California Rocker

Award-Winning Online Music Magazine

New Single ‘One Step at a Time’ by Donna Balancia and Vince Conrad Donates to Texas Food Bank

Punk Rocker and the Writer Team Up to Give Back

By JOHN DALY

Donna Balancia, music journalist, and Vince Conrad, music producer and founder of bands The Smart Pills and American Bad Taste, have released a single called “One Step at a Time,” to help support the victims of Hurricane Harvey.

Downloads of “One Step at a Time” are available on Bandcamp and CDBaby for $1.99 and a portion of all sales will go to The Coastal Bend Food Bank one of the organizations helping hurricane victims. As several hurricanes and earthquakes have occurred since Hurricane Harvey hit, it is important to make sure aid still gets to Texans, Balancia said.

 

“At a time when most of the country is going back to school, we can’t forget that many victims of Hurricane Harvey in Texas have nothing to go back to,” Balancia said. “They were hit first and they were hit hard. Vince and I want to help, even if it’s in some small way like a music download.”

‘One Step at a Time’ downloads donate to Texas relief efforts – Artwork by Linita Masters

 

One Step at a Time: ‘Like Aimee Mann Meets The Cars’

“One Step at a Time” is an upbeat 1980s-style adult contemporary song similar in sound to The Cars, and Balancia’s melodious vocals sound like “an upbeat Aimee Mann,” according to a review by Alyson Camus in Rock NYC Live and Recorded. “The chorus will stay with you on first listen,” Camus writes.

“Vince is known for his work in the punk rock world and he’s a multi-talented musician,” Balancia said. “He’s a prolific songwriter, guitarist and arranger. I’m the wordsmith, singer, and melody composer. We’re releasing an EP in the November, but this song, “One Step at a Time” is being released early so that we can help the victims of Hurricane Harvey.”

Vince Conrad and Donna Balancia released upbeat 1980s-style single 'One Step at a Time' early to help raise money for hurricane victims - Photo by John Norris

Vince Conrad and Donna Balancia released upbeat 1980s-style single ‘One Step at a Time’ early to help raise money for hurricane victims – Photo by John Norris

The Punk Rocker and The Writer

Conrad who made his mark in the 1980s with punk bands The Smart Pills, The Aliens and American Bad Taste, recently released some hidden gems he unearthed while going through his storage unit.   He remastered and re-released several of the original punk recordings from the 1970s. Check out his website here at VinceConradProductions.com

Conrad and Balancia crossed paths many times in the 1980s in New York City, but never actually met until their love of alternative music brought them together at a Los Angeles punk club to see a Walter Lure show.

Check out “One Step at a Time” and donate here at either at Bandcamp or CD Baby

Disclaimer: Balancia is the editor of CaliforniaRocker.com and the president of The Entertainment Magazines LLC, the parent company to this site and several other websites that cover tourism, technology, film and music. For more information contact editor@californiarocker.com

A New Record for California Rocker – Five Journalism Awards with Two First Place Finishes in One Year

Site Wins Social Media and Best Blog Awards

By JOHN DALY

LOS ANGELES – The team at CaliforniaRocker.com has set the standard: Donna Balancia and her editorial team have won five journalism awards in one year.

CaliforniaRocker.com won two first-place awards and a third-place award for photography categories in the National Arts and Entertainment Journalism Awards.  The accolades were followed by two third place awards in social media and best website categories at the Southern California Journalism Awards this month.

In total, the CaliforniaRocker.com reporter and photographer team  has collected nine journalism awards in the last three years.

Donna Balancia won Best Action Photo for this image of Cedric Bixler-Zavala of At The Drive-In - Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Donna Balancia won Best Action Photo for this image of Cedric Bixler-Zavala of At The Drive-In – Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Balancia: ‘Great Honors’

“These are great honors and we are excited and happy to be rewarded for our hard work,” said Balancia. “With photographers Heather Harris, Suzanne Allison, Alyson Camus as well as writers like Craig Hammons, John Daly and Dan MacIntosh we have a great team.”

The most recent awards, in the Best Blog and Best Social Media categories by Los Angeles Press Club members were for innovative work based on new media delivery and social media for coverage of Smashmouth at The Canyon Club.

Suzanne Allison Witkin won first place for her photo essay on The Hollywood Vampires – Photo by Suzanne Allison Witkin

‘Great Team’

Balancia credits her team with keeping CaliforniaRocker.com as well as EastCoastRocker.comand WestCoastRocker.com on the cutting edge.

“It requires dedication to journalism with great reporters to keep publications rolling today,” Balancia said. “We want to provide a service to musicians and we keep going.”

Dee Snider with son Jesse at the Whisky A Go-Go were among the artists whose stories brought a best blog win – Photo © 2016 Heather Harris

Support of the Musicians

“CaliforniaRocker.com has received the support of musicians and artists alike and it’s a satisfying feeling to win on their behalf,” Balancia said. “We have a great staff and we put out quality reports.”

In addition to interviews and photographs with Johnny Winter, Mike Campbell, Bonnie Raitt, Jackson Browne, and many young and up and coming bands, there are works that have brought tons of hits behind the scenes.

Heather Harris won a second place for her coverage of rocker James Williamson’s Alternative A-List Concert at The Bootleg, Balancia won for her coverage of supergroup The New Basement Tapes and CaliforniaRocker.com has won best blog categories in previous years.

Another such multimedia package was the exclusive interview of Keith Levene done by Ivor Levene and Melanie Smith. 

Keith Levene exclusive interview by Ivor Levene and Melanie Smith

 

Smash Mouth duo Steve Harwell and Paul DeLisle hang together - Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Smash Mouth duo Steve Harwell and Paul DeLisle hang together – Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

‘Winners Overcome Obstacles’

Balancia said the awards come at a time when journalism is under attack and companies are cutting more reporters, editors and content creators than ever before.

“We are honored that we continue to win despite the odds,” Balancia said. “These awards are special because true journalism — and not ‘selfie’ reports — is becoming more and more rare. Music journalism in particular is not given the credit it deserves for the important role it plays in today’s culture. We are proud to be a force representing creative arts.”

Deap Vally, Jurassic Shark, Girl Pusher Display Their Special Brand of Music at Dirty Penni Fest at Echo

Echo and Echoplex Host Alt Music Fest

Photos by ALYSON CAMUS and DONNA BALANCIA

Excellent concerts were aplenty as the July 4 weekend kicked into high gear.

Jurassic Shark

Explosive Weekend

Dirty Penni Fest featured Deap Vally, Jurassic Shark, Girl Pusher, Mike Watt and The Shrine and was followed at The Echoplex by Noveller.

Meanwhile at The Redwood Friday, The Sloths topped the bill, and on Saturday, The Glam Skanks headlined with Will Crewdson and The Schizophonics. Following Dirty Penni Fest was Noveller at The Echoplex.

Deap Vally – Photo by Donna Balancia

The Echo, Dirty Laundry TV and Penniback Records

The Dirty Penni Fest has topped itself from years prior.

Deap Vally showed the stuff that got them the opening gig for the Blondie tour as the girls are looking and sounding better than ever.  Jurassic Shark had the Echo leaping with stage divers — most weren’t so energetic and the term “crowd fallers” may have been better suited.

The music at Dirty Penni fest was varied and excellent ranging from surf rock to shoegaze and everything in between.  The Shrine, Plague Vendor and Starcrawler showed star power as the performers have really come into their own.

Starcrawler – Photo by Alyson Camus

The Lineup

The lineup was impressive with top performers rounding out the fest: Mike Watt and the Jom and Jerry Show, Enjoy, Zig Zags, Jurassic Shark, Girl Pusher, Flat Worms, Here Lies Man, Beach Bums, Hit Bargain, The Red Pears, Clit Kat, Espresso, Keif Season, Girl Tears, Janelane, Fringe, Capital Wasteland, Sabrina is Not in This Chat, Sketch Orchestra, Model/Actriz and Worn Tin.

Girl Pusher – Photo by Donna Balancia

 

Josh Landau of The Shrine – Photo by Alyson Camus

 

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