Disenchanted with their hometown of New York City, rockers Karmen Guy and Sami Yaffa of Mad Juana were looking for a change. In June of last year, they packed their bags and instruments and dog and set their sights on San Diego.
“We wanted to finish writing the record,” says Yaffa of their upcoming album. “New York can be a very distracting place just because [of] the demands of the living cost.”
After a three-month stay, Guy and Yaffa decided to turn what was intended to be a post-tour vacation into an indefinite move. They settled into an Ocean Beach apartment.
“First we just decided to stay here for the summer; we wanted to get the fuck out of [New York] for a couple of months,” says Yaffa, who also plays bass for the New York Dolls. “So we came here, and we wrote, like, six more [songs] in four days. It was really weird, and it just turned out to be really creative.”
So far, the couple has no qualms about relocating.
“New York just started to bore me,” Yaffa says.
“It’s really boring — oh, my God,” Guy echoes. “We’ve been back [to New York] to play shows a few times, and I really don’t miss it. I’ve never felt like this before. I’ve always felt like, ‘Oh, my God, I have to get back there as fast as possible.’ This is the only place I’ve moved to and not had that feeling of anything’s missing.”
The band, which has the fervent energy of a gypsy troupe and the chops of a jazz combo, formed in the mid-’90s while Yaffa and Guy were living in Spain. Their album, Bruja on the Corner, is scheduled for release in June.