From now on, when someone asks you what the day in the middle of the week is, no longer need you say, "err, hump day." Now you can say "It's Heritage Hump Day!" That's because every Wednesday from now to the end of the year or before someone really big stops us, Heritage Hump Records (a subsidiary of Onus Records) and New Times will be bringing you a limited edition collector's item of a much beloved Phoenix band that walked the earth before the year 2000 A.D. We will honor that band with a commemorative digital single that you, the public, will have only seven days to download to your computers and smart phones before this single gets marked up to an exorbitant price as determined by the mp3 collector community. When that happens, a new Heritage Hump subject will be chosen and the free-for-a-limited-time-only cycle begins anew.
This week we dig back to the year 2000 and give props to Tempe's favorite sons The Pistoleros. In those heady pre-911 times, all the Zubia brothers Lawrence and Mark were concerned about was not where Bin Laden was determined to strike but where their next major label record deal was coming from. Brian Smith this wrote of the band in his fine Pistoleros profile in the November 16, 2000, edition of New Times:
"The template quality of the Pistoleros' story thus far resembles the first half of nearly any episode of the increasingly irritating Behind the Music specials seen on VH1.
"Band forms and pays dues playing myriad local gigs. A loyal following blossoms. A founding member quits and later commits suicide. Band self-releases full-length record. In the interim, band frontman's long-festering drug problem now rivals any member of Aerosmith circa Night in the Ruts.
"After enduring cop chases, rehab and near death, singer bounces back. Major Record Company signs band. Band disregards intuition and puts trust in tin-eared label folk. To ensure an album rife with "pop hits," in-house producer and outside songwriters are employed. The record, though good, falls short of capturing the soul of the band. Label folk pick the album's first single, a song whose chorus is in Spanish. Pop history has taught us that songs with non-English choruses are generally antithetic to U.S. pop-chart success. The album stiffs. Band tours briefly and plays to empty venues."
Most bands understandably might've packed it in there but the Pistoleros returned to Tempe and made a self-titled, self-financed record that pissed atop their Hollywood Records opus from a considerable altitude. No corporate second guessing here, and no more is that evident than this seductive track tucked away more than halfway through the album.
Says Lawrence today, "Around the time we wrote that tune, the people on Mill and in the 'scene' were already starting to lament the 'old days' in regards to Wong's Mill Ave. '1000 Miles' was written as kind of response to that longing for the good ol' days sentiment."
Indeed, the nostalgia for those boom days on the '90s still reverberates, given things like the Tempe History Museum offering encased artifacts of Mill Ave memorabilia under 25 years old. It's no wonder the band recently reintroduced the song in their live set:
And everywhere you look around it's all you see
Are those resigned to memories of love
And everyone, everyone's to blame
If you want to fool yourself and make believe
That now is an eternity again
And everybody knows that everything's the same
So don;t try to make a run while you're still walking
100 miles and no one here is really talking...
Happily, the band survived long enough to ride this wave of nostalgia and counter it with a brand new album on Fervor records called Shine. There will be a CD release party for the album at Last Exit Live this Saturday, January 17. You can probably get the band to autograph a copy but you have just seven days to figure out how to get them to personalize a collectible mp3!
You can download this temporarily free track at for seven days here.
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