Jon Cougar Concentration Camp plays San Diego Free Radio benefit
Fans of the much-missed local punk band Jon Cougar Concentration Camp get the occasional respite from mourning when the group, which officially disbanded in 1999, plays the occasional one-off reunion. Such an event is taking place Aug. 2 at Che Café, where the band will headline a benefit for Free Radio San Diego (that's the official name of them wacky pirates broadcasting on 96.9 FM).
JCCC guitarist Chris Fields (who keeps busy nowadays wielding the axe for locals Machinegun and The Licorice Quartet and has played with nationals The Queers and The Dwarves) says the band has no official connection to 96.9.
"Part of it was that we've only done two Jon Cougar reunions in the past two years and we wanted to do one at an all-ages venue," he says, noting that the band has recorded new material and plans to record it soon. "I hate the fuckin' radio. It's just terrible-all commercial radio is. Even the local shows, they just suck, they just play their friend's bands or whatever. So anyone doing anything to counter that is cool."
Fundraising for renegade First Amendment junkies is right in line with the band's ethos and history. When a lawyer once threatened to slap JCCC with a cease and desist order on behalf of a certain R-O-C-K-er from a small town, Fields reputedly replied: "Bring the pain, "cause I keeps my shit the hardest, motherfucker!" The lawyer-hiring burnout called off his dogs after the ACLU stepped in on the band's side.
FRSD DJ Bob Ugly explains that the dues of volunteer DJs mostly cover the station's $400-per-month operating costs (rent, power)-extra income raised at the benefit would cover incidental costs and repairs. They're also $500 short of buying a new transmitter and upgrading from 30 watts to 100 watts. This would expand and thicken the existing signal and, Ugly says, serve an even greater purpose: "We'll be able to shelf our existing transmitter and amplifier in the event of an FCC raid, so that we can come back on the air the next day with our old equipment."
Senator Dianne Feinstein has requested the local FCC Enforcement Division respond to FRSD's accusations of wrongdoing. The station sent audio of a May 9th encounter in which two FCC agents insisted they had a right to enter the home the station operates out of without a search warrant. In the raid, officials didn't advise station representatives of their right to remain silent, even when repeatedly asked to do so.
A tragic accident in Eugene, Ore. last Sunday hit many close to home. Portland-based power pop band The Exploding Hearts were en route home from a show at San Francisco's Bottom of the Hill when their van crashed, killing three of the band's four members and injuring the other and their manager. Killed were driver Matt Fitzgerald, 20, and passengers Jeremy Gage, 21, and Adam Cox, 23. Cox was from Escondido and has family and friends locally. The Exploding Hearts were on the fast track to stardom, with many critics (this one included) hailing their album Guitar Romantic as the best in years. Pitchfork Media reports the band was negotiating with Lookout! Records while in San Francisco. Our hearts go out to the members' friends, family and fans.
DJs Soul Reaver and Azriel of the Abyss and bands Swindle, Thee Corsairs, and Campaign for Quiet provided the background music for a Comic-Con kickoff party at The Rosary Room last Thursday. The real draw was the party's hostesses, the San Diego contingent of Suicide Girls. www.suicidegirls.com is a self-declared "empowered erotica" site with pierced, inked and dyed models. In a word, the day of punk rock porn has arrived. To be honest, it was hard to tell the models apart from ordinary female patrons, which simultaneously says a lot about the site and the quality of women in San Diego. Less inconspicuous were the throngs of beer-bellied, dorky males (more than a few of the comic-book-reading variety) who turned up to ogle the girls. I, meanwhile, was there on business. The $7-per-penis and non-web exhibitionist cover went to benefit The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund. No, that's not a joke-such a thing really exists and is dedicated to defending freedom of speech and expression in the popular arts. You can learn more about them at www.cbldf.org.
Pure rock "n' roll seeps from the pen of local comic book artist Chynna Clugston-Major, as readers of Blue Monday-her critically acclaimed series that chronicles the lives of high school mods in the early '90s-already know. Part of her trademark style includes labeling panels with suggested soundtracks indicative of an impressive record collection. Her local connection deepens on the first page of her new series, Scooter Girl, which depicts Kensington, "a hip little district of San Diego, just East of Interstate 15." Much of the action takes place in lovingly rendered drawings of watering hole/live music venue, The Ken Club, where "Ashton," a too-cool, misogynistic hipster, spins records. Major even references the real-life, recently-deceased club night "Hipsters," which featured live garage bands and DJs spinning freakbeat, soul, garage and psychedelic grooves. To top it off, the title character's brother sports the trademark North Park bowl cut.
Sticky-sweet '60s-esque garage pop band The Licorice Quartet deserves a big gold star for web site design. The band launched its new site, a visually pleasing, highly interactive take on the board game Candyland, recently at www.theliquoricequartet.com. It's not just empty calories either, there's plenty of substance, and the real treat is four mp3s available for download. If you like hard candy, be sure to check out the track "You're Gonna Miss Me," featuring Blag Dahlia of The Dwarves. The band plays next on August 8th at The Muse with The Pinwheels and The Bad Apples.