Rebelution at Ventura Theater

Rebelution-logoCaught the first of two Rebelution shows at the Majestic Ventura Theater on Monday, December 30, 2013.  These cats were freakin’ amazing.  The show was sold out and the crowd danced and sang and just completely got into the groove that is Rebelution.  Enjoy the photos we took:

Click to see Polly Hoganson MusicMuse interview with Eric Rachmany

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!!

Ventura Musicians Rock

How serious about music do you have to be to have a band?
How good do you have to be to have a band?
What are your intentions for being in a band?

I have found out that there are a number of music snobs in this community, which is a little embarrassing, and it’s not because this isn’t L.A.,  or New York, or Austin or Seattle, it’s embarrassing because that’s an elitist mentality.   As far as the whole county goes, we have some pretty cool musicians calling this their home. We have Grammy winners, we have dozens of artists who have actually “been to the show” and have toured with national acts and have had hits on the radio, members from  Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, Todd the Wet Sprocket, Social Distortion, the Foo Fighters, even Chris Cornell lived here for a while.  We have some terrific session musicians and producers who have worked on world-renowned projects and consistently work on scores for movies and television.   So we do have some real talent here.  But that isn’t the point.

We also happen to have some mediocre artists who dream of making the big time, and we have some mediocre artists who are content for playing gigs from time to time.  And we have some artists who if we’re being completely honest, aren’t so good, but have a dream of playing music – and if there is an audience who appreciates them, then why tear them down?

And as far as one’s intentions go, if you’re in a band to get laid, or to receive gratification or validation, or if you honestly want to make an impact on others’ lives, it really doesn’t matter as long as you have an audience who supports you.

I understand there will always be a pecking order of musicians here based on their demand, for all genres of music from punk to jazz. And that demand may be based on their talent, or how much other musicians like playing with them, or how much an audience loves them, but to tear down, or belittle another artist, is just elitist, and pitiful.

And of course if you are a talented musician and know your shit like no one else, it would be expected that you surround yourself with other musicians of your caliber.  I’ve seen the best of and the worst of bands here in town.  As the saying goes, “There’s no accounting for taste” and the proof always comes out in the pudding. Do you have an audience, or don’t you?

And please, we know some of you are more educated about music.  Congratulations. That doesn’t make you a better person.  Contributing and making a difference makes you a better person.

So if you’re in a band or playing as a solo artist and you make someone smile and make their day just a little better, then that my friend is the bottom line and to you I say you freakin’ rock.

Polly Hoganson The MusicMuse

I am super excited to join Pam and as a guest writer on a semi regular basis!  I hope to bring insight as a former music venue owner, music lover, indie advocate and longtime resident of Ventura County on the music and art scene of the place I hold dear.   I will write out loud about – “how to” ideas for the DIY Indie band/artist, shine a spotlight on up and coming musicians, bring exclusive interviews of stars in the music industry who make the 805 their home, cool new music and find answers to – Can Ventura really be the new Austin?

My goal is to continue to build our Ventura County music community and focus on how amazing we are.  I’d love to hear from musicians who either are from or play in the 805 along with promoters, and all you music fans!  Send us the happening news.  Message me at   Let’s do this!


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!


Zoey’s: The Heart of Local Music No Longer Beats

By Pam Baumgardner

I wrote an article recently titled, “Venues vs Musicians?” where I point out the two should work hand in hand to empower each other, but I also encourage music fans to loosen their purse strings and support the venues and events who pay their musicians. I suggested buying dinner there; paying the cover charge; getting a late night snack, or buy a round of drinks (soda counts!). This is how venues stay in business.  It’s not rocket science!  Yet, it still came as a shock when Zoey’s closed their doors this week to a lot of people.  Some of us had heard rumors for some time hoping for the best. But alas, it was not to be.

Zoeys-frontSteve and Polly Hoganson really gave it a good run and provided Ventura with top notch national touring acts while giving locals a place to shine and try out new projects.

For a little understanding on what happened, Polly gave me some background on how they had been running their business.  When they started, they had their entire family involved, “Our kids Adam, Marie and Andrew (our chef) were all in charge of certain aspects of the business.  Their involvement was so important to keeping the business humming.  Over the years life events took over and slowly the kids left to follow other endeavors, with our blessing.  We tried to replace them but we never truly recovered from that loss.”

But a major key element is that Zoey’s was two entities in one.  A restaurant and a music venue. Polly said, “We tried to be a foodie destination up until a year ago when our son left to become a chef at Ojai Valley Inn.  He was the heart of our kitchen and a very gifted chef.

After Steve and Polly’s son left they scaled back their menu and focused on the music.  Polly explained, “Many fans would come for the music, pay the cover but not order any food or drink.  Since most of the door went to the artist there were some nights when the band would walk away with more money than the venue.  Too many of these nights takes a toll on  the bottom line.  We never did establish any other identity.  We were just a venue with a great listening room and eclectic, unique original music.  Not a pick up bar, not a DJ dance spot, not a food and wine destination.  Just amazing musical performances.”

And that was part and parcel to Zoey’s downfall.

It quickly became quite a struggle keeping Zoey’s open. Polly confessed, “We not only poured our heart and soul but all our personal resources into Zoey’s until we had no more.  We had help from family and friends and will be grateful to them for giving us another year or two of life but with so many other choices downtown our limited audience was not able to sustain us.”

Adding insult to injury, the stress and everyday grind started to take its toll on Polly’s health. Taking care of these personal issues rightfully is now top priority.

In a closing statement from Steve and Polly, they give their thanks and wishes for Ventura:

“We thank our entire staff who hung in there during the good and bad times.  Soundman extraordinaire Jeremy along with Aly, Kenny, Adam.  Our front of house – Mel, Amy, Bernie, Titus, Maya & Cass. Back of house – Marta & Chris. Special thanks to Sam Bolle, Tony and Mike Ferrari, son in law Harry and son Andrew for helping us on the last day.

We love Ventura and want all our friends and music fans to know it’s been such an fantastic experience.  We will always cherish and remember our time at Zoey’s for years to come. All in all we are proud of what Zoey’s was and what our legacy is –  Bringing new and established artists to the forefront and giving them a place to be who they truly are.”

Again, borrowing from my previous article: “So in the end, you’ll ask yourself, did you help?  Did you take some responsibility in making this town a great music community?”

Ventura’s music scene really is something special.  But it needs to be nourished and supported, before it’s too late for all.

Do not let this lesson be for nought.

Chi McClean, Matt Zeltzer and Dan Grimm