Ventura Music Scene
by Pam Baumgardner
The past couple of music scene columns I had interviewed a number of local musicians to see how they were holding up during this COVID-19 self-quarantine, and then somebody suggested I reach out to a couple of the venues, and so I did, but sadly, the response was a little sad, and I will protect those who asked not to participate. They’re just not ready to respond, and who can blame them?
Here’s what I know, there are a couple of venues (who previously hosted live music) that are offering curbside and/or home delivery services (GrubHub, Postmates, DoorDash, etc…) including Peirano’s, Café Fiore, Casa Bella & Prime, the Winery Ventura, Margarita Villa, Topa Mountain Winery, the Shores and now Winchesters on the weekends. Yay! You’ll find more of them listed on this page. I don’t have to tell you how vital it is right now to support these guys. Gift certificates are helpful too; in fact, I was delighted to be gifted a Peirano’s gift certificate from one of our local musicians. You can support venues and help spread the joy and buy a gift certificate or two to help support our musician friends (I’m fine by the way 😉).
Many thanks to Kat Merrick and the Local Love Project for spearheading the effort to help Ventura’s food and bar industry employees by enlisting volunteers, and donations and making available weekly produce boxes and more including some household items to those who have been laid off or had their hours cut. If you find you’re in this category, or want to help her efforts, go to the Local Love Project Facebook page for more information and the rules for receiving their weekly care packages.
I’ve continued to work on the Pam Baumgardner Music Hour for KPPQ-LP which broadcasts out of the CAPS Media Center here in Ventura at 104.1 FM, but I am producing my shows at home and uploading them to the station which then loads each show for airplay (Tuesdays and Fridays at 5 pm; Sundays at noon). I had to become creative as I don’t have a “home studio” at the ready. Luckily, I am proficient enough with Audacity’s software for compiling the program, but the real problem is with recording me! I don’t have a microphone and hardware to record my intros and such. But I came up with a temporary workable solution, I use my Android phone and record each element, email each individual file to myself, upload it to my computer, then insert it into the program. I haven’t quite worked out the equalization, and sometimes I’m under/over modulated, but it’s not half bad! I am looking to invest in a real microphone soon.
Along with home concerts, a couple of venues are hosting livestream events which is a great way to keep the community involved with their establishment. Social distancing is practiced, and some of them request a donation to gain access to the livestream. I’ve found several on Facebook including the Ojai Underground Exchange, the Red Piano and Figueroa Mountain both in Santa Barbara. Just some of the artists participating include Shawn Jones, Morganfield Burnett, Cindy Kalmenson, Tommy Marsh with Jim Guston, and Jamie Drake. One thing I don’t quite get is when I see an invitation to view a livestream of a previously recorded concert. Wouldn’t that just be a “watch party?”
DRIVE IN CONCERTS
I read a story recently that certain European cities were hosting drive-in concerts. Yay or nay? I’d say Yay if, an only if I could be parked in the first few rows, though I wouldn’t mind being fifty rows back for Rage Against the Machine and maybe Paul McCartney. So I’m just spit-balling here, if Ventura considered such an undertaking, I’m think a makeshift drive-in could be mocked up at the Ventura Fairgrounds parking lot, or maybe the backside of the Pacific View Mall, or where our last drive-in theater was located in the parking lot of Barnes and Nobles.
Some singer/songwriters are finding inspiration to write new music, others not so much. We all deal with crisis in different ways. Those who are writing have differing viewpoints as well, some write of hope, others write to inspire people to keep their butts at home. I see a lot of musicians are happy to just take time off after a hectic schedule of performing all the time while others fill the void of connecting and sharing in person, they’re now connecting and sharing via a computer screen.
There is a lot of new music out already for 2020. Keep in mind, most people don’t sit down, write music, go to their home studio, hit record and release an album in a month. Most records take some time before they “hit the streets” and not all music comes with a hard copy of a CD these days. I find it interesting that some artists are going totally digital (saves boatloads of money upfront) while others are releasing their music including a vinyl option, totally old school. New music to report includes Last Rock Empire, Death to the Monkey People; Bill Rotella, River of Smoke; Karen 805’s sophomore effort, 21 in My Heart; Ben Wylen, People Say; Medicine Hat, Fences; Michael Fitz, Colors in the Wind; Mik Sullivan, Overdramatic; and Dudeo Perez, King of Last Year (produced by Scotty Morris).
If you are interested, these releases are available on most music outlets online, or check the artists’ website or Facebook page. Ventura Rocks is also a great resource for finding artists and their releases at www.VenturaRocks.com/Artists. If their listing has artwork, that’s a link to their music.
The Ventura County Fair Board voted unanimously on Monday, May 4, to cancel this year’s Ventura County Fair. They did it with a heavy heart, I know, I listened in on the remote Zoom meeting. But you know, as difficult as it was for them to come to this decision, it’s the prudent thing to do. It was sad to hear the 4-H Club and supporting members scrambling to figure out how they can still pull something off for their young members; a remote auction online was even suggested.
Every spring I wait patiently for the concert line up to be announced and then just like everyone else, I pick out my favorite bands to not only go and enjoy, but to shoot some pictures for VenturaRocks.com and the Breeze. Last year’s line up included one of my all-time favorites, Collective Soul, which I managed to weasel my way into the Meet and Greet before the show. I’m truly looking forward to next year’s fair and praying for a vaccine so we can cram ourselves into the mobs of people in front of the stage again.
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.