Interview: Eric Rachmany of Rebelution

Rebelution – 2 shows, December 30 (sold out) and December 31 2013, New Year’s Eve, at the Majestic Ventura Theater.

Before sound check for their show tonight (Dec 30) at the Majestic Ventura Theater, I got to talk to Eric Rachmany, lead singer, for Rebelution. He waxed nostalgic about his time in the 805, his first show at the Ventura Theater and what the band’s philosophy is all about when it comes their music.

Just a sample:

Polly Hoganson:  How you doing?

Eric Rachmany:  I’m Great!

Polly:  How’s the tour going so far?

Eric:  It’s been great, we had a little bit of time off we’re recording our next album for the last couple of weeks and then we just played a couple shows in Santa Cruz. Then we have these Ventura shows and then we have a couple shows in Orange County.  We start our big tour in February.  That’s like our winter tour.

Polly:  I saw your schedule, it’s pretty gnarly.  It’s exciting you’re criss-crossing the country then you’re also making time to go to Thailand?

Eric:  Right Yeah, we have a festival to play in Thailand on March 1st

Polly:  Have you ever been?

Eric:  I’ve been to visit but never to play.

Polly:  That’s cool.

Eric:  Yeah

Polly:  I was on your website and you have the video “Skys the Limit” posted.  I really like that song by the way. 

Eric:  Oh Cool

Polly:  You have a great voice.

Eric:  Thank you

Polly:  It was directed by Marley (bass player) and  it looks like you shot a lot in Isla Vista.

Eric:  We did, we thought it was probably a good idea to go back to where we got started and just kind of feel the vibe of Isla Vista while we were filming the video.

Polly:  Whenever you come back to the 805, is it nostalgic?  Does it bring back memories for you guys?

Eric:  Definitely, you know we spent a pretty substantial amount of time here both while we were in college and then actually after we all finished school we all stayed in the Santa Barbara area for a few years. Although we weren’t here a lot of the time we were touring this was still our home base and you know when we got dispersed to different parts of California now but Santa Barbara will always be our home.

Polly:  Now when you got started in ’04, does that seem like a lifetime ago? Or does it seem like yesterday?

Eric:  It feels like yesterday.  It really does.  Time has flown by it’s really hard to believe it’s almost 10 years ago. That’s actually mind blowing to think about. We’re just having so much fun with what we’re doing.  We love performing we love playing and recording music and when you have fun doing time flies by that’s the truth, haha.

Polly:  Haha!   Well looking back through the years and where you’re at now is the journey what you thought it would be?

Eric:  You know I think since I was a little kid I always thought the music I was apart of would be exposed to the world somehow.  I didn’t really know what it would take to do it. So I feel like that has happened and I’m thrilled that I’m playing music for peoples.  I can do this for a living. But I didn’t really know what it would feel like or the steps we would have to take to get our music out to people around the world you know?  I think with Rebelution we played so many shows starting from Isla Vista, playing small clubs to festivals, outdoor venues and amphitheaters now I think we’ve done so many shows that we are confident in what we’re doing and although 10 years have gone by very fast it’s been a nice, slow progression for the band so I think in that regard we feel very comfortable in what we’re doing.  It’s not like we’ve had this huge jump in success.  You know we’re an independent band and we do everything our selves. We’re kind of rising slowly but surely. We’re really happy with that.

Polly:  That goes to my next question in that you guys are pretty DIY.  Is that the direction where you think the music business is going?  Bands are pretty much going to do their own thing?

Eric:  You know, I think the music that we play isn’t really typical for the music industry latch on to.  That’s what I think a lot of the bands we’ve come up with both in the Santa Barbara area and around the country that play similar music to us, are all independent as well.  I think the bands just like us we do it for the love of the music, we do it to spread a positive message, to bring happiness to both ourselves and to the crowd, to the people.  We like staying independent there’s no pressure,  we write music that we love and that’s what it’s all about.  It’s not about making money for us it’s about you know staying positive and keeping a big smile on our faces as we get older. You only live once and we’re trying to live that way. Haha

Polly:  Haha, there is that philosophy that if you do what you love and eventually you’ll reap the rewards.  So it sounds like you’re time is at that point. 

Eric:  Yeah, and I understand it’s really hard to make a living out of this business and the music industry is really cut throat and that’s another reason to stay independent.

Polly:  Right.

Eric:  And It’s also I don’t need a reminder as to why I’m doing this.  We get out there and we play the music that we love and it’s always been that way since day one.  And while we’re happy doing what we’re doing there’s no reason to change our philosophy, change our sound, we do it because we love it.

Polly:  I’ve always been fascinated by how a group of friends get together and form a band.  How did it come about that you guys in college decided to hey one day, let’s make music.

Eric:  Yep, I was always into music when I was a kid. I started on piano then moved to guitar. Once I got to Santa Barbara City College I took this songwriting class. I just fell in love with it.  I don’t know.  The first thing they make you do in class is play one of your own songs.  I’d never done that before and I never thought of myself as a singer.  I always thought of myself as a musician/guitar player and I got up and sang a song and I listened to everybody else and I was able to form some friends and felt really comfortable at it.  And it was through that music dept at City College that I met our bass player Marley and we both shared a love for reggae music and we figured that out in a relatively short amount of time.  Then he found our drummer Wes in another music class us three got together and then we met our keyboardist Rory along the way and then we were jamming a lot of classic reggae tunes like Sublime, this was the kind of music we all related to at the time.

Polly:  Sure.

Eric:  And then we played a show wow this is the most fun we’ve ever had and we just kept on doing it.  Next thing you know we’re writing original music and I think it’s because of that one songwriting class that I gained that courage to you know sing, because I’d never really done that before.

Polly:  Well you’ve got a great voice.  I love your voice.

Eric:  Thank you

Polly:  Any tips for up and comers, that you know you would recommend?

Eric:  Just what I was touching on earlier you just have to love what you’re doing and not think about the rewards, like you were saying if you love what you’re doing the rewards will come.  It may not be like a monetary thing.  It’s important to just play music for the love of playing music.  You should never really forget that.  It is I understand it’s very difficult to be a musician full time but yeah, but from my experience it is possible to be an independent band and to play music for a living.

Polly:  Sure.

Eric:  We worked really hard played multiple shows.  I think it’s important to get out there and perform live.  Nowadays it’s very difficult.  The major record label would never go over with us basically what we do.  We’ve always wanted to do it ourselves.  It’s definitely possible.

Polly:  When you listen to music, when you’re on the road, who’s on your iPod?

Eric:  Haha good question.  To tell you the truth I’ve been writing so much because we’re preparing for this next album so um I’m not really sure who I listen to.  Obviously I’m a big fan of reggae music, once in a while I’ll check out what music is coming out of Jamaica and around the world.  A lot of the times I’ll start listening to stuff I used to listen to whether it’s hip hop, rap, metal, punk rock, there’s folk music, oldies, I’m a big Beatles, I love everything.

Polly: The last record that you guys put out, “Peace of Mind”, what was the evolution of and the thought process of putting out a triple record? (A regular record, an acoustic version and a dub version). That’s pretty ambitious.

Peace of Mind albumEric:  Yeah,  I think it was our love for different types of music that we decided to do that.  We always talked about doing an acoustic album but the idea stems from our good friend and manager Dean who said what if we released it all together?  I thought it was a great idea and I love playing acoustic.  It was relatively easy when we went in the studio we were just free with it and had the acoustic album in a few days.  I think we’ll try and do something like that in the future.

Polly:  Well it’s a great record and I appreciate the acoustic aspect of it.  To see what it sounds like without all the bells and whistles.

Eric:  Yeah, haha.

Polly:  You guys did a really good job.  I did see that you posted some pictures that you guys are in the studio now.  Going to hear anything new and different?  Or pretty much, you follow the same formula, but try and change it up here and there?

Eric:  Yeah.

Polly:  Going to be along the same lines?  Or are you bringing in more cow bell?  Haha.

Eric:  Haha, yeah well it’s actually confidential information.

Polly:  Haha!

Eric:  It’s really hard to explain. PEACE OF MIND was probably our most creative album to date.  It had a lot of different styles of music.  This one I think is different but it’s similar than that it’s got a different style.  I really can’t describe it.  But I think everybody will be happy. There’s something for everyone I think is the best way to describe it.

Polly:  That’s cool.

Eric:  But I think it’s the most thrilled I’ve been about recording an album ever.  I think that’s got to say something.  But like I said earlier we love doing what we do.  It feels good the way we recorded this.   The vibe and the energy that went into it, I think people will be into it.

Polly:  I’m sure they will.  You never let your audiences down and that’s why you guys are so popular.  You’ve got a sold out concert tonight (Monday, December 30, 2013 Ventura Theater).  That’s exciting.  Two nights at the Ventura Theater.  You must be excited about that.

Eric:  Definitely, yeah, a little funny story.  The first time we played the Theater we shared an opening slot with Iration they kind of started in Isla Vista as well.  Whichever band sold the most tickets was the one that would get direct support from the artist Yellowman (headliner) I ‘m pretty sure Yellowman didn’t bring anybody.  The Theater relied on us and Iration to sell all the tickets. It’s funny just thinking about that and fast forwarding to right now and playing 2 nights at Ventura Theater and how we remember our first start there.

Polly:  It must be a great feeling.

Eric:  Yes, it is. It’s a legendary spot for us.

Polly:  Eddy Numbskull is bringing you back to Ventura.  You guys collaborate a lot? He’s a good friend.  A great guy that puts on a quality show.

Eric:  Definitely, we always had a pretty good relationship with Eddy. For a long time now, and he’s been promoting our shows for several years.

Polly:  I  see you’re super popular in Guam.

Eric:  Oh Guam. Yeah.

Polly:  It’s funny because my parents are from Guam.

Eric:  Really?

Polly:  Yeah, I wanted to know if you had any of the local cuisine while there. Haha.

Eric:  We had a lot of amazing fish while I was there.  I forget what other local stuff.

Polly:  Red rice is big, BBQ Ribs…

Eric:  Yeah, Guam, the first time we went to Guam one of our songs was a big hit.  I think it was “Safe and Sound” and it’s still to this day probably one of the most amazing shows we ever played because we were a small band from Isla Vista and all of a sudden our music became this big hit on this island and we played a show for about 6000 people.

Polly:  That’s awesome.

Eric:  That was an amazing feeling definitely.

Polly:  And they love to party and they love to dance.

Eric:  For sure.  We went to a small Chamorro village and it was spectacular going to this small village and seeing how people had been living for decades and the culture. It was amazing.

Polly:  A lot of great musicians, bands started in the 805 some still make their home here like Ozomotli, Toad the Wet Sprocket, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, all those guys came up through the 805.  What is it about this part of California that makes it such a fertile ground for live music?

Eric:  Yeah, I think the college town is big for us.  Because there are a lot of people we played to. Isla Vista all jam packed in a small community.  All the students were young and they were hungry for music.  Typically it’s the younger crowd that comes out to see live music.  They are searching for different types of music.  A lot of people visit Santa Barbara. It’s a beautiful place.  You have the coast, the ocean the mountains.  You can see all sides.  Santa Barbara is a perfect way to describe California. Santa Barbara and Ventura too is both warm and cold.  I think that California in general is a melting pot.  There are so many different kinds of people here.  It’s also a spot that you get a lot of people from down south and up north coming to this area.  It’s a place that makes people happy.  You want to rejoice.  You want to be surrounded by the arts,  the music, dancing.   In that regard it’s a great place for that.

Polly:  Now both nights are all ages shows.  Is it important for you to always get the music out to all ages?

Eric:  Yeah, I like to it’s preferably to a 21 and up show.  We think our music relates to all different kinds of people. It’s funny I have grandparents that listen to our music and little kids, like our cousins, 2, 3 and 4 years old that fuss when our music doesn’t come on in the car.  Yeah, I think we’re trying to spread a positive message and there is a lot of negative music out there we hope we’re getting people on the right track.

Polly:  I really love your music.  It is feel good music and it is for the ages.  Any New Year’s resolutions?

Eric:  Haha, that’s a good question.  I got asked that question last night.  Just keep writing music. Just keep on being creative.

Polly:  I sure appreciate your time.   Have a great show tonight, Happy New Year.  Travel safe, looking forward to hearing your new stuff in ’14.

Eric:  Perfect, thanks so much Polly. Appreciate it. Talk to you soon.

(See photos that took at the Monday night Rebelution show:

Eric Rachmany – Vocals / Guitar
Rory Carey – Keyboards
Marley D. Williams – Bass
Wesley Finley – Drums
Khris Royal – Sax

Ventura Rocks in Ventura Breeze – 12/24/13 – 1/7/14

breezeThe Music Scene
New Year’s Eve and More
by Pam Baumgardner

I love that Ventura’s music community has such heart and supports worthy causes. Firstly, we’d love to see everyone out for “A Benefit for Jacob” on Saturday, January 4 at Yolies (138 W. Main). The McWorters of Hi Hat Entertainment are putting on this event for their eldest son, Jacob, who has been undergoing Chemo for over 16 months. On board for entertainment are Albert Lee, Coco Montoya, James Harmon, Johnny Main and over a dozen more musicians. Go to for tickets or to make a donation.

And then we’re helping to get Crooked Eye Tommy to Nashville to compete in the International Blues Challenge in Memphis. The band needs help on travel expenses so there will be a fundraiser at Bombay’s on Sunday, January 12 with Guy Martin, Kelly’s Lot, 50 Sticks of Dynamite, and Tommy’s “other band” Tommy Marsh and Bad Dog. You can also enter a raffle to win a new Gibson guitar.

We’ve been getting a ton of questions about what’s happening for New Year’s Eve, and so we did a little research and it turns out there is a boatload of music to be had to help bring in the New Year. We’ve provided phone numbers for venues where you’ll want to make reservations.
The Top of the Harbor at the Crowne Plaza will feature dinner and dancing into the night with disc jockey Bruce Barrios; special room rates available, call (805) 648-2100.
Another place with overnight accommodations is the Pierpont Inn which will be offering a Roaring 20’s party with cocktail reception, buffet dinner and champagne toast while dancing to DJ Matt Madsady; there will also be a live performance from Sound Effect, call (805) 643-6144.
Peirano’s features dinner and music from the Mighty Cash Cats then a DJ, call (805) 648-4853.
The Rhumb Line at the Harbor has Bobby Watley for dinner at 6, then Frank Barajas, call (805) 642-1200
The Greek has traditional belly dancers to get you in a festive mood, and then you can dance to R&B music from Jon Francis. (805) 650-5350.
W20 has Dr. M from 9-12, then a DJ on the first f loor 10:30 – 1:30 pm. Cover starts at 8 pm. (805) 643-6800.
The all new Discovery Ventura will ring in the New Year with dancing to a DJ.
Bombay Bar and Grill will rock in the New Year with a Lex Rule dinner show, and then there will be a Tommy Marsh jam session on one stage and MANDEX on the other.
Keynote will have Red Rhythm.
Gigi’s has What the Funk.
The Star Lounge has CRV.

And finally, check out Polly Hoganson the MusicMuse for some fun reading as she shares New Year’s Resolutions from local musicians and venue owners as well as Ventura’s mayor, Cheryl Heitmann, Read all about them at

Be safe. We wish you a Happy New Year!!

Mario Calire and Friends at W20

Ventura’s music scene got just a tad cooler when Mario Calire and a couple of his Ozomatli bandmates and other good friends got together for a Thursday night show (Nov. 21, 2013) at W20 at the Watermark.  The night was amazing.  The boys put on one hell of a show!


Venues vs Musicians?

The Cult at Ventura TheaterWould it make a difference on the venues and festivals and events you attended if you found out the bands were not being compensated?  Or that they had to pay to play?  Or that they were not paid what was promised?

Of course it would.

Would you be curious to know the venues who don’t pay their musicians, or worse, who don’t pay what was promised?

But would you also want to know about which venue promised “X” amount of dollars and they made “zilch” for the evening losing money because the band did not pull in anyone?

It would be easy to say it’s Venues vs. Musicians, but it shouldn’t, because this is a collaboration, or more concise an exchange.  The musicians play for compensation.  The venue hires the musician to make more income (than without the musician) so they CAN compensate the artists and have an ideal setting for their patrons.

So there has to be a mutual responsibility. The venue promotes, but the band has to do so as well.  But more important is whether all the promotion is fruitful in the end. Did people show up?  And did they spend money?

Just as the musician rightfully should be paid for his work, the venue can’t expect to be a charity, paying for artist who bring in diddly squat; which is why the people who book bands have an obligation to the owners of the venue (they are sometimes one and the same) to not take chances with unknown bands.

The economy has improved but it certainly has not fully recovered.  Rent is high!  Venue overheads are insane!  Add to that an entertainment budget and you start to understand how fortunate we really are; it’s taken for granted that music will be available because we have such an abundance here in Ventura.  From the Harbor to the East end of town to Downtown Ventura and, on most every night of the week, we have live music.

In an ideal world, venue owners would love to pay their musicians top dollars while making a profit.

In a not-so-ideal world, venue owners take advantage of musicians and use them to get more people in the door so they can make a profit, yet have no intention of compensating the artist their worth (if at all).

In a sad world, venue owners and promoters require bands to pay to play and then make much more money at the door…because people want to hear those bands play.

I also realize that not all venue owners are the best business people. Their rent and overhead are almost prohibitive to allowing an entertainment budget, yet they continue to provide music, because they believe in this music community.  Bands play for them because they want to “support” them back.

So it’s not always black and white on the issue of whether a band should play for free once in a while, or whether a venue can pay what was promised.  It’s easy to be a Monday Morning Quarterback, but unless you’re in the trenches trying to make a living, (as a venue owner or a musician), then it’s really not altogether fair to say what’s right and what is wrong in a broad general statement.

But habitual abusers?  Wrong wrong wrong.

The ongoing debate on whether musicians should play for free may continue, (especially the newer bands paying their dues undercutting experienced well-known musicians out of the equation), but what can you, as a music lover do to help our music scene thrive?

Loosen your purse strings and support the venues and events who pay their musicians. Buy dinner there; pay the cover charge; get a late night snack, or buy a round of drinks (soda counts!). This is how venues stay in business.  It’s not rocket science!

We do our best to get out and support our venues at least two to three times a week…on top of keeping updated daily and posting on Facebook hoping to inspire others to do the same.   And I see so many of the same groups of friends supporting already!  So my intention is to NOT preach to the choir.  You know who you are and whether you’re already supporting.  LOVE YOU!!!

We have over 50 businesses in Ventura alone which offer music occasionally, and at least 35 who offer music every single week!  Crazy!!

So in the end, you’ll ask yourself, did you help?  Did you take some responsibility in making this town a great music community?

Let’s spread the love, and continue to support our music scene because it really comes down to just that.  We can all help alleviate the problem of artists being underpaid by supporting the venues who do pay for musical entertainment. Get out and be willing to spend money to have live music by extraordinary musicians.

Let’s keep this scene alive, because I truly believe today more than when we started this thing, that Ventura Rocks!!!


Surf Rodeo 2013

JD Drury and crew pulled it off!!!  What a great weekend of camaraderie at the end of Seaward at Pierpont Beach.  This ain’t our first Rodeo, and we pray it’s not our last!!!

Artists Photos

I’ve been humbled yet again by the people in this town.

We work hard, but we’re seeing results and Ventura really does Rock more and more every day.

A lot of effort is put into Ventura Rocks. We have a website we update every day. We generate a lot of two-way communication via Facebook hoping to get people out to support the shows. We also work on projects like Ventura Music Week attending meetings several times a week and meeting with the venues and artists to make sure they are included. There are the emails and messages coming in to “tweek” or fix a listing on our site, or to add an Artist, or to ask my thoughts about a certain artist and whether they’re a fit for a certain show. I love it.

I also work three paying jobs, I’ve been going to school four nights a week working on a degree, plus there are the basketball playoffs on top of having a teenage daughter I actually enjoy spending time with.

But more than that, I enjoy the fruits of our labor and I go out and support our music scene. I attempt to do this at least two-three times a week. And when I do, I make it a point to “check in” on Facebook with a photo of the band in hopes of getting others out to do the same.

The point is, I’m really freakin’ busy!!! So I was sidelined recently when a local musician, someone I admired, sent me an email requesting we get permission from Artists before posting their photos anywhere on the internet.

I’m positive this was a direct hit at me personally because I can not imagine how a local artist in a town the size of Ventura would be opposed to receiving free publicity.

I’ll be honest. It hurt. And perhaps I should have suppressed my feelings but I did two things.

1. I responded with a nice lengthy explanation and then I promised I would never take their photo again without their permission.

2. I went on Facebook and posted the following message along with a photo of my dog Sammy expressing how I was feeling:

“It’s been requested from a local musician that we get permission from Artists before posting their photos anywhere on the internet.
It hadn’t occurred to us that some musicians/artists would prefer not to have free publicity and help promoting them.
If we have posted your image in the past and you were not OKAY with it, please let us know and we will immediately take it down.
Seriously, we’re just trying to help”

The response was overwhelming. I will never doubt again that we’re making a difference in this town. And the support and thanks for what we do was just inspiring. I honestly cried more over these comments than how disappointing that email was. And no, not one Artist has sent me a Private Message to request we not post their photos. I did get one Private Message, but no, I’m not going to divulge who it was who made the request!

But I do want to be clear that we will endeavor to ensure Artists are fine with us posting their photos. I just don’t want them to feel beholden to us, or think we’re just looking for “thanks.”

And just so you know, I try to be careful with the photos I post ensuring the Artist(s) look good, avoiding glowing eyes, or unflattering expressions. If when I scroll the photos and I don’t see a good one, I’ll go back up and take some more until I do. If the lighting sucks so much that I can’t get the shot, I’ll just not post anything.

So if for any reason (you don’t have to give me an explanation if you don’t want to), you prefer not to have your photo on our website or Facebook page, just let me know, send me a private message. Of if there is a particular photo you don’t feel comfortable with, I’ll be happy to take that down for you. Again, we’re here to help.

All that being said, we’ve been doing this for four years now, and we’ve been talking for two years about how has not made a dime since going live. We continue to pay for all costs out of pocket including our personal time to do updates daily and how we would like to change this eventually.

That’s going to happen soon. And it feels really f***ing weird that our purely goodwill effort is now going to be a commercial venture. But know this, we will never ever charge the venues, or the Artists be listed just like we’ve always done. But we are going to start offering banner ads (taxi services, out-of-town venues, hair salons, etc…), and we’re working on creating an online store for t-shirts and other items.

Ventura is such a great place to live, we have these incredible musicians and Artists who deserve support. We have a community and network of resources that encourage the music scene and we’re privileged to be a part of it all because like I always say, Ventura really does Rock!


A Call to all Artists: What is Your Worth?

Shawn Jones and Sam Bolle

Shawn Jones and Sam Bolle has made it our mission to help Ventura’s music scene come to life. A local musician who has been gigging on Main Street for over 40 years recently commented that this is the best of times. I agree. But I think it can be even better.

I’m not going to lie, I’m still learning a lot about the music scene. I don’t pretend to know it all, but there are a few things I know for certain and one of them is that individuals who create art are among the most worthy in our society. They make life bearable. They create beauty, and soulfulness. Without art, life would be dull. Just look at your surroundings, Ventura is beautiful. Yes, the hillsides, two trees, the ocean and our rivers are amazing, but aesthetically speaking, we have a lot of beauty within our town too. Well kept homes, well-designed buildings, historical landmarks are preserved, we have art on display, we have music in our venues, we have people volunteering their time to improve conditions…it’s really quite amazing what we have in our town. If you take the time to look, I think you too will find that it’s truly beautiful.

I know I tend to look at the glass half full and sometimes you have to dig in deep and confront issues you’d rather not. I’m no Pollyanna and I know our society has a long ways to go: We have homeless panhandling and not accepting a hand up. Crime rate and drug abuse (usually going hand in hand) continues to plague us. The economy is slowly recovering but jobless rate is still a problem and City services to continue to take a hit.

But I knew something could be done to make a difference in this town, and helping the economy and supporting our musicians, by helping to promote your gigs just felt like the right thing to do. I still believe that 100%.

Creating harmony, affinity and beauty and making someone feel better should never be overrated. People coming together and listening to music that moves them and inspires them, that’s something magical.

Don’t get me wrong, I love a punk show to work out the aggressions as much as the next person, but I also love our jazz, I love our rockers, I love our folk heroes who bear their souls each and every performance. You guys are so incredible!

You get it right? Artists are important to our society.

So that being said, I want you to know where I’m coming from as I carefully broach the subject of exploitation. And while yes, at least 90% of our promoters are FABULOUS, there is a bad element out there that has landed on our radar and we’re at a crossroads on how to deal with them. These are the promoters who have no intention of paying the bands who play at their events, yet they’re making money off of them. That my friend is called exploitation. Worse yet, there are the promoters who ask the bands to pay them to be a part of their event.

Of course there will always be the argument that the band will get exposure they normally wouldn’t get. I can absolutely get that, IF you’re opening up for Green Day at the Ventura Theater; or you’re about to play in front of thousands of people at one of the bigger shows. Or being a part of an event like Local Rock Picnic where everyone is doing their part to pull off an event for the “greater good”. And of course there’s the newer artist coming on the scene who needs to prove their own worth and I wouldn’t begrudge them playing for exposure to get the ball rolling.

I’m not walking in your shoes, so I try not to judge. But know this, I have your back and I’m watching out for you.

Also, we might as well confront the fact that a number of venues do not pay their musical talent. That’s a hard one. We know the economy is getting better, so we hope their purse strings are loosening up. If the artists help increase business, then they should be compensated!

And while we’re at it, the venues who do provide music and no cover? Patrons need to put in exchange with them as well! Buy dinner. Buy a beverage or two. Because if everyone were to show up and then not pay for anything, I promise you this, these guys WILL GO OUT OF BUSINESS.

So in conclusion…Artists are what make this society a joy to be a part of.

If you are an artist, do not underestimate your worth. We don’t. You are worthy and we are here to help you.

Pam Baumgardner 4th Anniversay

newVRWell, it’s been four years since we launched and we couldn’t be happier.  We want to thank you for your support and encouragement.When we launched we had a goal in mind and we’ve stated it on more than one occasion:  “Our Mission is to help stimulate the economy in our favorite city in the whole wide world by promoting venues who offer music and to the artists who live in and around Ventura as well as those who travel here to play.”

That still holds true today.  But there was more to this goal and it seemed too lofty to put down in words, but as it is coming true, we might as well come out in the open and express want we’re really trying to acheive.  We want Ventura to be a music community where artist thrive in an environment that supports them.  As a result, our artists are making a living, the venues are prospering, people are happy because they have music in their lives. It’s all a win-win scenario.  Ventura is on the cusp of being the next Austin, Texas.  This town has so much incredible talent that it’s a reality that is no longer so far fetched.

We’re here to help get the word out.  Not only do we update our official website twice weekly, but we update our website calendar and Facebook page daily.   EVERY SINGLE DAY!!!  We make it a point to get out several times a week and support our musicians and venues ourselves, we check in, we take pictures, in other words, we walk the talk.

People have come to depend on to determine how they’ll be spending their evening out on a date or out with friends. That’s awesome! And we love when people share our pages and recommend us to their friends.  Getting the word out about helps to support our goal, which we think is your goal too.

And of course people always want to know how do we make money.  We have “day” jobs.

Eve and myself have not made a dime off of to date.  We have NEVER asked for anything for free including concert tickets, or to get in to see an artist with a cover charge.  We have paid our way.  We go out and support our venues, we buy our dinners, we take our own pictures, we pay our own way and we are not indebted to anyone.But there is going to be a way to help support our efforts in the very near future.  We are going to start providing some banner ads on our website, and we are going to start selling t-shirts and other items.

But know this, we will never ever charge the venues or artists for what we already do.  If a venue wants to buy a banner ad to go above and beyond what we already offer, that’s great! But we will always provide the service we’ve been doing for them as long as we can keep this going. is not a non-profit.  To date, it’s been nothing but a goodwill effort to help.  Seeing the music scene gradually change has been the greatest compensation.  But more needs to be done.

So what is needed and wanted? We need people to fill up the venues. To drop a buck or two. Make it worth our while! We’re starting to see this town come to life and people out enjoying some of our most incredible assets, our musicians.

And like I said before, we’re going to start offering banner ads (hair salons, tire shops, taxi cab services, venues outside of Ventura) and selling shirts and other items.  If you like to support our efforts, we will welcome your help.

We love this town, we love our musicians and artists, we love our venues, and we love that we’re making this happen.

VENTURA really does ROCK!!!

Love you guys!


The Shoemaker Brothers at Bombay’s 2/15/13

Loving the Shoemakers:  Samuel, Daniel, Nate and Gabriel at Bombay’s Bar & Grill.  Great way to start the evening.  Burgers, Beer & The Shoemakers downtown Ventura, CA.

Ventura’s Jazz Renaissance

Kudos to our venues for embracing jazz!  Jazz-bnw
Ever since California 66 went out of business, there hasn’t been a solid jazz scene here in Ventura.  It’s been way too long.   Since CA 66, you’d see from time to time jazz trios pop up at Wine venues or at the Pierpont Inn and definitely at Sidecar, but we have too much talent here in Ventura to have an occasional gig at a random venue.  But now, we do have a jazz renaissance occurring.  Squashed Grapes has been heavily supporting jazz, and of all places, Amigos has come on board.  Jazz is becoming more common and we’re delighted to see over the past six months that Zoey’s, W20, and now Bombay’s are taking this unique American art form for a test drive.

And as this renaissance is occurring it’s quite interesting to see our local talent collaborating and restructuring their lineup.  It not unusual to have guest players sit in, or to feature musicians from L.A. or from other parts of the country or world.  At this point, I would normally list off local musicians, but I know I will leave some off, and so I won’t.  But know that you guys kick ass. Yea, I know it’s jazz…but you really do ROCK!

And to be frank, jazz is completely therapeutic. To sit in a lovely environment, with friends, sipping a glass of nice wine while listening to extraordinary musicianship…well, it takes you to a different place.  And sometimes you’ll be so connected to the players as the band will be working on a particular piece that the room becomes a part of the process and they become engrossed and their instantaneous feedback of appreciation with applause and cheering after a solo, well, it’s just amazing…yea, there’s definitely passion with jazz.

And whether it’s Avant-garde jazz, Nu jazz, Latin jazz, or traditional jazz, we know it’s an acquired taste.  And so we hope that our venues will continue to support this art form as patrons become accustom to where they can DEPEND on jazz.  Because as the saying goes, “Build it and they will come.”

We invite you out to support our jazz scene.  See you there!