By MATT MUNOZ, Californian contributing columnist
Bakersfield will play host to a pair of solo acoustic talents, each offering a unique perspective on life as a working musician.
First up is Seattle-based singer-songwriter David Bazan, who rolls into town for a living-room concert tonight in Bakersfield. Known for his work with indie slow-core act Pedro the Lion, Bazan has developed a successful solo career after the band parted ways in 2006. Resigned under a new contract, Bazan said there were conflicts early on between him and his label.
"The label was telling me to lay low and not tour until my first solo record came out," said Bazan, 37, during a phone interview. "That wasn't going to work for me, because that's how I make my living. I basically had to figure out a way to play my songs, and people pay me money to play these songs for them."
Enter the world of living-room touring, where fans open their homes to touring acts like Bazan, who, through a series of underground channels, find ways to book shows with little to no overhead.
"We basically found a way to do this without violating the spirit of our record contract. We developed a model and since have done over 400 shows."
Bazan isn't the first to swim the waters of creative concert touring.
"If there are about a hundred places in the market to play on a regular album tour cycle, there are literally hundreds and hundreds of places to play in the house show market. It's almost inexhaustible. That's one of the reasons why it works so well."
The set-up for these tours follows a pretty basic set of guidelines, which Bazan and his crew have down to a science.
"We book these shows way in advance. It's pretty organized. My booking manager, agent, or myself will make a routing that we think will be ideal. Then we put that routing up on the Internet asking everybody, 'Who wants to host one of these shows at these places on one of these dates?' Then we get responses from people who say we can play in their apartment or living room, and my manager will sift through all those and figure out what will be the most appropriate places."
In order to find out the show's location, attendees must buy their tickets through a secure website, such as PayPal, which Bazan uses for all shows.
"Sales are legitimate. Once it goes through, we give them the location of the show."
Bazan added all venues are properly screened to avoid any bizarre encounters.
"We've never had any issues with any venues. We always look for grown-ups who don't give off a tweaker vibe."
If you're thinking about going, pay a quick visit to davidbazan.com for more info. Ticket availability depends on venue space, which according to Bazan is also part of the allure of scoring admission.
"It's cool, because even with all the Internet stuff, it's still a little bit of a mystery. It's not private and exclusive, but it's still kind of secret. It's the same folks that go to big shows, but we're getting to interact in a context that's more appropriate for the kind of relationship that we already have. It's a conversational relationship that's somewhat intimate -- if that's not too weird a word."
Not as mysterious, but every bit as inventive, is critically-acclaimed guitarist and composer Laurence Juber, who returns to Bakersfield for an intimate studio performance at American Sound Recordings on Oct. 24.
As a young working musician in London in the 1970s, Juber became a hot shot on the studio circuit, laying down tracks for many TV and film projects, including the "James Bond Theme," in "The Spy Who Loved Me" and others.
"One of my original musical ambitions was always to be able to play that theme," said Juber, 60, during a phone interview. "You had to be really versatile in that environment."
Juber's skills kept him busy with some of the UK's top hit makers, including famed Beatle producer, George Martin. And then in 1978, Paul McCartney handpicked him to become the lead guitarist for his band Wings.
"I wasn't really looking for a radical career change, which joining Wings proved to be, but I wasn't going to turn down an opportunity to play with Paul McCartney."
Juber's playing can be heard on the group's final album, "Back to the Egg," a performance that earned him a Grammy for the instrumental single, "Rockestra Theme."
"I wasn't quite sure what I was getting into, but what it turned out to be was that Wings was moving forward into becoming more of a rock band after incorporating a lot of folk music styles on his early records, which was not uncommon."
After Wings folded in 1981, Juber embarked on a career as a solo artist, composer and arranger, and developed a reputation as a guitar virtuoso. He has released 20-plus solo albums and continues recording and performing year-round.
Still, it's hard to beat certain career bragging rights.
"From my perspective in all of this, it was an education, a gift. I got my master's from Paul McCartney and I can't complain about any of it, because it was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. As much as it was the rock experience, it was still very much a close family. The kids were around, and that was the way creative group could work together and have a successful marriage."
Showtime is 8 p.m. Oct. 24. Tickets are $30 and are available by calling 204-7685, 864-1701 or via email at: firstname.lastname@example.org. American Sound Recording Studios is located at 2231 R St.
Naked Zombie Girl Halloween Bash at On the Rocks, 1517 18th St., 9 p.m., Friday, $5, 327-7625. The first official Halloween-themed live show in Bakersfield promises, thrills, chills and a few blown ear drums. Hosted by Bakersfield filmmakers Hectic Films and promoter Phantom Stranger Inc., bands appearing are local all star Misfits' tribute band the Psycho 78s, plus metal punk bands So Long Sucker and Hossbruten. Props from Hectic's upcoming "Naked Zombie Girl" horror flick will be on display, plus clips from the movie playing throughout the night, and giveaways. Anyone at the door in costume before 10 p.m. gets in free.
The Mavericks at Buck Owens' Crystal Palace, 2800 Buck Owens Blvd., Wednesday, 7 p.m. $45 to $53, 328-7560. In the mid-'90s the Mavericks led the alternative country movement, not by being misfits of the genre, but by being amazingly good misfits. They bucked the industry by combining classic country with Miami Latin-flavors and Texas twang, winning the hearts of critics and developing a diehard following crossing all demos. Their last shindig at the Crystal Palace in March was over three hours of non-stop rhythm, continuing with an after-hours karaoke bash next door. Highly, underscore highly , recommended.