Episode I: The Combs Wars

Said ya can’t dis the homie for free/ If anyone’s gonna talk shit, it’s gonna be me

“Somebody suggested that the song might not be such a good idea because I might burn a bridge,” says comedic rapper Rob Deez of his track “Seth Combs,” concerning a CityBeat contributing editor.

But you, Seth Combs, you were drunk that night/ the Jack Daniel’s had made ya bitter/ So ya hopped on your mobile device and ya started talking shit on Twitter

“It was the night of the [2009] San Diego Music Awards, and [Combs] said on Twitter that ‘Josh Damigo sucks balls.’ I thought, Wow, that’s kind of mean. Josh is a brother.… I’ve been collaborating with [Damigo] for around three and a half years now.” Damigo won Best Local Recording at the SDMAs for his album Raw.

I thought Twitter was the end of it/ But it turns out I was wrong/ I guess ya also like talking shit in CityBeat/ Well, I like talking shit in songs

CityBeat’s September 15 issue included this Combs comment: “I’m now convinced that the San Diego Music Academy voters are smoking the same shit as Slightly Stoopid. How else can you explain Josh Damigo’s win…?”

If you wanna dis my boy Josh Damigo by usin’ a CityBeat/ then I’m a dis you and piss on your ego by usin’ a shitty beat

Deez hadn’t met Combs before recording the track (“He definitely goes to different shows. I think he’s more like a Casbah kind of guy”), so in verse he wondered, “What’s up with that weird beard? Where did that come from?” and speculates, “I bet you wear tight pants…you probably smell like a hippie.”

Deez’s MySpace profile quotes a 2007 CityBeat article that states, “This is either the shit, or just shit.” Deez says, “I kind of like that quote. I take it as a compliment.… I might use it in my press kit.”

On October 20, Deez and Damigo performed at U-31, where Combs was bartending. “So, naturally I played ‘Seth Combs,’” reports Deez. “It was cool ’cause it was my first time playing it live, and he was there. Seemed appropriate.”

Count on hearing Deez sing “Seth Combs” when he plays Java Joe’s at Cafe Libertalia on Saturday, October 31, or download the track from sandiegoreader.com.

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Combs was actually a "guest bartender" at U-31 on the night that Deez and Damigo performed "Seth Combs."

A video posted on YouTube (shot by Happy Ron Hill) includes Combs' response to the performance: "I'm not the best writer in the world, and they're obviously not the best musicians in the world."

In the past, the Reader has also earned the ire of songwriter Deez. “You guys ran the worst photo of me in existence, from when I had to get a root canal…I had an abscess and, my face was so swollen, I looked like I had Down Syndrome.”

I know you guys at the Reader aren't into traditional journalistic conventions -- like attempting to contact the subject of your story -- but if you had, you might have learned that Seth is actually CityBeat's arts and culture editor, not a "contributing" editor. Seth might have also told you that everyone at CityBeat loved Deez's song and retweeted it all over the place.

And you folks at CityBeat are only concerned with sounding as hip as possible. Which actually ends up having the opposite result.

So many stories about how hip the Casbah is and how lame Canes was, because they had shows with "tribute bands". And the Casbah has cool indie bands, with people that have beards, and can stand around the Atari lounge talking about how much they love Turf Club, and how much the latest bands (that they aren't in) suck.

A couple things I feel compelled to point out Jay:

1.) The article you refer to appeared in the Sept. 16 issue, not the 15th. 2.) Rob told me you were doing this article and I emailed you on Oct. 20 to let you know that if you needed a comment from me concerning the song I'd be more than happy to give you one. I didn't hear back. Seems kind of lame that you wouldn't bother to at least get a quote from the subject of the song. Had you interviewed me I would have told you that I love the song and that I think Rob and Josh are excellent guys (not so much their music). But I guess that's not very controversial and wouldn't be great fodder for a Blurt column especially since most of the columns that run in it aren't interested in things like "truth" and "facts." 3.) Also worth pointing out that in aforementioned email I also used my signature with my title at CityBeat so as Dave pointed out I'm not sure where the "contributing editor" title came from. I'm thinking that you may have referenced an old issue of CityBeat from over a year ago when, in fact, my title was contributing editor. Not a vanity thing, but still dude, that was over a year ago. I've moved up in the world! ;) 4.) It's also worth pointing out that I invited Rob Deez to play my guest bartending gig at U-31. The way you worded it makes it sound like he and Josh just happened to be playing there the night I was bartending when, in reality, they were there because I reached out. I have almost no doubt that you took Rob's quote out of context to fit the angle of your story. 5.) In your accompanying cartoon, why did you make me look like a forlorn fing tub of lard? Is it because I denied your friend request on Facebook? I'm a skinny motherfer motherf***er! (this is a vanity thing)

Come on Jay! You're a better and more thorough guy than this. Don't take on the Ken Leighton-style of journalism where you glamorize, homogenize, drip-dry and serve it up as crap.

Seth did offer to provide a quote, but I felt his commentary on Happy Ron's video was more than sufficient, since it was given moments after Seth witnessed the first public rendition of the song - "I'm not the best writer in the world, and they're obviously not the best musicians in the world."

Eds cut Seth's quote from the Blurt, probably for space, so I tacked on as a website comment.

I didn't write the phrase "contributing editor," someone at the Reader office edited that in, but it seems to me an accurate description. He's an editor, he contributes - it wasn't capped like an official job title. Also cut from my article draft was the bit I posted about Deez finding fault with the Reader as well - all in all, I wrote a well-balanced and impartial report, as opposed to the schoolyard namecalling frequently seen in CityBeat.

Sorry I was off by a day on the CityBeat issue date - however, I feel confident the Blurt demonstrates Seth's good natured attitude about the song, given the accompanying photo of him posing with Deez and Damigo after they performed it. (Thanks to photog Kathryn Giddens) I didn't need to press the word count by repeating the obvious ---

RE Facebook, I didn't even know there was a way to discern who denies Facebook friend requests. I'm fairly new to that site, but it's amusing that Seth thinks that I'd notice, that I'd care, and/or that I'd retaliate with ink brush in hand. The Overheard tip was simply too good NOT to draw ===

As for the way I drew Seth, "I'm not the best artist in the world..."

When there is "schoolyard namecalling" in CityBeat, it's done as editorial. If I have an opinion on a band or artist, I think it's very clear that it's an opinion piece. Music news is reported in Locals Only. When there is a story that could be controversial, I always attempt to contact both parties and report what they have to say on the matter. In this case, you didn't. In fact, I did your job for you by reaching out to comment. Blurt tries to pass it self off as "news" but in reality, it latches onto the sensational and tries to dupe the reader into thinking that it's news. Even with the accompanying picture (which you claim represents my good-natured response to Rob's song), your blurb still reads like were feuding or something (even the picture caption says Episode III: Revenge of the Seth?). When it comes to news, CityBeat writes the story objectively. Blurt has the article written before they even start researching.

And yes, Josh, I sit around the Atari Lounge all the time stroking my beard and talking about bands. But here's the thing: I'm a music and arts writer. If I didn't do that I probably wouldn't be doing my job. The best part is that I know what you, Jay and Ken look like and I've never seen any of you there ever. So I find it just a bit disingenuous when CityBeat gets criticized when there are three Blurt contributors, who are writing about music, that don't actually go to music shows (not even those cool tribute band shows at Canes).

The Reader is The Phantom Menace. CityBeat is A New Hope.

Blurt contribs do not write the photo captions OR story titles - it sounds like Seth's beef is more with the Reader editorial staff than the writers. That said, tho, I think "Episode I: The Combs Wars" is a funny and great title for this - I've not even seen the photo caption that supposedly says "Episode III: Revenge of the Seth," but that's funny too! I'd love the Blurt column, even if it didn't include my own frequent scribbles ---

Thanks random stranger..I agree.

But as far as 9/15 vs. 9/16

"The article you refer to appeared in the Sept. 16 issue, not the 15th."

It is true that the issue came out on Wednesday 9/16..

However the CityBeat website says that it was published on 9/15..& the website is where I originally read the article..which is why I say 9/15 in the recording.



Oh yeah, THAT's where I got the "incorrect" date - from the song itself. AND from CityBeat's own website. I guess I need to retract the only thing I apologized for -- my lifelong quest for personal perfection is one step closer to realization, heh heh ----

"I think Rob and Josh are excellent guys (not so much their music)."


You should check out a Rob Deez show..the performance @ U31 doesn't count. Not sure if you've heard any of Deez's stuff other than what's on Damigo's CD but he's kinda dope. Think the Seth Combs song but..with a broader appeal. None of this mushy singer/songwriter, here are my feelings, emo, lovey dovey, ohh girl, I'll always love you nonsense. More like..yo girl let's have some alcoholic beverages then go for a bike ride & talk s*** about fixies & true north, then maybe hook up, oh you just wanna be friends, I see...I guess I'll just go to work & write a song about it while on the clock..


No, we're not done. Not by a longshot!

Seth, I met you at a party, and loved talking music with you. You really know your stuff (and you were impressed I knew the PIL song playing).

I was just getting a dig in there, because CityBeat on two different occasions, made fun of 'Canes and seems to love anything going down at the Casbah. I'm there at least once a month for a show (ask Ted Washington, he gave me drink tickets a month ago...at Ida Marina).

But one of my friends, a former DJ from Rock 105, hates going because of the wanna be hip, scenesters, that stand around talking about stupid crap, or making fun of someone they deem to be "not as cool as them," because they don't have a Ramones shirt that looks 40 years old, or the latest indie band, or whatever. And that vibe bugs.

I actually agree with most of what you're saying. We should get together and chat about music again. That was a Halloween party come to think of it. Been too long.

Jay Allen Sandford and son, You are on some interesting websites, It has nothing to do with your writing either. I wonder if the Reader is aware of some of the sites that you are a member of?


JAS & son could be card carrying members of NAMBLA as far as the Reader is concerned. As long as it doesan't have s*** to do with the price of tea in China, the Reader won't bite any of the hands that feed them. I think the Reader is and has been so successful because of this trade off. Conventional wisdom says, "I'm the boss. I pay your salary." Sandy Eggo wisdom says, "You may be my boss and pay my salary, but good luck having a magazine each week without guys like me."

It's a trade off. Plain and simple. The Reader doesn't give two s***s what sites they're a member of because the ad revenue STILLS comes in. Business 101 my friend. It's the American way.

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