Awards season is in full swing, and band members and their fans are pleading for votes on local music web forums, homepages and at live shows like so many gubernatorial candidates. Not to be outdone by the much-ballyhooed San Diego Music Awards, SignOnSanDiego.com recently posted its annual online polls to gauge who readers think are la crème de la crème.
While clicking my own faves and snobbily sneering at some of the "Editorial Picks," I couldn't help but take special notice of the category that historically puzzles us rock geeks the most: "Best New Artist."
Not that the four bands-Skydiver, Vena Cava, The Plot to Blow Up The Eiffel Tower and Bunky-are unworthy of accolades, it's just that three of four have been rockin' those in the know for years. While Bunky might qualify (then again, they could have qualified last year, too) the former bands were formed in 1997, 1999 and 2001, respectively. It makes one question by whose standards an artist's salad days are measured.
Still, it's a nice bone thrown to a few bands heretofore overlooked. Voting ends Oct. 7, so cast your votes for the best of S.D. music and beyond before it's too late.
You wanted the best, you got it
Let me introduce The Mexico City Rollers (look for them as "Best New Artist" on SignOnSanDiego's 2012 ballot). With only six live shows under their belt, their claims of being "The Best Band in the World" may seem a little premature, but are nonetheless earnest.
"We're the best band ever because we say so," says MCR frontman Jeff Proctor. "We're better than Zeppelin 'cause we don't have some dork onstage prancing around, singing and looking like a girl. Fuck those guys."
The band's frenzied, pseudo-ultraviolent showing at The Cherry Bomb last weekend added some credence to their claim. It's hard to deny they're incredibly entertaining, though it's not a spectacle for the faint of heart-prepare to see large, sweaty, very drunk men in various states of undress play very loud music. The water ride warning, "You will get wet, you may get soaked" also applies, in reference to cheap beer thrown at or by the band.
"Sometimes beer and rock 'n' roll happens," Proctor says of MCR's riot act. "I don't think we need to warn the crowd about anything that might happen at a show, because that would take the fun out of it. Beer-throwing and jumping in the crowd aren't planned before. I know we're four handsome fucking dudes, but the people don't come to the show to see us standing around like mannequins."
The Mexico City Rollers perform with Civic Minded Five, The Barfeeders and The Teeth at Scolari's Office on Oct. 4.
Java Joe returns
Local music fans seeking some, uh, lighter fair than Mexico City Rollers have lamented the loss of Java Joe's, the Ocean Beach acoustic music Mecca famed for its singer-songwriter showcases partly responsible for launching the careers of Jason Mraz and Jewel, among many others.
The java man himself, Joe Flammini, is attempting to recapture the bygone days in conjunction with Kelly's Pub, where he begins booking talent this week. A number of the old venue's stalwarts (Calman Hart, Gregory Page, Dave Howard) will be making appearances in the near future.
In the tradition of the old venue, there will be regularly occurring gigs, acoustic showcases and the chance for young hopefuls to cut their teeth onstage. In October, open-mic nights (hosted by Hart cohort Jeff Berkely) will be held every Tuesday, and Cradle and Vertibird will play every Wednesday and Thursday nights.
A complete schedule will be available online soon at www.java joes-sd.com, and for booking information e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
What do you call a bass player without a girlfriend?
But I digress. As much shit as bass players get and as hard as bands like The White Stripes try to make them obsolete, we still love 'em and they're rarely out of a steady gig for long. Here's the latest big-string swaps in the local scene:
Davey Quinn, singer-guitarist for Tiltwheel, has been filling in on bass duties for the legendary U.K. hardcore band, Discharge. The band is wrapping up a series of American dates (eyewitnesses testify the West Coast performances were stellar) before Quinn accompanies them back across the Atlantic to tour Europe.
Watch it Burn bassist Adam Hay is out of the band, and taking his place is Eric Shefstad of fellow locals The Classified. The Rise Records recoding artists are leaving this week on a 16-day tour that will take them through the Southwest and then north to Chicago and back again.
The Pinwheels' long search for a bassist has finally ended. Jeremy Horne, formerly of the band Atcor, is assuming bass duties, leaving stand-in Jason Hee free to work full-time with his new band, The Buzzkill Romantics.
Loud and Clear Records (Goodbye Blue Monday, Prizefight) is accepting submissions for a "Best of San Diego" compilation. The release date is unknown and demos have been accepted thus far from the aforementioned bands, plus Sleeping People, The Pinwheels and Channing Cope. For more info, visit www.loudandclear records.com.
Black Market Productions started putting on punk shows way back in 1984. A year later, they started a 'zine that has continued intermittently ever since (www.blackmarketmagazine.com). The site gives insight into the golden age of San Diego punk rock, including a large collection of punk flyers dating back to 1978.
Bad news for cutting-edge and esoterica fans. Victor's on the Bay-a venue that was booking some top-notch jazz, blues, Cajun and other forgotten genres-is closing down. Their final show is going to be Oct. 17 with Steve Poltz backed up by A.J. Croce and Marty Scolzo (from Fastball).
When 91X's ratings significantly eroded over the last few months (Clear Channel association and 94/9's popularity have been cited as reasons), many predicted that changes were on the horizon. That change happened last week. Program director Bryan Schock has switched jobs with 101KGB's Jim Richards, who is also Clear Channel's regional vice president for programming. The classic rock format isn't new for Schock, who worked as a DJ on KGB from 1985 to 1990 before returning to 91X, where he started his career back in 1982 during the station's salad days. Will Richards be the shot in the arm that 91X seems to need right now? Specifically, someone who's more in touch with the cutting edge and willing to take at least semi-calculated risks to make the station seem as "alternative" as it once was? ©