Strange Stage Stories
Anthony Meynell / Squire: Our first huge gig in London 1979, supporting Purple Hearts at the Electric Ballroom, with 1000 people, we got a genuine encore. So we rush back on stage and I plug in, go to the mic to say thank you, and (bassist) Enzo stepped on my guitar lead. The jack snapped off on the guitar and I couldn’t get it out and had no spare guitar. So we had to wave good-bye and go off again!
Farhad Bahrami / Dornob Collective: We were playing at an art opening (at SDMA) years ago. People were having wine and snacks. Our singer, who was hungry– assuming nobody understood Persian– started singing in Farsi “Oh we’re so hungry, we’re so thirsty!” A lady then comes up and says “If you’re so hungry, why don’t you get a bite to eat? There’s plenty!” We were all so embarrassed, or as we say, “we melted and soaked to the ground!
Stefanie Schmitz / Choro Sotaque: While playing at the South Park Walkabout in front of a business, a couple walked inside the shop and left their two dogs outside in the front row facing us. Those adorable dogs sat motionless for an entire song. Our most attentive audience members yet!
Alison Marae / Birdy & the Bowtie: Will Forbis and I have a duo called Little Catbird where we play for children and families. There have been many times where a little one will come up too close and try to pull the mic or music stand down! So I’m trying to play my uke, sing, and keep things from falling on little heads!
Dizzy Collins / Gone Daddy Gone: One of the strangest things to happen while on stage occurs when we are playing in Las Vegas. No matter what venue, what time, what I am wearing… as our set progresses random people in the audience start bringing up money and attempt to drop it in my cleavage!!!?? Like, seriously, especially when we play our cover of “House of the Rising Sun.” Usually my guitarist Jay will motion for them to drop it on the floor–not gonna lie… once the $10 and $20s starting getting dropped I ducked forward and in the cleavage it went!!!! Hahaha– Viva Las Vegas.
Billy Bacon / The Forbidden Pigs: One time we were playing Des Moines and it seemed we had a cult following of folks from the Iowa pork farmers. They were really great. They gave us a bunch of bumper stickers, T-shirts, and such. They really thought it was cool that we had an album called The Other White Meat, which was their slogan at the time. We were on stage doing our show when from outta nowhere a piglet came running across the stage. He was pretty freaked out I’m sure because of the volume so he was going crazy. He started to circle around where I was standing and then took a huge dump in front of me. The crowd went wild! As the farmer extracted the pig from the stage, Jerry Hotrod DeMink commented, “Everyone’s a critic,” which made the crowd get more rowdy. I’ll bet there’s someone in Iowa who was there and still tells the story.
“Mark Ellis / The Lambrettas: In 1980, playing in Bradford, England, I was hit on the ankle by a heavy-duty 4″ x 6″ cast-iron hinge–yes, a hinge– launched at me from the audience during an encore. My first thought was that it was a good thing they liked us, or who knows what would have been thrown! It probably weighed half a pound, but no bones broken– I still have the missile!
FIVE QUESTIONS FOR SUE DELGUIDICE
Where would San Diego’s music scene be without Sue Delguidice? For the last four decades or so, she has been an integral part of the local music community, an unsung heroine and lynchpin of the local club scene, particularly during the punk / new wave era. Still gigging today, here are five questions that give a glimpse into her rich musical history.
1) Who (or what) inspired you to be a musician? Was keyboard your first choice?
“Yes, keyboard was my first choice; I started piano lessons at age seven. I grew up listening to AM radio, and then my older brother turned me on to David Bowie and Todd Rundgren as a young teen. My high school boyfriend, who did not want me to play in a band, was tragically killed in a car accident right after high school, so I kind of took it as a sign that I had to play music. Big influences on me were Cat Stevens, early Chicago, and Neil Young.”
2) When did you first play live? How old were you?
“First bands were at 18, briefly with a country rock band, then a funk band. I do remember at 19 jamming with some guys down in Mission Beach at a big concert on the grass on Mission Bay, we played Led Zep covers.”
3) What bands have you been in?
“The two afore mentioned bands, then the Dinettes, Private Sector, Trowsers, Shelf Life, the Unknowns first show at the Skeleton Club, Dark Victory, then I moved to San Francisco and played in Orange, Slack Jaw, and 23 Degrees. Back in San Diego, I played in Dee Ray, Patrons of the Moon, HarpCo, and most recently with JuJu Satori.”
4) What music have you released?
“Dinettes had a single, Shelf Life produced a four-song demo, Orange released a single, and two albums with Dee Ray.”
5) What’s your favorite thing about being a musician?
“Playing with talented songwriters and the people you meet at shows.”
Birdsong at Morning: A Slight Departure / Expanded Edition (Blue Gentian 008)
Boston-based trio Birdsong at Morning consists of singer/songwriter Alan Williams, Darleen Wilson (guitar), and Greg Porter (bass). Expanded edition here means a two-disc set, one CD with the 12-song album, plus a Blu-ray disc that includes the album in three additional formats, notably a 5.1 Surround DTS-HD mix, plus three music videos and a 40-minute feature on the creation of the albums songs. First thing– this sounds great, with a clear, crisp tone that really suits the material, wonderful acoustic guitar tones, inspired strings, and harmonies. The album itself is really, really good, a mixed bag of material that showcases the bands strengths.
Part of this falls into singer-songwriter territory, songs like “Pages” and “Never to Part,” with plenty of melody are all solid tracks, but if I had to pick a single, it’s probably the album’s lead track, “The Great Escape.” A moody, atmospheric rocker that has a really catchy sing a long chorus, the song also has a fantastic string arrangement, courtesy of the Mehr Aufgaben Orchestra. The segment starting at 2:30 in particular is terrific. It’s a hard call for best here. My favorite song is “The Devil’s Stomping Ground,” a sweet jangle power pop tune a la Teenage Fanclub crossed with a folk version of Led Zeppelin’s “Kashmir.” Meanwhile, “Midnight Vespers,” the track that follows is a beautiful vocal and chiming acoustic guitar ballad, highlighted by reverse chimes and glockenspiel. It’s a gorgeous track that recalls prime era Brian Wilson and “Parsley, Sage, Rosemary & Thyme” era Simon & Garfunkel. A Slight Departure is highly recommended, an album you’ll l want to spend some time with and give a good listen.
Produced and mixed by Alan Williams, basic tracks were recorded by Sir David James Minehan at Wooly Mammoth sound, Waltham, Massachusetts. Strings were recorded by Antonio Oliart at Fraser Performance studio, WGBH in Boston, and mastered by Adam Ayan at Gateway Mastering, Portland, Maine.
The Caucasians: Live at the Spirit 1991
This disc consists of two different nine-song shows with identical set lists from this short-lived trio. Consisting of bassist/singer Leland Kennedy, drummer Leroy Spratling, and guitarist Jan Tonnesen (the Contrasts / the All Human Orchestra) and was recorded in 1991 at San Diego’s Spirit Club, now known as Brick by Brick. It is a lo-fi stereo audience recording. That said, there are some really strong songs here, all penned by Kennedy. They have touches of power pop, new wave, glam, and rock ‘n’ roll, such as the albums best song, set opener “Next to Me.” I’d love to hear a studio version of that one. “Changed Man” sounds like it should be covered by the Georgia Satellites. The pair of ballads, “Love Gets Real” and bluesy ballad “Waiting on Love” are good; the latter reminds me a lot of seventies-era Leon Russell, but it’s the up tempo stuff that really stands out – check out set closer “Pretty Thing,” which is sort of like pre-Murmur R.E.M. Tonnesen turns in some inspired fretwork, but it’s Kennedy’s bass playing that shapes the songs with a sixties pop edge that adds melody to the proceedings. It sounds like there are only a handful of people in the audience, so it’s likely this CD making the rounds will find a bigger audience than the band did when it was actually playing. It’s not for everybody, sound quality leaves a bit to be desired, but for a song junkie like myself, it’s a recommended artifact and a chance to hear some cool unreleased tunes.
Tim Weisberg: Another Byte (live at Alvas) / Dreamspeaker Music
Nine instrumental songs recorded live at Alva’s Showroom in San Pedro. Featuring Tim Weisberg (flute), Chuck Alvarez (guitar), Barnaby Finch (keyboards), David Hughes (bass), and Maria Martinez (drums), with an enthusiastic, but unobtrusive audience, the band is in great form on a nice set of well-recorded covers. If you are a fan of modern jazz or flute in general you will love this album, an excellent listen from start to finish. Songs range from catalog gems such as David Benoit’s “Kei’s Song Redux” and Dan Fogleberg’s “Twins Theme” to standards like Gershwin’s “Summertime” or Herbie Hancock’s groove-laden “Watermelon Man,” the latter being one of the albums highlights. For me the best track is the closing “Margarita,” which kicks off with Weisberg looping a track to accompany himself before the tune kicks into a Latin inspired jam that’s topped by an inspired bit of playing from Alvarez that reminds me of prime-era Steely Dan at their best. That the song then adds a touch of prog in the minute long coda only shows how well thought out the arrangements are here.
Fans of Weisberg’s previous work will love every second of this disc, but those who like instrumental music, contemporary jazz or the flute will all want to take a listen.
Produced by Clark Germain and Tim Weisberg. www.timweisberg.com
Paul Weller: Live at Montezuma Hall / SDSU 11/19/92 (Private Pressing)
A two-disc audience recording of Paul Weller’s concert at San Diego State University’s Montezuma Hall on November 19, 1992. A nice clear stereo mix captures a well-received set largely populated by songs from his then current, self-titled debut solo album. The band is tight and the audience noise doesn’t interfere with the music. Weller includes jam songs such as “Man in a Cornershop,” (disc 1, track 4), “Tales From The Riverbank,” (track 5) and an acoustic “Town Called Malice” (1/ track 14) and Style Council classics such as opener “When You Call Me,” (disc 1, track 1) “Long Hot Summer” (1/ track 8, with a false ending as track 9), and “Headstart for Happiness (disc 2, track 1). He also performs a version of Neil Young’s “Ohio” (disc 2, track 2). Of the new tunes, for me the favorite is a fiery version of “Amongst Butterflies” that’s at least as good as the released single and a nice version of “Bull Rushes” coda’d with a bit of The Who’s “Magic Bus.” Also nice is a performance of “Into Tomorrow,” the whole thing wraps up with a version of “The Weaver.” Essential? If you are a fan of Paul Weller, absolutely. A great souvenir of his first visit to San Diego.
Various Artists: Subterfuge: Stereo Party (Subterfuge 210105)
A 19-track compilation spotlighting current artists on the legendary Spanish label. Songs are in both English and Spanish. While none of the artists here are well known across the board, it’s a terrific listen, with tunes ranging from the acoustic electro pop of Amatria’s “Chinches” to Havoc’s driving-beat rocker “Lo Nuestro.” If I were to choose a single amongst the songs here, it would probably be the mournful rock tune from the Bright “Donde Todo Es Luz,” which features an atmospheric mix bordering on country, complete with twangy guitars and Hammond backing–nice! That the tune is immediately followed by the electronica of El Meister’s “El Oso” just shows how diverse Subterfuge’s artists are. Other gems include Luthea Salom’s ukulele pop number “The Way Things Are,” Begun’s atmospheric instrumental track “Mumbai,” and the excellent horn-accented rock of Corizonas “Thieves and Liars.” This is an excellent way to take a listen to Subterfuges musical offerings in one place. Anyone looking for something new or just like hearing a wide range of great new music will want to take a listen to this comp and then do further investigating. www.subterfuge.com