Cal Jam producer dies; Jason Bentley launches a podcast – Orange County Register

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A few weeks back, I asked readers to share their favorite holiday albums and it was so nice to hear from so many of you.

I wanted to share just a couple of responses that readers sent.

Janine actually reminded me of a recent Christmas album I have but hadn’t put on yet this season: “Over the Holidays and Under the Influence” by Butch Walker. Walker fronted the most excellent power pop trio Marvelous 3 and has had a really successful career as a producer, but his solo catalog is also worth checking out.

Anyway, this is the album to put on if you miss the tipsy holiday party with friends because that’s pretty much how this one came together. Also worth a listen, if you can find it: Walker and Taryn Manning’s cover of Tom Petty’s “Christmas All Over Again.”

Janine also recommended Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass’ “Christmas Album.” In a year like this, it’s a much needed dose of instant happiness.

Longtime reader Vince, who I’ve known long before Festival Pass, sent a whole list of some of his favorites. At the top of it is a Rhino Records comp called “The Best of Cool Yule,” which is not a misnomer. It’s long out-of-print, but a kind soul has found most of the songs and put together a Spotify playlist. You’ve got Solomon Burke, Ike & Tina Turner, The Ventures, James Brown and more. Eclectic and cool.

On the news front, the producer of the big Cal Jam festivals in Ontario in the ’70s — which was awesome enough to be revived for an unrelated Foo Fighters-led reboot — has died. Inland Empire columnist David Allen wrote about him and his work. David also wrote about the reissue of an obscure 1975 album from a Riverside musician.

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To jump back into this century, while we don’t know the future of Coachella in 2021 just yet, I’m excited to announce that I’m joining Tom Nash on his “Can’t Feel the Heat” unofficial Coachella podcast as a co-host. This week we’re talking about luxury camping.

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DJ Jason Bentley has teamed up with Soho House and 101 Studios to host a new podcast, “The Backstory.” The weekly conversational series, which debuts on Dec. 15, will feature interviews with industry professionals and include never-before-heard stories that explore the backstories of a variety of actors, authors, comedians, screenwriters, musicians, producers and more. (Photo by Mark Leibowitz)

On the air

You might recognize Jason Bentley from his years at KCRW or maybe you caught him hosting the Coachella livestream on YouTube. Now, he’s launched his new podcast, “The Backstory,” and talked to Kelli Skye Fadroski about what’s in store.

An aerial view of Ontario Motor Speedway on March 18, 1978, when some 300,000 people turned out for the California Jam II rock festival. It set a record for paid concert attendance. (Photo courtesy Ontario City Library)

Large-scale impact

Don Branker was the man behind Cal Jam and Cal Jam II, festivals that attracted hundreds of thousands of people to Ontario. You might recognize it as the festival where an Ozzy-led Black Sabbath played in front of a giant rainbow. Branker died Dec. 3.

Quinn Harris talks about his life as a jazz musician during the 1960’s and 70’s in his home in the Highgrove area near Riverside Monday, Dec. 7, 2020. (Photo by Will Lester, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin/SCNG)

Hometown revival

David Allen has another interesting story this week about Quinn Harris, a Riverside-area musician who recently had his 1975 album “Statements” reissued. It’s a must-read for music fans.

King Khan performs with one of the characters from TV’s “Yo Gabba Gabba” at the 2010 Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, Sunday in Indio. (File photo by Tom Bray/The Press-Enterprise)

Can’t Feel the Heat

I’ve joined the unofficial Coachella podcast, “Can’t Feel the Heat,” as a co-host. This week we’re talking about luxe Safari camping, the time DJ Lance Rock and Yo Gabba Gabba invaded Indio and Coachella-related Christmas music. Spoiler alert: I will defend Sir Paul’s “Wonderful Christmastime” forever. Check it out on Apple podcasts and Spotify.

Taylor Swift  (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP, File)

Year-end tunes

The good people over at Uproxx put together a massive best albums of the year database polling music writers and editors all over. It’s a really fantastic package and I’m not just saying that because they were kind enough to include me. If you’re looking for great music from 2020, here you go.

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Chris Hillman, seen here second left with his band mates in the Byrds in 1965, has just published a memoir, “Time Between,” about his life in music. (Photo by Getty Images)

His back pages

Chris Hillman reflects on his career in the Byrds and the Flying Burrito Brothers and more in his new memoir, “Time Between.” Among the gems inside, Hillman talks about working with Tom Petty. Peter Larsen has more.

The Standing Room in Hermosa Beach, home to massive burgers, live music and other community events in the beach town, is closing its doors due to the economic impact of the coronavirus. (File photo by Melina Pizano)

No Standing Room

The Standing Room in Hermosa Beach, which was a gastropub that also hosted live music, including sets from Descendents and Pennywise, is closing permanently because of the pandemic. Richard Guzman has more.

Leslie Odom Jr. (pictured performing at the tree lighting celebration at The Grove in Los Angeles in 2019) released his second holiday record,” The Christmas Album,” on Nov. 6. (Photo by Tibrina Hobson, Getty Images)

Holidays & Nights 

Time’s running out for our limited-time holiday events newsletter. We’ll send two special editions next week, though. ICYMI, this week we’re talking all about holiday music concerts online and in-person. Read more.

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