Saturday, May 28, 2011


Here we are at LIZFEST 2011! This is the 5th Annual Pop-And-Jazz festival held at the Weedmark's that is sort of an underground Woodstock for San Diego jazz pros. They raise money for performing arts scholarships and music programs around town.

We open with Sophia's version of "Little Lion Man", which is becoming one of our standards, the drummer at the back is Russell - a Grammy-winning pro who jumped right in like he's been practicing this song all week:

Jake gets into it here, the audience loves these two!

Jake's favorite song:

Sophia wants to go to BOSTON!

A Max original - I wrote this with Jake:

And these guys are pretty amazing for being 10 years old!

Here is what happens at night at LizFest; 
the whole place turns into a Greenwich Village style coffee house 
filled with jammin' jazz pros;

Here's a great version of "All Of Me":

See you next time, 
and thanks to
Nathan and Anita Weedmark!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Street Jam 2011

We invited a lot of the Varsity Strings musicians 
for a year-end graduation party Street Jam - in our garage:

It got pretty freaky, we played for 3 1/2 hours and drove the neighbors crazy but we stopped at 9:00pm EXACTLY! Then we watched Pink Floyd's "The Wall" out back on the projector screen...

Jake and Daniella arrive and Alfonso sets up Ben Kling's mini-drum set. He uses a suitcase as a bass drum, it works and you can pack up everything in it too!

Curly MAX!



ALAN's stomp pedals.

Alfonso on drums -

Alfonso ROCKS.

Jake works the mic...



Me, Alan, Ben Kling.

Good Night All You Fans!

A jam session early in the evening -

Thanks for coming! 
And thanks to the Pink Floyd Freaks 
who stayed to the very end!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

LizFest Practice

Sophia came over yesterday to practice a few songs for LIZFEST!

Everybody's invited! See you there!

Monday, May 23, 2011


Every year we're asked by Nathan and Anita Weedmark to perform at LizFest, an all-day private music festival held here in San Diego. A huge list of local professional jazz and pop singers, Grammy winners and recording artists show up to support the Weedmark's charity work, and it's probably the most amazing and laid back cool event we attend all year long.

Victims of Authority opens at 2:00pm
Palomar High School Rock Band 2:30pm
Varsity Strings performing at 3:15pm
All Day Jazz, Various Groups 4:00-10:00pm

Stay as long as you want! 
Free food & drink with donation. 
Everyone is welcome, see you there!

May 28th, 2:00pm - 10:00pm 
4781 Diane Avenue, San Diego 
$20 Suggested Donation
Free Admission to all Musicians! Right On!
All proceeds go to the School of Creative and Performing Arts
and The Music Program 
at the San Diego Center For Children

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Voices for Children Graduation

Voices for Children asked us to be the entertainment at their big high school graduation ceremony for the foster kids they represent. Here's the place, which looks exactly like the Hotel California from the Eagles song, doesn't it?!?!?

It's somebody's HOUSE!

Me by the pool, warming up. I guess it's pretty great living in California.

Some guitar songs first. Sophia look like she's ready.

There's just the two of us this time - they wanted some easy going songs, not a giant rock band.

Sophia knocks them out. People kept telling her how great her voice is, somebody said that they thought someone had left the radio on, but realized that it was live when her voice sounded BETTER than the radio version!

The whole garden is Hawaiian style - there are Tikis everywhere!

They're planting little pineapples all over the place, how cool is that?

The guests, these kids were great!

More guests -

They hand them a State graduation certificate, and a NEW LAPTOP computer! That's our sound system they're using; microphone pluged into a guitar amp. The amp was thrown in with a Strat I bought from a friend for $75.00. So like the whole system cost about $94.00 and it's being used right here by a California State rep and a state judge, and the head of San Diego's largest program for foster children.

Works great.

Here's one of the new computers being powered up:

Good night, cats, and congratulations!

Oh, but first, here is Sophia and me practicing "Hotel California" - cut us some slack cause this is the very first time we've even tried to do the song!

And "Soul Sister" but my dad starts coughing and has to end the video about half way through.

GOOD NIGHT! And a huge thank you 

Friday, May 13, 2011

Del Mar Sunset Soiree

The Del Mar Rotary Club asked us to be the entertainment at their giant annual Sunset Soiree. We said YES. It was held in the rooftop gardens at the Del Mar Plaza. Here's Curly Max, all dressed up and plugged in.

Our view - most of the time we just jammed on our favorites and watched the big waves roll in. I surf over to the top right of the photo, in Solana Beach.

Sophia does the right thing and puts on giant shades for most of the evening. The sun was setting behind us but it was BRIGHT up there for the first part of the show!

She also figured out that she could just put all the lyrics on her iphone and look down once in a while at it to get them right. Beats having papers blowing all over the place.

Sophia... IS A GENIUS!

Megan gets into it...

Isn't this a cool shot??!?!? It looks like a San Francisco Music Festival poster, doesn't it????

The sunset is coming, this is my favorite shot of me and Curly Max. A great way to wind down our senior year, and this was maybe our most fun concert of all time. We CRUSHED it.

The Legendary Megan, with her ultra-cool and rare stand up electric bass.

Free food, music, lots of fans, the girls are really enjoying themselves.

...then the sun goes away!

Sophia keeps on singing, we later found out that we played for almost 3 HOURS!!!

A classic shot!

We dig into the strings...

Megan is at peace.

This is my favorite shot too.

Early in the evening - later on about 3 times this many people showed up. Curly Max and I are jamming.

Check out that TONE!!!! I love the solos!!!!

These cats go strutting. By this time we had a big fan club lined up in front making noise and singing along...

Bye, and thanks again to Val at the Del Mar Rotary Club! 
They raised a huge amount for the Boys and Girls Club, 
the Torrey Pines Interact club
and lots of college scholarships!

Monday, May 9, 2011


Here's the NEXT GIG! 

Top Level of the DEL MAR PLAZA
1555 Camino Del Mar 
Del Mar, California
5:00pm - 8:00pm

Sponsored by the Del Mar Rotary Club

Hey, how cool is this embedded, interactive map?!
Follow the "A" to the location!
Click on the little + and - buttons 
at the map's top left to zoom in:

Take Hwy. 5 to the Del Mar Heights Road exit, west. 
Right on Camino Del Mar. 
Go north to 1555 Camino Del Mar, 
a set of businesses on your right. 
Park in their parking structure.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Three Day Wonder

Max and Jake were asked to do a year-end senior performance, and threw together a group in 3 days. The audience is waiting!
These are all Jake-written songs, and I think they're PRETTY NICE WORK!


Here's their practice, being interrupted by the crazy neighbor lady in her bathrobe at 5:00pm who tells them to park their car somewhere else:

Practice resumed:

And finally, on stage -

... but Jake's microphone doesn't work!

The microphone fnally works:

Lets GO!

Nice songwriting here by Jake -


Friday, May 6, 2011

411GINA Contest

James Morris has been working with for the past year. They are committed to helping in the search for missing persons. This organization has helped bring home more than 500 missing people in the last 10 years through the help of music artists called "GINA Artists."

James helped to design their new video contest, designed to get the message out and raise awareness about specific missing people…it's a volunteer effort, but the viral video contest also has some cool prizes that can be won!

Check out these links -

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Return of the NIKBEATS!

Well, Voices For Children treated us to a free dinner, we played all a big set for them, had lots of fun and made $80 in tips for Fresh Start Surgical Gifts!

It was a pretty good night, if you ask me. And it was....


Here we are getting ready. We didn't know if we should play loud or soft, so we just played LOUD. It was almost impossible to turn the music down anyway, we were in one corner of a flat-walled conference room that made it like a giant megaphone:

Megan on the electric double bass, C.M. on drums!

Sophia sings!

Curly Max plays the Strat!

Max watches for evildoers!

Megan looks so incredibly excited. Maybe she's thinking about tomorrow's AP exams....

The NikBeats, making a mess but having fun doing it!

Part of the crowd -

Max & Max do a guitar intro -

Then Sophia lets loose with Stray Cat Strut, and the minute she started singing people started tipping! It was amazing, she filled up the Tip Jar faster than I've ever seen, it was like somebody unplugged a Niagara Falls of $1 bills! (We even got some $20's, thanks!)

And a ripping-quick version of Little Lion Man. This is one of Sophia's favorite songs, she knows all the words and we learned to play it for the first time last week:

Thank you, Susan at Voices For Children!