Ian Anderson 9:02 a.m., Aug. 20
1st Manganista Gig in 3 Years @ Jan. 28 Picture Head Release Party
"The Picture Head project reached its funding goal on Kickstarter, and we have the record release party scheduled for January 28 at Pete's Place," Quasi Recordings owner Matt Rhea tells the Reader. "All of the artists involved will perform the record live, and then Manganista will play a set for the first time in three years!"
Picture Head features all-new tracks from several La Mesa performers, released on the neighborhood-based Quasi Recordings label run by Rhea. The $1,400 raised via Kickstarter is being used to press 300 limited edition 10” vinyl records.
“Our goal is to bring our tiny La Mesa music community a little closer together,” Rhea. “We’re producing each tune for the compilation in a similar way, so the CD has some continuity with the overall vibe. We’re trying to find different rooms around town to record [in] that might add some character to the tracks. So far, we’ve used a church sanctuary and a couple of living rooms.”
Picture Head includes exclusive tracks from Edward Biagiotti as well as new songs from Milt Ellison and Rhea’s own bands Manganista and No Reply. Other performers include Ed the wOrd, Jason Thomas, and Qoverdin Questions.
Manganista's debut full-length CD release, I Make You Look Like Movie Star, was produced by Lee Knight of Mark Decerbo and Four Eyes and Joey Harris and the Speedsters).
The late great Buddy Blue wrote in a 2006 Union-Tribune article about the band, "Musically, the group can conjure pure hellfire." The San Diego Song Writers Guild wrote in a newsletter, "An exciting blend of electronic and acoustic elements combining into a sound that had everyone who saw their set transfixed."
When the band chartered a “party bus” for a gig at L.A.’s Viper Room in June 2007, they utilized the trip to do a little recording. “I wanted to record a crowd of about 30 or 40 people singing the last chorus of our song ‘Turn Back the Clock,’” says singer Matt Rhea. “The potential bus noise, balance issues, and organizing 40 drunk people to do anything seemed like a tall order. Our producer printed a rough mix of the song and I dumped it on to my portable 8-track recorder. I grabbed the recorder, two boom stands, two mics, and two pairs of headphones and set up shop in the middle of the bus, using one of the stripper poles for balance. We printed lyric sheets and [keyboardist] Travis brought his accordion to provide the pitch and for guiding the crowd. It went surprisingly smooth, so we did a couple of takes and it was a done deal.”
The band charged bus riders $45 each, which included a show ticket. “At the club, I spotted our lyric sheets in the crowd, so a lot of them were singing along. That ended up being the highlight of the show…afterward, we found a 300-plus pound man passed out cold in his own vomit across the Viper Room bathroom floor. Three or four security guys dragged him across club’s floor and dumped him on the Sunset Strip pavement, smack dab where [one-time club co-owner] River Phoenix had died. That was our cue to get the hell back to San Diego.”
In summer 2011, a Manganista single called “Dimension” was made available for purchase through Facebook and Reverb Nation. The January 28 show at Pete's Place will mark their first public performance in around three years.
A free download of No Reply’s “I Don’t Want to Change the World” is currently available on the Quasi Recordings Facebook page.
Rhea recalls an early gig for No Reply at La Mesa landmark Jolt N’ Joe’s.
“We weren’t very good when we started out, and our equipment sucked. About ten seconds into our opening tune, the guitar went out, leaving only bass and drums. While the guitarist fiddled with his amp and tried to sing at the same time, we pressed on and slaughtered the segue into song two. The guitar was working when we plowed into the third tune, but the bass player’s strap broke. He had to hold his bass up with his knee while he played and sang the song, and then the guitar went out again.
“Rumor has it that there’s a video floating around of this show, but I don’t want to see it.”