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A selection of Arizona musicians and bands. Articles by Tina Alvarez.

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Random Arizona Musings

By Tina Alvarez, from "Music Voice Magazine"

Arizona-based punk band Jimmy Eat World has acquired a development deal with Capitol Records. The terms of the agreement are vague but we can tell you that Capitol will support the band (cash) and pay for the recording of their album. At that time Capitol will exercise their "right of first refusal." If Cap likes it, Jimmy's like Flint; if not, they will again be a free agent. Good luck guys.

CDGB is looking for local bands who want to sell their tapes and cds at a local record outlet. If interested, contact Job Hockstaff at (602) 788-0944 or 3321 E. Bell Rd. #B.

Arizona bands AZZ IZZ and Mogollon appear on the 1994 Bud/GHS Strings In Concert Series cd called String Together. The CD is basically a promotion of the versatility of GHS Strings, but offers cool exposure for some local acts from throughout America. Unfortunately, the cd is not available through record stores here, but will available through 5000 music stores throughout the country. Wanna know more? (312) 644-0600 ext 24. Look for review in Music Voice Magazine next month.

The Electric Ballroom begun after hours shows Friday, Jan 20. After hours will be every Friday & Saturday til 4 AM (as ok'd by the Tempe City Council in a 5 to 1 vote). This makes EB as the first after hours club with live music in Tempe since 1991.

Phoenix singer Alice Tatums new release is Pian on Tempest Recording. Her release party was held last month at Border Books in Mesa.

Another Tempest Recording Artist, Diana Lee, has a CD out, Live and Gimmick Free. The Rhythm Room in Phoenix was the site of her release shindig. Both the Lee and Tatum LPs were produced by Clarke Rigsby.

The Fatima Mansions

"Oh, if there is any unified theme, it is simply the despair that comes from being a participant in the decline of the Western industrial powers," summed up Fatima Mansions' lead singer Cathal Coughlan of their new release, Lost in the Former West.

On the work, the Fatima Mansions remain faithful to their stinging, observant lyrical view of civilization, bathing it in a mesmerizing quasi-rock setting. The LP's opinionated songs were spawned from the time Coughlan spent in England's northeastern industrial city of Newcastle.

On "Popemobile to Paraguay," Coughlan states "The King of the Papists is a friend to the rapists" and "It's been awhile since you said 'Heil" you CIA-bred necrophile." The single, "Lost in the Former West," delves into universal as well as personal themes. "It's about any mechanism by which the people who hold the whip hand economically and legally seek to impose their will upon people who have choices but allow themselves to be frightened into doing what they are told to do," Coughlan explained, "It's also quite autobiographical, about some things that happened to me a few years ago when I thought I didn't have any choice in my own behavior, and how I allowed it to cause disaster for myself and a number of other people." The 13-track CD is on Radioactive Records.

Big Head Todd and the Monsters

Big Head Todd and the Monsters' latest offering was recorded in the Boulder Theater in Boulder, Colorado. "I'd be in the theater at night, just me, my drums and 32 tracks of ADAT," Brian Nevin described. "An old theater like that has a spirit that comes from the ghost of thousands of past performances."

Bassist Rob Squires added, "Since I live in the mountainss 90 minutes outside of Boulder, some of my tracks were recorded at home, but we also recorded together as a band and peeled a little paint off the theater's walls." "Strategem" is the follow-up to their 1993 gold album "Sister Sweetly." Besides appearances on television programs, touring with Robert Plant and headlining four sold-out tours of their own, they found time to record "Strategem" in a focused six months. "I've been thinking about this album for years. This LP is why we became a band," said lead singer/guitarist Todd Park Mohr. "It was a very solitary time for me. I allowed nothing else in my life except the space I worked in and this material."

"Strategem" was engineered by Andy Torri and mixed by Andy Wallace (Nirvana, Sepultura, Helmut). Mohr undertakes some innovative approaches on the LP. As noted in the linear notes: "'Strategem' is a pastoral, which means the bulk of the verse avoids references which imply a particular period of time. Many of the verses are 'koans.' A koan is a certain type of riddle upon which a Buddhist meditates to empty the mind of thoughts." Concluded Mohr, "More than a singer or a guitarist, I see myself as a songwriter. I took a very disciplined approach to writing this album. In terms of lyrics, I have always strived to have my writing reflect my own discovery."

Funky Bonz

Funky Bonz, a self-proclaimed funk/punk/rock/grunge/reggae/blues band, is a Tucson,Arizona group that is dear to my heart. My first encunter with the band was a letter addressed to me. I opened it and saw in huge letters, PLEASE- WE NEED PRESS BAD!! Yeah, yeah, I thought, everybody and their grandma. But as I read percussionist Brent Kort's plea of desperation, I became interested.

From their correspondence, Funky Bonz met the basic criteria I look for. Were they actively playing out? Yes. Were they recording? Did they have a cassette or cd out and did they send me a copy? Yes. Was the tone of their letter pushy, arrogant, demanding or asshole-ish? No. Okay, four, three, two, oneÑ we have lift off! Funky Bonz formed in the summer of '93 when Tim Starner and Kort joined forces with Demetri Enriquez and Greg Barkulis. Three weeks later they were playing out. They've opened for Wise Monkey Orchestra, Spacefish, Phunk Junkeez and the Cherry Poppin' Daddies, among others.

According to Kort, the band really took off when saxophonist Tom Kennedy (former Four Pigs member) became the group's newest edition. It didn't take long for the band to captivate an enthusiastic following with their funky fun sound, a group that has a genuinely good time. They have been progressing quite nicely since the early days, playing here in Tucson as well as the Phoenix-Flagstaff, Arizona area, and were invited to play at an ABKS showcase.

They have a new cassette out called "Stoned to the Bone" which features their always entertaining brand of music. It consists of six new numbers and five classics from their self-titled cassette. From the fun little ditty "Green Eggs and Ham" to the speedy reggae on "Jah Is God" to the punk feel of "Till Death Do You Part," Funky Bonz keeps the groove going.

Speaking recently to Kort, he said they have added two more horn players on a temporary/permanent basis, depending on how things work out and various schedules. Their origianl drummer has left the group to go back to school (music industry related trade school) and is replaced by Aaron Bassel. Even with this new release out, they are back in Illusion Studios recording again, using some of Barkulis' drum tracks and utilizing the talents of all their horn players.

Take a listen to "Stoned to the Bone" and keep your eyes out for this next one. Currently they have been playing a number of gigs with Phoenix band Congo Shock, so check your local listings (And JJ, I'm not being nice to them just because they gave me a t-shirt with the cassette either).

See Tina's other article on Funky Bonz.

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