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Stories by Ken Leighton

Say goodbye to Java Joe's

The name may be changing, but the music will go on

The name may be changing, but the music will go on

A conscious tone with an unusual tact

Recorded in South Africa, Latex Grenade’s The Cage “is a protest to American exceptionalism”

Legacy reputations have drawn artists to record albums at studios in Muscle Shoals, Rockfield Wales, or the Caribbean island of Montserrat. But South Africa? “We wanted to work with [South African producer/musician] Theo Crous,” explains ...

Dave Myers, rabble rouser

Tells all about Sheriff Gore's body cameras and private jails

When 33-year San Diego Sheriff Department veteran Commander Dave Myers announced he would be running to unseat Sheriff Bill Gore, he says his boss tried to humiliate him in front of the force. “He took ...

Cult Muzic collective: three different rappers, a comic, a lively stage show, and a producer

“We’re like the Beastie Boys plus mushrooms times alien”

Five years ago, rapper Van Brando (born Brandon Van Eklenberg) was driven by anger. His lyrics told how his imprisoned father “fucked up his family” and how that pent-up anger led to his going to ...

Main Attraction leaving downtown Oceanside

Strip club gives way to five-story housing complex

Gentrification has accomplished what eluded city bureaucrats for decades. Oceanside’s Main Attraction, North County’s only remaining topless club, is going away. A five-story 308-unit, apartment complex is proposed as its replacement. Known to locals as ...

Greyboy Allstars: the greatest band that never was

Members add scores for feature films and performing with the Rolling Stones to their repertoire

Maybe with a little more planning, the upcoming Greyboy Allstars show could have been hyped differently. “I guess it is our 25th anniversary, isn’t it,” says keyboardist Robert Walter about his funk/soul/jazz quintet. “Maybe we ...

Vista's Paintbooth: no-cover venue for all age music fans

“I like smaller DIY venues like this. I like the intimacy factor.”

Adrian "Marty" Martinez sings and plays bass in Vietnam Hardcore, a punk trio based in his native Vista. Late last year he was fed up that North County had become a wasteland for live shows. ...

Oceanside's Firewater Saloon feels unwelcome

Who has $50K to fight the ABC?

The owner of a downtown Oceanside bar claims the city is railroading her out of business all because of a move to gentrify downtown. “Since we bought this bar two-and-a-half years ago we have never ...

Coronado Bridge photo final blow to 97-3 comedy radio

Will KFSD ever stop playing Sinatra and Peggy Lee?

Attention photographers: Even if you don’t copyright your work, you can still collect a nice settlement if your photo is used without permission. That’s what Jesse Cuevas of Normal Heights learned last week when a ...

Tolan Shaw's Road to Nashville

“I still have songs I wrote in Nashville that are yet to be recorded”

Tolan Shaw's Road to Nashville

Oceanside Swap Meet sellers wait and wonder

Zephyr bought land for homes

The 20-year-old swap meet on Highway 76 which has had the reputation with locals as one big garage sale, is populated by vendors who pay $15 on Saturday or $45 on a Sunday to sell ...

Free hip-hop and BBQ

Hip-hop promotor celebrates 2-year anniversary of Skoolyard Records in Oceanside

Free hip-hop and BBQ

Song writing royalty

Encinitas local has a “Peaceful Easy Feeling” about songwriting success

Song writing royalty

After Rocky Chavez pull-out, a Democrat in-fight

Is Dem machine worried about Oceanside's Elizabeth Warren?

The top two primary candidates who advanced to the November election to replace Republican Rocky Chavez as assemblyman from the 76th District, were both Democratic women. That area of North County — Oceanside, Carlsbad, Vista, ...

Hunter, Chavez mailers scrutinized

Will elder Duncan Hunter appear on ballot?

When congressman Darryl Issa said he would not stand for reelection, Rocky Chavez gave up his seat as state assemblyman representing Oceanside, Carlsbad, Encinitas, and Vista so he could run for Issa’s seat. While early ...

Sanctuary city and pot become Vista fault lines

Dispensary signature gatherers fake out soccer moms

Although fists didn’t actually fly at the June 26 Vista City Council meeting, after a seven week summer break, Councilman Joe Green apologized to council colleague John Franklin at the very next meeting August 14.

Rain messed up our pedals

"I’d rather play in the desert than Florida.”

Drummer Jeremy Hilliard of Mira Mesa pop-punk band Lighterburns happily paid his Warped Tour dues. He or one of his bandmates volunteered as a tour tech on the three previous tours, just to get a ...


The Paladins and the Stray Cats reunite

The Paladins and the Stray Cats like to get together as often as they can. Even if it takes 36 years. “The last time we played together was like 1982,” says Paladins stand-up bassist Thomas ...

Look out!

Skydivers over Oceanside

Drew Andrioff was suspicious about a driver “creeping up and down my street” in the middle of the day. The 495 houses in his Wanis View Estates neighborhood — between the Oceanside Municipal Airport and ...

Waving AR-15 is red flag to Californians

But red meat in Oceanside

Mauro Campos, 37, served four years in the Marines in the infantry company known as Suicide Charley. After working construction and in a local airplane engine shop, he now manages a gun store called Firearms ...


“I really want to emphasize this was our upbringing and this is who we are.”

Logan Heights born-and-raised Pablo Cervantez has always been low key about Beach Goons. But that’s all about to change, says the singer/guitarist/songwriter about his trio that grew out of the local garage punk scene. Cervantez, ...

You can never win in Carlsbad

Episcopal church wrestles with retirement home and pickleball

The Carlsbad By The Sea Retirement Community’s ten-year waiting list makes it one of the more popular residences of the ten-facility Front Porch Retirement Community group. The minimum entry fee for the 147-room complex on ...

When you’re Hawk spawn

“We called it the San Diego takeover.”

Riley Hawk’s earliest rock memory was attending Boom Boom HuckJam, the extreme sports/music tour launched by his dad Tony Hawk in 2002. “I was 9 or 10,” recalls the younger Hawk. “At the time I ...

Adios to longtime Oceanside

L&M Gifts, H&M Military Supplies, Cotton Patch, and maybe Wienerschnitzel

Half a block of prime downtown Oceanside real estate has just been sold, impacting a handful of longtime Oceanside businesses. “We have a week left and then we are moving to Hot Springs, Arkansas,” says ...

UPDATED Dave Shelly and Chainsaw looking for a new radio home.

Tegna not interested

Update from Ken Leighton: As was first suggested here July 5, the top-rated Dave Shelly and Chainsaw crew could not reach an agreement with Tegna, the Virginia-based TV conglomerate that took over the KFMB stations ...

The OB lane

“We claimed dibs”

Although they admit to some “talking” over Instagram, the boys in Fashion Jackson say a full-fledged proxy war has not erupted over the use of their name. “We claimed dibs,” jokes bassist Sterling Gietzen. “The ...

Popular Oceanside ex-mayor keeps counsel

Jim Wood withholds endorsements

When Jim Wood talks, Oceanside listens. But Oceanside’s most popular politician is keeping mum. After serving 30-plus years as an Oceanside policeman, Wood was elected to the Oceanside City council in 2002. Two years later ...

Tom Metzger has moved to San Jacinto

But his enemies read him into Trump policy

“Do you know who founded Fallbrook?” organizer Ricardo Favela blurted out on a bullhorn in front of about 60 fellow protestors in a late afternoon rally Monday, July 9. “Reche,” said one who knew the ...

Scum suckers gotta get paid

"It’s pretty conservative up here. But then so is San Diego."

Ramona Mainstage owner Orrin Day has bitten the bullet and says he has agreed to pay some $3000 annually to music licensing groups he has called “scum suckers” in the past. “You can’t get away ...

Scum bags stole his amps

“For some shows, you just need a refrigerator.”

When Rice Enright plays solo for wedding or corporate gigs he plays guitar. But when he plays as a “hired hand” for reggae bands J.a.m. Kwest or Gentle Giants, or for tribute bands like Fake ...

Marijuan X

Bones doesn’t mind working the graveyard shift he’s held down for three decades

The Ramones and Talking Heads drew him into radio. Rush Limbaugh and Carl DeMaio pushed him out. Billy Bones worked continuously in San Diego radio for 37 years until he quit Friday, June 29. He ...

The fight from the bottom

Radio's Dan Sileo loses guys 25-54 to Mighty 1090 and XTRA Sports 1360

Zero. Point. Zero. That could be the college dean in Animal House telling John Belushi’s character his grade point average. Or it could represent the status of the all-sports radio 97-3 The Fan, as it ...

Mixing slot machines and booze

Believe me, the kids who swim up to bar at Harrah’s are not reggae purists

Mixing slot machines and booze with traditional Jamaican vibes may make rasta purists wretch, but the formula has become a hit at Funner, California. “The world is not going to end if you mix gambling ...

Always fans of ska

“We decided it was cheaper to bring them down here than drive up to L.A. to see them.”

Erny Nuñez became a DJ and a concert promoter out of need. “Until five years ago there was a night called Brixton Beat at the Whistle Stop,” says Nuñez about the occasional DJ gig at ...

Goodbye, cheap ocean views

Oceanside sea-front mobile homes squeezed

If Oceanside residents who occupy some 2,500 mobile home spaces think they have housing security, maybe they should think again. The 57-space Catalina Mobile Home park on Coast Highway in South Oceanside has been razed ...

Babydoll Warriors

Mostly female band plays Bar Pink

Noticing that there are no local bands mixing '50s rock with the pop buoyancy of the Go-Go’s and the kitschy camp of Southern Culture on the Skids, sax player Emily Connell and her drummer/husband Kevin ...

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 ...

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