The Five Best Rocket from the Crypt Songs

Greg Jacobs
You know that old saying parents love to use about how impossible it is to pick their favorite child? Well, I don't have kids, but I bet choosing little Marisa over that brat Johnny is much easier than having to choose the five best Rocket from the Crypt songs. Don't believe me? Consider these three facts:

1. Most kids suck, so if one is good it's gotta be pretty easy to figure out your favorite.

2. According to the all-knowing, the San Diego sextet has released seven full-length albums, a live record, three compilations, two EPs and more than 20 7-inches. Them's a lot of songs.

3. Rocket from the Crypt is the greatest band in the world. Similarly, Rocket from the Crypt has been, since its inception in 1990, the greatest band in the world, was the greatest band in the world even when they took a hiatus from 2005-2013 (and when they took a hiatus from their hiatus for 2011's appearance of the children's television program Yo Gabba Gabba!) and will continue to be the greatest band in the world until the day all humans die and robot cockroaches take over.

So picking the five best songs ain't easy. Also not easy is seeing Rocket from the Crypt this weekend as San Diego's finest are playing two sold-out shows as part of Alex's Bar's 15-year anniversary. And even harder is the fact that the band was supposed to play Sunday at the Observatory as part of the Indigo Fest, but that has been canceled.

Here, then, are the five best Rocket from the Crypt songs to get you through if you can't see them this weekend. And, in full disclosure, I love this band so much this list could be
completely different if I wrote it tomorrow.

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Joey Diaz Smokes Weed That'll Make You See The Devil

Jesse Grant
I would smoke weed whether it was legal or not.
Some call him "Uncle Joey" and some call him "CoCo," but whatever you call comedian Joey Diaz, there's no doubt his brand of truth telling is always hilarious. On December 17, Diaz will be doing his popular podcast "The Church Of What's Happening Now" live from the Laugh Factory in Long Beach all in the name of lifting your spirit with laughter and before the big event goes down, we talked to him about it--as well as general topics like marijuana and "getting your shit together."

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Soulific Records Brings Rare Funk, Jazz and Latin Vinyl to Long Beach

Sarah Bennett
Rodi Delgadillo inside his 4th St. shop.

Long Beach's Soulific Records isn't your typical record store. Inside the second-floor, 12-foot-by-12-foot converted office the 5-month-old store calls home, a few wooden racks hold impeccably maintained vinyl copies of funk, jazz, soul and Latin albums so obscure that most of the producers, collectors and DJs who care about them would only find them after years of digging through the proverbial crates.

Among the selection is an original pressing of Roy Ayers' 1976 album, Vibrations; a private pressing of Bobby Guajardo y su Orquesta's La Marranita; and a pristine specimen of Larry Young's jazz fusion album, Fuel--all rarities that would be more commonly found overpriced on eBay or specialty websites such as

But here at Soulific, the crates have been dug for you, and each item on display has been personally selected, cleaned and reasonably priced by owner Rodi Delgadillo, a local record collector and veteran all-vinyl DJ who co-founded the seminal Long Beach funk-and-soul club the Good Foot.

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Jack Curtis Dubowsky Experiments With Classical Music in Long Beach

Categories: long beach

Jack Curtis Dubowski Ensemble
The score for "How I Got to Long Beach" doesn't look like what you'd expect from a composer with years of classical music training in some of the country's best conservatories. In fact, it's not really what you'd expect a score to look like at all.

In order to tell the other two members of his ensemble how to perform his latest multimedia work of experimental music, Long Beach-based avant-garde composer Jack Curtis Dubowsky used a little bit of traditional notation, but mostly screenshots from the accompanying video, idiomatic gestures and vague instructions about what the piece should sound like and when.

It's not uncommon to see directions like "dark chugging" or "excitement, evil" next to more specific, pre-composed material and calls for "staccato!" During live performances of the 45-minute "How I Got to Long Beach"--which debuted last month at Third Eye Records--the audience remains unaware of Dubowsky's bizarre form of written communication.

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Hot Snakes Prove That a Band With Two Drummers is Twice as Good

Hot Snakes' first two records (2000's Automatic Midnight and 2002's Suicide Invoice) feature Jason Kourkounis on drums, but the band's third release, 2004's Audit in Progress, was recorded with drummer Mario Rubalcaba, who became a permanent member for the group's final two years. So, when singer/guitarist Rick Froberg, guitarist John Reis and bassist Gar Wood decided to reunite in 2011, they had a decision to make.

Luckily for fans, the threesome opted to include both Kourkounis and Rubalcaba, allowing each drummer to perform the material he recorded. Taking a quick break mid-set to change skinsmen might sound odd, but it's not. In fact, it's fucking awesome not only because audiences get to see both versions of Hot Snakes but because Kourkounis and Rubalcaba are phenomenal drummers who deserve to be heard.

Still, having two drummers isn't the norm, which is why I spoke to Rubalcaba and Kourkounis in regards to their band's upcoming show at Alex's Bar in Long Beach on Sept. 18 to find out what they plan on doing when the other guy is on stage.

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The Dwarves and The Queers - Alex's Bar - July 16, 2014

Ryan Ritchie
The Dwarves
The Dwarves and The Queers
Alex's Bar

As far as Dwarves shows go, last night's at Alex's Bar was fairly uneventful. And by that, I mean no one got naked, stabbed, punched or vomited on. Then again, the self-proclaimed best band ever (seriously, they have a song called "The Dwarves Are Still The Best Band Ever") ditched their infamous on-stage debauchery sometime in the mid to late 1990s, so if you went to Long Beach looking for sex and violence, you were probably let down.

That said, the current Dwarves -- singer Blag Dahlia, guitarist The Fresh Prince of Darkness, bassist Chip Fracture and drummer Gregory Pecker -- still fucking rule. Of course, the absence of long-time guitarist HeWhoCannotBeNamed was sorely missed, but anytime a naked man in a wrestling mask isn't somewhere, absences will be sorely missed.

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Long Beach Summer and Music Series Lineups Announced

Categories: long beach

Sarah Bennett
First-year Buskerfest winners Pawn Shop Kings
In a city like Long Beach that has long harbored a tenuous relationship with live music (aka it's hard to find places with the permits play it and rarely does the city make it easy to host festivals that feature it), an entirely free summer series that brings music to the streets sounds like downright insanity.

For the last five years, however, the Downtown Long Beach Associates--a nonprofit organization funded by residents and businesses in the dowtown area--has put on Summer and Music, a series of four events over four months that each feature local bands, food and beer in a themed, often family-friendly setting.

Though some of the events have changed concepts, locations and genres over the years, constants like Buskerfest (a good-natured competition which pits small-time bands against each other in the East Village Arts District) and Funkfest (with acts like Charles Wright and Fred Wesley, James Brown's bandleader) has helped Summer and Music be thrice named OC Weekly's Best Music Festival.

This summer, local music fans can expect more of the same and some of the different, according to the lineup for SAM's sixth iteration, released Thursday. Notably missing is Funkfest, which last year had to move to a ticketed system and this year will be a Queen Mary event held on September 1. Below are the four SAM events coming to Long Beach streets this summer:

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Long Beach Remembers the Life of Markus Manley

Categories: long beach

Artists, musicians and friends will gather in Long Beach tomorrow to celebrate Markus Manley, a local community activist and co-founder of Work Evolution Laboratories (WE Labs), who passed away March 18 due to complications from autoimmune hepatitis. He was 39.

As an artist, concert promoter and entrepreneur, Manley had a unifying impact on wide swaths of Long Beach culture for years. His community work culminated in WE Labs, an office and workspace for small business start-ups, freelancers and creative professionals that has become a downtown hub of innovation. Before that, Manley established himself as a force for good by filling Long Beach venues like the Blue Café and the Basement with local music and community events.

"Markus was the brains behind one of the first free music festivals in downtown Long Beach that featured local bands, which was a predecessor to summer music festivals like Buskerfest," says Menchie Caliboso, who collaborated with Manley and Sarah Bennett to start an organization called the Society for Long Beach Music, which champions the LBC's outsized impact on music and culture. "The essence of his role in Long Beach was that when someone had an idea that they wanted to execute, he was a really good resource ... if you brought him an idea, he would help it take off."

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The G-Funk Fest - The Observatory - March 15, 2014

Yes, that's Spice-1 and MC Eiht on the same stage at the same time.
The G-Funk Fest
The Observatory
March 15, 2014

It's been three years since west coast hip-hop's most respected crooner Nate Dogg passed away. Like all other hip-hop artists who have passed, his death only seemed to bolster his impact and bring it back to the spotlight. It's well deserved too; what would California summers and springs even be like without hearing a Nate Dogg hook somewhere during your daily routine?

Though the G-Funk era seems pretty dated in 2014, it lives on through the artists of the era who still produce music and do shows, and through its impact on the current West Coast revival. The Observatory celebrated the life of Nate Dogg and and his contemporaries in the fashion it knows best: hip-hop bills filled with west coast rap veterans, including Warren G, MC Eiht, Spice 1, Kokane & Big Hutch of Above the Law, and 2nd II None. That's four musical sectors of California -- Long Beach, LA, the Bay Area, and Pomona -- covered within a few hours.

See also: The Top Rappers in OC

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Final Conflict Explain Their Break-Up Just in Time For Their Reunion

Angela Boatwright
This weekend, Alex's Bar celebrates 14 years of coolness with anniversary shows. Friday's lineup includes the recently reunited bands Final Conflict of Orange County/Long Beach, and hardcore band BL'AST! from Santa Cruz. You can also see the Stitches and Smogtown, and Saturday's show features Swingin' Utters, Old Man Markley, the Black Tibetans, Devil Dogs and Transistor LB.

Yeah, those are all great bands to interview, but I knew I had to speak to Final Conflict singer Ron Martinez. Not only was the 48-year-old a staple of Orange County punk (he booked shows everywhere -- including Chain Reaction -- and worked at Greene Records), he's been a friend for a decade and we hadn't spoken in far too long because he moved to Austin, Texas, four years ago, which might have something to do with the healing of my liver.

Friendship aside, Final Conflict was always a powerful live act. And the group's 1987 record Ashes to Ashes slays and if you don't own it, you should because it's like that dream you had when Black Flag and Black Sabbath became the same band.

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