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 1/27/21 – 2/9/2021

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

Ventura Rocks artworkWith Ventura moving back into the “Purple Tier,” outdoor dining will be allowed and hopefully venues will start to offer some lite live music once again; however, drive-in concerts are still your safest bet, and now Thousand Oaks is getting into the spirit of things and will be hosting a drive-in concert at the BofA Performing Arts Center with Highway Starr performing on Saturday, February 6.

The Canyon at Oxnard Performing Arts & Convention Center has a number of live shows listed, but they’re not until April with a number of tribute bands and Buckcherry. I did see that Martha Davis and the Motels are schedule for May as well as Tierra & Malo. To keep track and for ticket information, go to WhereMusicMeetsTheSoul.com (Scroll down and select Oxnard). There is nothing listed yet on the Concerts in Your Car website.


I’ve been receiving a lot of great feedback on the interviews I’ve conducted with local musicians over the past year. It’s always interesting to check in and see how our local artists are faring and to see what new projects they’ve been working on lately. This time around, I reached out to an old friend of mine Christine Law who has a new project called Star Goes Nova.

Photo of Christine Law

Christine Law


Pam: Let’s get people who are not familiar with your work up to speed. Tell me about your past projects.

Christine Law: More widely known as a bassist, I’ve toured and recorded with the famous and the obscure; credits include Theo Mordey (Jesus Christ Superstar), Charles Law & Jagged (college radio), Grammy winner John Baffa and platinum selling songwriter David Holster. I recorded bass on Suzanne Paris’ Grammy nominated album “Pink Lipstick” – and toured nationally with her. Earlier, I played bass for Jan Kuenehemund’s (from Vixen) solo project around Los Angeles. I also had the chance to jam with many artists at iconic L.A. clubs in the early 2000’s – that was awesome! For about 3 years in the mid 90’s, I toured and recorded with Martha Davis during her hiatus from The Motels. My first experience having a song played on the radio was with my hardcore band Tantrum in the late 90s. About 15 years ago, I met my husband Charles, a singer/songwriter, when he performed at Zoey’s in Ventura. We recorded 3 albums together from which several songs charted Top 10 nationally on college radio. I’ve been so fortunate to hang out with iconic artists and perform fantastic venues, complete with wild stories!

Describe Star Goes Nova and why you’re delving into EDM (Electronic Dance Mix).

Christine: Last year, I inherited my Mom’s pianos – a 115-year-old Turin grand piano, and a newer Kawaii upright. I hadn’t played piano since my high school piano lessons, but, when I first put my fingers on the keyboard of the Turin, all these songs just started writing themselves. I had been dabbling with EDM, going the Cinematic Dubstep direction, and the piano stories I was writing just blossomed with the electronica. I write fantasy Cinemata and Dubstep Dance EDM – it’s like my high school orchestra, piano, and hardcore got melded together. Beautiful and powerful.

Please share the story behind your song, “The Ocean Between Stars.”

Christine: I knew your Dad had been terminally diagnosed, and one day, you told me about taking him to the beach. I sat at my piano, thinking about you two on the beach – the day, the sounds, the waves and wind – and the journey ahead. “The Ocean Between Stars” tells of the sojourn of the souls of our lost loved ones. The song also contains a sonification (Hubble telescope recording of galactic frequencies) of the supernova Cassiopia A. There’s an angel there too…

I feel so honored by this Christine; it truly gave me goosebumps the first time I heard it. I will be sharing it on my next radio show on KPPQ-LP. Who are other EDM artists you admire?

Christine: I really admire the Santa Barbara based EDM record label Ophelia – they have great artists – Seven Lions, Tauri and Gem, MitiS. I also love Illenium and Grimes. I’d say my music is a cross between Grimes and new age pianist Leo Z.

How is the EDM community/genre different from other genres?

Christine: EDM evolves very quickly, and there are truly no rules. From pure electronica to inclusion of acoustical instruments and vocals, it’s all out there. I have noticed that artist collaboration is practiced and really valued – from swapping samples to writing/recording to putting raves together. Many of the samples, songs and community are offered freely (no charge). Also, I’m into offering high-resolution versions to the market that has high-res (96K) systems (like Sony); many EDM artists will offer 96K downloads along with their regular spec releases. You haven’t heard music until you listen to it in 96K – that’s the resolution the artist hears in the studio. I’d love for people to hear my work at 96K!

How big a following does the EDM community have?

Christine: Well, Electric Daisy Carnival in 2018 had over 200,000 attendees, and Tomorrowland had over 400,000. Given this portion, I’d say the fans are in the millions, with around 300-400 artists, and about 50 of those really well known.

How are you networking/marketing to get the word out?

Christine: I work with a PR firm for the social media side, which is just getting started. For now, I use Facebook www.facebook.com/Stargoesnova and Twitter @StarGoesNova and Instragram star_goes_nova. And of course, the website www.StarGoesNova.com

What if any plans do you have to expand on this new project?

Christine: I am currently releasing singles on social media, which will be compiled into a complete album. I’d like to host an “electric” rave – you know, with headphones!! Socially distanced of course!! I’ll also perform at Burning Man (if they have it this year), and then a couple of EDM festivals. My super big dream is to go to Ibiza or Mykonos and collaborate on a recording and also have a song spun there. Ibiza is the ultimate! I also want to continue collaborating with other artists. So far, two amazing local artists have collaborated on Star Goes Nova singles – Karen Eden (from The Bad Apples) and Fuse (from Hard Six).

How can people find out more?

Christine: Go to www.StarGoesNova.com and become a Stargazer by clicking on “Become a Stargazer”! or Facebook.com/StarGoesNova. Checkout the tunes also on Spotify, Itunes and ReverbNation.

Any final words?

Christine: Keep looking ahead. Keep dreaming. Keep doing things that bring meaning to people’s lives. Mankind is becoming interplanetary and interstellar, we must keep our art, music and dreams as part of our reach into the stars.


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. It 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. Every show I feature artists out of the 805 and artists who come to the 805 to play as well as a handful of indie artists I’ve come across.
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 10/7 – 10/20

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

artworkVentura’s music scene is far from rockin’ but at least the process of healing has begun and the County/City is allowing music once again as long as venues follow their strict rules to keep everyone concerned safe. Though I shared it in my last column, it bears repeating what is allowed, “Live solo or duet (from same household) singers/musicians can perform outdoors at restaurants, bars, or wineries. The soloist/duet must stay at least 20 feet away from patrons and not amplify the music to the point where people have to lean in to be heard. The live music cannot cause people to gather. It should be for the benefit of the business patrons who are already seated and not to attract people to gather around the performers and/or stage. All other local and state guidance must be followed.”

Stepping up to the plate to date here in town are Leashless Brewing, Winchesters, Bombay Bar and Grill, the Winery and Copa Cubana. I’m as diligent, if not more than most, when it comes to taking the virus seriously. I hope all venues will heed the rules and ensure there is space between the musician (s) and the patrons. Not all venues have the luxury of the extra space needed, which is sad, but at least we’re on the road now to heading back to more live music.

Just added to Concerts in Your Car (CIYC) at the fairgrounds here in Ventura is the band 311 which pretty much defies being pigeon-holed into one genre. Hip hop, rock, reggae, funk, in a nutshell? Flat out danceable fun. The band is playing two shows on Saturday, November 14. The other two venues for CIYC have ramped up and I’m happy to report that all bands playing in Arizona or San Diego have or will be playing here locally.

New music on the scene includes Star Goes Nova, a project by my good friend Christine Law who is known as a bassist supporting such acts as hard rockers, Tantrum back in the day, and her husband’s band, Charles Law & Jagged and Suzanne Paris. She calls it melodic bass and dubstep cinemata EDM (Electronic Dance Music) and she sent me the single, “The Apprentice.” Another good friend has been hard at work producing music on her own for the first time, Sally Williams of the Swilly’s and she worked with Doug Pettibone and Taras Prodaniuk; she sent me her single called “Suffering.” And finally, Bill Rotella is about to release a new album next month called Smoke and the Earthtones, he sent me a single off of it called, “The Other Side.” I’m super excited to share all three songs on the Pam Baumgardner Music hour (episode 119) which airs Tuesdays and Fridays at 5 and Sundays at noon, and will run 10/6 – 10/18 at 104.1 FM, KPPQ-LP out of Caps Media.

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.

(post deadline: RIP Eddie Van Halen, you changed Rock ‘n’ Roll forever and took it to the next step.

Ventura Music Photos: July 2015

W20 at the Watermark – July 30, 2015
Anchor & Bear
Anchor & Bear


Sans Souci – July 26, 2015
My Modern Valentine
My Modern ValentineAll-A-Blur
All-A-Blur


The Wine Rack – July 26, 2015
The Swilley’s – Steve and Sally Williams
Steve and Sally Williams


 

The Star Lounge – July 25, 2015
Arockalypse Now
0725_Arock_002 0725_Arock_003 0726_Arock_001


Squashed Grapes – July 24, 2015
Jerry Vivino & Friends, guest appearance by Jacob Scesney
Jerry Vivino and Friends


 Surf Rodeo 2015

Pam Baumgardner, Staci Brown and Mark Hartley

Pam Baumgardner, Staci Brown and Mark Hartley

Pierpont Beach – July 11 – 12, 2015
Surf Rodeo

 


Saloon BBQ – July 10, 2015
Charles and Christine Law

Charles Law


Ventura Beach Club – Hi Hat Entertainment – July 10, 2015
Hot Roux CD Release Party
Hot Roux


Peirano’s – July 10, 2015
Lola Haag & the Back Beat Boys
Lola Haag


Sandbox Coffeehouse – July 4, 2015
Kevin Stanley
Kevin Stanley


Ventura Street Fair – July 4, 2015
UnUusual Suspects
UnUsual SuspectsVentura Street Fair – July 4, 2015
Iron Mountain Boys
Iron Mountain BoysVentura Street Fair – July 4, 2015
Singing Valentines (for hire!)
Singing Valentines


Discovery Ventura – July 3, 2015
Queen Nation
0703_QueenNation_001


Sans Souci – July 2, 2015
Burien (Seattle, WA)
Die Nasty Die NastyDie Nasty