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Ventura County Weekend : ROCKTALK : Joe Louis Walker Bringin' Blues to Ventura : MUSIC


If you're famished for some first-rate blues, then tonight's your night because award-winning blues guitarist Joe Louis Walker will be at Nicholby's in Ventura as part of a thinly veiled attempt to drum up support for "Blues of the Month Club," his new release due out shortly.

The 45-year-old Walker has been playing since he was 12, and as one might suppose, he has that blues thing figured out. His big break came in those silly psychedelic '60s, when his new roommate turned out to be legendary guitarist Mike Bloomfield, noted for his work with the Paul Butterfield Blues Band and Electric Flag.

Bloomfield ended up introducing Walker to about every old blues dude around. Thus, Walker learned from the pros.

"A lot of guys now learn to play blues listening to records," said Walker, "but you miss something doing it that way. You've got to find one of those old masters to play under while some of them are still around. Not only can they play, but they have some business knowledge, which you need."

Opening for Walker will be local blues outfit, Randy Rich & the Ravens. Rich, known for incendiary guitar solos, is a Camarillo local. Showtime is 9 p.m. and $7 will get you in.


Oh man, the other guys even jump higher than I do. It's on, dude.

--Blake Cruz

Once upon a time, Oxnard had its own hard-core scene called Nardcore. Bands such as Agression with one "g," Ill Repute and Stalag 13 played loud and fast, scaring moms and energizing their children. One of those bands is back, according to Blake Cruz, rhythm guitarist for those Ska Daddyz, and resurrector of Stalag 13.

In 1985, Stalag 13 went on tour, going as far east as Boston playing with bands such as Agression, the Vandals, Minor Threat, the Necros, 7 Seconds and the other usual noisy suspects.

"I was only 14, bald-headed and 14," said Cruz. "We got back from Denver and I quit the band. I got fed up with four people in a van, and I didn't pick up a guitar for a couple of years."

Lately, Cruz has been playing with the Ska Daddyz, the continuous and serious party out of Silver Strand, punctuated by weekend gigs. He's the one on the left who jumps around as if his shoes were on fire. Everything was fine, and the Ska Daddyz were getting ready to release their debut CD sometime in the '90s. Then one day, one of Cruz's buddies from the veteran punk band NOFX showed up with news from the front, or the pit.

"He told me this stuff is really going off in Germany. Punk rock is back. Then Joey the Drummer from Stalag 13 showed up one day and we started the band again. We're the only two original members."

In 1984, Stalag 13 recorded an eight-song thrash-a-thon album for Upstart Records. These days, the album is still available at places such as Salzer's in Ventura, only now it's on a German label, Lost & Found.

"So we're suing Lost & Found," said Cruz. "They've already admitted to bootlegging and selling our album. I don't want a bunch of money, but I want them to set up a tour for us, maybe go to Germany. It's an opportunity for me to see other parts of the world. So far we do the eight original songs, plus 13 new ones."

So will Stalag 13 be rearing their short-haired heads again? You bet. Just don't tell the landlord.

"Oh man, we already played a party on my birthday, Aug. 6. There were 100 people slamming and just going off in the living room of this house in Hueneme," said Cruz. "It was fully psycho. The people had to move. We should have some real gigs in about a month."


It will be a first.

--Brian Wurschum

Not only will it be a first, it will be an only--the only appearance by a band at the Record Outlet in Thousand Oaks. It will be that band in search of capitalization clues, majority DOG, performing Saturday at 9 p.m.

The capacity at the record store is 35 to 40 lucky patrons, significantly fewer than can be seated at nearby Civic Arts Plaza, which the band packed in January.

It's a deal, too. For $10, one gets a choice of a T-shirt or a copy of "Mister Night," the last CD, or "Nevada," the CD to be, due sometime in the fall.

Most bands have no good singers, the DOG band has three in front man Brian Wurschum and the Hoffman sisters, April and Laurel. They play edgy and moody, yet harmonious pop rock. Call the venue at 371-0574 or the band at 498-0341 for tickets. Record Outlet is at 824 E. Thousand Oaks Blvd.


Free food. Free pool. Free us.

-- Mike Fishell

There will be a free dance party celebration at Nicholby's in Ventura on Saturday night to commemorate the completion of the Tortilla Flats Mural Project.

Providing the soundtrack will be the ever-popular Convertibles, a band that knows about a million songs. Lead guitar player Mike Fishell says the band and Mary Kay Burke, his sister and former lead singer, (who rarely performs with them these days) will sing up a storm beginning about 7:30 p.m. Nicholby's is at 404 E. Main St., and the mural is on Figueroa Street, across from the fairgrounds. Call the venue at 653-4404.

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