Aloha Livermore After 10 groundbreaking years, DIY punk magnate Lawrence Livermore has retired as founding owner of Lookout Records. The East Bay's favorite "successful musical renegade" sold his interest in the lucrative indie (which spawned Green Day) to co-owner Christopher Appelgren, a man who Livermore promises is still intensely passionate about making records. (Patrick Hynes, the third owner, also sold his portion of the business to Appelgren, but will remain on staff.) Livermore first launched Lookout in 1987 in order to press copies of One Planet One People -- the debut album by his punk band, the Lookouts (christened after Livermore's zine of the same name), which he formed with a 12-year-old drummer named Tre Cool. After a somewhat less than flush first-time business run, Livermore shut down the label, but continued to play with his band at Gilman Street, the now legendary East Bay punk warehouse. As much fun as he was having, it didn't take long before Livermore was drawn back into the recording biz by ska-punk sensations Operation Ivy. With the help of David Hayes, Livermore revived Lookout Records in order to put out an Op Ivy EP, as well as some by Crimpshrine, Corrupted Morals, and East Bay-sound archetypes Isocracy. The new records sold like wildfire. By the time Isocracy split up in 1988, Gilman Street was at its height and folks were expecting the big crash-and-burn. But then, Isocracy drummer Al Sobrante formed a band called Green Day with two 16-year-old Gilman Street regulars. Two years later, the Lookouts' drummer, Tre Cool, replaced Sobrante, and Livermore was right there to nurture and cajole the band to stardom. The rest is history. Lookout now has 170 releases to its credit, with a host of new artists waiting in the wings. At 43, Livermore is able to retire comfortably in order to pursue other interests. He is currently on tour in Los Angeles with Hynes, and their surprisingly melodic band, the Potatomen. Livermore also plans to focus on writing (including his zine, which he has never let lapse) and to pursue a master's degree at Oxford. Appelgren, who assumed full ownership of Lookout last month, says that he is deeply committed to maintaining the spirit of the label, and is excited about the next 10 years. (S.T.)

Life After Death The Berkeley nightclub Ashkenaz (1317 San Pablo Ave.) is reopening as a community center. The club closed last December following the murder of owner David Nadel by an angry patron. Nadel's brother Ron became executor of the estate and established Ashkenaz as a new California nonprofit, now called Ashkenaz Music & Dance Community Center. The nonprofit's board plans to continue with David Nadel's work, maintaining the space as a cultural center for all forms of folk and world dance music, and giving the community a place to hold benefits in support of social and political causes. The reopening is set for June 21 -- the first in a series of benefits scheduled on Fridays and Saturdays throughout the summer. The proceeds will go to raising money for operations and the purchase of the building, in hopes of maintaining a full schedule of programming by the fall. The Grand Reopening starts at 8:30 p.m. with live performances by Aquarela Dance Group, African Rhythm Messengers, and Tropical Vibrations. (R.A.)

Love for Sale, the Remake Back in 1966, you couldn't beg yourself a drink at Bill Graham's Fillmore Auditorium. Hippies preferred pot and psychedelics to beer and alcohol, and Graham -- a notorious miser -- sold them watery soda with measured scoops of ice to combat cottonmouth. Now, the hippies are (mostly) gone and alcohol flows like Hetch Hetchy at the Fillmore. No one is complaining -- especially not Fillmore owners Bill Graham Presents (BGP). In fact, if a new three-year Miller Genuine Draft sponsorship contract is any indication, BGP is feeling downright sudsy. BGP Vice President Steve Welkom says Miller moved into the Fillmore two weeks ago. "They are a sponsor, but it's more of a marketing and promotions relationship," says Welkom. "There will not be a large Miller presence, only some subtle things." So far, there's a Miller welcome mat at the Fillmore's front door, a framed Miller poster disguised among the rock ephemera on the walls, and "identification at the bars," but no signs near the stage or on the outside of the building. The Fillmore sponsorship is consistent with Miller's stepped-up campaign to target young adults through rock 'n' roll. Kari McGrath, a Miller spokeswoman in Milwaukee, says the beer giant already sponsors venues like the Cabaret Metro in Chicago and the Grand Olympic Auditorium in Los Angeles. Miller also shells out for huge concert tours like the Page-Plant warhorse reunion, as well as local S.F. acts like Tommy Castro and Undercover S.K.A. "Ten or 20 years ago this [Fillmore sponsorship] might have been a headline," says Gary Bongiovanni, editor of the concert business trade magazine Pollstar. But these days, he says, the only conflicts over sponsorship occur when products collide -- a tour sponsored by Pepsi plays in a stadium that sells nothing but Coke. "Everybody's come to realize that it's just something you deal with," says Bongiovanni. Cheers. (J.S.)

« Previous Page
Next Page »
My Voice Nation Help
Sort: Newest | Oldest

Concert Calendar

  • April
  • Fri
  • Sat
  • Sun
  • Mon
  • Tue
  • Wed
  • Thu
San Francisco Event Tickets
©2014 SF Weekly, LP, All rights reserved.