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Stories by Michael Hemmingson

Astra Plus Malcolm

She was born in Marvel, Arkansas, and delivered by Dr. Wise," it says on Astra Kelly's website. "Early interest in music was fueled by family jams, school choirs, and formal music studies." "I've been living ...

May 17, 2007
Bring Back the Soul

San Diego's Marcia Claire is one busy bassist -- she currently plays in four bands: Citizen Band ("power country rock on ephedra, caffeine, and Jameson"), the Cindy Lee Berryhill Band, the Barbara Nesbitt Band ("beautiful ...

April 19, 2007
Don't Ditch Choir

'Freshman year in high school, I signed up for choir thinking it would be an easy class to ditch," says San Diego composer Cathryn Beeks. "Instead I ended up figuring out that I wanted to ...

April 5, 2007
The Short Skirt Dilemma

'I thought he was crazy [to want to produce me]," Molly Jenson says about San Diego colleague Greg Laswell, "but we met one afternoon and wrote a song in our first meeting." Laswell eventually produced ...

March 22, 2007
Indie Lo Presti

San Diego singer/songwriter Danielle Lo Presti has written and recorded music for VH1, the Lifetime Network, Clear Channel, and the 1996 movie The Nutty Professor. In 2000 she went guerilla-style and founded her own indie ...

March 8, 2007
Bill's "Birthday Suit" Recognized

San Diego--based three-piece bill was recently named one of Rolling Stone magazine's top 25 MySpace bands. "Basically, a friend sent us a message telling us [about it]," says Riyadh Drebika, the band's manager. "All we ...

January 11, 2007
Off the Deep End

"I play classical piano, badly -- mostly just to learn my parts," says mezzo-soprano singer Molly Wilmot, who lives in La Mesa. "My dad put me in piano lessons, where I learned music theory and ...

Strange Wave Of Chaos

Anya Marina keeps busy. Weekdays (9 a.m. to 2 p.m.), she's a DJ on 94.9 FM.; on weekends she's performing at venues from San Diego and Los Angeles to Portland. She once went to Hollywood ...

November 19, 2006
See Ya

Greg Laswell is the latest in a string of local musicians to have a song featured on a national television show. His "High and Low" played on an October episode of CBS's crime show Without ...

November 16, 2006
Studio Project Goes Live

'My Next Dilemma started as a studio project, and three albums later we find we are starting to do shows," says San Diego--based guitar player and vocalist Todd Miramon. "The songs come from mostly experiences ...

October 5, 2006
Mohawks and Bathrobes

“We do different game show themes to interact with the crowd.”

September 21, 2006
Musical Space

San Diego three-piece "bill" prefers to have their name spelled with a lowercase b. "Happens to be two of our dads' names and can be spelled on your right hand," says bass and sax player ...

August 17, 2006
With Rebel Yells?

At Billy Idol's August 12 Del Mar Fairgrounds show... "The stage perimeter was blocked off by a seven-foot metal fence that was covered to prevent viewing," says an attendee. "It was a V.I.P. area only. ...

August 17, 2006
Does Steve West Count?

The Reaganomics are an '80s cover band, churning out the pop tunes that bring back glorious high school memories for many middle-aged clubgoers. "Our very first show was about two and a half years ago," ...

July 20, 2006
"He Keeps Asking for a New Brain"

"He keeps asking for a new brain," says Joaquin Torres, guitar player for San Diego band Frogsbreath. Torres speaks of his band's bass player, Brian McClure, who is in the University of Utah's medical center ...

July 6, 2006
Always a Rush

If you've ever been kicked out of Winstons in Ocean Beach on a rowdy night when a popular reggae or blues act is onstage, chances are you were bounced by Ted Washington, front man for ...

July 6, 2006
Monster Megamix

How did The City's Finest meet? "I've known Brian and Robby since we were in middle school, although I didn't join the band until just before college," says rhythm guitar player Chris Lenz. "I used ...

June 22, 2006
Lazy Hands

Discussing San Diego's newly famous acoustic guitar crooner, Jason Mraz, Jason Turtle says, "When I was performing with Jane Lui, we had a few gigs with him and were beginning to try to collaborate. This ...

June 15, 2006
Cheeky

'We just got back from a mini-tour up the coast," says Cheeky frontman Shant Salakian. "We went as far as San Louis Obispo. It was a new experience for us. It's the first time we've ...

May 25, 2006
Tied Together with A Patented Algorithm

ChrisChrisChris is a different kind of band: front man Chris Decatur is live onstage in San Diego while the other performers beam in from different locales. Bassist Chris Capri and drummer Chris Hardy are transmitting ...

May 4, 2006
A Troubadour’s Travails

'It seems that I am in the midst of a wicked streak of bad luck this week," blogs San Diego-based singer/songwriter Laura K at myspace.com. "It all started Sunday afternoon, during an otherwise enjoyable visit ...

January 26, 2006
Walking the Line

Cash'd Out is San Diego's newest Johnny Cash cover band. The success of the recent biopic Walk the Line has not hurt the group's popularity. The band consists of Douglas Benson on vocals and guitar; ...

January 12, 2006
Insomniac Minstrel

'The problem with music is musicians" is Aaron Bowen's motto on his page at myspace.com. He took up the violin in the first grade, but the guitar became his instrument of choice. Aaron suffered a ...

December 29, 2005
Coffeehouse Crooner Dreams Big

'A few months back I had this amazing music dream," says local acoustic soloist Kim DiVincenzo, sitting with her laptop at Hot Java before going onstage to play. "It is kind of that cheesy famous ...

December 22, 2005
Punk Marketing Tactic

After 1 a.m. in O.B., I left Winstons and walked down Newport Avenue to the beach. I spotted a sealed Drunkin Punkin Idiots CD on the sidewalk, recorded by a band of the same name. ...

December 22, 2005
San Diego fans remember Lennon’s death 25 years ago

Along with many vidiots my age, television was the teat that nurtured us all, and I was less weaned than most. I recall "discovering" the Beatles on a Smothers Brothers show from October 1968 (which ...

December 8, 2005
As the Fog Lifts

"Hey, I know that guy from somewhere," a dude at the Casbah claimed last Wednesday night. He was talking about Ted Washington, onstage with his group Pruitt Igoe (more "performance art" than rock and roll). ...

November 23, 2005
Breathe in the Jazz

'Our vocal group at school had been offered the opportunity to record an on-air spot at Jazz 88.3 for a festival at City College," says La Mesa resident and jazz vocalist Karin Carson. "I went ...

November 23, 2005
The Beast

'The upright bass is the most organic instrument you could get your hands on," said Cecil Bowman at Guitar Trader on El Cajon Boulevard. This was three years ago. "You'll have fun," he continued, taking ...

October 27, 2005
Dateless Loser No Blue Man

Tim Curns, one half of the Dateless Losers (with Gabriel Lander), was recently flown out to New York to audition for a slot in the Blue Man franchise. "I sent in my résumé," says Tim, ...

October 13, 2005
Disbelief Bounce

King of Tribes is a troupe of urban San Diego DJs who spin the sounds of hip-hop and reggae. They include Dash Eye, Rashi, Kofi, Unite, and MC Tefsa and can regularly be found at ...

September 29, 2005
Spooky Girls Wanted

Livejournal.com user "Mzkitten" posted on her blog recently: "I was wondering if anyone lives in the San Diego area who would like to go-go dance with an up-and-coming psycho-billy band...at the Zombie Lounge [Sept. 3]. ...

September 15, 2005
Tech Mystic

Tim Walter is the technical director at On Broadway, downtown -- that's a fancy name for a VJ (video jockey). "There's a unique balance found in the chaos, which, as of late, is very joyful," ...

September 8, 2005
Panic System

It's all in the DJ and what he/she chooses to spin, right? Downtown's On Broadway has a regular duo with an eclectic collection: Morgan Young and Wendy call themselves the Vagabond DJs. The ambience? "A ...

August 25, 2005
A Dream, Perhaps?

When I moved to Ocean Beach two years ago, a friend told me, "There's a stripper bar a few blocks down. I've never checked it out." He was talking about Dream Street, and when I ...

August 25, 2005
Bloody Fingers

'I dreamed I was playing onstage and I was really confused because the song I was playing didn't seem to be the same song the rest of the band was playing," says Kyrsten Hopkins, bass ...

August 11, 2005
Godzilla Sells

Godzilla and his Monster Island cohorts invade San Diego every summer as part of the International Comic-Con. Dealers sell Japanese toy creatures based on movie characters and television shows like Ultraman. Some of the vinyl ...

Porno Kings (and Queens) of San Diego

“Actually, I had about a dozen different pen names — seems like they changed on every book. For a time I was known as Longjon Jones.” And that, he admonishes me, is how I will ...

June 30, 2005
It's a Crime

DEFRAUDING AN INNKEEPER Location: 660 K Street, Gaslamp Quarter Time/Date: 1:45 a.m. on 6/5/05 Investigation: Officer Ramirez #6056 and I responded to a radio call to take custody of Ryan A. A. had been placed ...

June 16, 2005
Vinyl Feel

“They served Tater Tots all night.”

June 9, 2005
Robot Talk

“It was nice to see she’s human.”

June 2, 2005
Banana Thief

“I screamed like a little girl.”

May 26, 2005
Wandering Jew

"Yoko Ono came in and ordered a latte. I gushed about John Lennon for about five minutes."

April 28, 2005
I Was on the Dance Floor

"I was on the dance floor with my friends when this guy started dancing next to us," states Rachel Groom in a battery report on file with the SDPD. The incident happened at 2:30 a.m., ...

April 28, 2005
A Candlelight Vigil Was Held for Jacob Faust

A candlelight vigil was held for Jacob Faust on April 4. He had been fatally shot three times by a San Diego police officer around 1:45 that morning in front of the Golden West Hotel ...

April 21, 2005
The Song that did in Nikko Smith

The song that did in Nikko Smith on American Idol last Wednesday night was "One Heart, One Hand" from the musical West Side Story. "The first part of the song was out of tune," said ...

April 14, 2005
I Wanted to Tap People on the Shoulder

"I wanted to tap people on the shoulder and remind them of black women's contribution to American music," says Calvin Mason, writer/director of Raisin' the Rent, a musical that opened last Friday at Caesar Café ...

April 7, 2005
"Are these movies pirated?"

"Are these movies pirated?" asked Officer K. Wadhams. "They are copies," suspect Tommy Grant conceded. In SDPD crime report #05-016812 filed on March 18, Wadhams was on routine patrol and noticed a group of males ...

March 31, 2005
The Only Theater-Friendly Mayor

"The only theater-friendly mayor this town has had was Maureen O'Connor," said Tom Hall of the San Diego Foundation. "She wasn't known for her arts and culture appreciation, but she understood the politics of it." ...

March 31, 2005
When U2 Plays the Sports Arena

When U2 plays the Sports Arena on March 28, the venue will have a new name: the iPayOne Center -- a discount real estate brokerage in Carlsbad that has agreed to pay $2.5 million for ...

March 24, 2005

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