All things must come to an end, but premature endings, like that of Megasound Studios in Ventura, are sad affairs not made less so by that comfortless saying. The mom-and-pop recording studio/live music venue that only four months ago celebrated its one-year anniversary will be closing its doors for good by the end of this month, and just like that, another all-ages venue in Ventura County with the potential to vitalize the local music scene is sucked into the black hole that previously claimed The Lab and Alpine and the Underground.
Owner Sam Maxson’s phone and e-mail was inundated with concerned messages last week after he posted several bulletins on Megasound’s MySpace page advertising the sale of the business. He says he had no choice but to move on. “You work seven days a week for two years and you don’t get too far ahead,” he said. Citing personal and financial reasons, including the high rent for the Main Street location, and difficulty recouping startup costs, he admits, “It’s just time for me to go.”
Carnal Deity’s Logan Klain expressed his band’s disappointment with the impending closure, “We’re all extremely bummed.” Not a good thing for the music community. “A lot of us musicians have nowhere else to go to jam,” he said.
With less than two weeks until demolition commences on Nov. 1, there will not even be an opportunity for a ceremonial last show, as the Friday night gigs that have been booked for the end of October have been officially cancelled, making for an anticlimactic exit for the still relatively embryonic local music haven. It is still unclear what will become of the space, and what will be the next step for Maxson, who uneasily and somewhat cryptically said, “We have some ideas.” Megasound Studios is the second all-ages venue that will be shutting down in November, with Mai’s Café announcing recently that the business is moving to a smaller space, which will no longer feature live music.
Jodi Farrell & the Front Street Prophets celebrated its one-year anniversary with a three-hour jam session at Bombay Bar and Grill Sunday night featuring local blues guitar prodigy Alastair Greene. The Prophets, which previously backed the highly acclaimed blues singer Ashford Gordon, shuffled through dozens of original arrangements of classic blues numbers with effortless skill, fronted by Farrell’s sultry vocal stylings and incredible guitar leads by Greene, who just returned from a tour with music legend and Santa Barbara resident Alan Parsons. Greene showcased his furious lead guitar dexterity, and in a humorous moment, even a little vocal improvisation when someone accidentally turned on the house music during a song, prompting Greene to burst into a musical refrain/plea to the bartender, “Do you hear that house music? ‘Cause I’m up here tryin’ to play the blues!” Also joining the party was the last-minute addition of Evan Grosswirth of Flight 442, on bass guitar, turning the band into a motley crew of local talent.
The show celebrated one year to the day when Jodi Farrell & the Front Street Prophets performed for the first time at Bombay. Whether or not the anniversary of a first show should warrant its own special event, or whether anyone has ever heard of such a thing, apparently wasn’t in question. Perhaps, it just sounded like a good excuse to get out and play some blues, and that was good enough for us.
Sounding the 805 is Ventura County’s only biweekly local music column. If you have a tip, a suggestion, a complaint, some dish or just a kind word, shoot Chris Mastrovito an e-mail.