The mountain of a music fan known as Bear Paw, oft-sighted at local shows in signature Hawaiian shirt, went down in San Diego underground music history last December by throwing the most kick-ass, three-day house party in recent memory, though it's doubtful attendants remember many details. The Mira Mesa shindig featured live performances by Scarlet Symphony, Liquorice Quartet, The-Band-Formerly-Known-As-Prizefight and others-more than a dozen total. More importantly, it planted the seeds of an even bigger party: a month-long celebration of music and D.I.Y. ethics simply yet appropriately titled "Best. Month. Ever."
"We chose to do it in June because so many of my good friend's birthdays are in June," says Bear Paw, whose own b-day falls in the month.
The idea is to have at least three bands play a various local clubs every night during the month. Mr. Paw is booking all the shows himself and thus far has dates scheduled at Scolari's Office, The Alibi, Chaser's Cocktails and the Moose Lodge, and he's still talking to a number of possible venues, including Buster Daly's in North Park, which host shows on a semi-regular basis. Paw's biggest obstacle in preparing Best. Month. Ever. is the same gripe most local musicians have: lack of venues and trouble getting in to existing ones.
"In San Diego, even all the dive bars are booked solid two months in advance," he explained. Particularly frustrating has been booking all-ages shows. Bearpaw is still trying to get one date at the Epicentre.
With more than 80 local and out of town bands already committed to playing, Paw is looking into hosting shows at bars and other places (community centers, etc.) that don't usually host live music.
Paw and the organizers of the event aren't looking to make any money off the project. "If people were to go to every one of the shows, it would cost less than $100," he says. He also doesn't plan on any of the shows costing more than $5. Any profit that is made will be donated to StandUp For Kids, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping homeless youth. A few dates are still left open: bands interested in playing, venues interested in hosting and other volunteers should contact Bear Paw at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A website dedicated to the endeavor (including a full current schedule) is up at www.bestmonth ever.org.
All American Music
Local folk singer-songwriter Jamie Reno has signed with indie label 33rd Street, a subsidiary of Tower Records which just released his fourth album, All American Music. The disc, featuring 15 Reno originals, was recorded independently and then shopped to labels, with Tower's obvious advantage in distributing music giving them the edge.
Reno decided to ask a number of major players to perform on his recording, resulting in a credits page that reads like a who's-who of the music biz. With a little detective work, he tracked down and secured appearances from the likes of Charlie Daniels, Ricky Skaggs, Charley Pride, Suzy Boguss, Dickey Betts (Allman Brothers), Randy Meisner (Eagles), Jeff "Skunk" Baxter (Steely Dan, Doobie Brothers) and, most impressively, Scott Gorham of Thin Lizzy. A slew of local artists also turn in performances, including Dennis Caplinger, Eve Selis and Randi Driscoll.
The CMT website currently has a Jamie Reno sweepstakes, with top prize of a Taylor guitar. So far over 10,000 people have entered to win. If Reno's name looks familiar in a non-musical sense, it's likely because for the past decade he has been Newsweek magazine's San Diego correspondent, as well freelancing for publications such as Rolling Stone, The New York Times and TV Guide.
Lola skips town, Pinwheels disband
Promising local sweet pop band The Pinwheels have officially disbanded, due to vocalist-keyboardist Nicola Wilson's relocation to Oregon.
"She had a great opportunity to start a vintage clothing boutique there, a store she's wanted since she was a wee lass," said non-Scottish guitarist Gabe Acock. "When she was younger she set up a store in her parents basement with a cash register and everything. It was called "Tools and Stuff.' She'd charge her parents money to wash clothes and use tools.
The shop is called Lola's Boutique, which is even band-related. "The band was actually originally called Lola's Luck," Acock explained, "but it was too hard to say and nobody understood us. It comes out sounding like "Lolslk.'"
Acock says the band is still planning to record this summer, most likely a free six- to nine-song CD.
"We don't want the only legacy to be our crappy-ass demo," Acock said. "We'll fly Nicola down from Oregon."
Rosie Flores has a new album Single Rose out this month, consisting of live, in-studio re-recordings of some of her best-known songs.
Candye Kane has won two Trophees France Blues International Awards-one for Best International Chanteuse and one for Artist of the Year. Kane next heads to Israel for a short tour, followed by a headline spot at the Toronto Blues Festival.
Local music fans should mark their calendars for July 30, when a record five San Diego groups will be on the bill at Molly Malone's in Los Angeles as part of the International Pop Overthrow festival. Rachael Gordon, The Liquorice Quartet, The Shambles, Four Eyes and Static Halo and will join Maple Mars, The Waking Hours and the "just lost their cash cow" Rembrandts.
A new website has been set up for an organization called "SoCalRock," whose stated goal is to provide a comprehensive and reliable collection of useful info for Southern California musicians. You can check out venue listings, etc. at www.socalrock.com.
In 31G news, the label recently released This is Circumstantial Evidence, a DVD featuring footage from Cattle Decapitation, Jenny Piccolo, Swing Kids and The Locust, among others. In other Locust news, their next release will be the aptly titled EP, Follow the Flock, Step in Shit.
Via Sattelite's next effort, Cities Are Temples, will once again be produced by Sven Erik Seaholm, and be released by Loud & Clear Records. The Santa Barbara label has recently relocated here, making up for the loss of Hairball 8 Records to Texas last year.
Music fans who also root for the Padres should be sure to tune into the AM radio station Mighty 1090 for the post-game show hosted by ex-Pad and local singer-songwriter Tim Flannery. The show is broadcast live after each game from Redfield's Bar and Grill at downtown's Manchester Grand Hyatt, and local acts play during the breaks etc. So far, Eve Selis, Berkley Hart and The Truckee Brothers have played a few tunes during the show.
The recently-renovated Alibi (which added a back smoking area and-gasp!-windows) is showcasing country, alt-county, rockabilly and roots rock on Wednesday nights. Bands should call 619-295-0881.