Since moving to the Bay Area from Fresno several years ago, Jason Chavez, who works in the hip-hop and soul sections at Amoeba Music in San Francisco, has been extremely active outside of work, busily recording and performing whenever possible. Under the name 4AM, Chavez performs and records a rich variety of music. He also DJs regularly around SF at spots including Sip Bar in North Beach, the Beauty Bar in the Mission, and Milk, directly across the street from Amoeba Music on Haight. As a musician (producer, percussionist, vocalist, etc), he is most prolific and has an impressive catalog to prove this with both his solo releases and as a key collaborator with others including with the likes of art-hop group Octavius, Dopesytle 1231, DJs of Mass Destruction, and most recently as a member of Black Fiction, which also features some other Amoeba Music employees. One of those members is fellow Amoebite Big Ant with whom he has collaborated with on a cool DJ project. 4AM has appeared twice on the Amoeba Music Compilation series: on Volume IV as a solo artist on the track "Sorry Wrong #" and on Volume V under the artist name The Dead Have Highways on the song "The Alone" along with the Count of Monte Frisco. His DJ mix CDs, including the Hug Life series are available at Amoeba SF -- ask for them. Meanwhile, I asked the smart and always witty artist some questions about his life as a musician, an Amoeba employee, creator of the "Hug Life" movement, and a former Fresno resident.
jamoeblog: When did you move to San Francisco from Fresno?
4AM: Aaah, the proper term is 'escaped,' around six years ago in order to promote my first album and basically not die of respiratory problems.
AWESOME synopsis from the Psychotronic Video Guide:
The legendary Joe Bataan is making a rare appearance in the Los Angeles area. You don't want to miss this! Joe, who had retired from live performances for over twenty years at one point, has been doing sporadic shows in the homey hot spots for the last couple of years. He has done shows in San Francisco, L.A., The Bronx and Japan, where the slow and low lifestyle is still going strong.
Many of Joe Bataan albums are still available. Most of what was released on the Salsoul label that Joe Bataan started in the 70’s is still in print. Fania Records has recently reissued Joe Bataan’s classics Mr. New York and the East Side Kids, Riot, and Saint Latin's Day Massacre. Vampisoul, the retro label out of Madrid, has also reissued several of Joe’s classics as well as 2005’s brilliant Call My Name, a collaboration with ESL’s Daniel Collás that kept Joe’s funky Latin soul intact.
Both shows are in the hood, so if you really want to see the old school with their elbows up going side to side, you'll won't want to miss these shows!
Friday, June 15 @ The Montebello Inn, Montebello, Ca.
Saturday, June 16th @ La Conga Mexican Bar & Grill, San Pedro, Ca.
SCRATCH GUITAR MAESTRO
"It is guitar but a lot of the method is like turntablism" says The Genie, born Luis Monterrosa, the innovator of DJ influenced "scratch guitar" music, who was brought to the attention of many Amoeba Music fans after he appeared two and a half years ago on the two-CD set Amoeba Music Compilation Vol. V with his wonderful composition "Before The World Goes," which was culled from his own album Rebel Music.
As I was just starting to assemble the elements of what would become the fifth volume in the Amoeba Music compilaiton series, which showcases underground/indie artists -- mainly from California and many of them Amoeba Music employees -- Naomi (the marketing person at the San Francisco Amoeba store) told me about a few "must check out" artists for that upcoming collection. Knowing what impeccable taste Naomi has (much earlier she turned me onto Deerhoof long before it seemed anyone knew about them), I immediately dropped everything to check out the artists she recommended, including the Genie. And again she was right. The Genie is definitely a must check out artist!