Santa Cruz Good Times

Thursday
Apr 17th
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

Blast from the ’90s

GinBlossomsONLINE EXCLUSIVE
Gin Blossoms guitarist, Jesse Valenzuela, talks cake, rituals and ESP

Their chart-topping hits “Hey Jealousy” and “Follow You Down” were the soundtrack to the ’90s, and this week, Gin Blossoms is headlining a free concert at The Boardwalk on Friday, August 5. On the eve of their performance, GT spoke with Jesse Valenzuela, guitarist for the Arizona-based rock outfit, about the band’s latest album, gridlock on the 405 freeway, chocolate cake, pre-show rituals, psychic powers, and more …

GOOD TIMES: I love the new album title, No Chocolate Cake,  and the album cover (a woman holds a slice of cake behind her back)—can you explain the concept and its significance?

JESSE VALENZUELA: I think it might be too literal, although I think it’s kind of cute. The chocolate cake is sort of rock ’n’ roll gibberish; at some point, you can’t always get what you want—The Stones said it best.

Several of your lyrics on No Chocolate Cake and previous albums refer to dreaming, make-believing and longing—a sort of wistful tone. Do you guys consider yourselves “hopeless romantics”?

Jesse: “Sure, of course. J. D. Souther is one of my favorite songwriters—look up his new record—he used to write for The Eagles, and his lyrics say, “hopeless romantics, here we go again …” I love wistful stuff.”

Any pre-show rituals, or rituals on the road?

Jesse: We’re like Dominican ball players—lots of rituals. Right before the show, the band looks at each other and says, “let’s get this over with.” I also do a dance called “the crab” that the guys like, and we check each other’s flies before we go on stage.

Are you guys part-time psychics? “Dead Or Alive on the 405” seems to have foreshadowed the recent Carmageddon that happened in Los Angeles.

Jesse: It’s funny because I felt that way too! I was on the road when Carmageddon was happening, and many radio stations played it during the event. That’s a great song—I love the horns and the sentiment. It’s based on a true story about trying to make it from the valley to Redondo Beach.

Any album or artist constantly on repeat right now? What do you appreciate about this music in particular?

Jesse: An Irish guy, Dap Kennedy. I’m really loving his music—his songs are really beautiful with that wistful quality. He’s not afraid to be kind-hearted … I’ve had enough of anger.

Which band/musician would you love to tour with? It can be an artist who’s alive or long gone.

Jesse: Nat King Cole—I love him. When my son was a baby, we’d play Nat King Cole for him all the time. Also Nick Lowe, an Englishman touring with Wilco.

You guys do a great cover of Elton John’s “Rocket Man,” which you perform frequently at shows. What other kind of music do you guys like to cover?

Jesse: Right now we’re working on an Eddie Money song. “Gimme my Eddie Money” are even lyrics on “Dead or Alive on the 405.”

What are your sources of inspiration when it comes to songwriting?

Jesse: I listen to the new Bob Dylan, starting with Time Out of Mind. I can listen to those, some soul records, and Nick Lowe records—anything slow or mournful that gets that wordplay in your head excited, and makes you pick up a guitar and take notes.

What can the audience expect to happen at this week’s Gin Blossoms show?

Jesse: At the Santa Cruz show? Probably a little nudity—tasteful, because it’s a family show. We’ll play the hits, no violence or anything, and we’ll drink sodas and eat hotdogs.


INFO: 6:30 & 8:30 p.m. Friday, August 5. Beach Boardwalk, 400 Beach St., Santa Cruz. No Cover. 423-5590.

Jesse Valenzuela’s solo album single, “Blue Town”—which he describes as “a collective record of acoustic and blues, that’s both sad and eclectic”—hits iTunes next week.
Photo Credit: Angela Oneil

Comments (0)Add Comment

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share

 

Growing Hope

Campos Seguros combats sexual assault in the Watsonville farmworker community Farm work was a way of life for Rocio Camargo, who grew up in Watsonville as the daughter of Mexican immigrants. Her parents met while working the fields 30 years ago, and her father went on to run Fuentes Berry Farms.

 

Cardinal Grand Cross in the Sky

Following Holy Week (passion, death and burial of the Pisces World Teacher) and Easter Sunday (Resurrection Festival), from April 19 to the 23, the long-awaited and discussed Cardinal Cross of Change appears in the sky, composed of Cardinal signs Aries, Libra, Cancer, and Capricorn, with planets (13-14 degrees) Uranus (in Aries), Jupiter (in Cancer), Mars (in Libra) and Pluto (in Capricorn), an actual geometrical square or cross configuration. Cardinal signs mark the seasons of change, initiating new realities.

 

Sugar: The New Tobacco?

Proposed bill would require warning labels on sugary drinks Will soda and other saccharine libations soon come with a health warning? They will if it’s up to our state senator, Bill Monning (D-Carmel). On Feb. 27, Monning proposed first-of-its-kind legislation that would require a consumer warning label be placed on sugar-sweetened beverages sold in California. SB 1000, also known as the Sugar-Sweetened Beverages Safety Warning Act, was proposed to provide vital information to consumers about the harmful effects of consuming sugary drinks, such as sodas, sports drinks, energy drinks, and sweetened teas.

 

Lens Crafter

Secret photographer’s talent exposed in ‘Finding Vivian Maier’ Talk about a treasure hunt. In 2007, John Maloof, a real estate agent in the Chicago area, bought some miscellaneous boxes at an estate auction across the street, hoping to find some material for a book about his neighborhood. Disappointed not to find anything he could use for his project, Maloof had, instead, stumbled into one of the greatest discoveries in 20th century photography—the previously unknown but amazingly prolific work of amateur street photographer Vivian Maier.
Sign up for Tomorrow's Good Times Today
Upcoming arts & events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Foodie File: Red Apple Cafe

Breakfast takes center stage at Gracia Krakauer's Red Apple Cafe Before they moved to Aptos, Gracia and her husband Dan Krakauer would visit friends in Santa Cruz County and eat at the Red Apple Café all the time. Then they moved up here from Santa Monica five years ago, and bought the Aptos location (there’s a separate one in Watsonville) from the family who owned it for two decades.

 

How would you feel about a tech industry boom in Santa Cruz?

I feel like it would ruin the small old-town feeling of Santa Cruz. It wouldn’t be the same Surf City kind of vacation town that it is. Antoinette BennettSanta Cruz | Construction Management

 

Best of Santa Cruz County

The 2013 Santa Cruz County Readers' Poll and Critics’ Picks It’s our biggest issue of the year, and in it, your votes—more than 6,500 of them—determined the winners of The Best of Santa Cruz County Readers’ Poll. New to the long list of local restaurants, shops and other notables that captured your interest: Best Beer Selection, Best Locally Owned Business, Best Customer Service and Best Marijuana Dispensary. In the meantime, many readers were ever so chatty online about potential new categories. Some of the suggestions that stood out: Best Teen Program and Best Web Design/Designer. But what about: Dog Park, Church, Hotel, Local Farm, Therapist (I second that!) or Sports Bar—not to be confused with Bra. Our favorite suggestion: Best Act of Kindness—one reader noted Café Gratitude and the free meals it offered to the Santa Cruz Police Department in the aftermath of recent crimes. Perhaps some of these can be woven into next year’s ballot, so stay tuned. In the meantime, enjoy the following pages and take note of our Critics’ Picks, too, beginning on page 91. A big thanks for voting—and for reading—and an even bigger congratulations to all of the winners. Enjoy.  -Greg Archer, EditorBest of Santa Cruz County Readers’ Poll INDEX

 

Trout Gulch Vineyards

Cinsault 2012—la grande plage diurne The most popular wines on store shelves are those most generally known and available—Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, which are all superb for sure. But when you come across a more unusual varietal, like Trout Gulch Vineyards’ Cinsault ($18), it opens up a whole new world.