Music named for or inspired by Venice
What music says Venice to you
Francisco and His Cosmic Beam
Francisco Lupica interview
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.
A Band Called Sam - Sam Taylor's group. Reminiscence from Mike Tempo: "At the Taurus Tavern, Slavin' Dave would stand on the bar and use a flashlight as a spotlight for the performers on stage."
Abbot Kinney Lighthouse Choir - gospel, on soundtrack of movie Ladykillers
Aeon - member of Frankenfish
Art Alexakis - leader of the band Everclear, gave a Venice address when filing for bankruptcy in 2005.
Scott Alexander - originally from New Orleans
Alice Cooper - in earlier incarnation as the Nazz, lived in Venice and were house band at the Cheetah on Lick Pier. Known as the Worst Band in the World
Don Allen - drummer with Groove Merchants of Venice, lived on Superba Court
Wayne Allen - piano, Ben Pollocks Californians
Angels of Venice - Chamber ensemble, used to play at the beach. The principal composer and arranger is Carol Tatum, who plays Celtic harp, mandolin, Irish bouzouki, and hammered dulcimer
Fiona Apple - comes from a family of artists of every kind. Her dad has lived in Venice since the 80s, and Apple visited during the summers before moving here herself. A three-song demo recorded at a local studio in 1995 launched her career. Legend has it that a single tape was passed through a chain of three other people before ending up in the hands of the right person at a record company.
Arco Iris - progressive jazz. Regulars at the Comeback Inn in 1980s. Their instruments include the quena, the charango, the bombo lequero, and rams' horns, along with sax, flute, guitar, drums and voices. They made 13 albums in Argentina. The statuesque blond lead vocalist and "spiritual guide for the group" is the "daughter of a Russian who studied under Tibetan monks." In their homeland they belong to a spiritual brotherhood and extended family which they started.
Arends Venice Band played for the opening festivities at the birth of Venice in 1905
Nick Ariondo - accordionist
Mathias Aspelin - jazz pianist from Scandinavia
Harry Baisden (aka Harry Bastin) - leader of the Venice Ballroom house band 1922-24
Adriana Balic - vocals, keyboards, toured with the band Pink
Michele Bass (DJ Tree) - briefly lived in Venice, where she "entered into the world of late night underground electronic music"
Perla Batalla grew up in Venice where her parents had a record store. Sang backup for Leonard Cohen and k.d. lang.
Larry Beckett - Tim Buckleys songwriting partner
Stanley Behrens - vocals, harmonica, flute, saxophone. Late addition to the ever-shifting lineup of Canned Heat
Phil Bell - described somewhere as longtime Venice musician, no other information can be found
Peter Bennett - singer, songwriter and busker. Plays classical, folk and popular music on the glass harp, a group of stemmed goblets which are tuned with distilled water. The rims of the glasses are rubbed with wet fingers. Mozart and Beethoven actually wrote compositions for the glass harp, and the notorious Dr. Mesmer used it to hypnotize people. Before becoming a street musician, Bennett spent many years as a well-paid computer consultant, industrial manager, government bureaucrat, technical writer, teacher, and journalist.
Beowulf - skate, hardcore, punk
Claude Bessy aka Kickboy Face - "the Voice of Beautiful Rage!" founded Slash and Angeleno Dread magazines, lived at corner of Thornton and Pacific.
Bhavatarini, Nrhari, and Aha - wrote music and lyrics for Great songs and Kirtans from Ratha-yatra, recorded at Venice Beach in 1996
Big Boy - rap musician, Venice High grad
Jim Black - of the Jim Black Trio, was singer, stand-up comic, and one-legged dancer, appearing on stage in the early days of Venice
Billy Block -Texas drummer who moved to Venice in 1985 courtesy of his sister, already a resident, who had floor space. Unlike many other aspiring immigrants, Block got hired by a band, for excellent pay, after only 2 weeks in town.
Bonedaddys - played the Taurus early on. Mike Tempo sent this: "One night we showed up about 8:00 to find a note on the door from P.J.---he was on acid and couldn't make it in. We thought about breaking in and having a show anyway, but we went down the street to the Blue Lagoon instead and talked Billy Vera into letting us play an opening set for Billy and The Beaters."
David Boyles - singer/songwriter, describes his style as "organic hip-Pop, baked in southern-fried soul."
The Boys - a 4-member group whose youngest was 9. They were discovered dancing on the boardwalk in 1989, recorded a song called "Dial My Heart", were on Soul Train.
Mark Breyer - lived on Rialto 1975
The Brood - crossover thrash, former members of Suicidal Tendencies and Neighborhood Watch, released "The Brood" in 1986
Bruce Brooks - Guitarist who killed his vocalist and life partner, Juliette Williamson, and later said "I feel like I cut myself in half." Before settling in the S.F. Bay area, the street musician duo had first tried Venice Beach for a while. ("A Blues Story" by Jesse Hamlin, San Francisco Chronicle Magazine June 12, 2005)
Tim Buckley singer; songwriter; guitarist with mangled fingers from high school football, signed with Elektra at 18. In Buffalo, he walked off the set of a TV show over a matter of principle. "I live in a hundred-dollar-a-month house in Venice, California, and I don't need anything. You could take all the money away, and I could make it anyway. I did it before and I could do it again." A friend said he re-entered the music business "after a couple of years of sitting it out in Venice." Family lived in West Washington studios off Venice Blvd. - upstairs after the dance studio moved out.
Suzanne Buirgy - guitar, piano, vocals
Sandy Bull - used to have studio in Venice
Burning Sensations - Tim McGovern, Mike Tempo, others. First gig at Taurus Tavern
Ellen Burr, flutist, is a member of the Go Organic Orchestra, and several other ensembles. Her music is featured on four movies and a large number of her compositions have been publicly performed by other musicians here and abroad.
Steve Burr - percussionist has a studio in Venice. His band is The Gila Monsters.
Bus Boys - not local, but this black rock/punk band from LA dedicated their second album, American Worker (1982), to Sarai Ribicoff, the journalist murdered by a thief outside a Venice restaurant. She was one of their earliest supporters and in the words of musician Brian ONeal, "the most intellectual rock & roll person I knew."
Butthole Surfers - before forming a band, these guys had a company that sold Son of Sam t-shirts on Venice Beach one summer. Here they met an important mentor in the music business.
Vinnie Caggiano - Eclectic guitarist, longtime associate of Bruce Langhorne
Brun Campbell - aka the "The Ragtime Kid," at 15 studied piano with Scott Joplin, and was the first white person to play the "Maple Leaf Rag." His barber shop at 711 Venice Blvd in was a gathering place for the ragtime crowd.
Canaligators - group formed by a one-handed Venice musician called Hook; and Butch Mudbone. Were once on "Midnight Specia" TV show.
Canned Heat is said to have gotten its start in Venice
Lynn Carey - singer, notorious for an album cover that pictured her breast-feeding a lion cub. Has a story about being onstage at the Cheetah at the same time as Frank Zappa. She hadnt played maracas before and hit them together, so one broke and sprayed white seeds and powder all over her black outfit and Zappa thought it was cool.
Champa - on Venice Carnevale 2003 Live album
Chantz - singer, dancer, trumpet player, put in some time as Venice Beach busker
Chaotic Noise (later called Excel) -punk/metal fusion
Eric Clapton had an ocean-view house in Venice for four years, which was put up for sale late in 2003 with an asking price of just under a million and a half dollars.
Ric Clayton - bass player, No Mercy
Clear - they play music, and are also a bunch of poet activists.
Sharon Cline & the Bad Boyz of Jazz - make themselves available in any combination from Duo to Big Band
Kurt Cobain - When recording in LA, would party all night in Venice when staying at the Oakwood Apartments, which strangely is not in Oakwood but in Marina del Rey, and part of a national franchise.
Spade Cooley - In the early 1940s, the Venice Ballroom was turned into a country-western joint called the Foreman Phillips County Barn Dance. The new hybrid sound, combining traditional and city slicker music. would entertain as many as 4,000 munitions workers and other displaced rural folks until dawn. It was the site of a monumental Battle of the Bands between Bob Wills and his Texas Playboys, and Spade Cooleys outfit, which left Cooley holding the title "King of Western Swing." Cooleys story, like those of so many musicians associated with Venice, had a sad end. Suspecting his second wife of having an affair with Roy Rogers, he beat her to death (with their 14 year old daughter as unwilling witness) and died in prison less than a decade later.
Bill Crawford, aka Uncle Bill - jazz and blues guitarist, originally from North Carolina. A Venice fixture for many years, respected as much for his wisdom as for his music.
David Crosby - shared Venice Beach house with David Freiberg and Paul Kantner. " we never wanted for food nor smoke, nor a guitar to play on We had a Volkswagen bus, in the classic manner. And we spent most of our time doin' exactly as we pleased."
Daedalus - (Alfred Weisberg-Roberts) - involved with Dublab Radio, Build an Ark
Peter Damien - of Street Smart, boardwalk players
Jesse Ed Davis - blues guitarist, lived in Venice with wife and son. Was on the first three Taj Mahal albums and did session work for just about everybody. Toured with John Trudell. Died of an overdose in a Venice laundromat, 1988
Death Riders - Hardcore Monster Surf Punk
Nicholas Delaplane - "After not graduating from high school, I moved moved to Venice Beach." Scores films.
Phyllis DeVerney - on Venice Carnevale 2003 Live album
Diacaustic - trip-hop
din - Group formed in 1997, pop and rock
Djin - Played lead guitar for a band called Yahowa 13, whose music spread the wisdom teachings of the spiritual Brotherhood of the Source. In the 80s, hung out in Venice with Jesse Ed Davis.
Dan Dubelman - vocals, guitar - formerly with Dr. Dan and the Prescriptions, spent whole summer of 1997 performing on the beach. Then Betty Dylan (duo with wife)
Vickie Dubelman - vocals, guitar, former band Venus Con Carne, then Betty Dylan (duo with husband)
Ross Dugat - member of Ben Pollocks Californians, 1924
Chuck Dukowski - bass, founder of Black Flag (1977-84), also in Wurm, Seals With Antlers and October Faction at various other times. Partner in SST Records 1977-89. Currently: Chuck Dukowski Sextet
Eagles - some members are said to have lived near Muscle Beach
East West Band - There was a group by this name, some of whose members lived in Venice in the early 80s. An album exists called "Last Tango in Venice" but whether this is them isnt known
Shari Elf - Lived in Venice for a spell, during which she was photographed for the book Big City Junk. (Besides music, she also makes art from found objects.) Recorded an album called Im Forcing Goodness Upon You. Many people have the impression that they are unique, but this woman actually is.
Duke Ellington - in the 60s, performed West Coast premiere of "Far East Suite" in the band shell
John Fahey - aka Blind Joe Death - "existential guitarist," bluesman and blues archivist with a masters degree from UCLA in Folklore and Mythology, who had his own record labels (Takoma and Revenant) and gave many other musicians a start. Rented a cottage in Venice in early 60s (for something like $65 a month).
Perry Farrell of Jane's Addiction, Porno for Pyros - home and studio in Venice. In a 1994 he told a Rolling Stone interviewer that he wanted to leave a house in Venice that he had been in for six months. "There's no spiritual vibe there. It needs to be cleaned out, sage needs to be burned there. It's not holy, it's hellish." It either got cleaned out or he found another place, because he became a long-term resident.
Sam Feinberg - orchestra leader who in old days of the Venice Ballroom
Gerry Fialka - Venice resident, aide to Frank Zappa, answerer of Barking Pumpkin hotline.
Firefly is a creative word artist out of Venice California who operates in the format known as BeatSpeak.
Flattop - aka Reuben Hall - hip-hop dance
Frankenfish - formerly Venice Street Legends - power trio
Freddy Jones Band - played for nearly ten years, recorded 5 albums, and sold over half a million records "Recordings in Venice" was their last and unreleased album.
David Freiberg - of Quicksilver Messenger Service, shared Venice digs with David Crosby and Paul Kantner in the early Sixties. In this menage the groundwork was laid for what later became PERRO, or Planet Earth Rock N Roll Orchestra
Fresh B - of SuperFunkFantasy, defines a good time as "harassing women on the Venice Boardwalk for fun!"
Freshly Baked - "vibrant and diverse incredible spectrum of musical styles" This jam bands website features a complete family tree of every permutation which their affinity group of musicians has played in. Its a thing of beauty.
Tom Freund - singer/songwriter; bass, piano, guitar. Moved to Venice from New York
Karen Gallinger jazz singer, born in Venice
Gap Band - not local, but their music video "Party Train" was made in the early 1980s at Venice Beach, mostly around the weight pen
Larry Gardner & Purgatory Rodeo - on Venice Carnevale 2003 Live album
Al Gifford - member of Ben Pollocks Californians, 1924
Gila Monsters - Funk, rock, blues, have been around for a while
Michael Gira - Swans, Angels of Light. As a school-ditching 13-year-old, hung out along the Strand.
Vincent James Golia, Jr. - sax player, recorded Spirits in Fellowship in one evening at Spectrum Studios on the Venice Boardwalk.
Benny Goodman - joined Ben Pollack and His Californians playing the Venice Ballroom in 1925; shared quarters at the Haley Hotel with Glenn Miller
Harry Goodman - member of Ben Pollocks Californians
Berry "The Lion" Gordon - piano, hes in "Venice Reconstituted" mural
Crystal Green - on Venice Carnevale 2003 Live album
Harry Greenberg - coronet, member of Ben Pollocks Californians
Jessy Greene - "discovered" while playing violin on Venice Beach
Groove Merchants of Venice - Brad Kay on piano, and Venetians Dan Weinstein and Don Allen and non-Venetian David "Buster" Fitzpatrick. " We gigged all over L. A. in 1986-87, and had one crowning concert set at "At My Place" before flying apart."
Guardian - not very well known, never released anything, one surviving live tape
Gumbo Brothers - psychedelic swamp-funk, movers and shakers of the Venice Mardi Gras parades
Sam Guttman - comedian, musician, came to Venice at age 3
Petra Haden - violinist. Venice connection is, she was hit by a car and seriously injured when crossing a Venice street in the summer of 2000. Many prominent musicians played a benefit concert for her enormous medical bills.
Halimah the Dreamah - lived in Venice the same time as and hung out with the same crowd as David Crosby
Barry (Dr Demento) Hansen Record reviewer for Rolling Stone, record archivist, DJ. Rented Venice Beach cottage in early '60s
Harmonica Fats - boardwalk blues singer
Al Harris - member of Ben Pollocks Californians
Brady Harris - bass player
Harry the Fiddler- itinerant boardwalk musician in the '60s or '70s.
Headpeace - progressive rock
Rockin' Robert Heinze - drummer, played with Canaligators, Slavin David, Sam Taylor, James Armstrong, others.
Bob "The Bear" Hite ( co-founder of Canned Heat) died of a heart attack in 1981 after a gig in Venice, at the age of 36
Horizon Street Band - early 1980s
Horny Toad - ska, released an album called Thirteen in 1996, seems to be made up of musicians now in other bands who get back together sporadically.
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