South Bay serenade

The Bassics bring the San Diego music scene to their neighborhood in Imperial Beach

Mod-rock quartet the Bassics want you to Get Wet in Imperial Beach.
  • Mod-rock quartet the Bassics want you to Get Wet in Imperial Beach.
  • Image by Rob Forsythe

What is Imperial Beach famous for?

“I don’t know, [HBO’s] John from Cincinnati...Lords of Dogtown was shot at the pier,” says Bassics lead singer Sam Martinez about his hometown. “Sand Castles, I guess. But there’s not much in the live music department.”

Martinez, 19, wanted to show that I.B. had more going on besides being America’s most southwesterly city.

The Bassics

...live at Casbah

...live at Casbah

Thanks to some longtime local musicheads smitten by ’60s-spawned mod, the Bassics were given some key opening gigs and radio exposure earlier this year. They released two singles and started playing L.A. and Tijuana.

But the Bassics wanted to show that their low-key hometown had a musical pulse.

“We wanted to set something up down here,” Martinez tells the Reader. “We searched but we found there is no proper music venue here. But we still wanted to do an Imperial Beach mini music fest.”

What about the local music bar, the Salty Frog? “It wasn’t going to happen,” says Martinez.

“The only place we could find was the Boys and Girls Club. It’s not really a venue, but people rent it out for weddings and private parties. It holds 300 people.”

Thanks to their manager who put up $500 to rent it, the Bassics have produced their own all-ages, multi-band music shindig called “Get Wet.” The show, this Friday, July 3, from 5 to 11 p.m., will be hosted by rock jock Tim Pyles and features the Bassics and fellow I.B. bands Bad Kids and Fake Tides, as well as San Diego favorites True Stories, Schitzophonics, Flaggs, the Cardielles, and Shady Francos.

“Every band we have on the bill we really dig.”

Martinez says that the challenge that usually comes with large rooms — bad acoustics — does not apply here. “They have that padding stuff on the walls and ceiling. We’ll have tacos and a beer garden for everyone who is over 21. We have a sound engineer and a P.A. It really has the DIY ethos. We’re knocking on people’s doors, handing out flyers.”

Admission is $8 or free if you bring a box full of food/clothing for Jus’ Sayin’, a South Bay charity that helps the needy.

“We met with the mayor,” says Martinez about the time the Bassics met Serge Dedina. “He’s a fan of the Jam and Manual Scan. He was praising us for doing all this stuff down here trying to get some culture going on... Hopefully they’ll have fireworks down by the beach this year. We want to show Imperial Beach is really cool, especially this time of year.”

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