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Mar 03rd
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Love Your Local Band

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Music - Love Your Local Band

Johanna Lefever

Johanna Lefever

Regardless of what she tells you, Johanna LeFever is anything but ordinary. Based in the hills of Santa Cruz, the down-to-earth singer/songwriter has conquered multiple musical genres and instruments since childhood—and enjoyed every aspect of her development. Not only a champion of music, LeFever is an avid and insightful writer. “The way I approach my music is to first write prose on my typewriter and then adapt it to music,” she admits, with a laugh. “I am primarily a songwriter. It's my expressive outlet. When I write, I write about love ... you know, the common denominator.”

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Music - Love Your Local Band

Harpin’ Jonny

Harpin’ Jonny

Jonny Troutner (a.k.a. Harpin’ Jonny) has been playing harmonica in Santa Cruz since 1992. “It was a character I created to publicize my previous business, Antolini Masonry and Landscape Supplies,” Troutner explains. “You might have heard the catchy jingles on KPIG.” The gifted harpist has accompanied dozens of local musicians for several decades and has a laid-back disposition that could have been Jeff Bridges’ inspiration for The Dude in The Big Lebowski.

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Music - Love Your Local Band

Danny Mayer

Danny Mayer

Every Tuesday for the last three years, the faithful have gathered at The Crepe Place, spurred on by resident funk band 7 Come 11, and particularly the sounds coming from Danny Mayer’s guitar. This is not to say that drummer Beaumont Bradbury and organist Gianni Staiano aren’t brilliant—they are—but Florida-born Mayer is a revelation. So it shouldn’t come as a total shock that Mayer will no longer be playing with the band beginning in mid-August.

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Music - Love Your Local Band

Afro Beat Box

Afro Beat Box

Will Kahn understands the value of combining musical talents. “I never could play drums by myself,” he says, recalling his teenage years, “so I set them up at a friend’s house, who was playing bass. … That’s how I started—playing with someone else.” Things haven’t changed much over the years for the multi-instrumentalist, producer, engineer, and studio manager at Paradise Recording. Kahn joined the Afro/samba/funk group SambaDá in 1998, and has been collaborating with local musicians ever since. For the last decade, it has been his dream to form a “total Santa Cruz supergroup” made up of his many gifted friends—and finally, that band has taken shape, under the moniker Afro Beat Box.

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Music - Love Your Local Band

Deepfried

Deepfried

Though the moniker sounds unhealthy, Deepfried’s experimental trip-hop tracks are fresh and easy to stomach. Formed in 2000, when Peter Chester (vocals/keys/guitar) and Robbie Cross (bass/vocals/guitar) were studying electronic music at UC Santa Cruz, Deepfried has become known for its organic blend of electronica. “Something we became pretty fascinated with was using computers to do looping,” Chester recalls. Using the computer software Cycling 74's MAX/MSP, they created the "cuisNart”: a personally designed digital looping instrument. The sounds they created were magical, he says—“sorta like grabbing water from a stream and putting Kool-Aid in it.

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Music - Love Your Local Band

The MonDays

The MonDays

After watching Office Space, Gabe Robledo couldn’t stop repeating the quote: “Uh-oh, sounds like somebody’s got a case of The Mondays!” The 20-year-old singer/guitarist’s favorite scene became the inspiration behind the moniker of his band, The MonDays. Along with fellow Pajaro Valley High School graduates—Miguel Soriano (bass/sax/guitar), and twins Jesse Flores (drums/shaker) and Ivan Flores (keyboards)—this rock/R&B/hip-hop quartet has transformed the mundane weekday into music that drags on, but solely because their sound is timeless and infectious.

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Music - Love Your Local Band

Rob Owen

Rob Owen

The message at the heart of Rob Owen’s music is perfectly encapsulated by the title of his first EP, Common Ground. “The songs are about interconnection or ‘inter-being,’” he explains. “They are about the common ground we all stand on but often forget about.” Tugging at the heartstrings and capturing the soul of audience members, is one of Owen’s strong suits as a singer/songwriter. His journey as a musician began when he moved from Silicon Valley to Aptos, and the change in scenery added what he calls a “different dimension in [his] writing.” Here, he has found solace in his family and a muse in everyday life. “I find that at the place where inspiration and influence collide, there is an infinite ocean of creativity,” says Owen.

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Music - Love Your Local Band

Slop Opera

Slop Opera

It ain’t over till the fat lady sings, or so the saying goes. Well, since 2004, that fat lady has been pushed aside, multiplied, and renamed Slop Opera: an all-male, hip-hop/rap collective. According to Mike Ross, the emcee/producer known as Ross Rock—a nickname coined by his football coach at Soquel High School—the group started as a quintet, consisting of himself and emcee Addamantium, DJ/producer Mr. Bean, Debris the Emcee and emcee Slie.

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Music - Love Your Local Band

Al Frisby

Al Frisby

From a short distance, Al Frisby looks like a classic Santa Cruz surfer: rich silver locks atop a lanky frame. But when face-to-face, Frisby’s drawl reveals his Louisiana roots. The beloved singer/songwriter spouts a wellspring of local lore, has an encyclopedic knowledge of New Orleans music, and offers a slightly demented view of the world—in other words, he’s a colorful character. By the time Frisby arrived in Santa Cruz in the early ’90s, he had made a name for himself by writing comical novelty songs that poked fun at the counterculture. For example, “Deadheads on Bad Paper Acid,” is, according to Frisby, “A good ballad waltz about being raised in a VW van and traveling around the country.”

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Music - Love Your Local Band

Thrive

Thrive

Thrive, a Santa Cruz reggae/rock hybrid, is pioneering a mood, sound and philosophy that elevates the listener. “Originally starting as a party band, we decided to create music that we can stand behind,” says singer/guitarist Aaron Borowitz. He and drummer/lead singer Kenny Rogers work to create a positive musical experience by writing lyrics about ordinary occurrences with a conscious perspective, and, in doing so, Thrive is ushering in a new essence for pop music.

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Two Fish Bound by a Golden Cord

Until March 20, (Spring Equinox), Earth and her kingdoms (mineral, plant, animal, human) experience the influence of Pisces, sign of the World Savior. Whereas the task of Aquarius is as world server, the Pisces task is saving the world—tasks given to the two fishes. Pisces never really enters matter, and as the last sign of the zodiac includes all the signs. During Pisces, having gathered all the gifts of the previous 11 signs, it is a good time to prepare for new initiating plans when Aries (sign of beginnings) begins. No wonder Pisces, like Scorpio, is so difficult (both are ruled by Pluto, planet of death, new life, regeneration, transformations). Both signs (with Scorpio drowning in dark and deep waters) find life on Earth a hardship, disorienting (from the spiritual perspective), at times feeling betrayed. Life is a paradox, especially for Pisces. Each zodiacal sign represents and distributes a different phase and facet (12) of the Soul’s diamond light, Pisces is the “Light of Life itself, ending forever the darkness of matter.” It takes two fish to complete this work (creating eventually an extraordinary human being). One fish turned toward the material world (in order to understand matter), the other fish toward the heavenly world. Around the two fish is a silvery cord binding them together. The two fish are forever bound until all of humanity is redeemed (lifted up into the Light). This is the dedication of all world saviors (Buddha, Christ, the NGWS). Thus the sacrifice and suffering experienced by Pisces. Knowing these things about Pisces, let us help them all we can. Sometimes all of humanity is Pisces.

 

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