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Music I-P

Street performers

Music named for or inspired by Venice

What music says Venice to you

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






















Music Q-Z

Information on these Venice-related musicians is to the best of my admittedly incomplete knowledge. Corrections of fact are gratefully accepted. For musicians who actually lived in Venice, more information on dates and locations is welcome.

Wulf Zendik and the Ecolibrium Survival troupe

Race Thru the Clouds - In the early amusement park days, this roller coaster attraction employed jazz bands and Hawaiian singers to attract customers.

Red Crayola "experimental" band, friends of John Fahey, appeared at the Angry Arts Festival at the Venice Pavilion in 1967. Mitch Myers calls them "classic avant-gardists who used conventional rock instrumentation as a potent musical weapon"

Red Elvises - came from Russia to inhabit Venice and write such songs as "Boogie on the Beach" in homage to their new home. Their 2004 album Lunatics and Poets includes the song "Venice USA." Band member Oleg Bernov says about playing on the boardwalk, "If you're bad, no one cares. If you're good, you get immediate feedback. Besides, this is a great place for street performers. It's illegal to rain here." Geoff Carter says the band makes "Slavic-folk-flavored surf-rock that's so instantly addictive, you'll swear it's always been a genre unto itself." The Red Elvises are in the indie film Six-String Samurai.

George Redman - his band played at the Cabrillo Ship Café in the ‘20s.

Jennifer Reif - dulcimer, vocals

"retarded midget" (name unknown) spare change busker at the beach, named on somebody’s website as one of the top 5 rappers ever

Rhythm Child - percussion ensemble led by Norm Jones that interacts with kids in the audience and lets them participate in making music.

Robert Rich - His album Humidity comes from three live performances in 1998, one of them in Venice. This 47 minute section is described as misty, ethereal, mysterious, mournful.

Joy Rippel - bluesmama

Steve Roach- virtually created the techno-tribal genre, combining synthesizers with primitive instruments such as didgeridoo. His Timeroom studio existed in Venice until 1989, and "Destination Horizon" was the last piece created there.

Gil Rodin - sax player 1920s

Henry Rollins of Black Flag and the Rollins Band lived in Venice in the later 80s and early 90s, one or two doors off Lincoln where the pet shop is, until his room mate, Joe Cole, was shot dead in their driveway upon returning from the market one eve. (information from Chuck Dukowski)

Linda Ronstadt - lived in Venice for a time in 1970s, picture of her house on front of Stone Poneys Vol. III

Leon Rubenhold– singer/songwriter, guitar "The Outlaw Blues Band" from age 17 to 21 at height of Peace and Love era., went on to work with many of the blues masters

Adam Rudolph - his GO: Organic Orchestra is semi-improvisational

Tupper Saussy - pianist, songwriter, lived on Carroll Canal between 1995 and 1997. Recorded two original jazz piano albums in early 60s. Co-founder of Neon Philharmonic, which won two Grammy nominations

David Scott - wrote "Moon Over Venice"

Lisbeth Scott singer/songwriter/instrumentalist - Started as a classically trained pianist. Film credits include The Scorpion King, Shrek, Spy Game, Sixth Sense and Legend of Sleepy Hollow

Scoundrelz - Venice band of skater Tony Alva, they’re in the movie Thrashin’

Severance - Gregory Hines was in this band

Kevin Shields - of My Bloody Valentine - reportedly, lived on Abbot Kinney Blvd.

Single Wing Turquoise Bird - light show production troupe active in the late 60s and early 70s, headquartered above the Fox Venice Theatre. Client list included the Chambers Brothers, Velvet Underground, the Grateful Dead, Big Brother and the Holding Company, the Steve Miller Band, Taj Mahal, Dr. John, Traffic, and Quicksilver Messenger Service.

Sixth Chamber - hard rock, psychedelic

Skatemaster Tate - hip-hop artist, Porno for Pyros


Slavin' David - street performer, member of Canaligators, spent most of his life playing guitar in Venice

Keith Snyder - keyboards, world beat band Kadara. First solo album: Perseids

Soccermom - quartet

Reid Speed - shejay

Jimmy Spheeris

Peter de Stefano

Baron Stewart - When Dennis Wilson died, told reporter about accompanying Wilson to a chiropractor where a kid in the waiting room was talking about wanting a bike but his parents were poor, so Wilson bought him one.

Street Smarts on Venice Carnevale 2004 live album

Strawberry Alarm Clock - played a concert on Venice Beach in 1967 or 68

John P. Strohm of Blake Babies writes in his blog about visiting Henry Rollins at his Venice home early in 1990 and hearing lots of unfamiliar music including Charlie Manson’s demo tape

Suicidal Tendencies skatecore/punk/thrash metal band familiarly called ST. Formed in 1982 in either the Pagoda house or Motor Manor, which may be the same place. Mike Muir: "We’d practice in the kitchen….We used to have rent parties every month in the backyard. …then one time we decided we would play at the party. We played at a couple of those parties and they got so big that we went and started renting out halls….We got voted ‘worst band’ and ‘biggest assholes’ in Flipside." Albums include Welcome to Venice, Return to Venice

Sutekh aka Seth Joshua Horvitz - electronic music, beach performer

Tamboo - former Marine who was one of the first Drum Circle stalwarts, back in the early '60s

Tameless - Members of this group originally came from Denmark and were deeply affected by the sight of a Venice boardwalk performer whose act consisted of piling up cardboard boxes then running to soar over them. The young man’s determination to overcome his homeless condition by taking action, using the materials at hand, probably had something to do with it. In fact this vignette could have many metaphorical meanings for the artist.

Jesse Taylor - guitarist since age 12. In 1966 hopped a freight train from Texas at 16 to Venice Beach

Sam Taylor - blues guitar, lived in Venice then, as he told an interviewer, moved on to Tuscon to escape the drug scene. Michael Ventura writes of hearing Sam Taylor at Venice's old Taurus Tavern. "The Bluzman" This note is from November 2006: "Venice is such a part of my life I would love to play there again while I still have on my rockin' shoes." Sam Taylor bluzmansam (at) aol.com

Thomas Tedesco - jazz guitarist and teacher, stayed in Venice in the mid 60’s and lived in Venice from ‘69 to ‘86; 50 Breeze, 30 Wavecrest and 2500 Pacific Ave. Performed at The Azz Izz; The Comeback Inn; Beyond Baroque; The Driftwood; The Gondolier; Fox Venice; SPARK; Venice Pavilion; Hop Sings; Mr. Jones Pub & Cocktail lounge. While there, composed the music for "Ocean" and some of the music for his second release "Don’t Ever Be Afraid To Be Ascared". (Not the same person as guitarist Tom Tedesco who came from Niagara Falls, NY)

Mike Tempo - his Venice garage is home of the Bonedaddys, a group which has existed with various lineups since 1984. They were one of the first "world beat" bands. "Lovingly handcrafted hot and sweet sweat-inducing music aimed at the lower charkas and suitable for all of your party needs."

Daniel Glen Timms

Mick Toto - boardwalk performer for many years


Tom Troccoli - guitar; SST Records; Radio Tokyo; played at the Taurus Tavern

John Trudell - musician, poet, Vietnam vet, actor, Alcatraz Island protestor, spokesperson for the American Indian Movement, chair of AIM from 1973-79. In 1986 his Grafitti Man, recorded with Jesse Ed Davis, was called best album of the year by Bob Dylan. One writer mentions Trudell’s Venice Beach rock lyrics, but I haven’t been able to find examples. Anyone reading this who know more is welcome to send information.

Uncle Bill

Uncle Slam - crossover thrash band

Underwater Traffic (aka Profusion) Not local, but in the early 80s were longtime regulars booked weekly at the Comeback Inn

Lee Underwood - was Tim Buckley’s lead guitarist, later producer of electronic music festival

Stefani Valadez - of Stefani Valadez Ensemble

Venice - This band’s members are mainly related to the famous Lennon Sisters who graced the Lawrence Welk show many years ago. They are said to really shine in live performance situations. In 1993, BAM Magazine named the LA's Best Undiscovered Band

Venice Beach Boys - can be heard on the sound track of White Men Can’t Jump

Venice Children’s Chorus sang "Hail Columbia" and "Battle Hymn of the Republic" on opening day in 1905

Venice Four - gospel, on soundtrack of Ladykillers

Venice-of-America Band - played at the Pavilion in the 1920s

Venice Shoreline Chris - the name that ska/reggae musician Chris Murray was formerly known by. After either having or not having (depending on which source you believe) some type of encounter with members of the Venice Shoreline Crips gang, he retired the name.

Tom Waits - alumnus of Beyond Baroque Wednesday night poetry workshops. Opened for Bonnie Raitt at the Fox Venice 1974(?)

Lance Wakely - guitar, originally from Chicago, now a busker in Europe with occasional US visits

Dusty Wakeman - bass player, owner of Mad Dog Studios which was in Venice for 16 years

Rick Walker - fictional detective/musician, a creation of G. E. Nordell. "He formed what became the house band of the Sunset Ballroom in Venice… His success in music allowed him to let his P.I. license lapse."

Mike Watt - punk bass player, picked up some inspiration in Venice: "I saw Richard Hell do a poetry reading….It was intense and personal and out there. It was then that I made up my mind to do another tour."

Dan Weinstein - member of Groove Merchants of Venice, played trombone and violin, lived on Brooks near 4th

Patrick White - accordion

Peter White - guitarist, bandleader

Jessica Will - Pop, rock, funk, jazz. Pianist since age 11; songwriter; guitarist. Born and raised in Venice. Formed the bands Betty Moore, the Jessica Will Band

Suzy Williams - singer, writer, activist

Victoria Williams - country-folk singer, guitarist, songwriter, Venice Beach performer. Member of the Incredibly Strung Out Band; subject of documentary film by D. A. Pennebaker. In 1993, friends recorded Sweet Relief: A Benefit for Victoria Williams to help with her medical costs due to multiple sclerosis. Williams went on to become a fixture of the music scene in another focal point of California talent, Joshua Tree.

Cris Williamson - a feminist singer, stayed with friend in Venice when touring in the 80s.

Alan Wilson - Canned Heat co-founder, played guitar, piano, harmonica. Suicide by overdose in 1970

Dennis Wilson - Beach Boys drummer; Charlie Manson housemate; automotive arsonist. Prone to marrying early and often, also prone to putting hand through walls and windows in fits of temper. Moved to Venice in 1977, (canal district?) stayed a year or more. Moved back to Venice (Wavecrest Ave.) with Shawn Love in 1982. Also lived on his boat in Venice waters in early 1980s. Worked on music projects in the Venice homes of Garby Leon and soundman Tom Murphy. Spent his last days drunk in Venice, well known in local bars for his rowdiness. Would turn up drunk or wasted at former homes, thinking he still lived there, or just wanting somebody to talk to. Drowned in Marina del Rey 1983

David Winogrond - Skooshny drummer, lived on Rialto 1975

George Winston -"I kept my rebuilt vintage upright piano at the Fox Venice for use in our smaller concerts throughout the 70's. Often in between shows it would remain near the stage in the front of the auditorium. Every once in a while a fellow would attend the theatre and at intermission start playing the piano. We did not turn on the intermission music because he was so good. He played much like George Winston and kept the audience enthralled until time for the next movie. I never met Winston and didn't know what he looked like but later I wondered if this fellow knew him - or perhaps ....??" (contributed by Rol Murrow)

Rachael Yamagata

Yanni used to play at Venice Beach before his career took off.

Martin Yarborough - Brooks Avenue

David Young - guitar, recorder. This man can claim Paul McCartney as a serious fan. About performing on the boardwalk, Young told an interviewer, "It’s an opportunity to hone your act in front of a sometimes brutal audience- the public- and you have to be totally aware of what is working and what is not, or else you may not eat that day. Now that’s survival!"
After arriving in California in 1990, Young met a woman harpist who was collecting up to $200 a day at Venice Beach. He teamed up with her, and specialized in playing two recorders at one time. They wore white, so people would know they were "harmless, peaceful, and approachable, because if we weren’t, they’d be too afraid to buy anything from us." It worked: over time they sold 100,000 "Celestial Winds" units (not all at Venice Beach, they also toured the world). His Renaissance fashion statement inspired an episode of Seinfeld that involved a white puffy shirt.

Josh Young - singer, songwriter, guitarist - played in the band Electra Flo, Carbonbabies. Worked on Capitol, Geffen and A&M recordings as a session guitarist. Composes for film and television.

"King" Sonny Zarro – blues, folk. Arrived in 1969 homeless, lived outside and carried possessions aroung Venice in shopping cart for about 35 years.

Zendik - commune members used to visit the beach, among many other places, to play music and bring to the urban dwellers the news of another kind of life. (A poem by a Zendik man named Nom, about vending their zine on the boardwalk, is here.)

Warren Zevon - wrote of receiving inspiration over a pot roast dinner "I was at LeRoy Marinell’s house in Venice, California….. I asked him why no one let me play lead guitar with them. He said, "You get good ideas, Warren, but then you get too excited." I said, 'I’m just an excitable boy.'"

Roy Zimmerman - satirist, parodist, often compared to Tom Lehrer

The Zoo People - rock, jazz, blues, jam - moved to Venice in 1992 and put out their first album in 1994. Reminiscent of the Allman Brothers or Steely Dan, they have appeared at the Baja Cantina and other local venues.

King Sonny Zorro homeless singer-songwriter "He lived for his art and music on Venice Beach - gone but not forgotten.."


© 2004 - 2012 Pat Hartman
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