Marijke Rowland

Scene Stealers: Rock ’n’ roll never dies for performers, promoter

The Central Valley-based band Broken Toys, including vocalist Kelly Foley, left, and guitarist Jim Sampson, celebrates its 30th anniversary with a show at the Gallo Center for the Arts on Saturday.
The Central Valley-based band Broken Toys, including vocalist Kelly Foley, left, and guitarist Jim Sampson, celebrates its 30th anniversary with a show at the Gallo Center for the Arts on Saturday. Broken Toys

You’re never too old to rock. And you’re never too old to love promoting rock.

Longtime Central Valley indie rock promoter Middagh Goodwin is about to prove both with his first show booked at the Gallo Center for the Arts this weekend. The Beat Happy! Music mastermind is bringing Valley rockers Broken Toys back for a special 30th anniversary reunion show July 18.

Formed in 1984, Broken Toys stood out from other local bands playing in the region at the time because of its more alternative bent. While other groups were into hair metal, the Stockton-based group was playing originals along the lines of other new wave acts like Depeche Mode, Echo and the Bunnymen and The Bolshoi.

“I think at the time when they were playing in the mid-’80s, definitely in the Central Valley there weren’t other bands like them. They were a new wave band, a little bit on the dark side,” Goodwin said. “It was one of the bands that wasn’t just part of the scene, they were the scene.”

Goodwin’s promoting career in the region also coincided with the group’s emergence. He had just graduated from Downey High around that time and started booking. Next year also marks Goodwin’s 30th year promoting shows in the area. He was a regular booker at The Brewhouse in Hero’s Sports Lounge & Pizza Co. before it closed and now books at Queen Bean Coffee House and Deva Cafe locally.

So for him the Broken Toys show will be a trip back to where it all began.

“A big part of this is just the reminiscence. I know I’ll see a lot of old friends come out. Broken Toys was one of those bands around when I first started,” he said. “They were one of the bands I’d go see before I started booking shows. Then when I started booking shows they were one of the first I booked. It’s kind of exciting to go that full circle now.”

All of the band’s original members – vocalist Kelly Foley, guitarist Jim Sampson, keyboardist Marie Santelices, bassist Steev Rehn and drummer Steven Fox – are back for the 30th reunion show. Some, like Santelices and Rehn, have remained in Northern California. Others like Fox, who lives in Idaho, and Sampson who is in San Diego, have moved farther afield.

During their 1980s heyday in the region they played about 600 shows before disbanding in 1989. In 1987 they went into Stockton’s well-known Studio C recording studio to make their debut album, “The Cut of Memory.” The band reunited in 2012 for a 25th anniversary show.

For their 30th anniversary the band will release a live DVD/CD of that concert. Goodwin says he has heard of fans flying in from Southern California and Idaho for the reunion show. The band will also have some old friends and music colleagues from their era helping them on stage. They include Willie Hines from Jet Red/The Lights, Eric Westphal from James Blonde Band/Dirk Hamilton Band and Keith Boggs from Strayheart/Collective Hands. They will also get an assist from the Gregori High School band, who will provide strings and horn for some special rearrangements.

“It’s great that they are bringing the next generation of musicians into it,” Goodwin said. “Ten years from now it will be something they’ll tell their friends, maybe even children, about and beyond.”

The Broken Toys 30th anniversary and concert DVD/CD release show will be in the Foster Theater of the Gallo Center at 7 p.m. Saturday. Tickets are $20 for the concert of $30 for concert plus DVD/CD package. For more information call 209-981-2311 or visit www.facebook.com/BrokenToysMusic.

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