“It was kind of an awkward thing, because you look at the support I got from the staff at Rock [105.3FM],” says DJ Al Guerra, who, for 11 years, hosted Latitude 32, the Sunday night radio show that featured local music and touring indie bands that were coming to San Diego.
Guerra will reappear on San Diego's FM dial this Sunday (time not yet announced) as the host of 94.9FM's new local music show (title not announced either, goddammit).
“It was definitely a hard move to make,” he says. “I'm really excited because [94.9 program director] Garrett Michaels is a really cool guy and gets the fact that local music is a big part of San Diego. You can't escape it. And hopefully we'll be playing more local bands in full rotation. That's kind of my goal, is just to expose bands.”
Guerra was working at an elementary school in the early '90s when a friend suggested he would be great for promotional work at Rock 105.3FM. San Diego was (and still is) without a college radio station on the FM dial, so Guerra proposed a show based on underground, college music from around the nation. After the station's local show SD Rock was cancelled, Guerra made Latitude 32 about 70 percent local.
“That was back in '92 and '93, so the scene was kind of exploding with the Casbah bands and the SOMA bands,” he says. In those days, local bands like Drive Like Jehu, the Beat Farmers, Unwritten Law, Buck-O-Nine, Three Mile Pilot and Inch had all scored major-label contracts. “So it allowed me to play quality music mixed with all these national touring acts coming to town.”
For the new radio show, in addition to new bands like The Displaced and Hot Like (A) Robot, Guerra says he will play a “core of bands that have released three or four albums and are touring.” In other words, San Diego's usual suspects-Rocket from the Crypt, Switchfoot, Slightly Stoopid, Agent 51 and Sprung Monkey.
Guerra is posed with a peculiar situation with Agent 51 and Sprung-he manages the bands. He doesn't see it as a conflict of interest, however. If anything, he contends, local bands will benefit from his management experience.
“I've never seen it as a major conflict. Sprung Monkey was an established name before I even started working with them, as well as Agent 51,” he says. “Both bands are established, and regardless if I was there or not, I think they would be played.
“I think there are a lot of local bands that I've been able to help over the years from a management perspective. My phone rings everyday, from, ‘Where do I get a CD produced?' to ‘Hey, this is what my manager thinks. What do you think?' And it's cool, because those are the bands that have trusted me over the past 10 years and understand that I don't have a hidden agenda.”
Also of note is the fact that Guerra switched from Rock 105.3, a Clear Channel-owned station, to a station that begun its promotional campaign by attacking Clear Channel with radio spots.
“It's kind of weird, a lot of those people at Rock and 91X are like family to me, but I understand that outside that building there is a bigger picture,” Guerra says. “But I think that there's a bigger picture with everything once you start talking corporations. But it's like, ‘Hey, man, I'm from San Diego. I just wanna go on the air and play some music.”
He may not have an agenda, but Guerra will have a playlist, and local music fans will get to hear what it is starting Jan. 26 on 94.9FM.
Local noise terrorists The Locust have finished recording their new album for Anti- Records, warm 'n' fuzzily titled Plague Soundscapes. There will be 23 tracks (most Locust songs are spaz freakouts lasting less than 40 seconds) with phenomenal titles like “Anything Jesus Does, I Can Do Better,” “Can We Get Another Nail in the Coffin of Culture Theft?” and “Captain Gaydar, Turn on Your Radar.” The band produced the album itself, but it was engineered by Alex Newport, who's worked with everyone from At the Drive-In to the Melvins. “As far as how it [sounds],” says bassist Justin Pearson, “It's totally fucked. I love it” (www.thelocust.com).
The video for “California Girl,” the single by local pop-punkers Lucky 7, has been added to both MuchMusic in Canada and MTV Australia. (Note: Time Warner and Cox digital cable subscribers can get MuchMusic.) The band is currently on tour in the UK (www.feelingluckypunk.com).
Hyper-literate irony rockers Rookie Card have released their statement on how the Strokes ripped off Tom Petty. It's a medley that fuses “Last Night” with “American Girl,” and is available at http://mp3.com/rookiecard.
Attention local musicians: 34 Below is selling their tour bus. If you believe that having a tour bus the size of the Rolling Stones' is the first step to rock stardom, check this baby out at www.34below.com/ bus.htm. There's also a finder's fee of $500 for the person who refers a capable buyer.
Local art rockers Ilya just returned from a successful tour in Japan and solidified a management deal with David Brown, owner of the local arts and indie rock publicity company, Holiday Matinee. Earlier this week, the band (www.ilyamusic.com) was featured in the first episode of MTV's new show, “Clone High USA” (www.mtv.com/onair/clone_high/).
Local songbird Eve Selis will be playing live on ESPN Classic's “Super Bowl Road Show” on Saturday, Jan. 25, from 1 to 3 p.m. at Balboa Park. Emmitt Smith is the host and guests include Joe Namath, Art Shell, Max McGee, Bruce Smith and Paul Hornung (www.eveselis.com).