Ventura Rocks in the Ventura Breeze 9/9/20 – 9/22/20

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

Ventura Rocks artworkThe City and surrounding areas are still not allowing live music in venues, not even outdoors unless it’s one of the drive-in style and you’re in a car, or at least next to your car in a parking lot. Concerts in Your Car in the fairgrounds parking lot continue to add shows including Robby Krieger of the Doors, the Dirty Heads and Cypress Hill.
The Canyon at the Oxnard Performing Arts Center (parking lot) seems to be focusing on tribute bands with the exception of a punk show on the 19th. They’re calling them Carpool Jam Concerts with tribute bands featuring the music of Metallica, Madonna, Journey, Doors, Billy Idol and more.


Q&A with Dan Grimm – EP: Before the Floor

I’m always jazzed to hear local artists have new music they’ve been working on and have a new CD or EP to share; such is the case with Dan Grimm and his new EP called Before the Floor. As co-owner of Carbonite Sound out of Ojai (along with Jason Mariani), Grimm not only has some amazing resources, and contacts, but yes, talent, and I would be remiss if I didn’t mention his dry sense of humor.

Pam Baumgardner: This is your fourth release after Average Savage, Ventucky and Corvus Crow, correct?

Dan Grimm: Yes exactly

Is there a backstory on the EP title, Before the Floor?

Dan: Yes! There is a story to Before the Floor aka “Before the floor so rudely interrupted…”
Dave Palmer was playing the Vine in Ojai, and a bunch of friends and musos were hanging out, as was the former owner of one of the all time great Old School Ojai gourmet restaurants. He’s an 70-80 year old gentleman and has never lost his elegant french accent. He was clearly flirting heavily with a random young lady and frankly to our surprise, he appeared to be captivating her. I remember his teeth had the tale-tell wine purple coting and he was clearly the jovial throws of a few bottles of something nice. We were right next to him and young lady at those standing tables when he blacked out and dropped like a brick. With a little help up he was quickly back on his feet and to my great surprise uttered “So, as I was saying before the floor so rudely interrupted me” and went on as if nothing had happened at all. That was one of the all time great spontaneous lines I’ve ever heard and I knew I had to make a musical painting of that incident.

How would you say you’ve grown, or evolved? First with your songwriting, and then with the recording process.

Dan GrimmDan: Songwriting growth is tough to answer. There are those songs that the universe writes and you are a passenger for, and there is the crafter-grind that turns out songs through effort. The spontaneously written and finished ones are gifted to you and there is little to work on other than whatever innate melody/chord structure, and form skills have been slowly growing. The grinder songs… I guess I can say I’m writing more pointedly for purpose and delivery instead of just for therapy like you do when it’s really just for your own mind’s maintenance. So at this point, I feel like you could point me at a topic and I could likely make something or several somethings that fit the need and don’t completely suck.
Relevant to this collection of songs, though, some are very very old and the growth is the sound in studio and how I work with Dave Palmer, who continues to become more and more a main musical compadre and influence. “Space Black” was a song I liked and I wrote in college in 1999, but it took me this long to find the right composition. This version was a bunch of people in a room getting very weird and nailing something I had never been able to ask for in words before.

Tell me about the players on this EP.

Dave Palmer was the first person I asked to get involved and help produce with me. He heavily influenced the sound and within the industry he’s known to be the kind of gifted dude he was for this album and so many songs on the radio like “Feel it Still” by Portugal the Man, De La Soul, Chris Isaak, Cardi B, Bruno Mars, and more than I can even name drop. His heavy foray into movie scores was a major influence on the approach, as well. Very importantly, I also asked him to assemble the other players. His piano and synth, which are largely live, always move the song but he’s never pushy with his own parts. He had decades of songs to choose from in my library and while I knew Before the Floor had to be on this one, he had us drop two additional songs to ensure the guys had a fun day in studio, (which we did).

Matt Chamberlain was my main target for drums. He’s really hard to get and luckily just loves Dave, because I was repeatedly told only A-list cats can hope to see him show up for sessions. He’s on Bob Dylan’s new album Rough and Rowdy Ways that is garnering so much attention, and he’s been the go-to guy for Pearl Jam, John Mayer, David Bowie, Bruce Springsteen, The Who, Stevie Nicks, and the list literally goes on and on.
From the iconic snap on “Can’t All be Loves Songs” to the absolute genius on “Space Black Night,” he was everything I had hoped for and more. Jokingly, Palmer suggested he never repeat patterns on the lengthy Space Black Night cut, he said “I can probably do that, let’s try.” He then proceeded to nail it for two consecutive takes, which completely blew my mind, and one of those takes is the cut we are releasing.

Tim Young is probably most famous for having his own Queer Eye makeover as the shaggy guitar player in the Late Show band with James Cordon. He’s also been Beck’s live guitar player, and worked with Lady Gaga, Cher, Sting, Alisha Keys, Kermit the Frog, and many more. The solo on “Before the Floor” was played on his cigarette case amp, which is literally electronics installed into a single pack of cigarettes. The tone he got out of it is really cool and I had never seen one used before that.

Jonny Flaugher is a very bad man on bass. He’s got a very groovy pocket, and he can be busy without being pushy or disappear in the ether while supporting the song with a really nice low tonecraft. I dug his work with Ryan Adams and he’s also sort of the anthropomorphic representation of New Jersey. My truck door might still be holding a grudge from the after-recording celebration, but I’m already plotting to get him in on a bunch of recordings in the future and I stay in touch with him regularly because he’s a lovely guy on top of how talented he is on bass.

Jesse Siebenberg is a long-time friend and collaborator who plays most instruments better than most folks who just play one thing. He played steel guitar on “Can’t All Be Love Songs” just as he did for Lukas Nelson and Lady Gaga for the movie A Star is Born with Bradley Cooper. He is also the current lead man of Supertramp and son of Supertramp’s drummer Bob Siebenberg, as well as nephew of Thin Lizzy’s guitar player Scott Gorham.

I’m loving “They Can’t All be Love Songs,” I played it on the latest episode of The Pam Baumgardner Music Hour on KPPQ-LP. You must be super proud! Tell me the back story on this one.

Dan: This one was written in my most productive period as a writer when I was writing for the band milEs and living completely nocturnally in Los Angeles. The verses are extremely literal and true, but the inspiration came from the fact that the band’s singer and other writer basically only wrote love songs. The rest of the band wanted me to break that pattern, so I wrote a song about not just writing love songs… that I guess wasn’t really a departure from love songs, but it was an inside joke topically.

Jesse wasn’t supposed to play on the EP, but he came by for a listen and liked “Can’t All Be Love Songs” so much he wanted to sit in with the band. His lap steel parts on the solo sections were played live with Tim’s amp side by side, so they both had to nail the synchronized guitarmony parts without making any mistakes, as we could not edit the guitars separately.

This song and the whole album were live tracked, so everyone played as a live performance band instead of layer by layer. That has always felt more like music to me as I know and enjoy it, but it’s becoming the exception in the modern industry. We had a really good time recording all these songs and the day went by way too fast. Usually a day in the studio means late into night, but in this case, we took 2-3 takes per song… cut a few solos over again, added another layer of Dave in some select spots, and then went wine tasting by late afternoon. It was nuts.

Too funny!! I would have loved to be a fly on the wall for that session! So where do you find your inspiration to write songs. Is there a typical way for you? And are you always writing, or does it come and go throughout your life?

Dan GrimmDan: The plan is to always be in the midst of writing songs, though sometimes I don’t get whole songs so much as a line, or verse, or something that ends up being a bridge in a separate song later, or just a concept for a song or album. Inspiration comes from all over the place… the only time I’ve ever had writer’s block is when I’ve locked myself in a room to focus on writing songs for too long and actually robbed myself of outside stimulus. I try to have lots of processes to keep out of ruts. I do have a go-to strategy to drive inspiration though, I frequently switch dominant hands for long periods of time to rewire my brain. Thank god for computers because I’ve found my handwriting awful both left and right handed.

During these pandemic times, how are you planning to get the word out on your EP? All the usual outlets?

It will be on www.carbonitesound.com and that’s probably it. Artists are getting robbed blind by basically every service except maybe the non-streaming form of apple music and band camp, so I want to control all my material completely. I already can’t make a living off of album sales, so I’m not motivated to try to stay in the public eye and play the exposure game. For consumers streaming is great, but it’s been more damaging than Napster in my opinion.

DanGrimm.ninja
Facebook.com/DanGrimmBand
Instagram.com/carbonitesound/
Facebook.com/carbonitesound
Twitter: @dansgrimm


And finally, here’s the “op-ed” portion of my column: I don’t want to get all Footloose on the City, but what a lot of people could use right now is live music to soothe our nerves. Outdoors, social distancing, no slam-dancing, in fact, how about no dancing at all, and all the while wearing a face mask when not sitting, eating or sipping on a beverage? I’m not asking for special favors, but the venues are already set up and serving outdoors, so why not let us patrons enjoy some jazz, folk, or blues? I know all the musicians in the area would love to work again. End of op-ed.


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 8/26/20 – 9/8/20

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

CONCERTS IN YOUR CAR

Moorpark has thrown their hat in the ring and the City has hosted a handful of live drive-in style concerts at Arroyo Vista Community Park (4550 Tierra Rejada Road). They’ve hit a couple of bumps in the road and had to cancelled their most recent one, but let’s keep our fingers crossed for their next scheduled concert on Sunday, September 13 featuring The Trip with Rock ‘n’ Roll from the 60s to today. The show runs 6 -8 pm and the cost is only $20 per car; preregistration is required which can be found on the City’s website at Moorparkca.gov on their Parks & Rec’s page.

The Canyon at the Oxnard Performing Arts Center continues offering reggae on Sunday evenings dubbed Reggae Knights as well as other shows coming up such as Little Willie G (the voice of Thee Midniters) on Friday, August 28, Queen Nation on Saturday, August 29 and Led Zeppagain on Friday, September 4.

And of course, our own drive-in concert venue here in Ventura at the Ventura Fairgrounds continues to offer live shows with Fitz and the Tanrums on Saturday, August 29, A-Trak, Ruckus and Tay James on Sunday August 30 and Tower of Power with Los Lobos on Sunday, September 6. For the FAQ and ticket information as well as other dates for movies and such, go to the official website ConcertsinYourCar.com.

Another Sky – Q&A with Kelly Zirbes of Kelly’s Lot

The uber talented Kelly Zirbes of Kelly’s Lot never ceases to amaze me with her seemingly never-ending supply of energy and creative outflow. She is always working on new projects, writing and performing and keeping in touch via social media as much as possible with her fan base. She sent me her latest release called Another Sky which only solidifies my opinion of this woman. Kelly and Perry from Kelly’s Lot will be my next guests on the VenturaRockSpot (VenturaRocks.com), but meanwhile, I thought I’d ask her a couple of questions for the Breeze.

Pam: I’m mostly familiar with your blues releases, how would you describe the genre of this release?

Kelly Z: Another Sky is mostly a Contemporary Folk and Americana release.

Doug Pettibone, Kelly Zirbes and Perry Robertson

Was this something you’d been working on, or did the recent pandemic, social unrest, or elections have a part in your songwriting choices?

Kelly Z: I had already written these songs when the pandemic started but two songs were written about the frustration in politics today. “Freedom” was written about how extremism robs you of your freedom and “Hurricane” was written about the madness of a divided country. We had also written an Irish jig for Ventura’s Saint Patrick’s Day parade but that was canceled. Back in March I didn’t think these songs would be recorded for a couple years. We were planning on doing a full band blues recording but because we were locked down it was going to be difficult to get everyone together to work out the parts. So, we decided to try and do something acoustic and we reached out to our neighbor Doug Pettibone to see if he would like to co-produce and play on the project. He was on board having had lost a few jobs himself.

So then, who all gets producing credit

Kelly Z: It was recorded in Doug’s studio in Oxnard and in the Kelly’s Lot studio in North Hollywood.

Who all were involved in the project and in what capacity?

Kelly Z: Deciding and arranging what instruments we wanted to put on these songs was very organic. We first started with Doug and Perry both on acoustic guitars; Doug then added pedal steel, slide guitar, and mandolin. After that the songs started to feel a certain way and we could hear what was missing. We also wanted to make sure we included every member of the band on at least one song and that helped fill in many gaps. Art Mendoza on drums, Matt McFadden on bass, Rob Zucca on guitar, Bill Johnston on clarinet, Aviva Maloney on penny whistle, Frank ‘Cisco’ Hinojosa on harmonica, Jeri Goldenhar doing some background vocals and for standup bass we used Paul Kennedy and David Grover. We brought in Aubrey Richmond on violin and Phil Parlapiano on accordion to round it all out. We ended up with two duets featuring Doug Pettibone and Rick Monroe from Nashville.

You’ve been sharing a lot about the song “Butterfly;” what’s the inspiration behind it?

Kelly Z: “Butterfly” was written the day after Prince died. Like I do every once in a while, I have asked my fans on Facebook to give me a word. Butterfly and Purple came up right away and the song was written rather quickly. As I wrote it, I remember thinking of my mom and my brother and so many musicians we have lost in the past couple years. It is a song to lift up someone form the grief of losing a loved one or maybe even a musical mentor.

You’ll be hosting a CD release party at Four Brix?

Kelly Z: Yes we are doing a live online acoustic concert at Four Brix Winery in Ventura (Friday, August 28). Because of Covid, there will be no “in winery” audience. It will be a Facebook live concert hosted on the Four Brix Facebook page. They are offering a meal and wine for pickup to enjoy during the concert at home or in your backyard. We are both promoting it on Facebook and through our mailing lists. If you want more info call the winery at 805-256-6006, visit the Facebook page or email them at info@fourbrixwine.com.

Is there anything else you’d care to share?

Kelly Z: It feels good to go back to my singer/songwriter roots and do an album of folk, roots rock and americana. Luckily Doug and Perry guided me through this in a way that brought out a deeper yet brighter version of my songs. They are both great at arranging and even participated in some of the writing. I also brought in my team from other releases, mixer Fred Paragano, mastering engineer Mike Michner and graphic artist Evie Cook. You can buy the CD or a download at my website KellysLot,com or a download at iTunes on August 28. It will also be on Spotify, Apple Music and a few other online platforms.

A BIT OF THIS AND THAT

Congratulations to 50 Sticks of Dynamite on their 10-year anniversary together as a band.
Alastair Greene will have a new release this October called The New World Blues produced by Tab Benoit. Dan Grimm has a new EP ready to release, as does the Colette Lovejoy Band; details coming soon.

Tommy Marsh’s Crooked Eye Tommy CD release party was a bittersweet affair as he introduced the band’s sophomore release, Hot Coffee and Pain, but the show was also his final show as a resident of Ventura County. We wish him well on his new adventures as he and Tammy pack up and move to Nashville. But not to worry, he assures us that he will return for shows after this pandemic is over.

And finally, Serena Ropersmith just sent me new music to play on the Pam Baumgardner Music Hour. She recently released Sideways which was mostly inspired by her experiences at Ventura High School (she now attends Cal Poly) and she plays piano on every song. I love that her dad is Kent Bones, drummer for Birdbrain, and he plays on a couple of her songs and it was recorded with Armand (Night Demon, New Liberty) at the Captains Quarters.

Don’t forget my radio show airs Tuesdays and Fridays at 5 pm and Sundays at noon at 104.1 FM here in Ventura on KPPQ-LP, or you can use your smart device and listen using the MyTuner radio app or listen 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 8/12 – 8/25

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

CONCERTS IN YOUR CAR

Just so you know, the Concerts in Your Car season won’t last forever, probably as long as the good weather lasts, oh, and the pandemic. But I am happy to hear they’ll also offer shows in Arizona without packing up and leaving Ventura. By the way, did I call it or what in my last column? Yes, they did add a couple more dates with Grammy winning alt rock band, Switchfoot, on Saturday, August 15 and certified double-platinum country music singer/songwriter, Tracy Lawrence, on Friday, August 21, as well as a comedy show, two performances on Friday, August 28, featuring none other than David Spade & Rob Schneider.

I did notice the Rubicon’s Jimmy Messina & Friends was no longer posted on the website so I asked my sources and then confirmed with Karl Hunter, sax player for Big Bad Voodoo Daddy that they would be replacing those dates, and it’s true! So, you can catch Ventura’s own Big Bad Voodoo Daddy August 17, 18 and 19 from the safety of your own car.
Looking ahead to next month, the Ventura Music Festival will host a show with the Grammy and Emmy winning Gordon Goodwin’s Little Phat Band on Thursday, September 24. You can expect a high energy program from swing to funk to Latin to pop with Vangie Gunn on vocals.
Big Bad Voodoo Daddy

For the FAQ and ticket information as well as other dates for movies and such, go to the official website ConcertsinYourCar.com.

Q&A WITH CROOKED EYE TOMMY’S TOMMY MARSH

Crooked Eye Tommy will have their official CD release party down at the Oxnard Performing Arts Center where they are holding their own version of a drive-in style concert. The party is scheduled for Friday, August 21, with Joey Delgado from the Delgado Brothers, Guy Martin, Jon English and Jim Gustin & Truth Jones. According to the online evite, each car will have two parking spaces, one for your car and the other to set up camp in, and unlike the Ventura drive-in style concerts, food and beverages will be available along with restrooms. Tickets are available via Eventbrite.

I can’t say enough about this CD; the sophomore release from Crooked Eye Tommy really captures the band’s talent both as musicians and as singer/songwriters. Tommy has a winner on his hands.

Crooked Eye TommyPam: What’s behind the title of Hot Coffee and Pain?

Tommy Marsh: The title came about one morning when I woke up with bad back pain. I had been working in the yard the day before and apparently overdid it. I sat down with my morning coffee and under my breath mumbled “Hot coffee and pain.” The words sort of rang in my head and a song started.

Why did your sophomore release take longer than Butterflies and Snakes?

Tommy: We started it in late 2017 and recorded some of the base tracks (I think you were there for some of it). Anyway, as things happen when recording at a bad-ass studio and, to be frank, I ran out of money. Over the next couple years many things happened. The Thomas fire, the mudslide, etc, etc, etc. They were very emotional times. It seemed like waiting was the right thing to do. We again worked on it last year and finally we got it done early this year. Life happens!

Tell me about the musicians on this one.

Tommy: I produced this one with Tammy (life partner) and the help of Charlie McClure an old friend and drummer on Hot Coffee and Pain.
Paddy Marsh on Guitars & Vocals
Craig Williams on Sax
Samuel Correa on Bass
And me of course (Guitar & Vocals).
Teresa James is a guest on the song “Baby Where you Been,” a duet I wrote. She sings and plays amazing piano on that track.
Jimmy Calire is also on this album playing saxophone and organ.

Who gets writing credits?

Tommy: Paddy and I both wrote 3 songs each for this album and we chose 3 covers for the album.

Do you have a favorite song on Hot Coffee and Pain?

Tommy: My favorite song on the album is an old song, and it’s not one that I wrote, it’s Paddy’s song, “The Time it Takes to Live.” It has significant meaning to me because some of it was directed at me at a time when I was deep in the throes of addiction. This fact did not come to my attention until years later after I was free of the drugs and it is a strong reminder of those times. Though they were bad times for me the redemption story of “Time it Takes” is a very real and personal reminder that I defeated that enemy and prevailed.
Time waits for no man
Wheel turns in the sky
Let us live while we can
Gotta take the time
The time it takes to live

I know you have a CD release party here locally “drive-in-theater” style at the Oxnard Performing Arts Center, but what else are you doing to get the word out during this unexpected pandemic?

Tommy: We were signed to Blue Heart Records from Pennsylvania earlier this year which has been amazing. They have been very helpful in getting the word out. Sallie Bengton is an absolutely, unbelievable life force. So grateful for this partnership.
We have also contracted the Blind Racoon Agency in Memphis as our PR firm for this release. They work with lots of amazing artists. Betsie Brown is truly an industry leader and we are honored that she has chosen to work with us this cycle.

Much like everyone else we are in the wait-and-see mode as far as what we will be able to do as far as live performances goes but I think it is too early to tell how the California music scene will fare post COVID.

You’re getting airplay/spins?

Tommy: The a fore mentioned Blind Raccoon agency has done a fantastic job getting the recording out to radio outlets who have been kind enough to play it. The Roots Music is the world’s largest independent radio airplay charting organization; they receive airplay charts from thousands of terrestrial & internet radio stations. They have a wide range of airplay charts from rock to blues, country to bluegrass, and as of this morning Hot Coffee & Pain is #9 on the Blues Chart. We post airplay on our Facebook page for those interested. The record has been played on every continent on earth already and it hasn’t even been released to the public yet! We are pretty stoked to say the least.

Hot Coffee and Pain is your best work hands down. How are the critics responding?

Tommy: Well so far, we have had some very positive reviews from a few blues music magazines and websites. Lots of very kind words; we are so grateful for each of them.
My thanks to Tommy for taking the time to answer these questions. You can find out more about the band at www.CrookedEyeTommy.com and via all the social media outlets.

THE PAM BAUMGARDNER MUSIC HOUR

I’m always looking for more music to share, new or old, and if you have something you’d like to have played on FM radio (and worldwide as we’re on the internet), just drop me at line at Pam@VenturaRocks.com. I like to thank Kelly Zirbes, Jay Allred and Chris Rowlands for always keeping me in mind and sending me their singles as they knock ‘em out; Kelly sent me Kelly’s Lot’s latest single, “Butterfly,” Allred sent “Nika” from Last Rock Empire and Rowland a homage for all the waitresses and bartenders around the world called “Barmaid” from Professional Americans. You can hear all these tunes and more on The Pam Baumgardner Music Hour which airs at 104.1 FM in Ventura. Each show runs for two weeks debuting on a Tuesday at 5 pm, with rebroadcasts on Friday at 5 and Sundays at noon.

A LITTLE THIS AND THAT

The Ventura Music Festival continues to share a video weekly highlighting artist in a series they call VMF’s Music Connects digital festival. They are accepting submissions and all genres are accepted from classical, to pop to roots, to jazz and everything in between. The most recent video featured an amazing cover from Django Allstars and their brand of swing jazz. All previous videos are available for viewing as well and all absolutely free at www.VenturaMusicFestival.org.

I’m not embarrassed to admit it at all, because I’m still a little giddy that Bernie Dresel took the time to post a Happy Birthday wish on my Facebook page last month. We had a quick back and forth about his gigs here in Ventura; I told him I was hoping he’d make it back when the Grape opens their jazz club. Bernie is most notable for performing and recording with the Brian Setzer Orchestra and Gordon Goodwin’s Big Phat Band (yes, the band playing Concerts in Your Car on September 24).

And finally, for the powers that be, music lovers here in town are looking forward to getting out and seeing our local artists play once again, albeit in a safe environment and hopefully while the weather is still great. Let’s get real, if an artist, duo or small ensemble while playing outdoors, with social distancing in place and where everyone who is not eating, drinking or singing on stage is wearing a mask, places everyone at no greater risk than if they weren’t playing at all. Music is healing; music can bring us up when we’ve all been down and stressed. And please don’t ever forget that a vibrant music scene is one of the defining aspects of this town and surrounding areas. We’re nowhere near vibrant, our music scene is hanging on by a thread.

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 7/29 – 8/11

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

Ventura Rocks

CONCERTS IN YOUR CAR

I made it to my first Concert in Your Car (but to be clear, it was in my car), last week when I saw Third Eye Blind. The main problem with being a single person and trying to abide by the social distancing rules is that I have to go to a concert in my car by myself. There is no six feet of distancing in my car. I also can’t go out with friends to dinner as the tables are not six feet in length, but that’s different story for another time. But honestly, I really didn’t mind the concert by myself, I’ve been attending shows solo for years taking photos and milling around while enjoying the music. In any case, I packed a dinner with beverage and headed over to the fairgrounds early enough to get a good spot.

Well it turns out, if you have excellent eyesight, there really isn’t a bad spot since they have large screens facing out on each side of the stage which is set up in the middle of the parking lot. And as for sound, you’re not listening to the concert via oversized speakers damaging your eardrums, instead you’re listening at a level you control in your car via personal devices. I used my car’s radio which actually has a nice speaker system. I minimized my eardrum damage by opting to turn up the speakers much later in the show. The band put on a great performance; I would wager it was even better than the last time they played in Ventura at the fair two years ago. Lead singer Stephen Jenkins quipped that they hadn’t played together since March 9 and didn’t even have a rehearsal or soundcheck; they clearly enjoyed performing again.

The crew from Concerts in Your Car have your safety in mind. It’s not a minimal crew either, from the front entrance all the way to the security personnel (some with large scary looking dogs) who patrol the grounds and gently remind those who have placed their face masks around their necks, to put them back up on the their face when they were outside their cars. But the best feature is the stage itself with a huge screen on each side and professional lighting and camera work. It was top-notch. The one attraction I did not participate in was the Zoom link where the large video screens featured people waiting for the show to start. I opted out of that feature because…well let’s be honest, it is a little sad sitting in your car by yourself waiting for a concert to start.

One more thing, if you do actually sit in your car and not outside in a chair or in the back of your truck, then you might want to bring something to wash your windows with as you will be driving through a dirt field in line to enter the fairgrounds. It’s not that you’re driving through the dirt field that’s the issue, but rather everyone else is too, and it’s the dirt from their tires that land on your front windshield. Lesson learned, pass it along.

There are still a number of shows lined up, and if the rumor mill is correct, a few more dates could be added. Still to come, Sublime with Rome for two shows on Friday, August 7 (5:30 and 9:30 pm), Rodney Atkins and Ross Ellis on Saturday, August 8 and Fitz and the Tantrums on Saturday, August 29. And don’t forget about Theater in your Car brought to you by the good folks at the Rubicon Theater with three nights for each performance of Forever Plaid, the 30th Reunion Concert from August 3 through the 5; Jimmy Messina and Friends August 17 through the 19 (the 18th features Tomothy B. Schmit and the 19th has Kenny Loggins); and Music of the Knights will run September 7 through 9 with special guest star Ted Neeley of “Jesus Christ Superstar.” All ticket information, and additional shows and movies can be found on their website, www.ConcertsInYourCar.com.

NEW MUSIC AND PROJECTS

Alastair Greene’s email newsletter just revealed that Greene recently worked with former Dishwalla vocalist, J.R. Richards on a previously unreleased track from the Dishwalla 5 record. The track is called “Winter Sun (Piano Version)” and is on the maxi-disc version of the album now available via Bandcamp and all the usual digital and physical means of getting your music these days.

Crooked Eye Tommy with their brand of deep seeded blues and smokey southern rock will have their official CD release party down at the Oxnard performing Arts Center where they’re having their own version of drive-in style concerts. The party is scheduled for Friday, August 21 with sets from Jim Gustin and Truth Jones, Guy Martin and Jon English before the band takes the stage. Ticket details have not been revealed at press time, but you’ll want to secure that date on your calendar.

What was going to be a live event is now an online live streaming concert of “Delta by the Beach” from the Namba Performing Arts Space. This promises to be more than your average livestream with a screening of the film “True Delta,” an award-winning short documentary by Lee Quinby and Daniel Cowen that explores the Clarksdale, Mississippi roots of blues music. The live music will be from Doc Ventura, Milo Sledge and Eddie Layman.

The live streaming event costs $10 and benefits Namba & the musical artists. First out more at www.NambaArts.com/delta-by-the-beach/. The live performance on Saturday, August 8, will be streamed via Crowdcast and then it will be available for viewing for one month after.

The Ventura Music Festival continues to share a video weekly highlighting artist in a series they call VMF’s Music Connects digital festival. They are accepting submissions and all genres are accepted from classical, to pop to roots, to jazz and everything in between. The most recent video featured an amazing cover from MC15 – Time for Three. All previous videos are available for viewing as well and all absolutely free at www.VenturaMusicFestival.org.

There are a number of venues that are offering live stream concerts on a consistent basis including The Winery Ventura every Thursday evening, the Ojai Underground Exchange every Friday and Saturday, as well as the Grammy winning studio, Carbonite Studios, out of Ojai. They all promote their shows either via Facebook, on their respective websites or via an email blast. VenturaRocks.com does its best to list them as well.

VENTURAROCKSPOT

The latest installment of the VenturaRockSpot is up and live with an interview with my good friend Tommy Marsh of Crooked Eye Tommy. What is normally a fifteen-minute show turned out to be thirty as we had much ground to cover with the aforementioned new release, Coffee and Pain. I also get to play the new video of the title track in its entirety. You can find the video on the homepage of VenturaRocks.com.

THE PAM BAUMGARDNER MUSIC HOUR

I continue to produce my radio show from my home studio and I’m getting pretty good at it, you can hardly tell it’s all done remotely except for the occasional barking dog in the background. I share music from local artists in and around Ventura, as well as expanding to include the 805, but I also share music from bands who come to the 805 which covers a lot. The field has talent, there’s no doubt about that, and a lot of artists are continuing to produce from home as well. And while production on their music may not sound studio produced, it still communicates during this COVID-19 time of social distancing.

I’m always looking for more music to share, new or old, and if you have something you’d like to have played on FM radio (and world wide as we’re on the internet), just drop me at line at Pam@VenturaRocks.com. The Pam Baumgardner Music Hour airs at 104.1 FM in Ventura with a new show every two weeks debuting on a Tuesday at 5 pm, with rebroadcasts on Friday at 5 and Sundays at noon.

I’m certainly looking forward to getting out and seeing our local artists being able to play once again in a safe environment and hopefully while the weather is still great. I think it’s safe enough if an artist, duo or small ensemble is playing outdoors, with social distancing in place and where everyone who is not eating, drinking or singing on stage is wearing a mask. Maybe they have to add no dancing allowed. But let’s get serious, it’s no riskier, than just dining out; you’ve just added a little entertainment and given these guys some much deserved work!

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 7/15 – 7/28

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

Ventura Rocks

The day after I submitted my last music scene column, all live music in venues and/or restaurants was banned. And then in a sign of solidarity, downtown Ventura’s Main Street Moves decided to postpone having artists performing at California and Main. Someone argued it wasn’t fair to the venues; I say that “someone” is shooting everyone in their collective foot. The live music at California and Main isn’t feeding anyone any food, they are not competing with restaurants for your dollars, in fact, it’s costing them money. Live music draws people, albeit at a safe social distance, and then these good people after getting their fill of good vibes will stop in at one of the many restaurants for a meal helping to support the economy. But you know, that’s just my opinion.

Meanwhile, I really want to enjoy a packed house with incredible music dancing the night away. So please do your part and help nip this pandemic in the bud. Wear your mask, social distance, and if you think for even one second you might be sick, stay home! I’ve read too many accounts of a person who thought they were just tired from working too much or perhaps they hoped they just had allergies, and then they spread the virus to others. Hang tight, stay strong and vigilant and we’ll get through this quicker than if we go around “bending” the rules.

DRIVE-IN CONCERTS

I’m happy to report more drive-in concerts are popping up around the county joining the ranks of Concerts in Your Car whose home base is the Ventura Fairgrounds parking lot. The Canyon Club has been working with the Oxnard Performing Arts & Convention Center to bring shows to their venue. To date they’ve shown the movie Frozen 2 with opening bands Dr. T and the Blues Criminals, Kelly’s Lot and Fantastic Diamond and then on July 12 it was all about the reggae with Urban Dread, After the Smoke and Bombafiya. Both events were free to the public. I’m hoping they’ll continue to provide shows to the community as our hot summer nights are just getting started.

And apparently another venue being used is the Poinsettia Pavilion’s parking lot. I just saw Ignition (rock cover band) will be putting on a drive-in concert on Saturday, July 18, from 6 to 8:30 pm; starting price is $59 per car.

But of course, spearheading the drive-in concerts in Ventura County is CBF Productions who continue to add shows to their roster. On Thursday, July 16, it’s J2B2 | John Jorgenson Bluegrass Band; I had a Q&A with Jorgenson in my last column when he detailed what people could expect from his show. He said, “J2B2 is an excellent ensemble both instrumentally and vocally, so people can expect world class singing and playing first of all. Our material ranges from very traditional bluegrass to newer songs from some of the best songwriters of our time. Our goal has been to bring meaningful lyrics into the mix of virtuosic picking and tight vocal harmonies. Hopefully the audience will laugh, wipe a tear or two, think a bit differently, and drive home with smiles on their faces.”

Then on Saturday, July 18, local favorite Rey Fresco, will open for Ozomatli and headliner, Fishbone. The following week on Saturday, July 25, it’s Third Eye Blind at 8 pm and then an encore screening of Blake Shelton w/ Gwen Stefani and Trace Adkins at 11 pm. Do note a couple of shows have been added so far for August. First, it’s two shows on Friday, August 7 (5:30 then 9:30 pm) with Sublime w/ Rome, and then on Saturday, August 29, it’s Fitz and the Tantrums.

And if tribute bands are your cup of tea, then don’t miss DSB, marketed as “the world’s greatest Journey tribute band” on Thursday, July 23 and then it’s Noise Pollution, the AC/DC experience on Thursday, July 30.

And finally, if you’re a fan of theater productions, then you won’t want to miss the Rubicon Theater Company’s line up of four concerts performed live on an elevated outdoor stage with video feed on 4 large LED screens. Running July 20 – 22 is “2 am at the Sands” Samonsky sings Sinatra. August 3 – 5 is Forever Plaid, the 30th reunion concert featuring members of the original cast. August 17 – 19 it’s Jimmy Messina & Friends with special surprise guests each night. And September 7 – 9 it’s Music of the Knights, the songs of Andrew Lloyd Webber, Elton John and Paul McCartney, special guest cast member is Ted Neeley star of the film Jesus Christ Superstar.

All tickets for the stage productions are available via the Rubicon website at RubiconTheatre.org. All tickets for concerts, tribute shows and movies are available at ConcertsInYourCar.com. You’ll want to read the full FAQs so you know what to expect and the do’s and don’ts for these special engagements.

BACK TO LIVE STREAMING

With the live music ban once again in effect, a lot of artists are ramping up their game once again via online performances.

The Winery Ventura has livestream music every Thursday. Log in on their Facebook page July 16 for 6 Beats Apart featuring Bruce Lett, Ed Wayne, Andy Waddel, Charlie Ferguson, Russ McKinnon & MB Gordy; downbeat 6:30 pm.

The Ojai Underground Exchange has consistently been offering shows on the weekend for a small donation. Past shows include Shawn Jones, Kelly’s Lot, Jamie Drake, Rose Valley Thorns and Will Breman to name but a few acts. They’re a good page to follow on Facebook. You should also sign up for their email list.

Camerata Pacifica offers weekly a different video performance every Sunday at 5:30 pm.
Tierney Sutton accompanied by pianist Tamir Hendelman will perform a special online set Wednesday, July 15 at 6 pm. Just go to Tierney’s social media pages for links to log on.

Grammy winning studio, Carbonite Sound, has been offering up live and on demand streaming concerts. Their next one will be the Danny McGaw Band on Saturday, July 25.

The Dickies played a free livestream concert on Sunday, July 12 with special guests jazz giant Doug Webb sat in for a tune or two and Greg Hetson of the Circle Jerks joined the boys to play “Gigantor.” I am glad I caught them last November when they played Oak and Main live as I had never had the chance to see them play before. I’ve been a huge fan since the days of “Stuck in a Pagoda with Tricia Toyota,” “Manny, Moe & Jack” and their cover of “Nights in White Satin.” The live stream took an odd turn when the band took a break to sit around a table to eat Chinese food, but they quickly got back to the business at hand. On a side note, lead singer, Leonard Graves Phillips, has been working on a book about the Dickies, and hit a rough patch when someone stole his car. Luckily fans (including this one) stepped up to the plate to help out via an online fundraiser.

VenturaRockSpot

Michelle Hoover and GWC Productions in conjunction with VenturaRocks.com continue to produce a show monthly highlighting musician in and around the 805, as well as the musicians who come here to play. We just changed up the format of the interview show making it a little more COVID-19 friendly with yours truly doing the interviews now via online software. My first interview was with Mark Masson of Shaky Feelin’ and the next couple will be with Brigette Purdy, Tommy Marsh of Crooked Eye Tommy and I believe Carry on Band.

Past episodes of VenturaRockSpot have featured How to Live with Robots, Kyle Smith, Prima Donna Rising, the Guitar and Whiskey Club, Amber & Smoke, Raised on Vinyl, Fallen Saints, Dylan Garicia, the Rockin Henrys and more! Just go to the homepage of VenturaRocks.com and you’ll see the most recent video ready to roll. Just below it, a link to all previous episodes on the VenturaRocks.com YouTube channel.

If you are interested in being featured on an upcoming episode, just reach out to Michelle Hoover on the official website, VenturaRockSpots.com.

Thanks for reading and as always, if you have any music-related news or upcoming shows (online or otherwise) that 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 7/1/20 – 7/14/20

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

Ventura Rocks artwork

NOTE:  The deadline for this column was just before the County shutdown all bars and prohibited indoor music.

PLAYING THE GAME

I’ve spoken to a number of venue owners the past couple of weeks as they tread lightly doing their best to follow the guidelines in place to operate safely in this time of COVID-19. And without naming names, I know several have had to stop the music (literally) to remind patrons that wearing masks is mandatory in their establishment unless you’re seated at your table. Social distancing is being enforced and whether you think the whole thing is a conspiracy theory or not, it’s their business, literally! They can make up whatever rules they want to secure their venue, but the bigger issue is that they’re actually enforcing what has been mandated by the governor of California. Do you want them to be closed down by code enforcement? Of course not! So, I beseech you to please wear a mask, because if you don’t you’re going to not only put their business at risk, but you could pass along the virus not even knowing you’re a carrier.

We all want to get back to normal. We all want to hang out, and give hugs and hearty handshakes to old friends while taking in our favorite bands, but we’re nowhere near that point yet. If you feel strongly enough about not wanting to wear a mask, then please stay away and listen to music at home. There are plenty of live streaming concerts still being held.

NOT BACK TO NORMAL

Reopening doors, following safety guidelines and trying to get back up to speed may not include live music at this time for a lot of venues. I understand (she says with a pitiful lower lip pushed out trembling ever so slightly). The priority is paying the rent and the staff and rebuilding a clientele. So, don’t forget to support all your favorite music venues whether they have live music or not yet. If we do this right, and we do this together supporting where we can, we will live to see another robust economy with a booming music scene.

PLAYING SAFELY

And while we’re on the submit of live music in venues, let’s take it from the perspective of the musician. Not all artists feel safe enough to get back out there to play live. Trust me, they want to, but their better judgement is keeping them away for many reasons. You have your favorite bands, and solo artists, well why not reach out via social media where most of them have accounts. Let them know you miss them, and if you can, buy their music and some merchandise if available to show your support.

DRIVE-IN CONCERTS V

John Jorgensen Bluegrass

John Jorgensen’s Bluegrass Supergroup

SuperDuperKyleIn each of my past four music scene columns I’ve been able to report more details on the Concerts in Your Car events by CBF Productions (California Beer Festival). This past weekend Ventura finally saw a large-scale concert with SuperDuperKyle kicking off the series over the weekend of June 26 and 27. Kyle, a former Ventura High School graduate, was well-received as he gears up for his album release on July 17, See You When I Am Famous.

I’m not going to lie; I am so relieved to hear portable bathrooms are now available as they were not when they first launched this series. Under their FAQ, the Concerts in Your Car website made it clear no restrooms on site, no getting out of your car, and you could not leave the event early. As a female, let me just say “THANK YOU GOD!” I just couldn’t wrap my bladder, I mean head around that one! Gratefully, we don’t have to worry about that now.

Back to the business at hand, joining forces with CBF Productions is the Ventura Music Festival as they present John Jorgenson’s Bluegrass Supergroup. On Thursday, July 16. I love that Concerts In Your Car is being so diverse with the genres ranging from rap to bluegrass to alternative rock to country, there literally is something for everyone! And if you are a fan of bluegrass music, then you won’t want to miss Grammy-winning guitarist, John Jorgenson (Desert Rose Band, the Hellecasters) who will be joined by fellow music legends Herb Pedersen (Desert Rose Band, Laurel Canyon Ramblers), Mark Fain (seven-time Grammy-winning bassist) and Patrick Sauber (Laurie Lewis band).John Jorgensen Bluegrass

Patrick Sauber, Mark Fain, John Jorgenson, Herb Pederson

I have a quick Q&A following here, but for more information on all the concerts and movies and for purchasing your ticket got to ConcertsInYourCar.com.

Q&A with JOHN JORGENSON

Pam: I’m loving the creativity of our music community; what was your initial response to doing a drive-in concert?

John: Indeed Ventura is a very creative community, and as a musician I feel quite comfortable living here.

When Nuvi [Nuvi Mehta, Ventura Music Festival Artistic Director] asked me to play the drive-in concert for the Ventura Music Festival I was thrilled. I have performed in so many varied venues over my 40 plus years as an entertainer so to get asked to do something new and challenging is rare, surprising and fun. In the last few months most of my contact with my band members has been to cancel or reschedule gigs, so to get to tell them about one that’s actually going to happen was great too.

Pam: What can people expect from your show?

J2B2 is an excellent ensemble both instrumentally and vocally, so people can expect world class singing and playing first of all. Our material ranges from very traditional bluegrass to newer songs from some of the best songwriters of our time. Our goal has been to bring meaningful lyrics into the mix of virtuosic picking and tight vocal harmonies. Hopefully the audience will laugh, wipe a tear or two, think a bit differently, and drive home with smiles on their faces.

Pam: Do you see more of these type concerts on the horizon?

John: Well, I sure hope so! The chance to get out and enjoy a performance from the safety of your own car while still feeling a bit of community and a shared concert experience is extremely rare if not impossible. Here is a way forward!

Pam: Musically speaking, what had you been doing during the shutdown?

John: Since the shut down I’ve been mostly using the time to go through my musical archives of older formats and transfer tapes, as well as organize memorabilia I’ve amassed over the years. I have also done a few remote recording sessions and contributed to a worldwide orchestral and choral collaboration. It’s definitely a time for all performers to rethink and retool.

SURF RODEO

I spoke to JD Drury just a few weeks ago and being the optimist that he is, he was still holding out that Surf Rodeo could in some form or another be pulled off this summer or late fall, but the word came out shortly afterwards that Surf Rodeo is officially off for 2020; JD hung in there hoping for a miracle, but alas…it wasn’t to be. The official post on social media: “It is with heavy hearts that after several conversations with the City of Ventura and State Parks, due to Covid-19, we will not be able to party on the beach this summer. We love you and we miss you! WE WILL BE BACK 2021!”

CROOKED EYE TOMMY

Album artworkTommy Marsh dropped off a copy of Crooked Eye Tommy’s sophomore CD, Hot Coffee and Pain which is scheduled for an August release. It was recorded in Ojai at Carbonite Studios with Grammy-winning audio engineer, Jason Mariani (Joe Bonamassa, Robben Ford). You know I’ll be spinning a couple tunes on the Pam Baumgardner Music Hour at CAPS Media’s KPPQ-LP, and we’re working on having Tommy be a guest on the VenturaRockSpot which you can view on the Ventura Rock’s YouTube channel. If you loved their last release, Butterflies and Snakes, well you ain’t seen nothing yet! Holy smokes, they hit this one out of the park! More details coming soon.

Do you have any music-related news or upcoming shows 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 6/16/20 – 6/30/20

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

Ventura Rocks artwork

DRIVE-IN CONCERTS IV

In each of my past three music scene columns I’ve been able to report more details on the Concerts in Your Car events by CBF Productions (California Beer Festival). The drive-in style concerts where you remain in your car tuned in to an FM frequency have been gaining popularity in Europe and now here in the States. We knew the first concert was marketed to our new grads featuring two nights starring former Ventura High School artist SuperDuperKyle. Unfortunately, the dates changed after our press deadline in our last issue, so if you thought you missed it, you can still get tickets for his rescheduled shows for June 26 and June 27.

Now if you’re wondering like I was who else they’ll be having live on stage, well I just got wind of their next show which is going on sale Thursday, June 18 for just $39 per car…ready??? It’s one of my favorite bands from the 90s, it’s none other than Third Eye Blind on Saturday, July 25! They’re back playing all the songs you know and love such as “Semi-Charmed Life, “Graduate” and “Losing a Whole Year.” Stephan Jenkins and the boys actually played the Ventura County Fair back in 2016, and they sounded as great as ever. I can’t wait to catch the show in the comfort of my own car.

photo of Stephen Jenkins

Stephen Jenkins of Third Eye Blind at the Ventura Fair 2016

Along with nationwide touring bands, Concerts In Your Cars has a summer of tribute bands lined up for Thursday nights. It will be along the line of those concerts that had taken place at the Collection the past couple of summers. The company is locking down Queen, Journey, AC/DC and Bruno Mars tribute bands. The tribute shows will be held on Thursday evenings for only $19 per car.

And finally, I mentioned in my last column I was hoping the drive-in theater style concerts would actually start featuring drive-in movies, and ta-da, it’s happening!! CBF Productions is also putting together movie screenings for film classics such as the Goonies, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, and Grease which have been scheduled along with a series of theater productions of Forever Plaid, Jimmy Messina & Friends and Music of the Knights featuring the songs of Andrew Lloyd Weber, Elton John and Paul McCartney.

I heard there is more coming, especially if you have “Friends in Low Places,” but contracts are pending, so stay tuned. For all the concert and movie dates along with ticket information, go to ConcertsInYourCar.com.

MAIN STREET VENTURA EXPERIMENT

By the time this issue of the Ventura Breeze hits newsstand, the closing of downtown Ventura’s Main Street to through traffic will be in effect for at least 30 days kicking off on Monday, June 15. If it is a success and people come out and support all the restaurants and stores, there could be an additional 30 days added to the closure.

As previously reported, the City Council unanimously voted in favor of the emergency ordinance on May 18, 2020, which closes Main Street from Fir to the Mission (or Figueroa Street). If you live close enough, I would encourage you to either walk, ride your bike, or use one of the many rideshare companies, which include our local taxis, Lyft or Uber.

And of course, to keep things lively, there is nothing like live music to enhance the experience, and I understand there will be plenty to go around with at least 32 hours scheduled at press time. Go to VenturaRocks.com for listings.

VENUES REOPENING

Most all venues have reopened their doors and a handful are offering live music by either solo, duos or combos where the sound level can be kept at a level where people can still hold a conversation, i.e., you don’t have to lean in to hear someone speaking. This is especially important when a waiter comes one’s table, or you step up to the counter to place an order. Most establishments are requiring face masks while entering their premises; however, once you’re seated, you can take them off. My understanding is the wait staff will continue to don their masks while working the room.

Venues and artists tend to keep me in the loop on their schedules and so I’ve provided those listings on this page. Keep in mind, more and more are coming back on board; I’m hearing Peirano’s, and possible the Shores will have music on the weekends, and when I can confirm their line-up, I will add to the music calendar on VenturaRocks.com.

THE GRAPE

I was hoping to have solid information to report, and hopefully I will next issue, but know this, the boys are working hard and it’s full steam ahead on construction for the new jazz venue. I’m hearing August (2020) is a possibility.

Squashed Grapes closed over a year ago working through the paperwork and permitting process as well as fundraising to open the Grape. Meanwhile, Adam and Josh teamed up with other vintners (Boyer Wines and Sensation Wines) to open the Winery Ventura down on Market Street which will continue to be their main outlet for their wines. You can find live music there (all genres), with food trucks or order in capabilities, but of course what we’ve been waiting for is a jazz house with a full bar.

GUITAR AND WHISKEY CLUB

As of this month, Gail Sutton will be holding down the bass and backing vocals for Guitar and Whiskey Club. Sutton is an accomplished four and five-string electric bassist who excels in rock, blues and jazz. After having successful runs in Florida, NY/NJ/ tri state and Colorado, she landed in Southern California in 2015 when she immediately started networking and playing everywhere she could. She eventually met and teamed up with Giorgio Bertucelli who has designed and built studios for other rockers including Alex Van Halen. With Bertucelli’s help, Sutton finished construction on her own studio named Gailforce.

Meanwhile you can catch the Guitar and Whiskey Club every Sunday afternoon online during their Clubhouse shows on their Facebook page. Many thanks to Jeff Donovan and Jennifer Wylde for having me on as a guest last month. It was a hoot!

YOU CAN HELP

In the interest of supporting local musicians whose incomes have been drastically reduced, and even in some cases stopped completely due to the COVID-10 crisis, please consider reaching out via social media and support one of their livestream concerts and/or performances and make a donation if you can. I’m loving the intimate setting some provide, albeit awkward at first as they’re so used to immediate feedback (cue the applause), but they’re catching on and they do read the comments as they come in on their feeds.

And if you’re not one for watching livestreams, then consider a small purchase of one of their CDs, or a t-shirt or coffee mug. Every little bit helps. Of course, you may find yourself too strapped to help out, so perhaps you might consider just reaching out and letting your favorite artist or band know you’re looking forward to seeing them again soon.

COVID-19

It still seems surreal that we’re living through a pandemic which has changed the face of Ventura’s music scene. It’s going to be some time before we’re crammed together on a dance floor dancing up a sweat to our favorite cover bands. It’s going to be some time before the Majestic Ventura Theater holds packed houses in front of our favorite bands. And it’s going to be some time before our festivals and events can be held where large audiences amass. I understand the frustration, but we got to hold the line and do what’s right.

And finally in closing, BLACK LIVES MATTER.

Do you have any music-related news or upcoming shows 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 6/3/20 – 6/16/20

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

Breeze artwork

VENTURA MUSIC FESTIVAL

It’s official, the Ventura Music Festival put out a press release which postpones their 26th season scheduled for the last two weekends in July 2020 and it’s been moved to July 2021. The VMF’s chief executive, Susan Scott said, “when the only certainty is uncertainty, creativity and innovation come to the fore along with the necessity to be nimble. Assuming conditions permit 60 or more days’ readiness, we can present 3-4 live, fully staged concerts between Fall 2020 and June 2021, with distanced seating and other measures as required.”

She also said that larger events were on the drawing board that could be staged outdoors. I remember well Ozomotli on the athletic field at Ventura College. It was quite an innovative idea which was well received during the Ventura Music Festival’s 2015 season. There are plenty of locations throughout Ventura County where outdoor concerts could potentially be held.

Oxomatli

Ozomatli played 2015 Ventura Music Festival on the Ventura College athletic field.

MAIN STREET VENTURA EXPERIMENT

The closing of downtown Ventura’s Main Street to through traffic is a green light as the DVP (Downtown Ventura Partners) work with the City and restaurants and merchants to create a safe environment for people to enjoy, but mostly to help kickstart our economy.
The City Council unanimously voted in favor of the emergency ordinance on May 18, 2020, which will close Main Street from Fir to the Mission (or Figueroa Street). If you live close enough, I would encourage you to either walk, ride your bike, or use one of the many rideshare companies, which include our local taxis, Lyft or Uber.

According to the City’s Economic Development Manager, Estelle Bussa, the target date for the closure is on or around June 15th. She also told me that the Ventura Unified School District is able to do a parade graduation for the City’s graduating class of 2020 which will take place on June 13 and 14 which will have an impact to the traffic in downtown.

I also had a great conversation with Julie Henszey from the DVP about the possibility of live music and we were pretty much on the same page where solo or duos could perform for a couple of hours over the weekend which would liven up downtown without encouraging amassing a large group of people dancing in the streets. She’s even thinking of speakers atop buildings along Main so one act could be heard on each block.
By the way, it cracks me up when I hear talk about “repopulating” areas after the quarantine. Seriously, wouldn’t it be more proper to say “reoccupying” an area? We have the people; we don’t need to produce new ones, although it wouldn’t surprise me if we have a baby boom early next year.

DRIVE-IN CONCERTS III

Concerts in your car artworkAs previously reported, CBF Productions (California Beer Festival), will be presenting Concerts in your Car, a drive-in theater type setting for live music using the parking lot at the Ventura County Fairgrounds at Seaside Park. The first live show is marketed to the new grads in the area with SuperDuperKyle performing two nights on Friday, June 12, and Saturday, June 13 (DATE CHANGED AFTER BREEZE PRESS DEADLINE TO JUNE 26 & 27). They have not announced other dates or artists. SuperDuperKyle who is also known as K.i.D. (Kyle is Determined), is a former Ventura High School student himself (Kyle Harvey), who has given back to his school with a sizeable donation to the theater department and who has sold out the Ventura Theater in the past. He is incredibly popular having paved his own road making a mark in the hip-hop community.

As the state relaxes a lot of their stringent guidelines, there are still many obstacles to deal with such as no bathrooms. WHAT??? Please dear God, let the portables be greenlighted! And as much as I love live music, maybe someone could also utilize the same parking lot for actual drive-in movies. I’m about ready to travel an hour or so to catch a movie up in Goleta, or visit friends up near Morro Bay where San Luis Obispo just reopened their Sunset Drive-in theater. And just a small confession, while I do love movies, it’s mostly because I miss my movie theater popcorn!!

NEW MUSIC

New music released during the pandemic includes Dylan Garcia’s Devil’s Playground which dropped Friday, May 29, 2020; some of the music had been kept unpublished as far back as 2009. You can find Dylan’s work on most social media platforms.
The band, earth immigrant has a new EP called Genrefluid where each of the four tunes features a different genre including country, punk, rockabilly and synthpop, and yes, they prefer their band’s name in print to be all lowercase which is not always an easy feat what with autocorrect trying to override one’s poor grammar choices.

All-a-Blur released False Flag, a highly respectable punk entry. The album was engineered, mixed and mastered by Armand John Lizzy at the Captain’s Quarters here in Ventura. You know years ago, punk bands were mostly garage bands who played loud, fast, but mostly, couldn’t quite play their instruments, and NO ONE CARED! These guys know how to; yes, they’re loud; yes, they’re fast; and with a resounding yes, they nail it!

Michael Henszey & David Standridge were inspired by the pandemic and wrote and produced a song called “Take Care of Each Other” which can be found on Bandcamp; they posted on their page, “In the spirt of this song, we are donating your download gift to the World Central Kitchen, who is distributing fresh meals in communities across the US. World Central Kitchen is active in dozens of cities partnering with local restaurants and providing 250,000 fresh meals every day. Founded in 2010 by celebrity chef, Jose Andres, the organization prepared food in Haiti following its devasting earthquake.”
You might remember World Central Kitchen was on the scene here in Ventura making meals for first responders and residents displaced by the Thomas Fire. Over 500 homes burned, no telling how many occupants in each…so a lot of people benefited from this service.

Each one of the artists mentioned here have been played on the Pam Baumgardner Music Hour out of the CAPS Media center on KPPQ-LP at 104.1 FM. I’ve been producing hour-long shows for the past couple of years with 110 episodes in the can. My show highlights mostly artists out of the 805 (area code) and artists who come to the 805 to play. And while the frequency at 104.1 FM isn’t all that strong (serves most of Ventura if you don’t have a large object like a hill between you and their tower), you can listen online at Capsmedia.org/radio or use the MyTuner app on your smart device.
I will admit not all music I play is professionally produced music, but I believe all artists deserve a spin on the radio from time to time. It’s a mixed bag of tunes ranging from punk to jazz and all points in between and airs Tuesdays and Fridays at 5 pm and Sundays at noon. Each show runs two weeks at a time. I hope you tune in sometime, and if you have music you’d like to submit for airplay, just drop me a line at Pam@VenturaRocks.com.

VENUES REOPENING

A couple of venues have taken advantage of the shutdown and have been doing upgrades and remodeling. I’m looking forward to checking out both the Keynote Lounge on the eastside of town as well as Grapes and Hops downtown on Main Street in the near future. Otherwise, most bars and restaurants have been slowly opening up with all the social distancing guidelines in place, and a handful are having live music. The venues already putting out their feelers for booking music include Four Brix Winery for single or duo acoustic sets for weekend afternoons; 1901 Speakeasy in Oxnard is booking solo artists as well as duos for Friday and Saturday evenings; John from Leashless is absolutely onboard for hosting music starting with Saturday afternoons but he is getting his ducks in a row in order to extend out their patio area very soon; JR at Winchesters is holding off for when they can be back at full capacity, but is also entertaining expanding their tables into the street and/or parking lot; and the Winery Ventura has already been hosting a few combos here and there; the latter’s floor plan is quite conducive for social distancing especially when they open up their back doors so people can use the adjacent parking lot where food trucks are available.

And while I don’t have specific artists to report currently for my column, do keep tuned to VenturaRocks.com as I’m able to update the website daily, and my column here in the Breeze is once every two weeks. I will be updating as the information comes in. It is going to take some time before we’re back to hanging out with one another, especially in crowded places like Star Lounge or Bombay’s used to be. Until we have this COVID-19 totally under control, things will look different for the time being. But I’m happy to report it looks like music will continue to be an important aspect to our community. Be patient, do your part, and for God’s sake, wash your hands!

Do you have any music-related news or upcoming shows 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 – 5/20/20 – 6/2/2020

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

Ventura RocksBefore I get to more interview with local artists, I have a couple of updates on a few of our venues, musicians and events.

QUICK NOTES

Both Bombay Bar & Grill and Sans Souci are open again serving up food and libations, they both have limited hours and earlier in the day, in other words, no closing down the bar at 2 am, and they’re only providing takeout/curbside service; Ventura Music Festival has launched “Music Connects” a digital weekly series and they’re looking for musicians who would like to participate (www.VenturaMusicFestival.org); I’m sorry to report the passing of one of the Estrada Brothers, Henry Estrada (saxophonist), passed from a long-term illness at home this month; and the City of Ventura has officially cancelled the Music Under the Stars series for the summer. As with the fair, I wish I knew who they had lined up and who we’ll be missing out on this year, but I guess it’s just as well.

DRIVE-IN CONCERTS II

Speaking of the fair, in my last column I wrote about drive-in concerts and I mentioned a couple of locations that might work including the fairgrounds parking lot, and lo and behold we have a promoter stepping up to the plate. It great to hear Vincenzo from CBF Productions (the good folks who bring you the Winter Wine Walk, Boots & Brews Music Festival, Tequila & Taco Music Festival and more) was already on it and working on a concert series to be held this summer and as soon as the first few weeks in June, and I’m hearing Ventura won’t be their only venue. Keep tuned to www.ConcertsInYourCar.com for bands, dates and ticket information. There’s no doubt about it, there are a number of hurdles to overcome, but if anyone can pull something like this off, it would be Vincenzo.

(Post Breeze: First concert celebrating the class of 2020, Super Duper Kyle, June 12 & June 13.  Tickets & Information: www.ConcertsInYourCar.com )

MAIN STREET VENTURA EXPERIMENT

There are discussions afoot in the City to shut down Main Street from the mission to Fir Street to allow merchants and restaurants to spill out onto the sidewalk and street to provide social distancing for pedestrians and their customers. I’ve seen an artist’s rendering and I have to say, “I like it!” My comments are few but include a couple of small stages for singer/songwriters (solo or duo) to enhance the experience; perhaps one on each block. Other cities throughout the country are considering the same idea to help ease out of this shut down and get people out enjoying their downtown safely while supporting local businesses.
(Monday, May 18, the City Council approved an emergency ordinance to accelerate the planning process and approval for businesses for use of outside space – but will wait for phase III to be enacted)

Now on to interviews!


BRIAN BRINGELSON OF ANCHOR & BEAR

How are you Katy holding up during this Stay at Home mandate?

Brian and KatyBrian: We’re doing fine here thankfully. Healthy, happy, but honestly a bit anxious as well.

Are either one of you still working?

Brian: No we’re both not working and of course no shows to play.

Do you find you’re playing music more…or less now?

Surprisingly it’s about the same. Before all of this we had at least three shows a month and rehearsals twice a week. But since all of this happened, we’ve both been writing a lot and making videos. In addition, I’ve started a side project with an old friend from high school. I record guitar, bass, and vocals at home and then send him the tracks to add his drums to. It’s been really inspiring and keeps me sane. Katy by the way has been finishing up her soon to be released new EP for her project Bearkat. So, we are keeping busy with music.

Any inspiration from this weird time we’re going through in history?

Brian: Yes, lots of writing/recording/making videos, (but) nothing really about the current state of how things are going. I think I write to distract myself from all of it.

Tell me about the live streaming events you’ve been hosting.

Brian: We’ve had a few (concerts) on our Instagram where we play a couple of songs and try to interact with the people leaving comments. They’ve been really rewarding in the sense that we get to connect with our friends and share our music. We also recently just had a simple chat with our bassist Zeke Berkley on Instagram live and lots of our friends joined in on that as well. They’re certainly not a replacement for a live show, but they’ll have to do for now.

Anything else you want to share?

Brian: Katy and I miss playing shows soooo much. And that includes rehearsing with our friends/band mates: Zeke and Paul. We also miss seeing all of our friends that work at Topa Topa Brew in Ventura, Ojai, and Santa Barbara. I’d like to encourage Breeze readers to pick up some beer at one of their locations. And that goes for all of the excellent venues we’ve been lucky enough to play in the last year: Peirano’s – Ventura, The Nest – Ojai, Lucky Fools Pub – Moorpark, MadeWest – Ventura, to name just a few. These places need our support. Besides being some of the only places to hear/play live music, they also provide so much to the community.

AnchorAndBear.com/
https://www.facebook.com/anchorandbearmusic/


Singer/Songwriter Karyn 805

How are you holding up?

Karyn 805

Photo credit: Monica Karl

Karyn 805: I’m coping very well right now. I think I’ve gone through a variety of emotions during this time: disbelief, fear, sadness, stress, acceptance, and finally a realization that this time may be a gift to slow down a bit more, enjoy the small wonders around especially in nature and have more time to write more songs and to check in with family and friends through Zoom or FaceTime.

Are you actively playing and writing?

Karyn 805: I have continued to play music daily, but now I have more time to create new songs (which is my passion) and work on new covers. Before the “Stay at Home” policy there was less time for this because I was performing regularly and spending a lot of time going over my sets.

Since the policy was enacted, I’ve written 3 songs – two deal with Covid 19; one is called “Corona” and it echoes my first impressions and emotions regarding this whole Twilight Zone experience; the second one, “It’s Just Who I Am” is a tribute to all who work in the medical field: nurses, doctors, and all the staff. I have three doctors in the family and when my daughter-in-law Nina volunteered to go to NYC to help on their front lines, I asked my son how she has the strength and courage to do this, he answered, “It’s just who she is.” That said it all, and his words and her bravery gave me the inspiration to write that song. She has shared it with her friends who are on already in this “war zone” fighting this pandemic. I just hope they realize how much they are appreciated. The other original, “Siren’s Song” is a bluesy, seductive tune which I had fun coming up with a nice riff on my guitar at the end.

How do you think this pandemic will change Ventura?

Karyn 805: I think the music scene will change in the near future. Of course, musicians need to perform, many are doing live-streaming, but there is nothing like performing to a live audience! (I miss this!) It will be hard for venues like restaurants to make enough money to pay musicians when they are limited in the number of people they can have. However, with a bit of creativity, there will likely be solutions. We all need to be innovative until we have a safe vaccine at which time the music scene can get back to what has been normal.

https://karyn805.hearnow.com/
VenturaRockSpot with Karyn 805
Facebook


Bill Rotella, Singer/Songwriter, Amber & Smoke

How are you holding up during this Stay at Home mandate?

Bill RotellaBill: I’m holding up as well as can be expected. We in Ventura County are fortunate to have coast lines and trails to help us weather these challenging times. I’m taking advantage of this time I’ve been afforded to create music.

Are you still working?

Bill: Yes, I just filmed a show for Beverly Hills TV and I’m streaming two concerts for the Beverly Hills Virtual Art Show this month. I’m also streaming shows for the Center For Spiritual Living and for BIG BIG SLO productions in San Luis Obispo.

Do you find you’re playing music more…or less now?

Bill: I’m always writing, recording, playing no matter what’s happening but I’m performing far less due to venue closures.

You have new music right? Any inspired by the recent state of affairs?

Bill: I just wrote and released a new song born from quarantine called “River of Smoke.” It is the title song of my new album “River of Smoke ~ a Retrospective” which was released May 1. I recorded the title song, and many songs on the album, with Ventura County’s Doug Pettibone. Doug and I recorded together in the late ’80s at renowned Sound City recording studios in Van Nuys.

Have you hosted any livestreams or Facebook events?

Bill: I hosted 7 episodes of “Live @ 5” on Facebook. It was a happy hour hang more than a concert. It was a cool way to stay connected with friends and fans and they really dug reconnecting not just with me but with each other. My last show had 700+ comments, like they were in a bar chatting with each other. We toasted, did rock ‘n’ roll trivia, I shared some vinyl with them and sang songs from my new album as well as some nuggets from my favorite artists. However, I must admit it was pretty strange creating conversation with a distant and silent audience while singing into an ipad …from my living room. Now with the new album released and more time on my hands (those shows require prep!) I will resume “LIVE @ 5” in June. My streaming capabilities will be upgraded by then.

Any other thoughts you’d like to share?

Bill: Music brings people together. If ever we needed to be reminded of the magic of music this is that time. Some say you don’t know what you have ’til it’s gone (live music venues) but I think many people have always valued live music venues. They just really miss connecting with each other and experiencing music together. Listening to good live music collectively is just a great moving experience. I am grateful that VenturaRocks.com allows us to keep sharing and delivering music during these unprecedented times. They are in service to our community. Thanks for allowing me to share my music. Everyone please stay safe. Together we will get through this.

https://www.facebook.com/brotellamusic
www.BillRotellaMusic.com


Do you have any music-related news or upcoming shows 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 – 5/6/20 – 5/19/20

Ventura MusVentura Breeze logoic Scene
by Pam Baumgardner
VenturaRocks.com
Pam@VenturaRocks.com
Ventura Rocks in the BreezeThe past couple of music scene columns I had interviewed a number of local musicians to see how they were holding up during this COVID-19 self-quarantine, and then somebody suggested I reach out to a couple of the venues, and so I did, but sadly, the response was a little sad, and I will protect those who asked not to participate. They’re just not ready to respond, and who can blame them?

Here’s what I know, there are a couple of venues (who previously hosted live music) that are offering curbside and/or home delivery services (GrubHub, Postmates, DoorDash, etc…) including Peirano’s, Café Fiore, Casa Bella & Prime, the Winery Ventura, Margarita Villa, Topa Mountain Winery, the Shores and now Winchesters on the weekends. Yay!  You’ll find more of them listed on this page. I don’t have to tell you how vital it is right now to support these guys. Gift certificates are helpful too; in fact, I was delighted to be gifted a Peirano’s gift certificate from one of our local musicians. You can support venues and help spread the joy and buy a gift certificate or two to help support our musician friends (I’m fine by the way 😉).


Fresh ProduceHELPING LAID OFF VENUE WORKERS

Many thanks to Kat Merrick and the Local Love Project for spearheading the effort to help Ventura’s food and bar industry employees by enlisting volunteers, and donations and making available weekly produce boxes and more including some household items to those who have been laid off or had their hours cut. If you find you’re in this category, or want to help her efforts, go to the Local Love Project Facebook page for more information and the rules for receiving their weekly care packages.


RADIO

I’ve continued to work on the Pam Baumgardner Music Hour for KPPQ-LP which broadcasts out of the CAPS Media Center here in Ventura at 104.1 FM, but I am producing my shows at home and uploading them to the station which then loads each show for airplay (Tuesdays and Fridays at 5 pm; Sundays at noon). I had to become creative as I don’t have a “home studio” at the ready. Luckily, I am proficient enough with Audacity’s software for compiling the program, but the real problem is with recording me! I don’t have a microphone and hardware to record my intros and such. But I came up with a temporary workable solution, I use my Android phone and record each element, email each individual file to myself, upload it to my computer, then insert it into the program. I haven’t quite worked out the equalization, and sometimes I’m under/over modulated, but it’s not half bad! I am looking to invest in a real microphone soon.


LIVESTREAM

Along with home concerts, a couple of venues are hosting livestream events which is a great way to keep the community involved with their establishment.  Social distancing is practiced, and some of them request a donation to gain access to the livestream. I’ve found several on Facebook including the Ojai Underground Exchange, the Red Piano and Figueroa Mountain both in Santa Barbara. Just some of the artists participating include Shawn Jones, Morganfield Burnett, Cindy Kalmenson, Tommy Marsh with Jim Guston, and Jamie Drake.  One thing I don’t quite get is when I see an invitation to view a livestream of a previously recorded concert.  Wouldn’t that just be a “watch party?”


DRIVE IN CONCERTS

I read a story recently that certain European cities were hosting drive-in concerts. Yay or nay? I’d say Yay if, an only if I could be parked in the first few rows, though I wouldn’t mind being fifty rows back for Rage Against the Machine and maybe Paul McCartney. So I’m just spit-balling here, if Ventura considered such an undertaking, I’m think a makeshift drive-in could be mocked up at the Ventura Fairgrounds parking lot, or maybe the backside of the Pacific View Mall, or where our last drive-in theater was located in the parking lot of Barnes and Nobles.


COVID-19 INSPIRED

Some singer/songwriters are finding inspiration to write new music, others not so much. We all deal with crisis in different ways. Those who are writing have differing viewpoints as well, some write of hope, others write to inspire people to keep their butts at home. I see a lot of musicians are happy to just take time off after a hectic schedule of performing all the time while others fill the void of connecting and sharing in person, they’re now connecting and sharing via a computer screen.


NEW MUSIC

There is a lot of new music out already for 2020. Keep in mind, most people don’t sit down, write music, go to their home studio, hit record and release an album in a month. Most records take some time before they “hit the streets” and not all music comes with a hard copy of a CD these days.  I find it interesting that some artists are going totally digital (saves boatloads of money upfront) while others are releasing their music including a vinyl option, totally old school. New music to report includes Last Rock Empire, Death to the Monkey People; Bill Rotella, River of Smoke; Karen 805’s sophomore effort, 21 in My Heart; Ben Wylen, People Say;  Medicine Hat, Fences; Michael Fitz, Colors in the Wind; Mik Sullivan, Overdramatic; and Dudeo Perez, King of Last Year (produced by Scotty Morris).

If you are interested, these releases are available on most music outlets online, or check the artists’ website or Facebook page. Ventura Rocks is also a great resource for finding artists and their releases at www.VenturaRocks.com/Artists. If their listing has artwork, that’s a link to their music.


Collective Soul VENTURA COUNTY FAIR NO GO

The Ventura County Fair Board voted unanimously on Monday, May 4, to cancel this year’s Ventura County Fair.  They did it with a heavy heart, I know, I listened in on the remote Zoom meeting.  But you know, as difficult as it was for them to come to this decision, it’s the prudent thing to do. It was sad to hear the 4-H Club and supporting members scrambling to figure out how they can still pull something off for their young members; a remote auction online was even suggested.

Every spring I wait patiently for the concert line up to be announced and then just like everyone else, I pick out my favorite bands to not only go and enjoy, but to shoot some pictures for VenturaRocks.com and the Breeze.  Last year’s line up included one of my all-time favorites, Collective Soul, which I managed to weasel my way into the Meet and Greet before the show. I’m truly looking forward to next year’s fair and praying for a vaccine so we can cram ourselves into the mobs of people in front of the stage again.


Do you have any music-related news or upcoming shows 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.