The new SOMA is coming together. The venue is located at 3350 Sports Arena Blvd. and owner Len Paul has set a tentative grand opening date of either Oct. 18 or Oct. 25. They've also set up their Web site at www.somasandiego.com.
In the past two years, San Diego's all-ages scene has seen a drastic rejuvenation, with the opening of the Epicentre, the Scene and the impending return to old SOMA glory. The Epicentre's got its challenges: good shows, mediocre venue, questionable location. The Scene is nearly the same: good shows, mediocre venue and slightly better location.
SOMA is reportedly a great house, with one large venue for big shows and a smaller one for indie and local shows. Len Paul has his detractors in the city, for sure (Black Heart's Pall Jenkins recalled, while hanging a poster near the old SOMA, Paul approached him, ripped the poster down and barked, “you'll never play in this town again.” Such stories aren't uncommon.)
But there are also those who feel Paul was one of the most important catalysts for the San Diego scene-the man who helped break blink-182, Unwritten Law, Buck-O-Nine and Rocket from the Crypt (not to mention out-of-towners like Green Day) and gave whippersnappers in San Diego not only good bands to see, but also a rock hangout away from home.
Which Paul will we see when the new venue opens? It remains to be seen.
Free Radio San Diego claims to offer the only 100 percent independent radio station int town and is operating as a pirate signal in direct violation of the FCC at 96.9FM. They only claim to be on the air Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays from 7 to 11 p.m. At least they're supposed to-who knows. Chalk one up for the ether looters...
Slightly Stoopid is gone for three weeks on tour with G. Love & Special Sauce throughout the Pacific Northwest. They're then flying out to Hawaii to play the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing with Pennywise at the famed Kualoa Ranch. They're also in the process of recording their new album, which is being co-produced by “Miguel” (Sublime, Unwritten Law) and Chris Debendetto (G. Love). Look for a release in either February or March of 2003.
El Cajon's “Mexican Elvis,” El Vez, is currently living in Seattle performing in the theatrical production, “Teatro ZinZanni,” which is described as “the Kit Kat Club on acid” and “the place where Moulin Rouge meets Cirque de Soleil.” CNN followed El Vez around for three days and aired an “Elvis: 25 Years Later” segment on the King's impersonators.
El Vez reports that he's been quite the hobnobber: “I had soup with Eddie Vedder and Chris Cornell a while ago. I saw John Reis when he was up here with the Hot Snakes. I had drinks with the bass player of Wilco and Sam Jones, the director of the new Wilco film, dinner with Jason Priestly right before his crash, and we did a Christmas TV special with Dave Foley, Mike Meyers, and Dave Thomas in Canada.”
El Vez: Our little baby's all growns up...