On his way to a gig on Sept. 2, San Diego's premiere saxophonist Hollis Gentry rolled his car and suffered serious injuries, including a fractured jaw and other facial damage. On Oct. 10, his local jazz pals will take the stage at Humphrey's Backstage Lounge for his benefit-including Fattburger, Gentry's former band (he also contributes five songs to their new album, Work to Do). Also on hand will be famed session player and Fourplay bassist Nathan East, who Gentry performed with in the early '70s. Rounding out the entertainment will be singer Toni Redd and saxophonists Charles McPherson and Daniel Jackson, with introductions from the staff at smooth- jazz station KIFM.
The event starts early-3 p.m.-and the $25 admission goes to help pay for Gentry's significant medical bills. If you can't make the show but still want to help, donations can be made at any San Diego branch of Union Bank of California, care of his mother, Theodora Gentry.
Dow Jones ruins band
In early 2004, hip-hop and jazz fusionists Spaceman Spiff appeared close to a deal with reputed jazz label, Savoy Records. Now the band is breaking up and at least one member is moving out of the country.
"We went up to Los Angeles in April and auditioned for Savoy and the whole staff turned up to check us out," explained the quartet's saxophone player Clay Elliot. "Things looked really good for a while, and we started talking about radio markets and touring."
As is often the case with the revolving door at labels these days, the band's biggest supporter flew the coop.
"All of a sudden, I left voice mail that was never returned, and we didn't hear anything," Elliot said. "Come to find out a couple of months later our A&R guy was no longer at Savoy and was now with a financial company in San Diego."
Wanting answers, the band tracked down the A&R-cum-moneyman. Turns out he had indeed informed Spaceman Spiff he was leaving-he just forgot it's a professional courtesy to ensure the person on the other end of the line is coherent enough to relay the message.
"He told us he had spoken to our bassist Ivan Garzon," Elliot chuckled. "Unfortunately, Ivan was drunk when he called, so he never remembered the phone conversation. No one ever knew what happened.
"I had already quit my job," Elliot remarked with a bit more disappointment. The band will hold a farewell show at the Onyx Room Oct. 9, a last chance for fans to pick up a DVD with Spiffy videos and live footage. Original drummer Mikey Cannon (now with the B-Side Players) will join current sticksman Toby Ahrens, guitarist Tommy Collins and Elliot for the finale.
After that, Elliott plans to move to Australia.
"I need a change of scenery," he said.
Gettin' juggy at Shit's Tight Sundays
Friday and Saturday nights are for amateurs. True connoisseurs know the best nightlife moments occur during so-called off times, when the squares are at home because hangovers and desk jobs don't mix. Sundays are for recuperating, separating whites from colors and eating the greasy panaceas of life for such folk.
The owners of The Tower aren't such folk.
The bar has given East County jug-core band Kolob free rein on Sundays, when the band and friends barbecue, DJ and break the golden rules of mixology. Assuming a modicum of motor skills remain, each "Shit's Tight Sundays" will culminate in a lubricated performance by Kolob themselves.
At last Sunday's premier, the City Heights landmark was packed, suggesting that it may not be a bad idea to turn over the bar to a bunch of jug and banjo-wielding drunken misfits. The free smorgasbord included standards like chips and dip, chicken, carne asada and veggie burgers. In keeping with the neighborhood's international flair, non-traditional snacks-deep-fried pigs' ears, duck eggs with partially formed embryos, and large, barbequed bullfrogs-were also on the menu.
La Mesa hot spot for Old people
When alt-country heroes The Old 97's wanted to find the right producer and studio to capture their chemistry on their new album, they didn't go to Austin, Memphis, Muscle Shoals or Nashville.
They came to La Mesa, where Mark Neill helped them bottle the sound of Drag It Up, their debut for New West Records. The Dallas band holed up here for a few months earlier this year to work on the project, and local cat Archie Thompson plays a bit of piano on the album.
Although Neill and his Soil of the South Productions have largely flown under the media radar for more than 20 years, roots greats like the 97's, Los Straightjackets, Billy Zoom of X, Deke Dickerson and Big Sandy know where to go to get "that sound."
"That sound" is mid-'60s, analog 8-track recording with vintage equipment. No digital tricks. Minimal overdubs.
"I refuse to make things sound modern. It's not that I'm going for old-I'm just going for honest," said Neill, noting that what you hear on Drag it Up is exactly what you'll hear at an Old 97's live show.
"They actually played and sang these songs straight through. No punch-ins. No auto-tuning. Loose and funky like a real band."
A Georgia native, Neill admits San Diego ain't the most fertile soil for roots music, but he keeps himself busy. He's got family and friends here. Regardless, he can pack his whole studio into a few suitcases and travel wherever "that sound" is needed.
The Old 97's will play at 4th & B with pedal steel wizard Jon Rauhouse on Oct. 12.
These people recall 8-track
San Diego State's volunteer-run radio station KCR may be short on signal strength, but since starting in 1969 it's never been short on music rats wanting to play Wolfman Jack for a semester. Hell, a few even got real jobs, like KNSD's Ken Kramer, current and former 91X jocks Al Guerra and Marco Collins, ex-KGB man Ted Giannoulas (he was the intern who made millions by fooling around in a chicken suit at professional sporting events), Bart "DJ Blackstone" Cheever, Rookie Card frontman Adam Gimbel and even Whistlestop owner Sam Chammas.
But none of those tourists had the longevity of DJ Joe Shrin. Shrin has been with the station for 28 years, which speaks volumes about both his loyalty and his reluctance to grow up. Shrin is spearheading KCR's first DJ reunion, Oct. 8-10 at the Town & Country Hotel in Mission Valley. The event is the kickoff for a planned KCR Alumni Association, and the search is on for anyone who spun tunes at the station. Represent, old guy. www.kcralumni.org/ lists/reunion2004.
At 8:15 a.m. on Oct. 14, 21-year-old Samuel Horn will be arraigned on charges of first-degree murder and robbery in the death of Paulette Valenzuela, vocalist of the Abuse. After Horn was found hiding out in Mexico in August, he was arrested and extradited to the U.S., where he has been held without bail. The Abuse is featured on the cover of this month's SD Music Matters magazine.
Fono are ready to unmask their new album, It's the Way That You Use It. Adding a twist to their Oct. 10 CD-release party, the band won't-uh, well-actually play. Other musicians will give Fono's new tunes the coming-out treatment. Held at a private club called Airport, admission is by invite only via the band's website. The quartet will also play on KUSI's morning show on Oct. 16. www.fono.net
Denver Harbor drops their major label debut, Scenic, Oct. 12. Look for the band to tour for five weeks in November and December with Unwritten Law.
Nickel Creek's mandolin player extraordinaire Chris Thile releases his latest solo disc, Deceiver, Oct. 12. Lately, Thile has dabbled in everything from jazz and classical to acoustic music, but this album is more rock-oriented and marks the first solo effort by the Vista native to include vocals. And, like a good little virtuoso, he plays every instrument heard on the release.
Sixties pop/psych revivalists The Liquorice Quartet may not have won Best Pop Band at the San Diego Music Awards, but there's something to be said for being nominated based on the strength of their live shows and a few demos. The band recently overhauled its lineup, with former guitarist Chris Fields (John Cougar Concentration Camp, The Dwarves) moving to drums. Filling his considerable shoes is former Pinwheel, Gabe Acock. Insert your own hilarious dick joke here.