Johnny Echols of ‘Love Revisited’ Talks About Himself and His Music From the ’60s Until Now

Johnny echols on stage 3Johnny Echols knew from a young age that he loved music. When he was young, his parents, along with his childhood friend Arthur Lee’s parents, moved to Los Angeles where both kid’s parents were teachers. Shortly after that, a neighbor started giving young Johnny guitar lessons and a life-long odyssey began. By the time Johnny reached Dorsey High School, friend Arthur had taken up the organ and they started a band. Arthur Lee wanted to spend more time singing, so fellow Dorsey classmate Billy Preston joined the group. By 1963, Johnny had traveled to England as guitarist for Little Richard’s band. When he returned, Arthur Lee and Johnny formed the group ‘Love’, acknowledged as one of the best bands to come out of Los Angeles, one of the creators of L.A.’s psychedelic rock sound and a group whom Jim Morrison of the Doors listed as one of his favorite bands. Their influence has spread to such punk groups as Jesus and Mary Chain, while The Damned have honored ‘Love’ and covered their tunes. Songs like Seven and Seven Is, Little Red Book and She Comes in Colors have earned a solid place in American music. One of their albums, Forever Changes, is on Rolling Stone magazine’s 500 Greatest Albums of All Time and has also been inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame. Continue reading

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Taste of Mexico 2014 Brings a Variety of Mexican Cuisine

Mexicali Taco and Co's Taco Campestre: Black Angus New York steak grilled over mesquite, salsa negra de chiltepin, and avocados from Mexico.Last Saturday afternoon some of the best chefs in Los Angeles gathered at La Plaza de Cultura y Artes along with notable visiting chefs for Taste of Mexico‘s Farmers Market. The purpose of the event is to promote awareness of the country’s regional and upscale cuisine. Like a real street fair or farmers market, there were paletas, churros, pan dulce, fruit and aguas frescas along with a variety of savory dishes and cocktails.

Mariscos Jalisco, one of the most popular traditional taco trucks in LA, served their signature shrimp tacos with crisp shells drowned in salsa roja. Mariscos Jalisco is a frequent finalist in LA Taco’s annual Taco Madness contest, and food writer and “Tacorazzo,” Bill Esparza, has given the truck his stamp of approval by selecting them to participate in the Tacolandia event. El Borrego de Oro had soft tacos filled with the flavorful, tender lamb barbacoa that gives them their name along with little cups of lamb consomme. The restaurant cooks the lamb Hildalgo style by burying it. They also served Pulque, an alcoholic drink that dates back to the Mesoamerican period. It is made by fermenting the sap of an agave cactus, unlike mezcal and tequila, which is made from the heart, or piña, of the plant. El Borrego de Oro has plans to open a third restaurant in the San Fernando Valley. We can’t wait!

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Water Heals: Mauli Ola’s Allen Sarlo Surf Exp. Day at Malibu

First Point, Malibu Surfrider Beach Photo by Paula Lauren Gibson/AfroPix

First Point, Malibu Surfrider Beach Photo by Paula Lauren Gibson/AfroPix

Most everyone is aware of the healing properties of water. The Mauli Ola Foundation began as a group of surfers seeking to introduce people with cystic fibrosis to surfing as a natural healing element. Last week, the group assisted surfing icon Allen Sarlo, at First Point – Surfrider Beach, Malibu, in hosting an event for children and their friends. They got to surf either tandem or on their own with a surfer guide. The day ended with medals of courage for the participants. Surfer Kala Alexander played master of ceremonies. Skaters/Surfers Jeff Ho and Solo Scott, among others, were on hand assisting. Lots of smiles that day!

Kids having fun at First Point, Malibu Surfrider Beach Photo by Paula Lauren Gibson/AfroPix

Kids having fun at First Point, Malibu Surfrider Beach Photo by Paula Lauren Gibson/AfroPix

Photo essay after the jump

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Ed Asner: An Artist of Acquired and Illustrious Acting Skill, Activism, Altruism, and Abundantly Avuncular Appeal!

Photo Courtesy of Quince Productions

Photo Courtesy of Quince Productions

I approach the mid-sized, one level house in the Valley with decided anticipation. To the left of the door a small sign reads, “Forget the dog, Beware the Owner!”  The housekeeper answers the bell in welcoming fashion. Framed photos of awards ceremonies and entertainment based gatherings past adorn antique shelves and hutches; most notably, a group shot including Betty White, and another of our esteemed subject shaking the hand of President Jimmy Carter himself!  We will be asked if either of us wants anything to drink. Ed will order coffee. I will ask for water. I sit catty corner to Mr. Asner’s desk in his venerable study overlooking the pool and gasp slightly at the halcyon view as a butterfly flits by over the aesthetically tiled sidewalk. Masks from every country ever visited adorn the walls, flanked by two of Mr. Asner’s seven Emmys garnishing the edge of his desk. A fluffy, sweet and loveable Himalayan cat enters as if on non-theatrical/randomly-real-world cue. China is her name:  “China Asner” I imagine would encompass the full nomenclature and surname and I can’t help but note she bears no relational resemblance to “Mr. Grant” himself. “She’s got more hair!” he will emphatically bark!  She will invariably purr, head butt, endear, jump upon, and ultimately scratch Asner to oblivion as he attempts to swaddle her in his arms—but only to catch her balance—not because she is not forever besotted by the object of her attempted affection. Some light swearing will ensue as the floor’s cold hard surface is reinstated as the feline’s proverbial “lap” and Mr. Asner will substitute all her furry softness for a caustic bottle of rubbing alcohol and a yellow band-aid with the word “FUCK” emblazoned  across the back of its all too forgiving and relieving gauze. “Boy, it’s a good thing I didn’t clip my fingernails this morning,” I muse aloud as I assist in peeling open the most obstinate of wrappers.  Once all has settled; wounds are covered, drinks poured, and felines rendered customarily independent, I begin at the very beginning… Continue reading

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Tony Bee of the Adolescents Sings “No Way” with the Descendents @ Fox Theater Pomona

Last night Fox Theater in Pomona hosted a veritable South Bay reunion with members of OFF! and the Descendents taking the stage. During the encore, one more punk rock legend, Tony Bee of the Adolescents joined the Descendents to sing “No Way” off of their self-titled “blue album.” Milo tried to marry the bands’ names, which would probably be “Descendolescents.”

Here is the view shot by Jadeeeh321 from the pit. Lots of jostling and pushing — welcome to the pit. For an even more realistic experience, watch this video in a sauna.

If you would rather have the backstage experience, check out the video by Mike Guerena after the jump

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The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf Kick-off “National Coffee Day” At Union Station!

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Photo by Billy Bennight for The Los Angeles Beat

Union Station was the kick-off point of National Coffee Day by Southern California’s coffee purveyor The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf. The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf did it in grand style! Promptly at 6am hot cups of java were being poured as part of celebrating National Coffee Day. Those cups of Joe were being served up with a smile and a free Danish to whomever may happen along on this early Monday morning at Union Station’s Track 13b/14b. As Diane Kuyoomjian (vice president of marketing at The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf®.) put it, “Coffee is synonymous with commuting—especially on Monday mornings—so we thought bringing a happy surprise to 15,000 Southland commuters would be the ideal way to celebrate Coffee 4National Coffee Day. As Southern California’s most beloved coffee and tea company, it was a natural fit to team up with Metrolink. We wanted to kick-off the week for their riders with a warm greeting and invitation to enjoy a special promotional offer.” There were many cups filled this morning as part of the event. The Coffee Bean gifted commuters with Coffee Bean t-shirts and mystery coupon offers as part of the promotion. The mystery coupon offer will be offered while supplies last at participating locations. But there will be other promotions throughout the year as a specially designed train car inspired by the company’s iconic purple straw and culture of pouring happiness out for its customers will travel throughout the Southland on various lines spreading happiness! More promotions with The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf® train will be announced in the coming months to involve SoCal’s coffee fans. All mystery offers are redeemable at participating locations of The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf®. Fans can share their National Coffee Day mystery offers using #CBCoffeeDay on Twitter (@TheCoffeeBean) and Instagram (@TheCoffeeBean) It’s time to cue up the vinyl to listen to the song Awful Lot Of Coffee in Brazil by Frank Sinatra and tap into the buzz of a year of great coffee!

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Southland Tales: Grauman’s

Photo by Michael Essington

Photo by Michael Essington

Some time back, I had a bit of a flashback to a weekend spent in late 1981 or early 1982 with these “Hollywood Punks” that lived above a liquor store in this little one room “apartment” across the street from the Grauman’s Chinese Theatre.

One day at school these three girls, Steph C. Stef B. and Darcy; told me to be ready one Saturday morning that we’re going to Hollywood to hang out with this guy named Teddy and his roommate. One of the Steph’s/Stef’s knew Teddy from the “scene.” He would be outside of almost every local gig bumming cigarettes.

We got to Hollywood Boulevard at about 11:00 am Saturday morning, and Teddy was on the Blvd waiting for us (I couldn’t tell if he was begging for change). We went upstairs to his apartment; it was four walls, with the toilet next to the kitchen sink. It was like a slightly larger version of a jail cell.

We immediately did a beer run (the girls paid, Teddy was broke). I think I nursed a 22 for the bulk of the day. I wouldn’t say I was straight edge, but I felt a need to be alert at all times. I didn’t know the term straightedge until about twenty years later.

For whatever reason, back in those days not all “Valley Punks” and “Hollywood Punks” got along. There was always attitude with a lot of the Hollywood guys; kind of like they created punk and us young Valley kids were jumping on the bandwagon. Most of the Valley guys got along great with the HB and OC punks, but the old Hollywood crew was sometimes snobby. So, there was automatically a weird vibe between Teddy and me. If I hadn’t arrived with three girls, we wouldn’t have talked at all. But he wanted to hit on them, so he acted cordial.

Teddy’s roommate passed through real quick. Then after hanging out for the bulk of the day Teddy announces that the booze isn’t enough, at this point I’m pretty disgusted by this guy anyway, he looked like a filthy Captain Sensible (with a beret), and right as I’m ready to leave Darcy pulls out this huge bag of pills, several pounds worth in every color you can think of.

Teddy and Darcy start swigging the pills back and they get more and more loopy. I get up to drag her out of the joint and they both get real belligerent, and act as if I’m breaking up a ten-year marriage. It was like an episode of cops where the police get a domestic violence call at a trailer park, and both parties flip on the cops.

After 15 to 20 minutes of explaining to Darcy that I won’t leave her stoned with some dirt bag vagrant, the two Steph’s convince me to leave her and cut my losses.

The original plan was to return the next day, Sunday, but I didn’t want to hang out with this guy anymore. So, the two Steph’s call me at about 1:00 pm and say they went to Hollywood, but no one was at the apartment. I made some remark about junkies being unpredictable and I would see them on Monday at school.

I didn’t hear from or see Darcy for about four days or so. Then one day she showed up at school with her head hung low. I don’t know if we ever talked again. It turned into a head nod kind of relationship. Darcy was cool, like all of us back then she was fighting some demons, I haven’t seen her in about thirty years. As bad as things got, they were still “the good old days.”

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Stay with the Script! By Brian Walsby


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Michael Hornbuckle Rocks the Arcadia Blues Club

Hornbuckle singing the blues. Photo by Edward Simon for The LA Beat.Michael Hornbuckle learned the blues from his father, Denver blues guitar legend Bobby Hornbuckle. The drummer in his father’s band, when his dad passed in 1996 Michael inherited two things—his father’s Gibson guitar and a desire to learn to play it. Last night, at the Arcadia Blues Club, you could feel his father watching the show and saying, “Great set, son”. Playing a blistering guitar, Michael Hornbuckle rocked the club with his powerful blues sound. In the tradition of his father and other hard-edged blues guitarists such as Stevie Ray Vaughan, Michael had the crowd mesmerized with his dynamic guitar and bluesy voice.

One of the best songs of the show was a traditional spiritual, with its most famous version being done by Woody Guthrie. ‘This Train is Bound for Glory’ showed how Hornbuckle can take a well known song and make it fresh and exciting. After the show, he said to me “I listened to the song and started playing a riff and we ended up playing the song on an album called ‘Here Come the Blues’. I used those lyrics, threw together the guitar riff. It took two seconds, kind of ‘Gov’t Mule’ sounding, it just happened like that and it feels good! A traditional spiritual over some rockin’ guitar and heavy riffs, I dig it!”.

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YouBloom Festival Comes to L.A.!

youbloom@LA 2014 promo image

Coming November 13-15 is the first YouBloom Festival in Los Angeles, or YouBloom@LA! The festival consists of a music conference at The Ebell Club in Highland Park, featuring industry experts and veterans, as well as concerts at the following venues: La Cuevita in Highland Park, Café Nela in Cypress Park, Griffins of Kinsale in South Pasadena, and the Old Towne Pub in Pasadena. Check out the line-up so far, which includes the recently Beat-reviewed L.A. band The Vigils.

Amazingly, the concerts are free, and the music conference tickets are only $25 or $15 for students under 21. The conference takes place on the Saturday November 15th, with speakers that include A&R legend Nigel Grainge (Sinead O’Connor, Thin Lizzy, Boomtown Rats, Waterboys), Vince Bannon (Getty Images), Mike Bone (President of Chrysalis, Island, Mercury Records), Tom Sturges (President of Chrysalis Music, Head of Creative for Universal Music publishing), Craig Hyman, Adam Moseley and more.

YouBloom, founded by musician/doctor Phil Harrington, is an international collective with the motto, “Connect, Learn, Play”, that focuses on helping independent artists and bands. Perhaps most interestingly, the festivals involve an “Adopt a Band” program, in which local bands host visiting artists from overseas.

(Interview with Phil Harrington after the jump)

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