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Uncle Junkie: rehabbed and ready

East County rocker Scott Frazier explains where he's been for the last couple years.

"I'm probably the most addictive personality you'll ever meet." A familiar figure is sitting behind the mixing table in a private recording studio in Casa de Oro, near Spring Valley. It's Scott Frazier, in white T shirt and jeans, wearing his trademark Hustler ball cap over a white bandanna.

He and guitarist Damon Cisneros have the rough tracks from Uncle Junkie's forthcoming album cued up and ready to play, their first full-length, but first Frazier wants to tell the back story of his band's name.

"I grew up in Spring Valley. I went to continuation school in Encanto. The guys I ran with? Some are incarcerated. Some are dead." Frazier explains that he left that life with the help of a very lenient judge. He offers water to a visitor. "I don't drink alcohol." Then Frazier pushes a button on the mixing console, and a sonic whump fills the control room.

The sound that comes out of the mixing speakers is confident and unwavering, rich and dark, original, and riddled with quotes to Trent Reznor and Deep Purple, even Beyonce.

Beyonce?

Frazier grins as he listens to his own demanding vocal lines: "I may have to tone that back a little in concert," he says, registering the emotional strain in the recording.

Uncle Junkie is on the comeback road.

UJ, an El Cajon-based rock unit with a growing fan base across the country simply fell off the radar two years ago. But it was a planned disappearance. The idea was always to keep the band alive, explains Frazier, but he figured that his musical visions would require different players and some down time spent woodshedding.

With Cisneros, Frazier tied up the next several months writing, and rejecting, songs.

"I'd spend every weekend," Frazier says, explaining the balancing act he maintained between music and his day job, "in the studio from 9 a.m. on Saturday morning until 9 p.m. on Sunday night."

"We spent about a year in my studio in North County," Cisneros says, "and that was just on pre-production." In the past Cisneros has worked with Cypress Hill, Kottonmouth Kings, and Unwritten Law, among others. Enlisted in the beginning as a songwriting partner, the multi-instrumentalist eventually joined the new lineup as Uncle Junkie's third guitar.

Three guitars?

"There's a lot of texture happening in the songs. We figured out a way to balance all of them." Cisneros says the other guitarist is Jeff Musial ("we call him Flesh") along with two L.A. session musicians rounding out the all-new lineup: Brian "Dog Boy" Burwell on drums, and bassist Brian Netzley.

"One of the reasons I went from producing to jumping in on guitar is that there is a lot of cool stuff happening here," Cisneros says. "I think this music holds up to some of the best that's out there right now."

"All the people out there who are looking for something new? I hope this is what they're looking for," Scott Frazier says. He fans his wallet pocket in mock complaint of the number of hours that it took to perfect the tracks at Matt Thorne's MT studios in Burbank:

"My credit card is on fire."

The band will return to MT Studios to mix the tracks, and then ship the tracks off to DNA in Los Angeles for final mastering. Frazier hopes to have the CD ready for release in June.

"One of my goals is I'd like to, in some way help people who find themselves in a similar plight as I did when I was growing up." Otherwise, Frazier seems content with the net result of the last two years.

"If I die tomorrow, they can throw a copy of this (as yet untitled) CD in my casket with me," he says, smiling. "I'm happy with it."

Uncle Junkie: Saturday 5/25 Brick by Brick, Sunday 5/31 Second Wind Santee

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"I'm probably the most addictive personality you'll ever meet." A familiar figure is sitting behind the mixing table in a private recording studio in Casa de Oro, near Spring Valley. It's Scott Frazier, in white T shirt and jeans, wearing his trademark Hustler ball cap over a white bandanna.

He and guitarist Damon Cisneros have the rough tracks from Uncle Junkie's forthcoming album cued up and ready to play, their first full-length, but first Frazier wants to tell the back story of his band's name.

"I grew up in Spring Valley. I went to continuation school in Encanto. The guys I ran with? Some are incarcerated. Some are dead." Frazier explains that he left that life with the help of a very lenient judge. He offers water to a visitor. "I don't drink alcohol." Then Frazier pushes a button on the mixing console, and a sonic whump fills the control room.

The sound that comes out of the mixing speakers is confident and unwavering, rich and dark, original, and riddled with quotes to Trent Reznor and Deep Purple, even Beyonce.

Beyonce?

Frazier grins as he listens to his own demanding vocal lines: "I may have to tone that back a little in concert," he says, registering the emotional strain in the recording.

Uncle Junkie is on the comeback road.

UJ, an El Cajon-based rock unit with a growing fan base across the country simply fell off the radar two years ago. But it was a planned disappearance. The idea was always to keep the band alive, explains Frazier, but he figured that his musical visions would require different players and some down time spent woodshedding.

With Cisneros, Frazier tied up the next several months writing, and rejecting, songs.

"I'd spend every weekend," Frazier says, explaining the balancing act he maintained between music and his day job, "in the studio from 9 a.m. on Saturday morning until 9 p.m. on Sunday night."

"We spent about a year in my studio in North County," Cisneros says, "and that was just on pre-production." In the past Cisneros has worked with Cypress Hill, Kottonmouth Kings, and Unwritten Law, among others. Enlisted in the beginning as a songwriting partner, the multi-instrumentalist eventually joined the new lineup as Uncle Junkie's third guitar.

Three guitars?

"There's a lot of texture happening in the songs. We figured out a way to balance all of them." Cisneros says the other guitarist is Jeff Musial ("we call him Flesh") along with two L.A. session musicians rounding out the all-new lineup: Brian "Dog Boy" Burwell on drums, and bassist Brian Netzley.

"One of the reasons I went from producing to jumping in on guitar is that there is a lot of cool stuff happening here," Cisneros says. "I think this music holds up to some of the best that's out there right now."

"All the people out there who are looking for something new? I hope this is what they're looking for," Scott Frazier says. He fans his wallet pocket in mock complaint of the number of hours that it took to perfect the tracks at Matt Thorne's MT studios in Burbank:

"My credit card is on fire."

The band will return to MT Studios to mix the tracks, and then ship the tracks off to DNA in Los Angeles for final mastering. Frazier hopes to have the CD ready for release in June.

"One of my goals is I'd like to, in some way help people who find themselves in a similar plight as I did when I was growing up." Otherwise, Frazier seems content with the net result of the last two years.

"If I die tomorrow, they can throw a copy of this (as yet untitled) CD in my casket with me," he says, smiling. "I'm happy with it."

Uncle Junkie: Saturday 5/25 Brick by Brick, Sunday 5/31 Second Wind Santee

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