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Hurm may have first glimpsed Tessitore when 100 Iced Animals and Beats the Hell Out of Me played one of their many shows together in the early '90s.
"If you weren't into the Tempe sound, which was really becoming huge, and you weren't into heavy metal, which had always been a dominant force on the local scene, then the shows when those two bands played together was a good alternative," says Brink, 100 Iced Animals' co-founder.
100 Iced Animals were the hook-friendly foil to Beats Me's dark energy. Plenty chunky on their own, Talenti's pop sensibilities still shone through, bringing a little of the Pacific Northwest to the desert.
"We were inspired by the likes of Nirvana's Bleach album," says Talenti. "I was writing songs before, but when we heard Bleach, that was a really exciting record when it came out, and I was like, There's something going on here that I definitely would like to be a part of.'"
The band was so inspired by the burgeoning grunge explosion that Talenti once drove from Phoenix to Seattle, demo in hand, and stormed the gates of the Emerald City's then-indie powerhouse Sub Pop, expecting a deal on the spot.
The subsequent meeting with label folks didn't land the band a deal, but Sub Pop did distribute the band's seven-inch single "Shovel."
"We were really excited because we got an order for one from France," says the singer.
In spite of their fan in France, the long-term bliss of 100 Iced Animals wasn't to be, and the group disbanded quietly in 1994. A couple of years later, Talenti returned with another popular local act, Haggis. Haggis had been a staple of the local scene for a number of years, but was last seen live at a tumultuous show at last year's New Times Music Showcase, which found Talenti and bassist Moon going at it onstage. So, what is the fate of the favorite local Scottish delicacy?
"Haggis is done. We gave it a good shot, but it just wasn't fun anymore," Talenti reports. "I think we were trying too hard to get to the brass ring. It just wasn't the same as when we started the band."
What about the onstage ruckus at the showcase, which earned the band a win in the Most Entertaining Live Show category? "That was the final show. It's gone down in history." But Talenti is a slave to his art, and in a verbal wink, he says, "I think you'll see me back onstage sooner than later."
And sooner rather than later we can see Talenti and 100 Iced Animals opening for Beats the Hell Out of Me to benefit the Julie Hurm-Tessitore Memorial Garden. It's a time capsule for those music enthusiasts who want to reminisce and enjoy a snapshot of an important part of Phoenix's pop music past.
"Julie would be right on the side of the stage making faces at us for this show," Talenti says. "It's gonna be an emotional night, but it's going to be a very rewarding night as well."
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