Fill in The Blank


Union-Tribune pop music critic George Varga conducts freewheeling off-the-cuff interviews with notable San Diego musicians about their work and what inspires them to do what they do. Each guest plays excerpts from a dozen or more songs by their favorite artists and discusses how these songs and artists influenced their own music. Listener participation is welcome at our toll-free number: (866) 818-6384. Anyone who correctly identifies the theme music for Fill In The Blank wins a free meal with George.



Recent Shows


Robin Adler and guitarist Dave Blackburn - Download

They perform some songs, talk about their approach to Mitchell's genre-leaping music and about their own work. In addition, Dave (who is from England and has two degrees in English) will explain why split-infiinitives are sometimes acceptable when translating hillbilly haikus into Latin.


Published: May 29, 2009


Joe Harris - Download

San Diego's Joey Harris has been a mainstay of the local music scene since at least 1980, when he led the local super-group The Fingers. A few years later he was heading, Joey Harris & The Speedsters, which released one classic album in 1983 and shared the same manager as Tina Turner.

Joey went on to replace Buddy Blue in The Beat Farmers and has since led or co-led numerous bands here. To preview his upcoming new album, "Joey Harris & The Mentals," Joey will be the guest today on Fill in the Blank, my weekly live music interview show on AmplifySd.com.


Published: May 22, 2009


LAID-BACK: Troubadours guests - Download

Jenn Grinels was one of three San Diego singer-songwriters who was our guest today on Fill In The Blank. Jenn was be joined by Jefferson Jay and Jason Burleson, which means you'll get a triple treat -- and a free preview of the upcoming Acoustic Evenings at the Athenaeum concert series in La Jolla.

Jenn, Jefferson and Jason will each performed a song or two and discussed their work, as well as the new, non-profit organization Jefferson has launched to help promote indie music in San Diego.


Published: May 15, 2009


B-Side Players - Download

San Diego's B-Side Players celebrate a milestone event this year -- the band's 15th anniversary.

To mark this momentous event, B-Side Players, release a hot new album on Tuesday, "Radio Afro Mexica," the title of which hints at the genre-leaping group's diverse musical range. The band performs here Friday night at downtown's House of Blues, three days after headlining a Cinco de Mayo concert at the Hollywood House of Blues.

But you don't have to wait to hear this acclaimed band. Four members of the B-Side Players willl be the guests Monday on Fill In The Blank, my weekly live music radio show on AmplifySD.com.

They'll talk about their 15 years of music-making and their new album, as well as playing a song or two live in the studio.


Published: May 4, 2009


Jose Sinatra - Download

San Diego music institution Jose Sinatra returns to celebrate the 25th anniversary of his anthemic song, "We Are The Whales."


Published: April 27, 2009


John Reis - Download

John Reis is the leader of The Night Marchers, the fiery San Diego rock band that released one of last year's best albums, "See You in Magic."

Reis, the former leader of such pioneering area bands as Rocket From The Crypt, Drive Like Jehu and Hot Snakes, performs early Sunday afternoon at Coachella with The Night Marchers.

Reis is also a co-owner of North Park's Park Bar Pink and the founder of Swami Records.

Reis will discuss everything from his colorfully named first bands in junior high school, which apparently never made it beyond playing in his bedroom, to mysticism in Hawaiian music, what it was like opening for a Pat Benatar cover band in the Midwest and the enduring greatness of James Brown, Bo Diddley and Black Flag. He'll also talk about some of Rocket's memorable European tour experiences and reveal his very early days in music as a budding orchestral conductor (again, mostly in his bedroom) and his fondness for the music of everyone from bluesman R.L. Burnside to the Electric Light Orchestra.


Published: April 13, 2009


FIRST BASS: Kristin Korb - Download

Simultaneously playing an upright bass and singing, while leading her own jazz band, is second nature for Kristin Korb. A Montana native who moved here in 1992 to attend UCSD, where she studied with contrabass legend Bertram Turetzky, Kristin performs here with her trio Wednesday at Anthology, where she'll celebrate the release of her fifth album, "In the Meantime," which she is releasing on her own label, the slyly named Double K.


Published: April 6, 2009


8th annual Spring Reverb festival - Download

Vocal maverick Toni Pope is one of the more than two-dozen envelope-shredding musicians who will perform at this weekend's 8th annual Spring Reverb festival at three different area venues. To be held Friday through Sunday, the festival is presented by Trummerflora, a freewheeling, independent San Diego music collective that is dedicated to creating music that knows no conventional boundaries in style or sound.

Pope, poet Roger Aplon, singer Nina Deering and vibraphonist/percussionist Nathan Hubbard will discuss their music and the festival. They'll also perform in various musical combinations to give you a sense of Spring Reverb's tone and flavor.


Published: March 30, 2009


GRACE SLICK: Rock legend - Download

There weren't many rock legends like Grace Slick back in the 1960s -- and there aren't any now. That's why we're so excited that the former Jefferson Airplane singer-turned-painter will be the special guest today on Fill In The Blank.

A pioneering rock singer in the 1960s and '70s, Slick helped San Francisco's Jefferson Airplane soar to prominence with such classic songs as "White Rabbit" and "Somebody to Love." She also performed around the world with the band, including at two of the biggest rock festivals of 1969, the peace-and-love-fueled Woodstock and the violence-and-death-marred Altamont (during which fellow Airplane singer Marty Balin was punched out mid-song after trying to break up a nearby altercation).

When she was 21, Slick briefly worked in downtown San Diego at Marston's Department Store. After rising to stardom with Jefferson Airplane, she became nearly as well known for her social and political activism as for her powerful, impassioned voice and sometimes mind-bending lyrics. She was also one of the few rock singers of her era who was regarded as both a sex symbol and a no-nonsense feminist. Her influence on several generations of subsequent rock singers continues to be signifcant and there are at least several current young rock acts named White Rabbit, after the "Alice in Wonderland"-inspied lyrics Slick wrote for the Airplane's acid-rock anthem, "White Rabbit."

Retired from music since 1989, when she left the more commercially oriented band Jefferson Starship, Slick is now a devoted painter, whose work is shown in galleries across the country. Her next local showing will be March 28 and 29 at the Wentworth Gallery in La Jolla, where she will be on hand to mingle with fans and personally unveil one of her latest paintings, which celebrates this year's 40th anniversary of Woodstock.


Published: March 23, 2009


San Diego Indie Fest - Download

Get ready for the 2009 edition of San Diego Indie Fest.


This year's edition, the fifth, will take place March 28 on 8 indoor and outdoor stages near (but not in) the Birch North Park Theatre on University Avenue. A total of 85 bands will perform, including actress/vocalist Juliette Lewis and her latest band, Juliette & The New Romantiques, SiSe and such diverse local talents as Rhythm & The Method, MC Flow, The Burning of Rome and Hectic Watermelon.


Hear an exclusive interview and performance by Indie Fest co-founders Danielle LoPresti and Alicia Champion on today's show.


Alicia and Danielle will discuss this year's Indie Fest -- which, in addition to a wealth of musical offerings -- will also include an Indie film festival, comedy and more. They'll also perform a few songs live in the studio, pick a favorite recording or two to play by some of the artists fatured on this year's Indie Fest sampler CD, and chat about the recording studio they run, DURGA Sound.


Published: March 16, 2009


PAYING HOMAGE: All-star lineup salutes Lou Curtiss - Download

Over the years, Lou Curtiss has served as a mentor here to everyone from Tom Waits, Mojo Nixon and Big Sandy to A.J. Croce and Gregory Page.

Lou, his wife, Virginia, and three top local musicians -- Gregory Page, Robin Henkel and Chris Clarke -- will talk and perform on today's show.

As Waits, Nixon, et al, will happily attest, Lou is also the owner of Folk Arts Rare Records, a local goldmine of roots music, where Waits used to hang out back in the late 1960s and sometimes performed solo shows. "Folk Arts is a soul-food library and seed bank, much like the Library of Congress, where you go to light your torch," Waits told the Union-Tribune a few years ago. "All the secrets of the universe are there."


Lou -- or rather, the Lou Curtiss Sound Library Preservation Project -- will be saluted Friday night at a benefit concert at North Park's Old Time Music. In addition to Page, Henkel and Clarke (who will play with his band, Plow), other scheduled performers include Curt Bouterse, Patty Hall, Phil Boroff, Sara Petite, Wayne Brandon, Tanya Rose & The Buffalo Chip Kickers, Allen Singer & Dane Terry, and Los Californios. With a ticket price of $10 at the door -- "no maximum" -- this should be one of the best live music buys of the month.


Proceeds will help underwrite Lou's ongoing work to preserve his library of 90,000 hours of recorded music, much of it cut live at various festivals he's overseen in San Diego over the past 42 years.

Many of those recordings were made at the now sadly dormant San Diego Folk Festival, which Lou founded back in 1967. Until he was unceremoniously elbowed out a few years ago, Lou was the longtime guiding light for music programming at two major annual events here that grew out of his folk festival, the Adams Avenue Street Fair and the Adams Avenue Roots & Folk Festival (which this year takes place April 25-26 and will feature a number of the artists performing at Friday's benefit concert, including Page, Petite, Henkel, Hall, Boroff and Clarke).


Published: March 9, 2009


JUANITA GOES TO REHAB: Show debuts this week at Sushi - Download

Like many fans of rock music and poetry, Teresa Gunn's life was profoundly changed after she attended her first concert by Patti Smith and had a revelation.

"I watched this skinny girl on stage spitting and drinking cough syrup. I thought: 'Wow, I can do this!'," recalled Gunn.

Since that time, Gunn has raised a family and followed her muse, recording at least a dozen solo albums, including such provocative works as Trailer Park Queen" and, in 2006, "Juanita Goes to Rehab." That's also the title of her new multi-media show, which runs Thursday through Sunday at downtown's Sushi, A Center for the Urban Arts.

Gunn will discuss her upcoming Sushi show on today's program, as well as her work with Street of Dreams/Musicians for Education, a nonprofit organization at San Diego City College that helps hoomeless and at-risk youths learn to express themselves through poetry and spoken word.


Published: February 23, 2009


A.J. Croce and Ingrid Croce - Download

The music of Jim Croce has thrived for longer than Croce was alive, thanks to the high quality of his songs and the tireless efforts of his widow, Ingrid, and their son, singer-songwriter A.J. Croce, to sustain his legacy.



Jim Croce was only 30 when he died in a 1973 plane crash in Louisiana. It occured shortly after he and his wife, Ingrid, moved to San Diego with their only child, A.J., who was one week shy of his second birthday when his dad perished. A.J. and Ingrid will both be the guests today on Fill In The Blank.

The show will start with A.J., who will perform one of his songs, and talk about his recent move to Nashville. Then Ingrid will join us and she and A.J. will talk about Jim Croce, who scored 8 top 40 hits between 1972 and 1974, four of them posthumously. His chart-topping "Time in a Bottle" has since been covered by everyone from Jerry Reed, Christine Collister and Bo Bice to Glenn Campbell and The Muppets. Croces other songs have been covered by Tori Amos, Frank Sinatra, Dolly Parton and many more, as well as being featured in such recent TV series as "Eli Stone" and "Life on Mars."




Published: February 2, 2009


The Penetrators - Download

In 1977, four pioneering San Diego punk bands -- The Penterators(shown at left), The Zeros, The Dils and The Hitmakers -- performed together at the Adams Avenue Theater, although three of those four bands soon moved on to seek fame and fortune in Los Angeles, San Francisco and even London.

The Pentetrators stayed put in San Diego and spent the next seven years spearheading the punk scene here, opening shows for The Ramones at SDSU in 1978, sharing bills with X and headlining countless gigs at such now much-missed venues as the Skeleton Club, the North Park Lions Club and Abbey Road. By 1980, The Pens were big enough to sell out Golden Hall; by 1984, the band was no more, although its former members went on to play in such fabled area bands as the Beat Farmers and The Jacks.

Penetrators drummer Dan McClain, who gained greater notoriety as Country Dick Montana in the Beat Farmers, sadly died in 1995. The Pens reunited in 2005 to play five songs in his honor at a memorial concert at the Casbah, then reunited once more a few months later. The Pens have not performed again since, which makes their pending Saturday reunion gig at the Casbah really special (lead singer Gary Heffern is flying in from Finland.) We'll have a feature on the band in this Thursday's Night&Day.


Published: January 19, 2009


Rock the Casbah - Download

Tim Mays may not play in a band, but over the past few decades, he and his Casbah partners, Bob Bennett and Harlan Schiffman, have done more to promote and bring good music to San Diego than almost anyone else you can name.

As the driving force behind the Skeleton Club back in the late 1970s and -- more recently -- The Casbah, this city's most renowned live indie-rock venue, the three have showcased hundreds of local, regional, national and international acts over the years. They range from X, Lydia Lunch and Arcade Fire to Alanis Morissette, Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings, Nirvana, Smashing Pumpkins and such homegrown favorites as Rocket From the Crypt, El Vez and Trumans Water, to name just a few.

Schiffman, Bennett and Mays, who also is a driving force behind the Starlite Lounge, will be the special guests.


Published: January 12, 2009


Earthless - Download

Two of the Earthless' members, guitarist Isaiah Mitchell and drummer Mario Rubalcaba will guest on today's show, which will also feature some music from Earthless' recent "Live at Roadburn" album. Mario, as you may know, is the former drummer in Rocket From the Crypt and Clikatat Ikatowi, so expect the interview to include a little San Diego music history as well.


Published: January 5, 2009


RUGBURN NIRVANA! Steve Poltz - Download


Published: December 22, 2008


San Diego jazz dynamo Gilbert Castellanos - Download


Published: December 1, 2008


KILT BY ASSOCIATION: Manuok - Download

Born in Scotland and raised in Virginia and California, Manuok (a/k/a Scott Mercado) is one of San Diego's most versatile and in-demand musicians.

His resume includes touring and recording with such area luminaries as The Black Heart Procession, The Album Leaf, Via Satellite and Tristeza, to name just some of his credits.

Scott will play a few unplugged songs, live, in our state-of-the-art studio (which -- in honor of Beck -- features no turntables and a microphone); talk about his arresting new album, "No End To Limitations" (a title that may or may not have been inspired by a chat he may have had about me with one of my former girlfriends); and answer yoiur questions.


Published: November 17, 2008


ONLY MIRRORS: Drew Andrews - Download

In addition to his work as a full-time touring member of The Album Leaf, this gifted young San Diego musician toured Europe this spring as a member of From The Shade, a group that also includes fellow Album Leaf members Matt Resovich and Andrew Pates.

Drew's arresting debut solo album, "Only Mirrors," will be released Nov. 4 on both vinyl and CD by Chicago-based Minty Fresh Records. He'll talk about the album and perform a few songs from it, live and unplugged.


Published: October 27, 2008


MOVE OVER, SARAH PALIN! The Flimz - Download

While it's possible that GOP vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin will play the flute when she appears on TV's Saturday Night Live tomorrow, we're confident she won't sing anything, let alone a catchy little dittty about herself called "Palin's VPILF Blues."

But no matter. Because The Flimz -- the irrepressible San Diego duo of Annie Dru and Amy Mayer (shown here to your right) -- will perform the song. Annie and Amy were so inspired by the nation's favorite moose-hunting Alaskan political maverick that they wrote this delightfully skewed muscial tribute in her honor. (You can watch their video version of the song by clicking on the link at the bottom of this post.)

The Flimz will also perform at least one other original song on my show with string-driven support from bassist Beston "Six-Pack Plumber" Barnett. The two alluring singer-songwriters released their self-titled debut album last year, with accompaniment from such local music luminaries as drummer Brian "Nucci" Cantrell, dancing multi-instrumentalist Christopher Hoffee of The Truckee Brothers, saxophonist Gerald Nolan and former Russian shot-putter turned tuba-player Boris "Yuri" Kuzmin, whose current whereabouts are, sadly, a mystery (so much so, we're told, that this may not even be him in the preceding video clip) .

Annie and Amy will also discuss their music and preview their upcoming Christmas show at Lestat's (confirmed guests thus far include such local music luminaries as: Lisa Sanders; Robin Henkel; Christopher Dale; Sara Petite; and Sven-Erik Seaholm. There's also a chance that Amy and Annie will suggest the most effective ways that devoted parents can support their kids' water polo teams without actually, like, attending the games.


Published: October 20, 2008


Anna Troy - Download

Anna Troy is only 23, but she's already had at least two music careers.

The first came when Anna was barely past sweet 16 and she and her younger sister, Lindsey, got signed to a major label deal by Elektra Records as The Troy Sisters. Elektra groomed the Troys as the next "Avril Lavigne" (times two) and hired the Troys a band, a vocal coach, fashion consultants and more. But, as is often the case in Hollywood, the album never came out and The Troys returned to San Diego, a little older and a lot wiser. It was then that Anna happily became the master of her own, completely independent, musical destinty.

You can read all about Anna right here.


Published: September 22, 2008


Street Scene Preview - Download

Street Scene celebrates its 24th year next weekend adjacent to Petco Park. George Varga speaks with Street Scene founder Rob Hageyand Casbah honcho Tim Mays.


Published: September 15, 2008


Ben Moore - Download

Not to be confused with the Broadway musical composer of the same name, Ben Moore is one of San Diego's most prominent indie-music producers and recording engineers. He has worked with everyone from The Night Marchers, Switchfoot and Joanie Mendenhall to Karl Denson, Burt Bacharach and both Ravi and Anoushka Shankar.

As if that wasn't enough, Ben is also a gifted organist and a driving force behind the funk-jazz band Pocket, which drops its debut album this week and will perform tonight at the Ocean Beach Farmer's Market, Friday at Winston's, and every Thursday this month at Croce's Jazz Bar.

Ben will be the guest today. We'll talk about his many recording activities and hear music by Pocket, Loam, Vertibird and other local artists Ben has worked with.


Published: September 8, 2008


Alex Woodard - Download

From TV's "The Love Boat" to the world of high finance, Leucadia singer-songwriter Alex Woodard brings an unusually varied background to his music, which he'll play and discuss.

Alex will perform a few songs from his fourth and latest album, the self-titled "Alex Woodard." He'll also play a few of his favorite recordings by Bruce Springsteen, U2 and Shawn Mullins. As a preview, you can watch Alex's video of "Beautiful Now" (his co-star, former Miss Universe Dayanara Torres, sadly, will not be joining us for the interview).


Published: August 25, 2008


SHE DOES IT ALL: Laura Roppe - Download

San Diego native Laura Roppe's picture doesn't appear in the dictionary next to the word "multi-tasking," but it should.

By day, she's a partner at the San Diego law firm of Tatro & Zamoyski, where she specializes in employment and contract law. Her expertise in both of these fields comes in handy, no doubt, for her second career as a singer who just released her first solo album, "Girl Like This," and was -- until recently -- the lead vocalist in the group CoolBandLuke.

A USD grad who also has a degree in theater arts from UCLA, Roppe is also the married mother of two young daughters, a fact that no doubt helped inspire her songs "Little Daughter" and "Mama Needs A Girls Night Out" on her album.

Roppe will discuss her album, which features cameos by everyone from North County multi-instrumental wiz Dennis Caplinger to RX Bandits guitarist Methew Embree (who happens to be Roppe's cousin).


Published: August 18, 2008


James LaValle, the musical mastermind of San Diego's acclaimed The Album Leaf - Download

Jimmy, as he's known to his friends and fans, will perform three shows with his band this week: Wednesday at UCSD's Che Cafe; Thursday at the Belly Up Tavern; and -- surging drum roll, please -- Sunday at the 17,500-seat Hollywood Bowl, where The Album Leaf will collaborate with Mike Heron of England's legendary Incredible String Band, as part of a triple bill that also features Brazilian tropicalismo music pioneer Gilberto Gil and psychedelic American minstrel Devendra Banhart.

Jimmy will play and discuss music by The Album Leaf, The Incredible String Band and some of his favorite artists. With any luck, he'll also chat about his apparent secret life as the author of such helpful books as "Cracking the Metabloic Code: 9 Keys to Optimal Health," "Smart Medicine for Healthy Living" and "Black Cohosh: Nature's Versatile Healer."


Published: June 23, 2008


San Diego bass virtuoso Danny Weller - PART 2 - Download


Published: June 16, 2008


San Diego bass virtuoso Danny Weller - Download

Danny Weller , 24, was also featured in "Basses Loaded," our recent feature on seven of San Diego's leading bassists (who all performed together last Sunday at Dizzy's). You can read a more detailed interview with Danny in this weekend's "Into View," a weekly feature in the Sunday Arts section of the Union-Tribune.

Danny, who deservedly won a loud ovation after his impressive solo spot at last week's concert at Dizzy's, will discuss his music and play selections from albums by some of his favorite artists.


Published: June 9, 2008


Gregory Page - Download

In honor of his terrific new album, "All Make Believe," San Diego troubadour Gregory Page will join me for a live radio interview that will be mostly make-believe -- or not.

True, Page will join me live in the studio to play some of his songs and music by other artists who have inspired him. But when it comes to details -- he was born in England (no, India, or is it Indiana?), his mother was in The Beatles, and he's released 419 albums -- well, you'll just have to hear for yourself.


Published: May 19, 2008


DAN PAPAILA: Versatile San Diego guitarist - Download

Dan Papaila may be one of San Diego's leading jazz guitarists, but his blues and R&B credits are impressive in their own right.

Big Joe Turner, Eddie "Cleanhead" Vinson, Big Mama Thornton, Percy Mayfield and Johnny "Hammond" Smith are among the blues and R&B greats Dan has worked with. During his tenure with Hammond organ dynamo Smith, he toured extensively through the south on the Chitlin' circuit. An in-demand guitar teacher (Anna Troy is one of his students), Papaila has also worked with such jazz luminaries as Herbie Hancock, Eddie Harris, Jimmy Smith, Blue Mitchell and Hank Crawford, as well as collaborating with Sheila E. and Randy Crawford.

You can watch Dan, who recently authored an acclaimed instructional guitar book, perform here.


Published: May 12, 2008


DAN PAPAILA: Versatile San Diego guitarist - Segment 2 - Download


Published: May 12, 2008


GET ON THE GOOD FOOT, PART 2: Joanie Mendenhall encores - Download

Joanie Mendenhall was such a hit as the guest on last week, that we invited her back for today's show.

In addition to giving lessons to her 35 classical piano students each week, this North County singer-songwriter is also a member of The Exfriends, the leader of her own band, a frequent guest in fellow group Correatown, and, well, why not tune in today from 2 to 3 p.m. to hear about more of her exploits, including songs from her upcoming second solo album?

Joanie, incidentally, performs Sunday at the Casbah with the Exfriends as part of a triple-bill that also includes Gregory Page and Paul Curreri (the brother of Exfriends' leader Matt Curreri).


Published: April 21, 2008


GET ON THE GOOD FOOT, PART 2: Joanie Mendenhall encores - Segment 2 - Download


Published: April 21, 2008


GET ON THE GOOD FOOT! Joanie Mendenhall - Download

Joanie Mendenhall, the guest on today's edition of "Fill In The Blank" on SignOnRadio.com is one busy musician. (That's Joanie in the center of the photograph at right, with two of her band members.)



In addition to giving lessons to her 35 classical piano students each week, this North County singer-songwriter is also a member of The Exfriends, the leader of her own band, a frequent guest in fellow group Correatown, and, well, why not tune in today from 2 to 3 p.m. to hear about more of her exploits, including her upcoming second solo album and her Wednesday night gig at the Belly Up Tavern?


Published: April 14, 2008


GET ON THE GOOD FOOT! Joanie Mendenhall - Segment 2 - Download


Published: April 14, 2008


CHUCK SCHIELE: The Grams' frontman - Download

Chuck Schiele (shown at far right) of of The Grams will be the guest.

The Grams celebrate the release of its new album, "Love Factory," with an April 16 concert at Anthology in Little Italy. Chuck will preview a few songs from the album, as well as playing some of his favorite songs by everyone from Miles Davis to Johnny Cash.


Published: April 7, 2008


CHUCK SCHIELE: The Grams' frontman - Segment 2 - Download


Published: April 7, 2008


COLORS OF CHLOE: Teen sax wiz - Download

Only 15, Chloe Feornazo has already earned praise from international jazz sax star Charles McPherson for her assured playing and devotion to her musical craft.

Chloe, whose debut album, "Learning to Fly," has just been released.

She'll discuss her album, which features such local jazz stalwarts as Chris Klich, Joe Azarello, Ray Vinole and Elliott Lawrence. She'll also play and talk about some choice tracks by some of her favorite artists, including Sonny Rollins, Charlie Parker and Ray Charles.


Published: March 31, 2008


COLORS OF CHLOE: Teen sax wiz - Segment 2 - Download


Published: March 31, 2008


BEYOND THE CUTTING EDGE: Marcos Fernandes - Download

As the founder of Accretions Records, one of San Diego's most respected indie labels, Marcos Fernandes has provided a home for daring, mind-bending music for more than 20 years. Marcos, who is also a driving force behind the Trummerflora musical collective of cutting-edge area musicians, will be the guest.

In addition to Accretions and trummerflora, Marcos will discuss the annual Spring Reverb music festival, which kicks off here next week. And he'll play an array of songs by some of the artists who have most influenced him, from The Ventures and Pink Floyd to Mahavishnu Orchestra and Terry Riley.


Published: March 24, 2008


BEYOND THE CUTTING EDGE: Marcos Fernandes - Segment 2 - Download


Published: March 24, 2008


ENCORE with Danielle LoPresti & Alicia Champion - Segment 1 - Download


Published: March 17, 2008


ENCORE with Danielle LoPresti & Alicia Champion - Segment 2 - Download


Published: March 17, 2008


TALKING INDIE: Danielle LoPresti & Alicia Champion - Segment 1 - Download

The fourth annual San Diego Indie Fest is rapidly approaching on March 29. You can get a sneak preview from Danielle LoPresti and Alicia Champion on today's episode of "Fill In The Blank."

LoPresti is such a staunch supporter of indie music that she literally bet the house -- her own -- by mortaging it to underwrite the first San Diego Indie Fest. She's also the driving force behind Say It Records and the Indie By Design concert series. Champion, a native of Singapore, heads her own indie label, Champ Records, and is second only to LoPresti as a driving force behind San Diego Indie Fest.

Both LoPresti and Champion also lead their own bands, and each have several albums to their credits, startying with LoPresti's memorable 2001 debut, "Dear Mr. Penis Head." On today's show, they'll talk about their music, their influences and, of course, Indie Fest on today's show.


Published: March 10, 2008


TALKING INDIE: Danielle LoPresti & Alicia Champion - Segment 2 - Download


Published: March 10, 2008


Cindy Lee Berryhill - Download


Published: March 3, 2008


Cindy Lee Berryhill - Segment 2 - Download


Published: March 3, 2008


ELDAR: 21-year-old piano phenom - Download

Young jazz piano virtuoso Eldar, who performed a dazzling solo piano improv as part of the Feb. 10 Grammy Awards telecast, will be the guest today.

A 21-year-old graduate of San diego's Francis Parker High School, Eldar earned his first Grammy Award nomination in december for "Re-imagination," his third release on major label powerhouse Sony Classical.

Eldar, who now divides his time between New York and here, will discuss growing up in Russia, his music and his blossoming career, which has seen him perform at Carnegie Hall, the Hollywood Bowl and the White House. He'll also play songs by some of his favorite artists, including Bjork, Herbie Hancock and Michael Brecker.


Published: February 25, 2008


ELDAR: 21-year-old piano phenom - Segment 2 - Download


Published: February 25, 2008


ANTI-FOLK LIVES: Cindy Lee Berryhill - Download

Singer-songwriter Cindy Lee Berryhill has been a mainstay of the San Diego music scene for the past 20 years.

As timely as she is provocative, Cindy Lee made some waves with her 2006 song, "When Did Jesus Become a Republican?" But this veteran San Diego singer-songwriter has been bucking convention since the 1980s when she was part of the same anti-folk scene in New York that also yielded Beck and Roger Manning. Not coincidentally, Beck and Manning both contribute background vocals to Cindy Lee's 1990 album, "Naked Movie Star."




She unveiled her debut album -- "Who Will Save the World?" -- in 1987 and has since released five more, the most recent being last year's "Beloved Stranger." She is also the leader of her excellent band, The Garage Orchestra, which at various times has featured former members of The Penetrators and The Harry Partch Ensemble.


Published: February 18, 2008


More with Cindy Lee Berryhill - Download


Published: February 18, 2008


An encore with AJ Croce Segment 1 - Download


Published: February 11, 2008


An encore with AJ Croce Segment 2 - Download


Published: February 11, 2008


GET JAZZED! Dan Atkinson - Download

Dan Atkinson may not have the name recognition of Street Scene founder Rob Hagey or Casbah honcho Tim Mays. But as the Jazz Program Coordinator for the La Jolla Athenaeum Music & Arts Library, Dan has been responsible over the past 20 years for booking and producing nearly 300 concerts here by some of the most innovative and respected artists in jazz, from Jimmy Smith, Charlie Haden and Carla Bley to Bill Frisell, Mark Dresser and "Tonight Show' band leader Kevin Eubanks.

Dan, a San Diego native and accomplished classical guitarist, will talk about his work at the Athenaeum. He'll also discuss the annual UCSD Jazz Camp, which he created, the Revelle Lecture Series, which he launched several years ago, and the UCSD Extension, which he has headed since 2001 and now has an annual budget of more than $2.4 million.

Dan will also play and discuss nine of his favorite records by nine of his favorite artists, including John Coltrane, Oregon and Charles Lloyd (whose upcoming Jazz at the Neurosciences Institute Auditorium concert was booked by Dan).


Published: February 4, 2008


More with Dan Atkinson - Download


Published: February 4, 2008


Veteran singer-songwriter and all-around piano wiz A.J. Croce - Download

A.J. is a multiple San Diego Music Award-winner and the founder of the indie label Seedling Records, whose roster of artists includes the hard-rocking Dirty Sweet and ace jazz trumpeter Gilbert Castellanos.

The son of the late Jim Croce, A.J. released his debut solo album in 1993 and has made at least six more albums since then. Although born in a Philadelphia suburb, A.J. has lived almost his entire life in San Diego. He'll discuss his music and play some of his favorite songs by some of his favorite artists. Considering how eclectic A.J. is -- he plays blues, jazz, rock, country, boogie-woogie and more with equal verve and skill -- you can expect to hear an especially diverse array of music.


Published: January 28, 2008


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Published: January 28, 2008


Guitar wiz Mike Keneally encores - Download

Once wasn't enough for San Diego guitar wiz Mike Keneally, who will be the guest Monday for the second time in a row on Fill In The Blank. The decision to invite Mike back was prompted by the enthusiastic phone calls last Monday (one from a fan in Michigan) and by Mike's wealth of fascinating stories about his work with Frank Zappa, XTC and other music luminaries. Mike has 16 solo albums to his credit, dating back to his 1992 debut, "Hat." The former leader of the San Diego band Drop Control, he first gained international attention in 1987 when he replaced Steve Vai as the "stunt guitarist" in Zappa's final touring band.


Published: January 21, 2008


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Published: January 21, 2008


Guitar wiz Mike Keneally - Download

Mike Keneally has 16 solo albums to his credit, dating back to his 1992 debut, "Hat." The former leader of the San Diego band Drop Control, he first gained international attention in 1987 when he replaced Steve Vai as the "stunt guitarist" in Zappa's final touring band.

Mike went on to work with a dizzying array of artists, including Vai, Solomon Burke, Screamin' Jay Hawkins, Negativland, and L. Shankar, to name just a few. He counts among his admirers fellow guitar great (and periodic performance partner) Robert Fripp and Wilco six-string master Nels Cline, who says: "Mike is amazing; he's one of those guys who is scary good on guitar."


Published: January 14, 2008


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Published: January 14, 2008


Billy Thompson, one of San Diego's leading guitarists, singers, songwriters and band leaders - Download

Billy Thompson, one of San Diego's leading guitarists, singers, songwriters and band leaders
Not to be confused with the U.K. jazz violinist Billy Thompson or the former Denver Broncos running back of the same name, Billy has been a mainstay of the San Diego music scene since the late 1970s. It was then that he co-founded The Fingers, a pioneering San Diego rock band that also included Paul Kamanski and Joey Harris.

After The Fingers disbanded in the early 1980s, Billy went on to lead his own band, The Mighty Penguins, and to work with such blues greats as Little Milton and Larry "Arkansas" Davis. Billy's resume also includes work with country-music pioneer Tex Willliams, Bruce Willis and many more, including, um, Gary Puckett.

Bill will discuss his career and play excerpts from some of his favorite records by the artists who have most inspired him.


Published: January 7, 2008


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Published: January 7, 2008


The one and only Jose Sinatra - Download

Jose -- or "The Hose", as he's fondly known by some fans and various other appliances -- is a San Diego institution. Or, perhaps, he's been in a San Diego institution. Or maybe it's both, but why quibble over details?

Regardless, Sinatra plans to discuss some of his landmark solo albums, including such collector's items as "Knowing Me, Touching Me," "Education & Outreach," "Knowing Me Again, Touching Me Again," and, of course, the seminal foodie favorite, "Tears of Salsa, Tongue of Pork." He'll also talk briefly about what the holidays mean to him (vacation) and make semi-coherent statements about "Hosing Down," his monthly music and cultural musings column in San Diego Troubadour.


Published: December 17, 2007


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Published: December 17, 2007


Rob Hagey Part 2 - Download

Rob Hagey, the founder of both Street Scene and the San Diego Jazz Festival, will be my guest for the second week in a row. Reason: Between talking about the history of the San Diego music scene over the past 28 years -- in which Hagey has played a key role -- and fielding listeners' calls, we barely got through half of the musical selections he brought in to play and discuss.


Published: December 10, 2007


Rob Hagey Part 2 (continued) - Download


Published: December 10, 2007


Talk up Street Scene founder Rob Hagey - Download

This week's guest is Rob Hagey, the founder of both Street Scene and the San Diego Jazz Festival. Hagey's love of many styles of music -- from blues, gospel and rock (in all its permutations) to jazz, world music and more -- should make this our most diverse show yet. As with our previous guests, who have ranged from Shambles leader Bart Mendoza and Casbah honcho Tim Mays to singer-songwriters Sara Petite and Cathryn Beeks, Hagey has selected about 15 of his favorite artists. We'll listen to excerpts of music by each and then talk about why they appeal to him.


Published: December 3, 2007


San Diego singer-songwriter Sara Petite - Download

Like my previous guests, Petite will play excerpts of some of her favorite songs by her favorite artists and talk about why she makes music the way she does, and how. But Petite, who earned a well-deserved San Diego Music Award nomination this year, is more than just a talented troubadour with a batch of heartfelt Americana songs to her credit.

She's also the dirving force behind the annual Becky's House benefit concert, which she launched last year at the Ould Sod as a fundraiser for Becky's House, an 18-month transitional residential program for survivors of domestic violence and their children. The second Becky's House benefit will be held Saturday at downtown's San Diego Wine and Cuilnary Center. The lineup will include more than a dozen leading local talents, including Lisa Sanders, Anna Troy, Joanie Mendenhall, Cathryn Beeks, Steph Johnson, The Flimz and Petite herself.


Published: November 26, 2007


More with San Diego singer-songwriter Sara Petite - Download


Published: November 26, 2007


San Diego singer, bassist and songwriter Scott Wilson - Download

San Diego singer, bassist and songwriter Scott Wilson gets around. A former member of the bands VFX, Cruel World and The Ghandi Method, he's also a prolific solo artist with more than 150 songs to his credit. He's also the guy whose "Coffeehouse 101" video featured no fewer than 55 San Diego music luminaries, including Gregory Page, Lisa Sanders and recent "Fill in the Blank" guests Bart Mendoza and Cathryn Beeks.

Scott has picked out a diverse array of music to play and discuss. His selections range from The Beatles and Peter Gabriel to Foo Fighters, Jellyfish, Nikka Costa and Nine Inch Nails.


Published: November 19, 2007


More with Scott Wilson - Download


Published: November 19, 2007


Rock the Casbah: Tim Mays speaks to George Varga - Download

Tim Mays may not play in a band, but, over the past few decades, he's done more to promote and bring good music to San Diego than almost anyone else you can name.

As the driving force behind the Skeleton Club back in the late 1970s and -- more recently -- The Casbah, this city's most renowned live indie-rock venue, he's showcased hundreds of local, regional, national and international acts over the years. They range from X, Lydia Lunch and Arcade Fire to Alanis Morissette, Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings and such homegrown favorites as Rocket From the Crypt, El Vez and Trumans Water, to name just a few.

Mays, who also is a driving force behind the Turf Club and Starlite Lounge, has burned a CD featuring a dozen or so of his favorite songs and bands, which we'll listen to excerpts of and discuss.


Published: November 12, 2007


More with Tim Mays - Download


Published: November 12, 2007


Cathryn Beeks, a pillar of the San Diego indie music scene, singer-songwriter and band leader. - Download

Cathryn Beeks discusses what inspires her to do what she does -- and we'll play musical excerpts by some of her favorite artists, past and present.


Published: November 5, 2007


More with Cathryn Beeks - Download


Published: November 5, 2007

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