"Rappin' It Up:"

The Tucson Music Scene

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    "Rapping It Up" Winter 1994

    (Tucson, AZ.) Jan. 1, 1995- It seems like the Tucson music scene is rolling along at a better pace, among the many groups that performed were those crazy guys, Maniac Kill, bestowed their strong, smooth vocals and rich, melodic style upon the patrons at Gentle Bens last month. Maniac Kill consists of various members from Fall From Grace and Atrophy. The line-up is: vocalist Mike Edwards, drummer Tim Kelly, rhythm guitarist Robert Gordon, lead guitarist Greg Economidis and bassist James Gulotta.

    Congratulations to Wendy and Mike Olson (of Pulse fame) on their ninth wedding anniversary. They celebrated the event by hosting an informal get-togther at their home. Wishing you both many more to come!

    Rita Podglarski, whose sound comprises original, contemporary rock ballads, performed this past month at Bowen & Bailey. For those of you who remember, Podglarski was the house musician at Mongellis and banded together the first street musicians downtown. She is currently preparing a release of her music in the near future.

    Backyard Records, based in Phoenix, will be producing a CD on unsigned Arizona alternative bands. The sampler, to be called Arizona Alternative, will be sent to 20 A&R representative and over 70 college radio stations in addition to newspaper and record store distribution. Space is limited and selections will be chosen by Backyard Records. For more information, call Andy at Backyard Records at 602-224-5568.

    Funky Bonz has been landing gigs up in Phoenix, playing at ScottsdaleÍs Rock Cafe and was one of the bands featured in ñArizonas Best Kept Secretsî (ABKS) at BostonÍs. In a review of the participating bands, "Music Voice Magazine" stated that ñthe surprise of this evening was TucsonÍs Funky Bonz „ truly a let's-just-play-and-have-a-good-timeî band.

    George Howard and The Roadhouse Hounds are in the studio recording their next demo tape, according to drummer George Howard. "We plan to lay down the demo of the LP and shop it around," added Howard. "The album should be out sometime after the first of the year." The self produced work will be called "Great American Blues You Can Use." "What we play is more contemporary blues, although we play traditional stuff as well." Last month the band played in Tucson quite a bit. However, January will see them traveling about quite a bit. New Years weekend, George and the Roadhouse Hounds were at Papion's ll. in Mesa. On January 6th & 7th they'll be at the Blue Note in Scottsdale, on the 13th & 14th at St. Elmo's in Bisbee, and on the 27th & 28th at Papions ll. Tucson dates include O'Malleys on the 20th, and Cafe Sweetwater on the 21st. The Roadhouse Hounds are keyboardist Richard Gomez,bassist Jeff Masterson, and guitarist Brian Dean.

    It seems like some of these outlying towns are the places to play. The Johnny Garcia Band has also been making the rounds to Bisbee, Sierra Vista, Oracle, and Globe, according to drummer Glen Velardi. This Oracle-based trio has been together for one and one half years, with Johnny Garcia on guitar, and Richard Bonko on bass. "We play blues and blues-rock," explained Velardi. Their sets are usually 80-90% cover material, but they have enough original material to do all original shows. "There are definitely recording plans in the future as time and money permits, " He said. They played December 31st in Oracle at Maria's. On January 13th & 14th, The Johnny Garcia Band will perform in Bisbee, and on the 27th & 28th in Sierra Vista.

    The Z City Dragons are in the process of planning a Brazilian tour sometime after the New Year.

    "The Tammies" CD Release party was held last month at Club Congress Music was provided by Al Perry and the Cattle, and Black Moon Graffiti, the Drakes and Stefan George. The compilation, a first for the Weekly, features 19 cuts of music from the 1994 Tammies Winners.

    Speaking of the compilation, Tucson artist Joe Rush has a cut called "Play And Play And Play" which is currently receiving on KLPX (96.1 FM). Rush will be releasing a CD in the near future. For additional information call the Joe Rush Hotline at (602) 881-7314.

    Sam Taylor was host to the Blue Monks, King Earnest and the Wild Knights, and special guest Frankie Lee. The third week featured Sam's All Star Blues Fest with the Sam Taylor Band, Tom Walkerand Boogieman, The Blue Lizards, and the Hoodoo Kings. The following night Sam showed his hospitality to Liberty Recording artists The Cactus Brothers.

    Other shows around town included Fates Warning opening for Dream Theatre at Buena Vista, San Diego's Blonde Bruce at O'Malley's, MC 900 Ft. Jesus, Black Moon Graffiti and Mecca Bodega at Club Congress as well as Van Christian, Dog and Poney Show and Eddie Taylor.

    Look for the Wooly Tooth and Mr. Meaner to play Stg. Pepper's in January.

    Last month former Sandrubies front man David Slutes debuted his new band, Gingerat Club Congress. "Robin Johnson (of Brilliant Fools, Gentlemen After Dark & The Pills) and I put this band together just recently and we've written up a whole bunch of little pop songs," Slutes said. Additional members include Kel Burd on bass, Derick David on drums, Johnson on lead guitar and Slutes on rhythm guitar and vocals. The Dog and Pony Show, a Tucson favorite opened the show.

    On January 15th, Slutes will introduce another project, Little Sisters of the Poor, at the Wooden Ball. "Little Sisters of the Poor is a more acoustic, Laid back band," described Slutes. The musicians, which include Sidewinders Alumni, are drummer Bruce Halper, lap steel guitarist, guitarist Gene Ruley, bassist Stephan Gordon and Slutes on rhythm guitar and vocals. "We've written an LP's worth of material for both bands," noted Slutes. "We kind of want to work the songs out live before we start recording."

    Funky Bonz, the original Funky/Punk/Rock/Grunge/Blues band, has a new CD out called "Stoned to the Bone," It features six new numbers and five classics from the previous self-titled cassette. On December 16 they played their last gig with drummer Greg Barkulis, who is leaving to attend a music industry trade school in Pittsburgh, Pa. "No we do not have a new drummer," Percussionist Brent Kort admitted. "We've been trying out some people but it's been a slow process. We really haven't advertised, we just spread the word through the grapevine." Opening up the performance that evening was the Phoenix band Congo Shock, a ska-reggae band that has lots of horns and percussion. Be sure to watch Funky Bonz on Tucson Cablevision channel 62 and 54 on Wednesday night at 7pm and Friday afternoon at 2pm. I hear the producer Steve Maddalozzo of Madman Productions captured a lot of great footage.

    The Tucson Firefighters Association will be holding a concert featuring Three Dog Night and the Kingsmen on May 11th 1995. It will be held at the Tucson Convention Center, and tickets are $29.00 a pair. Will keep you informed on updates.

    Propaganda Child has released a self-titled 5 song EP featuring the songs "Why," "Just a Feel," "Growing," "Bardo Train" and "Fade Away." In other news, the group was featured in the Arizona Daily Star's Entertainment insert, "Starlight." The end of December saw them doing a gig with Wooly Tooth in an all ages show at the Rock.

    Si Jargo is still plugging away at his upcoming demo and playing out. "I played a pretty radical youth show at my church, Grace Chapel," he recounted." The kids were moshing, they were lining up on the edge of the stage and using it as a diving board. Bodies were flipping up in the air, like they had a blanket. It was incredible! I had a big smile on my face, I couldn't believe it." Si and his band will be at Sgt. Peppers.

    Editor's Note: If your band has something to tell the Internet, send it to the address (e-mail or mail) below for consideration.

    Turning on the Blues Light

    Interview with the Blue Light Blues Band

    By Tina Alvarez, Roadhouse Music Magazine/ESP

    Although the Tucson, Arizona-based Blues Light Blues Band multi-instrumentalist David Munoz has a degree in Fine Arts (string bass performance) from the University of Arizona, he considers the most significant schooling he has received as having come from the streets.

    "I lived in San Francisco almost six years and that's where I learned a lot of Jazz," explained this Tucson native, "Because I picked up on a lot of good teachers, like Carl Tjader. I used to hang around with them and the piano player, Al Zalicky. The Bay area was so rich with everything. That was my real education. That was my college."

    For Muniz, who is half Apache and half Aztec Indian, his schooling began early. When he was eight , his uncle who played in a popular Mexican band called Los Elegantes, taught him how to play Spanish Flamenco guitar. He later became interested in Rock'n' roll. By the time he was twelve years old, he was playing professionally at local bars with Tex-Mex and Salsa bands, and Latin Orchestras.

    The wide-ranging styles Muniz has covered also reflect in the varied tastes of the members of the Blues Light Blues Band. Guitarist Tony Urbine likes blues and rock, while Phil Davisprefers fusion. Drummer Jerome Kimsey has a background in R&B, funk, rock, and jazz. The newest members of the band are saxophonist Amo Chip, and keyboardists/vocalists Lamonte Arthurand Peaches.

    In 1992, Muniz, Uribe, and Davies teamed up with George Howard and the Roadhouse Hounds. When that line-up dissolved close to a year later, the three formed the Blues Light Blues Band. Muniz said they picked the name because "we wanted something that had to do with the Blues, just to let people know we are a blues-based band.

    The B.L.B.B. formed in March of 1993. They started playing in Tucson at Windy Cities and the Chicago Bar where they drew good crowds. About five months ago they left both venues to make the Neon Moon their new home every Friday through Tuesday. They have a self titled cassette out which features their renditions of popular covers as well as one original.

    "We did what the people wanted to hear and that was a lot of covers." Muniz expressed. "That worked really well because people would buy the tape. What we're trying to do now is sell enough copies of the tape to have a CD of all original material. That's our next project."

    Muniz said that the three members handle the transactions of the group. Uribe handles the "physical resources" which includes the PA system, equipment and transportation. Davies does the booking of special engagements as well as the regular club bookings. Muniz is in charge of promotion, interviews and dealings with all forms of print, radio, and TV media.

    Besides playing at the clubs mentioned, Phoenix nightspots they have been booked at are The Rhythm Room, Chars Blues Club, The Blue Note and The Brass Rail.

    The Blues Light Blues Band feels strongly about getting the Blues out to the public.

    "I really concentrate on keeping the Blues alive like Sam (Taylor) does," he said. "I think music is more than something you listen to. It brings people together, it bonds families, friends and strangers. You're all in one room together, you exchange energies. You make things happen that wouldn't have happened before. "You can do that with any kind of music. Just to see people's faces light up and see them happy-it's such a good feeling," Muniz concluded. "And I'm really fortunate to be one of the few musicians in Tucson to have music as not only my occupation, but my living. It's who I am and what I am."

    Liars, Gods and Beggers

    Looking Ahead Across the Waves

    By Tina Alvarez

    When Liars, Gods and Beggars chose their name, they did it kind of backwards. "We used to be called LGB and everybody kept asking us 'What does LGB mean' and it didn't stand for anything," explained keyboardist Steve Ball. "But we got asked that so many times we felt we should give ourselves a name. We tossed around a lot of possibilities, different combinations, and this one flashed out."

    This Prescott based band has been together six years and have released eight recordings, the latest which is a double-live cassette album, "Chthonic Boom." Besides Ball, the six member group includes lyricist and vocalist Mr. Lee, guitarist Stan Hitson, bass guitarist Matthew Files, and drummer Justin Hitson.

    Their infectious music has delighted fans in the U.S. and Europe, where they are building an enthusiastic following by utilizing their style of rock, R&B, Pop and whatever else strikes their creative minds. Not only are they musically-compatible, their closeness extends into other areas of their lives as well.

    Mr. Lee said that when he moved to Prescott six years ago, he started a business with a friend from Germany, which half of the band is employed by, so there is no problem with taking time off for touring.

    In addition, Stan Hitson's son, Justin, is also in the band. "Our original drummer decided to move on about a year ago. Stan's son is 18 years old and a musician in his own right," described Mr. Lee. "Stan had this wild idea that Justin could learn to play drums and be our drummer." Mr. Lee said the band considered it a great solution because they've known Justin since he was a child and they knew one of his frustrations as a musician was finding someone to play with that's up to his musical ability.

    "He went out by himself, bought a set of drums and started to practice four hours a day," continued Mr. Lee. "In three months time he moved into the band. He's naturally talented. He picked it right up. He's made great strides as a drummer and is really filling the bill quite nicely."

    LGB is a band that maintains a close relationship with their audience, not only in their live performances but also in a quarterly newsletter that is printed and distributed by a fan and supporter.

    Regarding their music, Ball said they are difficult to categorize and came up with the concept of "work rock."

    "We're not like anybody else, we're unique to ourselves," stated Ball. "We came up with the idea of 'work rock' and that's what we call what we do. If people want to delve into the lyrics and get the sum of what we're singing about- it's about work. It can be about working on one's relationship, to just about anything in life."

    Mr. Lee acknowledged that all have been playing a number of years and the combined experience lends itself to the band's stability.

    "I think part of the secret to staying together is that we really want this." Mr. Lee claimed. "We have a bond amongst ourselves and we recognize the value of it. We are all able and willing to overcome just about any obstacle to maintain the dream that we have and part of that comes from being mature."

    Liars, Gods and Beggars will be touring Germany for the sixth time during 1995.

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