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NIGHT LIFE

J.D.'s Last Ride to Headline Acoustic Fest : The group, which calls itself a 'Ventura band,' features vocalist Marjorie Extract. It performs Saturday at Dizdar Park in Camarillo.

August 11, 1994|BILL LOCEY | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

The ghost of Jimi Hendrix will sit this one out, and air guitarists will wait for a more electric moment. It's Henson's 14th Annual Acoustic Music Festival that will go on all day Saturday at Dizdar Park in Camarillo, headlined by J.D.'s Last Ride, featuring powerhouse singer Marjorie Extract.

"It's a lot of families and a pretty interesting crowd," said J.D.'s guitarist, Robert Ramirez, during a recent interview at the band's practice hangout. "It's cool. You can bring your own beer and a sack lunch. The cool thing is that (the festival) exposes people that normally wouldn't go out to a bar to see us. If we pick one or two new fans, hey, it's worth it."

The band, which also includes Paul Harrison on bass and Chuck Herrera on drums, has been around for four years, or since Robert met Marjorie one night at Charlie's in Ventura.

"We got started because this dude came up to me after my band Scarlet Ribbons & the Johnny Yuma Five played," said the singer. "This guy turned out to be Robert Ramirez. Naturally, I gave him a fake phone number, but he found me, anyway. I've been playing with this guy ever since then."

Extract, one of the best local singers, will be making new fans even as she works on her tan at Dizdar Park. Her voice is so powerful that when she belts out "I need a man to love me," guys will be sweating for miles around. She's one of those "I saw her when" performers. She can do Patsy Cline, among others.

"Man, I am my own influence," she said. "But I get inspired by other people, such as Hope Sandoval of Mazzy Star. I've only been singin' for about 5 1/2 years."

For a long time, the band was lumped in with the pointy-shoe crowd and labeled as some sort of retro rockabilly outfit, even though it has obvious rock, country and even some surf influences. There's no Brylcreem in its future, and a ducktail is still just the end of the duck, says the band.

"Hey, we're tired of singing about hoppin' and boppin' and about how cool our car is," Ramirez said. "We play alternative roots music with emotion, but we're not a rockabilly band; but I think part of that had to do with the identity of an upright bass, which Paul no longer plays."

Adds Extract, "We've been through so many phases and we're not pretentious at all. We never thought about what makes you popular. We've remained true to ourselves and created an original sound. And now we have a manager who has a lot of industry contacts."

So the band has the tunes, the singer, the manager, but not the big bucks, and so far, not a deal. They gig around Ventura and Santa Barbara playing the usual hangouts.

"We love to play at Eric Ericsson's because it's like Charlie's all over again," said Ramirez. "The Santa Barbara scene is too Flavor of the Month. It's a fun place to play, and a whole new crowd comes to see us, but we're a Ventura band."

Every band has a Humility 101 gig. J.D.'s Last Ride got that one out of the way one Tuesday night in Santa Barbara.

"We played at Joseppi's one night and the only person there was Joseppi himself," said the singer. "After a while, he walked out and we played to no one. We've had better gigs since that, though. We've played with the Stray Cats, the Blasters, Chris Isaak, Agent Orange, the Beat Farmers, the Reverend Horton Heat and the Paladins, so we've already played with all of our heroes."

The band has a four-song tape and a tight live show that includes 15 originals plus a couple of covers, "Killing Moon" by Echo & the Bunnymen and "Gone Ridin' " by Chris Isaak. Naturally, they want to record more, but only a handful of local bands make the big paycheck.

"We recorded 10 songs that we never quite finished because the songs just kept growing," said the guitar player. "Since we don't make that much money, it's been hard for us to pay for an album."

It was also hard for the band to even keep going when guitar player Tim Anderson died unexpectedly late last year.

"We've all been through hell a billion times this year," Extract said. "But now, we're more appreciative of our lives. At one point, everybody wanted to just quit, but now the band is stronger than ever."

OK, so who's J.D.? Some people still think the "J.D." is John Drury of Raging Arb & the Redheads. It's not; nor is it Jack Daniels, John Doe or John Denver, but it is James Dean, who knew a thing or two about bad rides.

Also on the bill are the Convertibles, Mike Fishell and Steve White, Jacob's Ladder, Luke and the Drifters, Pleasant Valley, Ben Shearer and Zane Smith.

Details

* WHAT: Henson's 14th Annual Acoustic Music Festival.

* WHEN: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday.

* WHERE: Dizdar Park, 20 Glenn Drive, Camarillo.

* COST: Free.

* ETC.: For more information, call 482- 6115.

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