Springer Punk'd by a Locust
How did Lost Film Fest VJ Scott Beibin end up on The Jerry Springer Show kissing, then punching, Justin Pearson of the Locust? And why was some girl kicking his ass? "I left a voicemail telling [the producers] that I was sleeping with Justin, Alysia his girlfriend, and Christine his roommate," Beibin admits of the fabrication. Almost immediately, the quartet was flown to Chicago to tape a segment that, as edited, takes around three minutes before the first fight erupts (as Beibin and Pearson kiss). "The snot rocket actually happened after Justin spat on the stage and the guards dragged him out. They punched him in the nose, so what he was actually blowing out was not just snot, it was blood, too. "[Christine] punches me in the face, we fall over members of the audience, the crowd goes crazy. Steve, the big bald guard, grabs me with one hand and carries me over to the other side of the stage and asks me, 'What the hell is wrong with you?' and I say, 'Bwaaaa, shut up' in a Bugs Bunny voice." Around 15 minutes of the episode are posted on YouTube. (http://tinyurl.com/yvpve2)
Neo Conservative Blues Four Eyes singer/guitarist Mark DeCerbo collaborates with comic-book and video-game artist Thomas Carroll on a multimedia page -- Twonks and Plonkers -- at www.drunkduck.com. "We take a topical idea, Tom does the artwork and animation, I do the music, and we collaborate on the lyrics," says DeCerbo. One of the first "illustrated songs" to be uploaded was the duo's "Neo-Conservative Blues" ("I'm redder than any red state/ Folks say it really shows/ Yeah, it's written all over my face/ I got a gun for a nose!").
Accompanying artwork depicts Carroll's gun-nose character. "I designed him while sitting on a plane," says Carroll, "watching in-flight news blurbs about the pace of the Iraq War, the escalating violence between Israel and Syria, Guantanamo, and the disclosure of secret CIA bases overseas. It all bubbled over into that drawing.... I determined to upload the character, to somehow use him to energize the political debate about war, the Bush administration, and the way our country is now perceived by other countries."
Lindsay Goes to Rehab
"We heard young Lindsay Lohan went to rehab," says Anya Marina, "so in honor of her courageous decision, we recorded a song. Tristan Prettyman cowrote and Greg Laswell knocked on the door, poured a vodka, and added percussion and background vox." Entitled "Lindsay Goes to Rehab," the song is posted on MySpace and Stereogum.
"Check yourself before you wreck yourself...Drink the coke, but don't you snort the coke."
"I think she is compelling for a multitude of reasons," says Marina. "She is at once enviable and seemingly spoiled rotten, but at the same time you can't help but feel for her. She has been taken up into this glamorous lifestyle where every possible decadence is at her fingertips, and yet she's not supposed to make a misstep.... She's really just a kid [who has] great style and an even better rack."
"San Diego's Gay Pop Star," reads the header atop the webpage for Aiden Bay, whose publicity photo shows him pulling down the front of his jeans with one hand and pulling up his shirt with the other. "All my lyrics reflect my personal life experiences and talk about who I am," Bay tells the Reader in an e-mail. "A 26-year-old gay male chasing a dream." Being so openly gay, he says, "inspires my audience, mainly the GLBT [gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgender] community. It's not every day you hear a male artist sing a love song about a cute boy he's starting to fall in love with or about thinking you're different from the rest of the world because of your sexual preference."
Born in Mexico City and currently living in San Diego, Bay was the 2003 winner of Southwestern Idol, a tournament modeled after American Idol. He's recording a full-length album, having given up last year's "Summer Nights" job at SeaWorld as one of five hosts for Shamu's "House of Douse." His EP This Is for My Boys -- with cover art showing two male symbols intertwined -- contains homoerotic pop tunes like "Meant for a Bad Man" ("You're the kind of guy I said I'd never get with") and "Want Me Back" ("All I do is hurt inside, it's hard").
(www.myspace.com/aiden_bay and www.myspace.com/aidenbay)
Scott Wilson's video for his song "Coffeehouse 101" features around 50 local performers, each one lip-synching a lyric, with footage shot at Twiggs, Lestat's, the Hot Monkey Love Cafe, Balboa Park, and elsewhere around town. "There's almost as many locales as there are people," says Wilson. "I drove all over the county to get the shots, with whoever was available, whenever and wherever.... I couldn't time it right to get the Locust in there, but I [taped] most everybody else I sought out." Cameo appearances include Gregory Page, Chuck Schiele, Dave Howard, Sven-Erik Seaholm, Bart Mendoza, Mark DeCerbo, Carlos Olmeda, and a who's who of local talent that even the most plugged-in of scenesters would be hard pressed to fully identify.
"Coffeehouse 101" can be viewed on Yahoo Video, where at this writing it's gotten over 9000 plays. "I haven't done the math recently, but the last time I did, it was at about 14,000 total hits across the Web," says Wilson, "which is not OK Go numbers, but I consider it a success."
The Happy Hippie Eco Portal was "created in 1996 by two web geeks who were simply concerned about the environment and the future of our planet," according to the intro page. "We wanted to create a place for web users to easily find Eco-friendly products and services."
Based in San Diego, the groovy guys say their aim is to "unite other nature lovin' folk" from all over the world. Message forum categories include Hemp Speak ("Your favorite hemp products, etc."), Environment Alert ("What's going on in your community?"), Barter Board ("Great way to exchange products and services in a cashless transaction"), Vegetarian Recipes, and Organic Gardening.
Enter the Optigan
"The Optigan was a kind of home organ made by the Optigan Corporation, a subsidiary of Mattel, in the early '70s," says Pea Hicks of the obscure instrument around which his band Optiganally Yours revolves. "It was set up like most home organs of the period, [with] a small keyboard with buttons on the left for various chords, accompaniments, and rhythms. At the time, all organs produced their sounds electrically or electronically with tubes or transistors. The Optigan was different in that its sounds were read off of LP-sized celluloid discs, which contained the graphic waveforms of real instruments...similar to the soundtrack on a film reel.
"Playing back recorded instruments was a pretty unique concept for the early '70s," says Hicks. "Technically speaking, the Optigan was a primitive sampler. Sort of. I tend to think of it more like a poor man's Mellotron.... They sold mostly through stores like Sears and JCPenny and were relatively inexpensive, about $200 to $400." Working models now sell for $2000 and up. Several unreleased Optiganally Yours songs are playable at mp3it.com.
At this writing, mVideo has concert videos posted featuring 127 local bands, including many no longer active, such as GoGoGo Airheart and Lucy's Fur Coat. Clips viewable with RealPlayer 10 include Butch Wax Duo defying the fire marshal with live flames onstage at the Casbah (9-1-06), New York Station's androgynous Lou Reed tribute at the Ken Club (4-14-07), and Assault Shaker performing "Down Like Danzig" (7-28-04), their ode to the still-popular Internet video showing diminutive rocker Glenn Danzig getting his ass kicked backstage ("Standing tough and tall, at five foot three, that's a long way to fall").
Performances can be downloaded to computer or iPod, including clips of national acts playing around town such as the White Stripes at the Casbah (12-9-00, 56 minutes), UK Subs at Dream Street (9-25-02, 49 minutes), and Fear at Brick by Brick (3-23-01, 50 minutes).
Local blogger Rosey Bystrak posts video at sddialedin.com from an unannounced KPRI private listener concert held in early May on a Hornblower cruise, featuring Tim Finn (Split Enz, Crowded House). "I got a text from my friend," she blogs, "telling me that he heard that Neil Finn and Eddie Vedder might be joining Tim. How could I skip that, even if there was less than a 1% chance that it was true?" Though Vedder and the other brother Finn were no-shows, she says the private show was still "beyond worthwhile."
Her posted video shows Finn performing Split Enz's "I Got You." There's also a photo of his actual setlist, autographed and with duct tape along the top and bottom. "That setlist is not completely accurate," says Bystrak, "because Tim threw in a couple requests, including 'Six Months in a Leaky Boat,' to stay with a nautical theme."
Black Market Magazine
In the mid-'80s, Black Market Productions sponsored punk shows around town, before spinning off into a printed magazine and now Web version. The site is highlighted by a collection of local event flyers spanning 1979 through 1987. "Like most people from the early Punk scene," says site operator Carl Schneider, "saving flyers from all the shows you went to and wallpapering your room with them was just instinctual. It was something to be proud of and showed your dedication to the scene. Looking back, I don't think there was a more prouder moment than the nights I'd come home all fucked up after a show and add another flyer to the wall."
A large photo archive includes shots of the Damned in 1982 at Godzilla's, the Misfits at the Lions Club in 1983, D.O.A. from a 1987 Palisade Gardens show, and pictures from dozens of other area concerts. Interviews pulled from the 13 published newsstand issues include chats with presidential mock-assassin Lynette "Squeaky" Fromme, Famous Monsters of Filmland magazine founder Forrest J. Ackerman, and rocker Marilyn Manson, who told the interviewer, "I believe there's too many fuck'n people in the world and if you kill yourself then fine, that just makes more room for me."
"I had to dress up as a homeless person," blogs Lost Disciples fan Laura, a personal fitness instructor who appears in the band's new "Take It Back" video. "My clothes had to get ripped up and my hair was teased like no tomorrow.... I first had put ketchup and mustard all over me that was just so ravenous that I made a mess on myself. Besides the makeup, I had ashes smeared all over my skin and potting soil rubbed into my clothes and skin. This part, I wasn't too thrilled about, but here is the best part. I had to roll on the ground, crawl forward and backward on the cement, and then more potting soil was thrown on the ground to roll in, to get the finished product...all of this was done on a little street off of Hollywood Boulevard, where everybody could see it happening."
"Yeah, she really worked it for her close-up," singer Jason Baltzley e-mails. "She really let us nasty her up...she's a pretty girl, [but] you wouldn't recognize her." Behind-the-scenes footage from the "Take It Back" shoot is posted on the band's MySpace page.
"I was 14 when I first stepped into Straita Head Sound," blogs Michael Reed of the long-gone '80s club commemorated on his San Diego Rocks webpage. "This club was unique in that it had obtained its liquor license as a dinner theater and, therefore, was able to serve alcohol to the 21 and up crowd yet still allow those under 18 to get in. All they had to do was serve food to meet the legal requirements of dinner theater. This loophole in the law kept the club profitable and allowed many of my age to see their first live rock show.... Mickey Rat played there often before moving to Los Angeles and becoming Ratt." Reed -- a former Rocky Horror Picture Show cast member at the Ken Cinema -- also heads the record label Deep Shag, which has released a compilation featuring local metallers Stress. Extant only from 1983 to 1987, the band (at times) featured onetime Aerosmith temp Jimmy Crespo.
Local Intercasting Corporation is behind rabble.com, which allows cell phone users to create and publish content on their phones. the launch model could be described as akin to myspace on your cell phone, only limited to a membership community rather than open to the public. "We noticed a few independent bands using the rabble program to connect with fans," says company president Derrick Oien. "So we reached out to some of our favorite music labels: Sub pop, Nitro, and Trustkill." among the bands in the "rabble community" are the Offspring, the Aquabats, Sleater-Kinney, the Shins, Fight Paris, and Rogue Wave. "the really unique thing rabble offers," says Oien, "is the ability to message their favorite musician on their mobile phone [through Rabble's service]."
DRM-Free Music Downloads
Launched in May, local-based mTraks.com offers individual songs and music subscriptions, promising files that are free of DRM (digital rights management) limitations. Downloads will play on iPods, compatible MP3 players, computers, and cell phones. Bands can set up free webpages with bios, photos, song links and, said to be coming soon, video. "Our website is the culmination of two years of programming and design," says mTraks founder Dey Martin. "Our site is easier to use for social networking than MySpace, and we believe that we offer a better consumer solution to that of emusic.com."
The site claims to offer around 750,000 songs, featuring more than 80,000 artists. "We were able to make a deal with a major music distributor," says Martin, declining to name the distributor ("That's a trade secret"). Monthly fees begin at $9.99 for up to 30 downloads at 27 cents each, while by-the-song purchases run 99 cents to $1.29, depending on file quality. Locally connected performers so far represented on the site include Rob Crow, Pinback, Optiganally Yours, and Furious IV.
Brother Love's Traveling Salvation Show
Tribute band Brother Love takes its name from the 1969 Neil Diamond hit "Brother Love's Travelling Salvation Show," but the group refuses to settle for the singer's aging fan demographic. Songs like "Sweet Caroline" are powered up with heavy-metal arrangements, to create a sound that's more Dimebag than Diamond, intended to draw and please college-age barhoppers. "One of the toughest things I've ever done was to convince hard rock musicians to do Neil Diamond music," says Brother Love singer Gary Day. "It's a continuous sales effort to actually keep them in the band.
"I've always admired Neil's writing, and I like the energy of driving rock and roll. I swear, when I was a teenager, I used to have daydreams imagining Neil Diamond doing an album with Van Halen." Brother Love doesn't strive to reproduce any of Diamond's studio or live concert recordings. "All we do is improvise. The material has to be completely rearranged, going from a 20-piece band plus orchestra to a 3-plus-1 group." Segments of the Brother Love show are posted on YouTube.
Lost in the Zoo
Goddamn Electric Bill's song "Lost in the Zoo" accompanies a TV commercial airing frequently in Tennessee, Virginia, and North Carolina. "I sold a CD to a girl on the East Coast," explains songwriter and sole bandmember Jason Torbert. "Her boyfriend just happened to work in advertising and liked the song so much that he pushed to get it placed in a commercial he was working on for the Tri-Cities Regional Airport." The ad is currently running on NBC and CBS affiliate stations and can be seen on the band's website.
The instrumental tune is set to a visual travelogue with narration exhorting viewers to "Want it, book it, be there." "The commercial is lighthearted, gliding along different locations with the intro keyboard line, enticing people to go on vacation," says Torbert. "Although it's not exactly how I'd choose that song to be placed, I'm extremely happy that it's out there. This is my first paid placement -- they paid me a one-time fee -- so that's great. Hopefully, it'll lead to some film scoring in the near future. Don't want to jinx it."
Ugly Things prides itself on its coverage of "Wild Sounds from Past Dimensions," from 1920s rural blues to 1950s R&B to obscure 1960s beat, garage, and psychedelic music. The magazine debuted in 1983, around two years after publisher Mike Stax moved to San Diego from London to perform with the Crawdaddys and then the Tell-Tale Hearts. "There was a small '60s scene in town, but the music on MTV and in Rolling Stone was Flock of Seagulls, Culture Club, or the Psychedelic Furs. Ugly Things was a reaction to that, to say, 'That's not what my friends listen to.' I called some people to write about different records and bands we were into. From that, I started making contacts around the country, and it grew to the point where I started trying to actually track down bands, to get firsthand information and access to their archives and memories, instead of just rewriting what I found in books and magazines."
Ugly Things has interviewed many onetime hitmakers who are today remembered only by cult devotees of the Bands That Time Forgot, including bassist Ray Benich of Damnation of Adam Blessing; the Outsiders' Wally Tax; Phil May and Twink of the Pretty Things; producer Shel Talmy; and Sky Saxon from the Seeds. Among the site highlights is a "Searchin' for Shakes" database, with garage band compilation albums and fanzines, all searchable by band name, song title, date released, etc.
If you saw the commercial featuring American Idol judge Randy Jackson being followed by crazies doing their version of the Oreo cookie theme ("Oh, R-E-O"), you may not have realized there was actually a real "Oreo and milk jingle" contest. The winners were A Cappella Gold, a local female quartet comprising a teacher, a voice coach, a property manager, and a nurse (all members of the award-winning San Diego Chorus of Sweet Adelines International).
The matching outfits and synchronized dance moves the women devised for their ode to Oreo won't be part of the commercial, as it's for radio rather than TV. They didn't get a lifetime supply of cookies, but they did win $10,000 for their rendition. An MP3 of the ladies' jingle is playable at www.oreo.com, and the video with Randy Jackson is on Google Video.
San Diego Concert Archive
Over 2000 local performances are listed on this site, from the '40s through 1999, arranged by date and including performer names, where they played, and often who opened. There are also posters and flyers for local performances from the '50s onward, as well as a colorful ticket collection from the days before generic computer printouts became the norm. A "Venues" section covers long-gone clubs and halls like the Cinnamon Cinder (7578 El Cajon Boulevard, opened 5-21-63), Sign of the Sun (4701 College Avenue, opened early 1962), the Palace (4025 Pacific Highway, opened 1969), and the United Fruit Company (4009 Central Avenue, opened 1969).
This blog focusing on the local music scene is run by High Mountain Tempel bandmates Eric Nielsen and Keith Boyd. The site features daily posts with anything from show and album reviews to lengthy historical pieces (local metal bands through the years, etc.), op-ed essays (Bill Wray, on playing with Ike Turner's band), the usual subjective lists (Ten Movies to Remember, Top Records of the Year), and free MP3s. "We like to champion who and what we like, not just what we're fed," says Nielsen. Features and reviews are archived dating back to the site's inception a little over two years ago.
Hargo got his first taste of fame at 16, when his tune "Giving" was selected as official theme song for the 1999 South Africa Peace Conference. "Actually, I was only 8 when I wrote that for choir," he says. A 2000 performance opening for Seal earned a ringing endorsement from the headliner ("This young man's music moved me deeply") while the B-52's Kate Pierson recently said of Hargo, "He's a fabulous singer-songwriter."
His tribute song "Crying for John Lennon" -- posted on his MySpace page -- has been played over 2400 times.
May Jacob is the fashion maven behind Club Fashion Whore, held twice monthly at the San Diego Sports Club, where homegrown designers are invited to display and sell. The focus is on fun. Photo spreads on their website feature whimsical images like girls wearing dresses made of cereal boxes and tubetops crafted from a box of Tide, inviting countless potential punch lines (sugar walls, finding the Lucky Charm, tasty box lunches, dirty girls, soap-on-a-rope, they're grrrrrrrreat...).
Sassy City Chicks
The chicks offer designer "sample sales," online and around town, with items "up to 80% off retail," according to a website laid out in colors and style reminiscent of a vintage barbie dream house. The same fashionistas run haute life, described as a "lifestyle pr firm," and my sassy city, which e-mails subscribers with club event announcements, local-centric coupons, and deal offers.
Reelin' in the Years
David Peck's Reelin' in the Years Productions maintains an archive of over 10,000 filmed musical performances, as well as representing others with footage to license for broadcast or video releases. VH1 probably couldn't make shows like I Love the '70s and Behind the Music without Peck's ever-growing database of footage.
Rocket From the Crypt's farewell show on Halloween 2005, at the Westin Horton Plaza Hotel, introduced by "the Mexican Elvis," El Vez.
Augustana performs "I'll Meet You There Someday" at an unadvertised private KPRI listener party, held April 16 at the Hard Rock Cafe. Three days later, millions saw them play on TV after an April 18 Celtics versus Pistons game in Boston.
blink-182 private Casbah show, July 25, 2000, with 20 individual installments posted on youtube, including a snippet of them playing Christina Aguilera's "genie in a bottle."
Samhain at Wabash Hall May 2, 1985, performing "I Am Misery" and "Horror Biz."
Born without arms, Guitarist Mark Goffeney plays guitar with his feet while performing tom petty's "mary jane's last dance" in balboa park.
"We sell real rock history," according to rockstarsguitars.com. The site includes photos of instruments purported to be Keith Richards' 1959 Gibson Les Paul Standard guitar ("used on The Ed Sullivan Show"), Pete Townshend's 1973 Les Paul Deluxe ("played onstage during the Who's Quadrophenia tour"), and Jimi Hendrix's 1967 Fender Stratocaster.
Tom Waits performing "San Diego Serenade" in 1976, on the tv show Soundstage, including a lengthy spoken beat poem to introduce it.
(http://tinyurl.com/2gv7fr and http://tinyurl.com/ysm465)
Ultimatesound-archive.com offers a library of audio files, from 7KB to 35KB, containing noises that most people would rather avoid than seek out, such as "Car Horns in Gridlock," "Impatient Driver Honks," "British Car Horn," and "Bus Horn." Also available are WAV files, like "Miata Horn," "Beepbeep," "Passing Car Sounds Its Horn," and 8.18 seconds of "Horns, Horns and More Horns." They also have over 12,000 tracks of royalty-free music that can be used online, as well as ringtones, film production music, loops, and sound effects.
Scanned Images of All My Rush Concert Tickets
(28 stubs = around $1100 face value) is just one page on jordan finkelstein's local-centric Rush fansite, which also includes "pictures of me and other rush fans at Rush concerts," most set in the sports arena parking lot.