Jonny '2 Bags' Wickersham Temporarily Sheds His Social D Sideman Role to Go Solo

Categories: Artists We Love

Courtesy of Conqueroo PR
For Social Distortion guitarist and longtime SoCal punk stalwart Jonny 2 Bags, finding a review of his debut solo LP, Salvation Town (set for release this week on Isotone Records), printed in Rolling Stone magazine came as a surprise. The fact that it was a favorable write-up, albeit backhanded--reviewer John D. Luerssen dubs it an "unexpectedly strong debut"--was nothing less than a shocker for the man born Jonny Wickersham. "I was really kind of concentrating on keeping my expectations fairly low," he says. "I've never been down this road before."

Surely, going solo is a long time coming for someone like Wickersham, 46, who has made a career as a full-time guitarist starting in his early 20s. A founding member of the OC bluesy-hardcore band Cadillac Tramps, Wickersham primarily supplied riffs and instrumental arrangements for front man Brian Coakley's songs. Later, during the back half of the '90s, he'd join seminal LA punkers Youth Brigade in a similar role, followed by the U.S. Bombs. In 2000, Mike Ness tapped him to fill the rhythm-guitar/backup-vocals spot in Social Distortion after the death of Dennis Danell.

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Descendents Guitarist Was a Fan of the Band Before He Joined. These Are His Favorite Songs.

Greg Jacobs
Stephen Egerton
Rather than having some schlub (i.e., me) pontificate about how brilliant pop/punk/hardcore pioneers the Descendents are and why everyone should see them Friday as part of the MusInk Tattoo Convention & Music Festival, I thought I'd go to the source. And by "source," I mean Descendents guitarist Stephen Egerton.

Egerton doesn't play on the group's first three full-length albums (1982's Milo Goes to College, 1985's I Don't Want To Grow Up and 1986's Enjoy! ) and one EP (1981's Fat). He joined the band during 1987's ALL, so I figured the Oklahoma resident would offer a unique viewpoint on the songs as someone who is a fan of the band and a member. The group has had one drummer (Bill Stevenson) and singer Milo Aukerman is on all releases except the first single (1979's Ride the Wild), so their opinions might be biased. And original bass player Tony Lombardo and his replacement Doug Carrion couldn't talk about the songs that followed their departures. Same with original guitarist Frank Navetta (who passed away in 2008) and his successor Ray Cooper. Yes, I could have included third bassist Karl Alvarez -- who joined with Egerton in 1986 -- but I don't have his number. I do, however, have Egerton's. Luckily, I was right as the guitarist spoke at length about the difficulty of honoring the legacy of Navetta and Cooper while maintaining his own musical voice.

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Jazz Vocalist Nancy Sanchez Crosses Over With Release of 'Ruby In L.A'

Categories: Artists We Love

Wiant @ SOLID Productions
There's more to Nancy Sanchez than just jazz. Anyone who has seen her monthly performances at Steamers in Fullerton knows her proclivity for busting out original acoustic songs in the middle of her set. So most of her fans are probably surprised to hear those tunes are now the core of Sanchez's full-length debut, Ruby In L.A. Though switching from jazz standards to a slickly produced, pop-flavored album seems a major stylistic change, it actually indicates a return to the past for the OC songstress.

"I started off as a [pop] songwriter," Sanchez says, as she finishes up her day gig of teaching guitar. "When I first started playing guitar, songwriting just came more natural to me. It wasn't until later on I discovered other avenues of music like jazz. Right now, I feel these songs have been with me for so long that they just need to have a life and be out!"

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Darkside's Dave Harrington Always Keeps Improvisation Paramount

Nicolas Jaar (left) and Dave Harrington (right) as Darkside
Part humid, steamed electronics, part Krautrock, part jazz and blues, and existing as something that can only come from the minds of Dave Harrington and Nicholas Jaar, their project as Darkside has produced some of the most sonically interesting and distinct music of the past few years.

"It all happened gradually and naturally," Dave Harrington says when speaking of the groups origins.

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Rival Sons' Schtick-Free Rock is Ripe For NYE Homecoming

Ready to rock Long Beach.

If you were to peruse the Weekly archives from the late '90s and early '00s, there's a musician whose name was covered in Costco-sized tubs of music journo slobber and repeatedly heralded as the next big thing. We had it bad for Long Beach's Jay Buchanan from the first note. It was only a matter of time before Buchanan was a huge star, we screamed, and anyone who didn't agree could just pull up a chair in Hell.

Since 2008, Buchanan's busied himself fronting the 290-horsepower Z28 of rock bands, Rival Sons. Guitarist Scott Holiday's blistering Led Zeppelin-style riffs combined with our old friend's lyrical lovelies and haunting, pitch-perfect vocal chords torqued the band to fame abroad.

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Nipsey Hussle Wants to Build an "Urban Sanrio"

Nipsey Hussle
A couple months ago, our sister paper LA Weekly published a piece entitled "It's Crunch Time for Nipsey Hussle." In it, writer Justin Tinsley examined the 28 year-old LA rapper's career, and how he believed it had come close to a stall. Barely two months later, and already Nipsey Hussle --born Ermias Asghedom-- appears to have broken through the barrier of a slumping career. Largely due to his sheer perseverance and business acumen, Nipsey has rejuvenated his existence as a rapper. Now, Jay Z's buying his albums in bulk and fans are rushing to shell out a hundred dollars to get copies as well. With his latest release Crenshaw (including executive production from Santa Ana producer Wizzo) and a tour trek in the works, Nipsey may even be at a career high.

"I try and put my art first, and I think that people get that I try and put my message first. Form follows function, and the function of what I'm doing is I want to connect to people; I want them to feel what I'm saying and relate to it and be inspired by it. That's what I want to happen first, and then being successful is secondary," the South Central rapper says.

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Dan the Automator Makes "Doing Whatever He Wants" Sound Good

Flickr user "anthonysanfrancisco"
Dan the Automator
The model for the polymath producer might as well be 46 year-old Daniel Nakamura, or Dan the Automator as listeners know him. He's the all-purpose musician, who started out making unorthodox, alternative hip-hop and ended up creating sci-fi rap masterpieces alongside full-fledged, fully-trained orchestras.

"It's always organic...I kind of go wherever I feel like going musically, it's just whatever I feel like at the moment," explains Nakamura.

Nakamura's whole career appears to be a shining, successful example of going wherever an artist feels likes going. At the age of three, his parents propelled him into learning the violin, but by the time he had began growing up the allure of DJing, Run DMC, and LL Cool J had swayed him towards another direction.

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Danny Brown - The Glass House - November 8, 2013

Danny Brown
The Glass House

Detroit rapper Danny Brown must be on one of the best naturally induced highs of his life right now. He just dropped his new album Old to a suffocating wave of acclaim from critics and fans, and his career is at an all-time high, with features on him by virtually every major outlet and venues across the country booking him as if he's about to retire. A few years ago, he had to embark on a long bus ride just to grab a cheesecake, and now we're sure he has people who would probably pay to bring him a wholesale supply of cheesecakes.

Today, Brown is one of the best live performers in hip-hop. He doesn't have the budget of Jay-Z and Kanye, but he has enough charisma and sheer energy to flip a festival crowd from stagnant to starstruck by simple letting out his out high-pitched cackle. He can play alongside bands, DJ's, or whoever else is booked that day, and usually outshine them as if he's always the headlining act wherever he goes.

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Cashius Green: Southern Fried Hip-Hop From Moreno Valley

Cashius Green
For a guy who is just starting to live every young rapper's dream of getting his shot on a major tour, it seems odd that "I Ain't Happy" is the most popular song from local IE-based rapper Cashius Green.

"[I wrote it during] one of those times where I was very confused and that music was my way of escaping that," Green says. "It really takes me back to that time so I can't listen to [it] all the time." When he recorded it, Green's focus on the future was blurry at best. For him, rapping was something he'd been good at but, he wasn't sure he was ready to jump into the music business. "Do I want to rap, or veer off into this pimp shit or whatever else?" he remembers thinking.

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Best OC Musicians By Genre

Categories: Artists We Love

Dahga Bloom
Hey guys, our Best of OC 2013 Issue is out today! The moment you've all been waiting for. In the spirit of cheer leading for our weird little corner of the world, we've broken down a list of the best rockers, rappers, DJs and singers, etc. that we have to offer. The following winners are broken up by genre:

See also: The Top 25 OC Bands of All Time: The Complete List

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