With so many of the nation's affluent moving to this sunny little burg, artists are getting pushed out faster than breech babies. Include Watch It Burn on that list-they're packing up and heading for Portland, Ore., the rainy Pacific Northwestern town renowned as a Mecca for cheap living and a supportive artistic community.
"The last tour we did was with a band from Portland called Everyday Victory, and they were telling us about how cheap it is to live up there," said guitarist Chad Dolezal. "We already liked the city and the people up there so we decided, what the hell, let's move."
Dolezal and other band members said the move has nothing to do with the San Diego scene-the grass is not necessarily greener, just cheaper. They claim that not paying SD's exorbitant and ever-rising rent will enable them to tour more often.
"It really is that simple-we are not moving up there to be a part of any great scene or anything. We just want to be able to do what we want to do and not have to worry about being evicted when we come home," said Dolezal. "We still plan on being in San Diego as much as we can. My favorite bands still live here, all our friends are here and my girlfriend still lives here."
It won't be a big change of lifestyle for lead singer Led, who has been intermittently homeless the last several months. Not making the move is bassist Eric Shefstad (ex-Classified).
Portland musician Mike Frey will take Shefstad's place. "I have known [Mike] for a couple of years and he has been friends with Led and Trav (Milligan, drummer) for ages," says Dolezal. "He already has our band name tattooed across his chest."
Dolezal said he and Led plan to get a house with another San Diego ex-pat-Gary Bahen, who relocated his record label, Accident Prone, record label from San Diego to Portland last February. WIB's last San Diego show will happen Oct. 30 at the Ken Club.
GG Allin in San Diego
A new GG Allin DVD features the late madman's legendary Sept. 27, 1991, performance at San Diego's now-defunct Spirit Club.
The release is titled GG Allin & The Murder Junkies: Raw, Brutal, Rough and Bloody: The Best of 1991 and features two other full-length concerts. Ratty, low-quality footage of the Spirit Club show has long circulated among GG devotees and bootleg collectors, but the audio and video quality of this version blows away most existing live footage of the filthy performance-punk.
Allin's performance is prime as well-the gun cocked and loaded as he had just finished serving 19 months in a Michigan correctional facility. He fires full force, running naked through the club and chasing down spectators, at one point falling from the rafters with a drumstick lodged in his holiest of holies.
The title is accurate-the footage stars lots of blood and other bodily fluids. It's not for the weak of heart, but great for fans and anyone who gets a good laugh outta watching a bleeding, bald, lunatic descend into the final stages of drug addiction and madness.
L.A. Twister gets local twist
"It was a little nerve-racking when the camera was inches from my face." So says singer- songwriter Christy Bruneau of her appearance in the film L.A. Twister, which screens Sept. 26 as part of the San Diego Film Festival. As with most things in life, it's who you know-Bruneau got a call from a friend who was working as the location manager on the film, saying director Sven Papé was looking for a singer and music for his movie.
"A few weeks later, the producers called me and asked if I could come to Los Angeles for a couple of days and sing an acoustic song in a scene of the movie," Bruneau recalled. She went up to L.A. with mandolin player Andy Lohr and auditioned for Papé, who chose the song "Life as an Illusion."
"The best part," Bruneau said, "was that we recorded the song live while filming." "Life is an Illusion" hasn't been released, but two other songs used in the movie were taken from Angels of Mercy, an album made with her group The Unknown Poets.
For her on-screen debut, Bruneau is featured with Lohr in "this really cool lounge bar on Vine and Hollywood Boulevard.
"I have played live in front of all kinds of crowds, so playing in front of the actors and film crew wasn't [hard]," she said. "I think I closed my eyes because I knew that we were recording the song to audio and I was determined to do it in one take, which we did."
Bruneau attended the star-studded film premiere at the legendary Graumman's Chinese Theatre earlier this year. "At first when my scene came up and my face singing was the only thing on the screen, I froze and held my breath hoping that I would sound good," she recalled. "I had never seen my face that big, so it was a little overwhelming at first."
For Bruneau, the gig is a bit of a pay-off after seven years in local clubs. "I had a great feeling of validation that all the work put into those songs is now a part of something. And they are a part of something good." Bruneau performs at The Tiki House in Pacific Beach Oct. 23. (www.christy
Big Music Awards week
Every year the San Diego Music Awards sets up a killer week of music prior to the actual ceremony (Sept. 28 at Humphreys by the Bay). But this year is the biggest shindig to date with the advent of PB & Jam, an all-day event on Sept. 26 that will feature nearly 60 of San Diego's best bands gigging at various joints in Pacific Beach. Acts include Pistolita, Scotch Greens, Goodbye Blue Monday, Hot Like (a) Robot, Al Howard & K23 Orchestra, A.J. Croce, Crucial, The After Party, The Accident Experiment, Steve Poltz, Elijah Emmanuel, Berkley Hart, Agua Dulce, Reeve Oliver, Buckfast Superbee and The Glossines.
One ticket price gets fans into all 12 clubs, plus a free compilation CD with more than 20 tracks by local artists. It's the penultimate event of this year's SDMA Week, which also includes the annual Acoustic Music Festival on Sept. 24 at Claire de Lune coffeehouse in North Park. Artists will perform both on the traditional stage as well as the new downstairs room, with Matt Curreri, Billy Shaddox, Joey Harris, Will Edwards, Gregory Page and Anya Marina among those a-strummin'. And in case you don't know, CityBeat is a big ole sponsor of the SDMAs, so we're totally biased. But anytime you can see a bitchin' concert and have all the proceeds go to buy Taylor Guitars for local elementary school music programs, we're all about self-promotin'.
On Sept. 25, Brick by Brick will hold a tribute for Paulette Valenzuela, the lead singer of hard rock band The Abuse who was murdered in her Ocean Beach apartment earlier this summer. The show will feature the debut performance from a revamped Six Foot Death Trap, now augmented by Johnny Verbeek and Shaun Frude, formerly of The Abuse. Also on the bill is Abloom, featuring members of Soulfly, Snot and Onesidezero. Admittance is free, but any donations made at the door will go to Valenzuela's funeral fund.
Yet another new posthumous Jim Croce album drops this week-The Way We Used To Be, a triple-disc anthology released by Sanctuary Records. The 83-track collection includes outtakes and studio chatter among the hits.
Also new this week is Digital Defamation, the debut album from an industrial hard-rock supergroup of sorts, Operator X. The band includes past and present members of local favorites like the Deere Johns, The Locust, Jejune, Lovelight Shine and aMiniature, and is signed to German label Dark Wing.
After peaking at No. 16 on the pop charts, Switchfoot's Beautiful Letdown remains at No. 1 on the Top Christian Album charts. The album has moved more than 1.16 million copies.
Local folk icon Cindy Lee Berryhill was filmed serenading the crowd that gathered when an episode of ABC's Extreme Home Makeover was shot in Encinitas earlier this year. No word if she made the final cut, but the episode airs Sept. 26.
Pop and jazz trio Mesa Blue has just released a new CD, Looking Down the Road.
Both 3against1 and the Parker Theory have made it into the semi-finals of the Zippo Hot Tour, a contest designed to unearth the "best unsigned bands in America." The next round takes place in December.
The Casbah will be the site of Aids Walk Benefit on Sept. 24, with The Q, After Party, Buckfast Superbee, Rayleigh Scattering and Velvet Tongue rocking the house to raise funds for a worthy cause.
Jazz fans won't want to miss a rare show from Road Work Ahead, Sept. 27 at Dizzy's. The '80s all-star group features pianist Bill Mays, bassist Bob Magnusson, guitarist Peter Sprague and drummer Jim Plank, and is reuniting to promote a new album, On the Road Again.