Austin Visser (vocals), later joined by bassist James Moyer (Mainsail) and singer-guitarist Johnny Mercuri. The following year, ...

April 1, 2021
Pre-postapocalyptic, post-honky-tonk-prog-skronk, space-tropicalia, math-lounge

Innerds was founded by Brandon Relf (Sleeping People) and Bobby Bray (The Locust, Holy Molar). By 2016, with the addition of Chad Deal (Phantom Twins) on bass, the band had changed its name to INUS ...

March 25, 2021
Sky Star’s “Melancholy Treasures”: a simple feeling of bittersweet nostalgia

“I’m releasing my debut single on March 26, called ‘Melancholy Treasures’” says Sky Star, one half of the musical duo Smokelines. “The song talks about my move from San Diego to New York City for ...

Management Is Not Your Friend

Goth-inclined Silent was founded in Mexicali, Baja California by singer-percussionist Jung Sing (All Leather) and guitarist Alejandro Lara. The band has toured the USA and Mexico, alongside San Diego labelmates like Dead Cross, Retox, the ...

March 18, 2021
Live at the Spring Valley Inn 1983

Acoustic troubadour Drew Douglas, aka Grampadrew, was nominated Best Alt Country and Best Songwriter at the 2008 San Diego HAT (Honoring Acoustic Talent) Awards. He came up performing at the Whistle Stop and later formed ...

March 11, 2021
RIP Mark Goffeney: Big Toe bassist never let disability hold him back

Bassist/guitarist Mark Goffeney, who was born without arms and played with his feet, reportedly passed away on March 2 at the age of 51. He and his wife were found dead in their El Cajon ...

March 5, 2021
Reelin’ in the Years: footage fetish

“We feel very strongly how important footage is and why it needs to be preserved,” says David Peck, president of local Reelin’ in the Years. Founded in 1992, Reelin’ maintains and licenses over 30,000 hours ...

March 4, 2021
Southeast San Diego storytelling

Rapper Jack King, aka Parker Edison, is a TedX speaker and a member of the award-winning rap-jazz group Parker Meridien. He came to local notice in Parker & the Numberman, who earned a Best Hip-Hop ...

March 4, 2021
Chula Vista’s avant garde

Guitarist Louis Valenzuela is a vet of adventurous bands such as Áfrojazziacs (fusing contemporary and traditional Cuban, jazz, funk, reggae, cumbia, salsa, and Afro-beat), Juice Box (founded by drummer/composer Matthew Smith), the Humankind (R&B, soul, ...

February 25, 2021
Horror punk

Scott Mercado (aka Manuok) is a vet of local bands such as Via Satellite, which he cofounded, as well as touring or recording with the Black Heart Procession, Mr. Tube & the Flying Objects, the ...

February 18, 2021
Fire leaves Valentine Byrne’s house uninhabitable

“It was pretty ironic, losing our home during a stay-at-home order,” says Valentine Byrne, who was recording an EP last April when disaster piled on top of pandemic. “I’ll never forget receiving that phone call ...

Nothing friendly about Hillcrest's Friendship Hotel

The untold stories about Hillcrest’s Friendship Hotel would probably read like William Burroughs’ dream journal. Once a nurse’s dorm for the nearby hospital, by the turn of the 21st century the two buildings across the ...

February 17, 2021
Live in the Mojave Desert

Singer-guitarist Esteban Rene attended boarding school in Ensenada, while bassist Beto Bautista grew up in Tijuana. Rene met Bautista while working for Hornblower Cruises and the duo formed the Slashes. They have a new album ...

February 11, 2021
Hardcore vegetarian metal

According to alternative-indie rocker Be Mine Phantom Valentine, “BMPV incorporates post-punk guitars with a full range of synths and haunting organs. The name was inspired by phantom valentines who perform anonymous acts of kindness.” A ...

February 4, 2021
Che Underground web archive gets untangled

“I really thought I’d build a simple archive and hoped that a few of the old crowd would turn up to participate, but within a year, we’d located most everyone involved,” says Matthew Rothenberg, co-founder ...

Spike Lee directed video

Metal-punk band Low and Be Told was founded by singer Doug Thompson (the Marsupials), bassist George Vidaurri (Uncle Joe’s Big Ol’ Driver), drummer Darrin Lee (Tragic Tantrum), and guitarist Frank Blackcat, who was recently replaced ...

January 28, 2021
Comedic singer-songrhymer

18 year-old British-American folk-pop singer-songwriter Pip Lewis started writing, recording, and mixing her own songs around two years ago, with her debut singles “Frown” and “What’s A Dream?” Her debut EP Pathos was released in ...

January 21, 2021
Liquid Blue stays international with livestreams

“Liquid Blue had been on a streak of performing at least a hundred shows every year since 2000,” says Scott Stephens of his group’s pre-Covid run. “2020 was the first year the band hasn’t played ...

January 21, 2021
Eddie Vedder streams a Bruce Springsteen cover

Singer-songwriter duo Monica Sorenson and Rick Walker began collaborating in 2012, going on to form Sometimes Julie, a hard-driving rock band with blues and Americana influences. A self-taught musician on guitar, bass, and keyboards, Walker’s ...

January 14, 2021
What it means to be a cholo: Top 5 local videos of 2020

Despite the pandemic lockdown, locals have managed to shoot and release some terrific music videos this year, and Belladon is responsible for one of them. Their performance video for “Haisa” was taped August 2 as ...

January 7, 2021
Plunderbund shoots new video at Slab City and Fiesta Island

Based in La Jolla, Plunderbund (defined in the dictionary as “a league of commercial, political, or financial interests that exploits the public”) is a power trio playing alternative and power pop tunes, often with a ...

Daughters of Willie Nelson and Arlo Guthrie walk into a bar run by Jim Croce’s widow

The local School of Rock is where Jordan Krimston got his start with bands such as Pandemonium and Lua. “The more important things that I think students usually take away from School of Rock are ...

December 31, 2020
Musician Daniel Isle Sky ascends to new heights

“I broke my hip bone while rock climbing in Zion National Park in Utah,” reports singer-songwriter Daniel Isle Sky. “I was rescued by a [National Park Service] helicopter the next day. A surgeon in St. ...

December 24, 2020
San Diego Reader writers alone at Christmas

Christmas Jerk I managed to avoid being homeless on Christmas Eve 1979, but just barely. Unemployed since that summer, I found a cheap flophouse on 12th and Island where 70 bucks a month got me ...

December 23, 2020
1980’s Fade to Black: The best thriller you forgot about finally gets its due

Fade to Black has long been one of my favorite movies about the movies. I was lucky enough to see it new in 1980, a number of times, thanks to having just started work at ...

December 18, 2020
Neo-beat poetry

The titular frontman of the Scott West Band has recorded with guest contributors such as Cake bassist Gabe Nelson, Lee Rocker (Stray Cats), and Prairie Prince (The Tubes, Jefferson Starship). Since the early 2000s, he’s ...

December 17, 2020
Nick Mason just released the best Pink Floyd solo album you never heard

When I first bought my tickets to see Nick Mason’s Saucerful of Secrets last year, I admit my expectations were low. I’ve seen Pink Floyd’s 75 year-old drummer in his prime, first on opening night ...

December 12, 2020

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