Archive for the ‘Artifacts’ Category

Crawdaddys/Unknowns reunion flyers
from Kristen Tobiason

Friday, August 26th, 2011

(To celebrate Labor Day weekend’s 30-year reunions of the Crawdaddys and the Unknowns at San Diego’s Casbah, longtime graphic artist and Che Underground blog contributor Kristen Tobiason has prepared a striking pair of flyers to feature each night’s lineup. Here’s the story behind the art and a glimpse of the sociology of music flyering.)

The Unknowns, the Sidewalk Scene, the Comeuppance; Casbah, Sept. 3, 2011 (Kristen Tobiason)It seems like yesterday I was drawing a flyer for the Wallflowers’ first gig with a black Sharpie.

Twenty years later, here I am putting together a poster for the Unknowns, while listening to one of their songs on YouTube.
I still sketch my preliminary ideas on paper, but my medium has evolved, becoming less primitive and infinitely more digitized.

Buy your tickets now for the Crawdaddys and the Unknowns at San Diego’s Casbah, Sept. 2-3!

The Crawdaddys, the Amandas, the Baja Bugs; Casbah, Sept. 2, 2011 (Kristen Tobiason)Some girls love shoes, I love color and typography. I was never patient enough to learn guitar, but drawing came naturally. I loved record albums as a kid, and some of my earliest memories are of studying the covers from my dad’s collection. As a teenager in the San Diego music scene, flyering was a way that I could contribute to the music without having to actually be in a band. When I was 16 I got my first box of rapidograph inking pens, which I had seen Jerry Cornelius use for his illustrations. Jerry’s art was intimidating, but inspiring too. I learned by emulating his style, and used to sit and copy Tennielle’s drawings from “Alice in Wonderland,” or the covers of H.P. Lovecraft, to learn how to do the crosshatching/shading.


The Penetrators, the Bedbreakers
and Manual Scan at the Casbah

Wednesday, August 17th, 2011

(After collecting a lifetime achievement award at last week’s San Diego Music Awards, the Penetrators performed Saturday at the Casbah Club, supported by fellow music veterans the Bedbreakers and Manual Scan. Che Underground: The Blog presents accounts of the evening by Sean McMullen, Gary Heffern and Kevin Donaker-Ring as well as a luminous selection of photos by Mr. McMullen.)

Gary Heffern, the Penetrators; the Casbah, August 13, 2011 (Sean McMullen)It was a full moon, I remember, and I was already sweating and thirsty after walking down from Banker’s Hill to the club, but couldn’t seem to get past the patio to the bar for a bubbly cold Tecate due to the onslaught of embracing and handshakes and stories that followed. Every one of these nights serves to reinforce the depth of this bizarre alter-family I have collected since I was a wild-eyed runt getting dropped off at Golden Hall for a Penetrators show, amongst others, full circle.

The Casbah, August 13, 2011 (Sean McMullen)Indeed there are few things in my life as gratifying as seeing people who used to revolt and butt heads like rams getting along with so much love and joy and pride. And the sheer fact that we remain so devoted to our music, to this town and each other, speaks volumes of the magnitude of our youth, and how we carry it forward incessantly with age.


The Penetrators play SDMA!

Wednesday, August 10th, 2011

James Call, Penetrators; SDMA, August 8, 2011 (Eric Rife)Thanks to documentarian Eric Rife, those of us far from Southern California can enjoy video of the Penetrators performing at the 2011 San Diego Music Awards at Humphrey’s by the Bay August 8, when the band received a lifetime achievement award for its contributions to local music. (Vocalist Gary Heffern in June shared his thoughts on the honor with Che Underground: The Blog.)

If these performances of “Walk the Beat” and “Sensitive Boy” put you in the mood for more stimulation, don’t forget: The Penetrators will hold another reunion performance at the Casbah August 13!


The Crawdaddys, Nashville Ramblers
in Spain: A view from Toledo

Saturday, August 6th, 2011

Ron Silva, The Crawdaddys; El Sol, Madrid, Spain; June 12, 2011 (Silvia Zadarnowski)In mid-June, the reunited Crawdaddys and Nashville Ramblers were the latest of our San Diego crowd to enjoy the hospitality of Spain. Both bands played the Go Sinner Go! festival in Toledo June 10 and 11, and the Crawdaddys followed up the next day with a surprise appearance at the renowned El Sol club in Madrid.

Go Sinner Go!, Toledo, Spain; June 10, 2011 (Silvia Zadarnowski)I’m grateful to Silvia Zadarnowski (spouse of Crawdaddys bassist Mark) for these photos of all three events and to musician and show organizer Eduardo Arriero Hernandez for answering my questions about the show and Spanish fondness for this San Diego scene.

Buy your tickets now for the Crawdaddys and the Unknowns at San Diego’s Casbah, Sept. 2-3!

What is your own involvement with the Spanish music scene? You have a band, and you’re an organizer of the Go Sinner Go! Festival. Can you tell me briefly about those and how long you’ve been part of the music scene over there?

I’ve played in bands since I was 17, and I’m 32… so half of my life!! I’ve played guitar and sung with Hollywood Sinners for 11 years and keyboard with Fumestones for one year. I started organizing concerts in Toledo, my home town, of national bands I liked, and I continued it in Madrid. I can try get my favorite bands from all around the world, spend some days with them and have fun!!


From Spain, with love

Saturday, July 30th, 2011

(From across the Atlantic, here’s a graphical gift to celebrate the 30-year San Diego reunions of the Unknowns and the Crawdaddys. Ray Brandes sets the scene.)

Flyer: Crawdaddys/Unknowns; Casbah, Sept. 2-3, 2011 (Marc Argenter)This beautiful poster is a gift from artist Marc Argenter to the Che Underground. Marc, who lives in Barcelona, Spain, is also an accomplished musician and has played guitar and recorded with bands such as the Flashback Five and Els Trons for more than 20 years.

Marc jumped at the chance to design a poster for a show featuring the Crawdaddys, whom he first heard at the tender age of 16. He is well known in Spain as a graphic designer, and has an impressive portfolio of work, some of which can be seen here:


Steve Epeneter at Studio 517

Monday, July 25th, 2011

Detail: Steve Epeneter; 517 4th Avenue (Harold Gee)San Diego music veteran Harold Gee continues the painstaking process of developing precious negatives from the glory days of the San Diego underground scene, then digitizing them for his Flickr set.

Here’s a new one that captures the essence of a larger-than-life figure from that era: the late Steve Epeneter on stage at Studio 517, the club he managed and the inspiration for the Wallflowers’ classic “Paradise on 4th Avenue.”


Che Underground meets Sunset Strip

Tuesday, July 12th, 2011

(Sidewalk scenes and black limousines: On July 30, Che Underground presents Sounds of the Sunset Strip at Lestat’s Coffee Shop, featuring the Sidewalk Scene, the Ciros, Wendy Bailey & True Stories, and James Ruelas. Show organizer and Ciros reed player Lou Damian reflects on how Los Angeles’ sound of the ’60s influenced so many San Diegans who came of age 15 years later.)

Sunset Strip detailThe crazy thing about this July 30 show is that we relate to this music from the Sunset Strip of the mid- to late ’60s as our music, as the music we grew up with. But in actuality, we were just tots or infants when it was first published. There’s something about this music that stays within our fabric even today. When I hear a Byrds song or a Buffalo Springfield song, I know that I heard it as a young man on the radio. I know I heard that song when I was a year or two old. And it’s just another part of who I am.

The garage rock, psych rock, and blues and folk rock of that era is an important contribution to American music and the West Coast sound. This is what we always championed as our West Coast identity … in the so-called “Che Underground.”


Elvis Christ at the Che Cafe!

Saturday, July 2nd, 2011

(Drummer and rabble-rouser Jack Gamboa recalls a memorable performance at our namesake venue.)

Elvis Christ (collection Jack Gamboa)The Che Cafe was an island of freaky, funky freedom in the otherwise cold, institutional-strength rigidity of the mostly cement UC campus. They used to serve a bowl of brown rice and pinto beans with a giant glass of iced tea for less than two dollars. I survived on that chow when I was an art student. I also flirted with the hippie-honeys who worked there and smoked a lot of weed out back.

I played drums for Elvis Christ in those days, and it seems like half our gigs took place at the Che. We also used to practice there, and when Isabelle Tihanyi shot photos of us naked for a Guardian interview (Vol.60 #38), it happened there.


The Tell-Tale Hearts: From the vaults

Wednesday, June 29th, 2011

(Ray Brandes shares a long-lost track from his formative San Diego band, created with some production wizardry from Unknowns sonic prodigy Mark Neill.)

The Tell-Tale Hearts group shotTowards the end of 1986, as the Tell-Tale Hearts were heading toward an inevitable break-up, we headed back into Mark Neill’s Swinging Studios in Dulzura, Calif., to cut what would be the band’s final recordings with its first edition. Neill had produced the band’s highly acclaimed six-song EP earlier that year, and we hoped we might be able once again to pick up a little of his studio magic.

The band’s line-up included Mike Stax; Bill Calhoun; David Klowden; Peter Miesner (who had taken over guitar duties from Eric Bacher); and myself. Three songs were recorded: The Scorpions’ “Too Many Lovers”; “Promise” (Brandes); and “Nothing You Can Do” (Brandes). The first two were released as a single on Australia’s Cavern 7 label the following year, but “Nothing You Can Do” stayed in the can. (Bart Mendoza’s Sound Affects magazine included the song on a giveaway cassette with one of its issues.)

I recently discovered a rough mix cassette recording of “Nothing You Can Do” and rescued it with a little help from Audacity. I hadn’ heard the song in more than 20 years. Listening to the recording brought back vivid memories of the sessions, which were held on a rainy Saturday in November, 1986.


Crawdaddys/Unknowns Labor Day gigs:
Buy your tickets now!

Thursday, June 9th, 2011

Casbah logoWhat could be hotter than the triumphant return after 30 years of two famed San Diego bands? The tickets to the event, which just went on sale on the Casbah Web site!

Here are those details again of this can’t-miss event: (more…)