Posts Presents: Elemental Experience

If you’re in the San Diego area tomorrow, May 2nd, head down to Mission Bay to check out’s Elemental Experience Music & Art Festival.

The lineup is pretty insane, including killer performances by: 

Matisyahu (8:20 – 9:45 PM)
Bassnectar (6:50 – 7:50 PM)
Pinback (5:20 – 6:20 PM)
Mason Jennings (4:00 – 4:50 PM)
Dirty Sweet (2:45 – 3:30 PM)
Pete & J (1:45 – 2:30 PM)
Jay Nash (12:45 – 1:30 PM)
The Kneehighs (12:00 – 12:30 PM)
DJ Scooter (7:50 – 8:20 PM)
DJ Craig Smooth (6:20 – 6:50 PM)
DJ Ayla (4:50 – 5:20 PM)
… and more in between all acts.

To top it all off, this is a fundraiser for San Diego Youth Services; (SDYS) and Stay Classy Foundation have partnered to bring a much-needed shelter to homeless 18-24 year-olds in San Diego.

I’m going… what better way to spend your Saturday than to see some killer music by the beach in America’s Finest City?




Musicians: Mike Lockrem

Warehouse Guy Bottoms Out in Local Band
By Jody Wood

Don’t get the wrong idea, both the guy and the band are doing fine. The guy is Mike Lockrem, long time South Coast employee, and bass player for local reggae band Vegitation. He’s been around the warehouse for about five years now, while holding down the bottom end of the Ocean Beach based band’s rhythm section. He’s done about every job in the place and plays a big role in things going smoothly. The same can be said for his role in Vegitation, which has several shows in Hawaii this month, along with shows at Winston’s and the Ocean Beach Street Fair and Chili Cook Off. Mike spends most of his time outside of South Coast either working with his band or in his recording studio, where he works well into the night recording other artists and friends.

Here’s a quick question and answer session with Mike, who stayed late to work this into his busy schedule.

How long have you been in Vegitation?
Five and a half years.

How has working at South Coast been good for you as a working musician?
South Coast has been really cool with letting me go on the road. Very few jobs would be that understanding.

Vegitation travels around quite a bit. Name a few of the biggest shows over the last few years.
We’ve played in Amsterdam, Costa Rica, and all over the west coast. We’ve played with The Skatalites, Barrington Levy, John Brown’s Body, Wailing Souls, and Ras Michael, among others.

Didn’t you record most of Vegitation’s last record?
Family Strong was my first attempt at recording an entire record. Most of it was done in my living room and bathroom. I learned lots of things not to do, but really enjoyed being in control of our own sounds.

What kind of projects are going on in your studio?
I’m currently working with lots of artists, from reggae to rock and singer-songwriter stuff. Although it can be difficult to handle the hours between South Coast, the band, and the studio, it’s my dream to be an engineer and producer. I’m young. I’ll sleep when I’m dead.

Vegitation is huge on, what’s up with that?
We recently hit 50,000 plays. I don’t personally handle the page, but apparently that’s a lot.

Your band writes socially conscious lyrics. If there’s a message in there, what would you say it is?
Our songs range in content, but I think the most basic message throughout is respect. Both for yourself, your neighbor, and the planet.

Any upcoming show you want to plug?
We’re off to Maui for five dates. Maybe I’ll even go surfing!

Vegitation is scheduled for Winston’s on June 20th , and the Ocean Beach Street Fair on June 30th.. Check out their myspace page for a sample of their music. Dubbed “original rebel reggae”, Vegitation blends roots, reggae, jam, dub, and organic psychedelia with a positive vibe and relevant lyrics.

Musicians: Kyle Phelan

Kyle Phelan
North County Phenom Connects with Surfing Community

By Robb Bailey

Kyle Phelan is an old soul. He walks, speaks, and plays the guitar with the confidence of a 35 year-old. His voice is deep and his laugh is hearty. When he tells a story, he tells it with a very slight East Coast accent, which actually works with what he’s got going on. It’s hard to explain.

The music Kyle creates is something out of a John Mayer book, but his talent has certainly broken free of any stereotypes that may be attached to big names. Although Kyle’s musical idol heavily influences his sound, he works with an established rap and R&B musician from New York to write, produce, and perform his songs since he was sixteen. The end result produces sounds ranging from Outkast, Citizen Cope, and Dave Matthews to Stevie Wonder, John Legend, and Brian McKnight.

The 21 year-old has really grown in his songwriting over the past five years. Three CD’s and a 2007 San Diego Music Award nomination later, people are starting to take notice.

How did you get your start playing music? What instruments?
I started playing the drums when I was about seven years old. I always loved playing at the church our family attended. I didn’t really play for the services, but my dad was a pastor so I was able to go in the main room and beat on them as long and as hard as I wanted to when no one was there. When I was 11 my dad moved us out to San Diego and I started playing guitar, and the drum thing kinda just didn’t happen anymore. I mean, I love the drums, but guitar is my instrument now.

You recently quit your day job to pursue music. What does your work day consist of now?
I work a couple days a week for a friend of mine doing some assistant work, and on the other days I book gigs, play gigs, and teach guitar lessons. Oh, and fight with my manage. That’s a job in it self. (laughs)

What big names influence your music? What small names?
Big names? Well, this guy named John Mayer is pretty good. Haha, yeah he’s my biggest influence. Then it’s everyone from Marvin Gaye to Frank Sinatra. I love a lot of singer-songwriters that aren’t necessarily mainstream. Marc Broussard, David Ryan Harris, J Turtle, Erin McCarley, Sean Mitchell, Trevor Davis, Ernie Halter. It would take me too long to name all the stuff I listen to. I can tell you that India Arie is in my car’s CD player right now though.

You co-write a lot of your music with your good friend and local musician Sean Mitchell. How does his influence affect your music?
Sean is what makes possible! I can’t write the same without him. He brings out all of the urban influences I love and lets it flow through my music in a beautiful way. I love him so much and value him more than I can explain. If anything makes it on this interview make sure it’s that!

You’re 21 and you’ve already recorded three albums. Take us through that process.
It’s been a very pleasant learning experience. I recorded my first CD when I was 17 years old, my second when I was 18, and this last one this past summer. It doesn’t really seem like I’ve been making music for that long but now that I think about it, it’s something I can be proud of and appreciate.

What are your favorite venues to play in San Diego? Elsewhere?
I love playing Hot Java Café in Poway. It might be this nostalgic thing because it was the first place I ever played. It’s just a little coffee house, but it feels like home to me. I’ve had some of my best musical moments at Hot Java. I like LeStat’s too. It’s been kind of like a home to me in a sense. It was the step-up from Hot Java, according to the music scene here in SD. I just played Cane’s in Mission Beach and loved it. I’ve played the Belly Up and the House of Blues downtown, and those two are, by far, in a league of their own. Just amazing sound, amazing vibe… frickin loved it!

Favorite song to perform right now?
With the band, it’s “Puppet” for sure. That’s why I’m going into the studio early October to record it. Acoustically, probably don’t Go. It’s just fun to perform and I like the falsetto work I do in it. It’s a sing-along for sure.

Performing acoustic has been your strength so far in your career. How is it playing with your band these past few months?
Oh man, I love playing acoustic, but the high I get from playing with the group of guys I have in my band is amazing (laughs). You’d have to tear the guitar from my frickin hands to get me away. Go ahead, you can try.

Which is your favorite, performing unplugged or with the band?
That’s such a hard question to answer because I respect both sides of the music so much. But this is what I can give you: At a bar, with the band; At a coffee house, definitely acoustic.

Talk about how Hot Rod Harris and other local San Diegan Musicians have shaped your career.
Hot Rod is my dear friend and always will be. He’s encouraged this push for me to pursue my music before I even knew I had the ability to. He made this past CD possible. If he wasn’t on board, I wouldn’t have the product I have now in this last CD. J Turtle has also been such a great friend and teacher to me. I never took lessons from the guy, but for me every time I see him play I’m taking notes.

You have quite the following with the South Coast staff, particularly the females. Any thoughts on that?
Hahhahah, I love all the South Coast girls! They’re great to me and I love the constant support they give. Special thanks to Ash, Kimmy, and Heather for sure…. They bump my CD like it’s their job. I love it!

The Ryde Clothing is supporting your music, how does the surfing/art/fashion thing tie in to your sound?
Well, first off, I always wear their shirts. My closet is full and that’s all I wear now. I still haven’t seen a shirt that I didn’t want from them. But the cool thing about The Ryde is that whatever you’re into, they got you covered. They have this Southern Cali thing going on, and it just so happens that my music relates really well to that. My lifestyle is all about making good music, making people feel good, and having a good time. The surfing community has embraced that, which I’m grateful for. I love all the guys that make it happen up there. They’re just good people and I”ll support that cause for as long as I can.

**To hear Kyle’s music, visit or visit his Myspace page at

Musicians: Podunk Nowhere

Johnny Janiga finds himself in the middle of Podunk Nowhere
By Jody Wood

Johnny Janiga is one of those long-haired, cigarette smoking, beer drinking guitar players that doesn’t really care that he’s thirty-something years old and not famous yet. He’s happy writing and performing original rock, country, and folk music, with a heavy jazz influence at times. You can tell he’s studied up on Jimmy Hendrix and Jimmy Page.

Born and raised in upstate New York, he found his way out to San Diego about ten years ago. He played in a few rock bands here and there, before meeting his better half and songwriting partner, Heather. Together they formed Podunk Nowhere, a cool, two-piece outfit that keeps a busy schedule performing around San Diego, and occasionally in Los Angeles.

Johnny works in the administrative office at South Coast Surf Shops and handles accounts payable, and “paper shredding”. He started out in the warehouse and quickly moved upstairs. He’s been on the team now for about four years and has his position dialed in.

Here is a little question and answer session with Johnny Janiga.

How has working at South Coast been good for you as a working musician?
South Coast has a very relaxed way about it. As long as I get my work done right and on time, there’s not much of a problem with a flexible schedule. They are very supportive when it comes to time off and so forth.

How long has Podunk Nowhere been around?
We’ve been together a little over four years now.

Where did the name come from?
The name is a play on small towns in the middle of nowhere. Heather came up with it one night and she is from Indiana. I liked it because, at the time, it was a kind of metaphor for where our music was being heard and could easily stay.

What are some of the major influences on your sound?
We keep everything minimal based on the song. Influences would be anything from Gillian Welch and David Rawlings to Radiohead. The range of influences is pretty wide. I used some effects on my acoustic, which is tricky, but it seems to work and gives us a bit of an edge.

Your wife, Heather, makes up the other half of Podunk Nowhere. How did you two decide to start creating music and working together?
We met on the streets of OB, during one of the many walks between bars. I was working three jobs and still drinking full-time. I decided to let one job go on the spur of the moment and that’s when I met Heather Marie. We played music at my apartment that night and wrote “Hanging on the Wind” the next day. We knew it was good and we were both in projects that either just started or were about to end. So, we banded together and that brought us here.

What are some of your favorite places to play?
Our favorite place to play is anywhere people will listen. It’s really about the audience for us, but two of our favorite places to play are Winston’s and Vindblah’s Café.

Podunk Nowhere recorded its first CD in 2006. How was the recording process?
We recorded it at StudioB in Ocean Beach, and did it around work schedules and planes flying over. The process was smooth and relaxed. You know, like playing in your backyard when you’re a kid. I had a lot of fun doing it.

Your wife is pretty.
She is stunning. That’s the word I use. Pretty just doesn’t cut it.

If you had to pick your three favorite songs from the CD, what would they be?
“Rain”, “Hanging on the Wind”, and “Embroidery Queen”.

What is your favorite song to play live and why?
It is the new one we just penned. It’s called “If I’m Drinking”. It’s our set closer and it’s my first vocal performance with Heather. I just sing a bit, but it’s still my favorite part. You know, everybody wants to be a singer.

Where do you hope to see Podunk Nowhere in 2008?
To be honest, probably right where we are now. We have a good life, great friends, and each other, so this is a dream come true.

How long have you been playing guitar and writing your own music?
I’ve been playing the guitar since I was eight years old. So, about 28 years now, I’m old. I started writing more seriously when I was around 18 and it was time to pick a career.

Podunk Nowhere has played a ton of shows in San Diego and some in L.A. as well. Any plans to venture out of Southern California any time soon?
We are heading out in August on self-booked independent tour. We’re calling it “The Po Tour”. We’re going from San Diego to Seattle. Check for more details.

You guys are also working with a full band. How does that differ from the Podunk Nowhere sound and feel?
Well, for one, it’s entirely different music, with one Podunk song thrown in there. It’s electric, which I love doing. People say it sounds like Band of Gypsies, but with a female front. It’s a way full sound, and Heather is amazing. No kidding, she kills me every time we play with the band. He voice goes off, you must see it. We go by the name Breaking Up Over Texas.

Who is your favorite guitar player of all time and why?
Well, that’s a tough one. It’s always been the Jimmie’s for me. Hendrix and Page, but my all time favorite is Hendrix. No one comes close to his originality and innovativeness. I’m still blown away when I hear “Axis: Bold as Love”.

Is there anyone you’d like to say hello or thanks to?
I would like to thank determination and detox for always being there for me.

For music samples and more photos check out Podunk Nowhere’s myspace page

Musicians: Jalopy

By Jody W. Wood

South Coast Surf Shops’ webmaster, Chris McGreal, is an artist in every since of the word. Not just with graphics and design, but Chris is also part of several original music groups around San Diego, including Superunloader and Transcendental Railroad.

Chris’ creativity wasn’t limited to making music. He’s been doing web design for South Coast for quite a few years now, and his girlfriend Jaime handles order fulfillment and customer support for online sales.

“It has a nice, small business vibe, more like a family business,” Chris said of his gig with South Coast.

The words “family” and “vibe” come to mind listening to Jalopy, yet another project for the multi-instrumentalist. Chris, who plays bass in Superunloader, plays tenor banjo in Jalopy.

Jalopy is made up of seven musicians, whom Chris describes as “strange and inspiring hominids.” Gabe Feenberg plays accordion, Rachael Winn on Violin, Justin Werner on guitar, Nachman on mandolin and lute, Ross Hendler on upright bass, Chad Farran on cajon and flute and Chris on banjo. Everyone helps out with singing, according to Chris.

Gabe, Nachman, and Ross grew up together in LaJolla, and played in several projects over the years. Justin and Rachael performed as a couple, while Chad and Chris made up the rhythm section of several bands around town for a long time. Once they got together, they realized that a few of them had actually split the bill at shows over the years.

Jalopy, in this form, is just over a year old and Chris said that they would really love to get all of their music recorded possibly as soon as the end of summer. “We save all the money from performing as our recording fund, but getting the seven of us together is like herding cats,” said Chris.

Talking about influences, Chris mentions Tom Waits, Nick Drake, and Fishtank Ensemble. Comparing Jalopy to Superunloader, Chris said, “Superunloader is like riding down a country road on a mufflerless hog with a suicide shifter. Jalopy is like riding down the same road on a mule-drawn antique gypsy wagon. Both are totally enjoyable, but in completely different ways.”

Chris also finds some time for surfing when he gets a chance. “I ride all sorts of boards and surf as much as I can. I like longboarding and shortboarding about equally, but of my favorite boards of all time is a 6’4″ Reality Check shaped by Robin Prodanovich.”

Check out Jalopy on and see what you think, or if you live in OB, look for them busking on the sidewalk at the Farmer’s Market. It’s far more alternative than what your local DJ is telling you.