"I'm discouraged every other day, and sometimes more often than that," Carey Driscoll explained with a weary laugh. The man behind the Acoustic Music San Diego concert series held in Normal Heights is surprised by the lack of response. "It's a little disheartening sometimes to put so much work into this and have so little return."
Since July 2003, Driscoll has staged the event at a unique venue-the 250-capacity Normal Heights United Methodist Church. Despite booking marquee acoustic acts like David Wilcox and Open Road, on some occasions crowds numbered just a few dozen.
"Some people have expected religious content," Driscoll said. "And others have avoided the shows because they think there might be religious content. But there's not. I just rent the hall. I'm a tenant. My mission is to showcase national touring performers who historically skip San Diego and maybe a few old favorites."
Driscoll has avoided using local acts, though Lisa Sanders and Joel Rafael will make appearances as openers in October.
"Local acts have multiple venues to approach," he explained. "I also don't want to compete with local bars and coffeehouses. I want this to be special, something different."
To that end, Acoustic Music San Diego has succeeded both with an eclectic lineup (former Plimsoul Peter Case and progressive '70s British folk act The Strawbs will both perform in upcoming months) and small, personal touches like printed programs unique to each show. If that doesn't work, there's always the guarantee.
"Since we're trying to get people to take a chance, we offer a 100-percent money back guarantee on the show," Driscoll explained. "They just have to let us know by intermission."
To date, no one has taken him up on the offer. Even more surprising, especially considering the caliber of artists he's bringing to town, he offers no financial guarantees to performers.
"The performers seem to really like the care we put into these shows-how great the venue sounds and how intimate the interaction with the audience is. We've already had artists ask to come back. Now if we could just get more of the audience to do the same." www.AcousticMusicSanDiego.com
Robbing musicians ranks right up there with sodomizing kittens and paying homeless people to beat the crap out of each other. But it happens all too often in the San Diego music scene. Read on.
During the weekend of Aug. 14 and 15, scum broke into Room No. 12 of Universal Sound Miramar and cleaned the place out. The space was shared by four local bands-Rat City Riot, Tamora, Last Priest and Please Mr. Gravedigger-and the scum lifted everything from Marshall cabinets to a broken bass rig.
Please Mr. Gravedigger was "lucky" to be playing a show that weekend, so all they lost was the aforementioned broken rig and some PA speakers (which ain't no chump change to replace). For some of the bands, it was a complete loss. The bands are asking anyone who saw people unloading equipment from that room (the front door is marked by a black and white Rat City Riot sticker and spray-painted with the word "Oi") to contact band members or firstname.lastname@example.org as soon as possible.
Members of Rat City Riot believe that the thieves had a key (possibly a previous occupant) and advise all band members with practice spaces to change the locks or add further security to their practice space.
Violent men with little penises
In a better world, the robbery mentioned above would be our top tale of douchebaggery in the San Diego music scene this week. Ain't so. In the early morning hours of Aug. 19, Scolari's Office bartender and doorman Joe Cook was assaulted by three men in the alleyway behind the North Park bar and live music venue.
After arriving two hours early for his scheduled shift at 6 a.m,, Cook parked his car "and was walking towards the door when I was hit in the back of the head with a stick," he said.
Cook fell to the ground, and the assailants continued to kick and punch him while he was down. He suffered bruises, a large contusion near one eye and a misshapen cornea.
"The doctors say none of the damage is permanent as far as they can tell," said Cook, whose vision is now blurry, and he occasionally sees double.
Cook didn't immediately file a police report because he "didn't want that kind of publicity for the bar. In all the time I've worked here and George [Scolari] has owned the place, nothing like this has happened."
Cook believes the assailants may have been skinheads or, more specifically, SHARPS (Skinheads Against Racial Prejudice) because there was one white and two black males, all wearing boots and clothing that Cook recognized as common to SHARPS.
"I just don't understand it," said Cook, a favorite among Scolari's regulars. "As far as I know, I don't have any enemies." He also doubts the assailants were waiting for him specifically, since the event occurred two hours before his normal starting time.
"I think they just wanted to hurt someone, anyone," said Cook, noting that the men made no attempt to rob him.
Anyone with information about the attack is urged to contact the staff of Scolari's Office at 619-296-3546.
"I even wish they'd just drop me a note, like an anonymous note, just to let me know why they would do this to anyone and why they did it to me."
Stand by your man
"He just emailed me and said "If you need a George Jones to your Tammy Wynette," explained Cindy Lee Berryhill, of her recording sessions last weekend with X frontman John Doe. Two songs were taped, including a sweet, Americana tinged lament "40 Cent Raise." The tracks will be included on Berryhill's next album.
It's not the first time the North County singer-songwriter and Doe have worked together-a few years ago she sang backup harmonies on Doe's version of "Sad About You" (a cover of local singer-songwriter and Doe compatriot, Gregory Page).
"I opened for X back in 1989," Berryhill recalled. "They requested me because John Doe and Exene [Cervenka] were fans, and over the years I ran into them on occasion." Eventually, Berryhill toured the Southwest with the John Doe Thing in 2000.
"We hung out and found out we had lots of things in common-like we both like to play savior to troubled souls," she said, deadpan.
For the new duets, she's backed by the Wigbillies, which includes famed comics artist Mary Fleener on bass. Percussionist Randy Hoffman is also on board, and the Truckee Brothers, Christopher Hoffee and Patrick Dennis are producing.
7th Day Buskers frontman Shawn P. Rohlf will play the role of ex-con Uncle Stanley in the Lamb Players Theater's production of Smoke On the Mountain. The musical comedy is about The Sanders Family Singers hitting the road in Depression-era America and the hijinx that ensue when they get set to perform at a small Baptist church in North Carolina. Rohlf gets to show off his skills, playing banjo, mandolin, upright bass, guitar and singing. The show runs through Oct. 3 at the new Joan B. Kroc Theater (6611 University Ave).
Singer-songwriter Carol Ames will have a CD-release party for her third album, Shades of Indigo, Aug. 28 at the Hard Rock Café La Jolla. Look for guest appearances from 21 Grams, The Truckee Brothers and The Coyote Problem.
New in stores this week is Jason Mraz' first DVD, Tonight, Not Again: Jason Mraz Live At The Eagles Ballroom. Last month, Mraz held a private screening of the DVD at Lestat's in Normal Heights. Fox Rox will air a behind-the-scenes look at the shindig on Aug. 26 (midnight, Fox Ch. 6).
San Diego solidifies its reputation as a bastion of Christian rock on Aug. 31 with the release of The Passion of the Christ: Songs. The compilation features songs inspired by this year's controversial movie, in which Jesus was beat like a mythical Rodney King. P.O.D. contributes "Truly Amazing," and blink-182's Mark Hoppus collaborates with MXPX for a tune called "The Empire."
Paul Williams has a new book on Bob Dylan out this month on Omnibus Press. The Encinitas-based author was the publisher of Crawdaddy, the world's first rock 'n' roll magazine.
Don't forget to cast your votes for this year's San Diego Music Awards nominees at www.sdmusicawards.com. Attendees at events surrounding this year's ceremony on Sept. 28 will receive a free exclusive SDMA compilation featuring Scarlet Symphony, The Plot To Blow Up The Eiffel Tower, Steve Poltz, AJ Croce, Jaime Valle, The Mark Jackson Band, Louis XIV, Operatic, Tom Cat Courtney, Irradio, The Stereotypes, Buckfast Superbee, Derek Duplessie, The Truckee Brothers, Mark DeCerbo & Eve Selis, Billy Shaddox, Rookie Card, Sven Erik Seaholm, Static Halo, Berkley Hart and The Buzzkill Romantics.