During his musical career, Doug Allen has played for Ronald Reagan and the patrons of the , and many more audiences in between. Allen founded The Mar Dels in 1982 so he could play music from the ‘50s through ‘70s. “I wanted to do something different than the Hendrix and Zepplin that everyone else was doing,” says Allen, who sings and plays sax, piano, and other instruments. “I wanted the vocal harmonies, the growling sax solos, the dance moves, etc. I had no idea how big it would get.” The band has traveled around the world playing corporate gigs in spots such as Hawaii, Miami, and Cabo San Lucas, as well as Radio City Music Hall, and plays weddings and other events. Allen, a 22-year resident of Encinitas, also hosts the open jam at the Kraken on Monday and Tuesday nights.
Favorite song to perform: An original that I wrote called the “Yucatan Café.”
Favorite place to play in Encinitas:
Most memorable gigs (best, and worst): Both in one: We were offered the chance to play at a fabulous party in Macao (China) on a Saturday night, except for one problem — we had a wedding reception booked in San Diego on Sunday at 2. We thought it wouldn’t be possible, but on closer inspection, we found that we would be crossing the International Date Line, gaining a day, and landing back in San Diego at noon on Sunday. We decided to do it. We got several days of sightseeing in Hong Kong, then went to Macao by hydrofoil, played the gig from 10 to 3 a.m., the party went until sunrise, we took the hydrofoil back to Hong Kong, plane to Taiwan, San Francisco, San Diego (travel time: 24 hours, no sleep). The soundman had our stuff set up at the Hyatt Islandia, and we started at 2, standing on stage, feeling like we were on a rocking boat for the next four hours.
How he learned to play two saxophones at once: I saw Don Palmer on the grandstand stage at the Del Mar Fair play two saxes at once. I spent months working on it. Later, I would meet Don Palmer; he worked as the agent who booked The Mar Dels at La Costa Resort.
Favorite meal at a local restaurant: I have lots of favorite restaurants in Encinitas. I love the kung pao at , eggs benedict at , and carne asada (24/7) at
Last purchase made in Encinitas: A barbecue at
Ideal Encinitas day: Early walk in the dog park (I have a black wolf-dog), surfing at Swami’s or SUP at Cardiff Reef, carne asada tostada, jacuzzi, nap, kung pao, another dog walk, and off to play music. Life is good here.
Favorite civic organization: Surf clubs!
Most important issue(s) facing the city: We shouldn’t spoil a good thing with overcrowding.
Favorite local business: I like the flea market.
Favorite Encinitas event: The street fair.
Best thing about living in Encinitas: The ocean/beach.
The one thing he would change about the city: Replace the Cardiff Kook with a sculpture of a surfer that surfs gracefully.
A place in Encinitas more locals should visit: Swami’s meditation garden.
The Mar Del Boys (the group’s four original guys) play a pre-Halloween costume party at the Encinitas Elks Lodge from 7 to 11 p.m. Oct. 21, and The Mar Dels perform at the Broomstick Ball, a benefit event put on by Serve San Diego, at the Del Mar Hilton from 8 to 11 p.m. Oct. 28. For more information on The Mar Dels and upcoming shows, including its New Year’s Eve show at the Hotel Del Coronado, visit mardels.com.