Band ch-ch-ch-changes

Davit Buck’s hired himself some new Homeless Sexuals.
  • Davit Buck’s hired himself some new Homeless Sexuals.

Band lineup changes are as common as busted guitar strings, but several local ensembles have undergone nearly complete personnel changeovers.

“The entire band was fired by the singer who founded the band,” says Subliminal Trip percussionist Dustin Becker, whose younger brother Jason (aka J-Bird) formed the Ocean Beach–born group. “J-bird had Subliminal Trip when he was 12, and now he’s 23,” says Dustin by way of explaining why J-Bird kept the band name for an otherwise all-new lineup, while longtime guitarist Joel Brust joined fellow ex-Trippers (bassist Garrison Cyr and drummer Colin Holz) to form No Kings. “Arguments had started to arise with Colin and Gary, who were found on Craigslist to start with, about them wanting to manage the band and book gigs. Which was not okay with J-Bird.”

J-Bird booted the band but kept the name...and his brother.

J-Bird booted the band but kept the name...and his brother.

J-Bird is the sole holdover, now accompanied by brother (and band manager) Dustin, alongside bassist Sam Hartjen and drummer Edward Fugatt (both formerly of No Dinosaur), trumpeter/keyboardist Felix Sierra (Soul Malady), guitarist Ryan Parker, and Tony “DJ Turbo” Bilancia. Hartjen also plays bass in Reason to Rebel, and the new Trip already has two ex-members: Tommy Estrada (Reeform) and horn player C-Money (Slightly Stoopid). The apparent open-door policy can be heard on their new single “It’s a New Day,” which features guest singer Lady Cellie.

Band of Gold, fronted by bandleader James Peña (from the Santa Ysabel Indian Reservation) and Teresa Bell Peña, plays classic Motown and R&B. The duo recently replaced the other three members — Minnesota transplant Marty Banas, Hien Vu from Indiana, and native San Diegan Ruben Gonzales — with two San Diegans, Bobby Renteria and Edison Salvador, and Detroit guitarist/singer Dean Aronoff.

An all-new group of Homeless Sexuals will back singer Davit Buck when they debut June 29 at Soda Bar. “I’m still friends with everyone in the old band,” says Buck. “Poe emailed me...says he wasn’t into playing guitar anymore. Rob Logic [guitar] quit to concentrate on the bar business and is booking shows at Bancroft in Spring Valley, where Poe bartends on Saturdays. Chris Menna [drums] is busy teaching music to high school students. That’s his priority.”

New Homeless Sexuals include Chris Henry (Screamin’ Yeehaws), Tim Helton (ex–Coda Reactor), and Alan Stewart and Joe Fabri (both of Media Control). “The old lineup never practiced,” says Buck. “I think we had maybe two practices in five years. The new lineup, we do four-hour practices once a week.”

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In response to the allegations made by Subliminal Trip's J-Bird, No Kings guitarist Joel Brust (who declined our initial interview request) contacted the Reader after this article was published. “First off, J Bird never fired anyone, we quit,” says Brust. “I want that to be crystal clear, we were fed up with his lack of talent [and] with his brother’s inability to manage a band. We quit, we were never fired. I have several emails on my computer from [sole remaining Subliminal Trip member] Jason Becker [aka J-Bird] begging us to come back…after we quit Subliminal Trip, we found our friend Matt Cook and got him in as our new vocalist.”

No Kings were unable to keep Subliminal Trip’s drummer, though. “About a year into the new project, it became obvious that due to his personal lifestyle choices, Colin Holz could no longer play with us...there were a lot of contributing factors but let’s just leave it at artistic differences.” Holz was replaced with Rafael Scatolin.

Its entertaining that Joel Brust declined the initial interview request. J-bird did fire everyone, they werent holding up there end of the band wagon. And as a matter of fact Dustin had quit managing them because of childish behavior between members and lack of professionalism. He later jumped back on and both brothers rebuilt Subliminal Trip from the ground up, and just recently played House of Blues.

Everyone is wrong here. We gave Subliminal Trip the opportunity to play house of blues and have been following them for years now. To see Dustin and Jason band together and go through what they did and still keep the name reputable is amazing. They got rid of the diseases and kept on. I applaud these 2 gentlemen that are NOT thieves at all, but hard working people. I personally know Dustin Becker works 40+ hours a week on top of maintaining a good band and brand.

This whole editorial makes me want to give not only Dustin and Jason Becker, but the entire band a chance to shine and hit the road with a fully paid tour. We will be in contact...

Silverback MGMT.

Randy...or should I say joel brust or gary cyr? lol It must be one of you 2? Seems as though there must be some hatred toward us for some reason? We will let you open up for us lol. We have no hate toward you guys. I did quit managing you guys because you all acted like kids. Jbird did fire you because of differences. In your eyes its quitting in his is firing. Its done and over and doesnt matter anymore. Sam Hartjen has alot going on with Reason to rebel and is going on a national tour with Finch which doesnt make time for Subliminal Trip. Marc Losacco didnt fit how we were hoping but still is a good friend of all of ours. Matt I think thats you from silverback that commented. we would love to hit the road bud lets talk soon!! This whole thing is entertaining as hell.

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