Ian Anderson 9:02 a.m., Aug. 20
Reunions & Debuts @ La Mesa Band Compilation Release Jan. 28
Picture Head features all-new tracks from several La Mesa performers, released on the neighborhood-based Quasi Recordings label run by Matt Rhea (Manganista, No Reply). The compilation includes Edward Biagiotti, Milt Ellison, Manganista, No Reply, Ed the wOrd, Jason Thomas, and Qoverdin Questions.
"We're basically going to start from the end of the record and work our way back," Rhea tells the Reader. "We'll use all of Manga's gear as backline and just rotate musicians in and out as we work our way through the album. Manganista will play their Picture Head song last, and then proceed into a full set to close out the night." Quasi reps will be giving away band schwag throughout the show.
The night's lineup will include (in order):
DJ Selwyn Young - Spinning '80s New Wave tunes
Qoverdin Questions - Performing "I Miss You" from Picture Head
No Reply - Performing "Pumping Out Perfection" from Picture Head
Milt Ellison - Performing "American Mail" from Picture Head
Jason Thomas - Performing "Pretty Eyes" from Picture Head
Ed the wOrd - Performing "My Momma Carries Weight" from Picture Head
Manganista - Performing "Dimension" from Picture Head, followed by a full set
DJ Selwyn Young - Spinning more 80s hits
“Our goal is to bring our tiny La Mesa music community a little closer together,” says Rhea. To produce Picture Head, Rhea raised $1,400 via Kickstarter, which is being used to press 300 limited edition 10” vinyl records.
Though the songs created for the compilation were never intended to be performed live, Rhea says the plan changed after he promised Kickstarter contribs that the bands would recreate the full-length for a release concert.
"For recording, we started with the bare bones of a song as kind of the open canvas: words, melody, and chord structure. Some of the guys from Manganista were kind of used as the Picture Head House Band on some songs, but in other cases we had other friends come in and play. Because of this process, there was almost no thought put into performing the tunes live."
"Now that the show is just around the corner, it's been an interesting process to revisit these tunes and ask ourselves how the heck are we supposed to play this stuff? We're only getting one or two rehearsals for each song, so we're trying to incorporate the most important elements of the recordings, but at the same time not get too bogged down with the details."
Here's a breakdown of the songs and performers slated for the January 28 event:
"Dimension" by Manganista: 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."
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.
"Manga has been on hiatus for the last three years due to our bass player moving to the Middle East, my fourth and final baby being born, and exploration of other projects," says Rhea. The band will release a new digital single in March, "Old Grey," with a release show set for the Ruby Room on Friday, March 2, with Unsteady and The Burning of Rome.
"My Momma Carries Weight" by Ed the wOrd: UCSD alumni Ed is a singer/songwriter who incorporates his passion for living into his music, but always maintains a good sense of humor about everything before it gets too serious. "He's probably one of the most captivating performers I know," says Rhea, "and he seems to always be able to roll with whatever situation is thrown at him and turn it into part of his performance."
"Pretty Eyes" by Jason Thomas: Thomas founded the local band Fusebox back in 1992, and still threatens to revive that band from time to time. "I met JT freshman year at Grossmont High School," says Rhea. "We immediately hit it off because we were both avid Oingo Boingo fans. He showed me a song called 'Pretty Eyes' he wrote for his daughter a while back and I thought it was perfect for Picture Head." Thomas currently plays bass with Manganista.
"American Mail" by Milt Ellison: Ellison owned a long-gone local all ages club downtown called the Alley Cat, as well as playing in bands such as The Cry and 15 Minutes, though he's currently doing the singer/songwriter thing. "American Mail was the song that started the entire Picture Head project," says Rhea. "We were in the process of recording drums for a series of songs for an all-Milt EP, and I heard him perform an impromptu version, just singing and playing on an old out of tune grand piano in a gigantic room. It blew me away and I thought we should do something with the song sooner than later."
"Pumping Out Perfection" by No Reply: "Travis from No Reply is my cousin, and he also plays keys and a bunch of other instruments in Manganista (and he's my cousin). "We had an idea to kind of do the exact opposite of what No Reply would usually do and make the song primarily electronic. When Travis had a melodic line intended for guitar and bass, we'd have weird harmonizing Moog/synth parts play the melody instead. Instead of real drums, we just programmed a bunch of electronic beats."
"Probably the most difficult thing we ran into during the production of POP was finding a stupid anvil sample that didn't sound like it was being hit by a Smurf." A free download of No Reply’s “I Don’t Want to Change the World” is currently available on the Quasi Recordings Facebook page.
"I Miss You" by Qoverdin Questions: Qoverdin Questions is Daughn Stomboaugh from the band the Erruption, and his girlfriend Susan Coleman. "Daughn had a ton of songs on old cassette tapes that his band never got a hold of," says Rhea. "We ended up taking one of these songs and incorporated it into Picture Head instead."