Worst of Phoenix--The Music Scene

Just a few splashes of vinegar to cut all the honey in this issue . . .

WORST REVIEW OF A LOCAL BAND
PRINTED OUTSIDE THE VALLEY
Review of Fizzy, Fuzzy, Big and Buzzy
June issue of Grid

The Refreshments continue to bubble along nicely--with a new video in rotation on MTV and a recent glowing write-up in Rolling Stone--but the Tempe outfit took it on the chin in a lethal review of its major-label debut that ran in Salt Lake City, Utah's monthly music rag.

An excerpt: "The Dockers crowd won't notice what pansies these guys really are, since they'll be too busy trolling for babes. But, in a nutshell, the Refreshments are the only other band from Tempe, Arizona, that the Gin Blossoms could kill in a slap fight."

WORST LOCAL MUSIC RAG
The Music Voice
Always good for a rousing game of spot-the-typo, The Music Voice also periodically provides a forehead-slapping display of critical ignorance. Most recently, editor J.J. Terre gushed in the intro to an interview with the Spin Doctors that he just can't wait for the band to come out with a follow-up to Pocket Full of Kryptonite. Uh, J.J.--the Docs already suffered through a sophomore jinx with Turn It Upside Down, which flopped so hard we thought no one with even a casual eye on the business could have missed the thud.

WORST ONSTAGE PYROTECHNICS
Seven Storey Mountain
New Times Music Awards Showcase, April 21, 1996

Proof positive of the dangers of subcontracting sound support, a stage monitor caught fire during the last song of Seven Storey Mountain's set outside Valley Art Theatre. Obviously nonplussed by the speaker's lame imitation of a KISS concert flash-pot, the band bravely played on as wires smoldered and acrid smoke rose around them, leaving one audience member to wonder aloud, "Honey, is that supposed to be happening?"

WORST CRYBABIES
Satellite
When the sadly defunct Planet magazine trashed Satellite's debut CD early this year, the band demanded the magazine remove Satellite's track from the Exile on Cameron Harper Street local-music compilation disc. Unfortunately, the CD was already pressed. When Planet writer Sean Donovan approached Satellite front man Steven Ashbrook for an interview to pump up the CD's release (Planet ran miniprofiles of each band on the disc), he was met with this terse reply: "Planet gave us some free press. Unfortunately, it's not the kind we like. No thank you." And Sean--you can't play with my Legos anymore, either.

WORST GUERRILLA TACTICS BY A LOCAL PROMOTER
Ty Carter, TMC Presents
Or at least the most ruthless. After a miniriot broke out ten minutes before closing time at the downtown nightspot Jackson Hole on August 25, club owner Bernard Gaines told local promoter Ty Carter to take his weekly hip-hop night (tagged "The Vibe") elsewhere. (The melee reportedly broke out when one of the club's security men broke up a fight between two women and roughly tried to eject one of them from the club.)

Early the next week, Carter heard Gaines was planning to keep the hip-hop night going on his own (and pocket the door along with the bar). In retaliation, Carter and friends littered the Thursday hip-hop night at Anderson's Fifth Estate with handbills announcing "The Vibe is officially closed." Which was technically true, but deliberately misleading. Carter also put the word out to local hip-hop deejays that if they worked for Gaines, they would never again work for him (TMC regularly hires local deejays to spin between sets at national hip-hop shows).

The next Saturday night, attendance at Jackson Hole was down to about 40 people, from the usual 200 to 300. Gaines has since canceled the hip-hop night at his club.

WORST TEMPER FOR A LOCAL MUSICIAN
Patti Pierson
Guitarist, The Piersons

So far, Patti's the only local minstrel this year to single-handedly shut down a venue without even showing up.

Here's the story: One afternoon in late July, an enraged Pierson reportedly stormed into Nita's Hideaway manager (and former Piersons manager) Charles Levy's office and, says Levy, started throwing desk items, spitting and screaming.

Levy had booked a West Coast Beat Angels/Piersons tour for Epiphany Records, and says "Patti was pissed because the tour didn't go well, and he was acting completely irrational." This was on a Tuesday. The Piersons were scheduled to play Nita's the following night, but Levy canceled the show and locked up the venue's sound system.

"I didn't want him kicking a hole in a monitor," says Levy. "I didn't even want to book another band, because knowing Patti, he would have shown up with his gear and been like, 'What, are you gonna stop me from playing?' The last time I'd seen him, he was screaming about how I'd wasted two weeks of his life. I just wanted to avoid any bloodshed."

--David Holthouse

David Holthouse is now wired.
The Web site is Mothership. The address is http://www.phoenixnewtimes.com/extra/holt/index.html. The options are myriad (multigenre criticism, archives, rave data, freak links).

 
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