Sacramento native Ron Cameron, 44, describes himself as an “artist, actor, writer, designer, DJ, etc.,” and a quick look at his website reveals that his description just begins to scratch the surface. But as for the “DJ” part: You can catch the Palm Springs resident every other Monday at Bar, 340 N. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs. His next show will be Monday, Aug. 12. Find more deets at www.facebook.com/Barwastaken.
What was the first concert you attended?
Oh, man, it was probably by accident in the late 1970s when I was a kid: either Bo Diddley at Cal Expo state fairgrounds, or some other retro ’50s band at the Sacramento Raceway drag strip. My first intentional concerts were hardcore punk shows in downtown Sacramento, starting in 1981.
What was the first album you owned?
Spacemen, Music for Batman and Robin LP, Roulette Records, 1966. I got it on a shopping visit to a thrift store with my mom when I was only 4 years old. It probably explains my adventurous musical tastes in later life! A real mind-bender, for sure.
What bands are you listening to right now?
Well, since I’m a DJ, I listen to thousands of artists on a regular basis. I still listen to a lot of the same stuff I got when I started collecting music back in the 1980s. Lately, I’ve been regularly listening to The Delgados, Neil Young, Broadcast, Lee Scratch Perry, Ride, The Seeds, Donovan, The Clash, Jimi Hendrix, Autolux, Creation Rebel, Grandaddy, Bob Dylan, Dub Syndicate, Kaleidoscope (UK), Mutabaruka and any of Adrian Sherwood’s On-U Sound production stuff. Current bands would be Black Moth Super Rainbow, Tame Impala, Django Django, The Oscillation, Flying Lotus, DJ Food and stuff like that. Those are just off the top of my head.
What artist, genre or musical trend does everyone love, but you don’t get?
I’m scared to death of the overly trendy so-called genre “dub-step.” … I’ve been researching dub since the ’80s; dub is nothing new. It started in Jamaica in the early 1970s and morphed into DJ-toasting by the late ’70s and then crossed the pond to New York and became rap and remix culture. So what is “dub-step”? Somebody please enlighten me! I’m a-scared …
What musical act, current or defunct, would you most like to see perform live?
Current would be The Black Angels, I haven’t caught them yet! Defunct would be The Clash, because they are my all-time-favorite band, and I never bothered to see them when they were around. They even played at the Sacramento Memorial Auditorium in 1982, and I skipped it, because it seemed like too big of a deal back then. I was only comfortable with the tiny hole-in-the-wall punk clubs when I was young.
What’s your favorite musical guilty pleasure?
My last guilty pleasure was in the mid 2000’s with M.I.A. (Mathangi “Maya” Arulpragasam). She was super-popular in the dance clubs at the time, and I’m not a dance-club kinda guy. I loved her style, her sound, her fashion and her cover artwork.
What’s your favorite music venue?
I dunno … just places I’ve ended up in the past decade. In Los Angeles, I’d say Echoplex, Troubadour, and Silverlake Lounge. In San Diego, a mainstay has always been The Casbah. In San Francisco, it’d be Slim’s, and Bottom of the Hill. Around here, I’ve only been to Pappy and Harriet’s up in Pioneertown.
What’s the one song lyric you can’t get out of your head?
So many song echoes, so little time. I have a lot of favorite lyrics, but none that really stuck in my cranium. It’s usually the rhythms and beats that firmly lodge themselves.
What band or artist changed your life? How?
So many have been life-altering at certain phases of my life: Neil Young, Catherine Wheel, Jimi Hendrix. But I think the biggest revelation was when I first heard DEVO in 1979. They almost made me dump my complete musical knowledge up to that point, which consisted mostly of hard rock and heavy metal. So DEVO opened my mind to other new music like The B-52’s, The Specials, Buzzcocks, Wall of Voodoo and The Clash. That all happened in 1980 for me when I was in the sixth- and seventh-grade. I’d say The Clash was probably just as important as DEVO for me, as far as making me look at the world in an entirely different way from then on.
You have one question to ask one musician. What’s the question, and who are you asking?
I’ve been very fortunate over the years to be able to interview some of my favorite bands for various magazines, so I got to ask those people some important questions. I still haven’t interviewed Mark Mothersbaugh and Jerry Casale of DEVO yet, I almost did a few years ago, but the magazine folded right when I was starting to prepare the piece. Maybe I’d ask Neil Young: “What next?”
What song would you like played at your funeral?
I’ve seriously never thought of that; I’m still clawing my way to the top. I hope that I have at least 40 more years to come up with that selection. Maybe something ethereal like Spacemen 3, “Transparent Radiation,” or their offshoot, Spiritualized, “Feel So Sad.” Or would that be too heavenly cheesy?
Figurative gun to your head, what is your favorite album of all time?
Impossible question there, buddy. I could maybe narrow it down to five: The Clash, Sandinista!, for its 3 LPs worth of genre-hopping. Catherine Wheel, Chrome, for its sheer soul-wrenching cinematic power. Neil Young, After the Gold Rush, for its simplistic humaness. The Wedding Present, Seamonsters, because the guitars just sound so great. Finally, Steel Pulse, True Democracy, because everyone needs some good, uplifting, yet provocative reggae in their lives. There are so many more, but those are just off the top of my head right now; ask me tomorrow.
What song should everyone listen to right now?
Whatever’s NOT on Top 40 radio right now!!!