Back to the Peeples Place at KHTS portal.
Stephen K. Peeples here, and you’ve careened onto Peeples Place at KHTS!
It’s the third edition of a new local music blog I’m producing in collaboration with AM 1220 KHTS and the Santa Clarita Valley’s number one website, www.hometownstation.com. We’ll be online every Friday morning with hot SCV music news and reviews right here at www.peeplesplace.com, with a preview on KHTS-AM 1220 each Thursday morning at 8:10. You’ll find all previous Peeples Place at KHTS blogs there, too.
In this post, we’ll meet sultry singer Flavia Watson, find out who’s ready to rock at The Gentle Barn, take a look at the Western Music Association nominations, catch up with producer Gary McGrath, and feature the Gigmasterz program for young musicians and bands at Keyboard Galleria Music Center.
We’ll check out hot new local music and the live music lineup for the weekend, with a spotlight on the Surf City All Stars, who’ll headline Central Park on Saturday night. We’ll tune in to local music on the tube, and try one last time to get an answer to our first SCV music trivia question.
Finally, Peeples Place at KHTS will have the third and last installment of my world-exclusive interview with Beatles historian and author Mark Lewisohn about his in-progress three-volume biography of the Fabs. We’ll find out how the book will be published in this multimedia age, what a day in his life is like, reminisce a bit about working together on “The Lost Lennon Tapes” radio series, and hear a final note from Lewisohn to Beatles fans around the world.
First, Peeples Place at KHTS rocks the SCV music news.
FLAVIA BURNS WITH THE FEVAH — Soul-jazz-blues torch singer singer Flavia Camilla Watson, who grew up in Europe and studied at CalArts in Valencia, Calif., led her band The RedTempt — all guys she met and studied with at CalArts — in sets of originals and choice covers at Guy LeLarge’s Valencia Wine Co. on Town Center Drive Saturday night.
Backing the 20-year-old singer and songwriter were Chris Pucher (guitar), Nick Baker (drums), Rich Brown (keyboards) and Isaac Watts (bass), sitting in for the vacationing Caroline Cirone.
Highlights included the originals “Come to L.A.” and “Kinky Boys” and covers like Peggy Lee’s immortal “Fever” and Marvin Gaye’s “I Heard it Through The Grapevine,” which gave her bandmates space to stretch out on some nice solos.
Watson, from Florence, Italy, landed at CalArts by way of Ireland to study music, and also plays piano and guitar. She speaks four languages, including English with a perfect American accent.
What’s the band name about? “Part of our goal is to lure people in with our music,” Watson told me after one set. “A lot of it is sultry and sexy, dark, swampy blues, and I guess that’s why we’re the RedTempt. We want to tempt our audience to go on a journey with us when listening to my music.”
Watson has a very special gig coming up at Valencia Wine Sept. 3; we’ll talk with her more about that — and her ultra-cool old-school Shure Super 55 vocal microphone — in our next post.
CRÜE SPINS AT SUNSET STRIP MUSIC FEST — This weekend’s a good time for SCV hard-rock fans to head for West Hollywood — it’s the climax of the annual Sunset Strip Music Festival, this year featuring more than 50 bands playing multiple venues up and down the Strip between tonight and the wee hours Sunday morning. More than 30,000 rock fans took over the Strip for the 2010 festival, and organizers expect an even bigger turnout this year.
The notorious Mötley Crüe (pictured below, from left: guitarist Mick Mars, bassist Nikki Sixx, singer Vince Neil and drummer Tommy Lee) are de facto godfathers of the event. They came up on the Strip in the early ’80s playing the Whisky A Go-Go, The Roxy and other famous joints, got multi-platinum huge, and somehow survived their excesses with booze and dope to become elder statesmen, if you will. For all that and more, the Crüe-members were honored Thursday with the fourth annual “Elmer Valentine Award,” named after the legendary Whisky co-founder who’s helped launch countless careers.
(Tangent: I am having a serious newsletter-writing deja vu here. I was the editorial director and newsletter scribe with Elektra/Asylum Records’ Media Relations department when Elektra picked up the Crüe’s debut album, “Too Hot for Love,” in late ’81-early ’82. The label released a remixed version, threw big release bashes and got them on the road. I’d get occasional phone calls from Nikki Sixx on tour.
[“What’s going on?” I’d ask. “Ah, nothin.’ much.” “Dude, you gotta give me SOMETHING.” And we’d just make outrageous stuff up, like about their “tour from hell” in Canada, when it wasn’t really that bad, just for the E/A newsletter, cleverly titled “NewsbE/At.” Hey, it was PR. But I’ve never made anything up otherwise. This is all true.[One Crüe showcase gig at a theater in Pasadena was particularly memorable, something like a homecoming gig after some dates out of town as the “Too Fast…” album started to blow up. Outside in the lobby waiting to get in were hundreds of very young girls just itching to give it up to a rock star. I was maybe 30, 31, recently married, and felt incredibly old.
Backstage, though, it was hilarious to see the bandmembers in their full fishnet leather studded hair-band regalia schmoozing with their parents and brothers and sisters like it was a backyard barbecue, with very few groupies in sight. The gigs without parental supervision would come soon enough, and history has shown they were far more outrageous than anything Sixx and I ever concocted. End of tangent.]
Following opening sets by Bush and Public Enemy, the Crüe’s headlining set on the outdoor West Stage Saturday night from 8:15 to 9:45 will feature drummer Tommy Lee’s infamous “360” vertical drum roller coaster. The apparatus launches Lee into multiple vertical loops as he performs. Even better, Lee will pick a SSMF fan from the audience to get dizzy with him on the spinning throne.
There’s also the East Stage outdoors, plus shows at the Cat Club, House of Blues, The Key Club, The Roxy, the Viper Room and the Whisky. Musicians Institute has a stage set up outside The Roxy, and nearly a dozen DJs will throw down at the Key Club’s Plush Lounge on Saturday from 3 p.m. ’till who knows when.
You’ll find beer gardens, an artist autograph tent, the Jack Daniel’s Experience, a VIP rooftop lounge, the VIP Virgin America Lounge at On The Rox upstairs from The Roxy, performances by comedians at The Comedy Store tent, and a variety of gourmet food trucks lining the Strip, which will be closed to traffic between Doheny Drive on the west and San Vicente on the east.
ROCKERS HELP GENTLE BARN CELEBRATE 12TH BIRTHDAY — SCV favorites PapaFish, Brian Bell and Kounterfeit Change (pictured) will provide the music for the Gentle Barn’s 12th birthday bash on Sunday, Aug. 28, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., with Southern Fried Vegan BBQ providing tasty, healthy grub for the event.
“We’re hoping that local live music will bring more people who will help raise money to help the Gentle Barn care for the animals — their feeding, shelter, veterinary visits,” said Dwayne Johnstone, one of the organizers. “We’ll be raffling off items, too.”
It’s a great cause and the suggested donation is only $5. And you don’t have to be vegan to attend and enjoy the event.
The Gentle Barn, founded by Ellie Laks in 1999 and run by Ellie and her husband Jay Weiner, right now is home to 130 animals rescued from severe abuse, neglect or slaughter. The non-profit group’s mission, according to its website, is to “rescue, rehabilitate and give sanctuary to abused animals. Through the interaction with our animals, people learn reverence for all life.”
Meanwhile, you have until midnight Aug. 31 to vote for the Barn as “Favorite Farmed Animal Sanctuary” in the 2011 Veggie Awards, the world’s largest survey of vegan people, places and products. Last year, 46,000 readers voted, and this year organizers expect to surpass 55,000.
A vote for the Barn will get you a chance to win prize packages including an all-expense-paid vegan cruise, a vegan dessert party, a Vitamix, a one-year supply of ice cream and more. Here’s a link to the survey: www.surveymonkey.com/vegnewsveggieawards2011. Winners will be announced in the November+December holiday edition of VegNews, the vegetarian lifestyle magazine.
Find the Barn at 15825 Sierra Highway, Santa Clarita 91390. Visit www.gentlebarn.org for more info.
ANOTHER ‘BARN’ WRANGLES WMA NOMINATION — Kudos to “Around the Barn with Heads Up,” AM 1220 KHTS’s Saturday morning show featuring Western entertainment and down-home chat about horses and ranches. It’s earned a nomination for “Radio Show of the Year” in the annual Western Music Association Awards competition.
The program airs on Saturday mornings at 9 a.m. and is hosted by Nancy Pitchford Zhe of Heads Up Therapy on Horseback, Bobbi Jean Bell of Out West Boutique and Western Cultural Center in Old Town Newhall and longtime KHTS host and air personality Mike Dowler.
This year’s WMA awards banquet is Nov. 19 in Albuquerque; good luck to the “ATB” crew in the final voting; members are casting their ballots now.
The “ATB” posse often features guests who are experts on the care and feeding of horses, along with cowboy authors and Western musicians. Last Saturday Dave Byrne, the saloon piano player from “Deadwood” and at all the Santa Clarita Cowboy Festivals phoned in.
So did Hulda Quebe from The Quebe Sisters Band, festival favorites who headline every other year. And yep, that means the triple-threat Texas fiddlers are booked for the 2012 festival in the spring — you read it first right here!
In other key 2011 nominations, WMA board member Juni Fisher is up for Outstanding Songrwriter, Entertainer of the Year, Original Song (“Yakima,” about the late movie stunt legend and Walk of Western Stars honoree Yakima Canutt, who lived in the Acton-Agua Dulce area) and Best Traditional Album by an Individual (“Let ‘er Go, Let ‘er Buck, Let ‘er Fly”).
The Tumbling Tumbleweeds are also in the running for Entertainer of the year and Best Album by a Group (“Blaze Across the West”). Check out the KHTS News story with all the WMA nominations here.
This month at the OutWest Western Boutique and Cultural Center on Main Street, works by Mel Carll & Karen Carll, glass artist Laila Asgari, gourd artist Nadiya Littlewarrior are on display.
And on Friday, Sept. 9, OutWest hosts Western singer/songwriter/musician Eli Barsi at 7:30 p.m. (reception) and 8 (concert). Suggested donation: $20. She was a guest on “Around the Barn with Heads Up” on June 4; check the podcast online here at www.hometownstation.com.
Visit www.scvoutwest.com for more in-store events, and catch the OutWest Concert Series each week on SCVTV (www.scvtv.com).
McGRATH DEBUTS NEW SINGLE AT THE ROXY — The McGrath Project has booked The Roxy on Sunset Thursday and Friday, Sept. 1 at 8 p.m. and Sept. 2 at 10:30 p.m. for special performances to premiere songs from their just-completed “Boom” CD and to launch the album’s first single, “Tarantino Girl” (opening line: “She’s like a chick/from a Tarantino flick…”) b/w the goofy surf-rocker “Casey’s Last Chance,” both featuring Ann-Marita (pictured) belting the lead vocals.
On Sept. 3, the Project will rock the Courtyard Marriott in Valencia, with teen singer Serena and her full band sharing the bill and performing tunes from her debut EP, “Allow Me to Introduce Myself.”
Bandleader Gary McGrath and crew have a warm-up gig slated for Mixer’s (formerly the Roast House) on Saturday night, Aug. 27.
McGrath says they continue to shop for a solid label deal, with Jack Douglas attached as producer.
“The thing about Jack I always loved isn’t just that he produced Aerosmith or John Lennon or Patti Smith or anybody else,” McGrath said. “It’s that he is a very organic producer. He doesn’t believe in fixing everything. He doesn’t believe in everything being spot-on perfect. He believes that music is a living, breathing thing, and it comes with flaws, few missed beats. He’s driven to the performance more than the technical side. In today’s music, where producers try to make everything as perfect as possible, and with pop music dominating in all electronic mediums, we really lose the human side of a song’s performance.
“There are so many songs, so many remakes, done by up-and-coming artists and even pop princes or princesses, and the reason they’re not as good to me isn’t because their musicianship isn’t great, it’s the fact that it’s too perfect,” he said. “The thing about The Rolling Stones was that they were sloppy. The mistakes were part of the performance, part of the charm.”
GIGMASTERZ BANDS ROCK SCV — This week in our series about “School of Rock”-styled programs for young local musicians in the Santa Clarita Valley, the spotlight’s on Keyboard Galleria Music Center, or KGMC for short, in Saugus/Canyon Country.
Headed by veteran musician David Lemasters, the two-year-old Gigmasterz program has produced the SCV’s hottest young band, The Feaver, and a couple other promising young groups comprised of local music students are in the program now.
Among them are The Rock Poets featuring singer Breanna Harris, guitarist Jakob Martinez and his brother Zane Martinez on drums, and various bass players (they’re pictured at a previous session-ending gig at Route 66 Grill in Canyon Country last March, with Lemasters, at right, filling in on bass).
“KGMC has this gig thing where they get a whole bunch of people and put them in bands and they perform at Route 66, which is awesome,” said Harris, a student at Santa Clarita Christian. “Sometimes you have the same people, sometimes they’re different. We just keep having practices and then we just walk out and play.”
KGMC, which has more than 350 individual students taking various lessons, hosts the six-week Gigmasterz sessions several times each year that are open to young musicians, and separate sessions for older “weekend warrior” players who have to work for a living.
Between 30-40 people sign up for each session, pay the $199 fee, and work with Lemasters as he assembles bands of comparably talented and experienced players. Each band picks a name, chooses material and rehearses together an hour a week, and, like The Rock Poets, after the final session, by special arrangement with Route 66 owner George Thomas, they play an afternoon concert open to the public in the retaurant’s parking lot.
Harris and the Martinez brothers are also enrolled in the current Gigmasterz session, and will play Route 66 again on Oct. 2. Signups are now being taken for the next session, due to start a few weeks later.
“It’s really cool to see some of these kids go,” said KGMC owner Dennis Weber, who opened the store more than 20 years ago. “The Martinez brothers remind me of Eddie and Alex Van Halen. Like Breanna, they’ve gotten better and better. Not only are they taking lessons, but they’re also maturing through the program, learning skills and their craft and how to interact with an audience.”
Lemasters’ background is just what a program like Gigmasterz needs. He combines his own talent and musicianship with organizational skills and an affinity for mentoring young musicians.
He began taking private guitar lessons at age 15 in his native Ohio, and started teaching how own students three years later. “I made some CDs, played in several bands back in Warren, Ohio from about ’77 all through the ’80s,” he said. “One prominent group was called Left End. I was with them for quite a while. I dabbled in other things throughout the years, but always came back to music and teaching.”
With his family relocated to California several years ago, Lemasters started working at KGMC three years ago, and has headed the Gigmasterz program since its inception a year later. Among the first Gigmasterz enrollees were Lemasters’ son Braeden, now 15, and Braeden’s likewise-transplanted Ohio friend Dylan Minnette, now 14.
“Braeden has known Dylan for, like, seven years, since they came out here and started acting,” Lemasters said. “Dylan actually said, ‘Braeden, let’s play here [at KGMC], let’s do a “join-the-band” thing.’ They did one Gigmasterz session, found out how much they loved music, and did about five more programs with me.”
Meanwhile, Lemasters was teaching his son not only how to play guitar, but also a deep appreciation for the classic rock of the ’60s and ’70s, from The Beatles and Stones to Hendrix and Led Zeppelin to Bob Dylan. And while Minnette focused first on singing, he soon started working on guitar, drums and piano.
“I was teaching Zack Mendenhall, and we got him into the band,” Lemasters said of the bassist (now 16). The Feaver lineup firmed with addition of another friend, Cole Preston (now 14), on drums, who clicked with the other guys the first time they played together.
“They gelled very well, and so for the last year and a half, they’ve been together doing the Gigmasterz programs as a group and really getting their act together,” Lemasters said. “They may have learned a lot through the program, but they’re also very talented on their own, and I don’t want to take too much credit.”
In 2010, The Feaver recorded their debut EP, rocked the Summer Meltdown festival and went on to beat 75 other Southern California bands to win $10,000 and a boatload of gear in the 98.7FM Rockstar Battle of the Bands last summer. But they didn’t forget where they came from.
“Even after they won the 10 grand, after all that notoriety, they signed up for the next program,” Weber said. “They’re humble kids, going, ‘Yeah, we won, that’s cool, but we still want to get better.'”
“We’ve played a bunch of sessions now, and really like to come back,” Preston said. “It’s important to show the kids what they can do, give them something to go after. I’m not saying we’re better than they are, just that the program promotes practice, and that’s really good. It’s really fun.”
The Feaver also headlined the March Gigmasterz concert, impressing everyone with their rapid development.
“We wanted to show [the other students] what you can do with practice,” Braeden said. “I love that we got to play, but I think it was great that we were helping everyone out. [My father] does a great job with it. He picks all the best people for a group and puts them together. They’re all top-notch bands.”
What’s David Lemasters’ favorite part of being the Gigmasterz godfather, and what do his students get from the experience?
“Well, just seeing the kids develop as musicians,” he said. “This is beyond just a one-on-one lesson. It’s a great learning experience for them because it’s an ensemble, a band, a group. They get to learn how to interact with other musicians. They see how they to play with other musicians, how to tone it down and let the other musicians or the vocalist shine. And their growth, their understanding of music and dynamics, really seem to accelerate with the Gigmasterz program. So, I think they really learn a lot, by leaps and bounds, actually. It seems like I’ve done eight or nine of these now, and I have kids from the very first session still coming back. They’re learning and they enjoy it. And their musicianship, their timing, everything seems to be getting so much better with the program.”
Breanna Harris, who plans to sign up again for the next Gigmasterz session, agrees with Braeden about his rock ‘n’ roll dad: “David’s amazing. He knows a lot about music. He’s awesome.”
Call Keyboard Galleria Music Center at 661-259-5397 or visit www.keyboardgalleria.com for more details about Gigmasterz, and catch The Feaver’s Facebook page for more info about the band, pictured above on the big stage at Citywalk Aug. 5.
SCV MUSIC ROUNDUP — For the latest on what’s new and hot in local music, we called our friends at Rock Candy Music & More, the SCV’s only retail record store, at Bouquet and Plum in Saugus.
Staffer David Green, also drummer with local punk band Moonraker, tells us two of the hottest new releases are “Sublime with Rome,” including members of the original band with Rome now out front, and “Mariachi El Bronx.”
The latter, Green said, “is from Los Angeles. It’s like a hardcore punk band, but they have this alter-ego where the guys play mariachi.”
The biggest news at Rock Candy this week, though, is the store’s first birthday celebration, going on today and tonight. Owners Billy and Melissa Yergensen opened their store after the SCV had gone years without a stand-alone, independently owned and operated retail record outlet. Lousy economy notwithstanding, they’ve survived and thrived.
To celebrate the anniversary, Green said, “We open at 11 and are having a huge sale until we close. We have live music, plugged and unplugged, starting at 7 and going ’till 10. The first band is called Synthetic Colours, and then James Marcus is going to play acoustic. So is Nathaniel Dobies. Then there’s a band called The New Revive, and Moonraker plays last.”
Green’s usually a pretty low-key guy, but said he and the Rock Candy crew are “all pretty excited” about the celebration, and the store’s success. “We love working here.”
For more info, call 661-263-9800 or visit www.rockcandymusicstore.com.
TIZER GROOVES CENTRAL PARK, PHASE II — Gifted world-jazz-fusion-funk composer and keyboardist Lao Tizer (left) and his excellent band with special guest Karen Briggs performed a set of his mostly instrumental original material for a respectably large turnout at Santa Clarita’s Concert in the Park in Central Park last Saturday night.
Backing the bandleader were longtime Tizer members Jeff Kollman (guitar), Raul Pineda (drums) and Steve Nieve (vocals, percussion, saxophone), with frequent collaborators Chiekh N’Doye (bass) and special guest Karen Briggs (violin). Read more about Tizer in my “Peeples Place at KHTS” blog #002, Aug. 12, 2011.
After the well-received Central Park show, we had a few minutes to talk with Lao Tizer as the L.A-based group packed up their gear to head for the airport and a festival gig back east the next night.
“It was excellent, just a real pleasure to be here,” he said, still pumped from performing. “Great crowd, great audience, perfect night, great weather, lots of fun. It was just honor to share the music with everyone here. And with the people coming up in front of the stage to dance the last three or four songs, the band was really getting into it,” Tizer continued. “That’s very refreshing to see at a quote-unquote ‘jazz show.’
“Like I said when we talked before, I’m proud of the [Santa Clarita] Arts Commission and the city for bringing in something like what we do, that’s a little out of the norm,” he said. “It just goes to show that people in a live setting can connect with almost any kind of music, if it’s performed well.
“Everybody in the band was like, ‘Yeah, it was fun,'” he said. “I want to do as much of this kind of thing with this group — to play for the broadest audience possible. How else are you going to reach people who might not otherwise be ‘jazz aficionados’? This way, it’s like, there are no rules or boundaries.”
COWABUNGA! SURF’S UP IN SAUGUS — Surfing and surf music were part of my youth growing up as a beach kid in Southern Florida and then Southern California during the 1960s and 1970s. I played my drums along with stacks of singles and albums by The Beach Boys, The Ventures, Jan & Dean, Dick Dale & The Del-Tones, Chantays, The Surfaris and more, and went surfing at Haulover Beach or Sunny Isles after school and weekends every chance I could. Occasionally, my best friends and I would con a parent into taking us up the coast for better waves. When we were old enough, we drove ourselves.
In the early ’70s, living in California and still surfing when ear trouble would allow, I joined Peaking Duck, a group of guys I met in college who’d been playing since high school, and our jams usually included a couple surf tunes and Johnny Rivers’ “Secret Agent Man” (a surf rock track in disguise). (The Duck finally expired just a few years ago. Another movie.)
About 1996, I got to sit in with Chantays on “Pipeline” and “Secret Agent Man” during a visit to their rehearsal space in Santa Ana. What a rush. I’d just worked as an associate producer and the PR guy for Rhino’s “Cowabunga: The Surf Box” collection. Along the way I got to meet a lot of my heroes, including Bob Spickard of Chantays, drummer Mel Taylor of The Ventures, Hal Blaine, the Wrecking Crew studio ace who played drums on most of the early Beach Boys hits, Dean Torrence of Jan & Dean, and five-time world champion surfer-turned-songwriter-guitarist Corky Carroll. All of them helped me out by doing press for the boxed set. But that’s another movie altogether.
Anyway, my lifelong love of surf, music, and surf music is why I’m going to see (and shoot) the Surf City All Stars at Central Park tomorrow night. I normally steer clear of tribute-type bands. But this time, it’s personal.
New to Concerts in the Park, the Surf City Allstars was founded in the early ’80s by guys who’d been touring with both The Beach Boys and Jan & Dean.
The Surf City Allstars are (from left): David Logeman (Jan & Dean, Frank Zappa, The Beach Boys); Don Raymond (The Ventures, Jan & Dean); Matt Jardine (Beach Boys, Wilson/Philips, Jan & Dean); Gary Griffin (Beach Boys, Brian Wilson); and Philip Bardowell (Beach Boys).
At Central Park, the Allstars’ set will include plugged-in versions surf classics by The Beach Boys and Jan & Dean, many of which the Allstars recorded unplugged versions of for their latest CD, “Acoustic Vibrations” (cover design by Chris Davis with input from Logeman).
Earlier this week, I asked Logeman, who serves as Allstars drummer, business manager and spokesdude as needed, to recount how this lineup came together, and he rode the question like a tube at Trestles.
“I guess I have to start back in the late ’60s when The Beach Boys started adding extra musicians and singers to their original lineup, to be able to recreate all the cool recordings they were doing,” he said.
“The first guy out of our band who got hired into The Beach Boys’ band as an extra singer and player was Gary Griffin, our keyboard player,” Logeman said. “He toured for quite some time with them. Then we all kind of got hired one by one. [Original Beach Boy] Mike Love hired me in the mid-’90s.
“Matt Jardine is in our band — he’s the son of Al Jardine, one of the original Beach Boys,” Logeman continued. “Matt came into the band basically to cover for Brian Wilson, ’cause a lot of times Brian would stop singing or leave the stage or do [unpredictable] stuff like that. Matt sounded a lot like Brian did in the heyday so he would double all of Brian’s parts. And Matt was in The Beach Boys for probably 12 years.”
Philip Bardowell was hand-picked by Carl Wilson, Logeman said. “When Carl was dying of cancer, he picked Phil to be his replacement, so Phil toured with The Beach Boys and for probably the last year of Carl’s life, he taught Phil all the guitar and vocal parts. After Carl died, Phil stayed on the band for about another six years.”
Rounding out the lineup is Don Raymond on guitar. “He played in the Jan & Dean band with me and also some of the other guys, and also played with The Ventures,” Logeman said. “Don was in Al Jardine’s band at one time, and did some work with [original Beach Boy] David Marks when those guys had already left The Beach Boys’ band.”
When the original Beach Boys broke up in the late ’90s, Brian, unpredictably, was the first ex-member to start his own band, Logeman said. “I thought, ‘Man, that’s a great idea,’ so I took all the best singers and players of the backup band and we formed the Surf City Allstars. And I made a deal with Al Jardine and David Marks, and Dean from Jan & Dean [to be able to play their music]. So at Central Park, people can expect to hear the greatest hits of The Beach Boys, and we might throw a couple Jan & Dean hits in there, too.”
While Logeman emphasized we shouldn’t necessarily expect special guests Saturday night, Al Jardine, David Marks and Dean Torrence (pictured above at center stage with the Allstars at the City Festival in Elk Grove, Ill.), all make guest appearances on the Allstars’ latest album, “Acoustic Vibrations.” The tracks include the Beach Boys classics “All Summer Long,” “God Only Knows,” “Help Me Rhonda,” “Caroline No,” “Don’t Worry Baby,” “Sloop John B,” “In My Room,” “Little Deuce Coupe,” “Warmth of the Sun,” “California Girls” and “Surfer Girl” plus Jan & Dean’s immortal “Little Old Lady from Pasadena.”
“Al sings on a lot of the songs, David plays some really cool guitar solos, and Dean sings ‘Little Old Lady,'” said Logeman, who said he first had the idea for an unplugged Beach Boys album back when he was still with the band, but the timing wasn’t right. So for the latest Allstars CD, he arranged most of the tunes and produced the sessions in an acoustic setting.
“It’s a mellow, chill summer vibes CD that we thought would be a great thing, and something The Beach Boys never really did,” he said (except maybe for the BB’s 1965 live party album, source of “Barbara Ann,” which was just voices, acoustic guitars and lots of laughs).
As a musician and a former surfer (though I confess I never did both at the same time, like the guy in the vintage Fender ad), I know why surf music still gets my adrenaline pumping after all these years, but I was curious about Logeman’s take on the genre’s enduring popularity.
“I think it’s tied into a cultural thing,” he said. “I grew up in Illinois in the ’60s, and just hearing about surfing and seeing those pictures of sun and surf and fun and girls on the beach was absolutely, irresistibly appealing to pretty much anybody anywhere in the whole country. Back then, I always envied everybody in Southern California. I think the appeal of sun and fun is eternal.” Who wouldn’t love an endless summer?
Find out more at www.surfcityallstars.com.
SCORCH SISTERS TORCH CELLAR ON SUNDAY — Longtime SCV resident Francesca Capasso and her group The Scorch Sisters will burn up the stage at The Cellar Wine Bar & Restaurant on Sunday from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., and there’s no cover charge.
The Sisters’ lineup features Capasso (vocals, percussion), Alicia McCracken Morgan (keyboards, vocals) and Kimberly “KC” Allison (guitars), and they play red-hot blues.
They’ve paid some dues, too: The trio’s resumes include sessions and live gigs with Neil Young, Rod Stewart, Delaney Bramlett, Billy Vera & The Beaters, Joe Houston, Zola Moon, Don & Dewey, Bobby Womack, Melissa Etheridge, Spencer Davis, Randy Jackson, the “Some Like It Hot Revue,” Francesca & The Flames, and Carmine Appice, the legendary Vanilla Fudge, etc. drummer who backs up the Sisters on their song “Doctor.”
The trio made their performing debut in April 2011 at the Blues for the Rising Sun benefit in Long Beach, and followed with a headlining set at the Real Blues Festival of Orange County 2 in May.
After the torrid trio torches The Cellar in Centre Pointe, their next gig is on Aug. 28, when play a benefit for the City of Hope in Duarte at Joe’s American Grill in Burbank. Just over the hill in the SFV, the trio holds forth weekly at Harper’s in conjunction with my favorite on-air blues maven, Ann the Raven from KCSN-FM 88.5.
A new Scorch Sisters CD is in the works and will be released on Allison’s Starliner Music label in the near future, so we’re bound to get a preview on Sunday.
Find The Cellar at 26340 Diamond Place, Santa Clarita 91350. Call 661-799-7979 or visit www.thecellarwbr.com. And for more scorching details, visit thescorchsisters.blogspot.com or www.facebook.com/thescorchsisters.
MORE SCV MUSIC LIVE — Who else is playing in the SCV this weekend, or spreading the musical love outside the valley?
Tonight, Michael John & the Bottom Line take the Lexus of Valencia Jazz & Blues Concert stage at McBean and Town Center Drive at 7 p.m., and Salt Creek Grill on Town Center Drive features Jay Bolan from 9 p.m. to midnight. Down the street at Valencia Wine Co., the Helen Wheels Band starts rocking at 9.
On Saturday night, in addition to the Surf City All Stars, you can catch Rick Whitfield at Salt Creek from 9 to midnight, and/or Valencia Wine’s annual disco party with Gypsy starting at 7 p.m.
For the less debauched, and those who might be in search of a little spiritual uplift, The Reconciled performs Christian rock at Keyboard Galleria Music Center on Soledad at 7 p.m.
If you want your musical gig listed, email event, artist or band name, venue, date and price of admission, web address and any other pertinent (or impertinent, even) details to me at email@example.com.
SCV MUSIC ON THE TUBE & ONLINE — “House Blend with Stephen K. Peeples” on SCVTV Saturday night at 10 features very cool things with strings — music and interview segments with classical-jazz-pop violinist Drew Tretick (right), and jazz harp queen Lori Andrews with bass ace Bart Samolis (below).
Tretick, who’s recorded half a dozen albums, was backed by the London Symphony Orchestra for his latest, “Cinema Classics.” On the show, he performs a couple of originals, “Open Sky” and “Stargazing,” that will put you in the zone.
During our interview, I found him to be a fascinating character. He’s a Juilliard School of Music grad, a composer and performer, and inventor of a wireless MIDI violin and amp and playback rig he uses for live solo sets (like weekends at Disneyland’s Downtown Disney). He also plays a 200-year-old violin and tells the story behind it.
Andrews and Samolis grace the “House Blend” set for the second half of the show. Since she’s played for presidents, kings and queens around the world, my “House Blend” co-producer Megan Mann and I were honored to have her as a guest. She has eight albums in her catalog, and performed a couple of originals including the bouncing “Yarapa Bop.” She was an excellent interview, too; we all learned a lot about the harp as a jazz instrument.
Samolis, one of Hollywood’s most active composers and musicians (check IMDB or Google him), was a delightful bonus; together, the duo’s musical compatibility was stunning. Perhaps them also being a couple had a little to do with it. And they’re friends with SCVTV’s sound guru, Mike Mazzetti.
“House Blend” airs Saturday night at 10 on SCVTV Channel 20 on Time Warner in the SCV. You can also see it throughout Los Angeles and Orange counties on AT&T U-Verse 99, and everywhere else in the known universe streaming live at www.SCVTV.com and/or on-demand at www.scvhouseblend.com. Visit the channel’s website for a complete schedule of local music on SCVTV.
SCV MUSIC TRVIA: MYSTERY OZZY AXEMAN — Okay, we’ll give it one more shot: What local guitarist used to play with Ozzy Osbourne? If you know the answer, email firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll toss all the correct entries into a hat and randomly choose a winner who’ll receive a free Restaurant Row certificate to a great local eatery. This week’s answer and winner will be announced next week.
PEEPLES PLACE WORLD EXCLUSIVE LEWISOHN INTERVIEW, FINAL ROUND — Last week in the second edition of Peeples Place at KHTS, we premiered a second round of questions and answers from my world exclusive interview with Mark Lewisohn, the world’s most respected Beatles historian. He updated us on the progress of the book he calls the definitive three-volume biography of the Fab Four. Working title: “The Beatles: The Complete Story.”
This week, we’ve posted the third and final batch of clips from our interview, and this will be the last we’ll hear from Mark until the first volume is out. He and his publishers — Little Brown in the U.K., Crown in New York and Kawade Shobo Shincho in Japan — are aiming for August 2012.
The clip of our opening question and answer has picked up more than 1,500 views since we posted it on my YouTube channel Aug. 5.
After giving us an update on the due date of Volume 1 and a preview of what each of the three volumes will cover, Lewisohn talked a little about the new info his research has unearthed. Watch Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 and Part 4 to catch up.
Next, in Part 5, I asked him what forms the book will take when released, given the move to digital and multimedia book publishing.
“Well, it’s an interesting time to be writing a book, because obviously the book market is in a state of change,” Lewisohn said. “There’s going to be an e-book, I’m sure of that. There will, no doubt, be other electronic releases. I would imagine there’s going to be a good website. I have a ton of material to put up on a website for this.
“We mustn’t forget paper — this really is a book, still,” he said. “The idea is that this is going to be around for as long as The Beatles are going to be around. That’s what the publishers have bought into, and that’s what I’m delivering. So, we’re actually looking at a kind of a mass-market edition for the general public, if you like, of about 250,000 words, and at an ‘author’s cut’ edition — because I’ve actually written a fair bit more than 250,000.
“And that’s going to be some kind of a limited-edition book or something like that with added value — not too expensive, I hope,” he continued. “I want to always be friendly to the public, making sure they’re happy with what they’ve paid for. But at the same time, here is an opportunity, since I have written probably more than twice what the publishers actually are expecting me to write. We’ll actually do that as a book as well. So, it’s going to be very exciting. We’re going to try and cross all the media platforms and be unavoidable in proximity.”
In Part 6, I asked Lewisohn to recount a typical day in his life.
“I work from home — this is a little bit of my office, a library, as I call it,” Lewisohn said, gesturing to the bookcase wall in the background. “I’m at my desk by half past five (a.m.), typically. And I work through until — well, it all depends on whether my wife is around or not. If she’s not out for the evening, then I’ll probably work until about 7 o’clock and then spend some time with her. But if she is out in the evening, I’ll just go on until I fall over, about 11 or midnight, really.
“My oldest son calls it a ‘5-to-9 working day,’ as in 5 a.m. to 9 p.m., and it’s [full on]…this is what I do,” he said. “I’m very, very dedicated. But I happen to love what I do, so it’s no great hardship. The difficulty is in switching off with it. So, being here and actually writing the book — it kind of monopolizes your life, but no problem with that, except that ultimately I could do with a break.
“But it’s a good, hard-working day if I’ll write for about 12 hours a day, typically, and the rest of the time I’m looking things up and making contact with people and emailing and stuff like that. Generally speaking, it’s a very, very long working day, but a happy one.”
Lewisohn and I go back a bit; he was my research consultant and fact-checker when I was writing and producing “The Lost Lennon Tapes” radio series for Westwood One from early 1988 through the middle of 1990. Lewisohn’s “The Beatles: Recording Sessions” was published in fall ’88 and instantly became my Bible for anything Beatles-related on the show. Fortunately, Lewisohn was also well-versed in Lennonia.
Each week, when I finished a script, I’d call Mark at midnight Pacific time, 8 a.m. London time, and read the whole bloody thing to him while he enjoyed his morning tea. Occasionally, he would interject a correction, or offer up additional info that few others would know. His contribution insured accuracy, and that was invaluable, especially given the subject and the audience.
I will always be grateful to Roger Scott, the Capital One and later BBC DJ who was Westwood One’s connection for radio interviews in the U.K., and a huge Beatles fan and collector. Roger’s interviews covered so many key people and events, they, too, were invaluable to the production of the series. Sadly, he’s no longer with us.
But it was Roger who put me in contact with Lewisohn soon after I landed the series as writer/producer. Amazingly, when I told my Westwood One production VP I had the ultimate research consultant to round out the production team, I had to fight to have Mark included, because said VP was clueless. Fortunately, I was successful in convincing Lewisohn to accept the token sum I was able to secure for his services.
In all the times Mark and I have talked, though, in those days and years since, I never asked him how he first heard about the series, first announced in late ’87 by Westwood One, with the first hour-long show premiering in late January ’88.
“I think I read about it in Billboard — that was the first place,” Lewisohn said in Part 7. “But the news very quickly spread because as people, fans and scholars and historians are always itching to know, in particular I think, what any of the guys have got in their personal archives. John had been gone about eight years by 1988, and when Yoko and Westwood One announced that the content of these private, personal tape archives was going to be broadcast on the radio, I think we all just felt we had died and gone to heaven. And obviously, we were itching to hear what it had.
“I remember the shows were distributed on vinyl discs,” he continued. “CDs were coming in, but they weren’t yet fully established [for distributing radio programs]. And the very first set of vinyl discs that I received in the post from Westwood One…I think it was Show 5 [you are correct, sir: #88-10/LLT #5, w/o Feb. 29, 1988]. It’s kind of etched in my brain. I remember lowering stylus on Disc 1, Side 1. And The Beatles’ demo of ‘Revolution’ from the little private session they had out Escher in the spring of 1968 was played, and I was just so happy. It was a major, major moment for me as a Beatle collector. I suddenly realized that vast riches of this archive were going to be unfolding before me.
“Now, I knew at that time, the DJ here in London, Roger Scott, who was on Capital Radio, and I think just moved into the BBC, and he had a tie-up with Westwood One. So, through Roger I got on the mailing list and I eventually got to speak to you, Stephen. And we struck a deal where I was your, like, script consultant.
“I didn’t have to do much, to be very honest, because I thought your scripts were superb, and very accurate. But it was just a great time for me to have an involvement with it because at that very moment, my ‘Recording Sessions’ book came out — this was [fall] ’88. And, you know, that book — I’d been writing it since ’87, but when it came out, it made a major scratch. So, all these things kind of coincided, and I think it was probably nice of you to have me on the show, but it was certainly extremely nice for me to be part of ‘The Lost Lennon Tapes,’ and something I was always very proud of.”
Considering the source, that was high praise, indeed. I just said, “Thank you,” and moved on. In closing, I asked Mark what he would say directly to Beatles fans who’ve been so patiently waiting for publication of “The Beatles: The Complete Story.”
“I would say, I’m sorry for keeping you waiting,” he said in Part 8. “I know from some of the things on the Web that you’re impatient to see it. I’m impatient to see it. But it’s been delayed for the best reason of all, which is that the book is just getting better and better and better. There are no corners being cut here. I’m not speeding up just so I can get it out when people think it should be out. It’s being done right, and that’s the best way, but [Volume 1] is nearly, nearly done, so thank you for your patience.
“And, the point is, this book is about the biggest band, and it has no agenda, so honesty and clarity and understanding [are] what it’s all about, and that’s what you’re going to get,” he said. “So, thanks for being patient, and it will be with you soon.”
THE WRAP — Hope you enjoyed my third blog. You can always visit us right here at www.peeplesplace.com, and our under-construction Peeples Place Facebook page. Please share the blog and the page and help us build our online community of SCV music-makers and music-lovers.
If you have a new album to review or music news you’d like us to include in an upcoming edition, shoot an email to email@example.com.
Special thanks this week to all the artists and their families, managers and friends (you know who you are — far too many to mention) and again to Mark Lewisohn. Extra special thanks to Katherine (“Kat”) Attonia for her invaluable production assistance, and to Nadine A. Peeples for her invaluable encouragement and support.
This post is dedicated to the memory of Joan Ruth Sullivan Peeples, who would have been 82 today.
With a face perfect for radio, I’ll see you on AM 1220 in the Santa Clarita Valley Thursday morning at 8:10 when I preview the NEXT edition of…Peeples Place at KHTS.
Stephen K. Peeples is a Grammy-nominated record producer (“Monterey International Pop Festival,” MIPF/Rhino, 1992), an award-winning radio producer (“The Lost Lennon Tapes,” Westwood One, 1988-1990), an award-winning online editor of The Signal website (2007-2011) and former music and entertainment columnist for The Signal (2004-2011). He is host and co-producer of the “House Blend with Stephen K. Peeples” music and interview show on SCVTV (www.scvhouseblend.com), and is drummer with SCV jazz group RainTree (www.raintreejazz.com). For more information, visit www.stephenkpeeples.com.