Back to the Peeples Place at KHTS  portal.
Stephen K. Peeples here, and you’re crawling through the wreckage on Peeples Place at KHTS!
It’s the EIGHTH post of the new local music blog I’m producing in collaboration with AM 1220 KHTS and the Santa Clarita Valley’s award-winning, No. 1 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 have news about Castaic Days at the lake, the Golden Valley jazz band, Lockdown and WAR, a major award nomination for a certain local TV show, and the breakup just last night of a local rock band.
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!
And, I'll have a few comments and photos from The Yardbirds' much-anticipated show at the Key Club on the Sunset Strip Wednesday night.
First, Peeples Place at KHTS rocks the SCV music news.
ROCK ME ON THE WATER: CASTAIC DAYS AT THE LAKE THIS WEEKEND — The annual Castaic Days extravaganza at Castaic Lake is tonight from 5 to 9 and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m..
Attractions include live entertainment, gourmet food trucks, a Splash Dogs competition, a "reptacular" animal petting zoo, the Mad Dog Gaming Paradise, vendor and arts and crafts booths, a climbing wall for kids, free CHP car seat inspection, Canyon Crosswinds remote-controlled model aircraft, a Castaic Library used book sale, and lots of other activities for kids young and old.
Tonight's musical entertainment starts at 6 with songwriter/guitarist Joe Delia and continues at 7:30 with a presentation by the Elite Dance Studio.
The evening wraps with a set by Valencia-based rockers Locked & Loaded, featuring Luke Chavez (lead guitar), Jonny Hyman (vocals), Jesse Silgero (bass) and Spencer Steffan (drums).
Saturday's lineup starts rocking at 11 a.m. with Jerry DeJong & The Sloan Canyon Rangers, followed by Bar Fly, the Kalakeke Pacific Island Dance Company, the Alan Wright Band, Rebel Angels, Wumbloozo and 2nz.
Grammy nominees Lisa Haley (pictured) and her band The Zydekats will close the show with a set of Americana/Cajun/zydeco/blues/jazz/you-name-it.
Admission is free, but parking is $5. Get more details and directions at www.castaicdays.com .
McGRATH PROJECT HANGS IT UP — After five years and a gold album, popular SCV rock band The McGrath Project is dis-banding. Bandleader/producer and two-time Grammy-winner Gary McGrath couldn’t find a label for their latest album, or local gigs that paid enough to support a group, and says it’s pointless to carry on.
The final MGP gig featuring McGrath (guitar, vocals), singer Ann-Marita Garsed (vocals, guitar), Matt Fullove (drums), Dean Minnerly (keyboards, vocals) and Moses Sparks (bass) was last night at On the Rox, the club upstairs from The Roxy on the Sunset Strip.
"Thank you for five years of great times," McGrath wrote in a Facebook post. "Enjoy this last single, 'Tarantino Girl' and 'Casey's Last Chance,' and stay tuned for Ann-Marita's solo records and tours."
Tonight, Ann-Marita, with McGrath, kicks off her latest tour, which includes dates in California, Nebraska, North Dakota, Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas through Oct. 10, performing material from her solo catalog and previewing songs from her next album, due soon.
Stay tuned in with Ann-Marita by visiting her Facebook musician/band page .
GOLDEN VALLLEY JAZZ BAND GIG & FUNDRAISER AT ROUTE 66 — Students and supporters of the Golden Valley High School's jazz band are throwing a fundraiser at Route 66 Classic Grillin Canyon Country, on Monday. From 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., 15 percent of net sales from food purchases will go to the band and color guard.
In turn, GV will donate 15 percent of the donation to the American Red Cross, which will have reps there to take additional donations from all caring, generous people. GVHS's Jazz Band 1 will also perform a set at 6 p.m. Get your kicks at 18730 Soledad Canyon Road, and keep up with the Grizzlies at the GVHS website .
SCV MUSIC TRIVIA: KELLY'S MYSTERY AXEMAN — We're rolling with this until someone gets it! What local guitarist toured with singer 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.
‘HOUSE BLEND’ MAKES WAVE AWARDS FINALS — The “House Blend” music and interview show on SCVTV hosted and co-produced by yours truly is one of three finalists for a WAVE award from the Alliance for Community Media.
WAVE (Western Access Video Excellence) awards recognize excellence in community television. For the nomination, SCVTV’s original “House Blend” show was up against music shows produced by local stations in Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Nevada and New Mexico.
The selected “House Blend” episode featured legendary acoustic duo Chris Hillman and Herb Pedersen, taped at the SCVTV Media Center in Newhall on May 21. In the show, Hillman and Pederson perform “Turn! Turn! Turn! (To Everything There is a Season),” made famous by Hillman’s 1960s band, The Byrds.
The other nominees in the “professional music programming” category are Jazz-elle Lasiuk of Santa Cruz County for “Planet of Dreamz” and Jul3ia (not a typo) Astatkie of Kaua’i, Hawaii, for “Requiem55.”
The 2011 nominees were announced Monday. Winners will be named Oct. 8 during the ACM’s annual conference in San Jose.
It is SCVTV’s first shot at a WAVE award but not its first ACM nomination. SCVTV had the No. 2 local TV website in the nation (SCVTV.com) in a previous ACM competition.
“House Blend” premiered on SCVTV in August 2010. The weekly series is produced by Megan Mann-Perez, SCVTV’s production manager, and was created by Mann-Perez and yours truly, who as co-producer hosts and scripts the show and books the talent. The executive producer is SCVTV President Leon Worden.
“To be nominated for a new show on our first try is exciting,” Mann-Perez said. “We’re very proud of every ‘House Blend’ episode we’ve taped to date. This is the kind of show people in Santa Clarita are excited to see. There’s so much local talent here and it’s wonderful to finally have a forum like ‘House Blend’ where artists can show off their skills and viewers can get to know the performers via Stephen’s interviews. Many thanks to all of our volunteer crew members who have brought this show to life.”
“Each of the more than 25 ‘House Blend’ shows we’ve produced so far is worthy, but the Hillman-Pedersen episode is my favorite to date,” said Peeples, also a volunteer.
(Mann-Perez and Peeples photo by Amanda Moulton.)
It’s the episode Megan, our sound ace Mike Mazzetti, Leon and I always talk about as our best combination of talent, performance, sound and presentation so far. Everyone stepped up, from Chris and Herb to Megan, Mike and the whole 'House Blend' crew. I’m very proud of what we accomplished, and that our work has earned this WAVE nomination.
With Hillman playing mandolin and Pedersen on acoustic guitar, the episode features not only The Byrds’ timeless hit but also “Wait a Minute” from Pedersen’s first solo album, “Southwest” (1976); “Wheels,” a Hillman-Gram Parsons tune from the first Flying Burrito Brothers album (1969); and “Desert Rose,” from the fourth Desert Rose Band album (1990). All four songs are also included on Hillman and Pedersen’s “At Edwards Barn” live album on Rounder (2010).
During the interview segments, the duo talks about their half-century of friendship and highlights of their stints in The Byrds (Hillman), The Dillards (Pedersen), The Flying Burrito Brothers (Hillman), and the Desert Rose Band (both).
Chris and Herb’s performance was stellar. The songs they chose represented key moments of their individual and collective careers. That worked really well with the chronology of my questions, and they were warm and genuine during our interview. The crew loved their delicious, timeless music and easy-going attitudes.
How these two internationally renowned singers, songwriters and musicians came to appear on SCVTV’s “House Blend” is a story by itself.
Hillman, Peeples and Pedersen on the "House Blend" set. Photo by John Nussbaum.
Hillman and I go back to the late '70s, when he, Roger McGuinn and Gene Clark — all founding members of The Byrds — reunited as a trio. Capitol Records signed them, and I was working in the press department as editorial director. The label asked me to write liner notes for the trio’s first Capitol album, "McGuinn, Clark & Hillman," which I thought was a huge honor. It turned out to be the first of many sets of liner notes I'd write over the years.
The trio had recorded the album with producers Ron and Howard Albert, who I’d gone to high school with in North Miami, Fla., 10 years earlier, when we were just teenage Byrds fans. Ron was one of the audio-visual students who schlepped movie projectors and record players on carts from classroom to classroom. The best part of the Capitol project for me was meeting and talking with Chris, Roger and Gene, and reconnecting with the Alberts.
Last year, I made contact with Pedersen, whose career I’ve followed just about as long as Hillman's, via mutual friends on Facebook, and went to see him sit in with The Grateful Dudes at Vincenzo’s on Lyons in Newhall. He brought Chris with him. The two have toured extensively the last several years, and Hillman lives just out the 126 in the Ventura area, so his appearance wasn’t entirely unexpected. But it was great to finally meet Herb and see Chris again after all these years, and hear the timeless blend of bluegrass, folk and Western they played with the Dudes.
Hillman (left) and Pedersen (right) on the set of "House Blend" with SCVTV VP and Engineer Michael R. Mazzetti. Photo by Stephen K. Peeples.
When "House Blend" premiered, I kept Hillman and Pedersen high on my guest wish list, and stayed in touch with Herb. Then, talking with Mike Mazzetti, our ace "House Blend" sound producer, it turned out he’d known Chris and Herb for many years. So Mike mentioned the show to Chris, who said he was up for an appearance, and that put everything in motion. I formally invited him and Herb, and by May the timing worked out beautifully for everyone.
Megan and the post-production crew had the Hillman-Pedersen show finished in time to premiere the following Saturday, May 28. I sent the duo the news with a heartfelt thanks for the honor of presenting them, and for being so easy to work with.
"It was truly effortless working with you, and the questions were perfect!" Pedersen wrote back.
Hillman wrote: "I'm honored you asked us, and between you, Mike and the staff, it made for a great day."
When I posted a bunch of my stills from the taping on my Facebook page, Pedersen commented on one of them: "Stephen did a great job. Chris and I had a wonderful time with him, as well as Mike and Megan. SCVTV is an important connection for the arts and music."
All I could say was, "Wow." Coming from guys like those,
The WAVE nomination is "a nice nod to all of us in the acoustic scene," Pedersen wrote this week after hearing the news.
See the nominated "House Blend" show featuring Hillman and Pedersen in four parts: Part 1 , Part 2 , Part 3  and Part 4  — or tune in to SCVTV tomorrow night at 10 for an encore broadcast.
“House Blend” airs Thursdays and Saturdays at 10 p.m. Pacific Time on SCVTV (Time Warner Cable Channel 20 in the SCV, AT&T U-Verse Channel 99 in L.A. and Orange counties). The show's archives are also available 24/7 on demand at www.scvtv.com/html/houseblend-current.html. 
Visit the station's website at www.scvtv.com  for a complete schedule of local music on SCVTV, community television for the Santa Clarita Valley.
SCV LOCAL MUSIC ROUNDUP — For the latest on what's new and hot in local music, we checked in with our friends at Rock Candy Music & More, the Santa Clarita Valley’s only retail record store, at Bouquet and Plum Canyon in Saugus. Co-owner Melissa Yergensen gave us the update.
If you also mention you heard about it right here on Peeples Place at KHTS, they'll give you an extra-big smile along with your discount.
Rock Candy Music & More presents live shows by local artists on most weekend nights, but this weekend is "concert-free," Yergensen said.
LOCKDOWN THROWS THE ROCK DOWN OVER THE HILL — Local teen rock band Lockdown, five guys and a girl ranging in age from 9-16 years old, played the Annual Musicians' Picnic at Rancho San Antonio in Chatsworth last Sunday, sharing the main stage with WAR, Missing Persons, The Tubes, T.S.O.L. and Electra.
Drummer Cole Riley 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 older brother of the other Larsons and the geezer of the group at 16 (he also plays with local rockers Open the Coda).
(Photos by Johnny Olsen, courtesy Lockdown.)
"It was so cool to play at the Musicians Picnic," Smith said after the show. "I loved the big stage and the drum kit — it rocked. I especially like meeting the drummer from WAR, Sal Rodriguez. He said Lockdown could come play a few songs with him at Casa Torres in Sylmar some Wednesday night. Lockdown was also booked on the spot to play at Topanga Days next Memorial Day weekend and we're looking forward to it."
"My favorite part was being on stage with WAR — they were amazing!" Jason Larson said.
"Being on that big stage, playing in front of all of those people, was awesome," Jacob added.
"Performing at the picnic was an amazing experience," Lopez said. "It felt great to open up for such great bands such as WAR and TSOL. The best part for me was when some fans told us that Lockdown did a better job than the other bands. It was a blast."
"It was an honor to have the chance to play on the same stage with so many inspiring bands," Greaney said. "The sound was amazing and I'm truly grateful to have opened for The Tubes and WAR! I had such a great time, and hope we get to come back and rock next year's picnic!"
"It was definitely a wonderful experience, playing with bands like those," Josh Larson said. "It really allowed us to connect with other people who are just as human and experience all of the same things. The sound was excellent, everyone was friendly and it was an excellent, stress-free environment."
MORE SCV 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 starting at 7. They'll gig there next Friday 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.
Acoustic Soul plays at Valencia Wine Co. and Justin Sheehy performs at Salt Creek Grille tonight, both starting at 9 p.m.
661 Productions hosts a Battle of the Bands at Howie's Pub in Castaic. The lineup features both local and Los Angeles-based bands — Silent Shot, Black Empathy, Danny Get Down, Hibernation Index, The Pug Fuglys, Poetwarrior, Dimtribe and Pottymouth. Tickets cost $5, doors open at 3 p.m. and the battle runs till midnight.
Hollywood punk/pop band Margate rocks Keyboard Galleria's Stage Door studio on Saturday at 6 p.m., and Left at the Sun opens the show. Cover is $5. Seating is limited, so arrive early.
fahr.west will play a free acoustic set at It's A Grind Coffee House at 8 p.m. They'll perform covers and originals with special guest Trout Davis.
Asa Kim returns to Valencia Wine Co. and Galo Pacheco performs at Salt Creek Grille in Valencia, both 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.
Hubbadaddy's current After School Rock session comes to a crescendo at Vincenzo's on Lyons in Newhall from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. as bands in the six-week program play their "graduations," so to speak. Among the performers are local teen rock bands Open the Coda and Blackout, who played during halftime during Jack Mack & The Heart Attack's Concert in the Park a few weeks back (as previewed in Peeples Place Aug. 26 ).
YARDBIRDS LEAVE BLUES DROPPINGS ON SUNSET STRIP — Southern California Yardbirds fans were all a-twitter this week as the legendary British blueswailers flew in to Southern California for just three dates — and the only West Coast shows on a 16-date, 48th-anniversary mini-tour of the United States.
They played the Key Club  on Sunset on Wednesday, the Coach House  in San Juan Capistrano Thursday, and will rave it up one last time tonight at the Canyon Club  in Agoura Hills before heading home.
The Yardbirds 2011: founding members Jim McCarty (drums, 1963) and Chris Dreja (far right, rhythm guitar, 1963), plus Ben King (far left, lead guitar, 2006), lead singer/acoustic guitarist/harpist Andy Mitchell (front, 2009) and bassist David Smale (right center, 2009).
Having missed all previous tours and waited about 45 years to see them live, it was my pleasure (and I hope yours, too) to preview this California sortee for the last three Peeples Place at KHTS posts (see Part 1  for tour details, Part 2  for an exclusive Peeples Place Q&A with Dreja and Part 3  for an exclusive Q&A with Jim McCarty).
Along with maybe 150 other people in the full but not packed house, I caught the Key Club show, from right in front of the stage.
Was it worth the wait? Yes; the band's performance nearly met my admittedly very unreasonable expectations.
Their set list focused on their best-known hits, B-sides and album tracks, and represented the distinct eras of Yardbirds producers (Giorgio Gomelsky, Paul Samwell-Smith/Simon Napier-Bell, Mickie Most) and guitarists (Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, Jimmy Page), spanning 1964-1968.
They opened with Mose Allison's "I'm Not Talking" (one of the band's first tracks recorded with Beck playing lead), following with "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Sailor" and "Drinking Muddy Water" (both from "Little Games"), "Lost Woman" (from "Yardbirds"/"Over Under Sideways Down"), "Heart Full of Soul" (second Top 10 single in U.S. penned by Graham Gouldman), "The Train Kept A-Rollin'" (original track engineered by Sam Phillips of Sun Studios fame), "The Nazz Are Blue" (Beck's reworking of Elmore James' "Dust My Broom"), "Shapes of Things" (originally recorded at Chess), and "New York City Blues" (changed by Mitchell to "...have you ever been to Sweden?" instead of NYC).
The set continued with "Think About It" (B-side of the last Page-era single in early '68), "Over Under Sideways Down" (the Beck-era hit), "Smokestack Lightnin' (early live album track from the Marquee Club), "Little Games" (the last Hot 100 single, produced by Mickie Most), "For Your Love" (the first hit, with Clapton), "Happenings Ten Years Time Ago" (one of the few tracks to feature both Beck and Page), "Dazed & Confused" (the pre-Zeppelin version) and the immortal "I'm a Man" (the hot-wired version of Bob Diddley's classic, also recorded at Chess).
To my ears the band sounded a bit rough in the opener (they had played Hawaii the night before and jet lag may have been a factor; Dreja said as much early in the set), but instantly recognizeable as Yardbirds. Mitchell intro'd the songs with just a word or two about their histories, and channeled original lead singer/harp player Keith Relf without mimicking him. Smale, playing a Fender Jazz bass (longer neck than a rock bass), interacted well with drummer McCarty, and Dreja, playing his Les Paul through a Vox amp, punctuated many of the songs with their key riffs and licks.
And then there was Ben King, in the (un)enviable position of playing songs made famous 40-45 years ago by godfathers of rock guitar. Playing a well-worn Telecaster through a Vox rig and multiple effects, King did way better than anyone would have a right to expect. He got the soul of Clapton, the adventurousness of Beck and the precision of Page, but had his own mojo woikin,' too.
The Beck-era material is the most challenging to most ears, including mine. King has apparently studied Beck's style(s) well and can use all five fingers of his open right hand or play with a pick. "Shapes" was a real test, where King re-created Beck's howling, Bolero-styled solo admirably. King also did a fairly amazing job mashing both Beck's and Page's parts together on "Happenings Ten Years Time Ago," and Page's licks on "Dazed and Confused." Just as amazing, I thought this band's live version of "Think About It," a throwaway B-side, was better than the original recording with Page.
If I had any real beef with the Key Club set, it's that the rave-ups didn't get quite as manic as the originals, but I'll write that off to jet lag, not to lack of enthusiasm. It seemed like Mitchell was doing his best to engage the audience, and King was trying his best to get his bandmates raving at certain points. They did stretch out with some nice additional soloing on "For Your Love" and especially "Little Games," though.
All things considered, to hear these classic songs from my misspent youth performed live by humans, including two founders, and not machines playing it note-for-note like a tribute band, was a good experience.
McCarty told me earlier the band was filming and recording the California shows for a possible live album and/or DVD, so there may be more Yardbirds droppings to update the 2006 live album recorded at B.B. King's in New York; we'll see. Meanwhile, catch up on the band's colorful past and present at www.theyardbirds.com , www.theyardbirds.us  or on Facebook .
THE WRAP — Hope you enjoyed the eighth 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, managers, media relations reps, families, friends and fans. Extra special thanks to Frieda Peeples 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 on 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 (The Signal website, 2007-2011) and former music and entertainment columnist (The Signal, 2004-2011). He is host, writer and co-producer of the “House Blend" music and interview show on SCVTV (www.scvhouseblend.com ), and drummer with SCV jazz group RainTree (www.raintreejazz.com ). For more information, visit www.stephenkpeeples.com .