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Stories by Ken Leighton

Song into outer space

And why Casey Turner doesn't play Maui much

When he’s not on tour, Casey Turner is either at his house on Oahu or the one in Pacific Beach. He’s wrapping up an extended stint in Hawaii and will be flying back here next ...

As I Lay Dying show at Soma sells out in four minutes

Not everyone forgives Tim Lambesis

Whether the original members of As I Lay Dying should or should not get back together with Tim Lambesis is now only a philosophical question. The five internationally famous metalcore bandmates are in fact reuniting ...

Plot thickens for Oceanside's "prison hotel"

Fairfield Inn developer hasn't paid property taxes, for starters

There’s good news for neighbors who spoke out at a May 9 Oceanside City Council meeting against a 99-room hotel to be built on a hillside just west of I-5. Based on drawings, they trashed ...

Demasiado means too much

"It was like a punk rock Benny Hill skit."

“We lived in a house in OB,” singer Jon Piotrowski says of the salad days of his post-punk, art-rock band. “It was loosely called the Demasiado house. It was a magical moment. We didn’t realize ...

Bryan Pease and the OB People's Co-op

Lawsuit not discussed in today's election

Democrat Bryan Pease, on today’s ballot for the District 2 City Council seat held by Republican Lorie Zapf, is normally outspoken about previous high profile, high conscious lawsuits he’s handled. Attorney Pease was happy to ...

Maybe don't eff the police

SOMA embraces hip-hop

After 32 years, San Diego County’s second oldest live music venue (after the Belly Up Tavern) is making a major change to its format. SOMA owner Len Paul says hip-hop matters more to his underage ...

Congratulations, you got a gig at the Che

Venue named after murderous communist reopens at UCSD

Congratulations, you got a gig at the Che - Indie/surf rockers Fashion Jackson headlined the first show at UCSD’s Che Café following its 14-month closed-for-remodeling dark period. “It went off,” says the band’s Sterling Gietzen ...

Adams Avenue Theater to host music again

After 30 years as fabric store

After over three decades without music, a legendary part of San Diego’s pop music history is on track to be resurrected as a music venue. Opened in 1930 as a movie house, by the late ...

Fairgrounds pulls plug on concert venue

Growing costs plus Kaboo vs. Belly Up

Plans for a new 1,900-capacity venue at the Del Mar Fairgrounds have unraveled due to spiraling construction costs and questions about whether the fair should be in the concert promoting business in the first place. ...

Meet ten-year-old rocker/actor Tommy Ragen

“We try and make it fun for him when he’s on the road.”

Tommy Ragen has nothing against public school. In fact, he loved his last principal. “Miss Tripi was really nice to me,” says Ragen of La Jolla Elementary’s Donna Tripi. “She was really supportive of Tommy ...

Lestat's West may rise from its coffin

“Louie is now paid by the success of each show."

John Husler admits his much-loved acoustic showcase in Normal Heights called Lestat’s West has not been profitable for six years. “We’ve been losing from $50,000 to $80,000 a year,” says co-owner Husler about the fifteen-year-old ...

Booze held her back

Rhythm Turner has bounced off the bottom several times

Hitting rock bottom isn’t what got singer/multi-instrumentalist Rhythm Turner to get sober in September 2015. “I felt like I had hit rock bottom a number of times before that,” says Turner who was raised in ...

Vokab Kompany dreams of live format EDM

Group collaborates with local rapper Mitchy Slick

Although he hasn’t officially been told, Charles Mitchell, also known as rapper Mitchy Slick, says he now proudly plays in public. Mitchell says he was never arrested for anything (although he was arrested in Marin ...

Oceanside's civic freak flag

Fairfield Inn — an eyesore on the hill

In the last six years, the Oceanside city clerk says he can only remember one other time when anyone blurted out “recall” from a city council meeting audience. “It was when the council approved district ...

Mainstage midget wrestling

Ramona Music Center steps in

In 2002, Ramona contractor Orrin Day bought his home town’s only movie theater, built in 1946. Ten years ago, after spending what he says was over $1 million, Day reopened it as Ramona Mainstage, a ...

Billie Joe Armstrong chose Tijuana

Biggest show yet for the Moustache Bar

Green Day frontman Billie Joe Armstrong launched his side project the Longshot on Thursday, May 3 at Moustache Bar. “We sold out all 300 tickets within three hours when they went on sale last Frday ...

Then there's Squarecrow

Ramona outfit to play La Escalera Fest 7

To help create some kind of a music scene in his backcountry town, music store owner Jon Hasz released four compilation albums featuring Ramona bands. Hasz admits the series had promo value: it helped bring ...

Oceanside cleans up

Council ready to chuck aides

What one former councilmember called Oceanside’s dirty little secret has been discussed in open session and appears to be on the chopping block. Oceanside is by far the largest city in North County. But its ...

Los Kung Fu Monkeys' t-shirts sell out before other bands'

Ska still enjoys a big live fan base

Tarek Limas well-timed the opening of his Mods Bar and Venue three years ago in Tijuana. Limas, one of the three original members of the Tijuana based ska/punk band Los Kung Fu Monkeys, re-imagined the ...

Unsteady never went away

"We’re all just nerds who want to keep going"

“We started this month in 1992,” says Unsteady founder/saxman John Roy. In fact, the ska-driven band has only gotten larger. “We used to have seven people. Now we’re up to nine. There were some years ...

Lou Niles launches new label

“I could never just sit there and just do a radio show”

The current co-hosts of Loudspeaker, 91X’s Sunday night local music show, have different ways of celebrating their longtime ties to the local music scene. Andrew Rowley launched his own production company that creates music videos ...

Sports in San Diego is not a way of life

Why The Fan radio will have tough time

The news that shock jock Kevin Klein was fired before he even started his first day on the new “97-3 The Machine” was not surprising to photographer Jesse Cuevas. He took the shot of the ...

The genesis of Malachi Henry

Americana before it was cool

Moving to Charlotte, North Carolina seemed like a good idea at the time. Harmonica player Ben Hernandez and fellow San Diegan singer/guitarist Nathan James had established an international presence as a rootsy blues duo by ...

Max Greenhalgh learned more in L.A. than S.D.

The multi-instrumentalist/producer/songwriter wanted to be all-in

Although he admits he almost gave up and moved back to North County, Max Greenhalgh says he is happy that he stuck it out and stayed in L.A. to pursue music. “It was a big ...

Small Town Heroes: A good vintage music show

"We made a financial decision to not be loud"

The Small Town Heroes are not about Marshall stacks, power chords or booming bass lines you can actually feel. They’re about traditional country. “Asleep at the Wheel are our foundation,” says founder Kevin Williams, referencing ...

After Lestat's, where?

Adam's Avenue acoustic venue shuts down after 15 years

San Diego’s premier acoustic music venue for the last 15 years is closing and it’s not ending on a happy note. The music showcase Lestat’s in Normal Heights is closing. The adjacent coffee house will ...

Talk radio Kevin Kline has Coronado Bridge problem

He tweets to rivals: “your audience soon will be ours”

“It looks like Kevin Klein staged his own suicide jump.” That’s what one competitor said when the ribald radio talk show host was a no-show for his first day on the San Diego airwaves. Klein ...

New radio station owner driven by deep hate for iHeartRadio

Meanwhile, iHeartMedia $20 billion in debt, bankrupt

“I believe they helped ruin the radio industry,” says La Jolla’s Marc Paskin, a former radio station owner, about iHeartMedia, the media group that owns billboards, promotes concerts, and owns 850 radio stations nationwide, including ...

Melvin Knurbein's last recordings

Dying drummer needs your help

“They just put him in hospice yesterday,” says bassist Mike Woods about Resevior Tips drummer Melvin Knurbein, a longtime member of the San Diego punk community also known from bands like Woodshed, the Untold, and ...

Cesar Gonzalez: Baja's new radio ambassador?

Borderless station — they'll sing and speak in Spanish and English.

When Mike Halloran started at 91X three decades ago, he and the other DJs had to drive down to the studios in Tijuana. “We didn’t try to hide the fact that we broadcast from Mexico.” ...

Belly up Kaabooted from Del Mar

Del Mar board member said Kaaboo was “falsifying facts to government officials.”

Belly Up Kaabooted Artist renderings were unveiled last week for the Del Mar Fairground’s planned state-of-the-art concert venue that will be ready next year. The two-story venue will have polished cement floors, balconies, multiple bars, ...

Sisster synth

“I think kids in Mexico appreciate electronic music more”

In her previous music life, Viri Dimayuga fronted Viri and Los Bandidos. She was backed by a male band as she sang original rockabilly tunes en Español. Two years ago, Dimayuga gave up performing in ...

Adios Oysterfest

Eight years and done for the music and food event

It was learned last week one longtime local music fest will not be back this year. Headliners at last year’s 8th Annual Oysterfest June 9 and 10 included Matisyahu and local bands Rocket From the ...

Oceanside Monarch vs. Encinitas Monarch

Name-sharing leads to confusion

The Metal Monarch is none too pleased. Monarch is an Encinitas-based Allman Brothers–ish instrumental jam band. They released their album Two Isles in 2016. One problem: there was another band named Monarch that had been ...

Crazy when there were mosh pits

UCSD's Ché Cafe to re-open

After a long dormancy that involved a threatened eviction, a widespread community reaction, and a last-minute rescue from chancellor Pradeep Kholsa, UCSD’s Che Café will finally reopen after a year of being shuttered. “We’re waiting ...

Second-generation San Diego talent

Like dad-mom, like son-daughter

Guitarist Jerry Raney of the world famous cow punkers the Beat Farmers often shares the stage with his son, guitarist/drummer Nathan. And Josh Kmak’s Undertone album (recorded under the name Creepseed) was one of the ...

The Machine spits out 97-3 DJs

Music programming out, talk-radio featuring The Men's Room in

On March 1st, San Diego’s all-music station known for three years as “Energy 97-3” was “blown up,” as they say in the radio business. The upshot: there is one less local station playing the hits ...

TV on the music

Local shows featuring local bands diminish by one

The opportunities for local artists to get TV face-time just got slimmer with the news that Tonight in San Diego has suspended production. The Tonight Show–style program was most visible in February and March of ...

Career as rockin' tattoo artist not recommended

“Right now I’m booked nonstop; other weeks, it’s crickets."

Mike Stobbe of North Park’s Avalon Tattoo started inking San Diego’s most famous rock stamp 25 years ago. “I did at least 100 to 150,” he says of the Rocket From the Crypt rockets he ...

Copacabana clubbed

Music and passion aren't always the thing

Tara Cardenas ran an all-ages venue in Lemon Grove called Mesopotamia in the mid ’90s. Two decades later, her ongoing support of local music led her to open a bar featuring local bands. Her tenure ...

Going up: Band of Gringos and the Holding Company

O.B. natives don't sniff at the thought of an improved venue to play

The January demolition of the Ocean Beach bar/music venue named the Holding Company helped put its owner in the social-media crosshairs. Was Steve Yeng, also the co-owner/operator (with his brothers) of the OB Noodle House ...

Skate punks don’t die after all

Music sells the boards that sell the music

Does action sports still connect with rock? Not so much, if you consider the Warped Tour, which was built on the fusion of punk and skate cultures and is folding after 24 years. Or that ...

Pulled up by roots reggae royalty

"Someone wrote we should call ourselves ‘Ginger Roots’ on a five-dollar bill."

Long before the Rolling Stones played the Belly Up, internationally famous musicians started popping up at the Solana Beach music showcase in the early ’80s. One of the first was bassist Fully Fullwood, who had ...

Del Mar fair board lowers boom on Kaaboo

"We were hit with complaints we had never heard before."

In a surprising show of open animosity, members of the board that run the Del Mar Fairgrounds launched attacks against Kaaboo at its monthly board meeting on February 13th. The fourth annual Kaaboo music fest ...

Black-metal punks

“It’s unfortunate, but a lot of the local bands play for free or for beer."

Patrick Erhard is the lead singer/bassist of Ash Williams, the punk band that one reviewer said “wishes it was a black metal band.” The SDSU grad started booking his own punk shows two years ago. ...

Thanks for the chops, School of Rock

Elise Trouw also credits jazz band at Bishop's School for musicianship

San Diego’s Elise Trouw got bumped from Jimmy Kimmel Live January 30. Was the local 18-year-old multi-instrumentalist bummed because porno actress Stormy Daniels hogged all her time? “I wasn’t worried about it,” says Trouw. “These ...

Plans for 91-year-old Carlsbad theater unclear

“This is just what we need. Another brewery.”

“Where is the historical society?” That comment appeared February 7th on the Carlsbad Locals Facebook page shortly after the news broke of the sale of the Carlsbad Village Theater. The 91-year-old downtown theater was Carlsbad’s ...

The Dodges will avoid autotune influence

"There are still people who crave music that doesn’t go through a computer.”

Alex Snyder, guitarist with the Dodges, doesn’t get worked up over the fact that Coachella’s three main headliners this year are Beyoncé, Eminem, and the Weeknd. “If we wanted to have huge shows and make ...

Powerballs hits Rock Lotto, keeps in the Pink

Random gig leads to a steady one at house that Reises built

Veteran singer/songwriter/guitarist Chris Henry says his new project dubbed Powerballs proves it’s good to avoid rock ’n’ roll inbreeding. “We all wanted to experience something outside our own gene pool,” says Henry, best known for ...

Corre Diablo taps into the Rage

"Maybe you guys should consider getting a white guy to sing lead for you."

While the San Diego/L.A. band artist migration usually goes south to north, for Xavier Delgado it was the other way around. He moved here two years ago from East L.A. to get his master’s in ...

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