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MUSIC: Ventura County | ROCKTALK

Frantic Funk

Soulcracker gets crazy putting its eclectic spin on a variety of styles.

June 04, 1998|BILL LOCEY | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Papa-Nata should help push the owner of Nicholby's in Ventura into a higher income bracket when it packs the place with dancers Friday night. Hoping to bask in the expected glow and perhaps sell a few copies of its latest CD, "Beyond Seven," will be Soulcracker, the opening act.

Soulcracker formed a couple of years ago in Flagstaff, when the members were students at Northern Arizona State. Since then, they have relocated to San Diego, nearer to better surf. The boys in the band include Beastie Ulery (lead vocals and horns), Matt Johnson (guitar, sax and keyboards), Sutton Althisar (guitar), A.P. Murray (bass) and Bob Hamel (drums). Not only does everybody sing, but everybody plays loud and fast.

Soulcracker tours relentlessly throughout the Southwest and heads as far north as the Bay Area, playing its brand of funk-flavored hard rock. The band is currently working on its third CD. Between takes, Hamel the drummer submitted to a brief grilling by phone.

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So what's in a name?

The name just means that we're a bunch of white guys that were influenced by soul. We all love Sly & the Family Stone, Parliament and Funkadelic and that neo-funk thing like the Red Hot Chili Peppers. We also love Fishbone and the Police. Although all these bands have influenced us, we try not to copy them.

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What do you think Soulcracker sounds like?

It's--wow--very hard to describe because it's so different. We take the aggressive elements of many different forms of music, then we make it rock, but we want to make people dance too. I guess, it's just very eclectic and very frantic rock 'n' roll.

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Who goes to see Soulcracker?

People that like a little bit more than a stand-and-stare-at-your-shoes band. We're not Oasis. Our stage show is so crazy--everyone's jumping around all over.

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So what's The Plan, man?

We just did a two-song demo and we sent it to Polygram, so basically, now we're waiting for Polygram. In the meantime, we want to take over the West Coast. So far, we're surviving. No day jobs--none of us. We work really hard. If we were paid by the hour for the time we put in, we'd be rich.

* Soulcracker and Papa-Nata at Nicholby's, 404 E. Main St., Ventura, Friday at 9:30 p.m. $6. 653-2320.

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Frank Barajas, long a force on the Ventura music scene, will soon be serenading Padres fans, since he plans to relocate to San Diego. Barajas, surely a musical descendant of Buddy Holly, has been involved with a series of pop rock outfits from the Strangers to Durango 95 to JuJu Eyeball and the Tijuana Hound Dogs.

The Hound Dogs, basically a cover band, have been playing Wednesday nights at the Bombay in Ventura for the last several months. Their set list includes toe-tappers by the likes of the Blasters, Marshall Crenshaw, the Beatles, the Byrds and Carl Perkins.

Barajas' other band, JuJu Eyeball, plays tuneful guitar pop originals and will play a final gig for the time being June 5, opening for Kansas at the Ventura Theatre. Call the venue at (805) 653-0721.

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For years now, the Bombay Bar & Grill in Ventura has been providing the technology for local party animals to meet, greet and drink one another cute. The venue will celebrate its 13th Annual Beach Party this weekend with a Bombay-palooza of live bands.

Ever seen all those embarrassing and/or incriminating pictures on the wall of the Bombay? There's one collage for every beach party, and this is the weekend to make it to the wall.

On Friday night, No Regrets, most of the fun guys that used to be in the Ska Daddyz, will play loud and fast in the back room while Custom Made will play mellower dance music in the front bar. Saturday, the Bombay becomes party central with five bands on two stages plus the Holyfield fight. Providing the soundtrack for all this fun will be Signicci, Bloody Mary Morning, No Regrets, the Daddyz, Custom Made and the Skeletones. Sunday will feature No Regrets, Custom Made, New Vibe and the Untouchables.

* The Bombay is located at 143 California St.; (805) 643-4404.

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For a band that specializes in playing weird places, Ventura's Sexy Death Soda will add another strange interlude to its itinerary when it travels a whole two blocks from home for a Sunday afternoon gig at Wild Planet in Ventura. If these guys get any lazier, they'll be playing on their front porch soon.

The Wild Planet gig will start at 2 p.m. and is a free, all-ages affair. SDS will doubtlessly play lots of bluesy rock tunes from its new CD, "California Police State." The band's next local gig will be another strange one--June 27 at Art City II.

* Wild Planet is located at 576 E. Main St.; (805) 643-5238.

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