For an interview in 2011, at 10 a.m. on Super Bowl Sunday, Isaiah "Ikey" Owens insisted on meeting for drinks at the V Room, a dive bar on 4th Street in Long Beach.
Photo by Matt Cohn Photo by Matt Cohn The Holden Community Wall, on 4th St. in Long Beach near Retro Row, has become a makeshift memorial to Ikey Owens.
As he sipped a Jim Beam neat, he talked about hanging out in the early days with pre-Fergie Black Eyed Peas (who were playing the Super Bowl halftime show that year), why he was considering leaving the behemoth prog-rock arena band The Mars Volta, and the creative inroads he was making through his new fledging career as a producer and mentor.
He also discussed at length his not-so-solo-anymore project, Free Moral Agents, which grew from a bedroom recording experiment into a psych-y, jazzy, beat-pummeling collective that was already playing places like Low End Theory. Having spent most of his time on stage as someone else's hired gun, he liked that it allowed him to do the hiring for once.
Few local session musicians built out their careers by working across genres and in roles as diverse as those tackled by Owens.
For the last two decades, the 38-year-old Long Beach-bred keyboardist and producer collaborated and performed with dozens of bands both local and large, earning his most public praise (and one Grammy) for his work with Long Beach Dub Allstars, The Mars Volta and, most recently, Jack White.More »