His furious work ethic — and disregard for musical orthodoxy or scene politics —has been the defining aspect of Bishop's oeuvre. Impossible as it might be to define sonically, Bishop's work has always come fast and prolific, traits his earliest musical outfit, Sun City Girls (formed by Bishop, his brother Alan, and Charles Gocher) exhibited early on in the nascent Phoenix punk/experimental scene.

"Phoenix had quite an underground scene back in the early '80s," Bishop says. "There were, of course, a lot of straight-up punk and new wave bands, but I wasn't really into any of that back then. I'm still not. It was all too predictable and one-dimensional. That's just me, though.

"There were, however, enough experimental bands to keep me interested in the so-called 'scene,'" he says, citing Oliphant as a prime example of Phoenix's musical greats. "Dali's Daughter, Destruction, Maybe Mental — to this day, I think David has created the best sound art ever to come out of Phoenix."

Guitarist/composer Sir Richard Bishop abides.
Tim Bugbee
Guitarist/composer Sir Richard Bishop abides.

There were others, too, he says: Meat Puppets, Killer Pussy, Victory Acres, The Gary Russell Apocalypse, Eddy Detroit, and Mighty Sphincter, "all of which I never considered as being punk bands — even though others did."

Sun City Girls delighted in defying rock 'n' roll conventions. "It was always our intention to please ourselves first and foremost," he says.

"It was because of that approach that we were able to last as long as we did [until 2007]," he says. "A lot of people hated us with a passion in the early days, and that's when we knew we were directly over the target. Bombs away!"

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