Interview: Owen Bucey – The Calamity

0207_OwenBucey_001One evening taking in music around Ventura I came across Owen Bucey performing a solo set at Bombay’s.  Owen of course has played keyboards for Army of Freshmen since day one.  I hadn’t seen him perform solo before, so I was impressed. Jeff Hershey was in the crowd and encouraged me to check out one of Owen’s “other” project The Calamity.  Less than a week later I found myself sitting down with Owen on Main Street at Palmero’s talking about Army, Calamity and the the music scene in general.

Honestly, the tape ran much longer than what you see here, as we got off topic more times than not just talking about Ventura’s music scene which we both love! But here is the spliced down version of our conversation.

Ventura Rocks:  How did The Calamity originally get started?

Owen Bucey:   Calamity was a project that got started with Kai, Aaron and myself when we were touring on the East Coast in Jersey around 2004/2005.  We just hung in one night when everybody was going out and we were staying at Chris’s folk’s house.  They live in a place in Cape Main.  His mom’s a music teacher so they have a piano room and we were just messing around, drinking beers and whatever; and we just put it together. It was just sheer organic fun.  We loved what came out of that night and decided to explore it a little bit more.

VR:  How was the experience different from Army?

Owen:  In Calamity everyone was on different instruments, except for me, but I was starting to write lyrics which was a new experience for me.

The CalamityVR:  How soon did you realize you had enough for an album?

Owen:  We’d meet up occasionally to keep it going.  We took baby steps, you know?  We’d record a couple of songs with someone. But we finished a full length record in 09 and put it out on Missing Words label (The Return, Matt Marten’s label).  It was cool, because he did a real push and even got us on college radio.  We played a couple shows, but we continued to write more.

VR:  And the rest of the guys?

Owen:  Balt joined right before we finished Songs from the Gold Coast (the record that came out in 09.)  Some of the songs were done, so he contributed to some of the songs on bass. But we were always like a three piece, just Aaron, Kai and myself.  We basically wrote almost a full record like that, then Balt came in and we added three or four more songs for a full-length.  Phil was added after that for more texture and guitars.  We’re all from the same circle of friends and bands; it was a chance to jam out and get something with a little more guitar texture so it doesn’t end up being too Ben Foldsy, straight up piano pop.

The CalamityVR:  And how was that writing?

Owen:  The songs that were coming out of me were about what was going on in my life at that time, relationship stuff, marriage stuff, it was difficult, the economy, everything.  So it was little more moody, so it was cool to have those other elements.

VR:  And you got out and performed?

Owen:  Yeah, when Phil came in, there was like an injection of passion, which was cool because he was all jazzed about doing some shows, so we organized some more and and this was all going on at the same time as whatever Army of Freshmen was doing. So we’d run around with Freshmen and go out on a trip for a week, then come back and have a show here and there with Calamity.  We just coordinated everything with our off days.

VR:  And what about the marketing of Calamity?

Owen:  Well the cool thing about this, is that nobody really cared about whether or not it took off. It was all about just playing music, and writing songs.  But we were real proud of it. It was always great when we had an opportunity to perform it.  And we had some cool opportunities like when we got invited to play with Camper Van Beethoven’s camp out which they do every year at Pioneertown.

The Ghost of These MomentsVR:  When did you guys decide to cut a second album?

Owen:  Winter of 2012. We knew we could book time at “The Captain’s Quarters” (Satellite Studios) in spring of 2013

VR:  Who produced it?

Owen:  The Calamity and Armand Tambouris

VR:  What are you hoping to achieve with A Ghost of These Moments?

Owen:  We wanted to achieve a more organic and raw sound with real instrumentation. The songs were a natural and personal culmination of the previous year. Something we can always be proud of. No agenda really

VR:  How did the idea to cover the album start to finish at the show at Bombay’s on March 1 come about?

Owen:  We liked the idea of making the show a one time event. Give the entire concept of the album in one fell swoop.

VR:  Is there anything else you would like to say about the project?

Owen:  Basically, the Calamity has always been about the music. Trying out new things without trying too hard, and playing with friends.

See’s music review of A Ghost of These Moments

The Calamity Members:
.aaron goldberg
.baltazar cano
.kai dodson
.owen bucey
.phil tibbs


Buy The Calalmity – A Ghost of These Moments


Ventura Rocks in the Ventura Breeze – 2/19/14 – 3/4/14

Ventura Breeze logoVentura Music Scene
Army on the March
by Pam Baumgardner

0207_OwenBucey_001I caught up with Army of Freshmen’s Owen Bucey to get the lowdown on the upcoming Calamity CD release party set for Saturday, March 1 at Bombay’s. Owen told me how Army had been on the East Coast touring back in 2004/2005 and they had been staying at singer Chris Jay’s parent’s house. One evening most of the guys had gone out but Kai, Aaron and Owen had hung back kicking it around in the music room where Chris’s mom taught music. Before long, songs were being developed. Owen explained, “It was just sheer organic fun. We loved what came out of that night and decided to explore it a little bit more.” It was different too because they played different instruments except for Owen, but he actually started to write lyrics for the first time. Flash forward to present time with Calamity and their second release, A Ghost of these Moments, which will be played live, start to finish, with no stops. Price of the ticket at Bombay’s gets you a free download.

The Patio at Player’s Club Casino will play host for a fundraiser on Saturday, February 22, for the Canine Adoption and Rescue League with Kelly’s Lot and special guest on harp, Jon Gindick. There will be food, drinks and no cover, but plenty of opportunities to donate to this worthy cause to help our furry friends. See for more information.

The Garage is actively seeking bands to play there once again. Numbskull Presents announced Lower Class Brats out of Austin, Texas, with Kicker, The Loads and Global Crime Syndicate on March 27. It will be awesome having more live shows more often on the east end of town.

Parsons Guitars out of Seattle, WA, have moved into the space above the Ventura Theater at the corner of Main and Chestnut. I swung by during their “soft” opening and met owner Randy Parsons who gave me a tour, it’s amazing what they’ve done with the space. All stringed musicians should drop in and see what the man has to offer, from classes, to repairs, to building guitars to spec. We wish him well as we plan to get him involved with the music scene here in town.

It’s coming up on five years since was launched and you’re officially invited to help us celebrate at our anniversary party on Monday, March 17, at Bombay’s. Yes, it’s a Monday. Yes, it’s St. Patrick’s Day, and Yes, we have Rey Fresco playing! You won’t want to miss it!

Do you have any music related news or upcoming shows you want help on publicizing? Then send all information short or long to

Ventura Music Photos: February 2014

Photos of Music in Ventura this month

Bombay Bar and Grill – February 28, 2014
Diana Boydstrum, Diego Gambino and Pam Baumgardner
Getting out, taking in music, hanging with good friends.  Ventura Rocks!Diana, Diego an Pam

Amigo’s Surf Cantina – February 27, 2014
Gypsy Blues Band with Morganfield Burnett
Gypsy Blues Band with Morganfield Burnett

Bombay Bar and Grill – February 26, 2014
Kevin Seconds (7 Seconds), Steve Soto (Adolescents, Agent Orange) and Russ Rankin (Good Riddance)

Paradise Pantry – February 26, 2014
Xoco Moraza and Todd Hannigan
Todd and Xoco

The Star Lounge – February 23, 2014
Mighty Cash Cats

The Star Lounge – February 23, 2013
Kyle Hunt
Kyle Hunt

Sans Souci – February 23, 2014
Jukebox Mutiny
Jukebox Mutiny

Amigo’s Surf Cantino – February 23, 2014
Jerry and the Big Beats
Jerry and the Big Beats

The Patio at Player’s Casino – February 22, 2014
Kelly’s Lot – Fundraiser for

Squashed Grapes – February 22, 2014
Paul McCallum & Friends

Squashed Grapes

Yolies – February 21, 2014
Rick Holmstrum Band
Rick Holmstrum Band

Squashed Grapes – February 20, 2014
Buckner, Flowers, Genova & Christie

Bombay Bar and Grill – February 16, 2014
The Bomb
The Bomb

Amigo’s Surf Cantina – February 16, 2014
Tommy and Paddy Marsh w/ Pam Baumgardner of
Paddy - Pam - Tommy

Ventura High School Auditorium – February 15, 2014
Ventura Music Festival:  Eddie Palmieri Latin Jazz Band
Eddie Palmieri

Bombay Bar and Grill – February 15, 2014
Doubt Aplomb, Rubberneck Lions, Mandex

Cafe Fiore – February 13, 2014
Christopher Hawley
Christopher Hawley

W20 at the Watermark – February 13, 2014
Ventura Social Club with Lenny Castro
Ventura Social Club w Lenny Castro

Bombay Bar and Grill – February 9, 2014
RB BombersRB Bombers

EP Foster Library – February 9, 2014
Toni Jannotta Jazz quartet
Toni Jannotta

Surf Brewery – February 8, 2014
The Hard Times Band
Hard Times Band

Bombay Bar and Grill – February 7, 2014
Owen Bucey
Owen BuceyAaron Orbit
Aaron Orbit

Peirano’s – Friday, February 7, 2014
Shawn Jones with Sam Bolle

El Rey Cantina – Friday, February 7, 2014
Xoco Moraza & Friends

Amigo’s Surf Cantina – Thursday, February 6, 2014
Gypsy Blues Band
The Gypsy Blues Band

Bombay Bar and Grill – Wednesday, February 5, 2014
Mikey Mo with Tommy Marsh

Squashed Grapes – Wednesday, February 5, 2014
The Jazz Report

Green Art People – Wednesday, February 5, 2014
Aloha Radio

Amigo’s Surf Cantina – Tuesday, February 4, 2014
Catfish Fry and Doug Johnson blues swing jam & open mic featuring
Brittney BurchettJoe Billingiere

Billy O’s – Monday, February 3, 2014

Ventura Rocks in the Ventura Breeze – 2/5/14 – 2/18/14

Ventura Breeze logoVentura Music Scene
Surf Rodeo’s Up!
by Pam Baumgardner

JD Drury and Surf Rodeo announced the dates for this year’s two day event over the summer.  Mark your calendars now because you won’t want to schedule your summer vacation July 12th and 13th.  They’re currently looking for vendors and bands, if you’re interested, shoot them off an email to  And speaking of upcoming music events, Roadshow Revival’s a Tribute to the Music of Johnny Cash announced their first signed act, The Palladins.

I spoke to Jeremy Pemberton from Discovery Ventura who was more than pleased with the turnout for their grand opening weekend.  Now they’ll be filling out the paperwork for long-term entertainment permits so they’ll be able to provide music on a consistent basis.  We’re looking forward to good things to come from Discovery in the future.

Jon Gindick’s Mississippi Delta Blues Harmonica Jam Camp was held here in Ventura for the very first time bringing to town some of the finest players including Brian Purdy, R.J. Mischo, Cheryl Arena, Hash Brown and the man himself Jon Gindick.  The workshops were held at the Pierpont Inn over five days. Most of the camp players arrived at Bombay’s on Thursday, January 23, to witness their instructors tear it up with members of the Gypsy Blues Room. At the end of the night all players (new and seasoned) got out their harps and joined in for a group grand finale with dozens of harp players throughout Bombay’s playing in synch.  It was pretty cool.

I ran into Gil Valencia at Peirano’s on a Tuesday evening.  While taking some pictures, Gil announced to the crowd that I was the “Mamarazzi” to which everyone gave me a warm welcome. Gil told me that he would always fill the house at the Sidecar Restaurant when he would play there the third Tuesday of every month.  Well after they closed he found a new home at Peirano’s and his following, well, followed.
And as always, we invite you read the latest from Polly Hoganson, MusicMuse on  She recently interviewed Chris Jay of Army of Freshmen who spoke candidly about the new film project he and fellow band mate Aaron Goldberg wrote called Baker’s Dozen.  They’ve been seen filming around Ventura using members from several local bands including members of 8Stops7 and New Liberty along with several of guys’ wrestling heroes such as Jake “The Snake” Roberts, Tommy Dreamer and Diamond Dallas Page.

Have any music related news or upcoming shows you want help on publicizing?  Send all information short or long:

Evan Sula-Goff – 8Stops7 – Speaks Out

On Wednesday, January 29, 2014, I spotted a post from Evan Sula-Goff of 8Stops7 on Facebook. He had shared a link entitled “It Seems Bands Don’t Make Money Off Touring Either” from    I read Evan’s comments which began with “This is exactly why we only toured one week last year.”   His post is important and it concerned me that so many people may have missed it, so with Evan’s permission I have copied and pasted (and yes added a photo or two) so it can be more easily located on the web.

billy-os_002From Evan Sula-Goff:

This is exactly why we only toured one week last year. The idea that touring is a vacation is so laughable. Touring can be fun in a very humans against the elements sort of way, but a 36 hour drive straight to the gig, trying to sleep sitting straight up on a shared bench seat, loading equipment up two flights of stairs is not anyone’s definition of leisure. That’s why it makes no sense that a week long tour can cost the same out-of-pocket as a family week at the Grand Canyon, a Mammoth Ski Trip, Disney World, or whatever else we classify as leisure–more often than not, it costs more. And if you’re like anything like me, it takes years to save up for one of those options. How do we tell our families and/or our over-worked selves that we spent our vacation fund on three shows in Nebraska (no offense to Nebraska, it’s a beautiful state). We do it because we believe in our music, and believe in our fans; because we desperately want to make good on our promise to bring our music to the people who have supported us across the nation, and the world, but we just simply can’t afford it. There is definitely something to be said about paying dues and what-not, but if the silver-est lining is $13-20 a day for each band member, how many bands/people do you know of that can sustain like that for longer than a few years. And don’t get me started on records. Yes, they are cheaper to make than they were 10 years ago, but a great sounding record still costs about 15,000 for recording, mixing, mastering, and Print. And yes, independently you can potentially get more money from each sale than you could ten years ago, but ten years ago, the top-selling records were selling 2 to 3 million records their first week, now they top the charts with an average of about 20-30,000. We spent 14-15,000 out-of-pocket to produce Fables, we have 3000 fans on FB and a mailing list of about the same, we completed a successful pledge-funding campaign, earning over $7,000 gross (netting about $4,000) and we still have yet to make back half of our investment. I guess that means that less than 1400 of our 6000+ active fans have heard the record–we all know that is not the case…

My cynical prediction: all the new recorded music, and all the tours coming through our towns will be made up of people born into money, backed by someone born into money, or someone resourceful and fortunate enough to have made a killing doing something else entirely, and inexplicably deciding to spend some of that money on trying to start a band  Not to say wealthy people can’t make great music, but that will be it…all Vampire Weekend (no offense, good band), no Boss, no Bob. Blue-collar heroes will be too busy focusing on endeavors that actually stand a chance of getting food on their, or their family’s table.

It’s one o’clock in the morning so, consider this my Jerry Maguire-esque mission statement:

– Clubs, start charging covers, and giving decent guarantees, or the only bands you will have willing to play are bands who will gladly play for nothing, because they are desperate and most likely not very good. People will stroll in to find you have booked the worst band on the planet and they will never show up again.
– Promoters…promote the club. Stop relying on booking bands who can bring all their friends, so they and all their friends can pay the venue for the privilege of a place to hang. Your place is not that cool, and eventually everyone will go back to their own living rooms, backyards, and garages for cheaper beer and less of a drive.
– Bands, stop playing for free*, you are ruining it for every one. Play the obligatory introduction gig, but after that never play there again until they offer at the very least a few free drinks and 1-300 bucks. Get it in writing and expect a boost in pay each time you are back until you have reached the union cap (on an aside, why the h don’t we have a gig union). If you are like us, and people have to take off work, drive an hour or two to gig on weekends, $100 doesn’t even break even. Bottom line: expect what you are worth, accept nothing less. *There will come a time when playing for free for publicity will be without a doubt worth it, for example, the club has a built-in crowd and you’re doing your first or second gig there, or the gig is ahuge outdoor festival with lots of potential merch customers, just don’t be sold across the board on the free publicity thing, most of the time, it’s truly bullshit.

8Stops7– Fans, so you’re not going to pay for anything you can get for free, I get it. Growing income gaps between the rich and the poor, dying/extinct middle class, lay-offs, insurance woes, I get it. All I ask is two things: 1) that you remember the money to even break even on a poor man’s art has to come from somewhere. If you want your favorite starving artist to continue producing recorded music, and continue touring there has to be a give and take. If you can’t afford merch, or just don’t want anything, and if you’ve already got the album for free and downloaded to every single device you own, if you don’t live in their neighborhood so can’t make it to a local show, send them $1 in an envelope with a note. If you can make it to a local show, and especially if you got in for free, you can assume they aren’t being paid fairly. Walk up and hand them a buck or two. Let them know you appreciate what they do. At this point a buck from each of our fans would go a long way. We could tour for a month and cover a ton of ground. 2) Don’t let the fact that music is free, cause you to treat it, even subconsciously, like it has no value. If you like something, “run” to your favorite “record store”, download that sh#$, and eat, sleep, and breathe it in for a week at least. Check their “interwebs”, like their page, etc. Don’t do yourself the disservice of saying, “Hey that’s pretty cool, I’ll eventually give it a listen when I get around to it.”

My less cynical prediction: if we all (clubs, promoters, bands, and fans) work together the music scene will resurface in a very sustainable way.

Wow, didn’t know I had all that in me. With great trepidation I have chosen not to proofread it again, and believe in good faith that my sincerest intentions, of rejuvenating a dying scene for the benefit of everyone, have come across.

Good Night.