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Broke San Diego musicians

"I owned a Jeep Wrangler, and I had to sell the doors and top to eat."

Roni Lee: “Right now is the brokest I’ve ever been.”
  • Roni Lee: “Right now is the brokest I’ve ever been.”

With paying gigs becoming scarcer, and the economic outlook not too bright, we asked several current and former locals to share their best “I was so broke...” stories.

Marcia Claire (Coyote Problem): “In 1986, I was newly married and pregnant. We lived off of about $10 a week for a good long time. But you could do that in 1986.” 

Stoney B: “When I came to California in 2007, having survived Hurricane Katrina, I lost everything. I ran out of money and had to move out of the hotel where I’d been staying. I lived under the bridge on F Street and ate food from St. Vincent De Paul.”

Garrison Bailey (Groove Kitties): “I stole food from Ralphs and did laundry with shampoo in the bathtub. I would put all the clothes in and fill it up and add shampoo and walk on the clothes, then ring ’em out and hang ’em on the back fence. It was great going to school smelling like Gee Your Hair Smells Terrific.”

Sandi King (22 Kings): “I was living in San Francisco working as a chef, long hours and low pay, living in one of the most expensive cities in the country. Now, living as a broke musician feels like a breeze.”

Cathryn Beeks: “In 1999, I left Cleveland and set out across country with my friend Heather. Her and I would busk each day to earn enough money for a room at a hostel that night, and hopefully enough for some food, too.  One time, she was so hungry that she ate a piece of pizza off of the display in front of a restaurant. I think it was plastic.” 

Davy Rockett (King Taylor Project): “About two years ago, I owned a Jeep Wrangler, and I had to sell the doors and top to eat. Of course, that ended up being the wettest year ever in San Diego.” 

Joshua Taylor (Matchbox Twenty Too): “The past two or three months before I picked up work as a Lyft driver, I was a month behind on rent and utilities and saving for an oil change and repairs on the car. I know that’s pretty mild, and I’m grateful that my previous career as a naval officer shielded me in my 20s from the financial hardships.”

Roni Lee: “Except for maybe late ’70s, after raising three kids, college, and going back full time into music and funding recording, right now is the brokest I’ve ever been.”

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