Tick, Tick, Tick...

San Diego just lost another all-ages music venue.

Sergeant Glenn Giannantonio of the San Diego Sheriff’s Department says that an April 18 show at the Jumping Turtle in San Marcos got out of control and that the club “has been a drain on law enforcement for the past two years.” Giannantonio contacted the City of San Marcos with recommendations regarding the venue’s entertainment permit, and last week San Marcos city clerk Susie Vasquez announced, “Whenever they have entertainment, it will be 21-and-up only.” The 250-capacity restaurant/bar hosts local and nationally touring bands. The new entertainment permit took effect May 1.

National bands were introduced to the Jumping Turtle by promoter Sulo King, who now does the booking at Brick by Brick in Bay Park. He says that the Turtle was doing good business, but mixing all-ages fans with booze was a “ticking time bomb. I don’t know how they got away with it in the first place.”

North County band Wanted Dead was playing April 18 when the music was cut off by the sheriff’s department. Lead singer Skillet says he was not happy with the way the barroom blitz was handled.

“Sometimes with all-age shows things go wrong. There is a protocol. You make an announcement that the show is over and you have ten minutes to leave.... The way it happened at the Jumping Turtle was like a raid. The cops came in and just started throwing kids around.... It was frustrating for me because we paid for double security.”

Skillet explains that his band paid the Jumping Turtle $700 for extra security, which was mandated by the bar. He says that security was not doing its job. “I saw some people who were thrown out who ended up coming back in.... The [sheriff’s deputies] said they came because the show was getting violent, but in fact they were the ones who came in like gangbusters.”

Requests for comments from Jumping Turtle owner Matt Hall and talent buyer Joe Troutman were not returned.

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Well the previous comments sum up Ken pretty well. Any doubt one may have of the true intentions of this article has been cleared up by Ken's behavior here. What reporter gets into a comment battle? Words at this point have no meaning from Ken. Anyone who doubts his history just Google "Ken Leighton" and you'll be busy. This guy has numerous complaints and suits pending. More concerning is the amount of pending suits against the Reader itself. I thought the Reader was an informative music/event periodical. One would assume otherwise based on the employment of Ken Leighton alone. However, one interesting item for thought is that Ken freelances for the Reader. I guess they want to keep him at arm’s length too. I encourage others to start supporting the alternative periodicals. City Beat, No Cover, etc..

You reference the Union Tribune article and near the end the Sgt. clearly states that they do not believe that the JT serves minors.

Ken is still a failure. Funny you did not mention your establishment in your article. Does conflict of interest mean anything to you?

My final point is that using Sulo King as a reference shows just how out of touch you are with the scene. Sulo is a half assed promoter who failed at the JT. He did not leave; he was asked to resign. There are plenty of people who attend Sulo's shows that can attest that he is a joke as a promoter. Sulo failed because he did not put the work in. He used his connections from Max at Brick by Brick as long as long as he could. He was lazy, did not meet his guarantees, mismanaged his shows, etc.. My friends, this is all fact. Sulo did bring the first nationals to JT, but his business dealings almost destroyed the JT. Sulo would have a bad show and blame it on the club, security, Matt Hall, or whoever was available. Sulo is a perfect example of a little boy who wants to play big shot without putting any time or effort into the show. Sulo is more concerned about the perks than the work. Once again this is all fact. Joe Troutman came in and did the Nationals well. The last two years is a testament to what this club has done. When Sulo was let go from the JT he went back to Brick by Brick. Now he hides behind Max and takes the credit. I am not really sure why because BBB line ups have been pretty dismal the last couple of years.

The moral of the story is that envy is such a disgusting emotion. Instead of attacking these people, why don't you put that energy into running your business' properly? Maybe you'll find success.

P.S. Funny how the shooting at Brick by Brick a few weeks ago never made the papers. Hmmmmmm.... maybe you should be more concerned about your own security issues Sulo!!

Ken Leighton is a lieing piece of crap, who needs to shut his mouth! I can not believe the unbelievable about of lies he is spreading about The Jumping Turtle.

Ken Leighton runs the Royal Dive in Oceanside and is completely JEALOUS of the success of The Jumping Turtle and has been doing everything in his limited amount of "power" to put them out of business, hoping that by doing so, it will somehow suddenly make people go to his crappy DIVE bar, and that he will somehow magically start to be as successful as The Jumping Turtle has been.

The Jumping Turtle doesn't have a single citation against them, and 99% of the calls to the San Marcos Police Department in the past few months, that have been placed in regards to The Jumping Turtle, have come from Mr. Ken Leighton himself! Ken has been calling over and over again, reporting such things as under age drinking, just for the sheriff to make a stop by the club and find NOTHING!!!

Ken, just because you are a jealous piece of crap, it does NOT give you the right to write vicious articles about Mat Hall and Joe Troutman, and have them published for the rest of the county to have to suffer through your lies! Matt Hall and Joe Troutman are both very good, and honorable businessmen, UNLIKE yourself! The reason that calls to both Matt and Joe weren't returned when you "called" to get the "inside scoop" you so desperately wanted, in order to write more lies about them, is because they are smart enough to NOT TALK TO YOU!!!

There has NEVER been any problem with under-age drinking at The Jumping Turtle, nor did Wanted Dead have to pay $700 for "extra security". Once again, Ken Leighton needs to stop making up stories and GET HIS FACTS STRAIGHT! Sulo King also hasn't worked for The Jumping Turtle in YEARS, and using him as bait against Joe and Matt is not only stupid, but a pathetic waste of time!

Ken, you need to stop being so pathetically jealous of Joe Troutman and Matt Hall's success, and attacking their business, before someone turns around and does the exact same thing to you! You are an extremely UNPROFESSIONAL lieing piece of crap and should NOT work for the Reader! You need to resign your position and go back to the hell hole you crawled out of! You've pissed off one too many people with your BS and you need to be stopped! I personally can not wait til kharma comes back to kick your butt and your club gets shut down, all because you were a jealous piece of crap and attacked Joe and Matt.

The Jumping Turtle is NOT going out of business! They are NOT losing their entertainment permit, nor are they losing their all-ages status. Ken Leighton is a lieing piece of crap and everyone deserves to know the truth! Do NOT believe a single word Mr. Leighton says, and please, DO NOT frequent his crappy club The Royal Dive. Psycohpathic liars don't deserve any support!

I read this article back to the San Marcos official who issued the new entertainment that was issued May 1. The article was confirmed as factual by that official. Also I went over all the facts in this article (and the previous one) with the Sheriff department and they confirmed the facts were correct.

I don't know who Kimberlykaos is but it sure does seem like she/he should know that the Turtle signed off on this new permit so everyone there has no excuse to say they are not aware of the new stipulations of the permit, or that others who are reporting about it are

No one is saying that there is not an entertainment permit for the Jumping Turtle. But there is a new one with new stipulations which include the fact that no one under 21 may be on site when there is a band and there can be no advance ticket sales for any shows at the Jumping Turtle. This is all spelled out for anyone who wants to contact the city of San Marcos or the sheriff's department.

You say there has never been a problem with underage drinking at the Jumping Turtle. I think you may want to refer to today's Union-Tribune which says that there have been plenty of problems. The problem with today's U-T article is that it is incomplete. The reporter apparently failed to get a copy of the new permit so he could factually report that the major point of the new permit is that those under 21 (as of May 1) are not allowed on site when there is a live band performing.

I have never called to report any problems at the Jumping Turtle. This is a verifiable fact and such statements could lead to a lawsuit.

Congratulations on on Joe Troutman's and Matt Hall's continued and ongoing success!!!

Here are some of the conditions from the new Jumping Turtle entertainment permit which signed by co-owner Laura Mouradian April 30, 2009.

  1. No one under the age of 21, including entertainers, shall be allowed on site during any entertainment event where alcohol is being served.

  2. The licensee(s) shall not use the services of promoters at any time.

  3. The licensee(s) shall not charge a fee to enter the premises which includes but is not limited to advance ticket sales for any entertainment events or a cover charge.

Actually, Ken, your reading of the permit - "that hose under 21 (as of May 1) are not allowed on site when there is a live band performing" - is not correct. The city would allow those under 21 to be present when a band is performing if alcohol was not being served. The operative phrase here concerning when minors are allowed in the Jumping Turtle and when they are not is "alcohol being served" not "when there is a live band performing."

Actually, me2, I asked the city of San Marcos about that and they said that should the Jumping Turtle decide to be an all-ages, alcohol-free venue like Soma or he Epicentre, that that may in fact be explored but that at the current time that is not an option for them. Plus, you can not turn your ABC-sanctioned liquor license on and off when you want, at your own discretion unless you go through the proper channels with the ABC and the city and the law enforcement agency that oversees you.

I think it is safe to say your free-for-all, make-your-own-rules era is over.


Ken, you obviously have NOTHING better to do with your time than sit on your sorry butt and quote limited "facts" and throw false accusations at the Jumping Turtle. Why else would you sit here like a 2 year-old tattle tale saying "no, no, no, you can't! I'm telling!" Seriously?! Get a freaking life!!!

Dude, we all get that you hate the turtle and that you're jealous of what a great club it is, but seriously go find yourself a new hobby! Get a real job! Go do something useful with your life rather than attacking the people you're jealous of!

Normally, when somebody (any writer) write a story, they write one solid story, that's it. They leave it open for comments. They don't go back and forth and fight and argue. They leave it open for comment, and allow people to share their feelings. Why does the Jumping Turtle bother you so much? What's your problem with them? Why are you attacking them in the first place? Obviously you've got your own personal agenda, and it blatantly shows! Writers don't usually go back and forth commenting, and arguing with the public on their articles. If the readers comments bother you so much, you've obviously got some kind of bigger issue to deal with. You've got issues! You're jealous! If you're so "professional" then WHY are you sitting here arguing with us, attempting to defend your pathetic self and your lame accusations. Why are you being such a 2 year-old tattle tale?

Really Ken, go cry and tattle to your mommy! Stop wasting our tax dollars making false calls and accusations to the cops and the city, and find yourself a hobby! The Jumping Turtle is the BEST thing to have EVER happened to North County! How can you run your own club and call yourself a "music supporter" when you're sitting around attacking the best club in town? How can you do that to music? How can you do that to the scene?

Go destroy your own life, and leave ours the hell alone!

First of all I enjoyed working at the Jumping Turtle for the 2-3 years I was there and have nothing negative to say about Matt Hall or Joe Troutman. I think Joe does a great job and knows his market better than I did. I brought a lot of great shows to the room and showed them how to book national acts and how a security team is ran by bringing in Brick by Brick's old head of security. I mean the guards there didn't even have proper security shirts. They looked like patrons. I did have problems with some shows but we all do at times. The reason I stopped doing shows there was due to the fact that they weren't working out there anymore and I wanted to focus on just booking Brick by Brick full time. When Ken quoted me I was being honest. The Jumping Turtle is a club with so much potential and I am proud of what Joe and Matt have done but the club has and always will continue to have problems and I blame it on poor managing mainly due to the security. Security is the most important thing in maintaining your crowd. I put a lot of effort into my shows. I brought in stage managers for my big shows and a door guy to run the door so ofcourse I seemed like I was lazy and doing nothing. I have been doing this for 8 years and I shouldn't have to do those tasks anymore. Yeah I couldn't always meet a guarantee and that is why I stopped doing independent shows as I couldn't finance my losses anymore. I do not hide behind Max at Brick by Brick. I have to book almost 30 shows a month or try to find other promoters to fill in nights and I do a great job of that. I hate to say it but without the all ages factor the Jumping Turtle will just be another ordinary venue. The all ages and 21 combo is great but very deadly at the same time. Once again I have nothing personal against the Turtle and it's staff. I wish them the best of luck.

Of course "conflict of interest" means NOTHING to Ken! There are several articles right here on the internet that can fully attest to that! All Ken cares about is putting the Turtle out of business. He doesn't give a damn how many people he's hurting. He doesn't care that he's not just hurting Matt, Laura and Joe, but Phil, Ryan, Michelle, TC and everyone else at the club. Ken doesn't give a damn about anyone but himself!

As far as Sulo's security comments go, Sulo, have you been to the Turtle lately? There is a brand new security crew there, completely different from even a year ago. It's an entirely new staff, who are all damn good at their jobs! There haven't been any incidents they haven't handled. There aren't any under-age drinking problems at all! The Turtle needs to stay all ages, it's in everyone's best interest.

Part 2:

There are so many bands who have gotten their start at the Turtle. The Paul Green School Of Rock Music (PGSORM) loves the place! The Turtle gives those kids a good, clean, real live venue to play at, where they're safe. The kids can rock out on stage while their parents kick back with a beer, and their friends enjoy a delicious pizza. PGSORM feels like the Turtle is their home. In a recent e-mail from Ron Weaver, the General Manager of PGSORM, to all the parents, Ron says:

"I’m going to tell you something about the Jumping Turtle and now I’m serious. I’ve gotten to know Joe Troutman and his crew over there and you know what? Regardless of what you think of the theme for the venue (Heavy Metal/Punk music), they run a clean shop. Their security staff are tops and they don’t allow any nonsense in their establishment. There’s no under-age drinking or anything of the sort tolerated in that place. No citations either! Clean show and no reasons to shut them down except that someone doesn’t like what they do.

It’s my opinion that the kids that go to that venue and go crazy in the mosh pit may very well be out getting into trouble if they didn’t have the Jumping Turtle. Have you ever watched a mosh pit? Believe it or not there’s an etiquette to it and they only get so rough. It’s just how they blow off steam; It’s as simple as that. I don’t know about you, but I fear for my vehicle on the street if these kids lose the JT. Let them blow off steam at the JT or possibly find my vehicle and blow off some steam on it… you choose. . .

The Jumping Turtle loves PGSORM Vista and I think I can speak for everyone here, PGSORM Vista loves the Turtle. The owner introduced us to Joe Troutman and told Joe to give us a chance in the venue. That’s where it all started. We had to earn our right to be in that venue and we did just that. We had to prove that we could control the students and put on a worthy show. So far it has been a fantastic business relationship and I think we can all see the benefits of playing there. For me, it’s a wonderful thing to do business with people I like and I‘d like to continue doing business with Joe Troutman and the Jumping Turtle.

Where do you think we got all the guest speakers…? Joe Troutman is doing great things for the school and I implore you to help me help the Turtle!

The Jumping Turtle is an extension of what I offer at my school. It’s become a part of the experience and I’m not going to give it up without a fight."

Part 3:

The PGSORM kids got their start not just at PGSORM, but at the Jumping Turtle. The Axxys and Light Of Doom kids who were on Fox's "The Next Great American Band", they didn't just get their start at EXP Studios, they started at the Turtle. Look at As I Lay Dying, they're local, from Oceanside. They started at the Turtle too! Check out their new DVD that was released a few weeks ago; As I Lay Dying LOVES the Turtle! Look at the fans in the audience during their shows. WHY would you want to take that away?! How could you possibly do that?! You've gotta be pretty heartless to want to destroy the Jumping Turtle. There are so many fans, young and old that depend on the Turtle for their music fulfillment. WHY would you want to destroy that?!

Joe Troutman's shows bring in fans from not just San Marcos and Escondido (infact, that's not even 15% of his fan base), Joe brings in fans from Riverside, San Bernardino and Los Angeles counties, as well as Germany, Europe and Australia. People fly in from all over the world for some of Joe Troutman's shows, stay at nearby hotels, frequent the local businesses, and catch a few shows while they're here. WHY would you want to mess that up? You're not just taking away from the Jumping Turtle, you're hurting the entire city of San Marcos as well!

The Jumping Turtle is the BEST thing to have EVER happened to this town! Countless friendships, relationships, bands, fans and life changing experiences have been born there. If the Turtle goes down, we will ALL be losing a HUGE part of ourselves, and it will be a definite blow to the community, as well at to the San Diego music scene. Joe Troutman brings so many great shows to town, being offered the shows before they even consider going to other venues such as the House of Blues or Brick By Brick. Joe Troutman is THE go-to guy here in San Diego. The ONLY shows Joe passes up, are those that are too large for the room; (ex: Mayham & Kreator). It's because of Joe Troutman and Matt Hall that the city of San Marcos is booming right now. They're bringing so many fans in to see countless shows, just to have those people support the local businesses whether it be local stores, gas stations, restaurants, hotels, etc. Losing the Turtle means losing all that extra business for the city. The fans depend on the Turtle for their entertainment enjoyment. Heck, even big record labels depend on the Turtle now. Where would we all be without our CDs? Almost all record stores have gone bankrupt, and now all we're left with is big stores like Walmart, Target, Best Buy and Fries who all only carry the top 20-40 selling artists. We depend on the Turtle to bring in our favorite groups, so we can get their cds. It's either that or Itunes.

Final Words:

The Jumping Turtle is home. Ken is a complete jealous LOSER, with a pathetic broom closet of a "club" that he could only wish might someday in the very very very distant future, maybe possibly it might one day be just maybe an 1/8 of as great as the Jumping Turtle. Personally, I wouldn't hold my breath, but hey, Ken, if you would like to hold your breath, kudos to you! Keep holding it cause it's gonna be a VERY long time!

So Ken Leighton, here's to you! You're a pathetic, worthless, bitter, jealous little boy with a MAJOR lack of integrity! If you REALLY want to be productive in life, you need to get up off your sorry butt and go out and do something positive for once. Stop writing slanderous articles in the Reader, then sitting there hiding behind your computer throwing idiotic accusations at us, and calling the cops and the city to tattle on what other clubs are doing, because you're jealous that you are too pathetic to ever come even remotely close to being as cool as them. Go find yourself a hobby. Maybe find a charity to donate to, or buy yourself a puppy. Heck, a puppy is a great idea since you like to control stuff! But then again, puppies don't really like being controlled either, and you'll probably just end up getting bit. So I guess getting a puppy probably isn't the best idea for you . . . Maybe you should get a newspaper route? Obviously you LOVE the press. You're a terrible writer and need to NEVER write anything EVER again, but a newspaper route might be good for you. It would get you out of your hiding spot behind the computer, and doing something useful with your time. You could even go deliver pizzas, or maybe even work at McDonalds! But then again, you have to have some sort of personality for that, so it's probably not the best place for you either. So I guess the paper route is sounding pretty promising!

So here's to you Ken, and your new life of delivering newspapers! May you actually eventually succeed at something! Maybe . . .

The point here is that the Jumping Turtle is the only all ages / 21+ venue in San Diego and other venues in town wish that they could have that kind of capability so that they could be like other markets such as Los Angeles. Now ofcourse loosing the all ages part of the entertainment license is going to get media attention. I spoke with Joe Troutman and he shed some light on the situation and he asked me of my thoughts. Well my advice is to handle things in a civil and professional matter but at the same time to try to fight to keep the all ages part of there license. The kids especially in that area need something to do and I feel that going to shows is a great things for kids to do. Some of my best times were at Soma shows. My Father dropped me off there every weekend and that is when I realized what I wanted to do for a living. It always brought a smile to my face watching the kids at the all ages shows I threw at the Jumping Turtle enjoying themselves. Hopefully things will work out for the Jumping Turtle. Only time can tell.


...It is over Ken. By the time the other reporters/journalists are done with you you will not have the credibility to write about coupons in the Penny Saver. The Reader should cut all ties as of now. Kind of makes you wonder who is running the show at the Reader!!

Ken you were proven wrong, You are now the most hated person in San Diego, The Royal Dive well be there.

Wow all these personal attacks! What I would like to know, is why doesn't the Jumping Turtle attack the Union-Tribune reporter who reported in a story May 14 that the Jumping Turtle has caused sheriff deputies to stop by 137 times in the last two years and that there have been 25 fights, 35 incidents involving people under the influence of alcohol or drugs and a total of 23 arrests. I urge anyone interested to look up that article on line to see what I'm talking about. I also wonder if anyone noticed whether the Jumping Turtle has been abiding by its new permit (which they agreed to) which says that as of May 1 no one under 21 can be present when there is live music and that that there be no admision charged at the door.


Being in the music scene, we would think that you would put your efforts into working together with other venues, rather than criticizing and trying to destroy them. As far as the UT article goes, that's already been dealt with. That writer also doesn't CONSTANTLY attack the Turtle every chance he gets, the way you do. Besides, you're the idiot that put the guy up to it anyway! The UT article never would have existed if it weren't for you! Stop trying to blame shift, because we all know that this ENTIRE thing is all ENTIRELY your fault!

As for what the Turtle is doing with their new permit, frankly, WHY do you even care??? And especially so much? But do tell, how have you been so "in the loop" as to all the Turtle's business happenings, and always seem to know exactly what's going on, way before everyone else does??? Something seems kind of fishy here, and the smell is coming from your direction . . .

Dear Matt Hall -

I did not make the Union-Tribune write about your problems on May 14, NOR did I make the North County Times write their front page story on May 24 about your ongoing trainwreck. I think it just might be the City of San Marcos and the sheriff department talking about your massive legal problems over two years that made them write their stories. There needs to be an all age music in North County, but I wonder if anyone will step up to the plate now that you have made the business look so bad. You have given live music a bad name in North County. You need a scapegoat for your trainwreck and you want to pin it on me since I was the first one to expose your mess. I also accept your unsuccessful efforts to have me fired because that is just the way you do business. But you have actually told people and have written that I called the police on you. Bad idea. The sheriff keeps records of who called in. That is a provable lie. I hope you are prepared for the consequences of your actions.

The "Turtle" has been a great place for recitals of the Children's Conservatory for Music Arts (CCMA). The CCMA has music programs that teach kids aspects of group dynamics and team work by learning songs together in small groups of five or six to make up a "rock band."

I volunteer a lot around the CCMA and my 13-year-old son takes lessons there (they are a teaching studio). They have the capability to host their own recitals (and do many times a year). However, the "Turtle" has a much more capable sound system and full time staff that know how to run it. This allows the students and their families to experience more of a "live" show than we get at the studio.

Every event I have been to with my son (and a few without him) where under 21 aged people were present, was very well managed (no I don't go to every show at the "Turtle"). At one of the first shows we went to, my son wondered out to the patio. Not knowing that this was an "off limits" area to people under 21 (I think I missed the sign), within 15 seconds a security person was escorting my son back to me and explaining the boundaries within the club.

Just in case people who read this want some perspective: the CCMA is located in San Marcos. Many of their students including my son go to San Elijo Middle School (SEMS) in San Marcos (the San Marcos Unified School district) and San Marcos Unified School District elementary schools. All three of the drummers in the award winning SEMS Jazz Band (they took first place at Knottsberry Farm a few weeks ago), and the guitarist in the SEMS Jazz Band take lessons at the CCMA, and most have performed at the "Turtle" (the drummers are also part of the Award Wining Drumline at SEMS).

The Jazz band played over Memorial Day weekend to support the Veterans with the city of Vista.

These are the kinds of families that use the Jumping Turtle.

As an adult, I also play a lot of music. One of the bands I play with, Slang (A Def Leppard cover band), has been offered a spot at 4th and B downtown on Saturday night (May 30th). When I was checking with the "Turtle" last week after one of the parents alerted me to the article in the UT, I found that their show for Thursday had been cancelled due to the new license terms. The "Turtle" graciously offered to have us fill the slot left open with what amounted to a dress rehearsal with sound (and security). I don't know how it used to be at the "Turtle," but the sound on stage that night was top notch.

It's too band our friends will have to venture downtown and back again to hear us play, but there aren't that many places that have live music in North County.

Just to give you some more perspective, the CCMA co-sponsored a fund raiser last month at the Carlsbad venue the Oceanhouse that featured a battle of the bands (all under 18-years-old) with the top ten bands competing. I worked with the CCMA to setup and run sound. If it had been big enough, the "Turtle" would have been MUCH easier. By the way, the Oceanhouse had no problem keeping the bar open while all the participants were there (and you can bet we had NO problems with underage drinking).

Yes, you can have events in the park or on the street. If you want a sound company to come out and run sound, expect to start paying them a minimum of $3,000 just to show up. Want to run your own sound? Expect to pay about $2,000 to buy sound equipment (it's not just the amps and speakers, you have a ton of cables, mics, etc. too) for a small group and then expect at least an hour at either end of your event to set up and tear down.

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