Like every other aspect of life in San Diego this week, the world of local music has not been left unscathed.
A number of local practice spaces, including Clairemont Mesa's Universal Sound, String Masters in Poway and both Superior Sound locations (Kearny Mesa and El Cajon) were or are dangerously close to the flames.
Allotic drummer Steve Silva got a call from guitarist Chuck LaVerdier Monday morning advising him to come pick up his drums, as LaVerdier's Tierrasanta home was on the verge of evacuation. After picking up the drums, Silva went to check on the band's practice space at Universal Sound-where all 40 rooms are rented out, some occupied by more than one band.
Silva loaded as much as he could into his Volkswagon Golf, but was forced to leave behind a bass cabinet, guitar cabinet, four-track recorder and a computer. Other bands had to make similar decisions:
Lauren Spears, singer-bassist of The Licorice Quartet, was forced to leave her Farfisa organ-not easily replaced-at her band's space in order to save the guitar gear.
Eric Shefstad, member of The Classified and the ironically named Watch it Burn, was concerned on Monday when flames blazed on the corner of Pomerado and Scripps Poway Parkway. That is about 500 yards from String Masters, where local bands Spell Toronto, Transit War, Agent 51, Parklife, Unwritten Law, Kamala and others rent space. As of Tuesday morning, the fire had miraculously missed the facility
"There's a wall that saved the business park, but everything around it is toast," Shefstad said.
The local music community has been quick to respond. Davey Quinn, Tiltwheel frontman and all-around Man of Action, immediately began contacting friends and acquaintances to gather food and other relief supplies to deliver to North County relief centers. He is also one of many local musicians already planning benefits for fire victims. Interested people (including venues willing to host such an event) should contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
"Two of my sisters and a lot of other people I know have been evacuated already and I just want to be able to help.... I don't have the money to give right now, so this is what I'm able to do," Quinn said.
Some have lost much more than equipment and practice space. One band dedicated to playing any benefit is fledgling dirty rock band The Apples (possible teenage heirs to the RFTC/ Dragons legacy). One of their members had his family home in Alpine burned to the ground.
Local radio show shakeup
Al Guerra has left FM 94/9 to co-host 91X's Loudspeaker alongside current host Tim Pyles. This means longtime co-host Jason Riggs will be leaving the local music show. The station has also announced that it will finally address the main complaint about Loudspeaker-that it airs Mondays at midnight (technically Tuesday morn), a horrible time slot that many viewed as a diss to local music. Starting Nov. 2, the show will move to Sundays from 6 to 8 p.m.
The time switch seems to be an effort to beat Guerra's old station to the punch, since Local 94/9 airs Sundays from 8 to 10 p.m. Anya Marina will take over Local 94/9 in Guerra's absence, and Guerra says that his move has absolutely nothing to do with ill will regarding 94/9.
Credit for this massive shift in local music radio coverage should be thrown the way of little alternative station that could, Premium Radio 92/1. They've long aired Go Loco on Sundays from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.
With all three shows running either simultaneously or consecutively, it means that local alternative music-which two years ago was relegated to one crappy, two-hour time slot on 91X-will dominate the San Diego airwaves on Sundays.
Rockola recreates Beatles album
"It's tough, a lot harder than I thought."
Rockola guitarist and frontman Bob Tedde is speaking of rehearsals for the band's Halloween night performance at Spreckles Theatre, where Rockola will recreate The Beatles' legendary White Album.
"There are layers of things going on in the music, and getting it just right is a real undertaking. It's the perfect album for Halloween," Tedde insists, noting the album's Charles Manson connections and darker themes. "[It's] still disturbing by today's standards. You've got the poppier stuff counterbalanced by something like "Revolution No. 9,' which is a frightening piece of music no matter how you look at it."
Sounding like the more melodic aspects of local noise terrorists The Locust, this show may be the only opportunity to ever hear "Revolution No. 9' in a live setting.
"The plan is to recreate every nuance of the album, all four sides, live," Tedde says. "Former [Frank] Zappa guitarist Mike Keneally will handle keyboard duties during the show, and we have a backing symphony. But we've gone as far as to have a bird caller who will reproduce the calls during "Blackbird,' a fiddle player for "Don't Pass Me By,' a kids choir for "Birthday,' and so on. If it was on the record, you'll hear it on stage."
On the heels of Rockola's success last year in recreating Sgt. Pepper's, Tedde hopes that these types of repro shows will catch on.
"It would be nice if this develops into a niche for touring. It's the perfect combination of a live concert and the visual trappings of a Broadway show."
More info is available at www.rockola.com.
Something Corporate cancelled its Oct. 28 appearance at SOMA, rescheduling for Dec. 18. A written statement said: "We hate to change a date, but it has become clear that now is a time for our fans dealing with this [fire] dilemma to be with their families. We hope you all understand and we will be looking forward to this tour's last date being a big San Diego homecoming show."
The Muse also cancelled the Monday night show featuring Dynamite Boy, Staring Back, Near Miss and 2 Pump Chump. More cancellations at a number of venues are likely this week, so those with concert plans should double-check before going out.