After spending 16 months in Arizona, experimental composer / drummer Nathan Hubbard has moved back to San Diego with his wife and two kids so that his wife could take a job in the city.
The Hubbards lived in Chandler, Ariz., a city just south of Tempe in Maricopa County, which happens to be the stomping grounds of the infamous Sheriff Joe Arpaio. But Hubbard says he didn't encounter too much conservative, anti-immigration sentiment. What he did find was a lot of great experimental music, including free-jazz, ambient noise and even some avant-garde gamelan from a group called Sungsang.
Hubbard found plenty of people to work with. He played multiple times with Chandler free-jazz outfit Jiggle and started the group The Scorpion Decides, which played beat-oriented jazz. Earlier this month, he assembled a 17-person ensemble—five electric guitarists, four keyboardists, four bassists and three drummers, plus Hubbard on vibraphones—to perform one of his compositions at The Trunk Space, an all-ages venue in Phoenix akin to The Ché Café.
While audiences tended to be small, Hubbard says the vibe was different than San Diego's. "It almost struck me that maybe the isolation of the desert kind of makes people work a little bit harder," he says. "There's something just brutal about that heat. It's kind of a cleanser or something. You feel like a different person after a while."
Now back in town, he has big plans. He'll keep playing with Rafter, and he's working on three releases for his group Ogd_S(11) Translation Has Failed. His other group, Passengers, will play at Tin Can Ale House on Wednesday, Oct. 3.
There's a new garage-rock band in town, and it's chill as can be. Dream Buddies is headed by songwriter Jay Prevo and features Mrs. Magician's Tommy Garcia and Cory Stier, as well as Michael Farmer of Drug Wars. They made their live debut at Soda Bar on Monday, and Prevo's thinking about releasing a record. But he hasn't worked out the details yet. "I'm not in any hurry. I don't want any deadlines. I don't want to feel any pressure or stress," he says. Check them out at facebook.com/dreambuddies.