Sept. 8 2010 10:39 AM

This week's San Diego nightlife news includes a bright future for Transfer, Enrique's take on Pal Joey's and more

Locals Only

The future looks bright for Transfer. In October, they’ll embark on a six-date U.K. tour with Brandon Flowers of The Killers. Before they take off, they’ll headline a Sept. 30 show at Downtown nightclub Fluxx. The Silent Comedy, Jared Mees and the Grown Children and Little Hurricane will open while DJ Claire spins.

Big changes are in store for indie-rock outfit Cuckoo Chaos. Bassist Craig Barclift is leaving the band to move to New York, guitarist / vocalist Jackson Milgaten says. In October, they’ll head to Sacramento to finish their debut full-length, which is set for release by Lefse Records. In the meantime, they plan to change their name— though to what, it’s not clear. Originally, they planned to call themselves Heat, but Milgaten says their entertainment lawyer advised them not to go with that “for licensing purposes.” Their final shows as Cuckoo Chaos will be at The Loft on Sept. 30 and The Casbah on Oct. 1.

Ken Schoppmeyer, a legendary bluesman who headed the King Biscuit Blues Band from 1966 to 1986, committed suicide in an Oceanside hotel room recently, local music website Frogger Dogger reported last week. Raised in Clairemont, Schoppmeyer played Chicago-style blues harmonica and had a reputation as a perfectionist, the website reported.

Jazz singer Miss Erika Davies recently made her national TV debut in a commercial for a Subaru Outback. In the ad, she sings a 20-second ditty produced by local ad music agency Singing Serpent. “It began airing about a week ago and since, messages have been pouring into my Facebook and MySpace from people saying they’ve searched and Googled to find out who the voice on the commercial was and asking / hoping they’d found me,” she says in a Facebook message. “I think I need to get my music out there beyond SD and quick.” (Correction: This blurb originally reported that Singing Serpent co-owner Rafter Roberts wrote the ditty, which is untrue. We regret the error.)

—Peter Holslin

The Enrique Experience

Surrounded by such gems as the aptly named Mr. Bubbles coin-op laundry and a Fosters Freeze ice cream parlor, Pal Joey’s (5147 Waring Road) is a cut above the typical strip-mall dive.

An air of swank pervades the locale, with its Tiffany-style chandeliers, banners proudly advertising free wi-fi and lushly carpeted walls throughout. The walls house myriad memorabilia that would make a 1996 Planet Hollywood green with envy (including shots of the bar owner hobnobbing alongside the likes of Chubby Checker, Wayne Newton and Anna Nicole Smith).

“You should have seen this place a couple of years ago,” said Sam, a longtime regular. “It was a rat hole—literally.” He then regaled me with stories about the colonies of rodents that used to live underneath the pre-remodeled watering hole’s booths. One such creature, he claimed, came out every once in a while, did what he described as “a little dance” and would always try to get into the Midori.

“Now look at this place,” he swooned. “It’s the best bar around— Google it!” “You best believe him,” bartender Cindi added as she poured my $3 personal pitcher of Natty Ice. “He’s, like, the unofficial mayor of Allied Gardens.”

Ozzy, Lemmy and Slash’s “I Ain’t No Nice Guy” started playing, and the convo quickly changed to Motorhead. Turns out Cindi is a diehard fan, so much so that, last year, she traveled to Boston to catch their House of Blues tour because the metal trio had skipped San Diego. Sure, she could have gone to the Anaheim show, but, Sam said, that would have interfered with her plans of stepping foot in every Dunkin’ Donuts on the eastern seaboard.

The cherry on top of Pal Joey’s came in the parking lot when I stopped for a minute to admire an old powder-blue jalopy. “She’s a beaut, isn’t she?” its raspy-voiced owner asked. She’d parked it smack in front of the bar, yet never bothered to come in. She later boasted that she’d restored the 1956 Ford Courier herself after acquiring it some 35 years ago. “I got it off a sailor for an ounce of dope,” she said.

She begged me not to tell the tale of the car’s shady provenance to her “daddy,” who she claimed is a cop—and, by the math in my head— either retired or dead.

Longing for an Experience of your own? Dust off that old Yamaha collecting dust in your garage and head down to Pal Joey’s on Sept. 18 for its first-ever charity poker run, wherein prizes for best hand, best “bad-tothe-bone bike” and “bitchinest babe outfit” will be awarded. Don’t know what a poker run is? Google it!

—Enrique Limón

Pass the Mic

The Man: DJ Charlie Rock

The Music: Jazz is No. 1 on Rock’s list. He throws in funk and hip-hop and sneaks the jazz in by playing its funkier, more club-friendly cousin, acid jazz.

The Scene: Rock just scored a new night at El Dorado. It’s called Soul Flexin, and he and DJ Grandmasta Rats take over El D the fourth Friday of every month. “Soul Flexin is a night for the people that respect the art of moving butts,” Rock says.

The Story: Sitting down to talk with Rock is like sitting down with an unofficial hip-hop historian. The dancer and DJ has been at it since 1976, and he remembers a time when it was all about figuring things out for yourself.

“In the beginning,” he says, “I didn’t even know it was DJing. When I first heard a mix on a tape, I was like, ‘How did they do that?’ Me and my friend used to just grab our boom-boxes, and I would put it on pause and I’d switch to a different radio station. Then I’d record some Spanish or something. Then I’d push pause, and I’d find the Art of Noise beat-boxing show on the radio, and I’d record some of that. So, throughout the whole tape, I’d record bits and pieces of stuff, and then me and my friend would share and kind of battle, like, who had the better tape.”

Rock eventually figured out that he needed turntables and a mixer to blend together different sounds, but even then, it took him some time to figure out how to scratch.

“I remember getting a little microphone, plugging it into the side of my boombox and rubbing it against my pants, and I was, like, ‘That kind of sounds like scratching,’” Rock laughs. “You know, I was a little kid trying to figure all this out. So, I just stuck with it and was really interested in it and curious how it was done. I figured it out and was eventually, like, ‘I get it now.’” Rock certainly does “get it.” A competition-winning dancer and a well-known DJ these days, he says most of his sets are geared toward introducing the crowd to at least one song they’ve never heard before. “I give people what they deserve,” Rock says. “They deserve to hear more than mainstream because there is more.”

Who’s CityBeat talking to next?: DJ Styles

—Kinsee Morlan