Being friends with a Ramone has its benefits-just ask Mario Gomez, lead singer of local trash-rockers The Makeout Boys. Gomez attended the Sept. 12 Ramones tribute show-held at the Avalon Theater in Hollywood-as a guest of Marky Ramone.
"When Marky has anything like this to do on the West Coast, he calls me up," Gomez explained. "He's uncomfortable in a lot of those situations. He just wants to play music and hang out and not deal with all the bullshit. He knows I can say what I want and get away with things he can't."
The candid Gomez had mostly positive things to say about hanging backstage with some of the biggest names in rock (among the performers were X, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Eddie Vedder), he wasn't afraid to take a few jabs.
"The Red Hot Chili Peppers didn't need to be there," he said. "They seemed to think they were there to close the show. No one seemed to really care to see them."
Gomez was also unimpressed with what he saw as a "punk" facade put up by Rancid frontman Tim Armstrong:
"Everyone was really there for the music and to pay tribute to Joey and Dee Dee. But Tim Armstrong seemed to be there for the scene.... He reminded me of that kid from high school you hated who had all the best clothes and was so "punk,' but didn't really give a shit.
"Everyone thinks Rancid's one of those bands who really live the lifestyle and care about punk, but after I met him, I'm convinced he only cares about punk becoming a more viable product."
Even someone Gomez admires-fellow horror-film aficionado Rob Zombie-wasn't spared the sharp tongue. "We were talking about horror films and directors," he said. "I asked him about the [sequel to] House of 1000 Corpses. He told me it was done, and I said, "Well damn, I hope it's better than the first one.'
"If I met him again I'd never be that rude to him, 'cause he was so nice and had such a good humor.... He looked straight back at me, smiled and said, "So do I.'"
Gomez was also impressed with former San Diegan Eddie Vedder:
"You could tell he was there as a fan, and we actually had a great conversation about the Dead Boys [Pearl Jam once performed "Sonic Reducer" with the late Joey Ramone]. I was able to put all that Pearl Jam crap aside and he was just a normal guy talking about rock 'n' roll."
Gomez said Vedder's was the prevailing attitude of musicians at the tribute, proceeds from which benefited cancer research. Ironically, Ramones guitarist Johnny succumbed three days to prostate cancer after the show.
"For the most part, the industry people stayed away and let the fans and artists interact," Gomez said, although he did spot a confused-looking Chris Rock sitting near the front of the room.
Gomez also found a new hero in Henry Rollins: "He was really fuckin' cool and obviously so excited to be there. He's completely unpretentious and was dressed like he'd just come from the beach. I saw him watching X and he was so excited, just like a little kid. He did "Judy is a Punk' the way it was supposed to be-just fuckin' wild!"
The Makeout Boys have just recorded four new songs and plan to tour soon. They play Oct. 16 at the Hot Monkey Love Café in the College Area. 619-582-5908.
Taking the stage, literally
"I was humbled," said Gregory Page when Lestat's owner John Hussler named the coffee shop's acoustic stage in his honor. A plaque commemorating the event was placed at the rear of the stage.
"For a moment, I wondered if maybe there was something wrong with me and no one had told me yet," Page joked, noting that such honors are usually bestowed when someone croaks.
More seriously, he added: "It was one of the most moving experiences I've ever had."
"John saw Gregory performing at the Adams Avenue Street Fair quite a few years ago," explained longtime Lestat's booker Rudy Prather. "He thought that Gregory was a much higher-caliber artist for where he was performing. So he decided to design the venue with Gregory's sound and artistry in mind."
Hussler will also give away an annual Gregory Page Award, Prather explained, "to an artist that has impacted the community in a positive way-as Gregory Page has with his dedication to his art."
Tragedy in threes
Bad things happen in threes. It's an ominous proverb that's come horribly true for local acoustic music newspaper, The Troubadour. Following the deaths of co-founders Ellen and Lyle Duplessie earlier this year, third co-founder Kent Johnson was involved in a fatal accident on Sept. 21 when he ran a red light and killed motorcyclist Randy Sanchez. Johnson, also known as Phil Harmonic when he performs with Jose Sinatra, is a special-education aide at Mira Mesa High School. He was rushing to work when the accident occurred at 7:35 a.m. Traffic snarled for hours as one of San Diego's busiest roads shut down for the investigation. At press time, Johnson was out on bail and set to be arraigned in Superior Court Sept. 28. He is charged with felony vehicular manslaughter and could face prison time and a large fine if convicted.
Reginald Clews arrested
Reginald Clews, founding treble violinist of The Hutchins Consort and a well-known instructor in the classical music community, was arrested Sept. 12 and charged with multiple counts of committing lewd acts with a minor. Clews had taught at several local schools and had conducted the North Coast Youth Symphony, but was an independent instructor at the time of his arrest. He has pleaded not guilty of all charges, and was being held on $1 million bail at the Vista Detention Center at press time. Clews' next court date is set for Sept. 27.
Radio personality Bill Balance passed away at his San Diego home Sept. 23. He was 85. Ballance, a staple on San Diego airwaves for more than three decades, was last heard on KFMB-AM before retiring in 1994.
A recent busy week for Louis XIV bodes well for the band's future. On Sept. 8, they drove to L.A. on an invite by Australian garage rockers The Datsuns. Three days later, they made good on another invite from rising L.A. rock band The Bronx. With great radio play for their single "Finding Out True Love is Blind," solid album sales for their self-released EPs and a recent tour with group du jour The Killers, big things are brewing for the band formerly known as three-fifths of Convoy.
Rockers Dorado Gold recently finished recording two songs with Paul Miner, bassist for Southern California punks Death by Stereo.
The Locust are working on a new EP for Mike Patton's Ipecac Records. The band, known for sub-minute blasts of noise, is going long-form this time, including a track that's more than four minutes long. Some Girls, the hardcore project featuring Locust bassist Justin Pearson, is working on a new album for Three One G Records, and one song will feature Karen O from the Yeah Yeah Yeahs on vocals.
After five years as local indie favorites, Waterline Drift has decided to call it quits.
Delta blues aficionados will want to check out Oceanside's Nathan James and Ben Hernandez when they unveil their new album, Make A Change Sometime, at Dizzy's on Oct. 3. Show starts at 5 p.m., and the price of admission gets you traditional barbeque and drinks courtesy of Mr. Hoggs Blues City Bar BQ.
This week San Diego's jazz legends Fattburger release their 14th album, Work To Do, on East Coast label Shanachie.
San Diego will be well represented in the Children of Nuggets box set, planned for a spring release. The 100-song collection documents the worldwide garage- rock revival of the '80s, with songs by The Crawdaddys, The Nashville Ramblers, The Tell Tale Hearts and The Unknowns.
Her own group has taken CMT by storm, but Nickel Creek's vocalist-fiddler Sara Watkins is also evolving as a session musician. This month, she turns up on two tracks from Trouble, the debut by very, very good singer-songwriter Ray Lamontagne (who plays with Badly Drawn Boy at 'Canes on Oct. 13-possibly a Watkins cameo?). She also turns up on "Higher Ground," a track from Darol Anger and the American Fiddle Ensemble's Republic of Strings. A concert by Nickel Creek side project Mutual Admiration Society will air nationwide on PBS radio affiliates Oct. 1.
Along with the third release by the Hot Snakes (see story on Page 21), Swami Records just put out a four-track vinyl-only EP featuring a song each by locals Beehive and the Barracudas and The Sultans, plus former San Diegans The Husbands and Alabama solo punk Dan Sartain.
Rumor has it that reggae icon Eek A Mouse now lives in Pacific Beach, so we are now permitted to bold his name in this column. Apparently he didn't consult the census report-all the stoners live in O.B.