THE BOUILLEZ ACOUSTICS
BY Doreen Pedroni
On Saturday 19 October 2013 I took another small road trip. This time I traveled south to Gilroy, Ca. Gilroy doesn’t border San Jose, but many people commute to and from there during the week for their jobs and other reasons.
Gilroy is home to the annual Garlic Festival which is usually held during the summer months. There are many other attractions and events held in Gilroy that Bay Area residents flock to during the year.
I went to watch and support my friend Terilynn and her band mates of a Mötley Crüe Tribute band, Crüella, once again. This time at a club called 9Lives.
March 10, 2012
hard rock/heavy metal
San Francisco Bay Area
During the Crüella set, I was approached by Jorge, the lead singer of Steel Horse. Steel Horse is a Bon Jovi Tribute band and they opened the show for the night. I had taken a few photos of Steel Horse to make sure my camera settings were dialed in. Jorge was interested in obtaining those photos, which I was happy to provide. I asked if he was in another band that played original music, but he said no. Jorge then told me that he and his wife Joyce are the owners of 9Lives. Steel Horse did a great job motivating the lovely ladies in the audience to get up and dance. Although we were not able to conduct a live interview due to time constraints, Jorge was gracious enough to answer some written general questions about 9Lives that I later e-mailed to him.
This was a special night for Crüella because the drummer, Windy Wild, was celebrating her birthday. I can’t say enough about the musicianship of the members of Crüella. Windy is an awesome drummer as are Terilynn Bench on Bass, Mary Cary on Guitar and Cindy Lynn on vocals.
San Jose Our City Radio: What is the name of your business?
San Jose Our City Radio: What is the name of the primary person that is connected to the business?
Jorge: Jorge & Joyce Briones
San Jose Our City Radio: Where are you located?
Jorge: 9Lives is located at
7430 Monterey Street
Gilroy, California 95020
San Jose Our City Radio: How long have you been in business?
Jorge: 3 years
San Jose Our City Radio: What is the main service or product?
Jorge: Concert venue. Live music. Showcasing local, regional and national talent
San Jose Our City Radio: What are your main hours of operation?
Jorge: Weekends 8:00pm – 1:00am. We have a comedy show on the last Wednesday of each month at 7:00pm
San Jose Our City Radio: Do you have a web site/e-mail?
San Jose Our City Radio: What sparked you to get into this business?
Jorge: The club is actually Joyce’s dream. Joyce shared her vision/desire to own a night club with me 24 years ago. After 20+ years of performing myself and an additional 15+ years in the event and event production industries the planets aligned and the opportunity to buy a struggling business presented itself. The rest as they say is history.
San Jose Our City Radio: When you initially bought the club, was there a lot of renovation needed before opening as 9Lives?
Jorge: We did a total remodel of the venue. With the exception of keeping the stage and bar where they were originally built we changed the look, feel and quality of the venue. Total renovation of the bar area including tiling the back wall, painted the entire interior, installed a new sound and lighting system, repainted the restrooms to tie into the main room and a ton of other stuff.
San Jose Our City Radio: Do you spend a lot of money for advertising to get exposure?
Jorge: 9Lives is really a destination venue. We are only open when we have shows so you can’t just stop in any day or night of the week and get a drink at the bar. That makes what we do even more challenging. We spent a ton of money early on to try to gain exposure and build an audience for the venue. We learned that many of the traditional media avenues are not effective for us as a business. We spend the bulk of our advertising/marketing budget in targeted social media advertising, posters and distribution and building trade agreements with various media (mostly print) to promote larger regional/national headliners. Our local band shows (over 100 per year) are marketed primarily by the bands performing. When you produce an average of 130 shows per year you just can’t put money behind every one. We get lots of online postings in multiple calendar listings and we are also on Facebook, Twitter and Reverbnation. Our web site and our e-mail list are probably our most effective tools for us. That and of course word of mouth.
San Jose Our City Radio: Have you found it hard to get attention about your business?
Jorge: Not by the bands but from the general public yes.
San Jose Our City Radio: What is the name your flagship service or product?
Jorge: Excellent live music.
San Jose Our City Radio: Do you have any deals going on at the moment?
Jorge: $3.00 mixed drinks and $15.00 buckets of beer (5) during the first hour of operation.
San Jose Our City Radio: Is there a time of day or week you are the slowest and need more exposure?
San Jose Our City Radio: What is your busiest time?
San Jose Our City Radio: Have you ever had radio airplay? If not, have you ever considered it?
San Jose Our City Radio: Let’s talk a little about Steel Horse. Does Steel Horse have a web presence? What are the band members names?
Jorge: The band consists of Dave Kester (guitar), Forest Wilson (bass), Brian Gibbs (drums), Ian King (keyboards) and Jorge Briones (vocals). Yes, you can find Steel Horse on the web at a few places. Our official website is undergoing a major overhaul right now but here are the places you can find the band online.
www.steelhorsebonjovi.com (Official website)
San Jose Our City Radio: How long has Steel Horse been together?
Jorge: The band was formed in 2012 and has been performing for the past year.
San Jose Our City Radio: What first brought you to the music scene? How did you get started?
Jorge: I got started in the local music scene right after high school, in the mid 80’s. I performed as a drummer for about 8 years and then made the switch to being a front man for Aces High, Razors Edge, Frenzy, Silent Chaos and Mach V. I kept at it through the 90’s and “retired” in 2000. Then in 2009 Silent Chaos did a 20 year reunion tour and that got things started I guess. Dave (Kester) played bass for the bands return and then after we wrapped up tour, Joyce and I announced that we were opening 9Lives. Didn’t intend to get back in another band but would occasionally do a “guest spot” with bands on cover tunes. I got asked by a friend who books major acts why I didn’t do a tribute band and after a few months of him hounding me saying he could book the band if I formed it I caved. I asked Dave and it just went from there. Dave and me pretty much handpicked the band members. There really was no “audition” process to speak of. We got the guys that we wanted. Truth told, it’s the strongest band I’ve ever been in and we have a ton of fun.
San Jose Our City Radio: Growing up, what bands influenced you the most?
Jorge: Too many bands and styles to list but the big ones for me were, Boston, Journey, Styx, Dokken and Bon Jovi. Growing up it was everything from Frank Sinatra and Elvis to Willie Nelson. I have pretty diverse musical tastes.
San Jose Our City Radio: Have you had a good deal of success with Steel Horse?
Jorge: We’ve had great success with Steel Horse. Over this past year we have performed in front of over 20,000 people and headlined shows like Redwood City’s Concert on the Square, Gilroy Garlic Festival, Hollister Motorcycle Rally, Sunnyvale’s Summer Concert Series and some other great shows. Plus we’ve got to play with some of the best tribute bands out there including Evolution and Cruella.
San Jose Our City Radio: Where would you like to see your music and business career go in the next five years?
Jorge: You know Steel Horse if a fun outlet for all of us in the band. We take it very seriously and we are professional in our approach. We are a concert band meaning that’s what we give our fans and the venues that book us. We are all focused on being the best tribute band that we can be and performing at large-scale festivals, fairs, clubs and doing corporate events. I’m not going to lie, we are money band. We play to have a great time, put on a great show, build fans and make good money doing it. For 9Lives it’s about continuing to grow and be recognized as the best small live entertainment venue on the west coast. Our staff works hard, very hard to be the best and they are. We’ve got a tough market that we are located in, lots of competition and the people in San Jose seem to think that we are located on the back side of the moon but as long as we can keep growing and maintaining a high standard of excellent customer service and entertainment we will be around.
San Jose Our City Radio: Do you have a stage name?
Jorge: No, it’s funny because I introduce all the guys during the set but I never introduce myself. Sometimes people ask who I am when I introduce the band and I just say that I am Jon. J
San Jose Our City Radio: How would you describe your stage persona/ image as opposed to the real-life, day-to-day businessman and husband? Do you have children?
Jorge: When I’m on stage I give it everything I’ve got. I love being up there and having people react positively to what we do. I believe that when you are in a band that it should be a party feel, fun. As the front person I am the ring leader. I also believe that if people gave up their time to come see my band then I owe them a show. I owe it to them to look like I am in a band, act like a performer and give them an energetic show. It’s a show after all. That’s what a lot of these kids in bands today don’t get. If you look like the roadie or the guy standing next to me at the bar what makes you special on stage? The band is a business and just like with 9Lives, I/we take that very seriously. We aren’t there just to be there, we are doing what we do to be the best and be successful. I’m one of those people who knows only one way to do things and that’s all in. Otherwise don’t waste yours or others time. Joyce and me never had any kids but we have a couple of nephews and a niece that are like our kids. If we did have kids we probably wouldn’t have 9Lives. Plus she already has a kid in me and four other guys in Steel Horse. She’s our Yoko in a good way, she grounds us when we get inflated egos and think that we really are rock stars.
San Jose Our City Radio: Any last words?
Jorge: Man, really? Like I haven’t already talked your ear off? I’d just tell your listeners to come check out a Steel Horse show when you can. You may not like Bon Jovi but face it, you will be singing before our set is done . . . “Wanted!”. And to support the local music venues and original music bands that are out there busting their asses to make music and try to succeed in this crazy industry. It won’t kill you to get out of your house, find a baby-sitter and take in a band that plays live music. Stop bitching about having to pay $5 to see 3-4 bands in a night and support your local venue and community. Even if they aren’t great musicians or it’s not your style of music, show some appreciation for what musicians put out there for your to take in.
San Jose Our City Radio: Jorge, we look forward to hearing more from Steel Horse and 9Lives. Good luck and thank you so much for sharing your thoughts with our listeners and viewers at San Jose Our City Radio!
Jorge: Thanks for the opportunity! We are telling everyone about San Jose Our City Radio.
I had issued Jorge a challenge to write and record some original music to play on our Rock Station. He has accepted the challenge and Steel Horse will do their best to bring original content to San Jose Our City Radio in the future.
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October is here again, and this October there is something special going on at The San Pedro Square Market in Downtown San Jose. It is called OKTOBERFEST. Live music, good food, oh and yes LOTS of BEER. This event will happen on Saturday October 12th from 12 noon to 11:30 pm. Enjoy traditional German food, beer, and music. Mingle with the locals from around the area because this will be a top destination for many people on a beautiful day in San Jose. The location is prime. After you have had your fill, you can continue the party at any downtown bar or club you prefer. Here is the actual line up of what is scheduled at The Market. Stop by and be ready for an eventful evening. You never know what will happen at The Market’s OKTOBERFEST 2013!!
Buy your tickets, @ http://www.sanpedrosquaremarket.com/, you can buy your ticket ahead of time with an early bird special price!!
12:00PM: Oktoberfest officially begins! Pick up your steins and drink tickets at our side gate off of St. John St.
12:00PM-2:00PM:Mingle between 5 German beer tents and enjoy the amazing German Culinary options that The Market has to offer 2:00PM: San Jose's Largest Chicken Dance 3:00PM-4:00PM: Dachshund Races & Costume Contest 3:00PM-5:00PM: Roaming Polka Player Performance 5:00PM: Official Games begin with the Crowning of Mr. & Mrs. Oktoberfest 5:30PM: Stein Hoisting Contest 6:00PM: 2-minute Brat Eating Contest 7:00PM -10:00PM:Sharks Game Starts! Oktoberfest T-Shirt Toss! 8:00PM-10:00PM: Live Music performed by Fossil
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