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

Ventura MusVentura Breeze logoic Scene
by Pam Baumgardner

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. 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

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, and for updated music listings daily, go to

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

Ventura MusVentura Breeze logoic Scene
by Pam Baumgardner

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 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, and for updated music listings daily, go to