This month we ask Five Questions of powerpop rocker Steve Rosenbaum and ask, Who Would You Like to See a Bio-Pic of? to ten area musicians, including Riston Diggs, Allison Adams Tucker, Joel Kmak, Catherine Barnes, Patrick Yandall, JT Moring, Rick Walker, and more.
Five Questions for Steve Rosenbaum
Big Stir Records recently reissued Steve Rosenbaum’s collection of lost recordings—Have A Cool Summer! Summer Pop Demos and 4-Track Gems 1979–1989—and it’s a must listen for fans of vintage powerpop and DIY recordings. Here, we ask Steve Rosenbaum five questions about these rare recordings.
1) Were any of these songs ever played live?
Many of these were played live in bands when I was in my hometown of Toledo, Ann Arbor, where I went to college, and Los Angeles, where I played in showcase bands through the ’80s. We still play “My Innocence” from this collection in my current band, Mess of Fun.
2) Are you surprised by the response to these recordings?
I am incredibly surprised at the enthusiasm for these recordings. When I first started sharing them, many people were not only saying how much they enjoyed hearing them but were also asking where they could buy downloads. The reception has been very positive. It made some best-of lists in 2021. Now that it’s been released in a more accessible digital format, it is getting a lot of play and buzz.
3) Are there more unreleased recordings?
I have more stuff from that era that I didn’t think was quite up to par, although there are just a small handful of those. I also have a few songs that I recorded shortly after these on an improved semi-pro home 8-track recording studio. I may release those as an EP one of these days.
4) What projects are you currently involved in? Any upcoming releases?
I’ve been recording digitally in my current home studio at a snail’s pace and have released a few things that can be found streaming on Spotify, YouTube, Apple Music, etc. I will have an album’s worth of material sometime this year, and I will release it one way or another. I play my more recent songs whenever I can in San Diego with my band, Mess of Fun.
5) What’s your favorite thing about the release of Have a Cool Summer?
My favorite thing about this release is the incredible satisfaction I’m getting from seeing that these songs, recorded just for fun and my own ears, are being enjoyed and, in many cases, very much valued by others. The messages and reviews I’m getting are very gratifying.
San Diego Biopic?
San Diego has many amazing performers deserving of a bio pic. Here we ask ten musicians which area musician, past or present, they would like to see immortalized in cinematic form.
Catherine Barnes: I would go to see a movie about Monette Marino. Her dad was also a local drummer, so you would get plenty of San Diego music history, and she’s traveled extensively, so there would be sounds from all over the world. Plus, she’s a dynamic performer, so there would not be a dull moment!
Riston Diggs (The Gravities): I would like to see a biopic on Blink-182. After hearing that they were from San Diego and later to be nominated in the same category with my band, the Gravities, for Best Music Video at this year’s San Diego Music Awards. I’d be interested in seeing how it all started and seeing their story come together. Watching them play at the venues I’m familiar with and ones that are no longer here. Seeing how they broke into their huge success. What studio did they record at in the beginning? Who created the idea of Blink-182? How did people view them at the early stages before the success. I feel like there could be a biopic on just Travis Barker alone, so I know the entire band’s story will be nothing less than exciting.
Joel Kmak (The Farmers / The Hitmakers): I’d like to see something on David Bradley and the O.D. Corral. I’m pretty sure Dan McLain got some of his Country Dick moves from him.
JT Moring: a) Tom Waits. It would be cool to see his mystique brought to life. b) Sam Hinton. He accomplished so much in a variety of fields.”
Omar Musisko (Spiritual Motels / The Peripherals): I think Steve Poltz would be an awesome person for a biopic. He’s a divergent thinker and presents himself as positively charged maniac genius troubadour of sorts. Finding out if that was true or false via a documentary seems like creative/emotional, a win-win.
Dave Preston: The Beat Farmers. Rock stars who live among us.
Happy Ron Hill: Steve Poltz. Such an inspiring story and person. Like most performers, someone who wanted to hit the “big time” yet ended up having an amazing life in the “medium” time, a great lesson you don’t have to become world famous to have a great life and a great impact. Also, he’s in his 60s and he is creating music that still amazing, a rare feat for so many big artists who tend to peak in their 30s and then end up just being an oldies act. Such an inspiration for us older folks still in music. Plus, he used to date Jewel! Problem is I have no idea who might play him as he is such a unique character.
Allison Adams Tucker: Peter Sprague. He’s had so many bands and funky projects over the years and has some great stories to pass along from the early ’70s to present. A living legend in San Diego and a super cool human!
Rick Walker (Sometimes Julie): I think a biopic of Tom Waits would be fascinating.
Patrick Yandall: Carl Evans Jr. (RIP), keyboardist and leader of Fattburger. He was my mentor. An incredible musician who never really got the respect he deserved.