Days of Lore

Music box Earlier this week, former Tower Records operations manager Lynn Brown dropped off a heavy cardboard box at the CN&R office. It was filled with stacks of demos and laminated photos from bands that have played (or wanted to play) the Herried-Fender stage over the past few years.

And while I’m still a little broken up over the closing of Tower, I couldn’t help but wonder what sorts of goodies might sit within that box.

I opened it up like a young boy on Christmas, pulling out stack after stack of CDs—some recognizable blasts from the past … and more than a handful of not-so-familiar names that are probably unfamiliar for obvious reasons.

So, that said, let’s take a little trip down memory lane together, shall we?

What’s in a name One of the first things I noticed was the relentlessness of some of the bands—the ones that had two, three, sometimes four demos in the box. Locals like The Cry, Nothing Left and Muff’n all had at least a couple CDs in there. Kudos to them for their tenacity! It must have worked because I’m pretty sure Muff’n got a show there even though there was a note taped to their disc saying, “For Lynn (Bands [sic] Demo To Play Show ¡Yikes!)”

It was also nice to see familiar names like deerpen, The Secret Stolen and, going even further back, Jordhuga and local legends Spark ‘N Cinder (did they really have to submit a demo to play?!), not to mention old photos of West By Swan and The Makai. I also scored a copy of the Electric Pie Band EP.

But the real entertainment came from the unknown bands that stood out on names alone: Aural Sects (get it? It’s like oral … never mind), Chocolate Hookah, Barking Beaver, Weather Trancemissions, Pushbutton Warfare, Evil Heidi … to be a fly on the wall in the practice space when they were choosing names.

Reading the funnies Joe Sayers blames his “warped childhood” growing up in ultra-conservative Colorado Springs (a mecca for the religious right that boasts five military bases) for helping shape his comic strip Thingpart.

The 32-year-old Oakland artist has been drawing since he was a kid and about a year and a half ago started the strip, which takes an absurdist’s take on life. If you like The Simpsons or loved The Far Side, Thingpart is right up your alley.

The comic strip has certainly become one of my favorites. It appears every Wednesday at

Picture perfect A former Chico resident has made good. Rachel Watson, who graduated from Chico High in 1992, has been living in New York, where she shoots photos for Time, People and does work for Ralph Lauren.

Watson was just honored in the Dec. 18 issue of Time listing the magazine’s Best Photos of 2006. The winning photo was from a series Watson did called “Family Farm,” which centers on a couple that moved from Brooklyn to East Meredith, N.Y., because of their belief in organic farming and to raise their family in a traditional setting.

The photos can be seen at her Web site:

A good cause Last week at Round Table Pizza, I attended the fundraiser for Taylor Parker, the 5-year-old who was injured in a traffic accident on Nov. 16. The accident left her paralyzed from the neck down. By all accounts, all three locations were packed as Round Table donated a very generous 20 percent of all purchases to Taylor’s family.

Taylor is currently at UC Davis Medical Center but in January will be moved to Shriner’s Hospital, where she will undergo surgery to install a phrenic pacer to help her breathe.

Those wanting to make donations to the Taylor Parker Hope fund can do so online at, or mail or drop checks off at Northern California National Bank, 1717 Mangrove Ave., Suite #100, Chico, CA 95926.

Taylor is also a good friend of my niece Olivia Hernandez, so it felt good to be there for her, too.

Got it covered … I think Happy Christmas, Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, Festivus and winter solstice!