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Shoos Off Overcame Tragedy and Prepare to Kick Out a New Album

Categories: Locals Only

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Melissa Espiritu
After a bad breakup with his first band, Patrick Killeen thought his second outfit, Yogurt Brown, were poised for success. Formed with a few friends, Yogurt Brown had an EP and played a packed show. But just as the band was beginning to pick up steam, Killeen's father passed away, devastating him.

Unable to commit to making music after his loss, Killeen quit the band. He then decided to give standup comedy a try as a creative outlet.

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Nuclear Comics Still Caters to Today's Comic Book Fan

Categories: Locals Only

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Kenny Jacobs
Nuclear Comics in all its glory
At 24 years old, OC native Kenny Jacobs acquired a small business loan, enabling him to buy the barebones of a local comic shop. It hasn't been an easy journey, selling comics over the last two decades. The first year and a half that he owned the store, he worked at Trader Joes and when the economy crashed in 2009 he began working there again to keep the store alive. Despite the ups and downs, Jacobs still lives and breathes comics. Feel like having a stimulating conversation about characters, plot and art? Jacobs is the man to see.

On Dec. 1, Nuclear Comics in Laguna Hills officially celebrated 20 years in business. In honor of the shops big birthday, Jacobs talks with us about the resurgence of OC comic book lover's in the last decade and what makes a good comic preparing us for Wonder Con, coming to Anaheim in April.

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Adam Lasher: OC's Dark Horse on American Idol

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Jackson Belcher
Adam Lasher is a contestant on this year's 14th annual American Idol series hosted by the infamous Jennifer Lopez, Keith Urban and Harry Connick Jr. He began playing piano at 5 but it wasn't until he picked up the guitar in 6th grade that his love for music flourished. Lasher taught himself to sing in high school- it was a slow a painful process he notes. For college he attended Berkelee School of Music in Boston studying guitar, music theory and most notably meeting the future Adam Lasher Band. There's no question that his appeal is wrapped in a combo of talent, gumption and good genes (did we mention Carlos Santana is his Uncle?).

For the last 5 years he's lived throughout Orange County and LA playing a hybrid of rock, latin and jazzy blues at Tommy Bahama, The Cliff and Mozambique. You might have also caught him playing at last year's Decadence event for the Weekly. The humorous singer/songwriter has over 20 songs on iTunes with another album slated for release in 2015. Tune into American Idol, January 22nd, and become entranced with his performing of Rhianna's "Stay."

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C4 & Nicky Gritts' Hip-Hop Party Rock is Juggalo Tested, Stoner Approved

Categories: Locals Only

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Courtesy of C4 and Nicky Gritts
Nicky Gritts (left) and C4mula (right)
For any local act, the formula for blowing up basically boils down to four things: time, hustle, luck, and chemistry. Few OC rappers know more about that then C4mula, the Orange-based emcee who's had plenty of brushes with fame since he picked up the mic. And while he's shared the stage with nearly every OC rapper of note in the last decade or so, it's funny that his biggest break to date is the result of pairing up with the skinny, scruffy guitarist who most of his hip-hop buddies used to describe as "the punk rock guy." But he found an unlikely partnership with friend and Orange-bred singer/songwriter Nicky Gritts--one that combines deft lyricism and charisma with catchy, melodic vocals and hooks that inspire you to turn down your cares and turn up the volume.

Officially pairing up at the beginning of 2014, C4 & Nicky Gritts got the kind of jump start that few practitioners of hip-hop/stoner party rock could comprehend. In the last several months, they've toured the U.S. with Kottonmouth Kings, signed with their homegrown label United Family Music, and even wound up on stage at last summer's Gathering of the Juggalos all before releasing their first single.


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Long Beach Has a Fight Club For Musicians?

Categories: Locals Only

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Courtesy of Jason Keam
Kelsey Gonzales (left) and Nick Pimental (right) on stage at Fight Club LBC
Showing up on the dark dance floor of Fight Club guarantees one thing--you're going to get hit. Luckily, at Fight Club LBC at Que Sera, they're the kind of hits that typically land on the downbeat as the club's house band goes off on another thumping jam that leaves you feeling sweaty, sore, and satisfied. Since last September, an impromptu gathering of seasoned Long Beach musicians has evolved into a monthly event that--unlike Brad Pitt's fictional slugfest--has plenty of locals talking about it. But even though it's not an actual brawl, it's not really the kind of place you can stand around and be a spectator.

"My vision when we first started doing this was to have this be something reminiscent of what New York was in the '80s," says bass player and vocalist Kelsey Gonzalez. "Everybody on the dancefloor was dancing and the music was good. You can't get that in LA as much because people are scared to dance. But people aren't scared to dance in Long Beach."

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The Doll Hut's New Owner Survives First Year

Categories: Locals Only

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Rickett & Sones
Mac McGarvey: Guardian of the Doll Hut
New Year's Day might seem like a natural time of celebration for revived punk roadhouse the Doll Hut. But it's not. It's really more of a sobering day of remembrance of a narrowly avoided tragedy.

"That's actually the day the Hut officially closed," says current owner Michael "Mac" McGarvey. "I got the keys on the 2nd and we started again from there." The reopening of the Doll Hut was--and still is--one of things we remember most about 2014. One year later, it still feels surreal for the club's husky former talent buyer, who bought the place with his girlfriend Tammy Butler with nary a shred of bar owning experience.

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Wordovmouth Teaches Artists a Lesson in Self Promotion

Categories: Locals Only

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Courtesy Mike Meza
Mike Meza, creator of Wordovmouth
Mike Meza's fondness for Proof Bar is clear. In the mid 00's, it was one of the first venues that the former bassist of the Living Suns (now Dahga Bloom) was able to book a show and cause a ruckus. Within months of their first gig at the Santa Ana club, his band were able to stuff the place with beer-swigging longhairs and DIY scene kids banging their heads to the Suns' feedback-laden, fire-breathing psych rock. A decade later he still considers the club his stomping grounds, only now he doesn't have to be on the stage to create the scene.

Last summer, Meza became a promoter for Proof and created a live band event on Wednesday and Sunday nights called Wordovmouth. Since then, it's become a space where young bands and solo artists of all types come to test their mettle and sweat out their stage fright. And, as the name suggests, it's also a place bands go to learn a few lessons about self promotion.

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Living Out of His Truck, Lefty Phillips Never Loses Faith in the Blues

Categories: Locals Only

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Ken Stafford
Lefty Phillips (left) with bassist Paul Bonnano
Lefty Phillips is reminded of the choice he made every morning, as he wakes up in the bed of his 1996 Ford Tacoma. The day creeps in and warms the worn, gray camper shell over his head. He's gotten good at finding inconspicuous overnight parking in Long Beach's residential areas.

"To my surprise, there are lots of places to park where people don't seem to mind," Phillips says with a note of optimism.

Still, sometimes it's awkward exiting his vehicle in the morning, shaking off last night's gig as people are jumping into their cars to go to work. Inside his cozy abode, Phillips has the bare necessities: a feathered comforter, a camping stove, an amp and a couple of electric guitars.
It's been more than a year since Phillips started living out of his truck in February 2013, busking on the streets by day, playing clubs by night. After the economic crash of the late '00s and losing his last job as a janitor at a local community college, the 45-year-old guitarist had enough of working for the Man.

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DJ Carisma: Santa Ana's Hometown Heroine

Categories: Locals Only

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Lalo the Giant
DJ Carisma
When it comes to spinning hip-hop on the ones and twos, DJ Carisma is the sole woman you'll find on the FM dial in Los Angeles. Her distinctive platform on Power 106 didn't come easy. Deejaying, as with other elements of the culture, is all too often a man's world.

Carisma, who grew up all over Orange County, finally landed in Santa Ana, whose only notable claim on rap radio comes courtesy of a verse in Warren G's "This DJ." While an unlikely launching pad for a girl with DJ dreams, the city influenced Carisma's eclectic take in her mixes. "My dad was always into blues, jazz and classic rock," Carisma says. "My mom was always into her Christian and Hawaiian music. . . . Everyone listened to everything in my family except for hip-hop."


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Rapper XYZ Makes Hip-Hop for Gamers

Categories: Locals Only

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Frank Ishman
After he got his drivers license suspended as a teenager for drag racing, rapper Jason Park had a tough decision to make. Born in Hawaii and spending a chunk of his childhood in Columbus, Ga. with his mother, the avid video gamer knew his budding basketball career was done, and now, even though he could still race without a license, it wasn't a viable option.

Thankfully, Park had another hobby: writing and recording music.

A self-described R&B head who was influenced by the likes of Next and Boyz II Men, he made his first song as a sophomore in high school at a friend's house and was instantly hooked. With his basketball and driving aspirations in the rearview mirror, music provided him a much-needed creative outlet and Park put together a small studio in his room where he could record songs for fun.

"I never thought I'd make music, but I noticed when I recorded my first song, I couldn't stop," he says looking back at those early days.

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