VENTURA COUNTY WEEKEND : Surfing the Channels for Hot Local Sounds : Cable show features bands from communities from San Luis Obispo to Ventura.

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Having had my fill of "Cops" and all the assorted mayhem on the Hitler, White Shark and Sinking Ship networks, I went surfing--channel surfing, that is. And, for once on Ventura Channel 6, it wasn't the City Council droning on, but, kowabunga, the hottest ska band around, the Upbeat from Carpinteria!

Wassup with that? Well, as they went on to say about 7 million times during the telecast, it was "Locals Only," a show that features local bands from as far north as San Luis Obispo and as far south as Ventura. Translation: Most of the Santa Barbara bands have been on so far. The one to blame is none other than Dennis Dragon, surf dude and Montecito rich guy who was responsible for one of the great albums of the '80s, "My Beach" by the Surf Punks. (Dragon was the drummer.) A few years ago, his Reset Records released a compilation of Santa Barbara bands, and now he's scouting local bands to be on the half-hour show.

Next up will be the first Ventura band to be featured, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy. The show was filmed last weekend at Nicholby's in Ventura and, what a coincidence, it coincides with the band's new six-song CD release.

"Locals Only," is on more or less constantly, 18 times a day somewhere or other. Call your local cable station for the times in your area.

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Dave Wakeling, the guy behind another great album of the '80s, the English Beat's "Just Can't Stop It," has another new band, this one called Bang. Wakeling--an Englishman and now Dana Point dude with an accent--will be bringing his act to Nicholby's in Ventura on Saturday night.

About 15 years ago, bands such as the English Beat and the Specials combined punk, ska and reggae, and made the world dance. Shortly after the 1982 US Festival, the Beat broke up into a number of splinter groups, none as good as the original. Wakeling went on to front General Public and then the Free Radicals.

Down to a four piece, Bang will, more or less, play a set of newer stuff, then a set of English Beat and General Public classics. It'll be worth the drive to hear "Tears of a Clown" and "Two Swords" by the man himself. Those who recall seeing Wakeling do "Ranking Full Stop" with the Ska Daddyz at Metro a few years ago know what I'm talking about. Euphoria will open.

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With rumors flying like elbows in a mosh pit, we report the facts: The new manager of the Ventura Theatre is not Betty Elder or Lisa Hicks, but Richard O'Hollaren, whom many knew as manager of Heck's Music in Ventura, and then when his life got really exciting, as manager of the Ska Daddyz. O'Hollaren replaces Tom Welton, who ran the place for the last eight years. Now perhaps all those jerks Welton 86'd for life will get a second chance to act stupid.

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Spline Zapateado? Is this what happens to a lowrider's car when the U-joint falls out? No, it's the Funny Name of the Week, and Bill Coffey's latest musical group. Besides Coffey, there's another former Mudhead in the band, drummer Tim Lauterio, plus two guys from Pinching Judy, John Lombardo and Jason Bays. Why not Pinching Mud?

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Good reasons to get out of town and head north:

(1) There will a couple of serious female singers in Santa Barbara Friday night, belting out their biggies at Alex's Cantina, the corner bar on State Street. Phil Cody is not one of them, but he does have an album due on Interscope soon, and will headline. The Cory Sipper Band, featuring big time vocals by you-know-who, is about to get signed to a big time label, perhaps MCA, say the usual sources. And Twelve Stories, featuring Tina Sicre, is about to release a CD.

(2) There will be a kinder, gentler and quieter acoustic performance by a bunch of Santa Barbara locals Saturday at 8 p.m. at Victoria Hall in Santa Barbara. Locals include Dishwalla, Cory Sipper and Glenn Phillips of Toad the Wet Sprocket, plus Jill Sobule.

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Stop dreaming of that motorized chocolate couch and get out there and support local music. There'll be big trouble if you don't. Imagine all those musicians with real jobs, messing up your burger, stealing your spare tire when they park your car--it's scary.

TONIGHT: Simple Phunkshun (Bombay Bar & Grill, Ventura); Rick Reeves (Joe Daddy's, Ventura).

FRIDAY: Johnny Cash (Civic Arts Plaza, Thousand Oaks); The Buds (Hungry Hunter, T.O.); Finnhead (Harbor Lights, Oxnard); Stalag 13, No Motiv, Jughead's Revenge, Fixhated, Burning Dog (National Guard Armory, Ventura); Tijuana Hound Dogs (Eric Ericsson's, Ventura); Ska Daddyz, Cynic's Picnic (Bombay); Young Dubliners, Southern Cross (Nicholby's, Ventura); Hymen Blasters, Creature Feature (The Bar, Ventura).

SATURDAY: The Buds (Hungry Hunter); Ska Daddyz, Simple Phunkshun (Bombay); Bang (Nicholby's); Johnny Dyer (Joe Daddy's).

SUNDAY: Jackie Lomax (Cafe Voltaire, Ventura).

MONDAY: Urban Dread (Pelican's Retreat, Calabasas).

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