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"They definitely paved the road we're following," says Sedillo. "We have a different sound, and I can't see us ever having the huge success of the Gin Blossoms, but they definitely opened things up for everyone here."
Last Chance Gas includes audible tributes to the Blossoms' sound; no doubt due to having Hopkins himself acting as co-producer. Hopkins' presence--combined with the band's insistence on recording all the tracks live--nearly made the engineer crazy.
"He freaked out when we told him we wanted to do it all live," Sedillo recalls. "And when he found out Doug was going to help produce, the first thing he said was, 'I don't allow a lot of drinking in the studio.' That lasted about five minutes into the second night."
Musically, the seven-song tape probably won't change the minds of critics who dismiss the band as Replacements wanna-bes. But it does show a strong improvement over the Piersons' debut release, not only musically and lyrically, but in the production quality, as well. And as far as Replacements comparisons go, the band isn't too concerned.
"I'd rather be compared to Paul Westerberg than, say, Michael Bolton," Sedillo says proudly.
"The influence is definitely there," Nichols agrees. "But we're growing out of that and into what the Piersons are, rather than what the Replacements were."
What the Piersons may lack in originality they make up for with an unfaltering onstage energy rarely found in the local scene. That energy has resulted in an ever-increasing fan base; where once the quartet hoped only for a gig at Wong's, now it's dreaming in terms of national acceptance. A record deal, a booking agent, a tour bus. CDs in the stores, for God's sake.
But those things are still a long way off; it looks like the band will have to be happy with its tape for the time being. And Saturday nights at Long Wong's, which, after all, still aren't that bad. "Long Wong's on a Saturday night," Sedillo says, grinning over his cigarette. "That's the best gig in town."
Piersons will perform on Friday, January 7, at Tony's New Yorker Club in Tempe, with Giant Sand, and Slims. Showtime is 8 p.m.; and Saturday, January 8, at Long Wong's in Tempe. Showtime is 10 p.m.
Troy Fuss is editor of ASU's State Press Magazine.