Hey, kids, I'm back! You might not have noticed my absence, but I made a recent excursion that felt like it must have lasted a year. In a way, it did.
Using the principles I gleaned from Roberta Sparrow's book Philosophy of Time Travel, and an ungodly amount of re-watching Donnie Darko, I just did a flyover of 2005 (and boy, are my arms tired). I really didn't feel that we needed to recap the miserable year for local music that was 2004, so I thought I'd fill you in on what's in store for the '05 -- be warned, it's not pretty (and I'm not just talking about my one-night stands).
I'm a Tempe resident still, as of 12/31/05, so I was most startled by the actions of Arizona State University President Michael Crow and Tempe Mayor Hugh Hallman. In an obviously Mormon-influenced move, the two issued a declaration proclaiming downtown Tempe and ASU a melody-free zone, prompting the few remaining music venues in the area to litigate against Tempe and ASU in what became known as the Footloose court battle. The clubs fighting to keep the music alive lost their asses in court, and then, by necessity, surrendered their properties to their attorneys for payment of legal fees, and Mill Avenue quickly rivaled the downtown Phoenix Luhrs Building in barrister-office density. Funny thing is, no one, save late-night-television-watching litigious senior citizens, has noticed a difference. Except, of course, the middle-aged stoner hippies, who keep showing up at the former Sail Inn, wondering who the hell Goldberg & Osborne are.
In much, much better club-oriented news, Mark and Abby Covert reopened Nita's Hideaway just west of the 101 on Broadway, where patrons can smoke and, thanks to the return of über-promoter Charlie Levy, see their favorite national acts (without paying $5 to park). Nita's resurrection was almost by necessity, as Mill Avenue's anti-melody law caused the Marquee Theatre to be razed and replaced by a church. As of 12/31/05, Nita's is still open, but its future is, as always, uncertain.
In news that will sadden 16-year-old emo kids both here in the 'Nix and across the country, Valley rockers-made-good Jimmy Eat World broke up in March '05 after prolonged fighting over the top bunks in the bus while touring for Futures. Front man Jim Adkins has gone on to have the solo career he's always been destined to, channeling the spirit of my beloved homey Elliott Smith and kicking it melancholy style. The remaining three successfully sued to retain the Jimmy Eat World name, and are touring casinos nationwide with Braid playing the band's back catalogue.
Adkins decided to forgo the major-label route that Jimmy Eat World has always pursued, and released two acoustic albums in 2005 on his own Western Tread label. Additionally, he and partner Charlie Levy signed Army of Robots, Tucson's the Bled, and solo songstress Yolanda Bejarano, finally actualizing the potential of Arizona's pool of talent and establishing Western Tread as an indie not to be fucked with, much like Omaha's Saddle Creek Records. Los Angeles bands began moving to the Valley in hopes of getting in with the W.T. crew, but soon returned home after experiencing the humiliating process of trying to get booked at one of the Valley's few remaining venues.
AZPunk.com continued to flourish, as did the explosion of teenage punk-rock bands. The sheer volume of mediocre punk bands now saturates the Valley to the point where Metropolitan Mattress is airing medleys of its infamous jingles by selected bands from the AZPunk.comp V.4 disc. Sleep America's Debbie Gaby choked on Eddie Matney's BLT risotto and nearly died when she discovered that 15-year-old computer geeks with faux-hawks are the new driving force in the mattress market.
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For the shiny pants demographic, I have sad news. Glam/hair metal is the new electroclash in '05, making ascertaining gender an even more confusing endeavor at Hot Pink. In related international news, the Darkness broke up in order for their records to be considered retro and to join the pantheon of bands like Poison, Warrant, and Whitesnake. Hottest dance track of the year: Peaches' cover of Europe's "The Final Countdown."
There's good news and bad news for the hip-hop scene here in the 'Nix. The local community of MCs and DJs finally realized that no one's actually listening to the music at their omnipresent nights scattered across the Valley, and decided to put more than 10 minutes and a blunt into writing a song. Sadly, though, the Blow Up Co-op crew (Drunken Immortals, Morse Code, etc.) was deemed a threat to national security by the Department of Homeland Security because of its incendiary name, and all related artists have been prevented from traveling outside Maricopa County.
There's more I could tell you -- births, deaths, gangsta rapper battles, etc. -- but there's gotta be some surprises waiting for you, or we may as well just fast-forward to 2006. But in reality, a butterfly flapping its wings in Glendale could change everything I saw on my trip through time. Come to think of it, the future is really in your hands -- go support your local venues, buy some local records, fall desperately in love with your favorite local rock star (or music columnist), and 2005 might just turn out okay after all.