Ellen Duplessie passed away on Feb. 24 after a 13-year battle with cancer. The San Diego native had been a rodeo rider and a coffeeshop owner, but she was best known to most locals as a diehard supporter of local music.
Ellen was a tireless champion of her young son Derek-sure to update everyone within earshot of Derek's development and goings-on. More importantly, while plenty of local music fans talk big, Ellen was one of the rare doers, leaping to fill perceived voids in the music scene. She and her husband Lyle helped promote a wide range of concerts, from gospel festivals to a rare reunion show by 1960s San Diego bluegrass legends The Scottsville Squirrel Barkers.
Duplessie also co-founded the free monthly music paper, The San Diego Troubador, which has been instrumental in the local resurgence of Americana and singer-songwriters. For the past few years, the paper has served as programs for both the Adams Avenue Roots Festival and Street Fair.
At the time of Ellen's passing, the Troubador had already been handed over to co-founders Liz Abbott and Kent Johnson. We at CityBeat offer our sincerest condolences to the Duplessie family, which extended beyond her bloodline. Anyone wishing to pay their respects can do so at a reception and celebration of Ellen Duplessie's life, which will take place on March 6, at 1 p.m., at Soledad Mountain Presbyterian Church in La Jolla.
The final line of the announcement for the reception could serve as a motto for the way Ellen lived: "Instruments welcome."
Man-about-North County Gary Bahen-who started Escondido-based Accident Prone Records in 1997 at the ripe old age of 17-has relocated to Portland, Ore. For the better part of the last decade, AP has released quality material from out-of-town acts and a slew of locals, including Logan Ellis, Counterfeit, The ScotchGreens and early Cattle Decapitation recordings (before the death-metal love child moved to Metal Blade in 2002).
Bahen says he plans to keep working with the bands and will maintain a strong San Diego presence. The move will expand the label to include more artists from the Pacific Northwest, an endeavor he's already started with AP's latest release, a 7-inch split by two Seattle metal bands, Teen Cthulhu and Wormwood.
"I moved to Escondido when I was 7 and have always considered it home," Bahen said. "Most of the friends I have I've made through the label. The San Diego music scene is great and I'll always be a part of it. Most of the bands already have tours planned and will be coming through Portland, and I'll be back and forth a lot."
The enterprising Bahen is also known for his screen printing, and supplies a large portion of San Diego bands with their T-shirts and other merchandise. He plans to maintain that portion of his business.
"It actually works out that UPS shipping rates are lower than California sales tax," he explained, "so I'll still be able to do printing for San Diego and it will actually be slightly cheaper for the bands."
Accident Prone's next project keeps with Bahen's local dedication. Originally planned as a 7-inch compilation with tracks from Mexico City Rollers, Altaira, Tiltwheel and The Subterranean Horses, Bahen now plans a bigger release with more bands and is accepting submissions.
To submit music for the compilation, visit www.accidentprone. com. Bahen warns the catalog on the website is down for about a week while he completes the move.
"I've got the whole [distribution] in my trunk right now," he said from a cell phone on the freeway outside San Luis Obisbo.
Arty jazz-punk combo The Plot To Blow Up The Eiffel Tower will have a free show on March 6, 4 p.m., at Hillcrest's Off The Record to mark the release of the band's new album, If You Cut Us You Bleed.
Negotiations are ongoing, but it looks like this year's International Pop Overthrow Festival, held at various Los Angeles area venues July 16 through Aug. 1, will have a strong San Diego presence for the first time. Amongst those invited to perform are Liquorice Quartet, The Bad Apples, Rookie Card, Four Eyes, The Stereotypes, Rachael Gordon, The Shambles and psychedelic pop rockers Silver Sunshine. The latter have also recently signed to Boston label Wishing Tree and are currently at Earthling Studios wrapping up their debut album, set for a summer release.
Blind Melons is staging a battle of the bands to be held on consecutive Tuesday nights, beginning this month and wrapping up with the finals in June. The winner will get a headline slot at the club. More importantly, they'll also get all the money made from the club's cover charge during the entire contest. The March 9 round will include Great American Space Playboys, Born Tonight and Critical Me.
Jack Johnson, not the popular chart-topper, but the North County country balladeer best known for his performances of Hank Williams' music under the guise of The Hank Show, has started a new group, The Band In Black, dedicated to the music of Johnny Cash. Sticking to the singer's late-'50s era, the trio performs without a drummer, just like Cash did. While they really don't look the part of Johnny Cash and his Tennessee Two, The Band In Black do an admirable job of recreating the vibe and sound of the legend. The group makes its south county debut at the La Jolla Firehouse on March 6.
Following their short arena tour with Linkin Park, South Bay's favorite sons P.O.D. will embark on a 40-city theatre tour beginning on May 1. No San Diego date had been set at press time. The video for the band's latest single, "Change the World" (which was filmed in 14 countries), recently debuted on MTV. The single has met with some resistance on radio, however.
A new release from Manuok is in the works and samples are available at www.manuok.com. The "band" is actually the solo project of Via Satellite's multi-instrumentalist Scott Mercado. The 14-song album (titled Mistakes and recorded in Mercado's bedroom) is a follow-up to 2001's Atrophy, which was recorded using Mercado's computer and a mono cassette recorder.