Ventura Rocks in the Ventura Breeze – 4/2 – 4/15

Ventura Breeze logoVentura Music Scene
by Pam Baumgardner’s 5th anniversary party was a blast.  Many thanks to Those Lousy Drunken Uncles who kicked off the festivities and especially to one of Ventura’s favorites, Rey Fresco, for hitting it out of the park.  Diego and the crew at Bombay’s are the best; I can’t thank them enough for their hospitality and for their continued support.   The night was a long one to be sure with family, friends and supporters coming and going as they celebrated their St. Patrick’s Day in their own way.  Many heartfelt thanks to those who did stop in including Sheldon Brown from the Ventura Breeze, Sally Williams representing the Swillys (thanks for the bubbly dear!), Shawn Jones, Owen Bucey, Dan Grimm, Doug Johnson, Kat Merrick from Totally Local VC, JR from Winchesters, Armand John Lizzy, Tommy Marsh and Tammy Aren, Eve Mimiaga, John Reese of Amigos, Brother Rob from KXBS and all my family and friends who made the time to come by, that meant a lot.  Oh! Big thanks to Maggie McKinney for the beautiful flowers and all that delicious cake!

John Reese of Amigos announced something extremely cool.  Nathan McEuen will be playing at Amigos every Tuesday night 6-8 pm through the month of April.  Yeah baby!

The Ventura Beach Festival announced the line-up for the May 3rd event at San Buenaventura State Beach with Martha and the Motels headlining. Other bands on the bill include The Surfaries, Rey Fresco, Spencer the Gardener, Dirty Rice and Barley Legal. This one helps benefit Friends of Channel Coast State Parks.  For ticket information, visit

It looks like more music will be happening down at the Ventura Harbor Village Carousel Stage as the weather continues to warm up.   All shows run noon – 3 pm. Just a few lined up:  Rusty Rounders on April 6, Beach Bums on April 13, Main Street Jazz Band on April 20 and Jill Martini Soiree on April 27.

Shows to watch out for at the Majestic Ventura Theater include The Pet Shop Boys on April 11, and Latin-ska band, Panteon Rocoxco, which will be in town on April 19.  Both Ellie Goulding on April 16 and Cage the Elephant on April 18th are sold out.

Ventura’s music scene is incredible because we have three different elements coming together here in this amazing town.  First and foremost, we have amazing talent, secondly we have the venues which support live music (and a great deal of it original), but it wouldn’t come together without the third element which is us music lovers.  Together, we make Ventura Rock!!!

Do you have any music related news or upcoming shows you want help publicizing?  Send all information short or long to’s 5th Anniversary – St. Patrick’s Day Party

Thank you Diego and Bombay’s for the great time!  Loved Those Lousy Drunken Uncles who kicked off the celebration and of course Rey Fresco took it up several notches into the night.

Here’s a link to our annual “State of the Union” address for our 5th Anniversary online serving the music community here in Ventura.

Great Friends!

Karl Hunter’s Return to Squashed Grapes

Karl Hunter “Organ’ic” Quartet
3/22/14 – Squashed Grapes

Karl’s thoughts on the gig:
Jimmy'sLast night’s KH quartet gig was awesome!!! Jimmy Calire, Mario Calire, and Hans Ottsen killed it. Jimmy brought his B3 and from the moment we saw it in the back of Jimmy’s van there was a hushed reverence. I’ve never seen a B3 with so much character. Both aesthetically and aurally. The power and sound of the organ was so fun to play off of. Especially when played by Jimmy. Mario’s drumming was so groovy and tasty. His technique and style are a joy to watch. I had the best vantage in the place, right next to him. He reminds me of all the reasons I love drums and drumming. Hans played one amazing solo after another and accompanied Jimmy’s playing perfectly. Jimmy even sang a couple of tunes and sounded amazing. I had no idea he had such a great voice. Plus Jimmy brought a bunch of his original tunes to the plate that seemed custom fit to this band. The guys all played their collective arse off. On top of that the show sold out! I can’t wait to do this again and I want thank the guys and everyone who came out. What a blast! My new friend Pam did a blog post with pictures from the gig on her site VenturaRocks. Thanks Pam! Much love to all who shared this awesome night. Thank you so much!
The Band
Karl Hunter – Jimmy Calire – Mario Calire – Hans Ottsen

Miscellaneous Shots

The Crowd

Written by Karl Hunter and originally posted on Facebook 3/20/14

Karl Hunter QuartetSo, the first KH quartet,back in November, was in the fusion vane. We played a bunch of Herbie Hancock tunes and went ballistic. It was a wild ride and a whole lot of fun! Rufus Philpot, Aaron McLendon, and Andy Langham killed it. It was amazing! I’m still listening to the recordings!

The second installment of the Karl Hunter Quartet is going to explore another one of my favorite sub-genres of jazz, the organ trio/quartet. One of my favorite musicians is Jimmy Smith. His playing is firmly rooted in the blues. But there is something about his phrasing on the B3 organ that is so unique. I’ve been listening to Jimmy a lot over the years and he did a lot if great records with amazing tenor players.

We had a rehearsal last night for Saturdays “organ”ic quartet gig and it went great. Jimmy Calire brought a bunch of his tunes and they are really great. Plus, I brought in some of my favorite Jimmy Smith classics. I brought all my horns with me, soprano, alto, tenor, Bari and I couldn’t put my tenor down. It just sounds so good in that organ setting. I’m really excited about Saturday’s gig. It’s going to be great!

Squashed Grapes FlyerSpeaking of great, Mario Calire, Jimmy’s son, and an amazingly tasty drummer, sounds great, and always instinctively gets what each tune requires. He always keeps musicality at the forefront. His grooves always feel so good and make it so easy to play over. It’s no wonder that Mario was picked up to play with the Wallflowers at such a young age. His knowledge of the proper styles and grooves in jazz and Latin music is amazing and I look forward to learning a lot from him.

Hans Ottsen is also amazing and such a intuitive musician. Guitar has so many functions in Jazz and Hans knows precisely where and how to play each functionality. It’s a delicate balance between showcasing your own personal voice and serving the music and I’m learning a lot from Hans’ playing as he balances both beautifully. I love how his playing is both cerebral and inventive, and at the same time he’ll throw in that perfect phrase that fits the groove and genre to a tee. A perfect balance of paying respect and moving jazz forward.

Karl HunterWhen I moved back into the “805” about 5 years ago, I settled in Ojai. And without fail, when I met someone, and mentioned that I was a musician, the response was always, “Oh, you must know Jimmy Calire.” Well, I didn’t at first, but I’m so glad I do now. Jimmy has been in the Ojai area for many years, he originally hails from Buffalo NY and came out to our sunny shores when he played with the band America. I always liked when I heard an America song. I knew they had a few hits etc. Big Bad Voodoo Daddy shared a bill with America several years ago, and while sitting on the side of the stage I was blown away by how many hits they had. One amazing hit after another. There wasn’t one song in their entire set that I didn’t know well.  So I finally met Jimmy and got to hear his B3 organ playing and was blown away. A lot of piano players dabble in organ, but Jimmy is the real deal and makes it sing. He has tons of experience and it shows when he plays. He has the knowledge of harmony and passing chords that you don’t just learn playing real-book tunes in the practice room. You can tell Jimmy learned his craft the right way, on the bandstand.

I’m feeling so much gratitude to be able to play jazz with so many great players lately. Jazz is a language, and there is no better way to become more articulate then to immerse yourself in the conversation.

If you are free this Saturday and would like to hear a few things we have to say musically, come down to Squashed Grapes in Ventura. It’s on Main Street, a half block east of Seaward. The experience there is amazing and the folks that work there seriously could not be any nicer or supportive. It really is a Ventura treasure. We start at 7:00. I hope you can join us.

(Editor:  Call Squashed Grapes for ticket availability: 805-643-7300.  Also, while you’re at it, see our review & photo gallery for Karl’s last performance at Squashed Grapes).

 Previous post from Karl November, 2013 

Ventura Rocks in the Ventura Breeze – 3/19/14 – 4/1/14

Ventura Breeze logoVentura Music Scene
by Pam Baumgardner

The music series being proposed up behind City Hall is still a possibility for this year.  If it happens, the promoter will be allowed one season to see how it goes.  Consultants are working on the Draft EIR (Environmental Impact Report) and citizens will be able to weigh in on it soon.  There are strong viewpoints for and against it happening in that location so it will be interesting to see how it unfolds in the near future.

It was pretty cool hearing The Calamity’s new CD, A Ghost of These Moments played live from beginning to end during their CD release party at Bombay’s.  They guys so nailed it. Afterwards I ventured in the backroom for Crazy Rust, a Neil Young tribute band, where lo and behold, Neal Casal had joined in for their second set.

We joined Kat Merrick on her Totally Local VC float for the annual St. Patrick’s Day parade downtown Ventura and Dan Grimm was on the float playing live for the crowds.   Dan recently released his latest called Average Savage, and I have to say that Dan continues to grow as a songwriter.  His songs tell stories of love, drama and struggle, some of which are quite personal.  And I’ll be up front and honest, there is nothing sexier than a man who isn’t afraid to show his love for his woman and profess he’ll eat monsters for her.  That’s just feakin’ awesome!  Dan describes his sound as “flip-floppytonk” or “rock ‘n’ roll with a little bit of country” and I can’t disagree.  You should check it out at .

I ran into Trey from Pulse Drumming the other evening and he told me about some drum clinics they have coming up.  The one that caught my attention will be the one with Vinny Appice, and I’m a little upset I never got around to learning the drums because what an opportunity to sit in with one of the masters!  Appice, who has played with Dio, Black Sabbath, Ozzy, Derringer and Axis (I still have the vinyl for that one), will be here in town on Saturday, May 17.  The clinic is offered to all ages and abilities. Call Pulse Drumming for more info (805) 648-3786.

I already have my tickets for two upcoming shows at Squashed Grapes.  First it’s Karl Hunter of Big Bad Voodoo Daddy returning for a show on March 22, and then it’s The Jazz Punks on the 28th.  The Grape has really been pulling in some terrific acts helping to establish them even more as the Jazz place to be Wednesday through Sundays.  Call for ticket availability at (805) 643-7300.

And finally, shows to watch out for at the Majestic Ventura Theater include Cage the Elephant, Pet Shop Boys and Ellie Goulding, more information can be found at

Do you have any music related news or upcoming shows you want help publicizing?  Send all information short or long to 5th Anniversary

Ventura Rocks HomepageIt’s been five years since we launched and it’s become a tradition to make an annual statement, sort of a State of the Union address if you will.

After I made the decision to start this website I tinkered with it and it was looking good enough to launch and it just happened to be mid March.  So we launched it on St. Patrick’s Day.  No other reason than it was ready to go! That was March 17, 2009.

Let’s recap our Mission Statement:

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.

We want to inspire people to get out and support Ventura’s music scene.

We promise never to charge the venues or the artist to be listed on

There have been many changes in the past year where we’ve become more involved in the music scene and we’ve had some staff changes, as well as evolving the look of the website.  Here is a recap of 2013:

Again, this venture is NOT a non-profit.  To date, it’s been a good-will gesture to help support this amazing music scene.  And we have a steady dedicated following who come to our official website to get the lowdown on where to head out for the evening.  They swear by it.  And to be honest, when I hear that, it makes all the work worthwhile.

The other amazing aspect of doing this project is when a venue or a band/artist or music festival will reach out and ask for our help.  I love collaborations, and I’ve so enjoyed meeting and making new relationships.

I’ve been having discussions with several friends and colleagues wondering what our next step will be. Do we expand throughout Ventura County?  If so, do we only offer larger venues who offer live music?   Should we finally stop badgering the venues who still don’t send us their music line up and stop listing them?  There’s a lot to think about.

I continue to go out 2-3 times a week and enjoy our music and I try to mix it up supporting different venues.  I’m rarely disappointed, because there is so much talent out there. And if you’re wondering what you can do to help?  Send us information on events you think we might be missing.  Is a venue now offering music?  Let us know.  But most of all, get out, rally the troops and support.  Remember, there are three elements to making this music scene, the venues, the artists and us music lovers.

Together we make Ventura Rock!!

Love you!
Pam Baumgardner


Album Review: Dan Grimm

Average Savage
by Pam Baumgardner

Average SavageI’ve gotten to know Dan Grimm the past couple of years and have had several conversations with him, the last one with him explaining how “Ventucky” is not a derogatory term…at least not to him.  He loves this town; there is no doubt about that.

With his latest release Average Savage, Dan continues to grow as a songwriter.  His songs tell stories of love, drama, struggle, some of which are quite personal. I’ll be up front and honest, there is nothing sexier than a man who isn’t afraid to show his love for his woman and profess he’ll eat monsters for her.

Baby don’t you worry
Cuz I eat monsters for you
Sweet tasty monsters just for you

That’s just freakin’ awesome!

I love grabbing an ice cold beer at the end of the day, sitting down and putting my feet up while relaxing to Dan Grimm, because I know before long I will feel at ease with any residual stress from the day will just fade away with each song.  By the time I get to “Mirror” I’m relaxed and I’ve finally arrived home mentally, leaving the day behind.

And as much as love relaxing to Dan’s music, I always try to catch his shows live because Dan always surrounds himself with nothing but the best local talent around.  It’s not long before the audience as a whole finds the groove and starts dancing to tunes such as the title track,  “Even Good Love” or “Seven Up.”

Dan Grimm bandDan describes his sound as “flip-floppytonk” or “rock ‘n’ roll with a little bit of country” and I can’t disagree.  I loved learning the lyrics and anticipating the slide guitar or vocal harmonies.  The album was well produced with a mix of guitar sounds between acoustic, steel and electric (loved that slide guitar work from Neal Casal and vocals from Jaime Wyatt).

Even Good Love Hurts
Wha’d you think it would be easy 
It aint trouble all the time 
You could try harder to please me 
I don’t read minds and pantomime

Sweet Relief
Try to tell a man he’s got no integrity
Even if he’s evil and all he tells is lies lies lies
and I don’t think there is any remedy
Maybe it’s best if you cut your ties

Dan Grimm Band






Average Savage was produced by Jesse Siebenberg at Brotheryn Studios in Ojai, CA.  All songs written by Dan Grimm except “Even Good Love Hurts” (Dan Grimm & Jaime Wyatt), “Change is Blowing Bitter” (Dan Grimm & Jesse Siebenberg), & “Mirror” (Dan Grimm & Jesse Siebenberg).


Ventura Rocks in the Ventura Breeze – 3/5/14 – 3/18/14

Ventura Breeze logoVentura Music Scene
by Pam Baumgardner

Kevin Seconds

It was pretty cool catching the Numbskull Show on a rainy Wednesday night in the backroom at Bombay’s with Kevin Seconds from 7 Seconds sharing an acoustic evening with Steve Soto (Agent Orange and The Adolescents) and Russ Rankin (Good Riddance).  Kevin’s three-week tour in support of his new release, Off Stockton, kicked off in Ventura.  Rankin told me he’ll be performing the first four dates and the last three dates with Kevin. The night had the three as solo performers – just the artist and their acoustic guitar – and though there were some missteps from Soto, it was pretty cool when he just laughed it off like the true punk rocker he is.

We’re looking forward to catching Karl Hunter of Big Bad Voodoo Daddy as he returns to Squashed Grapes for another show on Saturday, March 22.  In what is being called the Karl Hunter Organ’ic Quartet, Karl will have the legendary Jimmy Calire who toured for several years with America on keyboards, Mario Calire from the Wallflowers and Ozomatli on drums and guitar player extraordinaire Hans Ottsen will round out the quartet.  Tickets are $10 and you should get them in advance at the Grape as this one is sure to sell out fast.

Technicolor Tone Factory out of Boulder, CO, will be making their debut in Southern California area with a free show at Green Art People on Wednesday, March 12.  According to Taylor Frederick, TTF isn’t a jam band that rocks, but rather a rock band that jams.  I took a listen on SoundCloud, and trust me, the band rocks.

St. Patrick’s Day celebrations officially kick off with the City’s annual parade on Saturday, March 15.    We’ll be hitching a ride on Kat Merrick’s Totally Local VC float where Dan Grimm and other artists will be performing live along with Jon Reese of Amigos on air guitar, as we cruise down Main Street.  Give us a shout out when we pass by!

And of course you are officially invited to help Ventura Rocks celebrate our 5th Anniversary with a huge St. Patrick’s Day party at Bombay’s on the 17th with first Irish music from the Lousy Drunken Uncles at 6:00, then it will Rey Fresco making this the hottest party in town.
Do you have any music related news or upcoming shows you want help on publicizing?  Then send all information short or long to

Ventura Music Photos: March 2014

Photos of music in Ventura this month:

Red Cove – March 28, 2014

Peirano’s – March 28, 2014
Estrada and Friends

Squashed Grapes – March 28, 2014
The Jazz Punks
The Jazz Punks

Squashed Grapes – March 22, 2014
The Karl Hunter “Organ’ic” Quartet
(see full photo gallery)
Karl Hunter Quartet

Sandbox Coffeehouse – March 22, 2014
Hip Hop Vol. 3

Bombay Bar and Grill – March 17, 2014
Rey Fresco
Introducing Rey FrescoSee complete’s party photo gallery.

Bombay Bar and Grill – March 17, 2014
Those Lousy Drunken Uncles
w/ Those Lousy Drunken Uncles

See complete’s party photo gallery

Squashed Grapes – March 15, 2014
Trey O’Toole, Jacob Scesney, Andrew Hill, Franklin Murphy
Jacob, Trey, Andrew & Franklin

Amigo’s Surf Cantina – March 15, 2014
Joanie Collins Band with Doug Johnson, Elisabeth Blasingame and Tom Towle.
Joanie Collins Band

Downtown Ventura – March 15, 2014
St. Patrick’s Day Parade
Liam, Kat, Jonny, Pam & Maggie

The Tavern – March 14, 2014 – 2-Year Anniversary Party
The Rubberneck Lions
Rubberneck Lions

The Tavern – March 14, 2014 – 2-Year Anniversary Party
Xoco Moraza
Xoco Moraza

Bombay Bar and Grill – March 12, 2014
Guy Martin
Guy Martin

Green Art People – March 12, 2014
Technicolor Tone Factory
Technicolor Tone Factory

Bombay Bar and Grill – March 7, 2014
Shelby Figueroa
Shelby Figueroa

The Wine Rack – March 7, 2014
Jodi Farrell and Jim RankinJim Rankin and Jodi Farrell

Squashed Grapes – March 6, 2014
Fausto Cuevas Quintet with special guest LaNesha Latimer
Fausto Cuevas Quintet

W20 at The Watermark – March 6, 2014
Ventura Social Club with special guest Jimmy Calire

The Tavern – March 5, 2014
Mark Masson with pals from Shaky Feelin’ and special appearance from Jacob Scesney
Jacob Scesney & Mark Masson

Amigo’s Surf Cantina – March 5, 2014
Brian Nicolet
Brian Nicolet

Green Art People – March 5, 2014
The Rainbow Girls
The Rainbow Girls

Squashed Grapes – March 5, 2014
Daniel J. Ross Quartet

Bombay Bar and Grill – March 1, 2014
Crazy Rust (Tribute Band to Neil Young) with Neal CasalCrazy Rust with Neal Casal

Bombay Bar and Grill – March 1, 2014
The Calamity

Bombay Bar and Grill – March 1, 2014
Evan Sula-Goff
Evan Sula-Goff

W20 at the Watermark – March 1, 2014
Luis Oliart
Luis Oliart

Album Review: The Calamity

A Ghost of These Moments
By Pam Baumgardner

The Ghost of These MomentsListening to the first track of A Ghost of These Moments, “Everybody Knows” I immediately envision a dark smoky room after hours at some underground speakeasy back in the day where the a lone individual is singing to no one in particular on an upright piano.  Raw vocals.  Deep in thought.  Yeah, “Everybody Knows”.   They had my attention.

The Calamity was originally formed by several members of Army of Freshmen back in 2005.  There’s no doubt about it, the members are talented and given a little bit of downtime, they’ll be working on new material, because that’s what artists do, and that’s what Owen Bucey, Aaron Goldberg and Kai Dodson did one night when everybody else went out; they hung back picked up different instruments and started messing around with new material.  And though Bucey stuck with keyboards, for the first time he was writing lyrics.  Eventually Balt Cano and Phil Tibbs would round out the band adding a tad of an edge to their sound.

A Ghost of These Moments is The Calamity’s second release, and it contains 12 solid songs.  The second track “Killing Time” establishes the power pop dynamic of the band with poignant lyrics about wanting to do something as you realize life is passing you by.

As I listen to each track and hear the lyrics I’m impressed by mature nature of looking at life.  Digging deep and pulling out the stops about how it’s not always easy, yearning for an easier life, people snapping under pressure, yet you can also hear the commitment to family, friends and doing what’s right.

My favorite tracks are “Killing Time”, “B-Side” and “Musical Fashion”.  I tend to lean towards the upbeat side of music.   But I have to say that at one point listening to “Descend” I could feel the the ghost of John Lennon being channeled. It was interesting how Lennon had stripped down from highly produced Beatle tunes to working with Ono where it was more organic and real; and that’s what I hear from Bucey’s vocals, and simply produced tracks from The Calamity.

The record is produced by The Calamity and Armand John Anthony, engineered and mixed by Armand John Anthony.  Mastered by Paul Miner @ Buzzbomb Studios, Orange, CA.  There are also guest performances from Austin Knecht, Marcella Tambouris and Zeke Berkley.

I love this town with so many amazing artists who support each other and collaborate and promote and continue to create new works for us to enjoy.  I recommend you add a copy of A Ghost of These Moments to your collection and see if you don’t agree.

See Interview with Owen Bucey

“It’s a constant struggle
But it’s beautiful
Hold me back before I fall
Keep the light on for me
I’m coming soon
To our family, our home”

The Calamity:
Aaron Goldberg
Baltazar Cano
Kai Dodson
Owen Bucey|
Phil Tibbs