Friday, May 28, 2010

Interview transcript: Jared Watson of The Dirty Heads

Just in time for the Memorial Day Weekend and the upcoming California Roots Music Festival, we talk with Dirty Heads singer/guitarist Jared Watson. He shares some pretty cool stuff about working with Rome Ramirez (of Sublime with Rome) and the band's 2010 success. There's more after the jump.
Have a great weekend!

Talk about the local angle, the California Roots Music and Art Festival, and coming out to Monterey. Have you been out to Monterey before?

I don't think we have. I don't think we've played Monterey. We've definitely played up north, in Northern California, but not Monterey yet.

Can you talk about playing in Santa Cruz in the past, and what you might be looking forward to playing at Monterey Fairgrounds.

I've never been to the fairgrounds, but Santa Cruz is always kind of a treat when we go up there, because we're really good buddies with The Expendables, and they kind of opened the door for us to get some fans. We did a couple of tours with them and any time we'd go to Santa Cruz, they'd let us open up for them.
So we always get to hang out with those guys if we're off tour, and then they kind of helped us grow our little fan base that we had there. They helped us get bigger. It's always a really good time and we always plan on partying when we hit up Santa Cruz. And the waves are good, but it's too cold.

(The Expendables) sound is a little harder, but it seems like you guys are in the same lineage.
There is a whole scene that I kind of think a lot of people would put is into together, but we definitely have a different sound. They do definitely have a lot more rock. But those guys, out of the whole scene, are probably my favorite band, out of the whole reggae rock scene that's knd of blowing up right now.

How familiar are you with the bands on this bill?
Who else is playing (laughs)

Bands like 880 South, Tribal Seeds?
Oh yeah, yeah, yeah. We've played with a couple of the bands on the bill, which is going to be cool. But any type of festival, especially in California, coming up as the first one, it's always cool to play. To be headlining a festival that's the first time coming, that's going to be really cool. Hopefully we can set it off, so every year gets better and better, because we're horrible. So any band that headlines next year is going to obviously be better (laughs).

Talk a little bit about the whole concept of California roots rock or reggae rock, whichever you want to call it. Talk about this style that you and bands like The Expendables would fall into and the definition behind it and how you view the style of music.
It really snuck up on us, because we've been writing music since we were 16 and it's always sounded like The Dirty Heads. We've always had this vibe, and there's no other bands, other than — because The Expendables have been doing it for a long time— but other than (Slightly) Stupid and Pepper and The Expendables, there wasn't any other bands that we thought were in this type of scene, that we thought were doing this type of music.
So for it to blow up in the last couple of years is really cool, even though there might be a ton of bands now that all kind of sound the same and are in this scene, the bands that do have their own original sounds and their own original takes, we really respect it. I'm really stoked that the scene is growing and it's going to blow up.
And it's just kind of a product of being from California. It doesn't mean that only bands from California are going to write like this. I'm just saying for us personally, that's where it came from. Just us growing up in So-Cal, listening to reggae, listening to a bunch of music.

Are there any bands that you came up with along the same career trajectory in So-Cal? Who do you consider your contemporaries?
I don't know if there are any. We don't really know that many bands that are from Huntington or So-Cal that we play a lot with.
But the guys from Santa Barbara, like Iration and Rebulution, those guys are crushing right now. We're good friends with those guys, and it's always good to see the good bands that do have their original take on the music and do it well and play well, and they're good musicians and are just really people. They make really good music and are not just getting in the scene, hopping on now, because they've all been gringing for a while too.
Those two bands are cool. Other than The Expendables, there's not a lot around here that we've ever really had to compete with.
We've only been touring for 4-5 years maybe, so other than Iration and The Expendables, we really haven't been out with that many bands.
We did go out with 311 and Matisayahu, but that was like a dream come true. 311, they helped us out with growing and blowing up and getting a lot of fans too. So we owe 311 and Matisyahu a lot. We're actually going out with Matisyahu in the summertime.
So now, hopefully we can help out in bringing smaller, younger bands out too.

Talk about going out on the road with Sublime with Rome.
We did three or four weeks, or something like that. Every show was sold out, and we didn't know how it was going to be.
We knew we had a lot of fans hitting us up. We knew fans were going to be at certain areas where we do pretty good at. But the amount of Dirty Heads fans that came out to the shows, that were packing the shows, was mind blowing.
There were tons o f Sublime fans also, but I felt like it wasn't just like “Oh, we got to open up for Sublime, we get to be in front fo all these people.” There was a lot of Dirty Heads support, and that means tons to us.
And Bud and Eric (of Sublime) and Rome are all such cool dudes. We've known Eric for a really long time. We've been friends with Rome for a long time. So it was comfortable. It was easy. It was just like a big family. It was really easy.
It was probably one of the best tours I've been on. I would say the funnest. And I wouldn't say that if I didn't mean it. I'm not saying it just to blow smoke. The people that were on it, the kids that came to the shows, it was all such a good time and every show was so positive and the vibe of the whole tour and every show of the tour was just mind blowing. It was good.

What's Rome like? He seems like such a young kid who came out of nowhere to pick up the mantle for Sublime. What were your experiences with him, what was it like making “Lay Me Down” with him?
We met Rome before Sublime, before all that happened. We've been friends with him, I would probably say about two years before anything was even talked about (with Rome and Sublime). And he's just such a chill guy, such a good dude. He's a sweetheart. We just meshed automatically, became friends, and then all of this started happening.
He's a great singer, totally has natural talent. And I just respect the guy because he has balls. What's he going to say, no (to the opportunity to join Sublime)? To like, be asked “Hey, do you want to come sing with your idols, pretty much, and go out and sing all these rad songs, and get to write another album and do your own stuff?” Nobody would say no if you're a musician.
I respect the balls that he has. He goes out, he does it, he keeps a positive attitude, he doesn't let the haters bug him. He knows what he's supposed to do. He's not trying to take (founder Bradley Nowell's) spot. He knows that. And I really respect him for that. He's very cautious of that.
We were at a radio station, and Bud and Eric weren't there. And (the DJ) asked him if he would play a Sublime song, like “Hey, play a Sublime song on the radio.” And he said “No, Bud and Eric aren't here. If you want me to play a Rome song, that's fine.” He's very weary of that, and he doesn't let the haters bug him and he's a positive guy to be around. He's just really fun.
And with “Lay Me Down,” it was organic. We didn't even know that it was going to blow up. We were hanging out, doing nothing last summer at (singer Duddy Bushnell's) house, just hanging out in his backyard. We said “Hey, let's fuck around with some licks on guitar,” whatever, and we ended up writing a song in like a day, and recoridng it at our studio in Newport Beach with Louie, our engineer.
So it took us like two days, and it just sat around until KROQ got a hold of it.

Was “Jimmy Kimmel Live” your first time on national TV?
Yes. We did (Fuel TV), and that was cool, but it wasn't on the status of Jimmy Kimmel
I was pretty chill. It was fun. And then we got on stage and Jimmy came on stage and he was like “Have a good time. Nice to meet you. Don't be nervous, it's only two million people (watching on TV).” And I had no idea it was two million people. I was like “What?”And this was like 15 seconds before we were going on.
I was like “You mother fucker! You really just dropped that bomb on me?” And I'm automatically — I usually don't get nervous before shows, I just get kind of anxious. I want to go out and play. But I just got really fuckin' nervous.

How small was the stage and the studio? What was it like plying in that studio and having to project that energy through the cameras?
You think it might be rough — you're doing one song in front of an audience that half of them weren't our fans. But there were Dirty Heads fans there, so that was cool. But you think that would come off as stale, but it wasn't. Everybody was super cool. We saw some Dirty Heads fans in the crowd, so we just treated it like any other show. We didn't try to think about it.
As soon as the first note hits, everything goes away.
We actually did a third song where Jimmy Kimmel came up and sang, but they didn't show that. That's our new single that's coming out (laughs).
We're never going to have singles with just the Dirty Heads. We're going to get guest people. And we're going to start getting people that dont' even sing, because nobody does that. Next, we're going to get Morgan Freeman to do something (laughs).

Read more!

Tickets on sale for Scarub (Living Legends) @ Blue Fin

Ten-dollar pre-sale tickets are available for Scarub's June 19 show at Blue Fin in Monterey. Also on the bill are Lefty of Bash Bros., Esik and Rahman Jamaal, The Joint Venture and Keno of The Otherside.
For info, call 375-7000 or e-mail or

Read more!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

MC Lars Podcast — "Twenty-Three" Behind the Scenes

Another MC Lars post, but this one on a more serious topic.
Lars next single "Twenty-Three" is dedicated to a college friend who committed suicide. Lars is planning to release the video for the single in conjunction with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.
We're scheduled to interview Lars next week, and will post as soon as its done.
Here is the statement for his latest podcast, a behind-the-scenes look at his upcoming EP release and more.

“This month I talk about my college friend Patrick Wood and his battle with depression that eventually led to his suicide at the young age of 23. Listen to your friends if they talk about feeling suicidal and let them know that there is help.

The music video for "Twenty-Three" will debut June 8th on the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention's website and then on YouTube June 15th. The "Twenty-Three the EP" will be on iTunes June 22nd and contains the unedited audio version of this podcast as well as an unreleased song.”

Read more!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Rock The Bells 2010 Lineup announced: It's All About The Classics

I want to say it was the Pitchfork festival that initiated the trend of having bands perform full sets of their classic albums. That trend will be fully explored for this year's Rock The Bells festival.
Wu-Tang Clan will perform "Enter The 36 Chambers," Krs-One will perform "Criminal Minded," Rakim will do “Paid In Full” and Slick Rick will perform “The Great Adventures of Slick Rick.” All in their entirety and, I can only assume, in the original sequence they appeared in the album.
Which is exciting in a way, but also confounding in another. Yes, it will be awesome to see the Clan perform "Da Mystery of Chess Boxing" and "Bring Da Ruckus,” album cuts and singles that weren't as popular as other joints on the album.
But one thing that I can't help but question is whether this year's Rock The Bells is an old-school b-boy revue designed to rekindle some flame that may or may not merit rekindling.
But that's just me being meta-critical. I am glad folks like Yelawolf and The Clipse are on the bill.
Of course, this is just a preliminary line-up. The festival is known to add and subtract acts for different dates. Who knows who will show up when it rolls through the Bay Area on Aug. 22.
Stay tuned.

Read more!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

MC Lars + MC Chris summer tour dates announced

It's been a minute since we checked in with our boy MC Lars (aka Pebble Beach's most famous rapper). And of course, he's up to very big things, namely an upcoming tour with MC Chris.
Below are the show dates and poster. The MC Chris+MC Lars tour is scheduled to hit June 5 at The Catalyst in Santa Cruz.

I will be on tour in America this June with mc chris doing a set with YTCracker. Dates below! Tickets on sale now. Guaranteed to be the sickest indie rap tour of the summer!!

June 1st, 2010 – Seattle, WA – El Corazon
June 2nd, 2010 – Portland, OR – Hawthorne Theater
June 3rd, 2010 – Eugene, OR – WOW Hall
June 5th, 2010 – Santa Cruz, CA – the Catalyst
June 6th, 2010 – San Francisco, CA – Slim’s
June 7th, 2010 – West Hollywood, CA – the Troubador
June 8th, 2010 – Santa Barbara, CA – Velvet Jones
June 15th, 2010 – Forth Worth, TX – the Aardvark
June 16th, 2010 – Austin, TX – Emo’s
June 17th, 2010 – Houston, TX – Walter’s on Washington
June 18th, 2010 – Baton Rouge, LA – Spanish Moon
June 19th, 2010 – Birmingham, AL – BottleTree
June 20th, 2010 – Mobile, AL – Alabama Music Box
June 22nd, 2010 – Tallahassee, FL – Big Daddy’s
June 23rd, 2010 – Orland, FL – the Social
June 25th, 2010 – Atlanta, GA – the Drunken Unicorn
June 26th, 2010 – Carrboro, NC – Cat’s Cradle
June 27th, 2010 – Wilmington, NC – The Soapbox Landrolounge
June 29th, 2010 – West Chester, PA – The Note
June 30th, 2010 – Hoboken, NJ – Maxwell’s

Read more!

Dirty Heads perform "Shine" on Jimmy Kimmel Live!

More from The Dirty Heads performance on Jimmy Kimmel Live!

Read more!

Dirty Heads w/ Rome of Sublime with Rome, perform "Lay Me Down" on Late Night with Jimmy Kimmel

A video of The Dirty Heads performing with Rome of Rome with Sublime, on Jimmy Kimmel Live!
I interviewed Jared of The Dirty Heads for an upcoming feature story. Hoping to have that interview posted sometime during the weekn. In the mean time, enjoy this one.

Read more!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Local Dance Crew Infamous Night Rockerz to host fundraiser

Local dance crew Infamous Night Rockerz (INR) are hosting a fundraiser for their upcoming trip to the International Dance Challenge Competition, scheduled June 9-11 in Orlando, Florida.
Below is the Facebook posting for the event.

Team Redemption and Burnt Rice presents Infamous: Fundraiser for INR Crew

Sunday, June 27, 2010
2:00pm - 8:30pm
Blue Fin
685 Cannery Row
Monterey, CA


Local hip hop crew, The Infamous Night Rockers, just qualified for nationals in the International Dance Challenge Competition held in Orlando, Florida. We are raising money for our crew as well as the DARE Dance Program stationed in Monterey and Pacific Grove. Please come support your local dance crew.

Admission: $8

1 on 1 Bboy Battles

Dance Crew Performances by:
Dynamic Street Rockers
Rhythmic Flow
Notorious Vibe
Nor Cal Allstars
Pride Rice
and many more...

Music Performances by

Joint Venture
Solis Cin
DJ Traps
Free Fall Crew
more to be announced...

Read more!

Hallway Ballers Funkstore live at Moe's Alley July 07

This video is a few years old and kind of pixelated, but it gives you a general view of Moss Landing's Hallway Ballers, who have been bubbling on the Peninsula for a few years now.
HB plays the California Roots Music and Arts Summit this weekend @ the Monterey Fairgrounds.

Read more!

California Roots Music and Arts Festival coming this weekend

This weekend brings the inaugural Calfifornia Roots Music and Arts Festival, featuring a gaggle of Cali-based bands, from So-Cal dub rockers The Dirty Heads to South Bay reggae/funk/rock heroes 880 South to Moss Landing's own Hallway Ballers.
We'll talk with some of the principals this week, including promoter Jeff Monser, and the bands who are performing. Stay tuned.

Read more!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Honeymoon perform Wednesday in Big Sur

Say hello to Honeymoon.
Vocalists Lauren Shera, Andrea Blunt, Christina Bailey and Sara Bollwinkel all have worked in various capacities on the Peninsula music scene. Now, they have forged their talents for Honeymoon, which features the four artists (who each play an instrument) backed by drum and bass.
The group is scheduled to play Fernwood resort in Big Sur Wednesday. They also have some gigs in SF and LA. You can get all the info at
Above is a sneak-peak of the group's sound. Enjoy.

Read more!

Video: MC Cambio Documentary Parts 2 & 3


Part two of Cambio's documentary, detailing his 2010 adventures. This section takes us to the Dominican Republic and New York City, where Cambio performs with the Quilambo Arte collective.


Part 3 finds Cambio performing in front of thousands in Mexico City, his biggest stage ever. Pretty awesome stuff all around.

Read more!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Video: "Track 1 Miles" MC Cambio Documentary (Part 1 of 3)


A nice little "documentary" slice of life from the boy-boy Cambio, one of my favorite MC's right now and just a really cool guy.
And busy too. Stay rocking it Mikey!
I'll post parts 2 & 3 shortly.

Read more!

TheSaurus vs. Dirtbag Dan scheduled for June 12 in Toronto

Locals hoping to catch the TheSaurus vs. Dirtbag Dan battle will have to step their passport game up.
Last week, Peninsula battle rapper TheSaurus announced he would battle South Bay rapper Dirtbag Dan June 12 in Toronto, as part of the King of the Dot league battle event. The bout was originally scheduled May 9 as part of the Grind Time Massacre of the Bay event.
Although it's taking place across the northern border, 'Saurus has a bit of a home field advantage. In March, 'Saurus defeated Canadian battle champ Hollahan for the "King of the Dot" title.
Above is a video of TheSaurus vs. Hollahan, when 'Saurus took the title belt.

Read more!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Video: "Pocket Full of Trees" - Mac Tay Capone

Something from the locals. Mac Tay Capone doing "Pocket Full of Trees." Shout out to Mike for sending this my way.
I may have to start doing more posts of local videos, just for the heck of it. Send them my way as you see fit.

Read more!

Video: “Back To Arizona”

I mentioned a few weeks ago that I wanted to see a re-make of P.E.'s "By The Time I Get to Arizona." A few days later, my friend Mike put me up on this joint, which was released in early May.
I have never heard of any of these artists, but they do a good job with the P.E. beat. Plus, I love that they're all from Arizona and united in their opposition to SB 1070. Plus it's Black and Brown united, which is also a good thing.

Read more!

Monsters Are Not Myths celebrate Mother's Day

For Mother's Day, the members of Bay Area band Monsters Are Not Myths did something extra sweet for their fans: they delivered personal messages in the form of song to fans' moms.
The four-piece, which plays folk rock and blues in the vein of Wilco and Ryan Adams, perform at Jose's Lounge Underground Saturday. $5. Show starts at 9 p.m. R

Read more!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Shameless Plug Part 2: TSS Poetry Slam Friday at Cesar Chavez Library

If you can't get enough of me through this blog and "Raw-Dios" at El Teatro Campesino this weekend, you can catch me hosting the Teen Salinas Speaks Poetry Slam Friday night at Cesar Chavez Library in Salinas.
I've written pretty extensively about my experiences the past year or so teaching spoken word poetry to local youth. It's been a wild and wonderful ride. Friday's show will be a tremendous event for the Salinas youth community.

Read more!

Shamelesss Plug Part 1: Go See "Raw-Dios" at El Teatro Campesino this weekend because I'm in it!

My folks from HeadrusH present their latest production "Raw Dios" at El Teatro Campesino in San Juan Bautista this weekend.
The mini-run will be held at 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, May 13-15. Visit
It's a very edutaining show, and my voice is all over it. See for yourself this weekend, and let me know what you think.

Read more!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

TheSaurus vs. Dirtbag Dan battle postponed. Possible rescheduling on Van's Warped Tour(?)

The Grind Time "Massacre Of The Bay" battles were held this weekend, sort of. Friday's event went off as planned, but the Saturday show was called off early (no official word yet as to why or how), postponing the hotly anticipated bout between Dirtbag Dan and the Peninsula's own TheSaurus.
Now word comes out this morning via the Grind Time Twitter account that the bout is being re-scheduled, with the possibility of being included on the Vans Warped Tour in June.
The Warped Tour is scheduled for June 26 at Shoreline Ampitheatre in Mountain View. Grind Time is listed on the official band roster.
TheSaurus alluded to a re-scheduled bout via his own Twitter and Facebook, although he initially denied that it would be held during the Warped Tour.
We'll post updates as soon as they come. In the meantime, check out this YouTube video of DBD and 'Saurus performing in Australia.

Read more!

Scarub (Living Legends) coming to Monterey June 19

Rapper Scarub of Living Legends performs June 19 at Blue Fin in Monterey. Opening acts include Lefty w/ Piseas (Bash Bros.) and Esik.
More on this to come, but in the meantime, I'm posting up my favorite Scarub jam, "Wishful Thinking," off of his album "Heaven Bound."
Rest of post here

Read more!

Monday, May 10, 2010

No Fashawn Interview

Fashawn was a no-show for two scheduled interviews last week, so there will be no interview published this week in "The Beat." Apologies for any inconvenience. R

Read more!

Betty White on SNL

Betty White turned down an interview request from me earlier this year.
I was still a little salty about it when I mentioned this to my wife Saturday night, as we watched White host SNL.
"Get over it," she told me. "It's Betty White!"
She was right, of course. That's why I married her :)
Although White still owns a home on the Peninsula and has become a beloved local figure, particularly in the pet-loving community, she is Betty Frickin' White, aka America's favorite viejita. I can't be mad she doesn't have time to talk to me. I should just be happy her assistant was nice enough to personally call and politely decline the interview.
White was tremendous on SNL, especially in her opening monologue. And it was awesome to see the old female cast members (Tina Fey, Ana Gasteyer, Maya Rudolph, Rachel Dratch, Amy Poehler and my favorite, Molly Shannon) get up there too. Girl power for days.
Que Viva Betty White!
Rest of post here

Read more!

Video: Freddie Gibbs "The Ghetto"

New video from Freddie Gibbs "The Ghetto." Honestly, he's the closest I've heard to 2Pac in terms of flow and delivery. Powerful stuff.

Read more!

Friday, May 07, 2010

Flashback: P.E. "By The Time I Get To Arizona (It's time for an SB 1070 Update)

Someone get dead prez, Immortal Technique, or Cambio of PLG on the phone. It's time to do an update of P.E.'s immortal "By The Time I Get To Arizona" in (dis)honor of SB 1070.
I'm serious. If no one does this right away, I might have to dust off the mic, find the instrumental and go in myself. This is just rife for a cover or update. Who's with me?

Read more!

Thursday, May 06, 2010

“La Carpa de los Rasquachis” in Salinas

El Teatro Campesino is hitting the road with its seminal farmworker play “La Carpa de los Rasquachis.”
The farmworkers theater company is kicking off its inaugural Salinas Valley Teaching Tour with a performance at La Paz Middle School in Salinas (click on the flier above for a larger image).
The tour is scheduled to hit Soledad and Gonzales in the coming weeks.
After the jump, you can read the press release with all the details.


El Teatro Campesino (ETC) is excited to announce the kick-off of their Salinas Valley Teaching Tour. Due to the generous donations made to the Monterey County Weekly Community Foundation Fund in support of El Teatro Campesino, ETC is able to provide free theater performances in the rural communities of Aromas, Castroville, Soledad, E. Salinas, Greenfield and Gonzalez.
This year’s Salinas Valley Teaching Tour features free performances of Luis Valdez’ ‘La Carpa de los Rasquachis.’ ‘La Carpa de los Rasquachis’ is essentially an immigrant’s story—the epic tale of the Chicano farm worker in the United States of America.
‘La Carpa’ unfolds with the struggles, frustrations and ultimate victory of Jesus Pelado Rasquachi in a rich saga is brought to life with Mexican ballads known as corridos. Corridos are earthy narratives often sung to celebrate life’s triumphs and tribulations—usually with ironic humor and a rollicking Tex-Mex beat.
‘La Carpa de los Rasquachis’ invokes the Carpa or tent shows—popular in the 1930s-40s—which would travel and perform in the areas around the U.S.–Mexico borderlands. Drawing on this tradition, El Teatro Campesino has brought ‘La Carpa’ back to many of these rural communities with a mission to entertain, inspire and organize audiences to social action. It is a mission that the new generation of El Teatro Campesino hopes to continue.
El Teatro Campesino will also be offering free Teatro Workshops in some of these communities as well. The workshops are open to anybody in the community that is interested in participating. The Teatro Workshops include instruction in the Luis Valdez Method of ‘The Vibrant Being,’ as well as a visual arts component that includes Teatro mask making.
The ETC performers are honored to be invited to each of these communities and wants to thank the individuals and organizations that has helped to support ETC to make the 2010 Salinas Valley Teaching Tour possible. Streaming video will be available on El Teatro’s website for those that are interested in monitoring our progress throughout the Salinas Valley Teaching Tour.
The free performances of ‘La Carpa de los Rasquachis,’ and Teatro Workshops are part of El Teatro Campesino’s Educational Outreach Program. It is the mission of the education program to bring free Teatro performances to as many communities as possible on an annual basis. If you would like to make a donation to support free theater programs you may send donations to El Teatro Campesino, PO Box 1240, San Juan Bautista, CA 95045—ETC is a 501c3 non-profit organization and all donations are tax-deductible.
For more information about The Salinas Valley Teaching Tour and other happenings at El Teatro Campesino, please visit ETC wants to thank their members and patrons for their on-going support for the last 45 years.

Read more!