May 10, 2012
Singer finds focus in McDonald’s contest
It’s been two weeks, but Maureen Recalde can barely maintain her composure.
The Tehachapi resident and reigning regional champ in the Voice of McDonald’s national singing competition has just returned home from the finals in Orlando, Fla., where she joined 15 other winners from the U.S., Canada, South America, Europe and APMEA (Asia/Pacific/Middle East) for a shot at the title.
Though Recalde didn’t win the competition, she met some of the biggest names in the music industry and said the experience changed her life.
“I got to meet some amazing people who taught me incredible things about music, singing and life. We had schedules that were made for us each and every day. We’d meet every morning bright and early, and start our daily rehearsals. The rehearsals were long, but not tough at all.”
Before taking the stage in front of judges and a crowd of 17,000, Recalde said she and the other contestants were given individual attention and instruction to help them polish on their technique and performance. Judging the final competition was a panel of entertainment heavyweights, including Grammy Award-winning R&B singer Toni Braxton, DreamWorks CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg, music producers Ron Fair and David Foster, and entertainment attorney Ken Hertz.
Above: Maureen Recalde performs on April 23 in Orlando, FL
“The coaches taught me so much about myself as a singer and performer. I sang the song ‘At Last’ by Etta James, and the coaches helped me portray the right message and connect to my audience. I felt so alive on the stage. I wasn’t nervous at all. I felt right at home.”
Beyond the competition, Recalde said the highlight was a private concert that included performances by Kelly Clarkson, Ruben Studdard, Keith Urban, David Foster, Enrique Iglesias and Seal, who got up close and personal with Recalde.
“He started singing my favorite song, ‘Kiss from a Rose’ and — lucky me — I was in the front row at the private concert. He saw me jamming and brought me up on stage. He sang the song to me, and for some reason I couldn’t stop shaking. There’s even a YouTube video of it. Definitely one of the coolest moments in my life so far. Kelly Clarkson was super-chill, too.”
Seal poses with Maureen Recalde in Orlando, Fl
The final four contestants were Chrislyn Hamilton of Australia, Stephanie Savage of Canada, Dyscem Mueldener of Germany and Lyam Soto of Puerto Rico. Hamilton took home top honors.
In the end, Recalde earned the title of top U.S. entry out of three national finalists. She walked away with a $3,000 cash prize, a $1,000 donation in her name to the Bakersfield Ronald McDonald House, an iPod Touch, a pair of Beats by Dre and a trip to Nashville, Tenn.
“Even if I didn’t place at all, I would still feel like a winner. All of the support and love has been overwhelmingly amazing. McDonald’s treated us in the most amazing way possible through this incredible journey.”
Bakersfield can catch Recalde onstage when she performs for the Ronald McDonald House Charities Walk for Kids on June 2 at C.A.L.M.
Recalde has a message for those who voted for her online during the first phase of the competition.
“I wouldn’t have made it without you. I hope I represented Kern County, California, and the United States in the best way possible. There will never be a day that I won’t sing or hum a tune. Whether it’s singing while wrapping burgers or taking an order, or getting a standing ovation from 17,000 people, I’m lovin’ it.”
Burning Image lights up
One of Bakersfield’s pioneering alternative bands from the ’80s makes its long-awaited return to the stage for a rare show during Saturday’s Heresy club night at Riley’s Backstage. It marks the first official show from the veteran goth rockers in over a year, after two shows in Los Angeles and San Francisco.
The story of Burning Image begins in 1982, at the dawn of Bakersfield’s downtown punk and alternative rock scene. Lead guitarist and co-founder Moe Adame recalls the period as a turbulent but exciting time to be around his friends and bandmates: guitarist Joe Sparks, bassist Tony Bonanno and drummer Paul Burch.
Above: Burning Image in the '80s
“They didn’t know what to make of us,” he said. “Everything was new, especially with the introduction of the punk scene in town,” Adame said. “People around here were just getting used to bands like The Clash. By the time the Los Angeles sounds had reached Bakersfield, it just exploded with the kids.”
The shock factor has always been an important element in the rebellious spirit of punk rock, and for Burning Image, the idea of causing a stir would be taken to another level. Inspired by British bands like Siouxsie and the Banshees, Killing Joke and The Cure, Burning Image coined a sound that was a combination of those influences. Sporting ghoulish white makeup, lipstick, black attire and crucifixes, the guys in Burning Image were an instant hit with teens. But outside the venue, it was another scene altogether.
“We just took it in a different direction musically and with the look,” said Adame, 49. “You had people picketing our shows, while 300 to 400 kids would be packed inside the American Legion Hall or wherever we were allowed to throw a show ourselves. They thought we were devil worshipers. We weren’t, but at the time there was the whole child molestation/devil worship thing in the news, and everyone was going crazy.”
For the next five years, the group would make trips down south to record a series of independently produced 7-inch vinyl singles at Fullerton’s Casbah Studios, where Orange County heroes Social Distortion recorded their debut, “Mommy’s Little Monster.”
During one of their many treks, the band made contact with Art Morales, creator of the artwork for “Monster.” Morales offered to do the cover for the band’s single, “The Final Conflict.”
“Everyone knew someone and was accessible. Everyone just wanted to help each other out,” Adame said.
Following the release of the single, Burch and Sparks traveled north to Berkeley to promote the record on the college radio station KPFA, where Dead Kennedys lead singer Jello Biafra happened to hear the song. He liked the single so much that he invited Burning Image to open a show in San Francisco.
Above: The Dead Kennedys' Jello Biafra
“It was amazing,” Adame said. “The Dead Kennedys have always been one of my favorite bands. Sitting on the side of the stage and watching the band play after they invited us to play — just incredible.”
Biafra’s friendship with the band would continue years after Burning Image dissolved in 1987. In fact, in 2003 he and Adame would reconnect at one of Biafra’s spoken-word engagements in Hollywood.
“The first thing he asked was, ‘Do you have any more Burning Image music?’ ‘All I have is this tired old cassette,’” Adame replied. “I said I have all the masters. So he asked me to make him a CD of all the music. He wanted artwork and said, ‘I’d really like to reissue this on my label.’ Needless to say, everyone in the band was shocked and gave their blessing.”
The 2004 release of “1983-1987” on Biafra’s Alternative Tentacles label is a collection of the group’s original catalog.
The band’s excitement spurred a full reunion for a one-time show, more for fans and themselves in celebration of the CD. The guys parted ways on friendly terms, and Adame continued to keep the band’s flame alive, releasing another CD, “Fantasma,” in 2009 with bassist Anthony Leyva replacing Sparks, who lives in San Francisco. Bonnano and Burch remain in the lineup.
Proving you can’t keep a dead band down, Burning Image is back with “Oleander,” a conceptual album loosely based on the “Lords of Bakersfield” series of stories on a shadowy cabal of power players in the city’s past, written by The Californian’s Robert Price, and the book “Lords: Part One,” by Nick Belardes. Belardes makes an appearance on the recording for a spoken-word intro.
“It’s probably just local folklore, but you never know,” Adame said. “Jello had asked my wife about ‘The Lords of Bakersfield’ after Sean Penn had given him a copy of the movie ‘Witchhunt.’ He had tucked it away for a while, but after he saw it, he asked me if we decide to record another album, he said ‘write about this.’ This material is just too good to pass up. You can hear the references to Bakersfield and what’s going on. I wanted it to sound as low-fi as possible. I wanted it to sound like an old Bad Brains album: strange, and stripped down.”
The festivities begin at 10 p.m., Saturday, May 12th. Admission is $5 advance or $8 at the door. Riley’s Backstage is located at 1523 19th St. Copies of “Oleander” and “1983-1987” will be sold at the show, and also available for download at iTunes and Cdbaby.com. Visit the band at: flavors.me/burning_image.
Matt’s Picks: May 13th
Rachel Platten at B Ryder’s Bar, 7401 White Lane at 7 p.m. Sunday, May 13, $10, all ages, 661-397-7304. If mom looks bored this Mother’s Day, get her to this show, quick. Singer-songwriter Rachel Platten (pictured above,) became a favorite of contemporary pop radio after the release of the single “1,000 Ships” last year. Her latest single, “Work Of Art,” is quirky, sugary stuff and sure to be embraced by lovestruck ladies everywhere. Also appearing is rising starlet Madi Diaz, who, like Platten, writes perfectly crafted indie gems for prime-time TV.
Find more hot local events at our new calendar!
(click button below - add your event free today)
THE BAKERSFIELD JAZZ FESTIVAL RETURNS THIS WEEKEND - MAY 11&12!
(CLICK ON PHOTOS TO READ EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW!)
'70S SOFT ROCKERS EASES INTO BRIGHTHOUSE AMP - MAY 12TH!
(CLICK ON PHOTO TO READ EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW!)
Visit our official YouTube Channel!
Follow us on Twitter!
(CLICK BANNER BELOW TO ADD US ON FACEBOOK!
*Also printed in The Bakersfield Californian, 5-10-12