Sheila Pell 11 a.m., Oct. 22
Randy California & Spirit in San Diego 1968 to 1996, plus Worst Concerts, History of San Diego Music 1-7, more
Plus the Monroes, Rosie & the Originals, more
Press illo to play the Overheard song!
NEW COMPREHENSIVE LOCAL MUSIC DATABASE IS LAUNCHED
IT'S DONE!!!! And growing every hour....
If you wanna see a list of over 1,5000 San Diego bands, with links to full profiles, photos, discographies, articles, MP3s, etc, checkout http://www.sandiegoreader.com/bands/search/
Believe it or not, you can click on ANY LOCAL MUSICIAN'S NAME (around 4,500 musicos listed!) and bring up bios of every notable band they've ever been in! Try it here with Rob Crow ---
AND, if that wasn't cool 'nuff, click on an instrument, say like this here link to "Drums" - BAM, a list of EVERY DRUMMER IN SAN DIEGO!!!
We've been working on this massively cross-linked Local Music Database for over two years now, covering a century of San Diego history --- if you're a local performer who wants to add or edit a page, go to http://www.sandiegoreader.com/band/edit/
More anon!!!! JAS
HERE’S THIS WEEK’S NEW Overheard in San Diego
AND THE NEW Famous Former Neighbors
CHICKEN MILK ALIEN BABIES
When The Homeless Sexuals play the Radio Room tonight, February 27, it’ll be their first show in nine months. “The band was breaking up,” says singer Davit Buck. “The other four members wanted to do other projects and, as usual, I overreacted and tried to replace everyone with MySpace bulletins and Craigslist ads. I would get replies back saying ‘Great band, but you guys need a new singer, that guy sucks.’”
“Then I got an email from Freakfilms, saying they want to use our song ‘Chicken Milk Alien Babies’ in a documentary film about concert poster art, American Artifact…At first, I thought it was fake, because I’ve dealt with others who say they have a film and want to use our music, and then the guy says he needs $500 to represent us.”<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />
The movie’s producer, Merle Becker, worked on Beavis and Butthead, Daria, and Cartoon Sushi, before leaving MTV in 2000 to start Freakfilms. The documentary includes artwork and interviews with Stanley Mouse, Coop, Scrojo, Winston Smith, Frank Kozik, and others.
“Getting the film offer made me stop trying to rebuild the band,” says Buck, a poster artist himself (he draws all the band flyers and record sleeves). “The song was written about a painting I did called Chicken Milk, with alien babies in flying saucers and wearing dunce hats.”
As for money, Buck says “I don’t think we’ll get a lot. We get a percentage of the music budget, which is split between ten bands.” The film – due out later this year - will also include music by Phish and Jello Biafra. www.americanartifactmovie.comBrass Rail, a gay bar in Hillcrest where Buck was booking bands, but that ended up being shortlived. “My original plan was to include a dominatrix or a burlesque troupe,” he says.
Buck says he's been mistaken for a homosexual before, which doesn't bother him.
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Local blogger Rosey Bystrak at www.sddialedin.com says "Anytime the Homeless Sexuals play is pretty nuts, but the first time I saw them at the Zombie Lounge, a chick in the opening band peed on Dave Buck. Allegedly. I was at the bar getting a drink, and I kicked myself because I always miss the good stuff."
JASON MRAZ SAYS “FREE THE WEED,” PLUS HIS LOST GRAMMY SPEECH
Even though Jason Mraz didn't take home a Grammy Award for Song of the Year earlier this month, he was ready with his speech in hand. Besides waxing philosophical that "humans were put on this Earth to make music," here's what Mraz WOULD have said, had he been invited up to the podium --------
"I can’t take credit for a song that wrote itself. I’m only one of millions who sing along to its message of peace & love. AND I THINK HUMANS WERE PUT ON THIS EARTH TO MAKE MUSIC. Each one of us IS a living instrument with a responsibility to sing out, to share, to cry and wail, for progress and for healing. I am grateful I get to sing with so many."
"Thank you Bill Silva & my incredible support team at Bill Silva Management. Thanks to Sam Riback and all the caregivers at Atlantic Records. Martin Terefe & The Kensaltown Kings for helping me make a great recording. And to the Gratitude Community in the Bay area, my families in San Diego, and Mechanicsville, VA, thanks for the inspiration."
"And as for the Best Male Pop Vocal Awesomeness, I’d like to acknowledge John Mayer for being so generous with his gifts in music, but also for being so outspoken regarding his admiration for I’m Yours. I am blessed just to participate in music, but even more blessed to do so at a time when the music community is so loving and encouraging. Thank you John. It is a great honor to be recognized by one’s peers. You deserve every bit of acclaim that’s out there. Hope to see you and your giant heart on the road again soon."
Mraz's online blog also posted recent pics of Mraz and Toco Rivera in
ADELITAS WAY SINGS THE WHOREHOUSE BLUES
Many songs have been written about whorehouses, from traditional numbers like “House of the Rising Sun” to “La Grange” (ZZ Top), “Whores in This House” (Frank Ski), “Out of the Blue (Into the Fire),” (The The), and of course the musical Best Little Whorehouse In Texas.
Add to that list “Adelitas Song” by Adelitas Way; both the band and song are named after a brothel in Tijuana’s Zona Norte, Adelita Bar.
Bandleader Rick Dejesus says an impromptu trip south of the border with friends spawned both names. “I fell asleep in the back of the truck,” he says, “and four hours later we were getting arrested in Tijuana and extorted by the cops. They robbed us for all our money. We were so bummed out, [but] I hid my $20 in my sock.”
Dejesus says they ended up at Adelita, in search of beer. “There was like fifty young beautiful women in there, talking to old men. One of the prettiest women I ever saw comes up to me and starts talking to me. She looks at me and says ‘Fifty bucks and I'm yours.’ It made me sad. She was so pretty, and anyone could sleep with her for fifty bucks.”
“So I said ‘Why do you do this?’ She broke down crying and said ‘It’s the only way I can live and support my family here in Mexico. You can't make money, and I can't get into the USA.’ It broke my heart.”
After writing “Adelitas Song” (“about a girl with no chance”), Dejesus liked the whorehouse name so much that he decided to use it for his band, as a constant reminder of the lesson learned that day in Tijuana. “Some people are born into hardships and poverty, and can’t help the life they are given,” he says. “We are very fortunate.”
Spirit has been my favorite band for 30 years now. I’ve come to feel the same way about guitarist/bandleader Randy California that Deadheads feel about Jerry Garcia, a performer inexplicably linked to Sprit only by virtue of both bands having dedicated jam-fan followings. I can’t stand the Dead, or most jam bands for that matter, but Spirit were far above and beyond mere hippie trailz and melting muzik.
Before discovering Spirit’s 12 Dreams of Dr. Sardonicus in 1979 and playing it over and over in my little corner room at the Palms Hotel on 12th and Island, I had heard jazz bands that rock (Mahavishnu Orchestra, Spyro Gyra, the Headhunters, et al).
But I had never heard a rock band that, well, jazzes --
Next time I update this page, I’ll talk a bit about why their music continues to appeal to me so, even years after Randy California’s tragic death in 1997 (drowning while saving his son from an ocean riptide) and the band’s final dissolution.
First, here’s a comic book bio I did awhile back (1991), followed by some of my Spirit memorabilia from San Diego appearances, most of which I attended, beginning in 1979 –
8-13-68 - Spirit, with Jello's Gass Ban, downtown Community Concourse:
9-20-69 - Spirit, San Diego Sports Arena, with the Grass Roots, Smith and Denny Henderson:
According to [email protected], “They played Fresh Garbage, Brown Eyed Woman [probably meant Dark Eyed Woman], Nature's Way, and the impressive Mechanical World. Which was written about a bad sushi experience by Jay Ferguson - so he said when he introduced the song.”
However, after I posted above, I heard from Bruce Pates, who worked with Spirit in the '80s and '90s and is currently working on a book about the band. "There's NO WAY that Nature's Way was performed at this gig. It was first performed in San Francisco on May 16, 1970. Randy introduced the song as 'a song I wrote this afternoon.' Possibly [email protected] has confused this with the 1970 show?"
Pates also informs "There was a review in the San Diego Door (Sept. 25, 1969)that mentions that they played 'Mechanical World,' 'I Got A Line On You,' 'Uncle Jack,' and opened with an instrumental (likely 'Fog,' later to be 'Trancus Fog Out' on the Feedback album)."
11-29-70 - Spirit, San Diego Sports Arena, with the Paul Butterfield Blues Band, Ten Years After:
Info on this date comes courtesy Bruce Pates, who informs "I've seen this listed as TEN YEARS AFTER being the headliner, which does not appear to be correct. I have a copy of the PAUL BUTTERFIELD contract for the gig, which lists SPIRIT as the headliner. Also, there are memories of this gig from a roadie and band members. It was a disaster!"
"They were trying out a new expensive PA system that blew out all the speakers. Lou Adler had fronted $10G for the PA, but the money was insufficient to get what was really needed, so most of it went to amplification. It was never tested at full power until the gig, and led to the speaker problems."
5-25-72 - Spirit, San Diego Sports Arena, with Ike and Tina Turner, Jesse, Wolff and Whings:
This gig featured the odd Feedback-era Spirit, one of the few lineups ever to perform withOUT Randy California.
11-11-80 - Bacchanal:
Two shows, 7:30 and 10
Setlist: Body For Sale, 1984, Shattered Dreams, All Along the Watchtower, Nature’s Way, So Little Time to Fly, All the Same, Got That Kind of Love, Come on Woman, Mr. Skin, I Got a Line on You
May 1983 - Kobey's Swap Meet, Sports Arena Parking Lot:
Imagine my amazement to walk up to the Swap Meet to find the three-piece Spirit, performing on the back of a flatbed truck! During “Hey Joe,” Randy jumped down from the flatbed with his radio-controlled guitar and walked around the crowd of 50 or so people, all just standing around, with no seats or anything – really odd gig! The lineup was Randy, Ed, and bassist Liberty.
"Liberty has memories of this being a one off show," sccording to Bruce Pates. "He had been fired in April 1982 because of the reunion of the original band. This would be the only known concert in 1983, as the original band was on hold and being paid by an investor, awaiting the release of the reunion album. Liberty thought the gig was at Jack Murphy Stadium."
Well, consider the actual locale of Spirit's only 1983 concert now confirmed for posterity! For years, I couldn't find this show mentioned ANYwhere, tho I knew I hadn't hallucinated it (I even wrote down details at the time) -- of the few dozen or so people who watched Spirit play out in front of the ticket entrance that day, I suspect very few even knew who the band was...
Setlist: Prelude/Nothing to Hide, Dark Eyed Woman, Sister Tell Me, 1984, Hey Joe, I Got a Line on You, Nature’s Way, Animal Zoo
8-6-84 – The Rodeo, La Jolla: The reunion of Spirit's classic lineup should have finally earned them the fame and acclaim they'd long deserved. Guitarist Randy California and drummer Ed Cassidy had been calling their band Spirit, but this date at La Jolla's defunct Rodeo was the group's first performance in nine years to also include original members Jay Ferguson and Mark Andes (who were having hits as Jo Jo Gunne) and John Locke. It was the opening date of their first tour together in 14 years.
Cassidy was 61 years old, Ferguson and Andes had tasted considerable post-Spirit success (Andes had also played with Firefall and was still with Heart), and California had clearly taken his version of Spirit in a more hippie-jam direction since the original lineup fractured.
My balcony seat afforded me a great view of both the band on fire and a wildly enthusiastic audience stoking the flames. Even if it weren't a historic occasion for Spirit (in my opinion the best and most underrated band ever to emerge from L.A.), I'd still rank it among the top fives shows I've seen. However, despite the five-album deal they'd just signed with Mercury Records, and regardless of the demonstrative sellout crowd in San Diego, the reunited Spirit only played a handful of subsequent gigs.
Members soon went their separate ways -- again -- leaving only core members Ed Cassidy and Randy California to carry on the name. For a while. California drowned in 1997, while saving his son from an ocean riptide in Hawaii (his son survived). Locke died in 2006 from complications due to lymphoma.SETLIST: (My tape of this show is incomplete, but Bruce Pates supplied probable missing numbers, given the other few reunion shows): Black Satin Nights, Mr. Skin, 1984, Fresh Garbage, Rasta Girl in a Ferrari, Prelude - Nothing to Hide, Nature's Way, All Over the World, Dark Eyed Woman, Mechanical World, I Got a Line on You, Uncle Jack, Pick it Up, Miss This Train, I Got a Line on You (reprise)
Here’s a backstage Rodeo interview done for the Reader ----
6-5-86 - Belly Up Tavern:
Rehearsal/soundcheck: Island of Roses, Sweet Child, Mr. Skin, jam Setlist: Veruska, Mr. Skin, Nature’s Way, Island of Roses, Rasta Girl in a Ferarri, Sweet Child, 1984, Animal Zoo, Dark Eyed Woman, Like a Rolling Stone, Miss This Train, All the Same, drum solo, I Got a Line on You, Romance in Time, Body for Sale, Fresh Garbage
9-20-87 - Magic 102 Birthday Party, the Bacchanal:
3-piece Spirit Setlist: Fresh Garbage, Miss This Train, Nature’s Way, Animal Zoo, Dark Eyed Woman, Jackrabbit (from Randy California solo album), Sweet Child, Nothing to Hide
6-25-89 - Del Mar Fair, with Robbie Krieger (Doors) and Steve Hunter:
Setlist: Need Your Love Tonight, Mr. Skin, Dreams Come, Fresh Garbage, Nature’s Way, Rapture in the Chambers, Don’t Want You Around, Like a Rolling Stone, Hard Love, I Got a Line on You (this song and all but the final track are jams with Robbie Krieger and Steve Hunter), High Heel Sneakers, Back Door Man (Krieger vocals), All Along the Watchtower, Dark Eyed Woman
12-1-89 - Winstons, Ocean Beach:
This was such a last-minute show that pretty much no local ads appeared - as a result, the Ocean Beach bar (long known for its Deadhead vibe) was nearly empty. As you can see from my pics, the stage was pretty tiny, and the boys looked kinda cramped and forlorn all evening. That said, IMO, they played well ---
Setlist: Fearless Leader, Fresh Garbage, Love From Here, Nature’s Way, Mr. Skin, Jack Rabbit, All the Same, the Land of Bismo, I Got a Line on You, (unknown), Miss this Train, Like a Rolling Stone
1-30-93 - La Paloma Theater, Encinitas:
Setlist: Life Has Just Begun, Sadana, Mr. Skin, Hey Joe, I Got a Line On You, Prelude-Nothing To Hide, Going Back to Jones, Give a Life Take a Life, La Paloma Jam/Jamacai Jam/Super Paloma Jam
This show was recorded for live album, and a couple of songs were restarted due to issues with the recording equipment, with some l-o-o-o-n-g gaps between a few numbers. I got to meet with the band backstage briefly, where they signed an issue of Rock 'N' Roll Comics I'ddone with a Spirit bio comic. Randy teased me about never getting any money for the comic story -
10-15-93 - La Paloma Theater, Encinitas:
Due to problems with the earlier La Paloma recording, THIS is the show that ended up being released as the Spirit: Live at La Paloma CD. Oddly, the La Paloma album was filled out by live tracks recorded elsewhere, between 1977 and 1993.
Setlist: Life Has Just Begun, Sadana, Mr. Skin, Hey Joe, I Got a Line on You, Nothing to Hide, Going Back to Jones, Give a Life, La Paloma Jam, 1984 (replaced on the live album by a version recorded in May '93 in Michigan), Jamaica Jam, Super La Paloma Jam, Nature's Way (live album's version was actually recorded August 1991 in Venice California)
7-23-94 - Flash Cafe, Mission Valley (formerly Coach House South), with Arthur Lee and Love:
For the longest time, I cited my pre-show chat with Arthur Lee of Love as my Worst Interview ever…
I met with Lee outside the now-defunct and then-funky Flash Café in Mission Valley . About ten minutes into what seemed like a perfectly normal chat, Lee - who has a reputation for being, um, mentally unpredictable - suddenly shouted that I was a "lying son of a bee-yach" and that I wasn't really a reporter, I was an undercover police officer trying to trick him into admitting he'd done something illegal, on tape (I hadn't said a word about anything other than music).
Lee snatched a $200 recording machine from my hands and smashed it to the ground, kicking it across the asphalt and leaving the unit in pieces before turning to flee into the building.
Randy California and Spirit were also on the bill that night - California witnessed Lee's tantrum and the ensuing destruction from just a few feet away.
"You're lucky he only thought you were a narc," California offered casually as I bent over to pick up the busted remains of the most expensive tool of my trade. "He hates reporters a lot worse than he hates cops."
Setlist: Love From Here, 1984, (Randy raps about a photo shoot the previous day in Encinitas and about bamboo being good for the ecology), Fresh Garbage, Nature's Way, Pawn Shop Blues, Mr. Skin, Red House, Animal Zoo
5-20-95 - Catamaran Cannibal Bar:
Setlist: Love From Here; Nature's Way; Fresh Garbage; Pawn Shop Blues; Hey Joe; Animal Zoo; Red House; La Paloma Jam (Electro-Jam); I Got A Line On You; Prelude: Nothin' To Hide; Turn To The Right; Mr. Skin.This was the second weirdest Spirit gig I ever saw, after the Swap Meet. Catamaran then was a yuppie bar inside a Mission Beach hotel, which had once been a rock venue but at that time was spiffed up like a disco for DJs. The servers wore stylized tuxedos, the drinks were all foofoo umbrella booze, and most all the patrons were hotel guests who wandered in and out and seemed oblivious to the live music. A few dozen of us clustered around the stage, there for Spirit, but the rest of the bar kept its nightly meatmarket routine, including TV sets running in banks behind the bar (while the band played!).
7-4-96 - Del Mar Fair, with Moby Grape, Big Brother and the Holding Company, Terry Reid:
Epilogue: Bruce Pates writes "Just saw Mark Andes in February. He now plays with Ian McLagan of SMALL FACES/FACES fame. They will play in San Diego on April 29 at Anthology, if you're interested. Mark also has a new solo instrumental album."
"I'm currently working on a SPIRIT book with Mick Skidmore, the producer of the posthumous releases. I've compiled about 1500 SPIRIT gigs so far, and I'm always looking for more info. Didn't know about the 1980 Bacchanal or the 1989 Winstons gigs, so that was a bonus."
READER COLUMNIST JOSH BOARD emailed to say “I have a few Spirit stories that are fond memories. The first is from when I was around 12. I loved collecting autographs of my favorite basketball players in the NBA and my favorite musicians. The magazine Basketball Digest provided address to the teams, and I'd send letters with basketball cards, which most often were sent back autographed. Musicians were harder to get a hold of. I would have to have my parents drive me to, say, the Bacchanal. I would wait in the parking lot for Doors keyboard player Ray Manzarek or Animals singer Eric Burdon, and I'd have them sign a few albums for me.”
"A friend once told me he had an address for Ed Cassidy, the drummer for Spirit. I owned the Twelve Dreams of Dr. Sardonicus, which was their Sgt. Pepper. But, unlike today where you could easily send a CD sleeve to someone, I figured it would be too much trouble to send the album. And what if this address wasn't even real? I'd lose one of my favorite classic rock albums.”
"I sent a letter requesting an autograph. I think I asked a goofy question, too. Well, Cassidy responded by sending not only his autograph, but a letter he wrote out answering my question, and asking me to support the band if they ever came to town. He also enclosed a photo-copy picture of his bald head, dressed all in black, behind the drumset. He autographed that as well.”
"A few years later, my friend told me to call this A.M. radio station that had this music trivia contest on Saturday nights, hosted by Country Joe MacDonald. First place would win a thousand dollars in prizes. I came in second. I lost out on the last question, when they asked me to name three groups that singer Jay Ferguson was in. I only knew him from Jo Jo Gunne. And his solo hit 'Thunder Island.' The other guy named Spirit, and won the prize. I was devastated. I thought I knew everything about those old 60s bands.”
"There were no Spirit questions the following week.”
"And I won the thousand dollar prize.”
- www.markandesmusic.com (Mark Andes new instrumental CD)
- www.songsfromcalifa.com (Scott Monahan from 80s/90s Spirit, new CD w/cover of Randy's "Jack Rabbit")
WORST CONCERTS EVER – 25 GAWDAWFUL GIGS
UNWRITTEN LAW’s Scott Russo describes an onstage fight that took place March 23, 2005, at the House of Blues in Anaheim, that left Russo minus a tooth and guitarist Rob Brewer missing part of his pinky. "Long story short? [Rob Brewer] sucks. He hit me and then we fired him," Russo told MTV News.
Russo says the onstage argument was over Brewer's refusal to play "F.I.G.H.T." from Here's to the Mourning. "So I said on the microphone that Rob's mad at us. I went over to try and give him a hug, and he pushed me." Russo says he threw some water at Brewer, whereupon "he knocked one of my teeth out. So I walked offstage. Rob did too. But I walked back out, threw his guitar on, and we finished the set without him. Then I threw his guitar into the crowd and gave it to the kids."
Russo says he found Brewer backstage holding a vodka bottle. "He tries to hit me over the head with it.... The bottle connects with the top of the door jamb and smashes, cutting half of his right pinkie off. Needless to say, he couldn't play the next two or three shows because he had to have surgery to reattach his torn ligaments."
According to Russo, Brewer also shoved a fan who made his way backstage to meet the band in Anaheim. "He yelled at the kid, 'What the f-ck are you doing in my [dressing] room?' and he hit the fan across the room. We were just, like, 'What the f-ck is wrong with him?'" The band continued touring as a quartet.
IRON MAIDENS drummer Linda McDonald says “The owner of the Rainbow Bar in Juarez, Mexico, locked us, the promoter and the sound crew in the building. We were doing a swing thru Texas, and did the Juarez show the night before our El Paso gig. The show went great, the fans came out in droves, and every thing was fine. Until at about 2:00 a.m., when we heard a lot of yelling in Spanish.”
“The promoter came up to us and said ‘Get all your stuff and move it all outside as fast as you can.’ We did so and, on about our third trip out, with about four more trips worth of stuff to go, the double doors slammed shut on us. We tried to open them, and found they were chained and padlocked from the outside. All the sound guys, the band, and the crew were locked inside. The promoter had to scramble to find $1,500 [U.S.], on a Sunday morning, at 2:30 a.m., or the building owner would not let anyone out. We were all in there for about 45 minutes, until the promoter came up with the extra money, and we all beat a hasty retreat.”
The Maidens are frequently seen at ‘Canes, but through 2009 they’ll mainly be touring elsewhere. “We play about 200 shows a year,” says McDonald. “We’re lucky to have played all over the U.S. and Canada, Greece, Korea, Japan, Iraq, Kuwait, Bahrain, Puerto Rico, Spain, and Turkey. Oh, and Mexico, which totally rocked, other than Juarez.” McDonald and sister Maiden Sara Marsh also play in an all-female Ozzy tribute, The Little Dolls.
BRANDON WELCHEZ recalls hitting a Utah stage in skin-tight pants, faux-fur coats, and mascara. “This didn't sit well with the conservatism of half the crowd, who immediately started heckling us…One of them came up to the stage and was yelling things, so I spat in his face. After our last song, a group of fifteen to twenty armed Mormon jocks gathered…One of them had keys in his fist and punched our drummer’s snare drum. One of them punched our drummer in the head and I swung a cymbal stand at him… I remember one of them looked me straight in the face and said ‘We've killed people before and we'll do it again.’" Bar employees diffused the brawl.
As for why the group was “banned in Baltimore,” Welchez says “Our roadie at the time was completely knackered. He was trying to make his way to the bathroom, which was upstairs, decided he didn't want to finish the walk, pulled out his penis and urinated down the flight of stairs. It was hilarious to see a yellow waterfall coming down the stairs, but of course the security and staff didn't see the comedic beauty. We were ejected and told never to return and that we wouldn't work in Baltimore again. We found the tires to our van slashed once we got outside.”
CHRIS LEYVA of Blizzard recalls “One time at the Shamrock Shack, a guy got stabbed, but the cops didn’t catch the guy who did it. Then we were playing our next gig at Chasers, and cops showed up to arrest the guy with the knife [from Shamrock Shack], because he was there at Chasers! The cops noticed we were the same band from the Shack and said ‘not you again!’ Knife wielding maniacs must make up a big part of our fan base.”
A SCRIBE AMIDST THE LIONS singer/guitarist Kristofer Towne says the band was unloading before a recent gig at L.A.’s Viper Room when “Out of nowhere, a speeding car [was] careening into the parking lot at more than thirty miles in hour. The car hits the curb, almost runs over three or four people, nearly slams into the extra rental van for fans, and proceeds to crash into the rear of the band van!” Towne says he and another band member avoided being hit by “just inches.” When police arrived, the woman was arrested.
“During all of this,” according to Towne, “there was considerable stress, as the venue was expecting us to load up and play, while the police needed to get all the information and statements at pretty much the same time.” The band made their slot on time and, on packing up to leave, they were informed that the woman who crashed was actually on her way to the Viper Room. “She had a ticket and everything!”
CRIME IN AMERICA bassist Eric Marcrum doesn’t miss the old Scolari’s. “One time they paid us $24. The last time we played there, they didn’t pay us at all.”
“During our last gig there, between songs, I asked the bartender for some beers for the band, from the stage…she started yelling ’You’re not allowed to call out the bartender on the microphone,’ even though we do that all the time and we were telling people all night to tip her.” Marcrum says that, as the band was loading out, “[The bartender] was getting all in our face and saying ‘You don’t have that big of a draw’…our drummer Nate said ‘We’ll never play here again, you guys suck,’ and she yelled out ‘You guys are 86d, you’re never coming back.’”
Vv MORGUE recalls a July 5, 2007 event she promoted at Chasers, featuring Ghost Ship: “It was a full-on bar brawl, like you see on Most Shocking Videos. I saw one of the bartenders covering her ears and making fun of the [Ghost Ship] set. Then, she tells them to stop playing, because she thinks their equipment shut off an electrical breaker.” The band stopped for a moment, no electrical problem was found, and they began their final two songs. “I'm sitting in the back and I see the bartender getting on the phone and telling someone ‘Hey I know it's late’…five minutes later, five guys show up and one starts yelling [at the band] ‘Get the f-ck out, I'm a SHARP!’ [Skin Heads Against Racial Prejudice]…I don't know if he was really associated with them, or if he was just trying to scare us off.”
“This guy goes up to a fan watching the show and punches him in the head,” says Morgue. Another patron reportedly snapped a picture of the alleged SHARP, whereupon, according to Morgue, “My good friend Bethany was between the running SHARP and the camera guy, and the SHARP punched her in the face and threw her against a wall.” Bandmembers got involved in the ensuing scuffle, during which “Ghost Ship’s PA system got destroyed,” according to Morgue.
DUST N’ BONES singer Richard Gwaltney describes an ’08 House of Blues gig: “By the time we went on stage, everybody had been drinking all night. “There were about 500 drinking fans, going crazy…about halfway through the set, a fight broke out. A few people said there was a guy groping someone else’s girlfriend, but a good friend of mine claims the moshing just turned a little too serious. I asked the crowd to calm down, but they started right back up after we began playing again. At that point, about a third of the crowd was thrown out.”
“It was nearing the end of the set,” says Gwaltney, “like the second to last song, and we were supposed to stop, at which point the fighting erupted again. I don’t know why…everyone I was knew was thrown out by then.” He praises HOB security. “They were pretty immediate about throwing offenders out. I especially remember this small, blonde woman being the first bouncer in the mix. She just dove in and took control.”
SUFFER THE HEAT singer Brandon Barclay recalls a Halloween ’06 gig at Mira Costa College’s Student Center. “In the midst of setting up our equipment, Travis [Du Bois, bassist] was being escorted outside by a campus police officer. Travis had and still has no idea why he was being arrested, so he asked the officer ‘why’ about twenty times and never got a response. A second cop comes in and starts yelling at the crowd gathered around the scene to disperse. They end up telling Travis that they want to check him for weapons…as soon as they cranked his arm up behind his back, he flinched due to discomfort, and was body slammed to the ground and taser-gunned several times. As they held him down, they restricted his arms from any movement and kept tasing him because he wouldn’t put his arms behind his back.”
Campus officials declined to comment on the incident, but did provide the preliminary police report which states that MCC campus police officer Benny Perez initially approached Du Bois because he “smelled marijuana smoke.” Perez says Du Bois “drew attention to himself” by walking away from the officer. Perez followed him into building, whereupon he “detected alcohol” on the bassist and decided to “conduct a weapon and/or alcohol search.”
Noting the campus’ “standard procedure” is to put handcuffs on suspects during such searches, Perez says Du Bois “refused to cooperate.” When a second officer arrived, Jim Beckman, a struggle began and Beckman “discharged a taser into his [Du Bois’] back.” Du Bois (27) was taken to a police car and charged with public drunkenness, resisting arrest and possessing alcohol on school grounds (“a bottle of Blue Vodka”).
“The bottle was a mini two-ouncer, and it was still sealed,” says Barclay. “It was for after the show. But because he also admitted having two beers before the show, during dinner, off campus, they say he was breaking the law. What about burning nine inches of taser marks onto an innocent guy’s flesh? He didn’t deserve to be punished the way he was.” The MCC campus has a “zero tolerance” alcohol policy.
WASTING JUNE keyboardist Jeff Domitrz remembers "At our worst gig we kept getting pushed back later and later into the night. When we finally went on at one in the morning, the owner of the bar kept walking back and fourth across the stage holding a sign that read, 'Want to play? Call Ray.' "
JOHN HERMSMEIER, local drummer, says “My worst gig has to be when my college band Sandova played for a youth event that turned out to be about seven sixth graders who sat in the half-court circle at the gym and were uninterested, to say the least. The event leaders had to actually go up to the 'crowd' and tell them to stop playing on their Game Boys and pay attention to us. Now I can laugh about it with my former bandmates, but at the time it left quite a sting...probably like how Elizabeth felt when Rosie dissed her on The View.”
GABE LANDER recalls a Dateless Losers gig with band partner Tim Curns: "When we were first starting out we played at an open mic where Tim and I both had to share one microphone. We had to sit so close, we both forgot all the words to our songs. By the end of the most awful set ever, Tim was covered in my spit and our sense of dignity was utterly flattened. Luckily there were only, like, three people in the audience. And they weren't paying attention."
CHRISCHRISCHRIS frontman Chris Decatur says "The worst gig, without a doubt, was when we were served [legal papers] during a show and had to shut down in the middle of it. We were in B.F.E., Texas, and a bunch of suits straight out of a Blues Brothers movie flashback came up onstage with papers. I thought they wanted autographs. Turns out they did. The audience thought it was all a part of the act, and I had to tell them what was going on. 'Folks, I apologize, but we're apparently being sued for plagiarism.' Someone from the hushed audience yelled, 'For what song?' And I laughed because we were in the middle of playing it -- 'I'm Alright' -- the Caddyshack theme song. I told them this, and someone yelled, 'F-ck Kenny Loggins!' My face went red, my hands went numb. Hardy kicked his drum set over, and Capri threw his bass at the ground. I just knew it would be the last show we'd ever do as a live band, and it was."
GUITARIST PETER SPRAGUE remembers “I get a call from pianist Rob Schneiderman, and he’s got a gig playing jazz in Spain for a month, starting in one week, and he invites me on the tour [but] someone steals my precious handmade guitar...next, I’m off to Western Union to receive some wired money from my folks to buy a new guitar."
“While at the Western Union, an armed gangster holds up the bank next door, and I’m gathering my money amidst some gunshots...then I fly to Spain and I land at the airport, and my friends are not there to pick me up. I’m young, and I didn’t gather all of their info, so I don’t know how to get ahold of them...I take a cab to the city central, and I’m literally wandering around the streets, not sure what to do."
“Then I hear the sounds of Charlie Parker playing ‘Just Friends’ from a nearby street café. I move a little closer, and discover my friends listening to Bird and having an afternoon coffee. Unbelievable...I was saved, I thought, but it turned out that the rest of my time in Spain was filled with lousy gigs, canceled gigs, [and] very little vegetarian food. I survived and gained some wisdom, but I also got really sick and spent a week in bed with food poisoning.”
COLLAGE MENAGE twins Hans and Fritz Jensen each have their own Worst Gig story:
Hans: "We went to Mexico, and the federales stopped us at the border to search us and harass us for cash. We didn't pay, so we went home with no show that night. Bogus."
Fritz: "At 'Canes, the amateur booker had his PA show up late, and when the show went late, he cut off our set by standing in front of the stage and waving his hands around, shouting, 'Cut the PA.' The drummer quit that night. He was a wiener anyway."
COLIN CLYNE says ““I played in my hometown in Scotland a few years ago, and got dragged into a heckling match with some drunk, middle-aged woman who demanded we play ABBA. I backed down and we played the closest thing we had to that - AC/DC.”
BIG TOE drummer Ben Taylor recalls “At a club in San Francisco called the Stone, I was in a band opening up for Nuclear Assault and the stage was about ten feet high. The drums were on a piece of carpet attached to a sheet of plywood. Around the middle of the third song, the plywood was moving and there was nothing under it but the big giant void that I eventually ended up in, along with my whole kit. The 3,000 screaming people thought it was part of our stage show. I left very bloody and with quite the headache.”
BIG PROVIDER singer/guitarist Jackson Price remembers “Last July, South Lake Tahoe, we showed up just to find out we weren't even on the schedule. The place was a gay bar converted to a venue that had absolutely no draw. We played over two hours of music to about four people. We ended up getting drunk and skinny dipping in the lake at four in the morning with some girl from the show.”
JENN GRINELS says “I broke my ankle playing a singing, dancing mermaid on the Disney Cruise Line. I was loading into a lift that was about to rise up through the stage. I jumped in - wearing heels, because Disney mermaids wear heels - broke my ankle, and everyone panicked. I think we were all having visions of the smoke clearing on stage and 500 children gasping at the sight of a floundering, writhing, screaming mermaid. But they pulled me out in time and the show went on without a hitch.”
NAUTICAL DISASTER’s Grimis Apparatus remembers “I DJ’d a private party for a bunch of cops. They were all hammered and talking about all the DUIs they got out of by being a cop.”
TRAGIC TANTRUM’s two leaders Zeph and ZöE recall a show at Rebecca’s Café: “We were running late and, when we got to play, the sound was terrible. The vocals were too loud and then too soft, and we couldn’t hear ourselves at all. ZöE forgot her lyrics, Zeph lost his place in the song, and we were too busy trying to figure out what the heck was going on with the sound. The energy was off and, although the audience was paying attention, it was more like they were staring at a bad car wreck you can’t help but look at. In the end, though, no bones were broken or lives lost, so it was a learning experience.”****************************************
"Collecting Local Music" - an encyclopedia and price guide of local music collectables through the years. http://www.sandiegoreader.com/weblogs/bands/2008/aug/27/collecting-local-music-price-guide-part-3-plus-stp/****************************************
"The Day Happy Hare Got Ritchie Valens to Play Clairemont High" - Legendary local DJ reveals a lost chapter in the Valens story, when the rising rocker played the opening ceremony at Clairemont High. http://www.sandiegoreader.com/weblogs/bands/2008/aug/27/collecting-local-music-price-guide-part-3-plus-stp/****************************************** THE HISTORY OF SAN DIEGO MUSIC - PARTS 1 THRU 7
Part Two: John Lennon Loves Rosie - guest blog by Bart Mendoza: John Lennon had a thing for Rosie & The Originals. He considered their debut single, “Angel Baby / Give Me Love,” to be one of his all time favorite records and often spoke of the songs... http://www.sandiegoreader.com/weblogs/bands/2008/sep/26/sharon-hazel-is-not-tracy-chapman-plus-lindsey-yun********************************************
Part Three: The Brain Police -
Part Four: The Tell-Tale Hearts - Gone For Good, Or ???: The Tell-Tale Hearts evolved in the early '80s from an earlier band called the Mystery Machine, featuring Mark Z (later of Manual Scan and the Shambles). Though the group split in 1986, they later found themselves the stuff of garage band legend. http://www.sandiegoreader.com/weblogs/bands/2008/sep/26/sharon-hazel-is-not-tracy-chapman-plus-lindsey-yun********************************************
Part Five: The
Part Six - Remember Puddletown Tom?: “The San Diego sound of old was a working class and slightly-depressed sound,” says documentary filmmaker Jensen Rufe, who from1991 to 1996 played around town with Puddletown Tom... http://www.sandiegoreader.com/weblogs/bands/2008/sep/26/sharon-hazel-is-not-tracy-chapman-plus-lindsey-yun***********************************************
Part Seven: Do-It-Yourself-TV - A History Of Local Public Access Music Shows: One of the many things we can either thank or curse the U.S. Congress for is public access television. In the 1970s, as TV cable companies were growing into regional monopolies, Congress mandated that larger cable providers must put aside channels for public-produced community programming... http://www.sandiegoreader.com/weblogs/bands/2008/sep/26/sharon-hazel-is-not-tracy-chapman-plus-lindsey-yun************************************************* *************************************************
Like this blog? Here are some related links:
OVERHEARD IN SAN DIEGO - Several years' worth of this comic strip, which debuted in the Reader in 1996: http://www.sandiegoreader.com/photos/galleries/overheard-san-diego/
FAMOUS FORMER NEIGHBORS - Over 100 comic strips online, with mini-bios of famous San Diegans: http://www.sandiegoreader.com/photos/galleries/famous-former-neighbors/
SAN DIEGO READER MUSIC MySpace page: http://www.myspace.com/sandiegoreadermusic
JAY ALLEN SANFORD MySpace page: http://www.myspace.com/jayallensanford