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7 Days of Soundsmas in San Diego – Day 7 featuring Sandy Myskowski, Rick Ostop & Jen Van Tieghem

In honor of the holiday season I posed a question to some of my favorite musicians, writers, and fans in the San Diego music scene:

What gift would you like to give to which San Diego musician, or band, and why?

The 7 days of Soundsmas in San Diego ends today (click here for past days). Be sure to leave your own gift ideas in the comments below for a chance to win a super special Sounds in San Diego prize.

Thank you to everyone who participated- it’s been a real joy to read these from the hilarity to the heartwarming, y’all brought your A game. I hope everyone enjoyed the ride, discovered some music, and, at very least, saw the party Delorean courtesy of Cody Thompson.

Happy holidays to all my readers- may your year’s end be filled with love, laughter, and music.  ♥


Sandy Myskowski

Super SD Music Fan

Believe it or not, San Diego’s a tough town. Though the sun is always shining, the physiques are lean and tan, and if one spits in any direction they find a 24/7 party and an open house of happy hotties-  seemingly there’s never a need to worry or care. San Diego is, as a friend described, just like Never Never Land. But for struggling souls venturing through harsh realities of hard times & broken dreams, music offers solace and a poignant place where one is never alone. And fortunately, San Diego’s music scene is as vast as its hot sand and cold Pacific, offering a space to dance within exposed skin scented by sunscreen.

In San Diego’s dark dive bars, hours after the sun has set, music fans gather to drown in craft beer & escape more than daylight’s vapid cheer. There, local musicians ignite our hearts, not only through their melodies, but also their passionate harmony. With an art they cherish and unrelenting determination they keep singing within this simultaneously supportive and critical community. Having nothing to share with this diverse group, but feelings of love lost, tenuous attachment to dreams, and a passion for a powerful synchronicity between guitar, bass & drum, I wish I had something to reciprocate all they have done for me from their heightened presence on humble stages.

My list could be long, but for the sake of space, I will gift to two men, who not only inspire me through their music, but also through their hard work, perseverance, and exemplary spirit and compassion. Artists who speak so acutely I can hear my own heart.

For Jake Najor, a big man with a heart as grand, he deserves a following as strong and steady as his rhythmic drum beats. Jake plays with so many bands, it’s difficult to choose just one; I want them all to succeed. But in our shared love for metal and Iron Maiden, I wish to gift Lord Howler an opening act with that classic metal rock band. As the witty Ed Kornhauser has said, “there can never be enough harmonized guitar,” and this heavy crew could mesmerize a crowd of Maiden fans as well as an old metal legend can.

To Jesse LaMonaca, I wouldn’t gift a nursing degree, because there is no greater feeling than earning that through one’s own hard work. But to keep his sweet soul singing him along, I’d gift his band, Jesse LaMonaca and the Dime Novels, an opening act with Ryan Adams. A chance for Jesse to meet an artist who inspires him, and an opportunity to inspire Ryan Adams’ fans as much as he speaks to San Diegans.

Jesse will be an amazing medical care giver, and his patients will be even more lucky than those of us who get to hear him sing so often. But the world should know his voice, his hard work, and his his hopeful heart in his lyrics that’ll insight you to dance through your tears.

To every other San Diego artist, and every other San Diegan, Happy Hoildays. Keep your head up in our bright tempereate climate. And go out, get some nourishing sun, and visit a dark stage to support our rich artistic community.


Rick Ostop

Music writer/site runner at SD Rock ‘n’ Roll


If I could, I would give San Diego musicians back the closed music venues 4th&B, Anthology, Tiki House, and Calypso. I’d also like to give them a side stage every year at Coachella that would rotate San Diego and Los Angeles bands. I would give them air play every hour, making it mandatory that every radio station broadcasting San Diego music play one song by a local artist every hour. I would give them an in- door reserved seating San Diego music awards, with a pre-party and after party so everyone can hang and drink but also be seated and be able to hear and acknowledge and respect the announcement of nominees and winners. I would position someone once a month outside Starbucks and persuade/pressure/guilt patrons into buying a CD from a local musician instead of spending $10 bucks on a carmel pumpkin winter spice whatever coffee drink. I would give every band/ musician payment for every show played, no play-for-free even though you need the exposure. I would give them double the audience every time they play. I would make it mandatory that every time a major national touring act comes to town a local band will open the show. I saw the Balboa Theater do it with The Creepy Creeps opening for Robert Plant and Nena Anderson opened for Greg Allman,  I think it’s a great way to pass the torch.


Jen Van Tieghem

Music writer/site runner at this here site, wine columnist for San Diego CityBeat, and music writer for various local papers

12 Days of SoundsmasSISD

For Will Lerner (Shake Before Us): a Jack-in-the-Box style clown head speaker to use as a microphone. I love seeing Will belt tunes through a telephone receiver but it’s time to up the mic game. Other options include: a Speak ‘n’ Spell and old school walkie-talkie.

For Old Tiger: to have their debut album, Love Have Mercy, pressed on vinyl. The album is one of my very favorites and I’m not the only one since it took home the honor of Best Pop Album at this year’s SDMAs. The songs range from upbeat toe-tappers to gentle ballads. This superb mixture of beautifully arranged songs could only get better played on a turntable… Plus OT’s singer, Dustin Lothspeich (aka #badguy), is a total vinyl nut so I think he’d dig it.

For Al Howard (The Heavy Guilt): a tattoo of a steak. I forget why but he asked for this once and I’d like to see that come to fruition. Also, I’d secretly pay the inker to hide my initials in Al’s t-bone tramp stamp.

For Nena Anderson the love of a lifetime. For all I know she’s already got a good man but if not I’d find the perfect man to sweep her off her feet- he would swoon at her exquisite strumming and singing, he’d carry her guitar case and amp into every show, and he would serve her a perfect whiskey pour each night before bed. With all this glorious adoration she’d write another amazing Americana album about the lovely lighter side of love- a sort of counter balance to Beyond the Lights which is achingly gorgeous. And, of course, it would win a Grammy and catapult her into worldly fame.

And for all San Diego music fans: a (mostly) local music festival sponsored by a local brewery and local winery with all ticket sale proceeds going to San Diego Music Foundation and Sweet Relief Musicians Fund. The lineup would include all the aforementioned bands, of course, along with San Diego’s own: John Meeks, Ed Ghost Tucker, Brothers Weiss, Oh, Spirit, Social Club, The Burning of Rome (my mom’s favorite local band), Chess Wars, Get Back LorettaBoy King (my dad’s favorite local band), The Midnight PineDead Feather MoonThe Paragraphsand more, plus out-of-town favorites including The Steelwells, Strange Vine, Rusty Maples, Owl Paws, and Little Red Lung. The event would have an art component to showcase great photographic and visual arts from folks all over San Diego. And amidst all the magical energy someone would inevitably knock someone up and the child conceived at the Inaugural Sounds in San Diego Fest would be named after me. ♥


For more interviews, song obsessions, and musical musings with Sounds in San Diego follow along on Facebook or get tweety with us on Twitter.


About Jen Van Tieghem

There aren’t many things I love more than music. While life spins away at a rapid beat I’ve realized it’s important to spend it doing what I love – enjoying music in San Diego. I have a handful of favorite venues, a heart full of favorite bands, and decided to write about it.

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