Thursday, November 15, 2007

Blues Traveler's Local Hook

The group Blues Traveler, best known for their 1994 hits “Runaround” and “Hook” has a new album out and the executive producer is Santa Barbara resident Mark Melchiori.

If the “Melchiori” name sounds familiar it’s most likely because you’ve seen those “Melchiori Construction Company” signs around town including, most prominently, over at the Granada Theater restoration project. And yes, Mark is that Melchiori.

So how did a general contractor, and a very successful one at that, become involved in producing a rock band’s latest record? It got started when Mark got to know the band’s guitarist Chan Kinchla, who was a former neighbor of his in Mission Canyon.

Recently the group found itself without a record label. When they wanted to put out another album Chan looked to Mark for help. Mark put together the financing to produce the all-acoustic album, “Cover Yourself” which as the name suggests, is a collection of “unplugged” new arrangements of favorite songs among the group’s fans.

The album will be in the stores soon, if you can find a record store these days, but can also be purchased and downloaded on iTunes as well as

And just how is that Granada project coming along? The theater is expected to reopen in March. It’s been a massive project, one that contains nearly $8 million in concrete according to Mark.

Sounds like it’s going to serve both as a theater and a bomb shelter.

* * *

So how big was that fundraiser that Oprah Winfrey threw back in September for Barack Obama at her Montecito spread? Enough to make him the top recipient of contributions, by far, from Santa Barbara County residents who have contributed to the presidential candidate’s campaigns.

According to an article in this week’s Pacific Coast Business Times, thanks largely in part to the Winfrey bash, Obama raised among Santa Barbarans a gargantuan $377,770 for the quarter that ended September 30 outdistancing Hilary Clinton who was in second place raising $14,580.

On the Republican side of the race, Rudy Giuliani, who has made two fundraising visits to Montecito, is the top money magnet attracting $76,725 in contributions from locals.

Overall, Santa Barbara finished third among all California cities when it comes to political giving ranking behind Los Angeles and San Francisco.

We may be a small town but we run with the big dogs when it comes to money and politics.

And why hasn’t Hilary paid a visit here? Sounds to me like she’s leaving a lot of money on the table.

* * *

What was up with the brawl that reportedly took place the other night at Palmieri's Cocktail Lounge? The neighborhood west side bar is known to be a haunt of such local luminaries as Film Fest director Roger Durling and city council member Helene Schneider. Not exactly a rough and tumble crowd.

I doubt that the fight was over who should have been honored as this year’s Modern Master at the film fest or the lightblueline project.

Sounds like someone showed up for happy hour and a hockey game broke out.

* * *

I’ll bet that Santa Barbara’s fastest growing sport is listening out for what name or phrase KEYT’s morning weather guy will stumble over next. On Tuesday morning he was reporting a traffic accident and said that the victim was taken to “a Cottage Hospital.”

“A Cottage Hospital?” Well, I guess there is more than one.

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