California Rocker

Award-Winning Online Music Magazine

‘Break at the Beach’ Seeking Bands for New Live Performance Program at the Venice Beach Bar

Jesse Snider and Dee Snider Photo by HEATHER HARRIS, Story By JOHN DALY

Ultimate Jam Night, the weekly, live music jam in residence at the Whisky A Go-Go, will hold “Break at the Beach” a new program to help emerging bands break into the music business.

Wayne Kramer and Mike Watt have headlined Ultimate Jam Night - Photo © Donna Balancia

Wayne Kramer and Mike Watt have headlined Ultimate Jam Night – Photo © Donna Balancia

“Break at the Beach” is a monthly program that gives bands the chance to submit their material to the Ultimate Jam Night team for review with the possibility to be selected to perform in a live “audition round” at Venice Beach Bar. Venice Beach Bar is located at the Venice Beach Strand and Rose Avenue in Venice.

The winner of each monthly audition will be given an opening slot at Ultimate Jam Night held at the Whisky A Go Go, with their performance broadcast worldwide via Zinna.TV.

LA's well-known rockers play Ultimate Jam Night - Photo © Donna Balancia

LA’s well-known rockers play Ultimate Jam Night – Photo © Donna Balancia

Selected “audition round” bands will perform live before a panel of touring artists, producers, and promoters.  The winning band will be selected based on performance, presence, crowd appeal, and musicianship.  There is no cost to participate, and winning bands will receive promotional, marketing, and industry contact support leading up to their live performance at Ultimate Jam Night.

Top headliners for Ultimate Jam Night have included Linda Perry, Wayne Kramer and Mike Watt, Dee Snider, the father of UJN regular Jesse Snider and many others.  The frontman for UJN is Chuck Wright of Quiet Riot.

Linda Perry at Ultimate Jam Night - Photo © Donna Balancia

Linda Perry at Ultimate Jam Night – Photo © Donna Balancia

The program will be organized monthly by long-time Ultimate Jam Night team-member, Forrest McKinnon, and bands can submit video links and band material to breakatthebeach@gmail.com.

For more information go to  www.ultimatejamnight.com and www.facebook.com/thevenicebeachbar.

California Rocker Wins Best Photo Essay, Best Action Photo at Prestigious LA Press Club Awards Gala

California Rocker Wins Three Awards at 2016 NAEJ

By DOTTIE PARIS

California Rocker, the online music magazine, won Best Photo Essay and Best Action Photo categories Sunday night at the National Arts and Entertainment Journalism Awards by the Los Angeles Press Club.

The awards were presented to California Rocker producer Donna Balancia at the annual awards gala that honors the best of entertainment journalism.  The event was held at the Millennium Biltmore in downtown Los Angeles.

California Rocker Wins Best Action Photo

Donna Balancia Cedric Bixler-Zavala of At The Drive-In - California Rocker Wins

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

Best Action Photo was awarded to Donna Balancia for her image of Cedric Bixler-Zavala, the high-energy frontman for At The Drive-In, leaping into the air at the Hollywood Palladium.  California Rocker wins included third place in the same action photo category for a beautiful image of the legendary surf guitar master Dick Dale performing to an adoring crowd at The Whisky A Go-Go.

Best Photo Essay for Suzanne Allison Witkin

Suzanne Allison Witkin - Vampires California Rocker Wins

Suzanne Allison Witkin took first place for her photo essay “On Tour With The Hollywood Vampires – Photo © 2016 Suzanne Allison Witkin

Renowned rock photographer Suzanne Allison Witkin won Best Photo Essay for “On Tour With The Hollywood Vampires,” a photographic documentation of behind-the-scenes with the supergroup featuring Johnny Depp, Alice Cooper and Joe Perry.

The gala was attended by hundreds of writers, editors, producers and photographers and honored renowned songwriter Diane Warren, actress Angela Lansbury, and late-night talk show star Chelsea Handler.

‘Voices of Independent Artists Heard Tonight’

Dick Dale at the Whisky A Go-Go California Rocker Wins

The photo of Dick Dale taken at the Whisky A Go-Go was honored with a win in the action photo category – Photo © Donna Balancia

“I started California Rocker three years ago to give independent artists a voice,” Donna said. “Their voices were clearly heard tonight as our work was selected over that of the corporate media.  We will continue to work with up-and-coming and established musicians, writers and photographers so talent and truth can shine through.”

Previous wins include the work of Heather Harris in the LA Press Club’s first-ever Photo Essay category, for her images of musician James Williamson’s all-star concert at the Bootleg, and Donna’s image of Flyin’ Jay Armant, of the band Fishbone, launching into the crowd at the Roxy Theatre.

California Rocker has had several finalist designations and this year was no exception. California Rocker took three finalist designations among five in the action photo category and Suzanne’s Photo Essay was among three finalists.

Owl, Philm, Lend Avant-Garde Sound to Metal Scene on Legendary Sunset Strip

Owl guitarist Jason Achilles-Mezilis grabs a lens from photographer to use as a slide during performance at Whisky - Photo © 2015 Donna Balancia

Owl guitarist Jason Achilles-Mezilis borrows a lens from a photographer to use as a slide during performance at Whisky – Photo © 2015 Donna Balancia

Chris Wyse Bass, Dave Lombardo Drumming, Take Center Stage at Whisky a Go Go

By MALIA BALANCIA — Lead singer and bassist Chris Wyse is pretty clever.

Maybe that goes along with having a band called “Owl,” but Wyse and his group certainly have interesting ways to make music.

Wyse has played for a number of influential bands, probably most notably the Cult and he takes his bass playing to an entirely new level.

Owl debuted songs off The new album, Things You Can’t See, at the Whisky A Go-Go and did it in unique style.

Dave Lombardo's drumming takes front and center position at Philm set at Whisky - Photo © 2015 Donna Balancia

Dave Lombardo’s drumming takes front and center position during Philm set at Whisky – Photo © 2015 Donna Balancia

Wyse is the main singer-songwriter of the band he put together with longtime pal, drummer Dan Dinsmore, and guitarist Jason Achilles Mezilis.

Things You Can’t See drops Tuesday and can be pre-ordered HERE

Wyse started writing Things You Can’t See after leaving The Cult and while transitioning to The Ace Frehley Band. Wyse and his Owl bandmates jammed in the studio and cultivated the music of Things You Can’t See right in the moment.

Owl supported Philm, the band assembled by drummer Dave Lombardo of Slayer.  The band goes non-stop through its songs, as Lombardo brings his no-holds-barred, full-charge drumming to front and center stage.

Owl's Jason Achilles Mezilis rips it on guitar at Whisky © Donna Balancia

Owl’s Jason Achilles Mezilis rips it on guitar at Whisky © 2015 Donna Balancia

It’s no wonder Lombardo is considered one of the premiere drummers in the world of metal music — or any other music for that matter.  His sticks are a blur and it’s remarkable he isn’t skin, bones and muscle from the tremendous performance he gives.

Lombardo’s bandmates in Philm, Gerry Nestler and Pancho Tomaselli, are the ultimate in professionalism and bring their diverse talents to the ensemble.

See Philm’s Facebook Page for more details.

Owl at the Whisky - Chris Wyse Photo © 2015 Donna Balancia

Owl at the Whisky – Chris Wyse Photo © 2015 Donna Balancia

 

 

CrueFest Hollywood 2015: Metal Shows its Golden Heart at Charity Event

Graham Bonnet Band rockin' at CrueFest - Photo © 2015 Donna Balancia

Graham Bonnet Band rockin’ at CrueFest – Photo © 2015 Donna Balancia

CrueFest Hollywood Raises Cash to Help People With Cancer

By MALIA BALANCIA – Rock and Roll may never forgive, but it knows how to give back.

The stage at the Whisky A Go-Go was rockin’ at Cruefest Hollywood 2015, featuring bands including Downtown Attraction, L.A. Story, and the Graham Bonnet Band.

Steve Talbott of Gutterboys at CrueFest - Photo © 2015 Donna Balanci

Steve Talbott of Gutterboys at CrueFest – Photo © 2015 Donna Balancia

The event is a charity fundraiser to benefit Letty’s Angels of Hope Foundation. See CrueFest Hollywood for more information.

Steve Talbott of the Gutterboys was emcee and became everyone’s favorite guy, as he threw T-shirts and guitar picks into the all-age audience that came to rock and raise money.  His band is fun and he’s got a hard-charging attitude.

There was too much talent to mention with highlights of the night including Downtown Attraction’s Jack Cash and Matti Jade teaming up with Buckcherry’s Stevie D. in an amazing set that blew out the Whisky.

Cash is remarkably agile and he is practiced at his performance.  Downtown Attraction moves forward in its success in a low-key manner but these guys are bound to break out in a big way.

Frontman Erik Hatchett and L.A. Story at CrueFest - Photo © 2015 Donna Balancia

Frontman Erik Hatchett and L.A. Story at CrueFest – Photo © 2015 Donna Balancia

L.A. Story is one of the new bands on the scene with a fabulous theatrical appeal.  Frontman Erik Hatchett and his partner in crime, Jason Barajas, are a team for the ages with onstage antics that compel the audience to join in.

L.A. Story puts on an interactive performance, simultaneously taunting and charming the crowd.  The band is headed out on tour throughout the midwest to wrap up the summer.

A highlight of the night was the Graham Bonnet Band.  The guy still cooks along after all these years and brings the audience to a howling pitch and concert-goers cheer on the performance.

CrueFest Daisy DelaHoya and Black Star Electra - Photo © 2015 Donna Balancia

CrueFest Daisy DelaHoya and Black Star Electra – Photo © 2015 Donna Balancia

An unlikely if not mezmerising hit was Daisy DelaHoya, the sexy frontgal of Black Star Electra.  She’s best known for her reality TV stints, but this woman can belt it out.  Her moves are amazing and she had more photographers snapping her than bees around honey.  She’s one to watch — on several levels.

CrueFest 2015 was a hit and well worth the $20 admission for an all-day-long affair with plenty of chances for giveaways and live auction.  Appreciation to the Whisky A Go Go and the many who gave donations and product giveaways.

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