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Farewell to Standing Hawthorn--Again

November 04, 1996|MIKE BOEHM | TIMES STAFF WRITER

It's welcome-back-and-fare-well time for Standing Hawthorn, a band from Mission Viejo that has regrouped for a final round of shows.

The band released two self-financed CDs and built a sizable following in South County in the early '90s but broke up about two years ago, when guitarist Chris Karn and drummer Stoner Peterson left to play with ska-rock godfather Dave Wakeling.

Two months ago, Karn split with Wakeling, whereupon he, singer Paul Schulte and bassist Brent Loomis thought about giving Standing Hawthorn a second try.

But Karn has decided to start his own band, Judkarn (a fusing of his middle and last names). So Standing Hawthorn's comeback shows Tuesday at the Rhino Room in Huntington Beach and Nov. 27 at Lookers in Dana Point also will be farewell shows. Soul Scream's drummer, Michael Marckx, will sub for Peterson at the gigs.

Karn always made a strong impression with his textured guitar work--it's what prompted Wakeling to draft him into a reformed General Public and a successor band, Bang! Over the past six months, Karn said, he has been working on his singing and songwriting.

"Bang! was a lot of work, and David and I were moving in different directions," Karn said. "He wanted to bring things like horns and keyboards into the band, more toward pop-reggae, and I like the tougher edge. He was trying to appease me, make me happy, and I thought, 'I'm holding him back. This isn't fair.' "

For Judkarn, he said, he is trying to write "pop songs that have stuff that sticks in your head that's as contagious as the Oscar Meyer song," but with a bit of an "endearing" ragged edge. The other band members are drummer Stuart Johnson, a member of Matthew Sweet's band; and Rodney Mollura, formerly the bassist with Goldfish, a funk band from Orange County.

Karn expects to move soon from Mission Viejo to Los Angeles, to be in a better position to make record industry contacts and perhaps get some short-term side projects as a guitar-slinger for hire.

Schulte reports that he and Loomis are building a digital home recording studio and are aiming to put a CD out next year.

"We're not going to try and market it, but do it for our own sake," Schulte said. "I don't think it's going to be rock 'n' roll at all, but more like mood music, along the lines of Peter Gabriel or Sting."

* Standing Hawthorn, All the Madmen and John Wayne Transplant play Tuesday at the Rhino Room, 7979 Center Ave., Huntington Beach. 9 p.m. $5. (714) 892-3316.

*

The best place to check out books in Huntington Beach also has become the best place to check out bands touring nationally on the grass-roots rock circuit.

Indeed, starting this weekend, the Huntington Beach Public Library will be one of the most active rock venues in the county, at least for a week.

From Saturday to Nov. 15, grass-roots rock promoters will present four shows in the library's 200-capacity conference and banquet room. The library has been renting out the room after-hours to promoters since mid-1995. The shows will be open to all ages.

All the upcoming activity is mainly a quirk of scheduling.

Joey Karam, a UC Irvine student who has been booking touring acts into the library, has lined up three of the shows, starting Nov. 11 with June of 44 (an arty garage band with members from the East and Midwest), Rex (an introspective rock act from New York City) and Three Mile Pilot, from San Diego. Mocket and Seductive, from Washington state, play Nov. 14, and Jimmy Eat World and Amber Inn play Nov. 15. The shows will start at 8:30 or 9 p.m., whenever regular library hours end. Admission: $5.

Another young promoter, William Parchen, has been bringing more aggressive punk bands to the library, usually local and regional acts rather than touring attractions. His next show will kick off the library's busy week of rock on Saturday. Assorted Jellybeans, a ska-punk band from Riverside; the Criminals, from Berkeley; and two local acts, Successful Failure and Don't Look Back, will play at 6:30 p.m. Admission: $6.

*

Karam, a disc jockey at KUCI (who is starting a label, Krunk Off Records), says his normal goal is one library show per week, not three. But "we really want to help support bands that are on tour" and in need of gigs, he said. And with few other all-ages outlets in O.C. willing to book indy bands (or, in the case of Jimmy Eat World, a major-label act without a large-enough draw to interest the bigger promoters), Karam has been getting many requests for dates.

"A lot of the stuff we're doing is more obscure stuff" that otherwise wouldn't make it to Orange County, he said, noting that his shows have drawn as many as 200 people, but as few as 50.

Karam's library series goes back to late '95, when it was launched by Neil Boden, a UCI student who since has transferred to New York University. Karam, who had been helping out, took over as the lead promoter in September.

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