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 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.