Mixing elements of reggae, ska, blues, and rock, Tao Jonz represents a classic S.B. sound of the late ’80s and ’90s.
Jen Griffith


Streets span across not just distances but times. State Street has seen its share of seasons, culturally and commercially, a paved metric of our changing walks of life. Some who walk it now recall a time when the music venues were more plentiful, the acts more local, and the scene more vibrant. For many Santa Barbara music lovers, Tao Jonz stands as an extra-significant signpost for those days, a band many remember fondly as one of the best of Santa Barbara in the late ’80s and ’90s.’

Tao Jonz at Ocean Fest
Courtesy Photo

Those who would like to relive the magic, or for those unacquainted in the first place, the band is back with a show at Whiskey Richards (435 State St.) on Friday, March 10, at 10 p.m. Apart from Toad the Wet Sprocket, Dishwalla, and Ugly Kid Joe, who all found national fame in their time, “Tao Jonz was, in my view, perhaps the top local band on the S.B. music scene in the late ’80s and early ’90s, along with Spencer the Gardner,” said keyboardist Chris Ulep, who remembers the band from their early days. With original keyboardist Mikey Maracle living in Seattle, Ulep now fills in as keyboardist along with the other three original members, Jim Werking, Doug Jaffe, and Stosh Glowacki, who continue to carry the torch from those storied days. “This was when there were real bands playing all over State Street and the college kids went out and waited in line to be where the action was,” Ulep said. “It was a cool scene.”

Be assured; this is no over-the-hill act, but one that very much maintains the sound and skill that made them popular in the first place. “While there is some element of nostalgia involved, these guys still bring it and still play 100 percent original tunes,” Ulep said.


And while time marches forward, some sleuths among us take a look back at the steps that brought us here and find some things as yet uncovered. In his new book, Postcards from Liverpool: Beatles Moments & Memories, Carpinteria author Mark Brickley takes us down Abbey Road in an imaginative new way, with snippets of Beatles trivia, interviews, insights, and nostalgia all rolled into a unique package with some surprising regional connections.

Brickley, who has contributed to Noozhawk and Carpinteria Magazine among others, said he “wanted to uncover the creative sparks that ignited Lennon’s, McCartney’s and Harrison’s songwriting.” He traces the band’s footsteps through London to Liverpool and visited Lennon and McCartney’s childhood homes for research. Though asphalt is the primary ingredient of State Street and all its interrelated roadways, the cultural granules of Abbey Road may be said to serve in small quantities as a secret binding ingredient, and Brickley finds area connections in the form of Jay Ferguson (of Spirit fame) and former Ojai resident/Apple Records recording artist Jackie Lomax.

“Music writers (like me) are inexplicably driven to write about the nuances and backstories of Beatles legacy,” Brickley said. “I grew up in the Beatles orbit. I was 18 years old when the White Album was released. The British Invasion and Beatles LPs were my teen soundtrack. Their melodies, harmonies, and lyrics became part of me.”

Some things, like the music of The Beatles, simply do not wear away with time, with their melodies still enjoying residence in perhaps more ears than any other band across all international demographics. “The authenticity and sheen of the Beatles songs has cemented that personal connection with their fans,” Brickley said. “Their melodies and harmonies are still magical.”


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