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The Day the Music Died

Buddy Blue's passing sparked a massive Web memorial that spanned the globe. WHEN CELEBRATED SAN DIEGO roots-rock musician Buddy Blue died at 48 due to various heart-related problems, he left behind a lot more than two decades of music-making. In addition to albums and recordings as a solo artist and with the Beat Farmers, the Rockin’ Roulettes, the Jacks and Screamin’ Jay Hawkins, Blue left behind a vibrant Web community with hundreds of regular posters from as far away as Scotland.

Some were longtime friends of Blue who had gone to school with him at Patrick Henry High or had followed his nightclub work at the Spring Valley Inn, the Belly Up Tavern, the Spirit and, most recently, Winston’s in Ocean Beach and the Parkway Bar in La Mesa. Others were faraway fans drawn to Blue by his music—which at times had been distributed worldwide by MCA/Curb Records, Rhino Records and Bizarre Records.

What they all had in common was a fervent and sincere love for the man and his music—as well as a burning passion to discuss and debate everything from music and movies to Republicans, comic books and potty humor.

Over time, buddyblue.com became a Myspace.com-like community for the graying and the grizzled, the eternally cool and the graciously aging hip. They’d rant, they’d rave, they’d swap songs and videos, and their common link was Blue—born Bernard Seigal in Syracuse, New York. Blue’s music had drawn them to the Web site, but it was his twisted world view and eclectic passions that roped them into a virtual world of their own making.

Within 48 hours of Blue’s untimely passing, his obituary appeared in The Hollywood Reporter and was syndicated worldwide by the Associated Press and UPI. At last count, his obit ran in 80 countries, including North Korea.

Meanwhile, 169 eulogies already had been posted on the Web site, many of them with the same underlying message: “Buddy Blue is dead, but please, oh please, don’t let the site die.” It’s as much a part of his legacy as his music and his acerbic, insightful music reviews that’ve appeared over the past decade in the Los Angeles Times, The San Diego Union-Tribune and other publications.

One of the first postings came four hours after Blue’s death, from the Taylor Harvey Band, playing at the time at the Plank in Imperial Beach.

“I got the call while on a break at my afternoon gig, and went in immediately and dedicated ‘Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door’ to the late, great Buddy Blue,” says Taylor Harvey. “There were many sad faces. This is a sad, sad day for all of us.”

All night long, they kept coming. Gradually the tone changed from shock and sadness to wistful reminiscing.

From “Kipi” in Houston: “I just can’t believe the news. After listening to the Beat Farmers and Buddy’s music for 15 years, I finally had the chance to come to San Diego and see my biggest musical heroes play two weeks ago at the Casbah and last weekend at the Parkway Bar. And now I hear this. I didn’t even have time to thank Buddy for the great gigs . . .”

From “Kent” in Indiana: “The Beat Farmers helped me to discover all the great American music and bands that were making music, not just for the money and fame but for the love of rock ’n’ roll. . . . We’ll miss you, Buddy, and I hope you and Country Dick are together right now, having a laugh, playing a song and knocking ’em back for the rest of us down here. Peace, brother. . .”

One of the most heartfelt tributes came from “Jocko,” a fan in Scotland: “His music was amazing, and that was how we all, or most of us, came to him in the first place, but he was such a funny and engaging character that his gumbo of a Web site brought in all kinds of different people to the mix. It was only recently that I realized how much the Web site actually meant to people and how many friendships had been made. Buddy always seemed to encourage people to say what they liked and interact with each other.

“Floyd [another poster on the site] reminded me of one of Buddy’s lyrics this morning. This is the way I’m going to be: ‘Pass the Tecate with a fat lime wedge / Let’s keep on funnin’ ’til we push it to the edge / Our time ain’t long, let’s enjoy it long as we’re here.’"

a graphic of a prom coupleVarsity Schmooze

GONE ARE THE DAYS of the traditional formal in the school gym. High school proms have come a long way, baby, from just another rite of passage to a chic—and increasingly expensive—social event. A growing number of high schools have even gone a step beyond the lavish hotel ballroom shindigs that were deemed cutting edge just a few years ago.

• Vista High, Patrick Henry High and La Jolla High are holding their proms at downtown San Diego’s House of Blues, a concert club that opened in May 2005—and where admission is generally restricted to the 21-and-up crowd.

• Coronado High students will dance the night away at the historic Prado in Balboa Park, known for hosting a variety of high-society charitable functions.

• And prom-goers from The Bishop’s School in La Jolla will board the William D. Evans sternwheeler, docked at the Bahia Hotel & Resort, for a nighttime cruise around Mission Bay.
—COURTNEY BLOKLAND







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