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MUSIC: Ventura County | ROCKTALK

Super High Output

The ubiquitous Teresa Russell finally channels her endless energy into a CD.

September 24, 1998|BILL LOCEY | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

The only thing more extensive than Teresa Russell's mane is her repertoire. The long-haired guitar player seems to know a million songs--other people's songs. But after more than two decades of performing, Russell will release her debut CD, "Bustin' Loose," at a Sunday wingding at Ventura's Cafe Voltaire.

So what's "Bustin' Loose" like? According to the artist, "Well, it's all original material, mostly co-written with my bass player Bill Breland. It's blues and rock 'n' roll with a little eclectic stuff thrown in."

Russell plays enough in a week to tire out most bands. Off Monday and Tuesday, she plays nearly every other night and sometimes a couple of times a day on weekends.

A critter of habit, she's played Wednesday and Thursday nights for about 17 years at the Lobster Trap in Oxnard. She also performs with the Cajun/zydeco dance band Acadiana.

Other times, Russell plays with her mom or her band Cocobilli, which will back her at the CD-release party.

But, mostly, Russell does solo gigs where most of her fellow performers are machines, and she can sound like a full band when she flips the right switches. Whatever the combination, it's working for Russell, who has never had a day job.

"I have the option of playing quietly as a one-woman band or I can play loud rock 'n' roll with my band. I think I've got the music thing figured out."

Russell grew up in Westlake in a musical family. While her peers were out trolling at the mall, Russell, at the ripe old age of 12, was playing at Gazzari's on the Sunset Strip, fronting an all-girl band called Spare Change. She later fronted another all-girl band called Candy, then toured extensively with Helen Reddy.

"My mom and her sister were really into music, and I just grew up playing with them. When I was 10 or 11, I learned Jimi Hendrix songs, a lot of Eric Clapton and Cream stuff and just a lot of pop music."

Over the years, Russell has played in just about every local club you can name, and her mailing list is around 500. Having pretty much seen it all, the thirtysomething Russell wants to do more.

"I'm getting all the songs ready for the next one [album]. There's so much footwork and business stuff involved. I'm doing a Web page so I can do e-mail--that's going to cost a lot, but you gotta keep up with technology. My computer is getting a make-over right now, so I'm going to have to sell about a million CDs to break even on this deal."

Teresa Russell & Cocobilli at Cafe Voltaire, 34 N. Palm St., Ventura. Sunday, 2 p.m. $3; 641-1743.

*

Much weirdness awaits all involved in the 2nd Annual Surf Rodeo set for Saturday at the end of Seaward Avenue in Ventura.

It's promoted by John Drury, lead singer of Raging Arb & the Redheads and Signicci and proprietor of the Beach Hut surf shop down on Pierpont Boulevard. He's also the one to blame for those Redhead stickers pasted on about half the vehicles in Ventura. Now if only the Redheads would play more than once a month.

The Surf Rodeo is an all-day contest held in the crummy surf where the end of Seaward meets the once-blue Pacific. And today is the last day for entrants to register and pay the $30 contestant fee. While in the water, the fin heads will wear stupid clothes while trying to catch maddeningly stupid choppy waves.

Drury explained the fin-head portion of the program. "All the surfers will draw from a hat a board to ride, and the boards will all be old school boards from the '70s and '80s with no leashes.

"Everyone will have to wear a vest and matching cowboy hat. It'll bring the old guys and the young guys together as they try to ride the Seaward Slop. The old guys have an advantage because they know the boards, but the young guys have a physical edge."

Winners will be awarded wetsuits, skateboards, T-shirts, the usual. Spectators will drink beer on the sand, the usual.

At least now there are public bathrooms down there.

There also will be music played by about five bands, but no one, including Drury, is sure who will play apart from Signicci, down to a trim five members and an acoustic version of Raging Arb.

Rumor has it that there will also be a swing band that somebody's brother may or may not be in, but no one knows its name.

See? It's going to be one of those. The end of Seaward will be blocked, and Pierpont will be traffic hell, so park accordingly.

* 2nd Annual Surf Rodeo at the end of Seward Avenue, Ventura. Saturday, 7 a.m.-6 p.m. Live bands starting around 2 p.m. Free; 643-4888.

*

The Sings Like Hell series, which has survived longer than many bands, continues with a couple of cool shows coming to the Lobero Theatre in Santa Barbara.

John Hiatt--he of the 20-plus year recording career and a zillion albums on a like number of labels--will sing his wise-guy sad songs during a Friday night performance.

Texas-roots rocker Joe Ely will sing a lot of songs at his Oct. 3 gig about why you're glad you don't live in West Texas.

Call 963-0761 for information on these $28.50 shows at 8 p.m.

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