San Diego Strike Force Falls to Arizona in 52-14 Loss

The San Diego Strike Force watched an early lead dwindle away against the Arizona Rattlers, eventually losing Monday night 52-14.

The Arizona Rattlers’ running back Rolan Genesy Jr finished with three touchdowns and averaged over six yards per rushing attempt but only ended with 75 yards on 12 carries. San Diego Strike Force’s offensive coordinator Taylor Genuser spoke highly of the opposing offensive coaches.

“[Head] Coach Kevin Guy is one of the best in the business; he does a great job of game planning. That’s a play caller I aspire to be like, and his preparation was better than mine.”

Taylor Genuser

The Strike Force wasn’t able to find much offense against the Rattlers, finishing with 127 passing yards and -18 rushing yards.

“I need to do a better job of mixing up our looks and do a better job of getting the defense out of position and not feeling so comfortable. I am going to put it [the loss] on me, not our players or our effort.”

Taylor Genuser

The Rattlers held a one-point lead after the first quarter and a 10 point lead at the half. It wasn’t until the third quarter, which the game became lopsided. Right after the second half kick off, the Rattlers got on the board via a Gensey Jr. touchdown and a safety. For the Strike Force, the offense gained very little momentum in the second half. The Strike Force’s quarterback Jihad Vercher finished the game with one touchdown and three interceptions while completing 50% of his passes. All of his interceptions came in the second half.

“I need to minimize the mistakes. I let my guys down today as far as my decision making I need to go back to the drawing board and get it right for my guys. We have to play as one. We have to come together, fix our mistakes today, and come out a lot harder against Tucson.”

Jihad Vercher

The Indoor Football League (IFL) began to play in 2009, but 2019 marks the inaugural season for the San Diego Strike Force.

The team plays at the Pechanga Sports Arena. The league has noticeably different rules than the NFL. Some differences include the field only being 50 yards in length, teams are made up of only 21 players, only eight players take the field for each team at a time, and out of bounds is the walls. Any time a player makes contact with the walls or goes over the wall, the play is dead. For the complete list of rules visit here.  The team has six games left, three of them at home.

Coming up for the Strike Force team is an away game against the Tucson Sugar Skulls on May 4. The team will return home May 9 to face the Sugar Skulls once more.

Written by: Daniel Farr

Behind the Mic: The Flow w/ De Leon

Mikel De Leon

In this segment of Behind the Mic, we examine the wild life of thrill-seeker / adventurer / local lunatic, Mikel De Leon!

A gift (or curse, depending on how you look at it) has been bestowed upon Mikel De Leon: the need to always be doing something that increases his heart rate. It drove him to pick up soccer when he was 4 years old. Then surfing. Then, in November of last year, he bought a motorcycle.

Two months later, his body was lying in the middle of the freeway after being struck by a car.

“All I could think of was ‘Get up, get back on your bike, go home. Tell your dad you’re sorry. Everything’s ok,’ ” De Leon said about the incident that sent him to the hospital. He couldn’t get up, though. He didn’t have the physical strength to collect himself despite not feeling any pain, because his body had already gone into shock. Miraculously, to his (and his doctor’s) disbelief, he didn’t break any bones or even damage his brain. He did, however, injure his ankles, knees, shoulders, left wrist and lower back. Now, he’s grateful to be recovering at a relatively quick pace, but in all honestly, he just wants to surf again.

“I’m just like ‘Come on, I want to get back in the water. Let’s go!’”

Mikel De Leon

Mikel (MEE-kehl) De Leon is the host of “The Flow with De Leon,” which airs Thursdays at 8 a.m.

Although De Leon won’t be getting back on a motorcycle any time soon (or hopefully ever considering he’d like to be alive as long as possible and healthy enough to one day teach his future children how to surf), he’s still finding ways to scratch his adrenaline-seeking itch. At first, soccer scratched it for a while, but he began to lose interest in it after over a decade of playing. He wanted to replace it with something equally athletic to keep the weight off. The activity would also need to be peaceful and leave him in a serene mental state.

Mikel De Leon being the coolest cat around.
Photo by Monica Vigil. Coolness by Mikel De Leon

Surfing fit the bill.

“Surfing was just like, dude, everyone loves a surfer. Of course I’m going to get into it. It turns out, it’s not like that. But it’s ok. As long as I’m out there with my friends surfing, that’s all I care about. As long as I catch at least three good waves per day, I’m good.”

Mikel De Leon

Since the accident, De Leon hasn’t been able to surf and as a result, he’s been growing impatient to return to the ocean. He currently lives in Imperial Beach, a sandy, laid-back beach city in southern San Diego, just a hop and a skip away from the sea. Beforehand, De Leon would wake up every morning and make his way to the water with a surfboard in hand to catch a few waves before school or work.

“Sometimes I wouldn’t even shower because the waves were that good. I’d go straight to work and they’d know. They’d be like ‘Dude, there’s sand in your ear.’”

Mikel De Leon

His life appears to come in seasons, packaged up in different themes depending on the chapter. Sometimes he’s a chill surfer, a passionate soccer player, or even a temporary motorcyclist.

Long, soft hair totally by Mikel De Leon and genetics.
Photos by Monica Vigil. Long, soft hair totally by Mikel De Leon and genetics.

And now? He’s a radio host.

His brother attended Georgetown University and had a late night radio show at his college station. De Leon remembers listening to it and deciding he wanted to do that one day. One day after he transferred to San Diego State University from Southwestern College, he saw a sign promoting KCR and the rest has been a joyful, musical ride. His show heavily features groovy indie sounds like Homeshakeand Yellow Days, peppered in with bedroom pop. Want to tune in and listen to a combination of Beach Goons, Temporex, Minor Gems and Oak Palace? Do it! He’s plays them all.

What’s unique about “The Flow with De Leon” is that many episodes are themed (kind of like his life). One episode was full of music he would play if he owned a low-rider, featuring oldies, cholo goth, cumbia and the iconic Selena Quintanilla. He’s also had some dirty rock and reggae days, amongst many others.

An avid consumer of music, De Leon has even begun singing and creating his own tunes.

“I started off doing stupid, little, fun projects where I wasn’t taking it seriously,” he said. His friends, however, told him that he was good. He began to experiment with genres and searched for his sound in pursuit of turning the fun hobby into something more serious. Influenced heavily by Tame Impala, he plans on releasing an EP sometime in the summer. De Leon is implementing a deadline on himself or else he’ll “never release it.” He watched a short documentary about the singer of Tame Impala, Kevin Parker, and how he also had to give himself deadlines or else he would never publish his music, always trying to perfect it. It inspired De Leon to try the same approach.

“I need to set a date because if not, this is going to be a never ending cycle.”

Mikel De Leon

Be sure to listen to his shows and start your Thursday mornings right. You never know what theme you’ll stumble upon. Also, come summertime, remind him that he’s got an EP to release.

His favorite modern band?

Tame Impala (duh.)

Feel free to follow Mikel De Leon on Instagram. You can listen to his Spotify playlists here and here.

Written by: Monica Vigil

Vancouver Special: Vundabar at the Fox Cabaret

Vundabar playing at the Fox Cinema

Boston-based “sludgy jangly pop” (per their Facebook About page) trio Vundabar went on an expansive North American tour with a number of different supporting acts.

Vundabar came to Vancouver’s Fox Cabaret with support from El Monte, California’s The Red Pears and Washington’s Le Grotto.

The Fox Cabaret is a historic venue in Vancouver’s hip Mount Pleasant neighborhood that hosts touring bands, themed dance parties, and intimate comedy shows. Until 2013, the Fox was actually an adult movie theater known as the Fox Cinema. After a thorough cleaning and a major facelift, the Fox Cabaret was opened in 2014 among the craft breweries, vegan donut shops, and themed bars that populate the area.

I arrived at the Fox around 9:00 and Le Grotto was midway through their set. The venue wasn’t full yet, but everyone who was there seemed into the band’s ‘70s-inspired rock (including me). I’d call them garage rock, but their Facebook genre is listed as “Vaping Rules”. Take my label with a grain of salt, I suppose.

The Red Pears were up next. For a sad Canadian girl like me who’s perpetually missing the Southern California music scene, they were a nostalgic treat to have in Vancouver. They reminded me so much of all the local San Diego surf/garage rock bands that I miss dearly. As The Red Pears concluded their set and began packing up their equipment, the familiar sound of the Growlers rang out over the speakers. If you read my review of the Growlers’ Snow Ball show, you know that for me, there is only the Growlers. I danced around to “Who Loves the Scum?”, inadvertently clapping at the end as if I were actually at a Growlers show.

Fortunately, The Fox Cabaret really knows how to get people excited for their next act.

Vundabar came out around 10:00 as the crowd moved in toward the stage that has had countless pornographic films projected above it. They opened with “$$$”, a six-minute-long song from 2018’s Smell Smoke. Things were immediately off to an uproarious start.

I find Vundabar’s sound a bit hard to describe. I hear a lot of grunge in the tracks from their newest record, Smell Smoke. However, the first single from that record, “Acetone”, leans much more towards pop punk. Their self-imposed “sludgy jangly pop” label feels pretty accurate, especially for 2015’s Gawk. Genre labels aside, the energy they put into their shows is infectious, and the crowd at the Fox reciprocated by keeping things rowdy throughout their set.

The band played all their well-known favorites, including “Alien Blues”, “Holy Toledo”, and “Oulala”. Lead vocalist Brandon Hagen’s signature rapport with his bandmates and with the crowd made everything extra fun, particularly when a piece of the drum set went missing and we had to wait for a replacement to be brought out.

Unfortunately, Vundabar’s set was cut short to allow time to set up for the 80s vs. 90s dance party that was scheduled after the show. For once, the band’s “last song” actually was the last song, as the crowd’s cheers for an encore were left unfulfilled. I, however, was treated to yet another song by the Growlers as the 80s vs. 90s DJs set up their booth. If we weren’t going to get a Vundabar encore, dancing around to “City Club” was good enough for me.

Written by: Andrea Renney

A “Vancouver Special” is a popular style of home that was built in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada in mass quantities between the years of 1965 to 1985. The homes are boxlike and visually unappealing, often featuring a second-floor balcony on the front of the house and a stucco exterior with brick accents. Vancouver Specials are still seen in most Greater Vancouver neighborhoods despite the city’s major gentrification and increase in property development over the last few decades.
Vancouver Special is also a new series on the KCR College Radio Blog featuring show reviews, interviews, and maybe other things located in/related to Vancouver. The series is written by KCR member and ex-SDSU exchange student Andrea Renney. This is KCR Canada.

An Interview with Andrew Ross McMahon from Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness

Andrew McMahon

KCR’s Jacob Stephens had the opportunity to talk with Andrew Ross McMahon from Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness.

Read on to see what Andrew McMahon said, especially regarding some of his biggest influences, favorite moments touring, and to gain further insight into one of his songs!

Jacob Stephens: How did you get into music and singing?

Andrew McMahon: I was 9 years old when I started playing piano, and singing, and writing music. I was making songs and finding ways to record them. Eventually, in high school, I started my first couple of bands and started to play shows around the town that I grew up in. And yeah, I was really fortunate. Within a year after graduating high school, I had built up a really good following with my first band, and then we got signed and the rest is history from there. Honestly, I never really looked back and just kept making music.

JS: So you’ve always loved music then?

AM: Yeah. Truthfully, it’s the only thing in my life which has consistently motivated and inspired me. And from a spiritual standpoint, it drives me.

JS: You recorded one of my favorite songs “High Dive” so I’m just wondering, what went into that song? Was it a flashback into your childhood or was it something entirely different?

AM: It’s funny, I wrote that song with a good friend of mine that co-produced the first wilderness record, Mike Viola. Mike is a beautiful singer/songwriter in his own right, and we had written a handful of tunes together at that point. I remember what motivated the writing was when I was on the way to the studio; I had heard “The Boys of Summer” by Don Henley. In my opinion, it’s one of the most well written, well recorded songs of all time, and I remember going to the studio and just thinking “We really need to dissect “The Boys of Summer!” I want to understand the anatomy of that song and really understand why it’s so great and what makes it so special.”

There was a mandate when I sat down during that session to try and figure out what the DNA of a good track had, which is something I don’t usually do, but I just felt inspired to do that time – almost as though it were a little writing assignment. After we listened to “Boys of Summer” a bunch, the thing that struck me about that song was how vivid the imagery is and how personal it seems, but somehow that specificity still drives it to feel nostalgic. For me, I approached the lyrics as a kind of sliding door situation. I looked at a handful of scenarios and choices in my life that lead me to my wife, the enduring love of my life. I looked at a couple of those moments and thought “What if instead of going right in this moment in life, I went left? What if my wife and I didn’t get back together after that time we were broken up?” That’s what drove the inspiration of this song. This concept of what could have been, or maybe even should have been. A moment in life you “missed the boat on,” and how that would feel and what that would look like. For me, it was this guy just passing the house of his old girlfriend and catching a glimpse of her in the window, listening to the music of some other person that no longer was me. That was the head space I put myself in for that song.

JS: That’s very insightful! So what has been your craziest moment on tour so far?

AM: Oh my gosh. I had one show in the Something Corporate days that the police tried to shut dow. We refused to leave the stage and almost got arrested but we have had a couple of those moments. Also, in the last several years I’ve enjoyed crowd surfing through the audience on various different inflatable pool toys and things like that. There have been a couple of fun rides that have taken me farther into the crowd than I anticipated. But I think some of those early shows when we were playing with a lot of punk bands and the antics that go along with that were always pretty interesting. Like jumping off of ten-foot-high speaker stacks, and things like that.

JS: Do you look up to someone? Or is there someone you aspire to be?

AM: Ummm… I mean look if there is an artist whose career I have admired in a profound way, it would be Tom Petty. He always managed to write great music no matter what era or genre was popular or trending at the time. And he seemed to approach it with an ethic and appreciation and respect for his fans. I think that is something I have always been really moved by. But on the other side of that coin people like Trent Reznor and Randy Newman have managed to not just have their artist careers and records and what they do on stage, but also gone on to compose and write for other projects. I find myself looking towards them as these artists that have diversified their careers, and create not just for themselves, but for other artists’ projects as well.

JS: Do you feel like you’re a role model now that you have made a name for yourself in the music world?

AM: I don’t know if I feel like I’m a role model. I think that in my career, there’s a lot of things I am proud of. I’ve been able to launch a lot of other projects and start a foundation and charity that does legitimately very good work for a lot of people who need it. I’m proud of these things and I hope that if someone is going to model their life or career after the things that I have done, then I would point to those as being the things I’m the most proud of. But, I would not say I go out of my way or try and put a tremendous effort into trying to portray myself as a role model. I’m certainly as flawed – if not more flawed than most human beings. I think there is a danger to putting anyone on a pedestal because then you’re bound to be disappointed.

JS: Speaking of your foundation, you founded the Dear Jack Foundation, which is a cancer foundation. How can people get more involved and help with that? 

AM: There are a lot of ways. If you got to DearJackFoundation.org, you can learn about the mission, which is to try and support survivors and patients who are diagnosed with cancer from ages 15-39. This is a very under researched, and underfunded demographic of cancer patients that I’d say more so than any other demographic is in serious need of attention and help. The best way to get involved is to send a donation or to sign up for the bone marrow registry. I’m alive because my sister was a match for my bone marrow. A lot of people do not have those matches and I’m trying very hard to make sure people are aware of what the bone marrow registry is and to get people on the list. Also, if you look online there is a program called the Life List which is a program where cancer patients make a list of things they want to accomplish or obtain during their cancer treatment, and you can see the list of the patients and help fulfill the wishes of the “Life List Warriors” as we call them.

JS: Awesome, I’ll have to do that! How does it feel being able to perform and write your own songs?

AM: Because songwriting has been such a fundamental part of my existence, and since I get to answer questions for myself while communicating to people – and the fact that I get to do that professionally is pretty remarkable and I’m very grateful for it. I think though, and this applies to anything that is a job, to some extent that some days I feel like “man I don’t want to write today” for whatever reason, but the overarching feeling attached to the fact that I’m able to write and perform music for a living is one of deep gratitude. However, getting to play concerts for the last 18 or 19 years is the best part, because truthfully, as much as I love writing music, I love to perform. I love being in front of a crowd and I love the energy that you get to be a part of when you can put on a show. It’s a real gift to get to do what I love.

JS: What part of your life has inspired you most within your music career?

AM: For me, the greatest inspirations tend to be my personal relationships. My interactions with the people that are close to me and the world as a whole are what drives a lot of my song writing. My songs are very story based, and to be able to tell a good story you have to live a good story. I try to stay inspired by keeping myself spiritually fed by being around people I care about, and traveling to places that excite me and keep me from stagnating and doing the same thing over and over again. Listening to great music and reading great books and consuming art and culture is another way for me to stay inspired.

JS: How did you end up meeting the openers for your tour [Grizfolk & Flor]?

AM: The Grizfolk guys have done shows with me in the past and I have always been friendly with them and I love their tunes. As for the Flor guys: we did a thing when we were looking for openers where you reach out to other agents and they forward you music from clients that are interested in the gig. With Flor, truthfully, I just fell in love with an EP they put out that they sent in as part of a submission list for our tour and I was like “Tell me about these guys!” When I have the ability to pick up opening acts, you want to bring people that move you and are excited about their music. Oftentimes, I just need to look at the fanbase I have built that has been so passionate and supportive of me that I take it really seriously to try and provide them with a new artist who they can be as excited about as they were when they started listening to my music. So, such was the case with Grizfolk and Flor, that they were interested in the tour and I loved both their bands and their music. They have really proven to be amazing support acts and super talented.

Written by: Jacob Stephens