Love it when it rains

How can you not love it when it rains – if it’s this beautiful? I was in San Bernardino and it was nearly sunset and the light was just magical. It had been raining all day, off and on, more off than on, but then some big lazy drops began to fall, and I saw this tree…

Moving to Riverside

Big news! I’m getting ready to move to Riverside and I’m really excited about it.

I’ve lived in San Diego for almost my entire life – I was born here! But I did spend six months once in a cute little apartment on the top floor of an old Victorian in downtown Riverside. I’m a huge fan of 100-year-old houses so Riverside is nirvana for me. In 1885 the area had the highest per-capita income in the United States, because of the orange groves, and the residents put their money into their houses – and thankfully a lot of those Victorians and Craftsmen homes still exist. Plus there are smaller cottages from the twenties and thirties on the same streets. My favorite area is directly west of the Mission Inn. The realtors tend to prefer the Wood Streets area, which is just a few blocks south, and it’s a very nice area – and it does have old houses – but that neighborhood feels a little “newer” to me, and with me, the older the better!

So with the move looming, I’ve been doing a lot of commuting. The last two weeks I’ve split my time between my current home, and hotels, and my mother’s house, since she lives closer to Riverside than I currently do. Just a few more weeks to go, and then I’ll be settled in Riverside and ready to get to work. I’m looking forward to it!

The Train to Riverside

I love trains – usually… but not today. There was evidently an accident somewhere up north, so one train was out of commission, and it just happened to be the train I needed to be on to complete my trip and get from Santa Ana to Riverside. And it gets better! It was also very very cold, and there were high winds, and the next train was late, and it was after sunset. Fun.

By the time I got to Riverside I was so frozen, it took hours to warm up – seriously. Remind me never to leave my jacket at home just because it’s sunny when I leave – if I’m taking a train – cause there just might be a delay.

But I got some cool images, so it wasn’t all bad. And I’ll do it again. I like trains too much to let one bad night sway me…

More Love, More Lovehammers

Wanna step back in time? Check out this photo essay shot earlier this year while Marty Casey and Lovehammers were on tour with INXS. These photos have never been seen before – consider them a holiday gift for hungry Lovehammer fans!

View the rest of the photo session…

Or read my interview with the Lovehammers, from March, 2006.


Photo: Cheryl Spelts

My nephew Nathan, wishing he could go down to Constant Creek…

Hot New Band! Quietdrive!

I got to shoot a really hot new band last night! Quietdrive has a CD out on Epic Records that was produced by Butch Walker – big big deal producer! Their two most popular singles have been downloaded on MySpace a combined 400,000 times. And they’re super cute and young – so much fun to shoot. Oh, and I LOVE their music. Their CD has not left my CD player since I got it!

I shot them for ROCKBAND.COM and you can see the rest of the images there, but here’s a little taste…

To see the rest of the images, go to:

Ryan Star at the House of Blues in San Diego

The best thing about last night? Ryan’s voice after about the third song. Before that point it was the same voice I heard on Rock Star – but a few songs in, he got looser and fuller and the way he played with the tempo felt less studied and more inspired. We got to see a lot of him this summer, but it was all one song at a time – there’s just something about seeing a full set – the minutes just add up to something entirely different – and great!

So Ryan comes out and the start is fairly low key, and he does the first three or so songs with the keys, then he gets his guitar and that’s when the show got good as far as I’m concerned. I think it’s great how Ryan can fill the stage all by himself, and create a sound that *sounds* bigger than just one guy onstage with one instrument – but if it is only one instrument I’m always going to prefer guitar to keyboards! But my big wish would be to see him with a full band – one of his friends kept pimping the big show in NYC – the homecoming show – and if there’s going to be a full band there it might be worth flying for!

There were times when Ryan would use his feet to pound the floor – an improvised drum! I loved that! Another time he forgot he was tethered to the mic stand and he came out in front and then had to sing doubly loud to make up for it – but he went for it!

As for the songs – I loved them. He played a new song “11:59” and the lyrics go over familiar ground – but Ryan’s spin on a familiar theme is so devoid of cliché, you really believe him. I think he’s gifted lyrically – but it’s the music itself that really gets me. (But I want to hear it with a full band… I know, be happy with what you get, but I really really want to hear it with a full band!)

After the show we went to Stingaree, a nightclub a few blocks away from the HOB – one of Ryan’s friends was a regular on ROCKBAND.COM during Rock Star, and so invited us to join them. It’s an interesting club with a great rooftop bar, but unfortunately it was raining hard, we didn’t spend much time up there – but I would like to go back on a clear night!

Ryan Star backstage at Rock Star: Supernova // Photo: Cheryl SpeltsAt one point I made a comment to Ryan about “shooting him” the next time he’s in San Diego or Southern California, and he nodded affirmatively, then he leaned in and half-whispered, “Don’t you mean shoe me?” – which make me laugh. It’s a running joke on ROCKBAND.COM that Ryan has big feet, and well, you know what that means. It totally cracked me up that he not only knew all about it, but he was also okay with it and saw the humor in it. ‘Cause every reference is always made with much affection, I’m sure!

For more reviews of Ryan Star in San Diego, go to:
Or go to the ROCKBAND.COM Ryan Star Lounge!

Juke Kartel at the Viper Room, Hollywood

I thought I *got* Toby Rand. He’s cute, he’s fun, he’s wholesome, he’s young, he’s talented. Yeah Toby! And I did love him on the Rock Star: Supernova.

But last night? Whoa! I saw Toby with his band – Juke Kartel – and they were phenomenal. You can’t help but be turned on when you watch them onstage – all of them. They just burn up the stage. It was amazing.

Toby is a monster. He just slayed the women around me. He has so much talent he never got to show on the TV show. His voice – well I always loved it – but it’s better than I knew.

Tommy, the bass player really knows how to play – and how to hold a bass guitar. I loved it when TLee talked about low-slung guitars on Rock Star because it’s a huge deal with me! It’s gotta be low, or it’s just not sexy. And can Tommy play? It was active and vital playing – hard to explain, but he makes the band in some ways. He’s great! And he’s fun. And he’s fun in the way he interacts with Toby and Todd.

Todd is so cute – I love the hair. And I loved the way his guitar sounded. Talk about fullness…

Dale played a guitar solo – so he’s okay in my book! I was mere inches from his fingers. He could do no wrong after that.

I couldn’t see Eddie, the drummer much during the set, but I got to talk to him after the show, and he’s very very cute. He was completely baffled by my friends – but he was very patient with them. How can you not love that? He also told us about how he gets his hair to look that way – it’s a combination of wax and hairspray.

Oh, and one of the best parts? When Dale and Tommy sang backup on a slower song. It was beautiful.

The photo to the right was taken by a friend – it’s me and Tommy after the show, in the downstairs bar. It was a fun night!

For more reviews on Juke Kartel, go to:
Or go to the ROCKBAND.COM Juke Kartel Lounge!