This month, we ask Five Questions of Laurie Beebe Lewis, spotlight the upcoming San Diego Music Awards, Alicia Previn’s new single, Mark Langford, and Strange Stage Stories from guitarist Sid Merritt (Swive) and Sven-Erik Seaholm.
FIVE QUESTIONS FOR LAURIE BEEBE LEWIS
Singer Laurie Beebe Lewis debuts her new band, the Electric Underground, with a performance on March 25, at the Grand Ritz Theatre in Escondido. Highlighting the music of the late 1960s, the bill also includes guitarist Mike Pinera of Blues Image (“Ride Captain Ride”) as well as Robert Zapata and Charlie Munoz of Cannibal & the Headhunters (“Land of a Thousand Dances”). Lewis has led an amazing life, performing around the world with the likes of the Mamas and Papas and the Buckinghams amongst many others. Here we ask five questions about her music.
What was the biggest show you ever played?
The biggest ongoing show was the 1985 Happy Together Tour with the Turtles, the Grass Roots, Gary Lewis & the Playboys, and the Buckinghams. We did over 200 shows in 165 cities all over the US and Canada. Taking me back to the 1990s on the road with the Mamas & the Papas, we played some super huge events with hundreds of thousands of people. Big shows are no stranger to me, but playing to an intimate audience is just as amazing when you can make that connection with the audience.
How did you choose the songs?
Okay, so if you’ve followed along this far, I think you can guess where this is all going. The script writes itself. My career led me through some pretty iconic moments, most notably three years with the Buckinghams, including an album, and three months on the 1985 Happy Together Tour and then a seven-year journey with the Mamas & the Papas from 1986-1993. You can’t deny the legacy that I’ve personally lived without taking it and building something from these experiences. So we are building an experience of not only the music from the Bucks & Ms & Ps but also of the music we loved and admired that is consistent of that era. Flower Power and peace, love, psychedelic, folk rock and tie dye, all the vibes and things connecting to the era! We are still exploring the possibilities!
What’s your favorite thing about the Electric Underground?
I absolutely love this group of people. They are all so down to earth and to see the time and energy that each person puts into the music, rehearsals, and contributing their ideas is so humbling! The amount of respect and love we all have for one another is something that you don’t find in a lot of bands. This is just a really lovely recipe that makes everything feel so good. No drama. Everyone loves each other. Everyone is approachable. No one is above the other. No divas, just committed, gifted musicians, who all share a common love of music and desire to create something special.
What are you looking forward to the most about the show on March 25?
I can’t wait to perform for all our wonderful fans, friends, family; it’s been way too long, and I can’t wait to present these absolutely amazing vocals we’ve worked out for the show! The Mamas & Papas stuff is just uncanny and personally brings me back to the days when John, Denny, Spanky, and I sang together. It’s magical, really. Also, I’ve been working on some digital effects for the background visuals for venues that provide projectors and screens. It’s really been something to put together and I’m hoping it looks as cool on screen as it does in my computer.
What’s next for the band?
We recently signed with DNA, an agency out of Florida, and another local agency is working with us to put the band in their roster. It takes a village, really, to make a show like this happen. The music industry has changed so much, so we’re navigating through a lot of competition. We just want to work! We have a live album we are getting ready to release and of course our goal is to have a show package with similar groups with similar themes.”
SAN DIEGO MUSIC AWARDS, APRIL 25
There is still time to vote for your favorites in the 2023 San Diego Music Awards! Voting is open to anyone from anywhere, it’s multiple choice—free, fast, and easy. You can vote once a day. Tickets are also now on sale for the SDMA ceremony on April 25 at Humphrey’s Concerts by the Bay. Performers this year include Lifetime Achievement Award honoree Mike Keneally, as well as Earl Thomas & the Gospel Ambassadors, Jeff Berkley & the Banned, Gilbert Castellanos, Anthony Cullins, Daring Greatly, and the Inflorescence.
ALICIA PREVIN VIDEO DEBUT, MARCH 20
Violinist Alicia Previn will debut her new single / video, “Purpose of a Dog,” with a special show on March 20 at the Casbah, hosted by Tim Pyles. At this show Previn will be backed by members of the Zach Gutierrez Trio and special guests, with a screening of her video clip, kicking off the proceedings at 8:30pm sharp. Previn has performed with a long list of notables including Richard Thompson, General Public, Cracker, In Tua Nua, Hot House Flowers, the Communards, and many more, most recently recording violin for an upcoming Paul McCartney release with reggae producer the Scientist. She’s also just signed with Noize Cartel Records. “This show is going to be special,” Previn said. “For starters, I’m really happy about playing at the Casbah. But the main thing is that I play often, both solo and with other artists, but I rarely get to do a showcase of my own material. So, we’re going all out with this performance.” Will there be any covers? “Just one, but it’s going to be a surprise. It’s a song everybody knows though,” Previn remarked. What’s next for her after this show? “More concerts and more recording. I’ve been doing this for a long time, but this show really feels like the start of something new, so I’m looking forward to keeping busy,” she said. Unlike most events called a “release party,” Previn plans to add one particular touch to the night. “Is it really a party without a cake?” she joked. In celebration of her new single, there will be cake for the first attendees through the door. Donna Larsen and Messengers close out the night.
Guitarist Mark Langford has been an integral part of San Diego’s music community for over four decades, performing with the likes of Bible Black and drawing acclaim as an acoustic guitarist. Notably, through his music center, Rock and Roll San Diego, he has helped hundreds of artists—from local garage rockers to the B-52s and Ace Frehley—hone their craft. Langford is currently working on a new project, which will include performances from John Avila (Oingo Boingo), Johnny Vernazza (Elvin Bishop), and Greg Douglass (Steve Miller Band), set to be released later this year, but first up is a rare solo acoustic appearance in the Artois Lounge at Pechanga Arena on March 3. Prior to the Eagles main stage performance, Langford will play for an hour on the Lounge’s stage for lucky concert goers.
STRANGE STAGE STORIES
Even for the most prepared musician, not everything always goes according to plan.
Sven-Erik Seaholm: It was my first performance. I was 20. Someone I worked with at the 7-11 told me they could get me a gig playing three hours for $50. I took it! It all went fine at first, but then a hulking billiards enthusiast started really yelling to hear Louden Wainright’s “Dead Skunk.” “I’m sorry sir,” I said. “I don’t play requests.” He was (ahem) insistent. Eventually, he slammed his cue stick down on the table and screamed, “I SAID, PLAY ‘DEAD SKUNK’ NOW!!” “Dead skunk in the middle of the road” was all I sang for almost 10 solid minutes! www.reverbnation.com/svenerikseaholm
Sidney Merritt (Swive): Swive played at the South Park Walkabout in the front yard of the House (Danny Blas’s house, next-door to Warshaw‘s provisions). I was dancing about in my high heeled red boots during our loudest, fastest song, and the front yard is somewhat uneven. All of a sudden I was lying on my back looking at the sky because I apparently fell flat on my back, but I was so into the music I didn’t realize what it had happened exactly. I just kept playing the song lying on my back until it was time for me to sing, and I somehow scrambled upright while Indio played an extra measure. There is a fence in front of the band, and apparently nobody else including our own bass player realized I had fallen down. It made me think of Kafka’s Metamorphosis because I felt like a giant cockroach on my back still playing guitar, and it happened so suddenly that I didn’t realize I’d fallen, just that I was lying there like an upended roach.” (Special Note: Swive is nominated for Best New Artist at this year’s SDMAs).