Saturday, May 31, 2008

Buddy Blue and the Beat Farmers

By Cathy Scott

In journalism, we're fortunate enough to meet and work in newsrooms with extraordinary people from all walks of life. Such was the case at the La Jolla Light newspaper, where I worked with Buddy "Blue" Seigal for a year and a half, beginning in 1989. He was a features writer, and I was the business editor. He'd show up for work in upscale La Jolla, California, wearing a leather or black-denim vest over a black or faded T-shirt (revealing his tattoos), black jeans, chains hanging from his belt loop and pocket, black leather studded boots, and his trademark goatee and long sideburns. Occasionally he'd wear a hat. His writing gig, he'd regularly tell us all, was just temporary until his musical career took off.

While at the Light, he cut an album with the indie record label Rhino. A bunch of us -- reporters, editors and ad staff -- went to downtown San Diego's Gaslamp Quarter to watch him play at a club there. Buddy wasn't fond of one of our editors, and he wasn't shy either about vocalizing his displeasure, often during our weekly editorial meetings. He had such a dry sense of humor, plus he was direct, and during the meetings we'd sometimes look at him with surprise. He'd look back at us and ask, "What?" Then, a few seconds later he'd start laughing.

The last time I saw Buddy was about 10 years ago at a Society of Professional Journalists conference in Ontario, California. I was a speaker at a writer's workshop, and Buddy was receiving a writing award. We ran into each other the first day, at a luncheon. He looked the same and said he had a regular writing stint for the alternative newspaper the Orange County Weekly.

I was searching for something online today and ran across an obit in the San Diego Union-Tribune. It was Buddy's. The headline read, "'Buddy' Seigal, 48; performer a mainstay of S.D. music scene." He died two years ago, in 2006. I didn't know about it until today. His early band, the Beat Farmers, made its mark in Southern California, and Buddy Blue left his mark on those of us who were lucky enough to have spent time with him.

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