KCR's wire comes back to life
Since the days when Iron Butterfly was still making albums, KCR-San Diego State University's radio station-stood as a pillar of the local music scene and helped bring left-of-the-dial music to the city's underground. More than a few local music luminaries (RFTC's John Reis, for one) have done time as jocks, and playing live in the KCR studio was once a rite-of-passage for local and visiting bands.
A favorite rock 'n' roll watering hole even bears the station's former nickname-The Live Wire-thus christened by the bar's co-owners and proud KCR alumni, Joe Austin and Sam Chammas.
The station lost its luster over the last few years, due largely to the difficulty of receiving its signal. You might be able to pick it up passing the campus on I-8, as long as there's a full solar eclipse and you're wearing a titanium-foil cap. The station also broadcasts on outmoded cable radio, and few people outside KCR radio jocks know that if you split your cable wire and run an adapter into an FM antenna, you can get secret radio stations.
KCR temporarily solved its accessibility problem in the late-'90s when it became one of the first college stations to stream over the Internet. The option was shut down, however, when the recording industry turned Internet audio streaming into a federal issue. Disheartened deejays abandoned the station in droves when they realized few people were listening.
Now, that streaming legislation has been settled. KCR must pay $500 in annual royalties, but the fees aren't retroactively assessed as the feds had wanted. The station has hired a whole new staff of DJs (including a news team) and will relaunch its webstream as soon as the proper equipment arrives, which should be very soon.
"Going back online will do wonders for the station," says music director Michael Buchmiller. "Not only because of the fact that we can be heard all over the world, but for the morale of the staff."
The revitalized station plans to increase its public presence; they'll raise funds for new equipment, upkeep and even record company blood money through regular benefit shows. Interested bands, venues or listeners can get more information at kcr.sdsu.edu.
KCR will also be available on both Time-Warner Digital and Cox Cable-channel 956 on each service-starting Nov. 20.
Studios and homes lost in the fires
"The studio was located out on the 67 and Scripps Poway Parkway," said Del Currie, guitarist with alternative rock trio, Fono. "It was up on top of the hill overlooking the canyon." The band had just recently completed their new album when last week's fires wiped out their hard work. "We've lost everything from our gear to the masters for our new record. We're just gathering up some loan gear right now and trying to find a new place to rehearse. Hopefully [we can] set up a new studio again."
In the meantime Currie says the group plans an acoustic show at the Pirate's Den later this month, before taking a short break to regroup.
In related news, Ken Wilcox, ace guitarist of the Mark Jackson Band, lost his Crest home. One small bit of good news: While his amplifiers were destroyed, he was able to save his prized guitar and autoharp collection.
Project this month
"It's a tribute to all the music and so on that have influenced me in life," said singer-songwriter Jon Kanis, strumming his guitar. He was describing his striking pop-culture collage that adorns several walls of art collective The Hovercraft Project, located at 3643 1/2 Sixth Ave. in Hillcrest.
Covering a broad range of music and film icons, the work can be seen as both a cultural timeline as well as a study in the fleeting nature of fame. Just one of the 23 works that use every available space in a second floor apartment, it's art with a finite life span.
The brainchild of artist Layne Sterling, the current trend for urban renewal is behind the project. "Ironically, the artwork, and the apartment will be torn down soon to make way for new artists lofts," said Sterling. "So, why not use the space for something constructive in its final days?"
Saturdays in November from 2-6 p.m., Kanis will become a live part of the exhibit. "It's really comfortable doing this," he said, "kind of like playing in my own living room, only surrounded by art."
Expect major media coverage when a little bit of Hollywood comes to San Diego on Nov. 9. That's the evening that the H.M.S. Rose, docked in San Diego Harbor, will be the site of the private cast party for the latest Russell Crowe epic, Master and Commander. Entertainment will be provided by local Irish-American band Skelpin, which not coincidentally includes local woodwind player Tim Foley, who is cast in the film as a soldier and piper.
Seventies punk legends The Dils are the only San Diego act included on the Rhino box set, No Thanks! The '70s Punk Rebellion, out this month. They contribute "Mr. Big."
Spotted in the audience of the Incredible Moses Leroy's instore at Off the Record last week: Andrea Echeberry of Colombian group Aterciopelados.
Candye Kane released a DVD this week entitled In Concert: Ohne Filter.
On Sept. 11, Nickel Creek earned a gold disc for sales of 500,000 copies of their album, This Time.
Earlier this summer Japanese record label Teenage Head released A Case of RFTC Junkies; A Tribute To Rocket From The Crypt, with a lurid '50s horror film-inspired sleeve and a selection of punk and garage bands. Frontman John Reis attended the album's release party at Club Quattro in Shibuya, Japan and performed a 15-minute set with a trio of local musicians.
Those who showed up to see cover band Ziggy Shuffledust's tribute to Bauhaus last Thursday got a special treat when Bauhaus co-founder David J joined the band for a rendition of the goth standard "Bela Lugosi's Dead."
After five years, local punks Mother Russia are calling it quits. The band recently recorded a new album they say will still be pressed and are also following through on plans to release a compilation album called Young, Dumb and Full of Punk on their label, Red Scare Records. The comp will feature Danny Tanner, The Shitgiveits, Inciting Riots and The Attacks, among others. Trendy has also started a new band, Christian Club, with members of The Anonymous, and Death to W. Christian Club plays their first show Dec. 6 at Che Café. Fans are urged to check the R.S.R. message board (www.mother
russia.cc) to keep abreast of other members' movements.