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Events: Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Chicago, Peter Frampton

The band Black Rebel Motorcycle Club plays at the Del Mar Fairgrounds on Friday night.
The band Black Rebel Motorcycle Club plays at the Del Mar Fairgrounds on Friday night.
Events: Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Chicago, Peter Frampton
It's an all music weekeend preview. We'll talk about the bands, old and new, who are playing in San Diego this weekend.

It's an all music weekeend preview. We'll talk about the bands, old and new, who are playing in San Diego this weekend.


George Varga is the pop music critic for the San Diego Union-Tribune.


Rosey Bystrak is the author of the music blog SD Dialed In.

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This is a rush transcript created by a contractor for KPBS to improve accessibility for the deaf and hard-of-hearing. Please refer to the media file as the formal record of this interview. Opinions expressed by guests during interviews reflect the guest’s individual views and do not necessarily represent those of KPBS staff, members or its sponsors.

CAVANAUGH: This is KPBS Midday Edition. I'm Maureen Cavanaugh. If you're after musical nostalgia, we've knot it. Or if you're after no frills garage band contemporary music, we've got that too. In fact we've got a whole lot of music to talk about on this edition of weekend preview. My guest in studio is Rosey Bystrak, he's the author of the music blog SD dialed in. Rosey hi.

BYSTRAK: How are you?

CAVANAUGH: We're hoping to have George Varga with with us, he's pop music critic for the San Diego Union Tribune. And he is making his way to the phone as we speak. We'll start with black rebel motorcycle club is playing at the Del Mar Fairgrounds tomorrow. Tell us about them.

BYSTRAK: They will be playing at the race track after the final race tomorrow during the summer concert series. They're a band from San Francisco originally, based out of LA now. And just really good driving rock and roll.


CAVANAUGH: What do you like about the band?

BYSTRAK: They're really entertaining. Their live performance is just stellar. So I think for a free show, there's going to be a lot of energy after the races, and I think it'll be a really good time.

CAVANAUGH: A lot of people don't know about these free shows after the races. That's a pretty good deal?

BYSTRAK: It is. If you actually show up after the race, they charge $20. So if you get there before the race is finished, they come with the admission price of the races, which I think is maybe six bucks.

CAVANAUGH: Let's hear a track from their album, beat the devil's tattoo. This is called conscience killer.

(Audio Recording Played).

CAVANAUGH: That is conscience killer by black rebel motorcycle club. And what are their live performances like, Rosey?

BYSTRAK: I the the last time I saw them was a few years ago at the southern comfort music festival. It was another free event where it was outdoor. They've come back between that time and now, played the house of blues, a bunch of sold out shows there. They're just really energetic on stage, and really driving performances.

CAVANAUGH: Once again, black rebel motorcycle club plays at the Del Mar Fairgrounds tomorrow night. George, hello.

VARGA: Hey, how are you?

CAVANAUGH: Great. I'm very long, thank you for joining us. George Varga of the San Diego Union Tribune. Chicago is playing at Humphrey's. It's hard to believe that I'm saying that. Apparently Chicago is still bringing in crowds.

VARGA: Well, that might be kind of how we define a crowd. Given Humphrey's has a capacity of 1400. But the band tours year after year, and given I believe they have 21 top hits to draw from, the fact that they have musical legacy and 41†years of history under their belt makes them a proven commodity.

CAVANAUGH: 41†years, George. That in itself is amazing. For people who are perhaps unfamiliar with Chicago when it was at the top, remind us what this band is, who these guys are.

VARGA: I take it you mean people who weren't born at the time maybe.

CAVANAUGH: Could be.

VARGA: In the 1960s, Chicago and the band blood and tears were the two preeminent bands that helped popularize Trumpets, trombones, and saxophones in the rock and roll format. Literally about who these guys are, it's a bit more tricky in that there are four original members and four newer members. One of the newer members, all I qualify he came on board in 1985, is Jason shep, a San Diegan, who people would have heard in the Hilton cargo bar in the early 1980s in a band called the people movers. All told, I think there's been two-dozen members to come and go through Chicago's ranks over the years.

CAVANAUGH: Let's listen to a 1972 hit single. This is Chicago's Saturday in the park. And I think just about everybody should be familiar with this.

(Audio Recording Played).

CAVANAUGH: That is Saturday in the park from the album Chicago five from back in 1972. George, this a greatest hits tour or does Chicago have any new music?

VARGA: They did put on a new album earlier in the year entitled live in 75, and that means live in 1975. I don't know how new we can call that. But as a fact that many, many classic rock fans today don't want to hear new music by the bands. They want to hear what they remember. And I think typically when a band of that vintage goes into a new tune, people immediately react by going to the react or going to buy a beer or whatever. And I think it ends up being a frustrating position for a band to be in, but that is the reality.

CAVANAUGH: You have apparently been to a lot of these concerts.

VARGA: I have. I've also seen black rebel motorcycle club, and I can't compare the two, obviously. But way back in the day, Chicago were actually part of the, quote, the revolution. They played in the grant park in 1960 during the Chicago convention when there was a riot. And their first album was dedicated to, quote, the revolution.

CAVANAUGH: George, let me tell everyone that Chicago will perform at Humphrey's half moon inn and sweets in Point Loma next Monday night. I want to move onto an event this weekend that is sort of music for a good cause. It's called Alex's lemonade stand. And Rosey, tell us about that.

BYSTRAK: Alex's lemonade stand is a national organization. It's named after Alex Scott, a little girl who was diagnosed with cancer when she was will be a year old. When she was treated, she decided that she wanted to make a lemonade stand to raise money for pediatric cancer. She variable did pass away at eight years old in 2004. But this organization sort of blossomed from her cause and legacy.

CAVANAUGH: And it looks like there's some live music at this event as well; is that right?

BYSTRAK: Yes. So locally, the Miller family has been hosting the event for six years at their home in Northpark. And there'll be three musicians, three bands this weekend: . The blackout party, Jesse Monica, and the dime novels. And there's one more. I can't remember who the third one is.

CAVANAUGH: I'm sure it'll come to you. It sounds lake a really great event for people who want to combine a love of music with really supporting just a fabulous cause. Alex's lemonade stand will be raising money for pediatric cancer this Saturday on red wood and 32nd street in Northpark. And George, we go back to you, now, for Peter Frampton. At Balboa theatre. Can you tell us who Peter Frampton is for our younger listeners?

VARGA: Can indeed. He was undoubtedly one of the rock super stars of the 1970s, he sold out stadiums including walwoa stadium in 1976. He's from England, he went to school with Mick Jagger and David Bowie, toured with bowie in the 1980s. And he made a live album called Frampton comes Alive in 1976, and he became enormous.

CAVANAUGH: And people may remember him for that mouth was was thing, right?

VARGA: Yeah. Fondly or not, they would probably remember him from that.

CAVANAUGH: Let's listen to his 1973 hit, do you feel like we do from the album, Frampton's camel.

(Audio Recording Played).

CAVANAUGH: Do you feel like I do from -- wasn't that the Frampton comes alive album, George?

VARGA: Correct.

CAVANAUGH: And that was the top selling live album for lots and lots of years.

VARGA: It is today, it's sold over $16†million. And it was a double album, so really 32 million if you want to get technical.

CAVANAUGH: Whoa. Peter Frampton played at the Balboa theatre next Tuesday night. We go to new music again with the fourth annual Johnny red fest. What is this event?

BYSTRAK: The Johnny red fest is -- a garage rock festival that's put on every year by a couple people locally from some clothing company, Brixton, and they get together and just kind of put these bands together that maybe don't get a lot of attention otherwise in the market.

CAVANAUGH: Let's called a garage rock festival. Is that kind of it?

BYSTRAK: That's pretty much it. I mean, the bands they're a little bit outside the mainstream. But they definitely have a good audience, and it's this whole counter culture that involves skate boarding. There will be a lot of PB and R consumed during the weekend. It's a full event.

CAVANAUGH: How popular is this festival?

BYSTRAK: It's almost sold out for tonight's show, which kicks off tonight at till two club, then it moves over to the Ken club for Friday and Saturday. I would recommend getting tickets in advance because they're playing some small places.

CAVANAUGH: Johnny Red Fest starts tonight at the till 2:00 o'clock in City Heights, and will be at the Ken club in Kensington on Friday and Saturday nights. And because of time, George, I'm going to be moving to -- okay. You had Chicago, Peter Frampton, is now Hippie Fest. It'll be at Humphrey's concerts by the bay next week. Tell us about this show.

VARGA: Well, I think I may be wrong but I think the name alone, hippie fest will either appeal to people or annoy them. But if you like a lot of irony in your diet, along with granola, then you probably want to be there. The lineup is nobody who couldn't be a member of AARP right now. Gary write, you might recall from Dreamweaver, Felix Calvalieri from the rascal, Dave Mason formerly of Fleetwood Mac, and Bart farmer formerly of grabbed funk rail road.

CAVANAUGH: Is this like one of these Ringo stars all stars band? Do they play together or are they going to be featured separately?

VARGA: There could be a grand finale. But they all come out on their own, if I note the format correctly. And I have attended Hippie Fest in the past, and I have to say it was excruciating. If hippie meant anything to anybody, I can't fathom why they would want to be involved with it, other than the in fact that they needed money.

CAVANAUGH: Holy mackerel, George! Tell us what you really think!

VARGA: Oh, I really like it. They're good performers. I don't want to denigrate any of them individually. But again, the -- people are buying over priced what would be very reasonable tie died T-shirts, and if that had any meaning back then, it really doesn't now.

CAVANAUGH: Only you know and I know right now from his album alone together.

(Audio Recording Played).

CAVANAUGH: And that is only you know and I know from Dave Mason's 1970s success. I have to tell everyone, George, hippie fest takes place at Humphrey's half moon inn and suites in Point Loma next Wednesday night. I've been speaking with George Varga of the UT, and Rose Blystak of the music blog SD dialed in. Thank you both for speaking with us.

BYSTRAK: Thank you for having me.

VARGA: Thank you.