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The Scene's Jimmy James

By Monk Turner
Published: Tuesday, May 25, 2010, at 09:28AM
Jimmy James Monk Turner [Flickr]

Jimmy James creates The Scene every Tuesday at La Cita.

Jimmy James has been a staple in the Los Angeles music scene for longer than he'd care to admit. A former member of The Hangmen and current member of Barrio Tiger, he shares the stage with LA's up and coming rock groups on a nightly basis. Lucky for Downtown residents, he's bringing these acts to La Cita every Tuesday night. Just to sweeten the deal, there is no cover to get in. As if that wasn't enough, before the bands hit the stage he spins garage rock rarities that would make even Amoeba Records green with envy.

We were able to catch up with James in between bands to find out a little more about the scene he is creating.

MONK TURNER: Tell us about your event. Why do it at La Cita?

JIMMY JAMES: Well every Tuesday I get two original bands from around here. It's mostly rock type music though I've had some country and blues. I've had Lightening Woodcock who is a downtown resident. The nastiest blues guitarist you've ever heard.

MT: Nice... the downtown blues. [laughter]

JJ: Yeah. You've got to hear him to believe him. Why at La Cita? Because it is a really awesome venue. I saw Janes Addiction play here...

MT: That was a crazy show.

JJ: I thought it was the most amazing thing I'd ever seen and that they've got to have more rock bands in here.

MT: And how long ago did you start The Scene?

JJ: We started last October booking bands. Most bands that play in this town and never see any money from the cover anyway so..

MT: Never a cover?

JJ: Right. Unless it is a special event. But I don't want a cover at all.

MT: How do you find the bands?

JJ: I've been playing music in L.A. for almost my whole adult life so I know a lot of musicians and they play in different bands. The first couple of months I had to make a lot of phone calls but now people are starting to come to me. I'm very picky about it...

MT: You're hand picking the bands...

JJ: A lot of those bands have never played downtown. Back in the day we used to have Al's Bar...

MT: Where bands like Nirvana, Fishbone, Red Hot Chili Peppers all got their start...

JJ: Right. A lot of the bands that used to play there are not necessarily the same bands that would play at The Smell which is a little bit more.. umm..

MT: Seedy? [laughter]

JJ: Yeah. It's their first chance in a long time to play in downtown again. We're starting to get a regular scene here.

MT: Does that scene come from downtown or other areas?

JJ: I think the scene comes from other areas and downtown. I want to see more people coming from downtown because it's a downtown bar.

You heard the man! Go support live music in Downtown L.A.! The Scene is every Tuesday at La Cita (336 S. Hill). Best way to find out who is playing is through the La Cita website at If you're a band that is just starting to play out and is looking for gigs, Jimmy James wants you! He can be contacted at


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