Archive for the ‘Performance History’ Category

Gravedigger V from the Bacher Collection

Sunday, 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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Vote for the Comeuppance for SDMA

Wednesday, June 20th, 2012

(Paul Kaufman solicits support for a new project by Che Underground’s own.)

Dave Fleminger, the Comeuppance; Lestat's, July 30, 2010 (Kymri Wilt)San Diego has embraced its prodigal musicians as they return after decades. Consider the Comeuppance, a “chamber pop” combo led by David Fleminger (guitar, vocals) and Heather Vorwerck (cello).

Heather Vorwerck, the Comeuppance; Lestat's, July 30, 2010 (Kymri Wilt)This ensemble has a distinctive sound influenced by diverse jazz, country and classical traditions, all the while staying true to the high standards of songwriting that Che Underground readers know to expect from all of Dave’s endeavors.

Readers of this blog will recall that the Comeuppance relocated last spring to San Diego. The move marked a homecoming for David after 25 years in San Francisco; it’s a return to the city where he created so many memories as the creative force of bands like the Answers and the Mirrors as well as a founding member of a wide array of musical notables from Social Spit to Manual Scan.

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There to Here: Mark Stern, Soup Nation

Tuesday, March 13th, 2012

(In the first installment of a series, Che Underground: The Blog considers how a young San Diego show promoter became a Eugene, Ore., soup titan. Plus: a bonus after-party recipe from Mark! If you’d like your story told, e-mail cheunderground@gmail.com!)

Mark Stern, HalloweenThe last time we were in the same town, you were playing in the Frame and promoting gigs in SD and Orange County at spots like Greenwich Village West, Big John’s and Club Cult. How did you move from there to the culinary arts?

I started at a steak-and-seafood joint as a dishwasher in Mira Mesa when I was in 10th grade, moved into doing salad station. There were all these “college” girl waitresses who would flirt with the new kid.

After that I got a job across the street at Chuck E. Cheese, doing pizza, and I would go out and do promos as the rat. My favorite was when they had me do an event for kids with Daryl Strawberry, then a Padre, who took me aside roughly when he thought I was upstaging him and whispered, “Take it easy, Chucky.”

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Gary Heffern & Beautiful People:
‘Baby You Just Don’t Get It’

Thursday, February 16th, 2012

(Just in time for Che Underground: The Blog’s fourth birthday, Gary Heffern shares an international collaboration featuring some of San Diego’s finest!)

Gary Heffern & Beautiful People coverHere is a new song by Gary Heffern & Beautiful People with lyrics written by myself, music by Rustman, and arrangement by Beautiful People: Selinda Shirley, Oulujoe, Mad Mulligan and Rustman.

It also features Ray Brandes, Joe Piper and Dave Fleminger on backup vocals and Ray doing some great harmonica as well. I thought if you would want to feature it on Che, you can do so and have first grabs at featuring the song.

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Back to the Blend

Thursday, January 19th, 2012

(Dave Fleminger revisits the sights and sounds of this cornerstone of the early-’80s San Diego scene.)

Manual Scan scooter pose2012 still sounds to me like a year from the future (or perhaps a Rush album).  But here it is, and here we are, and 2012 will contain the 30th anniversaries of many happenings already chronicled on this blog.  In the spring of 1982 the North Park venue known as the International Blend was re-named The Kings Road Cafe.

Within an unassuming building on 30th St., an incredible stew of various musics were served up to an all-ages crowd.  There were even after-school shows that felt like a continuation of some grand afternoon dance-party tradition.

Whether it was the Iblend or the Kings Rd., the decor inside of the club was pretty much the same: bare-bones and all about the music.  The stage was immediately on your left as you walked in the door and in the back of the room was a pinball machine that would shout “The … Black … Knight … challenges …. you!” every couple minutes.

King's Road Cafe opening flyer (more…)

CD release: Wendy Bailey & True Stories

Thursday, December 29th, 2011

(Bart Mendoza invites you out for an evening of free music to celebrate the debut of “String Theory.”)

Wendy Bailey & True Stories release party flyerOn Friday, Dec. 30, Wendy Bailey & True Stories will celebrate the release of their new album, “String Theory,” with an event at Bar Pink, 3829 30th St., in San Diego’s North Park.

For this special show, the band will perform two sets. In the first, the quartet will play the new album in its entirety, plus a few old favorites. In the second, Wendy Bailey & True Stories will be joined by special guest musicians for a run through of a dozen choice R&B and rock-‘n’-roll classics — a different guest for each song.

“String Theory” is the debut album from Wendy Bailey & True Stories, featuring lead guitarist and vocalist Wendy Bailey; bassist Billy Fritz; guitarist Bart Mendoza (Manual Scan, the Shambles et al.); and drummer Danny Cress (the Coyote Problem, Skid Roper and more).

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Pink Panther 25th anniversary!

Monday, December 12th, 2011

(Bart Mendoza ushers in this salute to the big cat.)

Pink Panther flyerSaturday, Dec. 17, The Casbah will be the site of the Pink Panther’s 25th anniversary party. Expect many familiar faces in attendance to celebrate the late bar’s brief existence. Founded by future Casbah proprietor Tim Mays, Peter “English” Verbrugge and Bob Bennett, the Pink Panther was the meeting spot for much of San Diego’s music scene during its run and fittingly, the night features an eclectic bill.

Tickets are $15 and available online.

Opening the night will be the soul and rock dance combo The Amandas. Fronted by Amanda Suter, the band includes the ace rhythm section of Tom Ward (bass) and David Klowden (drums), with guitarist Jon Erickson, saxophonist Aaron Rossi and keyboardist A.J. Croce.

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Scott Harper: An appreciation

Thursday, December 8th, 2011

(Bart Mendoza remembers a friend and dedicated member of San Diego’s mod community, who passed away at age 44.)

Scott Harper, early '80sThe ’80s?

I couldn’t imagine them without Scott Harper. His passing last week is another devastating blow to the San Diego community and yet another reminder how short and unfair life can be.

Scott was such a part of my life for most of the ’80s, he was like a brother. Adventures were legion, he rarely missed a Manual Scan show and was instrumental in helping with the New Sounds festivals.

My fondest memories, apart from some nights spent in discourse over a few drinks, is the way he always pitched in to help with crises big and small. At events, whenever there was static, or a question about something being done, he’d always be the first to jump in and say, “I’ll do it.” Worth his weight in gold.

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Geeked Podcast Episode 1:
Pure Boom Hi-Fi Live

Tuesday, November 1st, 2011

(Paul Howland, a k a P Man, ushers in a new podcast straight out of San Diego.)

Detail: Pure Boom Hi-Fi cassetteOct. 11, 2011, was the official launch night of a new dance called “Geeked.” Geeked was very pleased to be able to present The Pure Boom Hi-Fi.

Episode 1; Pure Boom Hi-Fi Live at Geeked Launch Night 10.09.11

Pure Boom is one of my very favorite selectors. I met him through the Dubstep scene in San Diego in early 2009. Here though, by special request of Geeked, he’s playing roots steppers dub. Pure Boom is the only selector I know of who actually mixes this type of music, as it’s usually played “sound system style” (play the dub, flip over, play the vocal, no beatmatching). Heavy-duty mixing chops and super-sick selecting and programming skills, combine to make each of his sets a very special occasion.

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The rise of the Gravedigger Five

Sunday, October 2nd, 2011

(Gravedigger Five co-founder John Hanrattie recounts his side of the renowned San Diego garage band’s short but eventful history.)

Detail: Ted Friedman, Leighton Koizumi, John Hanrattie, David Anderson, Tom Ward, the Gravedigger FiveI was 17 when I first played guitar for an audience. I was working as a roadie for a San Diego band called N/E One. They were a very good cover band that would occasionally write one of their own songs and include it in their set. They built up a loyal following among San Diego teenagers and started playing high-school dances and at a local “under-21” night club called Headquarters.

They started inviting me on stage to join them in covering the Rolling Stones’ take on Bobby Troup’s “Route 66.” I was using a six-string Rickenbacker and playing rhythm guitar with Rob Glickman, the lead guitarist. I had been taking classical guitar lessons, but I really wanted to play rock ‘n’ roll. I switched teachers to someone who could teach me Chuck Berry and Buddy Holly licks. It was a long process, and I learned some chords, but my skills were limited.

During my senior year in high school, the ASB started booking bands to play in the quad during Friday lunch. They eventually got around to inviting N/E One to play, and I joined them on stage for their set. Afterward, several people approached me, asking if I wanted to start a band. I was flattered, but I held out, hoping to find people who wanted to play the same kind of music I loved. I refused to have anything to do with playing Aerosmith and Led Zeppelin covers. I wanted to play British Invasion beat and 1960s garage music.

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