Pictures of Jerry

October 18th, 2014

Ain't no white man, look like that, Honey...Thanks to Jeremiah Cornelius for providing this portrait of himself ca. 1988, after many of us had relocated from San Diego to San Francisco and a year or so after the dissolution of the original Morlocks.

As anyone familiar with our scene knows, Jerry Cornelius was the indefatigable trend-setter, flyer-maker, lyricist, MC, band manager and catalyst behind myriad San Diego adventures.

“What Would Jerry Do?” Read all about it! 

Transplanted to San Francisco, Jerry continued his cultural explorations via music and fashion.
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In the cards: The Tell-Tale Hearts and Gravedigger Five

October 4th, 2014

Gravedigger Five business card (collection Dylan Rogers) Two small pieces of paper tell a story: When I noticed Dylan Rogers had posted to Facebook a photo of a Gravedigger Five business card, I asked him if I could share it on Che Underground: The Blog, along with the back story on where he acquired it.

“Ron Rimsite gave the card around 20 years ago while I was living in New York,” Dylan replied. “He knew I was big fan of GDV and they had a big influence on my music, so he gave it and a Tell-Tale Hearts card to me.”

Business card for the Tell-Tale Hearts (collection Dylan Rogers) Both cards completed a round trip to San Diego when Dylan returned there, and he’s provided photos of both. Like other ephemera from those days, they each include contact information for members of their respective bands: The Gravediggers card provides phone numbers for rhythm and lead guitarists John Hanrattie and Ted Friedman, and the Tell-Tale Hearts card directs recipients to call bassist Mike Stax and keyboardist Bill Calhoun.

Hair Theatre: ‘Phantom of Delight’

September 14th, 2014

Detail: Sergio and David Rives, Che Cafe, 1983 (collection Carol Coleman)More than 30 years later, here’s a performance of a Hair Theatre staple at the Che Cafe Nov. 17, 1983. “Phantom of Delight” was part of a set that featured the debut of Dave Fleminger on lead guitar. The rest of the lineup was original Hair Theatre, if memory serves: Sergio (vocals); Sergio Castillo (bass); Cesar Castillo (rhythm guitar); Howard Palmer (drums).

Watch Hair Theatre perform “In Obscurity” at Che Games for May, 2009!

Detail: Hair Theatre/Noise 292/Eleven Sons flyer; Nov. 17, 1983Followers of the Che Underground may recall that this gig also featured Eleven Sons (a last-minute replacement for Guy Goode and the Decentones) as well as my own band, Noise 292. There’s plenty more where this comes from, if we can sort out the song titles and other vital information!

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Facebook fatigue? Sound off here

September 7th, 2014

no facebook signThis is a bit of a detour for Che Underground: The Blog. I started the site back in 2008 with some friends to revive and preserve our memories of our San Diego music scene from the early ’80s … And while it’s slowed down in recent years, I intend to honor that mission for the long run.

For the short term, however, I’d like to offer this platform as a halfway house for people who are disturbed about how Facebook’s recent enforcement of its “real names” policy is likely to eliminate many friends who live under names other than the ones on their birth certificates. Whether it’s noms de punk, drag names or other pseudonyms, people have a right to identify themselves as they want. (Meanwhile, Facebook has a right to make its own rules — but it will have to assess how those rules affect participation among those of us who don’t like those rules.)

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The Tell-Tale Hearts on ‘It’s Happening’

August 31st, 2014

Tell-Tale Hearts Peter Meisner, Mike Stax on "It's Happening"During its run from the mid-’80s to early ’90s, Audrey Moorehead’s and Dominic Priore’s cable series “It’s Happening” hearkened back to an earlier era of music television. The show featured clips from Priore’s video library as well as a cavalcade of the era’s garage bands.

“Priore and Moorehead choose the bands, design the Spartan sets, and write and edit the show, which is financed by Priore and grants from various cable companies,” the Los Angeles Times described in a 1990 article. “The equipment and crews are provided at no charge through the companies’ local access departments.

“The most striking element about the 30 low-budget segments that have been produced is their glaring, and oddly endearing, roughness. There are no jump cuts, computer-generated special effects or other MTV slickness.”

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Really, quite a Comeuppance or two!

March 6th, 2014

Dave Fleminger, the Comeuppance; Casbah, Sept. 3, 2011 (Sean McMullen)The Che’Underground’s very own David Fleminger has been granted a flattering profile in the San Diego Troubadour: “The Perpetual Flowering of DAVID FLEMINGER.” It’s a well-deserved tribute, that captures a significant side of Dave’s multifaceted career.  David’s protean musical talent is given richly deserved attention, from with a comprehensive retrospective of his history in both San Diego and the Bay area.  Says David, “I think a lot of the music that really moves me makes some sort of a statement. …it’s more than just an advertisement for a place and a lifestyle.”

Also published by the Troubadour, this last year, is a very fine review for The Comeuppance – David’s project with his wife,  Heather Vorwerck.  The group is already familiar to those, lucky enough to attend the 2010 festivities for the Che reunion shows at San Diego’s Casbah Nightclub.

Check it out!

Che Underground turns five!

February 16th, 2013

birthday balloonsFive years ago today, I posted the first entry to Che Underground: The Blog. I’d been talking to some old friends about a place where we could share sounds and images from our musical youth in San Diego, and this turned out to be the handiest solution.

Soon Rockin’ Dog Dave Ellison created our striking design, and contributors including Ray Brandes, Kristen Tobiason, Paul Kaufman, David Fleminger and so many others enriched the site beyond anything I could have hoped. 

And my, how we grew! Hundreds of stories … Tens of thousands of comments and visitors. This little corner of the Web let so many revisit so much and introduced a whole new audience to the things we created back at the dawn of the ’80s.

The earth has made five solar revolutions since then, and most of us are still here on it. Looking back, I think we’ve moved in good directions, and I’m proud of any part this place played in bringing us back together.

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Gravedigger V from the Bacher Collection

October 28th, 2012

Leighton Koizumi and Chris Gast, Gravedigger V, ca. 1983Befitting their short, colorful career from the summers of 1983 to 1984, souvenirs of the Gravedigger V have been in short supply on Che Underground: The Blog. Now, Tell-Tale Hearts guitarist Eric Bacher steps up with two new additions to the set.

“We just did some ‘fall’ cleaning, and I found a few old pictures,” Eric writes. “The one of Leighton and Chris Gast was given to Denise by Leighton some time in the 80′s, I’m not sure of the provenance of the other.”

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There to Here: Cole Smithey,
Smartest Film Critic in the World

July 22nd, 2012

(In this installment, Che Underground: The Blog catches up with Rockin’ Dogs drummer Cole Smithey about his career at the movies in New York. If you’d like your story told, e-mail cheunderground@gmail.com!)

Rockin’ Dog turned film critic Cole SmitheyYou recently celebrated your 15th year in New York and 15 years as a film critic. What was your path from drummer with the Rockin’ Dogs to your current role as “the smartest film critic in the world”?

Detail: Rockin’ Dogs on the streetIt was a long and bumpy one, I can assure you. I moved up to San Francisco with the idea of finding a new band to play with, but that just didn’t happen. Having studied acting at SDSU, I got an acting scholarship to Hartnell College in Salinas. So, I spent a year in Salinas living out of my van. I played tympani in a 38-piece symphony orchestra there — doing classical music. I also played drums with the pep band at football games. The drama-department politics at Hartnell were horrendous, but I somehow managed to come out of it with a 4.0 GPA. There’s something to be said for living in your van: You just study all the time.

I moved back to SF and was working for my talent agent — sending myself out on auditions for industrials and commercials — when I picked up an issue of Sight and Soundmagazine. I realized instantly that I wanted to be a film critic.

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There to Here: Cynthia Jaynes Omololu,
Young Adult fiction phenom

July 10th, 2012

(In this installment, Che Underground: The Blog talks to San Diego scene documentarian Cynthia Jaynes Omololu about her career in young-adult fiction. If you’d like your story told, e-mail cheunderground@gmail.com!)

Cynthia Jaynes Omololu (Photo Robin Mellom 2-24-11)With the publication of Dirty Little Secrets and the recent release of the first installment of your new Transcendence series, C.J. Omololu is developing a growing reputation as an author of fiction for young adults. How did you get from the San Diego scene of our youth to a writing career in San Francisco?

Aw, thanks, Matthew. I’ll take that kind of reputation. It actually makes a lot of sense – I have to write from the perspective of a 16 or 17 year old and a lot of people say I’m emotionally stunted at around that age. Okay, not totally true, but I started hanging around the San Diego scene at about that age, and it was a pretty influential time for me. We’d moved to Del Mar from Poway in the summer between 9th and 10th grade and I felt like I never fit in there – we were renting an apartment in the land of multimillion dollar beach houses and honestly, I couldn’t compete.

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