Ventura Rocks in the Ventura Breeze 7/14/21 – 7/27/21

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

It’s easy to forget just how therapeutic live music can be. Music affects us, it affects our moods, and it can even change our outlook from grim to optimistic. If you’re stressed out, say for instance after having endured a world-wide pandemic and you could use some help easing back into being a social being again, then I highly recommend getting yourself out to enjoy live music. The genre is your choice of course, as it’s so subjective.

Big Bad Voodoo DaddyBut you can’t go wrong with Big Bad Voodoo Daddy. They’ll be performing on Saturday, July 17 at Libbey Bowl, along with Dr. T. & the Blues Criminals. Tickets start at $28. And speaking of the Bowl, other dates include Grateful Shred on July 16, Blue Oyster Cult on July 23, Little River Band on August 7 and Ambrosia, John Ford Coley, and Peter Beckett of Player on August 22.

Back in the day I use to enjoy the music events at Zoey’s that were billed as “music in the round” meaning a number of artists would share the stage and take turns showcasing their original tunes with the other artists backing them up. So, I can only imagine that will be the same case scenario when the Ojai Underground features “Women of Americana” on Friday, July 16th. The live performance/broadcast live stream will feature the talents of Pi Jacobs, Manda Mosher, Celia Chavez and Arielle Silver. I trust Silver will choose selections from A Thousand Tiny Torches, her most recent release. According to her website, the album is an Americana Highways favorite album of 2020 and has been recognized in the numerous prestigious songwriting contests including International Songwriting Competition (ISC), Great American Song Contest and Music City Song Star. All four of these women are prolific singer/songwriters who will share the back stories on their carefully chosen musical selections. Two more shows at the Ojai Underground this week include Kelly’s Lot on Saturday, July 17, and a special concert with Ojai’s own, Perla Batalla on Sunday, July 18. More information and ticket information can be found at OjaiArtsExchange.com/underground.

album artwork for FencesMedicine Hat was ready to roll out their most recent release, Fences, when the pandemic hit, so that was put on hold. But now Robert Ramirez and Michelle Votrian have decided to have a “better late than never” record release party on Sunday, July 18, at Winchesters. CDs will be available along with a limited-edition version of their record on translucent orange vinyl.

Tequila & Tacos Music Festival will be held over the weekend of July 24 and 25 at what is being called Surfer’s Point Live, which is better known as the Ventura County Fair parking lot, the same location where Concerts in your Car were held. The Saturday date will feature the rescheduled Vanilla Ice and Tag Team show, along with Adelaide. Sunday they’ll have a tribute to Selena & Latina artists.

Ventura Music Festival artworkDon’t forget the Ventura Music Festival limited edition this year is a 100% vaccinated event. You’ll need to upload “proof” of your vaccination when ordering tickets in order to provide as safe an event as possible for their 2021 program. July 23 is Aubrey Logan, July 24 is Time for Three and July 25 it’s Andrea Roberto. All three concerts will be held at the Pacifica High School’s Performing Arts Center. Go to VenturaMusicFestival.org for ticket information.

Quick Notes: Tuesday Blues Days are packing in the dancers at Copa Cubana in the Ventura Harbor, this month they feature Shawn Jones and other artists; Bobby Hart & Friends play Winchesters on Thursday, July 15; this month’s Dinner & Music show at Caffrodite will be the jazz duo of Tom Collins & Tom Etchart on Friday, July 16; in honor of Buena High’s reunion weekend, the Funnels and Johnny Knows No One will be jamming on Friday, July 16 at Vaquero y Mar; the Jackson Jones Trio plays Manhattan of Camarillo on Friday, July 16; there’s a free concert at Peninsula Park in the Channel Islands Harbor featuring Psychedelic Summer performing the music of the 60s & 70s on Saturday, July 17; Ray Jaurique solo release, Soul Remedy, drops July 17 with a CD release party at Cantara Cellars; and it’s a night of deep Samba Brazilian music at Namba on Saturday, July 17 with Francisco Leon.

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 6/30/21 – 7/13/21

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

I love a good night of live music, but every now and then you leave a venue with such a smile ingrained on your face that the muscles truly ache, but it feels so right. Such was the case when I caught one of Cadillac Zack Presents shows at Cantara Cellars this past week. This one featured Jimmy Vivino, band leader for the Conan O’Brien Show.

Jimmy Vivino

Jimmy Vivino
Photo Credit: Seth Brandes

I knew the music would be stellar, but I still was not prepared for what would unfold. For starters, you could tell Vivino was just as anxious for a great night of live music; this was his first live performance since the pandemic hit. When told by the sound man he needed one more minute before starting, Vivino quipped to the audience, I’ve waited 15 months to play, I guess I can wait one more minute. Vivino would continue to talk to us audience members

Fito de la Parra

Fito de la Parra
Photo credit: Seth Brandes

treating us like friends he hadn’t been able to hang out with for so long. The band was super tight with drummer Vince Fossett, bass player Rick Reed and uber talented Anders LaSource aka Sugarmill Slim on harp. And as much as I loved the blues classics they played, for me it was the classic rock tunes including “Are you Experience” by Hendrix and “Midnight Rambler” by the Stones that cemented that smile on my face. And while all that was fabulous including a killer guest performance by Debbie Davies, it was the unannounced appearance of Fito de la Parra, drummer for Canned Heat that made this night so extraordinarily cool. Imagine sitting there listening to killer renditions of “On the Road Again,” “Going up the Country” and “Let’s Work Together” with the original drummer of this iconic group when you realize, this man was not only at the Monterey Pop Festival, but he was at freakin’ Woodstock!! I’ll be smiling for quite some time.

Quick Notes: Peirano’s has been approved for a full liquor license; Made West Brewing is back up with live music on most Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays; Pato Banton & the Now Generation play Mrs. Olson’s on July 1; Sick Boy returns to the Sewer on July 2; Tuesdays night Nardcore Nights continue at Rock & Roll Pizza in Camarillo with Free Love Project and No Remorse on July 6, and iDecline with Devil’s Daughter on July 13; Ventura Jazz Orchestra w/ Donna Greene perform at Poinsettia Pavilion on July 9; Cadillac Zack presents Guitar Shorty at Cantara Cellars on July 9; Rachel Flowers with Hans Ottsen and Adam Clark will be at Namba on July 10; Oceanview Pavilion Performing Arts Theatre by the Beach tribute bands Smooth Sounds of Santana on July 10 ($2 cover); Tommy Marsh will be back in town for a couple of dates as Crooked Eye Tommy, first at Grapes & Hops on July 9 and then at Winchesters on July 11; Surfer’s Point Live just announced Scotty McCreery and Rodney Atkins for July 30, Sublime with Rome and Dirty Heads play October 9; and Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real perform at the Ventura Theater on September 9.

Interview with Wyatt Hull of Hy Brasil

Pam Baumgardner: How did the pandemic affect you as an artist?

Wyatt Hull: The pandemic mostly changed the way I was making music at the time. I went from working songs out live in a studio with a band to recording in my kid’s nursery and emailing tracks back and forth to others.

So, you were productive during this time?

Wyatt: It was a roller coaster. At times I did absolutely nothing creatively, using the pandemic as an excuse, and then the pandemic and political unrest would inspire me at other times to write five songs in a week.

What’s your latest project.

Wyatt: There are a few. Tyrantula put out a pandemic single called “FUN,” Gypsy Death Star has an EP that is essentially ready for release, and I’m currently working on a new record with my Hy Brasil bandmate Nik Gonzalez for a project that we are yet to release the name of.

Who have you been working with on these projects?

Wyatt: Nik and I are currently working with producer Jonathan DeBaun on this new project. We record everything at our homes and email mixes back and forth until completion.

How about plans to market and get the word out?

Wyatt: At the moment we are choosing which management we want to go with for this new endeavor so that ball will be in their court we hope.

How is it you ended up providing songs for the Casamigos ad campaign (Casamigos is a tequila company co-founded by George Clooney)?

Wyatt: The director of the Casamigos video campaign asked me to write some music for the ads but they didn’t give me much time. This being said the songs were all written and recorded with local Ventura friends on the spot in one night live at the Captain’s Quarters Studio here in town.

What’s next for you?

Wyatt: Next for me is focusing on getting this new record completed and unleashed to the world as it showcases a new and heavier sound for Nik and I lyrically and musically. A lot of it reflects the insanity that was 2020 so the sooner we can release it the better.

You can find out more about Hyatt’s projects on Facebook.

Don’t forget to tune into the Pam Baumgardner Music Hour on KPPQ-LP out of CAPS Media for music highlighting artists out of the 805 and artists who come to the 805 to play including the new music from Ray Jaurique, Scott Detweiler, Dylan Garica and Jason Brock. I think I’ll have to drop in a Canned Heat tune this next week as well.

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 6/16/21 – 6/29/21

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

artwork

I really thought I was clever lining up local artists for a short Q&A the past year because frankly, there was very little to write about regarding our music scene other than a lack of a music scene, but that got old fast. So, the Q&A’s were fun and interesting as I caught up with such local artists as Dan Grimm, Tommy Marsh, Will Breman, Natalie Gelman, Chulz Torrez, Guy Martin, Christine Law and so many more. We heard about how they had been holding up during the pandemic and what they had been up to and what new music they had been working on lately. (They’re all archived by the way on VenturaRocks.com) Well I had one lined up for this issue, but I got burned, and he missed the deadline, so lucky for me, we actually have a music scene starting to come back to life for me to write about now!

In my last column I mentioned how it looked like the days of Concerts in your Car were numbered and I was right, Nelly was the last show on Saturday, June 12. I was severely disappointed that Vanilla Ice with Tag Team #WhoopThereItIs was taken off their calendar, that is until I opened an email from CBF Productions and found they’ve been rescheduled to perform here in town after all. CBF Productions are the good folks who brought you Concerts in Your Car, California Beer Festival, Winter Wine Walk, and yes, the Tequila and Taco Music Festival where you can now see both Vanilla Ice and Tag Team #WhoopThereItIs over the weekend of July 24. Last year of course was cancelled due to the pandemic and previous years it was held at Plaza Park, but this year the festival will be held at Surfer’s Point at the Ventura County Fairgrounds. I’ll be honest, it will be good to walk on solid ground (as opposed to the park) after a tasting or two of tequila, and definitely after one of those fiery margaritas they have for sell. Saturday it’s the two hip-hop/rap artists, and then Sunday features tribute to Selena & Latina artists. Tickets on sale now at TequilaAndTacoMusicFestival.com.

Adam and Josh have been slowly but surely getting their new jazz club, the Grape, ready to open their doors to the general public, and the timing couldn’t be better as the county continues to reopen and allow businesses to get back to…business. I just spoke to Josh and he told me they’re looking at the second week in July. YES, FINALLY!! Now you may have seen a post on social media about a show at the Grape on July 8, but that will be a live-stream featuring Karl Hunter, Hans Ottsen, Guil Juliao and Adam Clark (Adam’s back in town for a mere week or so). Adam and Josh are working on dates for Mike Garson’s return, and I hear Doug Webb and Danny Carey are eager to play the new joint as soon as they can. The new jazz house will definitely be a feather in the cap of Ventura’s music scene, and I for one can barely wait to check it out.

Cadillac Zack has landed a new venue for his blues shows at Cantara Cellars in Camarillo. It’s recommended to get your tickets in advance so you don’t miss out when shows sell out. You can do so by calling or texting (323) 377-5291. Tickets range from $20 to $35 with all shows starting at 8 pm; doors open at 7. Currently the line-up includes Jimmy Vivino, bandleader for the Conan O’Brien show on Friday, June 25; Guitar Shorty, blues legend and Hendrix’s step-brother, on Friday, July 9; Laith Al-Saadi, brilliant guitarist and finalist on NBC’s The Voice on Friday, July 16; and Josh Smith, famed modern blues guitar genius on Friday, July 23. August dates include Chris Cain, the Atomic 44’s (formerly The 44’s), Paule Cerra and Lionel Young.

Quick Notes: Winchester’s is hosting “Burning Mask Ventura” on Sunday June 27 from 1 pm to 7 pm with live music from Two’s Company, the Bomb and Spencer the Gardener; there’s actual live music at Bombay’s on Saturday, June 26 starting at 5 pm with the Swizzlers, Vonettes and Fish Fry; catch Tuesday Blues Day evenings at Copa Cubana featuring Jerry McWorter, Ed Berghoff and Shawn Jones this month; Franck L. Goldwasser has a date at Namba on Saturday, June 19; and finally, are you’re missing a little Nardcore? Well Rock & Roll Pizza in Camarillo will be hosting Tuesday night Nardcore nights starting June 22 with Out of Trust and the Robot Uprising.

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 6/2/21 – 6/15/21

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

Ventura Rocks artwork

It’s good to see people out enjoying live music again.  We still need to follow the rules as we head towards summer and with any luck at all we’ll put this pandemic behind us once and for all. I’m happy to report that Margarita Villa and Boatyard Pub are ramping up their music calendars but the writing’s on the wall numbering the days for Concerts in your Car, though they recently added Vanilla Ice with Tag Team #WhoopThereItIs for Saturday, June 26, which could be their final show.

In this issue of the Breeze, I have a Part Two of a Two-Part Interview with local artist Natalie Gelman who is releasing Moth to the Fame this month. Natalie talked about her background, lessons learned to date and working in the studio in the last issue, this time we learn more about her new release Moth to Flame, her mentors, and oh yeah, that time she opened for Bon Jovi.

Pam Baumgarnder: Tell me about your mentors.

Natalie Gelman: I’m lucky that many of my mentors are also my friends. I’m always so inspired by writing with Charlie Midnight. We’ve been collaborators for over 10 years now. He is a lyrical genius and has made me a better songwriter.

I love being inspired by my singer/songwriter friends and we all kind of mentor each other. Nathan McEuen, who many people in Ventura know for his great work as an artist, is a dear friend of mine and has pushed me musically as we’ve toured and shared stages together. My friend Rebecca Loebe is another singer-songwriter who I’m often in contact with about some aspect of the business or something artistic. It’s important to have those relationships to help make sense of this often-strange journey in music and lift each other up when things are rough.

How long has Moth to the Flame been in the works?

Natalie: I started recording this one seven years ago. It’s crazy to think that it’s taken that long to get to release but everything in the music business takes longer than you think it will. I wanted to have certain people play on it and it took time to get them in the studio when they were home from tour. Then I decided I wanted to do a lot of the editing on it myself and I didn’t really know how to do that when I started so that took a while to learn. Lastly, I decided that I was done and exhausted from doing everything myself as a DIY musician and I was adamant that I needed a team to help release this music and give it the best shot of being heard. Through a series of events, research and hard work I built a small team around me that I’m proud of and hopefully they will help the songs have a small chance of cutting through and reaching more people.

Photo of Natalie Gelman
Photo credit: Mariana Schulze

Is there a theme at work on this one?

The main theme on this album is the same as in so much of my music, which is not to give up on yourself or your dreams no matter what. I’ve had my share of hardships growing up and in my adult life but hope and the pursuit towards my dreams always carries me through and pushes me onward.

That isn’t to say that I don’t get down and a lot of the songs on the album are written from a place when I was feeling sad about something and trying to make sense of it all and lift myself up. Music is so often my therapy and release, it’s a way to make sense of the world. Sometimes I get really lucky and the lessons I find in writing about it serve as reminders each time I play the song.

Tell me about your producer and the players on it.

Charlie Midnight and I produced it together. He’s incredible and I’ve already mentioned his songwriting but he’s also very well-known and respected as a producer. He’s produced albums for Joe Cocker, Hilary Duff, Whitney Houston and others.

CD artworkThe players on the album are all top notch. The backbone of the album is Curt Schneider on bass and Blair Sinta on drums. The two of them play for Sara Bareilles and Melissa Etheridge respectively as well as many others. Tim Young played guitar on the album and has backed up Beck and Fiona Apple who is one of my influences and is now the guitarist on James Cordon. Dave Palmer played keys and he’s also played for Fiona as well as Patty Griffin who is one of my absolute favorite singer-songwriters.

The guest artists on songs include Nathan McEuen who lent his wonderful banjo playing to “Heavy Heavy Heart,” the most recent single, and “Some People” from the full album. Jason Frazier, a Ventura treasure, played harmonica on “Won’t Matter Anymore,” a song that Bernie Grundman insisted in fitting on the vinyl in our mastering session. Fernando Apodaca who often played around Ventura with Todd Hannigan played his gorgeous and dreamy violin on a few songs on the album too.

What sort of plans are in the works to market it?

Things are a little strange now still because of Covid but I’m hoping to start touring with it in late summer and the fall. Right now, the focus is on sharing it out online. I’ve been collaborating with by husband, Brent Florence, on music videos for the album and I am dreaming up creative plans for the release so it’s still special even though it’s not a traditional album release.

You have Live from Quarantine available on your website; what’s the backstory on that?

Thanks for asking. That’s a free “live” album that I give away. I’ve been sharing a free live album every year on my birthday in July for the last 6 or 7 years. Past releases have come from Chicago, London, New York, Los Angeles and more. Because we were all in lockdown, recording the “live” album at home was the best I could do. Maybe if we’re still somewhat in lockdown on my birthday in a few months since venues haven’t really opened up again yet I’ll have a Live from Quarantine part 2.

I’ve always wanted to ask you about opening for Bon Jovi.  How did that come about?

That was so awesome, one of my favorite memories that I’m sure will last for years to come. Thanks for asking about it. The band actually runs a contest where they choose a different local or regional act in each city on their tour to open their arena show. I was selected for their Sacramento date and it was an incredible experience.

The whole team was really nice and as I finished my last song, I was relishing the moment and thinking; “what song do I need to write so I get a chance to do this again?” It was all just incredible to play my music for that many people and to meet Jon and his team.

I’m really looking forward to following your career and wishing you nothing but the best.  Do you have any closing thoughts you’d like to share?

Aww thank you! That means a lot to me. I really appreciate the time to chat with you and everything you do for the local music community. I think we’re so lucky here in Ventura to have so much amazing local talent and venues. I know everyone has been starved for live music this past year and believe me that all the artists want just as badly to come out and play for you too. So, when things open up, please do come see the shows and support your local music community.

I’ll definitely be out there with this new album and I’ve been writing lots of songs this past year during quarantine so it won’t be long before there’s even another one from me! If you want to order the album or pre-save the music visit my website nataliegelman.com to find the links. Thanks again for talking to me today!

To find out more about Natalie Gelman, visit her website NatalieGelman.com or follow her on social media, Facebook.com/NatalieGelmanMusic, Twitter.com/NatalieGelman and Instagram.com/NatalieGelman.

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.VenturaRock.com

Ventura Rocks in the Ventura Breeze 5/19/2021 – 6/1/2021

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

artwork

You know we’re heading back to normal when the Ventura Music Festival confirms live concerts. These will be 100%-vaccinated events for artists, crew, audience, staff and volunteers. The three-day line-up includes Aubrey Logan on July 23, Time for Three on the 24th and Italy’s Andrea Roberto on the 25th. Tickets and more information on the artists can be found at VenturaMusicFestival.org.

Quick Notes: RJ Mischo has a one-man show at Namba, Saturday, May 29; Cadillac Zack presents Kirk Fletcher on Monday, May 31 for a Memorial Day Blues Bash at Vaquero y Mar (call for tickets at 323-377-5291); McWorter, Berghoff & Jones are starting back up Tuesdays Blues Day at Copa Cubana; and tickets go on sale May 20 for the Gin Blossoms Concerts in Your Car date at the Ventura Fairgrounds for Saturday, June 19.

In this issue of the Breeze, I have Part One of a Two Part Interview with local artist Natalie Gelman who will soon be releasing Moth to the Flame this next month.

Pam Baumgardner: Congratulations on your new music! So many questions to ask, but first share the basics.

Natalie Gelman: Thanks! I’m really excited to be sharing this new music from Moth to the Flame and can’t wait for the full album to come out on June 18th. The singles are being really well received and it’s my best music yet which I know everyone says but this album has been seven years in the making and I worked very hard to bring together amazing people to make the music I heard in my head come to life.

Charlie Midnight and I produced it together. Charlie is a fantastic, Grammy-nominated songwriter and he and I wrote many of the songs on the album together as well. We recorded in Ojai at Carbonite Sound with Grammy-winning engineer Jason Mariani and featured musicians from Ojai and Los Angeles that have played for some of my favorite artists. The mastering on the CD and vinyl was done by Bernie Grundman; he’s mastered so many legendary records like Tapestry for Carole King and Thriller for Michael Jackson so it was a treat to work with him. This is my first full-length album and first release with an indie label so that’s really exciting.

Photo credit: Mariana Schulze

Before we circle back to Moth to the Flame, get us caught up on your music history to date.

Natalie: Most recently I’ve released a series of singles, a fun song called “2020” came out this past December. It’s a look back at the crazy year we all went through and there’s a fantastic music video out for it too. Before that, I shared “The Lights Upstairs,” which is a song I wrote for my mom. She passed from Alzheimer’s a few years ago and I wrote the song when she first started showing signs of the disease. It ended up giving me a lot of hope and grace to keep the message of the song close as she progressed and eventually passed from it. There’s an artful music video for that song that captures the lightness of the message. The last single I released looking back is “Sundance In Your Eyes” which is a love song I wrote after I met my husband while busking at the Sundance Film Festival.

Before those singles, my Streetlamp Musician EP came out. That music was produced by Mark Needham as well as Charlie Midnight who was my songwriter collaborator on many of the songs too. Those songs took me around the world on tour playing for lots of folks and those are still some of my favorites. Looking further back, my debut, self-titled EP Nataile Gelman came out a long time ago but I still get requests to play songs from it and love it for the role that it played in me starting to release music more officially. I had a bunch of bootleg studio EP’s before then that I released in college and somewhere those are still floating around waiting to embarrass me I’m sure.

I’m certain there’s been several lessons learned since your first recording session, but what sage advice would you pass along to artists looking to record for their first time?

Natalie: I think the best advice I have is to not rush and to be prepared. Studio time is expensive but you don’t want to push to get too much done and then end up without anything that’s truly great or even usable. It’s better to record one amazing song then 3 that are just okay. I would also suggest to record yourself a lot at home before you go into a studio; even just into your iPhone or Garageband… really whatever you can get your hands on. Then you can listen back to your song or your band and see if there are things you don’t love about it. That’s the time to work on it and change it, not when you’re already in the studio. Unless you have a rich uncle paying for it all and money is no object then do whatever you feel like.

How well prepared are you before you step into the studio? Do you just roll out the tunes, or is there collaborating with your musicians and/or working with a producer and changing things up?

CD artworkNatalie: It’s actually in the woodshedding and preparedness that you can be spontaneous and find some magic and happen upon something amazing. I had lived with some of the songs that I recorded for many years before recording them for this new album. So, there were hundreds of shows where I played them live and tried things out and I also rewrote parts of the lyric or arrangements. Then, I also was prepared with lyric and chord charts for all the musicians in the studio but found out that they would write their own too.

Each song was mostly tracked live with the core band; drums, bass, acoustic guitar, pianos/keys and me singing live over a series of 4 days. Before we would record each song, I would sing through the song with the band and we would talk about the vibe and try out some things. I sent them demos of the songs before the session so they were already familiar and they would listen and chart what the form was and make notes about what they wanted to do within the arrangement. It was amazing to see how even the guitar player playing acoustic could mimic the way I play and the kinda “singer-songwriter” percussive vibe of my strumming. They were just incredible musicians. Because of their talent and ability, it allowed for us to get the song down in 2-3 takes usually and then we would go back over it and try new things if one of us heard something.

Having it be mostly live really breathes a lot of life into the recording. We did some percussive overdubs and a half day of electric guitar overdubs too. We also overdubbed some instruments that I didn’t have on each song; banjo, cello, harmonica and violin and I also spent sessions with Jesse Siebenberg at his studio going over each song and adding a little more percussion, some guitar parts and harmonies.

There were a couple sessions of just vocal overdubs on some songs too. I noticed that I could approach my songs differently as a singer once they were built with the band. Often at my live shows it’s just me and a guitar, ukulele or piano and I have to communicate the full range of the song with just my voice and instrument. When I had the full band playing, they are dynamic as well and create the energy or mood with me. Then I can use my voice more to sit on top and share the intimacy of the stories in each song. Some songs were very different from how I approach them solo so that was very cool to unfold.

It’s all such collaboration. I have tons of ideas always but I like to bounce them off people and often what I’ve come up with is just a stepping-stone to an even better idea the musician has. If you bring creative people together sometimes the best thing you can do is just get out of their way and let them be creative.

Be sure to pick up the next issue of the Breeze for Part Two of my interview with Natalie Gelman when we find out more about Moth to the Flame, her mentors, free music on her website and that time she opened for Bon Jovi.

Do you have any music-related news or upcoming shows you want help publicizing? Please send all information short or long to Pam@VenturaRocks.com, and for updated music listings daily, go to www.VenturaRocks.com.

Ventura Rocks in the Ventura Breeze 5/5/2021 – 5/18/2021

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

More venues are offering more live music as we transition gently back towards normalcy. I’m grateful to see strict Covid guidelines in place at the venues I’ve frequented the past couple of weeks. I’m hearing Winchesters will be offering live music on Thursdays (along with Fridays and Saturdays), the Raven Tavern in Oxnard now has live music on the weekends, Pierano’s has been ramping up their live music roster, and more and more artists are reaching out to me sharing their live music schedules which can be found at VenturaRocks.com. You can find the week’s listing on the Ventura Weekly Music Calendar link and the current day’s line up on the homepage.


In this issue of the Breeze, I have a Q&A with local artist Tom Buenger, He first landed on my radar performing as Tom & Milo around town a few years ago. Tom has been working on original music which always warms my heart. He has his debut release Suburban Gospel this month so I thought I’d reach out and get the community acquainted with Tom Buenger.

Pam: How long have you been playing live music in the 805?

Tom Buenger: I grew up in the 805 and have always been around music one way or another. But after I left the military and settled into Ventura County in 2014, I quickly met Milo Sledge. Milo and I played a few times a week at venues between Goleta, Oxnard, Ventura, and Camarillo. One New Year’s, (2017 I think), I picked up a gig, and Milo was unavailable. I asked Teresa Russell if she would play the gig with me, and we instantly hit it off. She and I then played at least weekly until 2020 or so.

Give me the background on your musical journey.

Tom: I grew up singing. My mom has the most beautiful voice, and I was raised with her constantly singing to me. Singing, melody…just a sort of melodic communication…is even more engrained into my brain than the English language. I did not pick up an instrument until I turned 21. While in the Air Force I went to this Blues Club (Blues Central) for my 21st, while I was stationed in Alaska. There was a man playing wonderful boogie woogie blues on the piano, and I eventually asked if he would teach me a thing or two. He taught me the Nashville system, and it was downhill from there. I obsessed over piano, locking myself in my apartment on my days off until I had the basic skill (and courage) to play at a local blues jam. I got up, played my one song, it was absolutely terrible, but I loved it. I was obsessive about it and practiced not to memorize, but to understand the language of it all.

Eventually I fell in love with the Hammond organ sound; I saved and bought a Hammond B3, and played in a classic rock band while I was at the Air Force Academy where I learned how to be a good band-member and musician. After a while, I got tired of lugging a 350-lb organ everywhere, and looked for the smallest instrument I could find…the harmonica. Similarly, to piano, I obsessed, keeping a few in my car, playing and practicing harmonica for hours while in traffic and on road trips.

Then a couple years ago, I turned my time and attention to the guitar, which has been the hardest instrument for me, by far. However, it’s opened up a whole new level of understanding and satisfaction, and it really opened the door to allowing me to (1) play extended solo gigs, and (2) write my own music.

What music most influenced you growing up?

All the great music my mom and dad listened to. We would go on camping trips, and the playlist had everything from Elton John to Earth Wind and Fire, to Clapton, and so on. In high school, I discovered jazz, which led me to the blues, which brought me to gospel (sort of backwards!). And I fell in love with the gospel sound. All that said, I spent many hours listening to Ray Charles, Nat King Cole, and funny enough, Bradley Nowell from Sublime. I tried hard to emulate their voices as a kid before finding my own.

How is it you landed back in the 805?

Tom: After leaving the military, I wanted to come back to where I grew up, which is Oxnard and Ventura. It’s a pretty magical place.

Where are a few of your favorite places to play?

Tom: I cut my teeth locally, at The Waterside Restaurant in the Channel Islands Harbor. However, some venues that have been particularly good to me (while playing with Milo and Teresa) are The Red Piano in Santa Barbara, Captain Fatty’s in Goleta, and Madwest now and again. These days, I split my time playing between Oxnard/Ventura with Milo or Teresa, and solo gigs around Seattle.

When did you first start writing original tunes?

Tom: I started writing original tunes about a year ago. Until that time, I felt like I had always had some mental block, keeping me from writing original music. With COVID slowing the world down, coming through a tough personal time in life, and then finding new love, I learned that writing (for me) is all about head-space….open space, mentally, to allow my brain and body to communicate feelings I hadn’t quite understood before.

Suburban Gospel is your first release as a solo artist?

Tom: Suburban Gospel is my first release. I’m not typically one who is good at self-promotion or shouting about my successes, but I will say that I’d put the music on Suburban Gospel up against anyone’s; it’s a great album for which I’m incredibly proud. I also have another 15 songs just about complete for album number two.

What does the title suggest?

Tom: I grew up in the church, and I love the gospel sound. I’m also a middle-class white guy who loves the blues, soul…all of it. I thought Suburban Gospel sort of fit what I was going for. For some songs, I get a bit up onto my soapbox (or pulpit), while others are more songs of hope, and then others are love songs. I’m not sure what genre this album is…It’s certainly blues and gospel influenced, but I truly believe I’ve created something uniquely me. It breaks the mold of a “blues” album in too many ways to be considered blues.

What kind of plans do you have in motion to help get the word out?

Tom: I will probably hire some marketing or push toward a label. As of now, I’m hopeful the music will speak for itself, once it comes available May 14.

Where can people find out more?

Tom: Follow me on Instagram @tombuengermusic, or on my website www.thomasbmusic.com.

Closing words?

Tom: Suburban Gospel is available everywhere, beginning May 14. I have a bunch of collaborations in work, and I’m excited to share more music with the world!


Don’t forget to tune into the Pam Baumgardner Music Hour on KPPQ-LP out of CAPS Media at 104.1 FM here in Ventura where you can hear Tom Buenger’s single, “Butter my Bread” off of Suburban Gospel. My show airs Tuesdays at 5 pm with repeats on Fridays at 5 pm and Sundays at noon. You can also listen via the MyTuner app on your smart device or online at CapsMedia.org/radio.

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 4/21/21 – 5/4/21

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

artwork

More As we get back up to speed and navigate social protocols in place to protect us and others, you know, so we don’t slip back into another lockdown, please do your best to abide by the rules. I appreciated the fact that Winchesters had Will Breman read the rules before he started his set last week; he looked a bit worried when a woman got up to dance, but a waitress politely reminded the patron about the “no dancing rule.” She looked a bit put out, but sat back down. Jeez, really? Do what the rest of us do and dance in your seat! It’s a small price to pay as we get this pandemic under control.

Meanwhile, I’m happy to report that Grapes and Hops will reopen on Thursday, April 22, with a new menu and a couple of modifications to the establishment (including full bar coming June 1). Live music is back on the weekends with Dave Parsonage on Friday, April 23, The Swillys 2-5 and “Dive Bar” Steve Kramer 7-10, then on Sunday afternoon 2-5, it’s Shawn Jones.

Quick Notes: Jill Martini & the Shrunken Heads are back to playing Friday evenings 4-6 at the Harbor Cove Café in the Harbor; Pedals & Pints Brewing Company is looking for artists to perform at their establishment, if you’re interested send them an email drink@pedalsandpintsbrewing.com; Concerts in Your Car recently added War to their lineup for Saturday, May 29; and Caffrodite at 1987 E. Main Street has been hosting live music Saturday mornings 9 am – noon.


In this issue of the Breeze, I catch up with Bill Rotella. Bill has sent me music over the past couple of years to share on my radio show and he never ceases to amaze me with his songwriting ability, quality of sound and over all fun vibe. On his latest project, Smoke & the Earthtones delivers the vintage sound of California rock.

Pam: First off, get us up to speed on your musical journey.

Bill Rotella: I guess you could say my musical journey began at eight when my parents got me piano and drum lessons. And, there was a lot of music in my house growing up. My dad, Johnny Rotella, was a top session player in L.A and recorded with some of the great ‘60s and ‘70s artists (Zappa, Turtles, Nillson, The Wrecking Crew, etc.); he took me to sessions and concerts. So, I saw it early. He also wrote songs for Sinatra, Dean Martin, Tony Bennett, etc., which exposed me to the song writing process. My mom, Anna Graziano, was also very musical. Her brother, my Uncle, was Jerry Gray the famous big band arranger for Glenn Miller (String of Pearls, etc.) and she was always singing or playing piano. Hearing music all the time was the first step on that journey.

Then, in college I was playing guitar and started a Southern Rock band, Baywood. We had a large following from playing the CSUN PUB and The Palomino Club in North Hollywood. We were signed by Greenlight productions (Night Ranger) and recorded an album for them and another two albums for an indie label, Bison Records. Baywood was my ‘80’s band. When the ‘90s arrived I formed a new band, Dakota. We were signed to Budweiser and other sponsors for 10 years. We did over 100 shows a year, here and in Europe, …for 20 years. I wrote and recorded three albums for Dakota. Then I went solo for a bit recording three albums before I started a Folk ‘n’ Soul duo, Amber & Smoke in 2016. We performed more than 500 shows and recorded four albums in four years. Now, I perform and record solo and with my album band, Smoke & The Earthtones.

Where have you played in the area?

Bill: My first Ventura County gigs were at The Holiday Inn. I was there monthly in the ‘90s with Dakota. Those were great gigs. That downstairs bar would get packed and the ocean air coming through the patio doors was great…especially at 1:00 a.m. I remember meeting George Martin (Beatles, America producer) sitting at the bar. That was cool. I did a lot of gigs at Café Fiore and Bombay’s as well. In outer Ventura County I play at The Strawberry Festival, DeLiese Cellars, Café Firenze, The Collection Concert Series, Copper Blues and others.

How, when and why did you land in Ventura?

Bill: My agent at the time booked me in Ventura. I was booked a lot in L.A. and I wanted to put some miles between gigs. Not only to avoid saturation, but because I wanted fresh ears for my original music. Now, I live in Ventura County and I have family in Ventura.

Has music been a side labor of love…or your main income over the course of your life?

Bill: When the club scene was healthy, music was my only source of income for many years. However, now it requires many nets. Live performances, song royalties, merchandise sales, song placements, etc. Now I have other sources of income because I’ve chosen to gig a bit less; I recently discovered I’m not 25 years old anymore.

How has the pandemic influenced your life?

Bill: Interestingly, that lemon of a year did become lemonade. (sorry) At first it was a real drag due to cancelled shows. Then all that quarantine time led to a batch of new songs which led to a cool reunion with former bandmates who were all in town from cancelled tours. I wanted to record an album like we used to, in the round, before home studios and bouncing tracks back and forth via the internet. So, I called three of my favorite ex-band members, local guitarist Doug Pettibone (John Mayer, Keifer Sutherland, etc.), Ryan Brown, (drummer with ZPZ band/ Dweezil Zappa) and Trent Stroh (Zeppelin USA). We went into the studio, together, and Smoke & The Earthtones was born. The quarantine experience became the quarantine band and the title track of the new album -Smoke & The Earthtones.

Were there live stream performances, or collaborations with other artists via Zoom or other platforms?

Bill: I heard fans and friends expressing their need for live music. They weren’t alone. All that distancing was taking a toll on us all. So, at the beginning of quarantine I did a series of 11 weekly Facebook concerts – “LIVE @ 5” – which were SO much like doing a bar gig. They could comment back and forth with each other as if they were sitting at a bar. It was cool for them, and me, to stay connected. I also did monthly zoom concerts for a spiritual community.

Tell me more about your most recent project.

Bill: I wrote the song “Smoke & The Earthtones” about a fictitious band that came to the rescue during quarantine, that song led me to actually create the band. The new album features the “Callifornia sound” of the ‘70s and it’s available on vinyl which also is relevant to the lyrics of the song. What are your short-term and long-term plans now that we’re hopefully (knock on wood) seeing the light at the end of the tunnel? Bill: I’m looking forward to that great energy exchange that happens from live shows. Some of my shows here, New York and elsewhere are still not re-booked but we gotta do it right. So, I’m cool with being patient.

Anything else you’d like to share?

Bill: I count my blessings. I’m grateful I had parents who shared their gift of music. So, I’m trying to do the same. My daughter Brianna played flute, autoharp and sang on a few tracks and my young granddaughter Viola appears in a few music videos, turns knobs in the studio and is already showing signs there will be more music coming from the next generation in Ventura.

If you would like to find about more about Bill Rotella and his newest project Smoke & the Earthtones, go to his official website BillRotellaMusic.com. You can view videos, read more about all his past projects as well as finding all the links for his music including Spotify, iTunes, Pandora, and more.


Don’t forget to tune into the Pam Baumgardner Music Hour on KPPQ-LP out of CAPS Media at 104.1 FM here in Ventura where I’ll be spinning the new Smoke & the Earthtones. My show airs Tuesdays at 5 pm with repeats on Fridays at 5 pm and Sundays at noon. You can also listen via the MyTuner app on your smart device or online at CapsMedia.org/radio.

And finally, the latest installment of the VenturaRockSpot has been released featuring Christine Law of Star Goes Nova. Christine is just an amazing artist having worked with so many artists in the past (Suzanne paris, Martha Davis, Charles Law & Jagged, John Baffa) and now she’s ventured into the EDM spectrum of music. Catch this episode and all the previous 27 at VenturaRockSpot.com.

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 4/7/21 – 4/20/21

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

Ventura Rocks artwork

More venues are offering live music complying with all the Covid-19 restrictions in place as we continue to move through the tiers. Of course, you need to do your part as well so we don’t ruin it for everyone…again. Wear your mask, keep socially distanced from others not in your party and don’t be rushing the stage (sort of kidding on that one). So far, I’ve seen the posts/listings for live music here in Ventura at Winchesters, Vaquero y Mar (formerly Hong Kong Inn), Café Fiore, Leashless Brewing, Prime, and Copa Cubana; Camarillo has Camarillo Barrelworks (Flatfish Brewing/Cantara Cellars), Relm Wine Beer Bistro; and Oxnard has the Shores, Surfside Seafood, and 1901 Speakeasy. You can find listings on VenturaRocks.com; I update the website whenever I get wind of any live music. It’s a bit of a crap shoot when certain venues don’t list their events on their website or on social media, but a lot of the bands let me know. When I hear, you hear.

A big congratulations to Shane Alexander for landing a national Chevy commercial featuring one of his songs, “Everything as One.” It’s featured in their Drive Safe campaign which literally gave me the chills watching it knowing how much Shane deserves to have his music featured. Very well done Shane…and Chevy!

Interview with Max Kasch

For this issue, I caught up with Max Kasch out of Ojai. I’ve seen Max perform a number of times which included the first time at Zoey’s One to Watch contest back around 2012. He shared top honors with another local performer Derek Jennings that year. I understand the prize was an opportunity to record an EP in Santa Barbara with famed sessions and touring musician Tariqh Akoni (musical director for Josh Groban) along with a bunch of famous musicians including Doug Pettibone. For a lot of people including myself, Max landed on our radar as a young actor in the 2003 movie “Holes” alongside Sigourney Weaver, Jon Voight, Shia LaBeouf and Tim Blake Nelson. He can also be seen in “Waiting”, “the Greatest Game Ever Played” and “Whiplash” to name just a few. But even with all his acting credits, music is rightfully and thankfully his passion.

photo of Max Kasch

Pam: I understand music is your passion now, and it has been for some time. I believe the first time I saw you was at Zoey’s…many years ago. Where do you typically perform in the 805?

Max Kasch: Well, truth be told, music was always the passion. It sort of took a while to circle back to it being the direction I wanted to move in. I detoured a bit into the acting world by pure chance and really only pursued it to make a living for my family.
I performed anywhere I could, really. Any place that would have me. Rock City in Camarillo, various Farmers and Makers Markets. Zoey’s was really the only place that gave me a consistent stage to work from and I loved their performers and vibe so it sort of became my main focus.

Pam: How did you first develop your songwriting skills, or did it just come naturally for you?

Max: I think it came naturally. Of course, everything needs to be honed and refined, but I like to think of the process as out of my hands really. When you’re really plugged in, writing is like pulling it out of the ether. Sort of like a conduit to some other realm. When it comes like that, it’s incredibly easy.

Pam: Do you collaborate with other artists? If so, who?

Max: I haven’t collaborated extensively as far as writing together with other artists, but Jesse Siebenberg and I work together producing my music like dancers in a tango.

Pam: That’s a great way to describe a working relationship. Did performing in front of an audience come easily with your acting experience? Or did you need to work on your stage presence and interaction with the audience?

Max: I’m still not really sure if having a stage presence was a conscious decision or something I chose to work on. It really wouldn’t matter to me playing for 3 people or 30,000. I’d do the same show either way. When I’m playing live, I suppose if I really feel like I’m doing what I need to do artistically, I feel nothing. Nothing personally, I mean. I’m neither impressing or disappointing myself. my focus is on doing the songs the way they should be done and communicating with the band effectively and hopefully the people watching or listening are feeling the presence through the music.

Pam: Catch me up on all your produced music to date.


Max: Well a few years ago I had an EP produced by Tariqh Akoni up in Santa Barbara. I did a very limited, unmastered run of CD’s for that release. To date I’ve only released one full length album with Jesse Siebenberg producing. We had a tremendous cast of players on that album that breathed some serious fire into my songs. The likes of Joey Waronker and Bob Seibenberg (Jesse’s father and drummer for Supertramp) Dave Palmer, Dave Levita, Austin Beede, Gabe Noel and Danny Wright.
Pam: How has it been this past year working as a singer/songwriter during the pandemic?
Max: To be honest it was the first time in my life I didn’t have to work. I finally found myself with time and a little money to finish this album. I really focused on writing new material and refining my craft and abilities even more. Beyond that, I didn’t do any zoom shows or live streams and it felt great not having any pressure or demand to do that!

photo of Max Kasch

Pam: What are you currently working on?

Max: Well I currently have a self-titled album “Max Kasch” live on all the streaming platforms and for sale on Bandcamp. I also have two follow-up EP’s complete. One is more of a stripped-down sort of lonesome acoustic cowboy [genre] and the other under the working title “Max Trash” which are very aggressive, experimental tracks that represent a whole other side of my musical tastes and expressions. I’m very excited about putting both out before the year’s end. I’ve compiled so much material over the last few years that it seems intuitive now to just keep releasing things.

Pam: What are your short-term goals; and long-term goals?


Max: Short term goals are to keep refining my craft of songwriting and to self record. I finally put a little money behind some gear and being able to record myself whenever, wherever. I think it’ll open up a lot of new ideas I’d like to get out quickly.
Long term I’d like to maybe pay my rent doing this for a living. Beyond that, it’s all sugar on top!

Pam: Any final parting words for our readers?


Max: Please pick up your trash wherever you go. It’s all headed for the Pacific anyway, but its goddamn unsightly.

I love Max’s parting words! You can follow Max on Instagram at maxkaschmusic or find out more about Max on his Bandcamp page: https://maxkasch.bandcamp.com/releases.

We’ve schedule Max to be a guest on an upcoming episode of the VenturaRockSpot which is a monthly interview show where mostly local artists out of the 805 are interviewed and they share some of their music either live, or with pre-recorded videos. You can view all episodes to date at www.VenturaRockSpot.com where you can see bands/artists such as Guy Martin, the Guitar and Whiskey Club, Bone Maggot, Kelly’s Lot, Kyle Smith and more (28 episodes to date).

And don’t forget to tune into the Pam Baumgardner Music Hour on KPPQ-LP out of CAPS Media at 104.1 FM here in Ventura. My show airs Tuesdays at 5 pm with repeats on Fridays at 5 pm and Sundays at noon. You can also listen via the MyTuner app on your smart device or online at CapsMedia.org/radio.

Do you have any music-related news or upcoming shows (online or live) you want help publicizing? Please send all information short or long to Pam@VenturaRocks.com, and for updated music listings daily, go to www.VenturaRocks.com.

Ventura Rocks in the Ventura Breeze 3/24/21 – 4/6/21

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

artwork

Spring has sprung and with warmer weather on the horizon, it will be a lot more comfortable supporting live music outdoors at such venues as Winchesters, Leashless and the brand new Vaquero y Mar (formerly the Hong Kong Inn). Along with the venues of course are the drive-in style concerts where you can stay in your car, or just outside on folding chairs. For all the latest listings please visit our music calendar for the daily updates.

And speaking of drive-in concerts, after a winter hiatus, both Concerts in Your Car (Ventura Fairgrounds) and the Canyon at the Oxnard Performing Arts Center are both ramping up with shows schedule in April. Concerts in Your Car has Don Pasquale from Opera Santa Barbara on April 10, Ziggy Marley on April 17 and Hippie Sabotage on April 24. Canyon Club dates are all tribute bands such as 4NR on April 2, Robert Plantation on April 3, Strange Days (Doors) on April 9 and Erotic City (Prince) on April 10.


Meanwhile, I caught up with Will Breman who appeared on NBC’s The Voice just before the pandemic hit where he made it all the way as a semifinalist on Season 17. Will calls the Central Coast home and is currently ramping up for post-pandemic shows.

Will Breman on The VoicePam: What has been the biggest impact to you personally and professionally this past year during the pandemic?

Will Breman: The hardest part of the pandemic last year was cancelling all of my national tour dates. Especially after coming immediately off of a show like NBC’s The Voice, that hit hard. I had to figure out very quickly how to make up for a lot of lost income, as well as hold on to the wave I was riding from the show.

Cancelling a national tour had to be so hard! What else was put on hold?

Will Breman: I had to delay a lot of recording plans. I have a couple projects that I’ve been sitting on top of until recording them in a studio with a group was safer to do. Thankfully though I was fortunate enough to record one of the songs I did on The Voice last year in Nashville with some legitimate studio cats, so at least something got done.

What do you miss the most?

Will Breman: I miss hugging people a lot, especially my close family. I feel like people were a lot less anxious before the pandemic. I think what I miss the most however is being able to play regularly in front of people. Doing it on Zoom is just not the same.

Will BremanHow did you work during the past year (writing/performing/recording)?

Will Breman: I had to switch to a lot of virtual gigging. I’m thankful to have an amazing manager who set me up with a lot of awesome corporate gigs that I could record from home.

Anything good from the close down?

Will Breman: I was able to go back to school. I’m in my second year of my masters in vocal techniques/performance. Now if the whole singer-songwriter thing doesn’t pan out, at least I know I have a career somewhere in opera or teaching at a higher academic level.

What are you most looking forward to doing again?

Will Breman: I’m looking forward the most to seeing, and playing, some excellent live shows. I know coming up I’m working closely with Kristen Stills and a wonderful team at Autism Speaks in hopefully setting up a festival at the Greek Theater in LA sometime in the fall. I’m also slated to open for Paul Thorn at the Lobero around that time, as well as playing Topa Mountain Music Fest. Hopefully there’s more where that came from.

Do you have a game plan coming out of the pandemic?

Will Breman: I know I want to finish those recording projects I’ve been sitting on. I’ve been taking a break from social media lately, but I’m hoping soon to get back into creating some high-quality content for Instagram, Youtube, and TikTok specifically.

For more information on Will Breman go to WillBremanMusic.com or follow him on Facebook at www.facebook.com/WillBremanMusic. You can also look for Will on a future episode of the VenturaRockSpot.


Oh! By the way, the VenturaRockSpot is a monthly interview show where mostly local artists out of the 805 are interviewed and they share some of their music either live, or with pre-recorded videos. Will Breman is scheduled to be a guest soon. You can view all episodes to date at www.VenturaRockSpot.com where you can see bands/artists such as Star Goes Nova, Jayden Secor, Medicine Hat, Jodi Farrell and more (27 episodes to date).

And don’t forget to tune into the Pam Baumgardner Music Hour on KPPQ-LP out of CAPS Media at 104.1 FM here in Ventura. My show airs Tuesdays at 5 pm with repeats on Fridays at 5 pm and Sundays at noon. You can also listen via the MyTuner app on your smart device or online at CapsMedia.org/radio.

Do you have any music-related news or upcoming shows (online or live) you want help publicizing? Please send all information short or long to Pam@VenturaRocks.com, and for updated music listings daily, go to www.VenturaRocks.com.

Ventura Rocks in the Ventura Breeze 3/10/21 – 3/23/21

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

ArtworkLittle by little Ventura is coming alive and a handful of venues are already offering live music outdoors including Caffrodite, Copa Cubana, Leashless, the Cave and the Shores. Check VenturaRocks.com for updates and the daily music listings, along with the latest VenturaRockSpot featuring Jayden Secor (coming soon, Christine Law and her project Star Goes Nova, and Guy Martin).

After a “winter break,” Concerts in Your Car is slowing rolling out their line-up, with an April 10 date with Opera Santa Barbara presenting Don Pasquale, and the following week April 17 (two shows) with Ziggy Marley and a live tribute to his father. Down in Oxnard at the Performin Arts Center parking lot, the carpool jams pick up on April 2 with a Foreigner tribute by 4NR, a tribute to Led Zeppelin’s Robert Plant by Robert Plantation on the 3rd and the following week on April 10th, it’s Erotic City and their tribute to Prince.

Jason BrockMeanwhile, this music scene column highlights local artist Jason Brock. His Facebook page states he is a… “self-described grunge rock hippy guitarist and songwriter whose passion for music rivals his passion for compost. Slightly geeky, slightly goofy, and slightly stoopid. Blessed to be surrounded by beautiful people.”

Jason is a career independent musician whose bands, solo albums, record labels, and nonprofits have all the aim of empowering artists to create regardless of their position in the hierarchy of the business world and he serves on the board for the Ventura Artists’ Union.

Pam: How and when did you get involved with the Ventura Artists’ Union?

Jason Brock: I started working with the Ventura Artists’ Union when the Art City Gallery was being designed. At that time, the organization was dormant because they didn’t have a gallery to show in. I didn’t know Ventura had a non-profit that was dedicated to supporting local artists. That’s how I found out. Since I had previous experience in organizing, running labels and nonprofits I felt like I could contribute to launching the VAU’s next chapter. My personal goal is to foster the musical side of the nonprofit’s programming by promoting musicians and supporting local music.

Are you one for hanging out in the music scene here in town?

Jason Brock: I guess so, though that’s a hard question to answer. I’d say I like to create scenes where musicians want to gather. That’s why I helped run Under the Bed for two years. It was like an underground Green Art People. Right now, there is a scene starting to happen at Caffrodite Community Coffee House in midtown. Cory Highberg is bringing musicians together there. I think we need another venue in town that provides that kind of open canvas for music. If you know anyone that has a space like that let me know!

I know you’re working on an album where you release a track a month; explain what the process looks like.

Jason Brock: I just released [the song] “One of A Kind,” and I’m trying to record a track a month, but in reality it’s a mark I’m using to create deadlines for myself. I work well if I have a mark to hit, otherwise I just write and write and never release. I have a lot of songs I’d like to record, and if I think on that level, I get overwhelmed. I also have to balance the creative process with the promotion and business side. As an independent artist you have to wear many hats. Good news is it’s possible. So, one single at a time is a good way to go for me. I’m working on my next one right now, called “Common Thread,” which should drop at the beginning of April if all goes well. It’s a rocker!

As far as the recording process goes, I record everything at home, mix and master, except for my most recent single “One of a Kind” which features David Uosikkinen on drums and Kenny Aaronson on Bass. They recorded their parts at their home studios in Philly. We had this one professionally mixed and mastered by Dave Downham at Gradwell House Studios. I think we did a great job of sounding live, even though we’re in different time zones.

“One of a Kind” wasn’t’ the first track?

Jason Brock: One of a Kind is the fourth single I’ve released since I started when the pandemic hit. I had all this extra time on my hands, and I was already recording so I just decided to step it up a notch. My first single was “Dubbers and Rex” which was released in June of last year. In August I released “Shine” which was inspired by the Black Lives Matter protests, and then in December I released “Ashes to Dust.” All of those tracks were self-produced at home.

Will this be your record or a group effort?

Jason Brock: I am the main songwriter at this point in time, though I’m totally down for collaboration. Working with Dave U is really lighting me up right now. He’s a multi-platinum artist with tons of experience. He brought Kenny Aaronson in to record bass, and Kenny is a monster. He’s played with some heavy hitters such as Bob Dylan, Joan Jett, Brian Setzer, etc. etc. I’m just enjoying the creative flow, wherever that leads.

Do you already have the tracks in mind? Or writing material as you go along?

Jason Brock: I have an idea of what I want, but things change along the way. For example, I produced a live stream concert to help launch “Ashes To Dust” and the songs took on this unexpected feel because of the musicians I was playing with, so I went with it. I’m a big supporter of accentuating the artists in the room. With that said, I have a direction, songs that rock live, have meaning and sound great in headphones. Some of them are already written, some are in various stages of completion.

Sum up what Spinningmerkaba is all about.

Jason Brock: Spinningmerkaba is my remix pseudonym at ccMixter.org, a creative commons remixing site where musicians and producers from all over the globe come to share and create music. Anyone with a creative itch can go there and remix my songs, or get remixed by me or other top-notch producers. It’s a free-for-all, which makes it fun and weird and spontaneous.

Anything else you’d like to add?

Jason Brock: I’d like to say thanks to you and my family and friends who support me and my art. We’re all connected and we all rely on each other. I’d also like to say to anyone out there reading this, that you can do it too. The tools are all out on the table. Get creative and make some art. You’ll find parts of yourself along the way that you’d never find if you didn’t put it out there. Have fun! It’s only rock and roll….

Amen!

For more information on Jason, go to JasonBrockMusic.blogspot.com or follow him on Facebook.com/jason.brock.927,


Don’t forget to tune into the Pam Baumgardner Music Hour on KPPQ-LP out of CAPS Media at 104.1 FM here in Ventura where you can hear from local artists like Jason Brock. My show airs Tuesdays at 5 pm with repeats on Fridays at 5 pm and Sundays at noon. You can also listen via the MyTuner app on your smart device or online at CapsMedia.org/radio.
Do you have any music-related news or upcoming shows (online or live) you want help publicizing? Please send all information short or long to Pam@VenturaRocks.com, and for updated music listings daily, go to www.VenturaRocks.com.