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VENTURA COUNTY WEEKEND

In Search of Success

September 12, 1996

In the great scheme of things, it's still only rock 'n' roll, but it sure beats a day job. The locals--famous, infamous, infectious and just plain lecherous--have achieved varying stages of success in their respective musical missions.

In their own words, here is how they are doing.

Scotty Morris (Big Bad Voodoo Daddy): "We're going to be in a movie called "Swingers," and we're going to be on the soundtrack that's coming out on MCA. We own the songs, all the rights, everything. We're also appearing on a TV show on Fox, sort of like a variety game show version of "Let's Make A Deal."

At first, Billy Vera & the Beaters were going to do it, but when the producers saw us at the Derby in L.A. one Wednesday night, they hired us. We'll be sort of like the Paul Shaffer Band, except we'll be better looking."

Guy Jeans (Papa-Nata): "It's going really good for us. Hey man, check this out--we're going to Egypt for three weeks, Italy, too, in the beginning of December. But we just got back from Lake Tahoe and we sold 100 CDs, which paid for the trip. It's just like being on a label."

Joe Liebke (Stalag): "An album costs in the 5- to 10-grand range, but it's the band, not the money thing. I'd be ecstatic if I could make half my money back. I wanted to start playing with my three friends again. I grew up here and I'm just trying to bring back the old Oxnard Nardcore scene. There'd be a serious scene here if we only had a place."

Brandon Seider (The Upbeat): "It's been 10 or 11 years, and we all have other jobs. We sell our CDs on our own at out-of-town gigs. We want to do another CD; we have about 10 songs that haven't been recorded yet. We all hope to make it, but we've been doing this for so long and we couldn't get anybody interested for years, so what does another 10 years matter?"

Ryan Denger (Bloody Mary Morning): "We basically haven't done much recording except for a four-song demo. We haven't done a CD partly because it's too much money, like maybe 8 to 10 grand, and we're not gonna pay for it, so we just play for fun."

Brian Wurschum (majority DOG): I think we're hopefully progressing musically, and that's the big thing. We have four or five companies looking at us, so if something does happen, we'll have a bunch of songs ready. We've done a lot of those showcases in L.A. and we've been inviting industry people to our shows for years. But we don't know if they ever show up.

Spencer Barnitz (Spencer the Gardener): "Ani DiFranco is probably really driven, and I'm kind of lazy. But it's working out although we'd like to find someone with a lot of money. In fact, right now I'm working on an investment package. It's hard to do it yourself."

Toby Emery (Raging Arb & the Redheads): The future of Arb is uncertain. We're definitely taking a breather, although, of course, we haven't exerted ourselves enough to take a breather. The band used to be the most important thing in life, but now it's down to No. 3 or 4 and not No. 1. I'm sick of club owners and hassling over money, and now we're blackballed from the Ventura Theatre. It just becomes a pain in the [expletive] sometimes."

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