The following Santa Clarita Valley music column by Stephen K. Peeples was first published Dec. 2, 2011, on the Peeples Place page at www.hometownstation.com, the website of Santa Clarita radio station AM 1220 KHTS.
You’ve veered onto Peeples Place at KHTS!
It’s the 18th post of the new local music blog I’m producing in collaboration with AM 1220 KHTS and the Santa Clarita Valley’s No. 1, award-winning website, www.hometownstation.com.
Peeples Place at KHTS is online every Friday morning with hot SCV music news, reviews, features and photos at www.peeplesplace.com, with an on-air preview on the AM 1220 KHTS morning show each Thursday at 8:10, except last week, because it was Turkey Day.
This week, we have news about Almost Kin way OutWest in Old Town Newhall, comedian Michael Loftus’s standup gig in Saugus and new TV gig with Charlie Sheen, Scrooge at the Canyon Theatre Guild, how you can Mariachi at the Performing Arts Center, a few Henry Diltz book signings (NYC and L.A.) and more.
We’ll find out what’s hot at our local record store, who’s appearing on “House Blend” on SCVTV Saturday night, and who’s playing live this weekend around town and nearby.
But first, since no one has gotten it yet, we’re going to lead off with our current SCV music trivia question!
SCV MUSIC TRIVIA: Name Jack Mack & The Heart Attack’s lead singer. Hint: He lives in Valencia. If you know the answer (or can take 10 seconds to Web-search the band’s name and find out!), send an email to me at stephen (at) hometownstation.com (KHTS employees past and present and members of the band are not eligible, sorry!).
We’ll toss all the correct entries into a hat and randomly choose one lucky winner, who will score a pair of Restaurant Row certificates and a couple of CDs from the Peeples Place at KHTS swag vault.
OK, now let’s rock some SCV entertainment news.
LOFTUS PREPS FOR ‘ANGER MANAGEMENT’ AT ‘HUMOR HELPS’ SHELTER BENEFIT — The “Humor Helps” fundraiser for the Santa Clarita Valley Emergency Winter Shelter headlined by comedian Michael Loftus at Blessed Kateri Catholic Church Sunday night raised more than $5,000 as organizers prepared for the shelter’s annual community Open House on Wednesday and its opening for the season last night.
With popular local cover band Blue Sky providing music before the show, between acts and after, opening comics Jason Love and Eric Schwartz warmed up the approximately 180-person audience for headliner Loftus (pictured at right).
The star of his own hit Comedy Central special and a former writer/producer on George Lopez’s hit sitcom (not Lopez’s ill-fated late-night talk show), Loftus started Wednesday as a writer/producer on the new Charlie Sheen sitcom “Anger Management.”
Loftus’ half-hour “Humor Helps” set was very funny without being profane, and he had many among the audience laughing throughout.
We spoke a few minutes after his set. I said it looked like he scored a hit with the audience, and he took off on the sports metaphor — it immediately became a post-game interview.
Loftus: Yeah, I thought it was good — I thought they were going to throw a lotta curve balls, but I was ready for that. I’ve been spending a lot of time in the batting cage and I thought we had the bat on the ball and put a lot of points on the board, and just kind of keeping our offense out there as long as long as we can (laughs).
Peeples: Did he feel the pressure to really bring it on Sunday night?
Loftus: I did! There was a lot of pressure! It’s a great event, especially when it’s a fundraiser like this. That’s when you really, really, really want to do well. You want it next year to be bigger so they can help more people and raise more money. So I think we did that, and we had a good time.
Peeples: About the new Charlie Sheen show — have any idea what the concept is, or where that’s going to go?
Loftus: You know what? Not really! But the showrunner knows what he’s doing — he’s a really, really talented guy by the name of Bruce Helford, who worked on ‘Roseanne’ for years and with Norm MacDonald and has a ton of hit shows. All I know is that it has nothing to do with the movie by the same name, so we’ll see. I’m looking forward to it. It should be a good time.
Peeples: How fondly do you look back on your experience on George Lopez’s sitcom?
Loftus: That was great experience, could not have gone better. That was the first sitcom I ever wrote on, and all the other writers had been around for a while. They kept telling me, ‘Pay attention to this, ’cause you don’t know know how good you have it. You don’t know — ’cause the cast all got along, George and everybody could not have been nicer, and I’m like, “Oh, I’m sure they’re all like that…” I guess they’re not.
Peeples: I thought there was a pretty good chemistry between the “Lopez” cast members.
Loftus: There really was! My favorite episodes — I always call them the “Honeymooners” episodes, like when George had to go meet the principal and out in the parking lot, he was like, “Let me tell ya…!” — all full of himself, and then when he goes into the principal’s office, he gets into trouble…Those were the best.
Peeples: Now, this is the latest stop on a tour that started when and will end when? Or is it like Bob Dylan’s “Never-Ending Tour”?
Loftus: Yeah, it’s kind of a never-ending thing. I was doing a lot of shows in South Africa over the summer and then came back to the States. I was supposed to go to Canada next week, but that is going to get moved around because of the Charlie Sheen show, so we’ll see how it goes. But right now, everything’s going great.
Get more info about the Santa Clarita shelter, now known as “Bridge to Home,” at santaclaritashelter.com.
SCV LOCAL BANDS ON FACEBOOK — Opened last summer, the SCV Local Bands Facebook page is picking up fans and attracting post from local artists. Check it out.
REMINDER I: FLEMING’S NEW TRIO DEBUTS OUTWEST — Thanks to Leon Worden at SCVTV for sharing this: Fresh from an appearance the night before at the Coffee Gallery in Pasadena, the brand-new Western trio Almost Kin will make its Santa Clarita Valley debut tomorrow, Dec. 3, at Bobbi and Jim Bell’s OutWest Boutique and Cultural Center on Main Street in Old Town Newhall.
Almost Kin is none other than Michael Fleming, director of the city of Santa Clarita’s annual Cowboy Festival and summer Concerts in the Park series, together with pals Steve and Kathy Coon.
Before taking over the festival and joining the city staff as a full-time arts and events supervisor, Fleming led another trio, New West, for 15 years.
An accomplished Western songwriter, Fleming won both the Academy of Western Artists’ Will Rogers award in 1997 for best Western swing song and the Western Music Association’s song of the year award for his composition, “Sometimes This Old Cowboy Gets the Blues.”
It wasn’t a fluke. In 1998 Fleming again won the WMA’s song of the year honors for “Below the Kinney Rim,” which he co-wrote with fellow SCV resident Les Buffham.
Rounding out the new group are voiceover artists Steve and Kathy Coon, who were two-thirds of Scambooty, a popular if somewhat raunchy comedy trio.
As Almost Kin, the three artists promise an eclectic-acoustic mix of new original songs and smooth harmonies with dollops of humor thrown in for good measure.
OutWest is located at 24265 Main Street, Old Town Newhall 91321. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. and the concert starts at 8 p.m. A donation of $15 includes light refreshments.
It’s OutWest’s final concert of the year and a full house is expected, so reservations are essential. Call (661) 255-7087 to reserve a seat. Guests should dress for TV because they’ll be on it.
REMINDER II: GET SCROOGED AT CTG’S ‘CHRISTMAS CAROL’ — The Canyon Theatre Guild presents “A Christmas Carol: The Musical” through Dec. 18.
In the West Coast debut of this new musical adaptation of Charles Dickens’ classic holiday tale, Dickens guides Scrooge on a journey through his past, present and future to rediscover his long-lost holiday spirit.
Showtimes are set for 8 p.m on Fridays and Saturdays and 2 p.m. on Sundays, with two weeknight shows on Dec. 20 and 21 at 7 p.m.
Tickets are $15/$17; call the CTG’s box office at (661) 799-2702 to order. Find the CTG at 24242 Main St. in Old Town Newhall 91321. For more info, visit canyontheatre.org.
REMINDER III: MARIACHI MADNESS AT THE PAC DEC. 11 — Mariachi Los Campos de Nati Cano, one of the most popular mariachi ensembles in the United States, spices up the Santa Clarita Performing Arts Center on Sunday, Dec. 11.
The Mexican-American ensemble has one Grammy and nine albums to its credit, and has performed hundreds of shows over more than 50 years on-stage, on-air and at the White House.
And this concert is special — it’s part of the PAC’s “Connect” series, in which attendees can get a chance to meet and interact with the artists.
“With [Mariachi founder] Natividad ‘Nati’ Cano, we’ll have a jam session,” said Adam Philipson, managing director of the PAC. “Before the show, you can hear a lecture in the PAC about the history of Mariachi, and then if you bring your own instrument, you can actually jam with the Mariachi.”
The Connect session is free and starts at 6 p.m., one hour before the concert at 7. Take your violin, guitar or trumpet. It’s open to the public, but doesn’t include admission to the show. For more information, call (661) 362-5343.
Tickets run $25-45; purchase them now at www.canyonspac.com.
Check out the PAC’s complete 2011-2012 schedule.
SCV LOCAL MUSIC SPOTLIGHT — For the latest on what’s new and hot in local music, we checked in with our friends at Rock Candy Music & More, the Santa Clarita Valley’s only retail record store, at Bouquet and Plum Canyon in Saugus. Staffer Ryan Corbett gave us a report on the store’s Black Friday sale last week.
“It was fun. We sold a lot of stuff,” Corbett said. “We had a lot of Beatles boxed sets, and we had the Nirvana ‘Nevermind’ boxed set. That was pretty hot. We had only one of those, but it sold within the first 10 minutes of the place opening.”
Any new local music?
“We got ‘Mexitucky X-Mas’ by Johnny Bluegrass and the Coonhounds,” he said. They’re a folk-rock duo from Castaic — check them out at www.myspace.com/bluegrasscoonhounds.
As for other new music on the shelves: “There is an album from this band called La Dispute, and the name of that album is ‘Wildlife’,” Corbett said. “We just got it on vinyl and it sounds pretty good. It’s kind of melodic punk.”
Rock Candy Music & More usually presents live shows by local artists on most weekend nights; Saturday, it’s Vufcup and Odaal at 8 p.m.
SCV MUSIC ON TV: OPEN THE CODA, NATHANIEL DOBIES ENCORE ON ‘HOUSE BLEND’ — “House Blend” hosted by yours truly on SCVTV Saturday night at 10 presents an encore broadcast of our show featuring teen rock band Open the Coda and pop/folk singer/songwriter Nathaniel Dobies.
In their first “House Blend” appearance, Santa Clarita’s Open the Coda — guitarist Josh Larson, drummer Trevor Thomas, singer Melanie Parson and bassist Zach Relles — taped their segment at the SCVTV Media Center in Newhall on Oct. 29.
They rocked the house with “Take it or Leave it” and “Prescription Candy,” both band originals as yet unrecorded, and premiered in this edition of the show.
Nathaniel Dobies of Canyon Country, who opens the half hour, also taped his “House Blend” debut at SCVTV on Oct. 29.Performing solo and unplugged, Dobies premiered a pair of originals, “So Many Voices” and “Why Don’t We Do It,” from his forthcoming debut album.
“House Blend” airs Saturdays and Thursdays at 10 p.m. Pacific Time on SCVTV (Time Warner Cable Channel 20 in the Santa Clarita Valley, and AT&T U-Verse Channel 99 in Los Angeles and Orange counties), and streams live everywhere else in the known universe via the Web at www.scvtv.com. The show’s archives are also available 24/7 on demand at www.scvhouseblend.com.
Check out the SCVTV website for more local music listings.
HENRY DILTZ BOOK SIGNINGS IN NYC THIS WEEKEND, L.A. DEC. 10 — There’s a handful of rock photographers who’ve become icons in pop culture, and Henry Diltz is one of them.
Fresh from his 50th anniversary tour picking banjo with the Modern Folk Quartet, Diltz will be guest of honor at book-signing events this weekend in New York and next Saturday in Hollywood.
On both coasts, he’ll present a slide show — where it all began for him in the mid-1960s — and sign copies of his new book, “Unpainted Faces.”
The New York events are Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 3 and 4, from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. at Diltz’s Morrison Hotel Gallery in the SoHo district.
He’ll be at Barnes & Nobles’ location at The Grove at Farmer’s Market, Fairfax and 3rd in L.A. 90036, on Saturday, Dec. 10, starting at 2 p.m.
Because Diltz’s work is so well-known, and he has so many friends and fans in L.A., B&N expects a big turnout and has deemed this a wristband-only affair — B&N people will start giving them out at 9 a.m. to fans who purchase a copy of “Unpainted Faces.”
For more info on the L.A. signing, call (323) 525-0270 or visit the B&N “Unpainted Faces” event page.
As we heard when he was my special guest last year on “House Blend” on SCVTV, Diltz was a musician (the MFQ) long before he picked up a camera as a hobby in 1966 and started taking pictures of his friends and then presenting slide shows. His pals happened to be other musicians, famous and soon-to-be-famous, among them members of Buffalo Springfield, The Lovin’ Spoonful, Crosby, Stills & Nash, Neil Young, CSNY, Joni Mitchell, Cass Elliot, America, Linda Ronstadt, Jackson Browne, James Taylor, The Doors, Eagles and scores more.
Even the most reclusive artists felt comfortable with Diltz because he was one of their own, not a press photographer. What started out as a hobby soon turned into a life’s work as a professional. He has more than 300 album covers to his credit, like the first CSN album, The Doors’ “Morrison Hotel,” James Taylor’s “Sweet Baby James” and Eagles’ “Desperado.”
“Unpainted Faces” is a new book produced by my Rare Cool Stuff Unltd. partners Geoff Gans, Gary Gonzales, Scott Bowman and me for the Morrison Hotel Gallery in New York, in which Diltz is a partner, and which is celebrating its 10th anniversary right now.
Revised, updated and expanded from the original book released only in Japan, “Unpainted Faces” gathers more than 150 of Diltz’s classic black & white images, capturing the aforementioned and many other musical icons, including Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Paul McCartney, Keith Richards, Ron Wood, Richard Pryor, Michael Jackson, Elton John, Bruce Springsteen, in very intimate, human moments.
Individually remarkable, the “Unpainted Faces” images collectively document the rise and further rise of the California rock sound and the singer-songwriter phenomenon of the late 1960s-1970s, among other scenes.
From Laurel Canyon to Monterey Pop, from Woodstock and Miami back to Malibu, as Robby Krieger of The Doors notes in the text, “Henry Diltz always seemed to be in the right place at the right time.” Or, as Eagles’ Glenn Frey puts it, “This is not history, this is evidence!”
As a longtime fan and friend of Henry’s, it was my honor to write the introduction and author biography for the book, which was 100 per cent MADE IN THE U.S.A. by Rare Cool Stuff with eco-friendly domestic paper and printing and binding by American artists and craftspeople.
You can order “Unpainted Faces” right now by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
MORE SCV MUSIC LIVE — Who else is playing in the Santa Clarita Valley this weekend and soon, or spreading the local musical love outside the valley?
Rock bands Hello Monster, Robot Tears and Odaal play in Keyboard Galleria Music Center’s Stage Door performance space on Soledad Canyon Road tonight at 6:45 p.m. Tickets are $5 for all ages.
Serena will perform with rock bands Jelly Woo, Grill Sergeants and Jonny Come Lately at Rusty’s Surf Ranch on the Santa Monica Pier at 8 p.m. Tickets are $12.
Musician and singer/songwriter Melissa Kaye plays free sets every Friday at La Toscana Trattoria Grill in Valencia. Catch her tonight from 7 to 9.
Jay Bolan plays at Salt Creek Grille tonight, starting at 9 p.m.
The Santa Clarita Master Chorale and Santa Clarita Children’s Honor Choir perform classic holiday songs from TV shows and movies, selections from “Messiah” by Handel and the world premiere of Kevin Memley’s “Magnificat” Saturday at 7 p.m. and Sunday at 3:30 p.m. at the Valencia United Methodist Church, 25718 McBean Parkway in Valencia. Tickets are $26 for general admission or $21 for students, seniors and children. Buy tickets online until Dec. 1 at www.canyonspac.com, or call (661) 254-8886.
Golden Oak Adult School’s big jazz band hosts its “Jazz in the Afternoon” concert 3 p.m. in West Ranch High School’s theater on Valencia Boulevard, under the direction of Bob Babko. Tickets cost $10, or $5 for students and seniors. To reserve tickets, call (661) 259-0033, ext. 444.
Jay Bolan plays again at Salt Creek Grille, starting at 9 p.m.
Dave Ford and The Last Set play a free gig from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. in the bar at Salt Creek Grille.
The Babylon Social Club — featuring SCV singer Sarah Niemietz plus Herman Matthews, Bennett Salvay, Leslie Smith, W.G. “Snuffy” Walden and Terry Wilson — rocks Cafe Cordiale in Sherman Oaks. The musical conversation starts at 8:30 p.m. and it’s free.
Chase the Monday blues — BLUES HARMONICA LEGEND KIM WILSON AND HIS ENTIRE ALLSTAR BAND: Including Billy Flynn (guitar) and Barrelhouse Chuck (piano) from Chicago; as well as Richard Innes (drums) and Larry “The Mole” Taylor (bass)!!! – performing at the Maui Sugar Mill Saloon in Tarzana – 8 pm until 9:30. Suggested donation — $15 or $20.
Friday, Dec. 9
College of the Canyons’ Jazz Ensemble and Lab Combos welcome the season with the Holiday Jazz Band Concert 7:30 p.m. at the Santa Clarita Performing Arts Center at COC in Valencia. Tickets cost $5-$10. Buy tickets online at www.canyonspac.com.
Saturday, Dec. 10
The William S. Hart Museum in Newhall celebrates Hart’s 147th birthday with a holiday-themed Western concert featuring the Tumbling Tumbleweeds. Refreshments are provided and attendees can tour the mansion, too. The show starts at 7 p.m. Tickets cost $40 and can be purchased at www.friendsofthepark.org or by calling (661) 254-4594.
COC follows up the jazz concert with its vocal/choral music department in “Sounds of the Season” at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday. Tickets cost $5-$10; buy them online at www.canyonspac.com.
The Skinny Little Twits play classic rock covers and originals from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. at It’s A Grind on The Old Road in Castaic.
Friday, Dec. 16
Canyon High School Band, its alumni and employees from Canyon High School host their annual winter concert at 7 p.m. on Nadal Street in Canyon Country. The fun starts at 7:30 p.m. and it’s free for all ages.
THE WRAP — Hope you enjoyed the 18th journey through Peeples Place at KHTS! You can always visit us right here at www.peeplesplace.com, and at our under-construction Peeples Place Facebook page. Please share the posts and “like” the page and help us build our online community of SCV music-makers and music-lovers. We also invite you to sign up for the weekly newsletter.
If you have a new album to review or music news you’d like us to include in an upcoming post, shoot an email to me at stephen (at) hometownstation.com.
Special thanks this week to all the artists, managers, media relations reps, families, friends and fans. Extra special thanks to Alda Peeples for her invaluable production assistance, and to Nadine A. Peeples for her invaluable encouragement and support.
Stephen K. Peeples is a features writer-reporter and photographer for KHTS Radio News and its website (hometownstation.com) and SCVNews.com in Santa Clarita, Calif. He also writes the occasional blog post for “Peeples Place at KHTS.”
As a top Santa Clarita freelance writer and editor, he provides search engine optimized Web editorial content and social media services for select clients, including Santa Clarita Photographic Studio, Strategic Modularity Inc. and Nineeye Interactive Media.
Previously, Peeples was the CNPA-award-winning online editor and social media manager at The Santa Clarita Valley Signal (2007-2011) and a features writer and columnist covering local music and entertainment for the paper (2004-2011).
Raised by hard-news journalists in Southern Florida and Southern California and a rock-jazz drummer since age 12, Peeples attended Santa Monica College and Ventura College. He was a longtime record industry media relations executive (Capitol Records, Elektra/Asylum Records and Rhino Entertainment, 1977-1998), and sandwiched in eight years as a radio writer/producer (Westwood One Radio Network, 1983-1990).
Peeples is a Grammy-nominated record producer (“Monterey International Pop Festival” boxed set, MIPF/Rhino, 1992) and an award-winning radio producer (Radio Festival of New York medalist for “The Lost Lennon Tapes,” Westwood One, 1988-1990).
Peeples Place at KHTS, Dec. 2, 2011