Back to the Peeples Place at KHTS  portal.
Stephen K. Peeples here, and you’ve veered onto Peeples Place at KHTS!
It’s the SEVENTH post of the new local music blog I’m producing in collaboration with AM 1220 KHTS and the Santa Clarita Valley’s number one website, www.hometownstation.com . We’re online every Friday morning with hot SCV music news, reviews, features and photos right here at www.peeplesplace.com , with an on-air preview on the KHTS morning show each Thursday at 8:10.
This week, we’ll spotlight the 2011-2012 season at the Santa Clarita Performing Arts Center at College of the Canyons, and go backstage for an exclusive Q&A with Adam Philipson, the PAC's managing director.
We also have news about what might be The McGrath Project's final gigs, the upcoming Rock 'n' Roll Fantasy Camp featuring a famous SCV guitar player, a tribute to '50s rocker Gene Vincent on the 40th anniversary of his death and burial at Eternal Valley, Lockdown's big festival gig, Serena live at the SCV Chamber of Commerce's Expo event, Mary Kaye & The Cross Town Cowboys OutWest at Heritage Junction, and the final performances of the acclaimed stage play "Imagine: John Lennon" starring Tim Piper.
We’ll find out what new music is hot at our local record store, and see who’s playing live this weekend around town and nearby. We’ll also tune in to SCV music on the tube, see if we have a winner for our second SCV music trivia contest, and maybe throw out a new question!
Finally, classic rock fans, we'll feature an exclusive Peeples Place Q&A with drummer Jim McCarty, founding member of The Yardbirds, about the British Invasion legends' band history and their three SoCal gigs next week.
Let's get right to the SCV music news.
GENE VINCENT FANS MARK 40th YEAR SINCE DEATH, BURIAL AT ETERNAL VALLEY — First-generation rockabilly/rock 'n' roller Gene Vincent, whose immortal single "Be Bop A Lula" and rock movie appearances with his group The Blue Caps made him a superstar on both sides of the Atlantic in 1956, died 40 years ago Oct. 12 at age 36.
A posthumous Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame inductee  in 1988, Virginia-born Vincent is one of the most famous residents of Eternal Valley Memorial Park and Mortuary on Sierra Highway in Newhall. He's buried in Plot 91 in the Garden of Repose.
Christian Bouyer, a fan from Angouleme, France, who now lives in L.A. and works at a major Burbank movie studio as a CG character modeler, is coordinating a memorial gathering for Vincent fans. He's setting it up in conjunction with the Gene Vincent Lonely Street international fan club run by Lee Loo, who's traveling from her home in France to attend the event and visit Vincent's burial site.
The gathering at Joe's Great American Bar & Grill  in Burbank on Wednesday, Oct. 12, starting at 6 p.m., and it's free (you pay for your own food, though). Fans are invited to share Vincent stories and memories, and perhaps perform a song or two.
For more info or to sign up to play, check out the event website . There's also a Facebook page  for the fan club and an event page  Loo and Bouyer put together. And find out more about Vincent, his music, troubled life, tragic death, and profoundly lasting influence with a visit to the Rockabilly Hall of Fame  site.
ZAKK GETS WYLDE WITH ROCK 'N' ROLL FANTASY CAMP — So, you wanna be a rock 'n' roll star? Get out of the garage and sign up for the Presidents Day weekend Rock 'n' Roll Fantasy Camp in Hollywood with local guitar-slinger Zakk Wylde, his pals Steve Vai, drummer Matt Sorum (Velvet Revolver, Guns 'N Roses) and more cool camp counselors (Sorum tweeted this week that former GNR bandmate Duff McKagan is also signing up).
Campers get to bond while jamming with the star camp directors, writing an original song and recording it in a world-class studio with renowned producer/engineer Eddie Kramer (Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, Traffic, Humble Pie). Each player gets a DVD and MP3 of the final performance, and gets to cruise the Strip and play with rock stars at venues like The Whisky on Sunset and the Gibson in Beverly Hills. Get more info. 
PAC 2011-2012 PREVIEW: EXCLUSIVE Q&A WITH ADAM PHILIPSON — Grammy-winning singer Kenny Loggins kicks off the 2011-2012 season at the Santa Clarita Performing Arts Center at College of the Canyons tonight.
The concert, also featuring Loggins' group Blue Sky Riders, sold out long ago, but there are lots more worthy performances  coming up at the PAC between now and next summer.
For an exclusive preview of the new season, we went backstage with Adam Philipson, the PAC's managing director for the last five years.
Stephen K. Peeples: How are you, Adam?
Adam Philipson: Great, Stephen. Looking forward to another exciting year and thanks for taking some time to chat.
Peeples: We appreciate your time, too. Busy week! Can you give us an overview of the new season, and then the different categories of performances?
Philipson: Sure. A couple a years ago, as we were growing and expanding the number of performances we were doing, we decided it probably would make some sense to put them into a series of series. So, we built a bunch of categories and have three or four shows in each category.
The Chancellor's Choice series is our headliners. After Kenny Loggins and Blue Sky Riders Friday night, which is sold out, Dionne Warwick (left) is coming up on Jan. 13, Anthony Bourdoin on Feb. 9 and Martin Short on June 2.
The Great Performances series presents a big mix, from Broadway to world music to comedy to jazz.
Then we have a new series partially grant-funded by the James Irvine Foundation, "The Sounds of Latin America." We've got two incredible bands. And we continue to bring amazing dance performances to this community, so we have a series that's also partially grant-funded, the "Emotion Series," with saome really amazing dance and movement groups.
The "Almost Free Family Series" has been sponsored for many years now by McDonald's of Santa Clarita, the Schutz family organization. So, we are able to present some really cool and very inexpensive family programs for kids, all on Saturdays at 2 p.m. We have four of those this year (including "Charlotte's Web," pictured).
And then we have a couple of special events. There's a holiday musical show with (pianist) Roger Williams, who'll perform some holiday hits as well as some of his amazing classics.
The "Santa Clarita Valley World Music" series is also new this year, something we generated some support and commitment to from across the valley. That's a series of free concerts. We've already done three of those five. There'll be one coming up at Castaic Lake on Sept. 24, which is Lisa Haley & The Zydecats, then on Oct. 9, we'll close that series with a New Zealand band called Te Vaka. So, that's an overview of what we're doing this season here at the PAC.
Peeples: And there's also a lot of interactive stuff, where people who are coming to concerts can even interact with the artists in some cases.
Philipson: Right. This is the second year and we're really pleased with how it's coming out. We're calling it "Connect," and if you look through our brochure online , you'll notice there's an orange dialog bubble that says "Connect." And you can see all these opportunities, whether it's a reception where you can meet the artist, and that's maybe a fundraising event, or maybe it's a book signing.
With the Mariachi band coming Dec. 11, De Nati Cano (pictured), we'll have a jam session. Before the show, you can hear a lecture in the PAC about the history of Mariachi, and then if you bring your own instrument, you can actually jam with the Mariachi. And these are all open to the community as well.
Some of the appearances we have extended, so we'll be busing in 900 schoolkids the following day. There are master classes with some great people — Second City (illustrated below) is going to do one with COC theater students.
Peeples: And speaking of COC theater students, the PAC hosts numerous performances by students in COC theater, dance, music, choir.
Philipson: Yes, that's right. We have a whole other part of what we do here. Of course, the really, truly main part of what we do at this Performing Arts Center, which is serving the academic programs in the performing arts. So, we have theater, dance and music productions, student symphonic orchestras, choir, as well as a beautiful, beautiful art gallery on the campus.
The (PAC) building serves the academic function first and foremost, and then we use it to book some incredible headliners and major commercial performing acts to come to the valley.
Then we turn the calendar over to the city (of Santa Clarita, which contributes to the PAC's funding), and the community and nonprofit arts groups get to book probably up to 80 days. So the Canyon Theatre Guild and ESCAPE, the Santa Clarita Ballet, the Master Chorale, things like that, are able to perform here in this beautiful venue.
Peeples: And a beautiful venue it is. Now, how many does it seat?
Philipson: With seats down in front, we can get about 926. But in our professional configuration like for Kenny Loggins, we don't do those seats in the front, so we are at 886.
Peeples: Nice to lead off the season with a sold-out show, yeah?
Philipson: Yeah! We try to think about choosing the right opener — Pat Benatar we had three years ago sold out in about two hours. Then we had Michael Bolton open for us last year, and Kenny this year. But, really amazing response for Kenny. I am a huge fan, but I've had people calling me up in tears, “Thank you for bringing him here!” So, we're really excited — that's going be a great show.
Peeples: And that also has a meet-and-greet interactive component as well, right?
Philipson: We have a benefit reception at 6 p.m. and 100 percent of the proceeds go to the PAC's K-12 Arts Education Outreach program. That makes it possible for us to subsidize buses for the kids, or reimburse artists' expenses when they go to the schools to do some really important work with the kids. It's $75 to participate in that, with food and drink, and then we will bring people into the Black Box (a mini-theater inside the PAC) where we'll have a setup to be able to take photographs with Kenny.
Kenny has a new band called the Blue Sky Riders (left), which is doing incredible work. There's some of the classic Loggins & Messina sound. It's Kenny and two other incredible songwriters. And they're opening for themselves — Blue Sky Riders is opening for Kenny.
Peeples: From a historical viewpoint, this is the fourth or fifth season you've booked?
Philipson: Yeah, I came on board having inherited the season my predecessor had booked, so this is the fourth full season I've booked.
Peeples: How would you compare booking this year to the previous years?
Philipson: It's an interesting time. The industry has been hit hard.
The good news is, artists and agents are just like presenters. When I'm booking the season, I put on my presenter hat, which basically means that we're not producing the show, we're buying the show, and offering a guarantee for one evening or whatever we may do for these artists. We have to guarantee the artist fees, whether we sell or not.
So, obviously, because of that inherent risk in the field, I'm a little bit more careful thinking through how to fulfill the mission of supporting the community and bring in really interesting things to have a really diverse season, and not just a whole series of Kenny Loggins-type shows.
But in the field, I'm noticing there's a little bit more conversation, a little bit more willingness, creativity, eagerness to work. I think everybody wants to work. So artists are a little more willing to go down a bit on their fees, or maybe be more encouraged to take a gig at the Performing Arts Center when maybe they're waiting for a casino or a big, big venue. I think a lot of the artists are also really finding a lot of joy by reaching a new audience in a performing arts center like ours that's on a college campus or university. That's a lot of what's changing the field.
Peeples: How was your budget this year, compared to last year and previous years? I know it's been a challenge for the academic side; there have been major budget cuts. How has that affected the Performing Arts Center budget?
Philipson: The Performing Arts Center budget has multiple pieces. There's the academic side of the house, grant funding which subsidizes some of the opportunities, and there's COC Presents, the commercial series, and that's a self-supported budget. That, the artists we bring in, and the costs to put on those concerts, all pay for themselves.
I'm happy to give you an overview of where we are as a budget for our entire Performing Arts Center, but in terms of how and what I book, my budget (is) pretty much where it was last year. As they say, this year's flat.
We're at a pretty good spot in terms of being able to continue doing what we're doing, and ticket sales are going well. Most of our headliners are sold out, so Kenny Loggins and Dionne and Anthony Bourdain (left), on a Thursday night, is selling out, and Martin Short is closing our season June 2.
I think in general, people in this community are beginning to really value what this Performing Arts Center is offering, because I think more and more people don't want to leave the SCV. I'm getting the feeling that people want to support what's happening here, that they're proud someone like Kenny or Dionne Warwick are playing here in our valley. I think that brings a lot of pride.
Peeples: That's true. Now, before we wrap it up, I wanted to ask you about one group in particular, Ozomatli (pictured). Latin, rock, jazz, funk, audience interaction — great booking.
Philipson: You know, when I look at a season that I book, I probably always have one band that's my secret and want to share that with the community — "I can't wait for people to see this one!"
I'm a huge Ozomatli fan — I've seen them play at the Hollywood Bowl, and I saw them when they were just starting 15 years ago, playing small clubs. About three years ago, they closed down Grand Avenue for California Plaza to do a series of concerts over the summer. And I think there were 17,000 people out for the free concert with Ozo.
They're something of a local L.A. band, but also really mixed and have diverse members from all over Central and South America. So, the sound they come up with is just amazing. Because they usually play at the Hollywood Bowl, it's hard to get them to play here 'cause we're too close, but this is their off-year, they're not going to be at the Bowl. I've been trying to get them for years, and so we finally were able to nail them down for Jan. 15. We're really, really excited about bringing them to Santa Clarita.
Peeples: Perfecto. Any parting shots, Adam?
Philipson: I'm just really proud to be here and able to bring some great art and programming to this community. You know better than I that we've got such a special community, and the more we can be visible for making that incredibly creative artistic expression possible here, I think that just serves everyone well.
I'm a big fan of the arts, the arts in our community, the groups that perform here, and the artists who are painting here. I look forward to more art and more excitement and bands developing from this community. And in 10 years, when some of those bands hit it big and get really famous, Santa Clarita's gonna be on the map.
Check out the PAC's complete 2011-2012 schedule .
McGRATH PROJECT: FUTURE UNCERTAIN, END ALWAYS NEAR — The McGrath Project's  "Tarantino Girl" b/w "Casey's Last Chance," both featuring the band's Ann-Marita on lead vocals, hit iTunes  last week as the advance single from TMP's "Boom" album, which is completed but remains unreleased.
We caught the band at the Courtyard Marriott Saturday night, and a new bass player, Moses Sparks, was on board, laying down some fat sounds and locking in nicely with drummer Matt Fullove.
"Ryan Folgolsong, the band's replacement for our original bassist, Tim Bogert, was offered a full-time position with his church that paid triple what he could have made with us," bandleader/producer Gary McGrath said. "Ryan sits in from time to time and still does a lot of recordings. Ryan Roberts, who replaced Folgolsong, is a pro player and took a tour with a jazz combo until November."
And the new guy? "Moses Sparks is a dear friend and blues player who plays with guitarist Albert Lee (Head, Hands & Feet, Emmylou Harris' Hot Band). Moses is a photographer for Universal Pictures/NBC as a day gig. He grew up in Alabama singing gospel music, and has some of the best grooves I have ever felt."
(Pictured are Gary McGrath, Ann-Marita, Sparks, Fullove, and Dean Minnerly.)
The full band has a pair of unplugged shows coming up. Tonight, they're at The Cellar in Centre Pointe, and on Thursday, Sept. 22, they play an all-ages show at On the Rox, the club on top of The Roxy Theater on Sunset in West Hollywood, starting at at 9.
On the Rox is "the LAST McGrath Project gig for a while (possibly one in February) in the SCV or the metroplitan L.A. area, so come out and rock out!" McGrath wrote in a Facebook invite this week.
Something had changed. In the last several weeks, after delivering "Boom" to its Universal-affiliated label, the Project had been pre-promoting it hard, playing a couple local gigs a week.
After the label demanded the band pay expenses that were to be covered by the label per their deal, the group's attorney negotiated an exit from that deal, with Universal on their side, giving the Project all rights to the album and complete freedom to shop it to any other label, including other Universal affiliates. So the gigs also became showcases, as McGrath got other label people to check them out.
When I contacted McGrath for an update on label-shopping, he sent back this note: "Don't know if I will shut the band down or not, but it's for sure (these are) the last shows until Febuary or March of 2012.
"We are still being shopped and the offers we are getting are not satisfactory," he wrote. "So after these shows are done we are not performing again under that title without label support.
"Once a deal is in place, business plan is set up and money is in the bank we will start performing again. Until then, it's just pointless. (Bandmember) Ann-Marita and I will continue performing fun cover gigs but the lineup and song list will be different for every show, and we may use a different name."
Grammy-winning hard rock producer Jack Douglas, reunited with Aerosmith on its next album, is still behind the Project. "Once the contract comes in, we're supposed to set up a time and place to track and pick songs," McGrath said.
I sensed Gary's frustration. "A little," he wrote back. "It's a gripe all musicians have. The pay scale in clubs, or any venue for that matter, has been cut in half from what scale was 30 years ago. You don't pay your sales staff or cooks or bartenders half of what they would have made 30 years ago. And there are plenty of venues all over the country paying us much better. So that's what we are focusing on."
True, there really is no shortage of places for musicians to play in the SCV, but anyone will tell you it's not easy to make a living doing it full-time, especially performing original music. But not many of the venues pay the artists much, if at all.
"The sad thing to me is people are so desperate for any opportunity to show their craft, they give it away — singing, filmmaking, writing, radio DJ, cooking, etc.," McGrath said, which can diminish the value of all artists' creativity and hard work.
SCV LOCAL MUSIC ROUNDUP — For the latest on what's new and hot in local music, we called our friends at Rock Candy Music & More, the Santa Clarita Valley’s only retail record store, at Bouquet and Plum in Saugus. Staffer David Green updated us on this week's new releases.
"The Seize the Day CD 'Daybreak' just came out on Tuesday. That's been doing pretty good," Green said.
"Chuck Ragan just came out with a CD called 'Covering Ground,'" he said. "He's an acoustic singer-songwriter, and he was the singer of the band Hot Water Music."
Rock Candy Music & More presents live shows by local artists on most weekend nights; tonight at 8, catch Freelance, and Saturday it's Modern American Theatre and Birthdays from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m., and the shows are free.
SCV MUSIC TRIVIA: KELLY'S MYSTERY AXEMAN — We're rolling with this until someone gets it. What local guitarist toured with Kelly Osbourne early in his career? If you know the answer, email email@example.com . We’ll toss all the correct entries into a hat and randomly choose a winner who’ll receive a free Restaurant Row certificate to a great local eatery, plus a free CD from the Peeples Place swag vault. This week’s answer and winner will be announced when there is one.
SCV MUSIC ON THE TUBE: VINTAGE 'HOUSE BLEND' — "House Blend with Stephen K. Peeples" on SCVTV this Saturday night at 10 features an encore broadcast of "The Best of House Blend Vol. 1," featuring highlights from our very first shows in fall 2010.
The all-music half-hour features Kounterfeit Change ("Welcome"), Shay Astar ("Resign"), The McGrath Project ("Your Secret is Out"), The Cross Town Cowboys ("Cowboy Fop"), Jesse Barish ("Count on Me") and The Feaver (pictured, "Saturday Night").
"House Blend with Stephen K. Peeples" is co-produced by yours truly and SCVTV's studio director, Megan Mann, with Mike Mazzetti producing the sound. "House Blend" shows air Saturday nights at 10 on SCVTV Channel 20 on Time Warner in the SCV.
You can also see "House Blend" throughout Los Angeles and Orange counties on AT&T U-Verse 99, and everywhere else in the known universe streaming live at www.SCVTV.com  and/or on-demand at www.scvhouseblend.com .
Visit the channel’s website for a complete schedule of local music on SCVTV, community television for the Santa Clarita Valley.
SCV'S LOCKDOWN ROCKS SFV — Upstart rock band Lockdown plays a private Emmy party tonight, and is booked for the Annual Musicians' Picnic at Rancho San Antonio in Chatsworth on Sunday, sharing the main stage with WAR, Missing Persons, The Tubes, T.S.O.L. and Electra.
(Lockdown is pictured at Summer Meltdown 2011 in May; thanks to Paige Jeffers Burghardt  for the photo).
That's remarkable enough for an SCV band, but making it even more so, these guys and a girl range in age from 9-16 years old.
Drummer Cole Smith is 9, singer Jason Larson and his guitar-playing twin brother Jacob are both 10, bassist Andre Lopez is 13, singer/percussionist Brianna Greaney is 14, and guitarist Josh Larson is the geezer of the group at 16 (he also plays with local rockers Open the Coda).
Advance tickets for the picnic are $20. See www.musicianspicnic.org  for more info about the gig.
EXPO TO GET A TASTE OF SERENA — Fast-rising local rock singer-songwriter-guitarist-actress Serena and her band, who played the Courtyard Marriott a couple Saturday nights ago opening for labelmate The McGrath Project, will play their next set at the SCV Chamber of Commerce's Expo extravaganza.
The 14-year-old vocalist takes the stage at the Santa Clarita Sports Complex on Centre Pointe Parkway tomorrow, Saturday, Sept 17, at 1:30 p.m. and will showcase tunes from her debut EP, "Allow Me to Introduce Myself," produced by two-time Grammy-winner Gary McGrath for his GB label. (She premiered a couple of them on my "House Blend"  show on SCVTV a few months back, including the first single, "You Blew It.")
For Expo info, visit scvchamber.com .
MARY KAYE & CROSS TOWN COWBOYS KICK IT AT THE DEPOT — Mary Kaye, the Western Music Association’s 2010 Female Vocalist of the Year and a 2011 WMA nominee for Outstanding Female Performer, headlines the next SCVTV OutWest Concert Series show, this time at the Saugus Train Depot at Heritage Junction adjacent to Hart Park in Newhall, on Saturday night, with opening act The Cross Town Cowboys. Doors open at 6:30 and the show starts at 7.
Kaye will perform tunes from her latest album, "The Real Thing," while the Cowboys (pictured below on "House Blend with Stephen K. Peeples" on SCVTV) will preview songs from their forthcoming album.
Suggested donation is $20. Refreshments will be available for sale. Proceeds benefit the Santa Clarita Valley Historical Society. Seating is limited, so reservations are strongly suggested. Ticket hotline is 661-255-7087.
It's is the first of what may be a series of OutWest concerts at the Junction, a function in conjunction with the SCV Historical Society and SCVTV.
Visit the OutWest event page  for more info about this and other upcoming OutWest concerts.
Meanwhile, tomorrow morning, Mary Kaye and Buffalo Bryan and Robbie of the Cross Town Cowboys will be in the studio live on KHTS AM 1220's WMA-nominated "Around the Barn" show tomorrow morning from 9 to 10.
Kaye is in all week from Utah and just opened for Rusty Richards down at the Autry. Check out the podcast  of her last "Around the Barn" appearance on April 30, and the Cowboys' Oct. 9, 2010  "ATB" appearance.
GROOVE ON THE GREEN AT SCV JAZZ FEST 2.0 — The second Santa Clarita Jazz Festival gets a groove on Friday, Sept. 30 and Saturday, Oct. 1, at the Valencia Country Club. Friday night's kickoff event will feature performances by an all-star band assembled by promoters Ultimate Productions, and the festival Saturday stars Gerald Albright, Rick Braun, Everette Harp, Jeff Lorber with Eric Marienthal, and Diane Schuur from noon to 10 p.m. Check out the Ultimate Promotions website  for more info.
MORE SCV (AND ADJACENT) MUSIC LIVE — Who else is playing in the SCV this weekend, or spreading the local musical love outside the valley?
Stronghold, a four-piece rock 'n' soul band that plays original material, sets up at Tri-Tipps on Newhall Ranch Road Friday night starting at 7. They'll gig there the next two Fridays as well.
Musician and singer/songwriter Melissa Kaye plays free sets every Friday at La Toscana Trattoria Grill in Valencia. Catch her tonight from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.
SCV group ElderLocke returns to the stage Saturday night at 7 with special guest Severin Brown at the Coffee Gallery Backstage, 2029 N. Lake Street in Altadena. It's $15 at the door.
"This is a rare opportunity to see Steve Elder, Russ Locke and me all on one stage singing three-part harmony to the best songs you've never heard...and the songs that only ElderLocke rocks," trio member Bob Locke said.
For reservations, call 626-798-6236 or visit ElderLocke's Facebook event page .
The Skinny Little Twits, a local classic rock band performing both originals and covers, plays twice this weekend — tonight at Barcelona Tapas in Stevenson Ranch at 9 p.m., and Saturday night at It's A Grind in Castaic at 8.
Blue Baron returns to Valencia Wine Co. and Jay Bolan plays at Salt Creek Grille tonight, both starting at 9 p.m.
On Saturday, Serena will play a set at the SCV Community Expo at the Santa Clarita Sports Complex on at 1:30 p.m. Also appearing are Blue Sky and the 20-piece jazz ensemble group The Damn Handsome Band.
It's also Beatlemania at Valencia Wine Co. on Saturday night, and The Helen Wheels Band will cover Beatles hits from 9 p.m. till midnight.
Keyboard Galleria Music Center kicks off its monthly series of acoustic concerts, "KGMC Unplugged," with Chip Boligitz, Nathaniel Dobies and Erik Anders. Tickets cost $5 and the doors open at 6 p.m.
Brett Vogel performs at Salt Creek Grille in Valencia from 9 p.m. to midnight.
And as they have for more than 20 years, The Grateful Dudes  keep traditional bluegrass alive and pickin' in the SCV at Vincenzo's Pizza Esperienza on Lyons in Newhall on Saturday nights from 7:30 to 10:30.
FINAL PERFORMANCES BY PIPER AS LENNON — The acclaimed "Just Imagine: John Lennon" rock 'n' roll stage production's final three perfrormances are this weekend at the Hayworth Theater in L.A.'s Wilshire district — tonight and Saturday night at 8, with a matinee Sunday at 3 p.m.
After each two-hour performance (with intermission) there's a free meet-and-greet with Tim Piper, who nails Lennon's persona during the early years, Beatlemania, and the househusband period.
The concept is this: Imagine that John Lennon returns for one final concert.
Between songs, Piper traces the high and low points of Lennon's life and career, recounts the stories behind the songs, reveals insights about the birth of The Beatles, the pressures of super-stardom, and Lennon's relationships with his bandmates and his wives, Cynthia Lennon and Yoko Ono.
Piper and his theater band rock Lennon-penned Beatles hits with power and precision, most notably on "I Am the Walrus" and "Strawberry Fields Forever," neither of which were ever performed live by The Beatles or Lennon in his solo years.
This update of the original production opened in March. I caught a performance in August and thought it was excellent, far better than just a tribute band playing the hits. It was definitely worth the time and gas.
Find the Hayworth Theatre at 2509 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles 90057. Tickets range from $41 to $66. Purchase here . There's also a two-for-one Friday special (use code 008). For more info, call 323-960-4442 or visit www.justimaginetheshow.com .
EXCLUSIVE PEEPLES PLACE Q&A: YARDBIRDS CO-FOUNDER JIM McCARTY — Last week, we featured an exclusive Q&A with Chris Dreja, co-founder of legendary British psychedelic blues-rock ravers The Yardbirds. The band flies in to Southern California next week for just three dates — and the only West Coast shows on a 16-date, 48th-anniversary mini-tour of the United States.
They play the Key Club  on Sunset on Wednesday, Sept. 21; the Coach House  in San Juan Capistrano Thursday, Sept. 22; and the tour's final rave-up the Canyon Club  in Agoura Hills on Friday, Sept. 23.
For the last couple of years, The Yardbirds lineup has featured founding members Jim McCarty (purple shirt, drums, 1963) and Chris Dreja (far right, rhythm guitar, 1963) and Ben King (far left, lead guitar, 2006) plus lead singer/acoustic guitarist/harpist Andy Mitchell (front, 2009) and bassist David Smale (left center, 2009).
This week, we have an exclusive Q&A with Dreja's fellow co-founder Jim McCarty, The Yardbirds' drummer from the start — June 1963. We covered early band history, the Clapton-Beck-Page dynasties, and the band's resurrection after induction into the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of fame in 1992. But first we talked about the current lineup and the latest tour.
Stephen K. Peeples: Hello, Jim — it’s great to have you join us on Peeples Place!
Jim McCarty: Thank you! How are you doing?
Peeples: Excellent! Now, once you and Chris decided to resurrect The Yardbirds in the '90s, it took a while to zero in on this current lineup…King joined in 2006 and the other two guys in 2009.
McCarty: We've had different lineups since we reformed in the mid-'90s and quite a few different musicians coming through, and I think it was probably getting better the whole time. This is the youngest lineup now, although Chris and I are getting older, the other guys are sort of getting younger, so the average age is around 40, I would say.
Peeples: On the California tour, what material can people expect to hear?
McCarty: We’re playing most of The Yardbirds’ hits, some early bluesy covers, and some of the “Little Games” songs, and some of the newer songs from “Birdland,” the album we recorded in 2003.
Peeples: Are there any recordings in the works with this new lineup?
McCarty: In the works, yeah. We have a live album, from B.B. King’s in 2006, with a slightly different lineup, but still has Ben King on it, the guitar player. We're going to record these shows in California, actually, so we'll see what comes out of that. We might have another live album.
Peeples: Well, let's rewind a little bit, Jim, if we may, to June '63 when the group was forming. Can you give the quick rundown on how the group came together, up to and including Mr. Clapton's entrance into the group?
McCarty: Sure. There were basically two groups that amalgamated. Our original singer, Keith Relf, and bass player Paul Samwell-Smith had a little country blues band. I used to go and see them, and Keith always looked the part, the front man playing the harmonica. And Chris Dreja and “Top” Topham, the original rhythm and lead guitarists for The Yardbirds, were both at Kingston Art School in south London. And then Paul had been at school with me at Hampton Grammar, in south London, and we'd been in a rock 'n' roll band at school, doing that old American rock 'n' roll stuff. Paul knew I was a good rock drummer, and said, “Well, we want to go more electric, a bit more rock 'n' roll,” so we amalgamated the groups, and that's how we came to form The Yardbirds.
Peeples: Topham was in the group only a few months?
McCarty: Yeah. He was in at the beginning, and we were immediately getting and playing gigs around London, doing all-nighters, and it was really eating into what we were doing during the daytime. Top was studying at art college and his parents wanted him to concentrate more on his studies. They didn't really approve of him being in the band. So they sort of put pressure on him, and he left, which was a bit of a shame.
But then, Keith and Chris knew of Eric Clapton, 'cause Eric was at the same art school, and he had a bit of a reputation already as a hotshot guitar player, and they asked him to join. He came down for the audition and got the job.
Peeples: And then for the next couple of years, you guys were the band in residence, if you will, at places like the Marquee and Crawdaddy Club, and backing up various American blues artists traveling through England. That experience during those two years must have been wild…
McCarty: It was exciting. Giorgio Gomelsky, who became our manager, ran the Crawdaddy Club where we played every week. The (Rolling Stones) used to play at that club before us. Giorgio was part of the National Jazz Federation, and they used to bring groups of black blues musicians over from America to do tours of the big halls in England in those days. And, of course, Giorgio was always trying to fix them up with us, bringing them to our shows and sitting in, so we got a chance to play with some great blues musicians.
Sonny Boy Williamson, who came on a tour, liked being in England and decided to stay over and play a bit more. So eventually, we did an album with him.
Peeples: Chris told me that Sonny Boy was drinking that day and was hammered by showtime.
McCarty: Well, yeah. It was suggested that we rehearse, so we rehearsed the afternoon of the show, of the recording. But when we went back onstage to play the show, he played a load of different songs (laughs), ones we hadn't rehearsed! I think that shows in the recording. We were all wondering what was gonna happen next. But he was a true, true showman, and a fantastic, fantastic entertainer.
Peeples: Now, the early Yardbirds recordings were pretty much blues-oriented, but then along came “For Your Love,” written by Graham Gouldman. And that was a very different session, with the harpsichord and bongos and so forth. Tell us a little bit about what the band thought about that tune and recording it, and then what happened after it was recorded.
McCarty: Well, you know the answers (laughs)! We had actually played (on the same bill) with The Beatles at the (NEMS) Christmas show in London, December 1964, at Hammersmith, which was quite near Richmond, where we played. We were the (hot) local band, so (The Beatles) invited us to come and play with them. And there was a publisher in the audience who saw us playing our mad blues, and he thought “For Your Love” would suit us. He had a demo of that song by Graham and gave it to our manager, Giorgio, who played it for us. And we thought, “Oh, well, this is not a blues song, but at the same time, it's interesting. It's moody, a bit different, has a time change in it, and sounds very commercial.”
And we really needed a hit at that time. All our contemporaries had had hits and it was really the only way to go forward. So even though it wasn't a blues song, it seemed right for us and we went with it, and did that recording, which was great.
Eric played on it. He was a bit of a blues purist, then. We had tried those (traditional blues) ideas that he had suggested before, but we never really got that blues sound when we went into the studio. We an exciting band onstage, but found that difficult to reproduce. So, “For Your Love” reproduced well on record, so we all decided to go with it, except Eric, who decided to leave. It was a complicated thing, and there were other things going on within the group.
Peeples: Like what?
McCarty: Well, Eric came from a slightly strange background, and he very much aligned himself with the working class. I don't think he liked that Paul Samwell-Smith had made up his name, from his mother being Samwell and his father Smith. Suddenly Paul was Samwell-Smith, which sounded a bit, ah, off the cuff (laughs). And so (Paul and Eric) didn't really see completely eye-to-eye.
Also, Eric was the sort of guy who found it difficult to be in a band. He needed to play his own show, and he didn't like being in a situation where we all have to pitch in and we all have a say. He wanted the whole say.
Peeples: That doesn't work in a band, that's for sure.
McCarty: It was the same with Jeff (Beck). He eventually found that (band) situation very difficult. He didn't like the other four of us calling the shots. He was destined to be another soloist.
Peeples: Tell us the story of Jeff joining after Eric split.
McCarty: It was all left up to Jimmy Page. He used to come to our gigs, knew our reputation. He was friendly with our manager — Giorgio used to bring Jimmy down and he was always very charming. So when Eric left, we asked Jimmy to join, but he declined, because he was playing all these recording sessions in London. He was the top guy for playing guitar on records. So he suggested Jeff, who was like his understudy. Jeff used to play sessions when Jimmy couldn't do them. Jeff came along, was immediately accepted, and was a fantastic player from square one.
Peeples: There's this great story “Heart Full of Soul,” the session to record that involved a couple of Indian musicians playing sitar and tabla, and they couldn't quite get it, but Jeff did with a guitar effect.
McCarty: Well, (the Indian musicians) was an idea of Giorgio’s. He had lots of ideas. We’d heard the “Heart Full…” demo, which was good — we all liked the song. When we got into the studio to record it, we looked in the vocal booth, and there were these two guys sitting on the floor (laughs), playing the sitar and the tabla.
So we did a few takes with them playing that little opening riff. It sort of worked, but didn't really have that sort of vibrancy we wanted. And Jeff said, “I can play this very easily,” and he played it using a fuzz box on his guitar, and it sounded 10 times better. So we went with that. I believe there are versions with the sitar around — I've heard them, and they don't sound too bad, actually.
Peeples: Well, I'll take the fuzz box any day.
McCarty: Well, exactly. Jeff had the fuzz box and wah-wah pedals and all sorts of gizmos. As you know, he loved to play all sorts of different sounds, and we loved all that because it was different, unusual, and that’s what we wanted.
Peeples: This is my opinion — but I think of the three, Jeff was the most adventurous in terms of finding new sounds and finding new ways to make them.
McCarty: Yeah, I agree with you, Stephen. He was the most inventive and the most spontaneous, most creative one. But of course, he was the most difficult one to tame, in a way. He was quite wild from the time he joined us, very wound-up, very temperamental. He was very keen on getting a good sound, and if he couldn't get the right sound, he'd blow up. He kicked an amplifier out of a window once (laughs). If it had landed on someone, it would have squashed them! He smashed his Les Paul guitar. He did all sorts of quite mad things.
Peeples: Jeff joined the group in March '65, and things were really dodgy by June '66. What were the circumstances of his exit?
McCarty: It was really quite wearing because we'd be touring the whole time, playing night after night. We were young guys with young egos stuck in a transit van going all over the place. We didn’t have much time to relax. We’d be playing a gig or doing a photo session or maybe getting into a studio or doing an interview. All the money was made on the road, so we were doing the gigs a lot of the time, and we were pressurized into doing it, too.
Jeff started to get ill — I'd say it was from stress, that he was well stressed out. At first we all thought he had meningitis. And then he got ill on an American tour, and it was sort of the worst of all tours — a Dick Clark (package) tour. We were playing with all these very strange bands and artists like Sam the Sham & The Pharaohs and Brian Hyland and people like that, playing more than one show a night, and all traveling around in a Greyhound bus. Jeff couldn't really take that for more than a couple of nights. And so he flipped out and disappeared — went off to your neck of the woods, which he really loved. He loved it in Los Angeles, Hollywood. So we carried on as a four-piece.
Peeples: Jimmy came into the group and then Jeff got well and came back into the group, so there was this fantastic three- or four-month period where you had both Beck and Page in the band…
McCarty: Yeah, this was before what I just said, haha. This is like when Paul Samwell-Smith left and Jimmy came in on bass.
Peeples: OK, right.
McCarty: And that was so ridiculous that after a while he and Chris swapped, and Chris played bass, and Jimmy played the other guitar — so yes, for a while, for a few months, both Jeff and Jimmy played, and that was pretty crazy.
Peeples: There were only a few recordings. “Happenings Ten Years Time Ago” was one, and then there was a track you performed, “Stroll On,” in the Antonioni film “Blow Up.”
McCarty: Yeah, yeah.
Peeples: What else did you guys record with both Beck and Page?
McCarty: Very little, unfortunately. “Psycho Daisies” was the ("Happenings...") B-side. I don't know whether they both played on that, but I thought “Happenings...” was a fantastic recording. It became quite a cult song, even though it didn't really do well at the time, but I'm quite proud I played on it. John Paul Jones played bass, so it was quite a lineup. But yeah, there are very few things Jeff and Jimmy played on together.
Peeples: Before we get too much farther, I wanted to rewind just a bit to talk about “I’m a Man,” and recording that at Chess in Chicago in September 1965, essentially reinventing the track from Bo Diddley's original. Can you describe how The Yardbirds developed that signature rave-up, the building up of the bass guitar and all the other guitars and everything just gets sky-high, and then the bass player brings it down, and then you all land on the one, and as a drummer, Jim, I'm sure you know where the one is.
Peeples: Yeah, I'm really interested in how that rave-up thing developed. And if you can talk about it in reference to “I'm a Man,” that would be cool, too.
McCarty: I have to hand it to Paul Samwell-Smith because he was always looking for new ideas, and I think he borrowed the idea from someone — I think the bass player that used to play with Cyril Davis. We used to go and see Cyril Davis, a great harmonica player and singer who had a rock 'n' roll band that used to play before that with Screamin’ Lord Sutch, of all people, and it really worked. It was a great, bluesy rock band, and the bass player used to do these double-ups, and I think Paul actually got that idea from him and made more of it.
Then we just jammed together and worked out these build-ups. I think most of that was really because we wanted to make our act when we played at the Crawdaddy as exciting as possible. We'd play “Smokestack Lightning” for maybe 15 minutes and bring it down and have a really quiet piece, and then do this very gradual build-up to a great crescendo, so everyone would go mad and leap around. It was all very exciting, and something that we loved. The music was exciting to start with by the blues people, but we liked to make it more exciting.
And “I'm a Man” — that was a great song written by Bo Diddley and recorded by Muddy Waters, and we did our own version, which was quite a lot faster. But there was a great feeling to it, and at the end we sped it up. We doubled up the time at the end to get I suppose what became known as “the rave-up.” Jeff went to town on all the (guitar) sounds, and then it went back to the boys for the crash ending — Ba-ba. Ba-ba. Ba-ba-ba…..BAAAAAAAAAA! (bla-domp, bla-domp BLAM!) So, we all put in a part to make it sound so interesting.
Peeples: That it was recorded in Chicago at Chess was cool, too.
McCarty: We got great sound in America. I think we recorded in two studios, (Sam Phillips’) and Chess, and in both those studios, they were much more advanced than British studios, and we always got a much better drum sound. We were much happier recording there.
Peeples: When I talked with Chris not too long ago, we talked about recording “Shapes of Things” in particular at Chess, and he said that the studio really allowed the band to really stretch out and do all that kind of stuff, while studios in England really weren't set up for that kind of experimentation yet.
McCarty: Oh, yeah. You could turn all the amps up and the engineers (could handle it). We used to play that bluesy stuff pretty loud. You could go for it, and it suited us. It was funny because we went into that session, there was a beaten-up old drum kit in the corner and they said, “Oh, there's the drums, you can use them,” and I thought, “Oh, no, they look awful.” But they sounded great. The (engineers) were just used to getting' them to sound brilliant. They had a big bag of sand in the bass drum, I remember.
Peeples: God knows how many incredible sessions were recorded on those drums, right?
McCarty: Yeah, exactly.
Peeples: Let's talk for a minute about the songs. Some of the early early hits were written by Graham Gouldman — you mentioned “For Your Love” and “Heart Full of Soul,” and “Evil Hearted You” is another one. What was it like working on his songs? When somebody like the manager would bring in an outside song, what did you guys think about that?
McCarty: At that point, we weren't really doing our own material. It was Giorgio, actually, who encouraged us to write songs. He would say, “Oh, you've got so much time hanging around, you're in dressing rooms and on buses…why don't you use that time?” And it was a wise thing to tell us. We eventually started to get ideas and put them together. We only really worked on Graham's songs, and we knew he was a good writer. He came up with some lovely songs and also wrote for The Hollies and some other people. So we knew he had a good track record. But it wasn’t until later on that we worked with other people’s songs.
Peeples: And then “Shapes of Things” was an original, “Still I'm Sad,” “Over Under Sideways Down” were tunes credited to all of you.
McCarty: Yeah, yeah. That lineup, I think, had a certain magic about it, with Paul Samwell-Smith, Keith, Jeff Chris and myself. I think that was a good chemistry within the band. We all put in our four-penny’s-worth or whatever. It was a good team effort and we came up with a good tune. I'm very proud of “Shapes of Things.” I think it's the best song we did.
Peeples: Picking up the chronology again, after Paul left to produce (Cat Stevens, Jethro Tull), then Jeff bailed leaving Jimmy as the sole guitarist, The Yardbirds carried on as a four-piece. From November ’66 through July ’68, it was Page, Relf, Dreja and you. So, what happened in that time before you guys decided to hang it up, and Page went off to form Led Zeppelin?
McCarty: Well, the four-piece worked really well in terms of having a good balanced performance, and we did quite a lot of work, we did a lot of touring as a four-piece. And we slightly changed the emphasis. It was a bit more full-on than it had been. There was a little bit more space for drums and bass than before. It worked very well, except creatively.
I don't think we came up with so many good ideas as we did with the lineup before, the five-piece. And I think we missed Paul Samwell-Smith, a guy with lots of ideas. Obviously we missed Jeff, but Jimmy was very hot as well. But we didn't seem to be able to write those songs anymore, and we made a big mistake.
We went to (producer) Mickie Most. We were trying to keep going with hit singles, and we went to Mickie, who was the big hit-maker in England in those days. But that didn't really work with us — that chemistry was a mistake, and we did some songs that didn't really suit us. That's when we started going downhill.
Peeples: So, July 1968, you, Keith and Chris split, and there was Jimmy. What prompted the mass exit?
McCarty: It was a combination of being really exhausted, playing the same music for four or five years, night after night. Also, not having quite the chemistry, though some of the songs we did, were quite good in retrospect. “Little Games” was quite a good album. I wouldn't say it was as good as “Roger the Engineer” (nickname for the album released in the U.S. as “Over Under Sideways Down”). But it was just a combination of all those things. We’d had it. Once we left, we took a few years to recover (laughs), 'cause it was a whole lifetime in those five years.
Peeples: Now, after that, you formed a couple of groups, more in the folk-progressive vein, including Together and Renaissance…
McCarty: Keith and I built up quite a good relationship together, and we carried on writing songs. And then it was suggested that we form another band if we wanted to get these songs out. We got a band together, and we had John Hawken come in from The Nashville Teens on the piano. He started to play classical, and we were going through one of our songs and he started to play Beethoven and we said, “This is great, this is really original and exciting, let's keep that in.” We became, I think, one of the first classical folk-rock bands.
Peeples: And then a few years went by…Keith was unfortunately electrocuted in 1976; you and Chris and Paul reunited as Box of Frogs in the ‘80s…and then came the The Yardbirds’ Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame induction  in 1992. The induction reminded people, I think, of the group's history and legacy, and that maybe it wasn’t all over yet. What were the bandmembers' reactions to being inducted? What happened after that?
McCarty: Well, it reminded us as well that we were pretty good (laughs). That gave us a lot more confidence, a lot more interest. There had always been a lot of interest in the band since we broke up in the '60s. It was one of those bands that the music seemed to endure, and it still endures today.
I was playing in a little blues band in London that, funny enough, I formed with “Top” Topham, who I'd met after a long time and he said, “I've been listening to blues music again shall we get a band together? I'd like to get a band together.” And we were playing some blues covers again, and it was like (starting) all over again. We were playing in a pub in (Shepherd's Bush), and after a few weeks, it sort of started to burst at the seams and it was like the old Crawdaddy Club. And Chris used to come down and see us, and Jeff and Paul used to see us, too.
Chris and I got a call from an agent in England that said, you know, “Have you plans for trying to put (The Yardbirds) together again?” And so we decided to take a chance on it and it went from there.
Peeples: Now, in reassembling the lineup, it took a little bit of work, a few guys, to arrive at the current lineup. Please tell us how you got from there to here, and about the new guys in the group.
McCarty: Well, we had quite a few musicians coming through. The singer, actually, was a big part of it. The singer that played in that original blues band in (Shepherd's Bush) was a guy called John Idan, from Detroit. He looked very much the part; he was 20 years or so younger than me and looked a bit like a cross between Keith and Jeff. He was a guitar player, and he came in and he was part of the new group as the front man, though he played bass instead of guitar. Since then, we've had various guitar players and the group seemed to get younger and younger.
John used to lecture part-time in this contemporary music academy down in Guildford, southern England in Surrey, and that's where he met Ben King, our (current) guitar player, who was probably the best young guitar player in this era. And we were looking for another guitarist at the time, and John brought Ben down and Ben was immediately into that Yardbirds role, and he was great.
(McCarty, King and Dreja are pictured at Basingstoke in 2008. Photo: Marc Lacaze.)
A couple of years ago, John decided to leave the group to go solo, so we were looking for a singer and a bass player. We thought we'd go back to the original configuration. We came across Andy Mitchell, a singer who didn't actually play harmonica. He was very keen and said, “I'll learn harmonica. I'll do harmonica in Keith's role.” And the bass player, Dave Smale, was at the same academy as Ben, so they are all young guys, very energetic. And really, it's a great sound now. It's got that that enthusiasm, that power. It’s an exciting act now.
Peeples: Now, you're a guy of a certain age. I can say that 'cause I am, too.
McCarty: (laughs) Right.
Peeples: The youngsters really get you going, yeah?
McCarty: Oh, yeah. They've got that energy, and you know, it does help. It's a little bit odd sometimes to travel around with people not in your age group. It’s a bit strange. But on stage, it really does happen. It really works well.
Peeples: Now, 48th year this year. We're coming up on the 50th anniversary of The Yardbirds, and I'm just curious — has there been any noise among the Yardbirds alumni to get together for some sort of big reunion shebang on the 50th anniversary?
McCarty: Well, yes, there have been a few noises — mainly from agents (laughs). But one of the old guitar players has expressed interest, I can say that much. If he's interested, maybe some of the others will be. We can do maybe one, or two or three shows, which will be great – a real celebration of what we did.
Peeples: You're coming to California again and will be playing three gigs here for the Southern California Yardbirds fans. What can we can expect to see and hear at these shows?
McCarty: I think you'll see a powerful, enthusiastic, interesting band. We're going be playing our hits, and they won't sound completely the same, but I think they'll sound good. And there will be some great blues songs. It’ll really take you back. So we're the best of both worlds on that.
Peeples: You have the 2006 live album from B.B. King’s with you and Chris and Ben on it, and you mentioned you're going to record the California shows for a possible live album. Is this band thinking about doing any studio recording?
McCarty: That would be good, if we can get it together to do some songs together. It's a big challenge. We’d have to get songs that live up to The Yardbirds' repertoire. But we'll certainly have a go along the way.
Peeples: Very good. Jim, it's been a real pleasure talking with you. Any parting shots?
McCarty: Not really. I think what you said, before we got started — your Facebook quote was very good, about me bringing in ideas for songs...
Peeples: Oh, yeah! That was a Chris quote about you that I nicked from an old bio: "Jim's a composer, so he probably out of all of us possesses the ability to bring a song to the table," Dreja says of his partner. "Then we Yardbirdize it — we seriously birds**t all over it."
McCarty: (laughs). That's good!
Peeples: (laughs) Thanks again, Jim. Best to you, and we'll see you at The Key Club on Sunset this Wednesday.
McCarty: OK, Stephen. Take care, then.
Catch up on The Yardbirds' colorful past and present by visiting www.theyardbirds.com , www.theyardbirds.us  or its Facebook page . And next week, we'll take a look at McCarty's latest chamber-pop solo album, "Sitting on the Top of Time."
THE WRAP — Hope you enjoyed the seventh journey through Peeples Place at KHTS! You can always visit us right here at www.peeplesplace.com , and at our under-construction Peeples Place Facebook page . Please share the posts and "like" the page and help us build our online community of SCV music-makers and music-lovers. We also invite you to sign up for the weekly newsletter .
If you have a new album to review or music news you’d like us to include in an upcoming post, shoot an email to me at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Special thanks this week to all the artists and their families, managers, media relations reps, friends and fans. Extra special thanks to Rhoda Dendrum for her invaluable production assistance, and to Nadine A. Peeples for her invaluable encouragement and support.
With a face perfect for radio, I’ll see you on AM 1220 in the Santa Clarita Valley Thursday morning at 8:10 when I preview the NEXT edition of…Peeples Place at KHTS.
Stephen K. Peeples is a Grammy-nominated record producer (“Monterey International Pop Festival,” MIPF/Rhino, 1992), an award-winning radio producer (“The Lost Lennon Tapes,” Westwood One, 1988-1990), an award-winning online editor of The Signal website (2007-2011) and former music and entertainment columnist for The Signal (2004-2011). He is host and co-producer of the “House Blend with Stephen K. Peeples” music and interview show on SCVTV (www.scvhouseblend.com ), and is drummer with SCV jazz group RainTree (www.raintreejazz.com ). For more information, visit www.stephenkpeeples.com .