Dustin Lothspeich is the new talent buyer for The Merrow. Lothspeich, a musician who performs in Old Tiger, Diamond Lakes and Boy King, took the reins from outgoing promoter Joe Rinaldi last month. In an interview over coffee at Claire de Lune in North Park, Lothspeich says he wasn't actively applying for the role, but began helping Rinaldi book some shows earlier this year.
"I've had a long relationship with Joe Rinaldi, and he's booked a lot of my bands," he says. "A few weeks ago, he reached out to me and said, Who would you book with this band called Little Red Lung?' So I gave him a few suggestions."
A few weeks later, Rinaldi set up a meeting with Lothspeich and The Merrow owner Paul Smith to discuss a changing of the guard. Lothspeich was still new to handling the role of a booker, but was ready to jump in. In the past, Lothspeich mostly booked shows for his own bands, and he's still adjusting to handling the process of bringing touring bands to the venue, with some help from relationships Rinaldi built up before departing.
"It's still new to me. I'm still learning the ropes," he says. "There's a whole process that goes into bringing a band into San Diego. The cool thing is that I feel I have a good foundation to pair that knowledge with my own experiences."
While Lothspeich is still getting settled in his new role, he's ready to help continue building The Merrow into a desirable location for live music in town.
"I really just want to put on good shows," he says. "I think you have to approach it that way.
"There are so many good places to play," he continues. "The Merrow has potential to join The Casbah and Soda Bar as a quality place for bands to play, and for people to hang out."