While Nephew FCC tries to explain to Uncle Sam why it allowed industries that it was supposed to be regulating to pay for its business trips (How 'bout I just audit you real quick before you buy me lunch?), pirates are taking advantage of the diverted attention.
That's right-San Diego has a pirate radio station. The frequency is 96.9FM and unconfirmed sources say it's run by a Casbah regular (of course, the Casbah has told CityBeat that it's run by people at Fox Rox. When it comes to illegal activity, blame is a game of musical chairs). So even though we're not cool enough to have heard the station, if you're a fan of indie-underground-Casbah-type fare, chances are you'll dig what this cat is streaming straight out of a Casio in his or her parents' garage.
Of course, like any pirate radio station, it's only available within a few-mile radius (in this case, downtown San Diego) and only broadcasts at odd times of the night (when the cat is bored and stoned and has buddies over who want to do the whole “pirate radio” thing because it's so counter-cultural).
If you're interested, buzz by the frequency now and again when the sun's gone down. Just know that trying to catch a pirate radio station on the air is like trying to witness a grunion run-except the sound of the midnight tide is a bit more Yanni than the hiss and crackle of static.
Read about your miserable future
If your interest is piqued by CityBeat's cover story this week, you might also want to check out a book that local acoustic singer-songwriter Steve Denyes. He just published Gigging for a Living: Candid Conversations with Independent Musicians.
Denyes explains that it's basically a how-to book for artists who want to make a living in music without also having to make bread sticks to pay the rent. For the book, Denyes interviewed musicians from here to New York, and didn't approach the topic with rose-hued specs. The rock 'n' roll part's easy, but the sex and the drugs usually don't come without a few bucks in the pocket. Among the musicians interviewed for the book: Jeff Berkley, Scottie Blinn, Gregory Page, Peter Sprague, Steve White, Deborah Liv Johnson, Eve Selis, Shawn P. Rohlf, Joy Eden Harrison, Don Everett Pearce, Felix Wollehben and Randi Driscoll. For more info, check out www.giggingforaliving.com.
Marlboro cuts deal with Casbah
In this-columnist-is-trying-to-quit-smoking-so-he's-biased news: we reported that the devils-in-Prada who run R.J. Reynolds pulled Camel cigarettes out of the Casbah a few months ago. Seeing a parcel of clean air ripe for polluting, Marlboro has now signed a deal with the bar, and their representatives are currently slinking through shows with laptop-like computer equipment.
In exchange for a photocopy of your driver's license and some personal info (which tells the cigarette companies what sort of birdshit-for-brains aspiring cancer patients are still smoking these days), they give you a free Zippo lighter! Of course, the Zippo is made of copper that appears salvaged from a liquor store's “take a penny/leave a penny” jar. Even better-they don't contain fluid. Since 99 percent of the Zippo beneficiaries will never get motivated enough to buy fluid, it's safe to say that Zippo lighters are now filling an inordinate amount of area junk drawers (if not, e-mail me and I'll send you mine).
Further proof that Marlboro sucks as a marketing firm: instead of scruffy, tattooed local band members, they've hired rather cute females to peddle their product. Dudes who didn't already feel like a tool of The Man for filling out the questionnaires will now be even less inclined to do so, since they've got to fess up to a purty girl that they're big, fat, yellow-toothed gag-breaths who will do anything for a crappy Zippo. (And yes, the people who give out information for free smoker paraphernalia are usually dudes).
* Be sure to check out the Rolling Stones' documentary, Cocksucker Blues. There is a scene shot backstage at the Sports Arena (June 13, 1972) in which Mick Jagger slums it by donning a plain denim jacket instead of his trademark over-the-top silver coat. “I don't care-it's only San Diego,” he says. Despite his dreary assessment of our fair city, Jagger ended up enjoying the show so much that the band came out for an unscheduled encore and played “Honky Tonk Women.”
* As a youngster, singer Ray Brandes of now-defunct local band Tell Tale Hearts hoaxed some UFO photos and sent them and a letter to a magazine. He didn't think much about his little joke until a retired military official called a few weeks later wanting to speak to “Mr.” Brandes about his “sighting.”
* When KISS played the Civic Theatre in 1975, their opening act, Rush, was planning a practical joke on the headliners. Being typical headliners, KISS was made privy to the plans ahead of time and arranged to have Rush pelted with pies at the end of their set. After their set, Rush discovered some Native American costumes left over from a recent theater production and, in the middle of KISS' carefully choreographed show, three little Indians came dancing across the stage.
* In 1985, a hangout for Point Loma High School students called PJs held an all-day show called “New Sounds.” Lucky punk and mod fans who happened to stop by the event were treated to a one-off show by a band called Boys About Town. The band included: Ed Ball of legendary outfit Television Personalities and the Times, who would go on to be one of the men behind Creation Records; Simon Smith of the Merton Parkas & Mood Six; and well as Paul Bevoir of The Jetset with Anthony Meynell of Squire. The idea was to play a round robin of hits-closing with a cover of the Buzzcocks' “Ever Fallen In Love”-and record the performance. The 500 kids who caught the show thoroughly enjoyed it, but as for the tape? It was one long buzz, broken up only by the song introductions...
* Mark Gardener of legendary shoegaze band Ride related this San Diego vignette at a recent Casbah show: “Stephen Stills came to see us in London and was really excited by the music and really seemed to get into it, and he told us that he would come to see us when we played in San Diego. He ended up having to do something else, but when we got to the venue someone said, ‘A package arrived for you.' When we got to our room backstage there was a bouquet of flowers from him, apologizing for missing the show. It made our day... That's what I remember about San Diego. It's a lovely place.