Ventura Rocks in the Ventura Breeze – 2/24/21 – 3/9/21

Ventura MusVentura Breeze logoic Scene
by Pam Baumgardner
VenturaRocks.com
Pam@VenturaRocks.com

It’s a slow-mo rollout if you ask me, but I’m not here to complain about the lack of live music. In fact, I support venues taking it as slow as they need to in order to ensure our safety and to prioritize their efforts so they can stay in business. Be patient. VenturaRocks.com is listing live music when venues/musicians submit it, but it will take time to recover. Meanwhile…

I’ve become social media buddies with Chulz Torrez over the past couple of years, following her posts, playing her music on my radio show on KPPQ-LP, and corresponding via email. She recently sent me new music and revealed she was working on another new release so I thought this would be a good time to reach out to her so Ventura Breeze readers can get acquainted with her and her music, plus having Martha Davis in your corner as a mentor is quite extraordinary!

Photo of Chulz Torrez

Pam: How did you get started with your music career.

Chulz Torrez: My Grandma Marylou was a pianist, singer, and multi-instrumentalist. Most of my family used to be local musicians in Ventura County since the 1960s and even still till this day. My Grandma’s love of music, dancing, parties, good food, and togetherness, is what led me to know what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wanted to have a career in anything that had to do with music. I would sing at her side while she played the piano. Although I was born with health issues including Spina Bifida, both my grandparents would always push me and give me confidence to never let anything get me down. I took every opportunity to sing everywhere and anywhere. I tried to play the piano and guitar and took lessons at Henson’s music, but my back hurt too much, so my Grandma said to do what came naturally which was singing! I admired her so much. She played piano and any instrument she picked up by heart with no professional training! I have so many beautiful memories. I continue to keep my grandparents’ memory alive through music.  In the early 1990s I started singing for award assemblies, the YMCA in Ventura, the Boys & Girls Club of Oxnard.  I would sing for all our family parties. I would sing my favorite song “Angel Baby” anywhere that anyone would let me sing. In the late 1990s I started singing back-up vocals for local Spanish bands, different musicians, and hip-hop artists in Ventura County. In 2000, I met my partner in music Hexcercist. He’s been my producer, my mentor, and my best friend. Thanks to Hexcercist I’ve been able to make music and have lifelong relationships with amazing musicians such as the brilliant Kevin Simonett & also you Pam. I’m continually grateful for each & every relationship I do have, thanks to music.

How do you stay connected here in the 805?

I haven’t been able to perform live since the pandemic but I have been trying to get more involved with social media and learning really hard how to use it all. I have been doing tons of videos and learning TikTok. It’s really fun. I’m practicing to start doing a live stream on Twitch soon as I can. My Twitch name is Chulz1. I’m also hoping when shows come back I’ll get the chance to perform live again. Maybe open up for Martha Davis & The Motels which would be my dream come true.

Which brings up this amazing subject of how Martha came to be one of your mentors.

Chulz: I’m so proud and honored I get to call Martha Davis my best friend for so many years.  Martha taught me everything there is to know about music. From song writing structures, singing choruses, and how to do amazing harmonies.  Martha taught me music is universal. It doesn’t have to be one genre. Music can be anything you desire, it could be Rock, Hip Hop, and R&B. If the song is amazing and makes you feel good it doesn’t matter about the genre, or what you write about, it can be about anything if you use your imagination and put in the hard work, you can succeed at anything in life. Martha is such an amazing and kindest person. She cares so much and helps those in need. Martha brings happiness anywhere she is. She’s taught me so many positive life lessons. I can’t believe how lucky I truly am. I got to record at her studio and film my first music video for my song called “Sapphire Rain” at her ranch. It’s a fun story. I got to house sit while she went touring. It was fate! Her puppy Eva got to make an appearance in my music video. We were so lucky it even rained when we shot the music video. I wish you could see the behind scenes of the music video because I was in charge of the pets and all the birds were mimicking my music and lyrics!

I’d get to go with Martha to her shows and meet all these amazing stars. I got to go with her to rehearsal in some amazing studios in L.A. I even got to sing back up with her. I’ve had an amazing life that other people only dream of and I know how grateful and lucky I truly am. I’ve had the time of my life. Martha and I have had some amazing adventures and priceless memories.  I miss her Thanksgiving get togethers and her cooking but she did teach me some amazing recipes that I use all the time. Hopefully we get to visit her or see her on tour here in Ventura, CA soon!

That’s so amazing, you are one lucky gal for sure! I understand you have a new album in the works.

Photo of Chulz Torrez

Chulz: My new album is called Burning Hearts Valley. Hexcercist produced all of the incredible music. The album is coming as soon as I’m finished recording it. Most of the songs are complete it’s just so hard due to the Pandemic. I’m waiting for the new studio to be completed so I can use my new microphone. It’s a beauty. This will all be worth the wait. Burning Hearts Valley is true to life stories I put into song.  Songs about love and the loss of someone dear to me my Grandfather Frank Torrez who passed away due to cancer. He was my number one supporter. Luckily my grandpa was alive when I published my first album in 2011. We had a release dinner and we got to celebrate together which means the world to me, he was so proud.  Burning Hearts Valley is my Ventura County Anthem. It reminds me of our community of Ventura County, of how much I love it, and love representing.  I want to continue making music for everyone who wants to listen. I’m also working on a few projects. I’m doing a four song EP called Chulz 805 Popstar Outlaw; I wanted to do a Rock, Hip Hip, with elements of Shadow Country album. I am also happy to announce, I’m going to be collaborating with some of my fellow 805 musicians. That’s gong be so fun. I can’t wait! I will also be shooting a music video for Evil Eyez with my talented friends The Seventh Dimension Dance Studio in Santa Barbara.

When do you anticipate it will be wrapped up, and what plans do you have to market it?

Chulz: Burning Hearts Valley should come out by May 2021, if all goes well; fingers crossed.  I am also going to release new singles starting in April this year. All my music is and will be available on Spotify, I-Tunes, and on all media platforms.

Anything else you’d like to add Chulz?

Chulz: Our future looks bright. Be on the look-out for my friend, an up-and-coming young rocker, Des Rocs; he’s opened for the Rolling Stones and Muse. He’s so talented, I’m grateful to witness his genius and musical journey.  I’m just so thankful and humbled for all my relationships thanks to music, like Pam Baumgardner.  Pam you’re my true inspiration. All of these years you’ve believed in me and my music. You believe in so many artists and give musicians a chance to be heard on the air waves! It’s a wonderful dream come true.  I appreciate all of your continuous support and look forward to continuing to produce music for every person out there. Never give up on your dreams. With hard work, discipline, confidence, and perseverance, dreams really do come true.  Please take care and stay safe.  Sending love to all of my fans and supporters, thank you for sharing this amazing musical adventure with me throughout all of these years I’m forever grateful!

For more information on Chulz, follow her on Facebook, chulzmusic1; Twitter, chulz1music; Instagram, Chulzmusic; YouTube, Chulz143.


Don’t forget to tune into the Pam Baumgardner Music Hour on KPPQ-LP out of CAPS Media at 104.1 FM here in Ventura where you can hear from local artists like Chulz Torrez. My show airs Tuesdays at 5 pm with repeats on Fridays at 5 pm and Sundays at noon. You can also listen via the MyTuner app on your smart device or online at CapsMedia.org/radio.

Do you have any music-related news or upcoming shows (online or live) you want help publicizing? Please send all information short or long to Pam@VenturaRocks.com, and for updated music listings daily, go to www.VenturaRocks.com.

Ventura Rocks in the Ventura Breeze 2/10/21 – 2/23/21

Ventura MusVentura Breeze logoic Scene
by Pam Baumgardner
VenturaRocks.com
Pam@VenturaRocks.com

breeze artworkWith the Stay-at-Home order lifted, venues are doing their best to get stabilized yet again. I’ve seen one or two postings on social media about solo artists playing during dinner one or two nights a week (Peirano’s and the Cave), so it’s a start. Meanwhile, I’ve reached out to another musician to talk about his latest project.

photo of Darren "Zorba" CruzI met Darren “Zorba” Cruz back in the 90’s when we added the Ska Daddyz to our regular rotation at 96.7 the Bus, Ventura’s own alternative rock station. He’s been in many projects between then and now including Irie Ites and Strand Quentin. I caught up with Darren for a quick Q&A on his most recent enterprise to get the story behind Free Love Project 805.

Pam: How did this project come about?

Darren: The Free Love Project 805 started as my idea in March 2020. It was just supposed to be a couple of songs I wrote and recorded with some friends from other bands because we always talked about doing a collaboration. I had songs I wrote in Puerto Escondido Oaxaca Mexico, sitting around, not my band’s genres. I was listening to Santana”s Supernatural Album. He is my idol, I started hearing all the different styles and artists, I thought to myself this is genius, I can do that here in the 805. I put out a post on Facebook stating I need a female vocalist for an unplugged duet I wrote called “Insanity” out now on all platforms, the response was overwhelming. I had bands and solo artists lining up like Stalag 13, I Decline, Ill Repute, Raging Arb, Night Demon, The Question, Rising Son members, my reggae band, Collaboration, All A Blur, Bobby Campbell, Brandon Cruz, Dalton Cruz,and more. I also did a song with Peter DiStefano (Porno for Pyros guitarist) called “Closer” a 60’s vibe rock ‘n’ roller.

Pam: So then you are the brainchild behind all this, well done!

Darren: Yes, to be clear I got sober over a year and a half ago, had I not had some time under my belt none of this would be going down.

Pam: Why the name Free Love Project 805?

artwork Free Love Project 805Darren: This is a totally DIY project with no funding, no rules, when we want. how we want, we don’t need the money to express our emotions and talent. Record companies get money off of us artists for a talent that was given to us for “FREE.” Money has not even been a topic amongst the parties involved, this is not a get-rich scheme.

Pam: Tell me about the songwriting and recording process.

Darren: I do all the music songwriting, some are complete songs, I even sing lead on a couple of them. On a few of the songs the vocalist would write the lyrics. See a big part of why this project is doing well, is because I asked some of these bands and artists to step out of their normalcy. As an analogy, I went to the supermarket and bought all the groceries for the shindig, I took the ingredients to the chefs whom I’m working with and said, `You think we can make a great meal with this stuff, that we would be proud to serve? Then we started cooking it up in some of our fancy restaurant studios such as Armand’s Captains Quarters Recording Studio, Somis Sound Studios. Chingaso Records, MegaSound Studios. We have cooked up 10 killer dishes so far, 5 are almost done.

Pam: How has the response been on social media?

Darren: The response has been excellent, I’ve been on KTYD, Channel 3 news, and there’s been a write up in the VC Reporter. Other local media offers are in the making. I’m releasing two songs at a time starting in March.

Pam: Post pandemic, what’s the plan?

Darren: Post Pandemic plans? Good question, unfortunately I don’t have an answer for that; nobody knows, however there is one thing I know, and that is I smell a unity of musicians fed up with the industry standards of red-tape communism. We are treated like other country’s Olympic athletes, in other words, treating our own athletes in the amateur ranks. Pay to play? F!@# that! BANDS SHOULD NOT PLAY for FREE ever AGAIN!! The internet evened the playing field, Coronavirus gave ME the chance to see all this can be achieved by us artists. DistroKid killed the record executive star, LOL.

[Editor note: DistroKid is an digital platform founded in 2013 for musicians to upload their music into online stores and streaming services]


Don’t forget to tune into the Pam Baumgardner Music Hour on KPPQ-LP out of CAPS Media at 104.1 FM here in Ventura where you can hear the first single,“Insanity,” from Free Love Project 805. My show airs Tuesdays at 5 pm with repeats on Fridays at 5 pm and Sundays at noon. You can also listen via the MyTuner app on your smart device or online at CapsMedia.org/radio. Every show I feature artists out of the 805 and artists who come to the 805 to play as well as a handful of indie artists I’ve come across.

Do you have any music-related news or upcoming shows (online or live) you want help publicizing? Please send all information short or long to Pam@VenturaRocks.com, and for updated music listings daily, go to www.VenturaRocks.com.

Ventura Rocks in the Ventura Breeze 1/27/21 – 2/9/2021

Ventura MusVentura Breeze logoic Scene
by Pam Baumgardner
VenturaRocks.com
Pam@VenturaRocks.com

Ventura Rocks artworkWith Ventura moving back into the “Purple Tier,” outdoor dining will be allowed and hopefully venues will start to offer some lite live music once again; however, drive-in concerts are still your safest bet, and now Thousand Oaks is getting into the spirit of things and will be hosting a drive-in concert at the BofA Performing Arts Center with Highway Starr performing on Saturday, February 6.

The Canyon at Oxnard Performing Arts & Convention Center has a number of live shows listed, but they’re not until April with a number of tribute bands and Buckcherry. I did see that Martha Davis and the Motels are schedule for May as well as Tierra & Malo. To keep track and for ticket information, go to WhereMusicMeetsTheSoul.com (Scroll down and select Oxnard). There is nothing listed yet on the Concerts in Your Car website.


I’ve been receiving a lot of great feedback on the interviews I’ve conducted with local musicians over the past year. It’s always interesting to check in and see how our local artists are faring and to see what new projects they’ve been working on lately. This time around, I reached out to an old friend of mine Christine Law who has a new project called Star Goes Nova.

Photo of Christine Law

Christine Law


Pam: Let’s get people who are not familiar with your work up to speed. Tell me about your past projects.

Christine Law: More widely known as a bassist, I’ve toured and recorded with the famous and the obscure; credits include Theo Mordey (Jesus Christ Superstar), Charles Law & Jagged (college radio), Grammy winner John Baffa and platinum selling songwriter David Holster. I recorded bass on Suzanne Paris’ Grammy nominated album “Pink Lipstick” – and toured nationally with her. Earlier, I played bass for Jan Kuenehemund’s (from Vixen) solo project around Los Angeles. I also had the chance to jam with many artists at iconic L.A. clubs in the early 2000’s – that was awesome! For about 3 years in the mid 90’s, I toured and recorded with Martha Davis during her hiatus from The Motels. My first experience having a song played on the radio was with my hardcore band Tantrum in the late 90s. About 15 years ago, I met my husband Charles, a singer/songwriter, when he performed at Zoey’s in Ventura. We recorded 3 albums together from which several songs charted Top 10 nationally on college radio. I’ve been so fortunate to hang out with iconic artists and perform fantastic venues, complete with wild stories!

Describe Star Goes Nova and why you’re delving into EDM (Electronic Dance Mix).

Christine: Last year, I inherited my Mom’s pianos – a 115-year-old Turin grand piano, and a newer Kawaii upright. I hadn’t played piano since my high school piano lessons, but, when I first put my fingers on the keyboard of the Turin, all these songs just started writing themselves. I had been dabbling with EDM, going the Cinematic Dubstep direction, and the piano stories I was writing just blossomed with the electronica. I write fantasy Cinemata and Dubstep Dance EDM – it’s like my high school orchestra, piano, and hardcore got melded together. Beautiful and powerful.

Please share the story behind your song, “The Ocean Between Stars.”

Christine: I knew your Dad had been terminally diagnosed, and one day, you told me about taking him to the beach. I sat at my piano, thinking about you two on the beach – the day, the sounds, the waves and wind – and the journey ahead. “The Ocean Between Stars” tells of the sojourn of the souls of our lost loved ones. The song also contains a sonification (Hubble telescope recording of galactic frequencies) of the supernova Cassiopia A. There’s an angel there too…

I feel so honored by this Christine; it truly gave me goosebumps the first time I heard it. I will be sharing it on my next radio show on KPPQ-LP. Who are other EDM artists you admire?

Christine: I really admire the Santa Barbara based EDM record label Ophelia – they have great artists – Seven Lions, Tauri and Gem, MitiS. I also love Illenium and Grimes. I’d say my music is a cross between Grimes and new age pianist Leo Z.

How is the EDM community/genre different from other genres?

Christine: EDM evolves very quickly, and there are truly no rules. From pure electronica to inclusion of acoustical instruments and vocals, it’s all out there. I have noticed that artist collaboration is practiced and really valued – from swapping samples to writing/recording to putting raves together. Many of the samples, songs and community are offered freely (no charge). Also, I’m into offering high-resolution versions to the market that has high-res (96K) systems (like Sony); many EDM artists will offer 96K downloads along with their regular spec releases. You haven’t heard music until you listen to it in 96K – that’s the resolution the artist hears in the studio. I’d love for people to hear my work at 96K!

How big a following does the EDM community have?

Christine: Well, Electric Daisy Carnival in 2018 had over 200,000 attendees, and Tomorrowland had over 400,000. Given this portion, I’d say the fans are in the millions, with around 300-400 artists, and about 50 of those really well known.

How are you networking/marketing to get the word out?

Christine: I work with a PR firm for the social media side, which is just getting started. For now, I use Facebook www.facebook.com/Stargoesnova and Twitter @StarGoesNova and Instragram star_goes_nova. And of course, the website www.StarGoesNova.com

What if any plans do you have to expand on this new project?

Christine: I am currently releasing singles on social media, which will be compiled into a complete album. I’d like to host an “electric” rave – you know, with headphones!! Socially distanced of course!! I’ll also perform at Burning Man (if they have it this year), and then a couple of EDM festivals. My super big dream is to go to Ibiza or Mykonos and collaborate on a recording and also have a song spun there. Ibiza is the ultimate! I also want to continue collaborating with other artists. So far, two amazing local artists have collaborated on Star Goes Nova singles – Karen Eden (from The Bad Apples) and Fuse (from Hard Six).

How can people find out more?

Christine: Go to www.StarGoesNova.com and become a Stargazer by clicking on “Become a Stargazer”! or Facebook.com/StarGoesNova. Checkout the tunes also on Spotify, Itunes and ReverbNation.

Any final words?

Christine: Keep looking ahead. Keep dreaming. Keep doing things that bring meaning to people’s lives. Mankind is becoming interplanetary and interstellar, we must keep our art, music and dreams as part of our reach into the stars.


Don’t forget to tune into the Pam Baumgardner Music Hour on KPPQ-LP out of CAPS Media at 104.1 FM here in Ventura. It airs Tuesdays at 5 pm with repeats on Fridays at 5 pm and Sundays at noon. You can also listen via the MyTuner app on your smart device or online at CapsMedia.org/radio. Every show I feature artists out of the 805 and artists who come to the 805 to play as well as a handful of indie artists I’ve come across.
Do you have any music-related news or upcoming shows (online or live) you want help publicizing? Please send all information short or long to Pam@VenturaRocks.com, and for updated music listings daily, go to www.VenturaRocks.com.

Ventura Rocks in the Ventura Breeze – 1/13/21 – 1/26/21

Ventura MusVentura Breeze logoic Scene
by Pam Baumgardner
VenturaRocks.com
Pam@VenturaRocks.com

Ventura Rocks artwork

We all have high hopes for 2021, so don’t let the first week of political turmoil get you down. I’ve been thinking about Ventura’s music scene over the past decade and at one point there were over 30 venues available for live music from the East end of town to the Harbor to Downtown to the Avenue. I miss places that would pack the joint like Bernadette’s, Billy O’s, Zoey’s, Blackbeard’s at the Harbor, Amigo’s, Green Art People, Surf Brewery, the Winery, Yolies, and now the Hong Kong Inn.

As we grapple with Covid-19, it will still be a while before we’re able to embrace live music like we use to do. And when we can, it’s totally up to music lovers to support the scene. If you ask any one of the past owners of any one of the venues who had to shut their venue down this past decade, they would tell you there was nothing like offering live music to a packed house with people spending money to keep their doors open. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, it takes three elements to make a music scene, the artists, the venues, and us music lovers. We can do this!


Photo of Guy MartinMeanwhile, I thought I would check with Ventura’s own, Guy Martin, to see what he’s been up to the past year. You can’t get much more homegrown than Guy, from the bands and projects he’s been a part of for over three decades, he’s seen it all. And now he has put together his own studio, Black Couch Studios, as another choice for musicians to record.

Pam: How has the pandemic affected you personally?

Guy: I’ll keep this one short because I have my own personal views on this pandemic, that could be argued otherwise. However, with my day job as a contractor, it has had no effect. Music on the other hand, we all know it has had a tremendous effect on this business. I’m lucky, I have my “essential” day job to lean back on. My other peers and colleagues that actually rely on music and performing to make a living….well, they are really feeling the effects of this pandemic. I feel bad for the entire performing arts industry. It’s going to be hard moving forward for anyone relying on performing to make a living. It’s so sad. I could go on and on about how I feel about these strict lock downs…but that’s another story for another day. It truly is a bit of a downer mentally for a lot of people, including me at times. We just have to persevere and keep our heads up as much as we can. Love your family, love your close friends, and while you’re at it…just love everybody. Love always wins.

Pam: It seems your Black Couch Studios has been doing well. Who has been in there recording new music this past year?

Guy: I am blessed to have such a professional and functional studio in my own home. I literally count my blessings every time I walk into my studio. With the shutdown of the performing industry, I feel blessed to still be able to keep my feet in the pool with use of my studio, both for my own projects and other’s as well. The pandemic has slowed the projects coming into the studio for sure. As of late, I did a project with a young talented player named Jayden Secor. He just released his debut EP, of which was recorded, mixed, and mastered here at BlackCouch. There is another artist, Court Kellum that is in the process of tracking some of his original songs here as well. He is another talented vocalist trying to release his music to the world…soon. For now, that’s about all. I’ve had several consultations with other artists about recording here at BlackCouch. That was before the pandemic hit, so a lot of artists are on hold with that. They are at home fine tuning their material with small bedroom setups, hopefully getting ready to record in a pro facility when they feel safe to do so.

Pam: What extra precautions (if any) have you been taking to ensure client’s safety?

Guy: I wouldn’t call it “extra” precautions, other than the usual. If both the client and I have been tested negative and feeling well, then it’s business as usual. If a client feels more comfortable with a mask during a session, then that’s what we do. Of course, everything is cleaned on a daily basis in the studio. Everything from drum sticks to microphones.

Pam: What projects have you been working on personally? Who have you been collaborating with?

Guy: Ah…my personal projects. You mean the projects we’ve discussed in the past, maybe 3 years ago that aren’t finished yet? Those projects? Lol. I have a whole album worth (and more) of original material that is just waiting to be finished. GOOD STUFF too!! I can’t wait to release a full-length record again. It’s been since 1997 since that has happened for me. So sad once you really think about it. But it will happen…soon, I promise. I still have a couple covers that are waiting to be released as well. One of them being “Gimme Shelter” by the Stones. Such a cool version too.
Collaborations have come to a halt with the pandemic in play. But that doesn’t stop us from talking about it and planning for it down the road. I plan on collaborating with a lot of my local peers and friends. Players like Shawn Jones, Alastair Greene, Mikey Mo, Jen Leigh… just to name a few. Jayden Secor is even on board for some future works. Looking forward to that all happening.

Pam: What do you miss most this past year?

Guy: Most? Just being normal, which encompasses a lot of things rolled into one. Hanging with friends without worry or issue. Dining out, going to a movie, and most of all…being on stage. I’ll admit, I started to get a little burned out on the “scene” and the politics of playing out and getting gigs. But now that it’s not even an option currently, I miss it so much. I can’t wait to make people happy with some guitar playing again, hopefully soon.


Do you have any music-related news or upcoming shows (online or live) you want help publicizing? Please send all information short or long to Pam@VenturaRocks.com, and for updated music listings daily, go to www.VenturaRocks.com.

Ventura Rocks in the Ventura Breeze 12/30/20 – 1/13/21

Ventura MusVentura Breeze logoic Scene
by Pam Baumgardner
VenturaRocks.com
Pam@VenturaRocks.com

Artwork for article

Last year at this time, and traditionally speaking, this time of year I’m usually sharing where all the New Year’s Eve parties are happening and what bands are playing, but this year, not so much. Instead, we have to be patient and diligent and before long, we’ll be back in the venues with friends listening to live music. Until then, I’d like to share a story about one of our own, and how the community is coming together to support. I reached out to Mike Fishell after reading on social media what happened to his son and he was so gracious to share his story with the Breeze.
Mike has been playing music in Ventura county nightclubs and restaurants since the late 70s playing countless weddings and parties with bands like Rudy and the Reverbs, the Convertibles, the Barstool Pigeons, Fish Fry and the Vonettes. Mike’s two sons, Roy and Miles, have been playing with him professionally since 2010 when he started Fish Fry, a rock and blues band that’s played all over Ventura County. Mike told me that the three of them have performed with the Vonettes with his sister, Mary Sawyer and his brother-in-law, Brent Sawyer. He said, “Playing music I love with people I love has been a high point in my life.”

Mike added that both of his sons and he began playing music when they were very young. Miles started on the drums when he was about four years old. In fact, he was Fish Fry’s drummer for many years. He also played professionally on keyboards, bass and guitar. Mike said that Miles had been playing lead guitar with Fish Fry, bass with the Vonettes, and keyboards with the Soulutionaries, a Los Angeles based reggae band.

And then this past summer everything changed.

Pam: Please explain what happened to Miles

Mike and Miles FishellMike Fishell: It happened so fast. In July, 23-year-old guitarist Miles Fishell checked into St. John’s Hospital in Oxnard, CA with a high fever. He was diagnosed with a rare, life-threatening bacterial blood infection called meningococcal disease, and deteriorated rapidly. The infection led to blood poisoning and spread quickly throughout his body, leading to overlapping medical traumas known as purpura fulminans. The infection caused Miles’s blood to clot, limiting oxygen to the smallest capillaries in his fingers, feet and nose, resulting in devastating, permanent damage. Thankfully, St. John’s ICU team arrested the bacteria’s progression and saved Miles’s life. He was then transported to UCLA Medical Center, where he remained for seven weeks, including a long stay in ICU. Miles was prescribed daily hyperbaric oxygen treatments to help heal his wounded limbs. He has had all ten toes amputated, will lose parts of eight fingers, and requires surgical reconstruction of his nose.

And on top of everything else, this is happening during a pandemic. Did that play a part in his treatment at all?

Mike: The pandemic has affected everything, but we felt safe during Miles’s seven weeks in the hospital; the doctors and staff at St. John’s Hospital and at UCLA were all great.
Have you been able to spend time with him while he was in the hospital?
Mike: We were fortunate due to the severity of Miles’s medical Condition that one family member could stay with Miles at UCLA twenty-four hours a day. He needed constant assistance; our help was needed. While only one of us could be in the room at one time, someone was there around the clock. He is now staying in Ventura where he gets the daily loving care that he needs from two of his mothers, Julianne Fisher and Michele Sumner who have both been nothing short of miraculous. We are so happy he is out of the hospital.

How is Miles holding up?

Mike: Miles is an inspiration. Honestly, he never complains. He is focused on getting past this stage of his treatment and moving on to a normal life. Whether it be treatments or physical therapy, he has been enthusiastic and diligent. Before this happened, he was taking classes full time at Ventura College and he looks forward to getting back to school.

How about you and the rest of the family?

Mike: We take our cues from Miles. Of course, we are saddened by these events, but his positive nature is an inspiration. My entire family and so many friends have been directly involved with providing love and support. Miles inspires us to stay strong.

So, who started the funding raising efforts on social media?

Mike: My brother Steve and my wife Valerie (Miles’s other mom) helped enormously, but I was the organizer of the GoFundMe page.

Go ahead and describe the response as best you can.

Mike: We have been overwhelmed by the response. It has been stunning. The outpouring of love and care sent his way has lifted us all emotionally in ways that are indescribable. We realize that so many folks are struggling now. The generosity that people have shown has been very heartening.

How will this help your son?

Mike: This trauma has been monumentally life-changing for Miles. Medical insurance covered most of his hospitalization costs, but his long-term working prospects remain uncertain. Miles must now rely on multiple medical specialists over his lifetime. Future medical bills are a huge concern, as are his daily living expenses. Your donation helps him prepare for his uncertain future.

Is there anything else you’d like to share?

Mike: Miles is very moved by the outpouring of love and support. Our family is so grateful. We urge anyone with kids between the ages of 14 and 23 to learn more about Meningococcal vaccines here:

https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vpd/mening/index.html

Pam to readers: If you would like to help out one of Ventura’s own too, just go the GoFundMe.com page and search “Miles’s Amputation Recovery Fund” or just click here: GoFund.me/18fd2943.

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Happy New Year VenturaRocks.com & Ventura Breeze readers! I wish you love, peace and prosperity as we all look forward to getting back to a more normal way of life in 2021 and once again being able to get out and listen to live music again.
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Do you have any music-related news or upcoming shows (online or live) you want help publicizing? Please send all information short or long to Pam@VenturaRocks.com, and for updated music listings daily, go to www.VenturaRocks.com.

Ventura Rocks in the Ventura Breeze 12/16/20 – 12/29/20

Ventura MusVentura Breeze logoic Scene
by Pam Baumgardner
VenturaRocks.com
Pam@VenturaRocks.com

Breeze artwork

With most of Southern California under another lockdown, live in person music, has been put back on hold; and it turns out, both the Canyon Club at the Oxnard Performing Arts Center and Concerts in Your Car at the Fairgrounds are on hiatus until at least mid-January. You can see live performances on social media platforms such as Facebook and YouTube, but for the most part, we just need to hunker down, be patient, and hope this new vaccine will be our saving grace.

I’m sorry to report that The Winery Ventura is shutting their doors by the end of this year. They had so many great live performances there the past couple of years. The building which holds their lease has been sold, and instead of pushing the agreement with the new owners, they decided to close. They are having a blow out sale which you are welcomed to support with great deals on not only their wine, but tables, chairs, plants, etc… They’ll be open Fridays 5-7, Saturdays noon-5, and Sundays noon – 2. Do note: The Grape jazz club is still scheduled to open this June barring anymore pandemic shenanigans.
One of the previously mentioned online performances will be coming from the Namba Performing Arts space on Sunday Dec 20 at 7 pm featuring Jayden Secor, Power2ThePeople, Joe Henry III, Delta by the Beach, Kris Simeon, Aaron Burch, Medicine Hat and Fred Kaplan & Robert Kyle. The money raised ($10 streaming donation fee) goes to benefit Namba which is a 501c-3 non-profit organization. Get the lowdown at www.NambaArts.com.
And though Jodi Farrell’s Music Studio 2020 Holiday Recital is available online. The production is a collaborative effort of her studios producing home videos to share some holiday musical cheer. You can view the recital at www.JodiFarrell.com/2020-Holiday-recital/#5.
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Gary Best w/ Pam Baumgardner photoI reached out to local musician Gary Best for a little Q&A, and he was happy to oblige. It’s always a treat to run into Gary out and about supporting other bands and artists when he’s not playing. You might know Gary from the local Improv group here in Ventura, and seeing him perform in Los Dudes. I’ve been playing his original tunes (which are really good!) on the Pam Baumgardner Music Hour on KPPQ-LP at 104.1 FM here in Ventura.

Pam: How long did it take for you to gain confidence that you actually have skills?

Gary: I am a fearless dilettante. I never wait to have the skill to do anything. I usually dive in and learn to swim as I go. You can tell from reactions if any song works. I try to keep writing.

When did you first start writing songs?

Gary: In high school. My songwriting partner moved to my town and he played James Taylor and Cat Stevens and the Beatles. I sort of stalked him until he taught me chords and I wrote songs to impress him. Still do.

When did you start recording them?

Gary: We had a reel to reel back then and started playing with recording techniques. I started going to Nashville in the 90’s to demo songs. My first trip was with Jonathan McEuen and Jimmy Adams.

How did that evolve into playing in a band?

Gary: A dozen years ago a local group had a gig and one of their members had just dropped out. I had always done Johnny Cash at parties so I volunteered. Thus was born the legendary garage band, Los Dudes.
I always try to hang around people that know more than me.

Do you have a producer you work with?

Gary: Locally I love working with Jesse Seibenberg. He can play anything and has a wonderful ear. He always makes my songs better than they are.

What’s the Randy Parsons connection?

Gary: When I retired, I started looking for new projects. My original songwriting partner, Bruce Scism, was building guitars in Nashville so when I saw Parsons Guitar Building School I was already primed to the idea. I picked a pretty difficult build for my first and Randy was really game to give it a go. Great guy. Lucky to have him in our community.

How has the Pandemic affected you as an artist? Personally?

Gary: It’s been a boon to me artistically. I got a lot more work done in the last 9 months writing songs and painting. I’m starting a Podcast; which is exciting.
I miss seeing and hearing music and art which is how I get inspired and steal ideas. I’m a pretty social animal so I miss seeing friends.

Are you still working with your improv group? And if so, in what capacity?

Gary: The Ventura Improv Company is certainly looking forward to doing shows again. I haven’t encouraged our people to do Zoom shows. I haven’t seen many that work real well. I’m still Artistic Director, as far as I know, but the ship is in harbor.

What goals do you have in the near future…pandemic or not?

Gary: The podcast I mentioned… it was inspired by a song of mine called, “My Daddy Never Cried.” Friends sort of spontaneously started sharing stories of and about their fathers. My sister, Brenda, suggested we might have the basis of a book or collection. We should be rolling it out early next year.
Other than that, to just keep writing and producing art in my own way. It’s what I do.

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It’s all holiday music produced locally and mostly original on the Pam Baumgardner Music Hour on KPPQ-LP for the next two weeks. I’ll be spinning tunes from Gary Best, Jill Martini & the Shrunken Heads, Warren Takahashi, Kelly Zirbes, Professional Americans and more. The program airs Tuesdays and Fridays at 5 pm and Sundays at noon at 104.1 FM, online at www.CapsMedia.org/Radio or by using the MyTuner radio app for your smart device.

Happy holidays to you and yours. Here’s to putting 2020 behind us (too many jokes about 2020 vision). I’m wishing you peace, health and prosperity, along with a hefty dose of live music for 2021. Take care, be safe and rock on.

Do you have any music-related news or upcoming shows (online or live) you want help publicizing? Please send all information short or long to Pam@VenturaRocks.com, and for updated music listings daily, go to www.VenturaRocks.com.

Ventura Rocks in the Ventura Breeze 12/2/20 -12/15/20

Ventura MusVentura Breeze logoic Scene
by Pam Baumgardner
VenturaRocks.com
Pam@VenturaRocks.com

Ventura Rocks artworkIt’s the last month of the year, a year that will go down in history where music scenes everywhere took a major hit including our quant little Ventura. But now with a vaccine or two on the horizon, let’s hope 2021 shows a slow yet steady recovery. All those venues that provided live music pre-pandemic will need your help getting back up to speed. Meanwhile, please continue to be diligent when venturing out as the pandemic numbers have risen yet again. Do your part and social distance and wear your mask to help reduce the spread of the virus.

The Canyon Club at Oxnard Performing Art Center continues to add more concerts (see listings on this page), and if you’re a fan of The Beatles, then you won’t want to miss The Fab Four who have been a professional tribute band for the past 23 years. The band has a couple of CDs to their credit, including their popular HARK! Christmas CD, which features traditional Christmas songs done in that unmistakable Beatles style. They’ve also released a live concert CD and a CD of their Emmy-winning 2012 PBS special, “The Fab Four: The Ultimate Tribute.” The Fab Four plays Friday, December 4.

Here in Ventura, Concerts in Your Car has a handful of shows before a short break at the beginning of the year. Still to come this year, Iration on Friday, December 4, and then a couple of stage productions including a live drive-in opera of Carmen on Sunday, December 6, the Nutcracker from Ventura County Ballet on Saturday, December 12 (two shows 5 and 8 pm) and Santa Saves Christmas on Saturday December 19. The same venue has been offering actual drive-in movies in between concerts, and leading up to Christmas, they’ve lined up a number of holidays classics including Elf, the Polar Express, The Santa Clause, Dr. Seuss How the Grinch Stole Christmas (the Jim Carrey version) and of course, A Christmas Story. For more information on any of these shows, or ticket prices, just go to www.ConcertsInYourCar.com.

The 3rd annual Doc the Halls, Holiday Blues show with Doc Ventura will be held virtually this year out of Namba Performing Arts space on Sunday, December 6 from Noon until 6 pm. For the cost of admission (a mere $10), you can catch performances online live from Delta by the Beach, Mark McKinney, Tom Buenger, Robert Kyle & Alyse Korn, Lucious Spiller, the Ventura County Ballet Company, Freda Ramey and Frank Barajas.

We’ve continued to produce monthly episodes of the VenturaRockSpot which features local bands and artists. You’ll want to check out our current interview with the talented Jodi Farrell. You can either go to VenturaRocks.com (listed on homepage), or go directly to www.VenturaRockSpot.com which includes past episodes featuring such bands as Kelly’s Lot, How to Live with Robots, Mark Masson of Shaky Feelin’, Kyle Smith, Crooked Eye Tommy and more. We currently have 22 episodes posted for your listening pleasure.

Quick Notes: The Forty Nineteens just released their latest single, “Go Little GTO” which takes the 1966 GTO out of the garage for a ride on Sunset Strip where the bandmates learned their chops; and the Mighty Cash (Michael J and Leticia) will be performing at a social distanced, free concert at Chuy’s in Simi Valley on Saturday, December 12.

Do you have any music-related news or upcoming shows (online or live) you want help publicizing? Please send all information short or long to Pam@VenturaRocks.com, and for updated music listings daily, go to www.VenturaRocks.com.

Ventura Rocks in the Ventura Breeze 11/18/20 – 12/1/20

Ventura MusVentura Breeze logoic Scene
by Pam Baumgardner
VenturaRocks.com
Pam@VenturaRocks.com

Ventura Rocks artworkThere’s no doubt about it, the drive-in theater live concert events are about the only way you can take in a full band performing live music, and of course it’s the safest way if the folks in your car are quarantine buddies, so I’m happy to see more of these events popping up such as the one in Camarillo, and before you judge, keep an open mind because this one is serving up opera! The Ventura Music Festival has partnered with POP (Pacific Opera Project) and they boldly state, “If you think you hate opera, you haven’t seen a POP performance!” It all takes place for a limited time in the United Methodist Church parking lot at 291 Anacapa Drive. Coming up over the weekend of the 20 and 21 is a double bill featuring the US premiere of two rare, comic one-act Gluck operas, La Corona and Il Parnaso Confuso. Take a chance, take the family and enjoy some opera! Get more information at VenturaMusicFestival.org.

The Canyon Club at Oxnard Performing Art Center continues to add more concerts (see listings on this page) and they are typically of the tribute band variety with upcoming shows highlighting bands such as Van Halen, The Beatles, Elton John (the early years) and more.
Here in Ventura, Concerts in Your Car has Kaskade on November 20 (sold out), Bush the following night on November 21, Yachtley Crew on November 27, and Iration on December 4. They’re also offering up some opera on December 6 with a live performance of Carmen presented by Opera SB; then on Saturday, December 12, the Ventura County Ballet will provide entertainment to get you into the holiday mood with two performances of The Nutcracker (5 and 8 pm). For more information on any of these shows, go to www.ConcertsInYourCar.com.

Namba Arts continues to host live-streaming events every other weekend out of their studios. The next one will be held on Sunday, November 22 with Delta by the Beach, Solstice, FILI, Freda Ramey, String Planet, and the Rayjay & Flattop Tom Blues Duo. These events help keep Namba alive with a cover of $10 per performance which are hosted by Doc Ventura. You can look them up on Facebook or go to www.NambaAarts.com for details.

Quick Notes: Camarillo Barrelworks is offering live music solo/duo again (see listings); have dinner with “Frank” at Prime Tuesdays and Thursdays with Danny D; the Swillys play Grapes and Hops the night before Thanksgiving; Teresa Russell plays Wednesdays at Surfside Seafood in Port Hueneme, and Brittney Burchett with Ben Buttner plays Four Brix Winery on Sunday November 22.

Watching the fluctuation of the number of COVID-19 cases, it’s more important than ever to be diligent when venturing out, please do your part and social distance and wear your mask to help reduce the spread of the virus.

Do you have any music-related news or upcoming shows (online or live) you want help publicizing? Please send all information short or long to Pam@VenturaRocks.com, and for updated music listings daily, go to www.VenturaRocks.com.

Ventura Rocks in the Ventura Breeze 11/4/20 – 11/17/20

Ventura MusVentura Breeze logoic Scene
by Pam Baumgardner
VenturaRocks.com
Pam@VenturaRocks.com

Graphic of Ventura Rocks in the Ventura Breeze I guess it was bound to happen, and it finally did on Halloween when the first Concerts in Your Car was cancelled with a notice going out. “Aaron and Sully have made the difficult decision to cancel the remainder of their American Drive-in Tour. We know you are disappointed, and understand the challenges in touring nationally during a pandemic. We hope to have all of this behind us soon.” Of course, all tickets holders should receive full refunds within 5-7 business days. I have to admit my heart skipped a beat and a cold sweat hit me when I drove by that evening on my way home from a friend’s house in Ojai. The parking lot was empty and dark, and I thought to myself, “Did I get it wrong?” Did I list the wrong day on VenturaRocks.com??? It’s hard enough running a venue and booking artists let alone trying to do that during a pandemic. So, hats off to the crew behind the scenes. By the way, there are still a number of concerts and movies up until they’ll be offering “Holidays in Your Car” through the end of the year with just a handful of dates dark. No live music as far as I can tell, but it should be quite the visual sight with over a million animated lights for the whole family to enjoy. Meanwhile, they still 311 with two shows on Saturday, November 14, the sold out Kaskade show on Friday, November 20, and Bush on Saturday, November 21.

The next New West Symphony online concert, A Tour of India, takes place on Sunday, November 15, which will include a live Q&A with Maestro Michael Christie. The musical program will explore the influences that Indian and western classical musical traditions have upon each other. More information and tickets can be found at www.NewWestSymphony.org.

The Ventura Music Festival is celebrating Beethoven’s Birthday with two admission-free online shows, Sundays, November 15 and 22 at 4 pm with pre-recorded live performances by pianist Adam Golka. Remarks by Artistic Director Nuvi Mehta accompany each program and an interview with Golka is planned. To reserve your spot, go to www.VenturaMusicFestival.org.

Namba Arts will be hosting another live-streaming event out of their studios on Sunday, November 8. This one features Kris Simeon, Delta by the Beach, Richard Aufrichtig, Power2thePeople, Aaron Burch Band and Fred Kaplan & Rob Kyle. These events help keep Namba alive with a cover of $10 per performance which are hosted by Doc Ventura. You can look them up on Facebook or go to www.NambaAarts.com for details.

Quick Notes: Caffrodite Community Collective is now offering live acoustic music with limited seating; Ken Devoe plays Copa Cubana Saturday and Sunday afternoons; and Winchester’s is expanding their music to include both Thursdays and Sundays. Artists who have released new music include Colette Lovejoy’s self-titled debut and Alastair Greene’s “The New World Blues” produced by Tab Benoit.

Do you have any music-related news or upcoming shows (online or live) you want help publicizing? Please send all information short or long to Pam@VenturaRocks.com, and for updated music listings daily, go to www.VenturaRocks.com.