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Music A-H

Music I-P

Music Q-Z

Street performers

Music named for or
inspired by
Venice

Francisco and His Cosmic Beam

Francisco Lupica interview

Ted Hawkins

The Rhythm of Venice Beach

Studios, Labels, Venues

Oingo Boingo

Wild Blooms

Harry Partch

Alan Catlin's
Harry Partch poems

Slavin' David

Rickie Lee Jones

 

 

What music says "Venice" to me?

I had a huge family - parents and so many older siblings and the music they all listened to is part of my memories of Venice. We lived on the Venice canals when the Beatles played on Ed Sullivan and remember watching them with all my family, and we caught the whole British Invasion. But I was exposed to a lot of different styles that still remind me of Venice. Mom's Eddy Albert ("You Don't Know Me"), Dad's Johnny Cash ("Ring of Fire"), Linda and her soul music ("I'm Your Puppet," "Oogum Boogum") - which I would much later in life come to love - Teresa and her Ravi Shankar, Joni Mitchell, and Judy Collins, Pam's Gene Pitney ("Town Without Pity") and John Sebastian, Kathy and her Janis Joplin, Big Brother, Jethro Tull, The Cream, The Doors, and Kris Kristofferson. My own peer group listened to the Supremes ("Baby Love") and a song named "Lady Godiva" was a big hit, as were Sonny & Cher (in her big bellbottom days), Paul Revere & the Raiders, Herman's Hermits, The Box Tops, and I think one of our teen heartthrobs Sajid Khan had a bubblegum hit we loved. By the time we got to junior high it was Woodstock, and Helen Reddy "(I am Woman"). My most poignant memory related to songs, however, is walking barefoot down Lincoln Blvd. one early evening, when all the lights were starting to come on and town was starting to look magical, with my ever present humungous portable radio listening to a song that contained the lyric "…life is like a neon rainbow…" as Venice was.
- Carol Biddulph Dickinson

The ultimate Venice song, IMO, is Iggy Pop's "Kill City", written while he was living in Ocean Park after the breakup of the Stooges and could see the ruins of POP right out his window: "I'm living in Kill City where the debris meets the sea, it's a playground for the rich but it's a loaded gun to me." The music that most conjures up Venice at night for me would be the instrumental tracks on David Bowie's "Low" album. Bowie never lived in Venice, but "Warszawa" and "Art Decade" perfectly capture the mood of Venice when the sun goes down: quiet but threatening, cool and sinister, with an ever pervasive air of darkness and danger lurking about. Venice is a noir town, and Bowie and Eno perfectly captured the subtle menace that is synonomous with noir to me. - Michael Snider

Evoking mental imagery of bathing in the sun on a Venice Beach walkway, complete with rollerskating long-legged beauties and trimmed pink poodles, Brother Firetribe's smooth hard rock.
- author unknown

Harpers Bizarre The Secret Life Of - The romantic, fanciful numbers, including several standards, are strung together around old-timey radio play interludes, resulting in a gesamptkunstwerk of sonic sunshine. This sounds like I remember Venice feeling in 1969. - Kim Cooper, Scram magazine

Chuck Mangione's album Feels So Good. I don't know why - there's no tangible connection. As far as I know he's not a Venice musician and may never have set foot in the place. It's just an emotional thing. For me, "Maui Waui" captures the feeling of skating beside the ocean at eight in the morning on a gorgeous day. - Pat Hartman

Although the Doors and X are probably the two greatest bands to arise out of Venice, Double Nickels on the Dime by the Minutemen is the essential piece of Venice music to me. Although the Minutemen were from San Pedro, a harbor town to the south, Double Nickels on the Dime, a wonderful double-LP set, released by SST, was recorded in Venice by Ethan James at his studio, Radio Tokyo, for less than two thousand dollars. Jeff Fairbanks, Mary Rogers, Chris Clarke and I recorded an EP, Quiet Sleep, with our post cowpunk band, Western Skies, produced by Greg Davis, in 1986 at Radio Tokyo. Ethan James used to be known as Ralph Burns Kellogg and was the keyboard player in Blue Cheer. The Minutemen specialized in short songs that had a big impact on me. One of the highlights of my Southern California musical career was sharing the bill with them at a great little club in Huntington Beach, Safari Sam¹s. Sam Lanni had a interesting booking policy that placed art over commerce. After this great hang-out was shut down by the Powers That Be in Huntington Beach there was a big gap in entertainment available in Orange County residents. Sam is opening a place in Hollywood, where hopefully there will be less hassle for him. The Minutemen were my favorite southern California punk band; X were my second. As Watt puts it,"I live in pedro. I work the thud staff. I jam econo." 'Truer words have never been spoken. -- Bill Jacobson

When I think of 'Venice Music,' I think of an anything goes attitude, along with heart and soul. I carried that with me through every band I have ever been in.
Tom Troccoli

What piece of music most expresses the spirit of Venice Beach to you, personally?

Reply here.

Thelonious Monk reminds me of Venice .. poetry readings and the feel of walking the breezeway under the moon...
- Shanna Baldwin-Moore

I can't listen to SuperTramps Breakfast in America album without being transported back to those times.
- Pamela Shipman

Favorate music with direct Venice roots are... The Doors, Suicidal Tendencies, Jane's Addiction. I'd say the quintessential song with the "Venice vibe" is the Doors "People Are Strange". It sounds like being on the boardwalk with the POP or Santa Monica Pier Merry Go Round organ...the Pagodas and the old Trams...all right there in that one song.
- Kurt Max

For better or worse the Doors probably own the strongest Venice musical identity for me. (Let's get Jack Daniels to put up a shrine statue for us somewhere on the pavilion. It can be sort of Statue of Liberty-esque, where we could charge tourists to climb up to look outta Jim's eyes or whiskey bottle.) - Chuck Dukowski

Mural by Rip Cronk, 1991, of Jim Morrison on the side of a building, title Morning Shot

Morning Shot by Rip Cronk 1991

(In a review of the movie Blast from the Past) Some of the most momentous songs are "I See The Sun" by the smoky-voiced Tommy Henriksen, whose song acts as great background music for Venice Beach, California. - Cinemagirl

 

© 2004 - 2012 Pat Hartman
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