Not Miranda, you fool, Mirainga.
After a week spent skipping down more blind alleys than an Alphabet City speed freak, I've called off the hounds. At this point, I'm willing to confirm status upon Mr. Mirainga as "the band from nowhere."
Make that everywhere.
The publicity flacks at MCA still hold firm that the Afro-Cuban/punk quartet (hey, it sounds better than it sounds) "came out of the Tempe music scene."
That's a bunch of crap.
Mirainga's manager, J.P. Boquette, says the band formed in Mesa four years ago, but moved to Orange County, California, in 1993. The "book-it-yourself guide" in the 1994 edition of the Bay Area punk bible Maximum Rock 'N' Roll gives a Fullerton, California, address for the band.
The November 13 issue of Zia Zine carried a write-up on Mr. Mirainga that quoted guitarist Hedge as saying the band split for the Golden State because "we couldn't stand another summer here." However, that article also said the band was from Tempe.
Gavin, a publicity representative for Way Cool music, the sliver-size division of MCA that signed Mr. Mirainga earlier this year, says the band used to be from Mesa. "Now," he says, "they're from all over the place."
Hey, I'm with you there.
Boquette kind of grunted when I told him MCA was pushing Mr. Mirainga as a band the label picked fresh from the Tempe scene. He then pointed out that while MCA is handling publicity for the Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls soundtrack (Mr. Mirainga has a cut on the album, "Burnin' Rubber," that was the most-added alternative-rock-radio single in the country two weeks ago). Way Cool is the band's official publicist.
So I guess "They're from all over the place" will have to do. Hell, it's probably the most accurate statement I heard. Boquette says the confusion may stem from the band's policy of not identifying with any one city--as evidenced by the title of Mirainga's four-song indie EP Fuck the Scene.
"Everyone we talk to who asks, we usually tell we're an Arizona band," he says. "That's where we formed, but I still wouldn't say we're from there. We're definitely not part of the Tempe scene, just like we're not part of the Orange County punk scene.
"But you know how kids in Arizona drive? That's what 'Burnin' Rubber' is about--stealing your dad's car to go do some peel-outs and shit."
Look at it another way, Boquette says, and Mr. Mirainga is from Mexico. "The singer's parents have a house down there where they go to get all their ideas and write their songs. That's where they hide and work on music."
So what's the downside of overnight fame? "The guys are tripping out on signing autographs. We were in Baton Rouge a couple nights ago, and a bunch of people were hanging around after the show with shirts they wanted signed.
"The guys thought that was a little too rock star and were like, 'Why don't you just come hang out with us instead?'. They wound up inviting the entire club backstage for a party."
While I don't know where Mirainga is from, I do know where the band is: on tour with 1,000 Mona Lisas and scheduled to pass through the Valley on December 14. The venue is still unknown, as is the title of the band's debut recording, due out January 2.
Watch Out for Piranhas--Tripping Daisy came in like the Tasmanian Devil and went out like Tweety Bird on November 14 in the band's headliner slot at Gibson's. Putting "Piranhas" fourth on the set list was a bold move, but ultimately a foolish one.
Daisy's rising radio hit capped a give-it-to-me-hard opening salvo that included "Rocketpop"--not only the first track on Elastic Firecracker, but also a perfectly concise description of the band's sound.
Lead singer Tim DeLaughter lived up to his name by coming onstage in a red bathrobe and purple wig--hey, chicks dig that kind of thing. Two starry-eyed women up front actually stroked DeLaughter's tennis shoe like it was a Persian whenever he pranced within reach.
Post "Piranhas," however, Tripping Daisy lost its luster like silverware in bilge water. "I Got a Girl" stoked the ashes, producing one final, fleeting flame; but, asa whole, the concert was like a love affair that burns too hot too soon (not to say those can't be a kick).
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End Notes--To those of you who spent a few frustrating minutes of your life searching through this week's Music section for the promised local CD reviews, please accept my apologies. One of our critics had a medical emergency that required him to leave town on short notice. The reviews will be there next week, or else I take Nile Theater promoter Corey Adams up on his offer to wrestle him naked in a vat of cherry pudding.
Come on, wouldn't you pay to see that?
Texas and Tennessee beat out Arizona for total number of awards at the Country Music Association of America's 1995 convention and awards competition in Las Vegas last month. However, one Arizona outfit more than held its own: Zo Carroll and the Last Ride, from Tucson, practically swept the major categories, winning Male Vocalist of the Year, Male Entertainer of the Year and Band of the Year. The Ragin' River Band, from Phoenix, also won Vocal Group of the Year. If I had a cowboy hat, I'd be waving it in the air.
Fire Up the Eight Tracks--Musician magazine just started accepting entries for its 1996 Best Unsigned Band Competition. Deadline for entries is December 31. Forms, rules and much, much more can be yours. Just call 1-800-BUB-7096. Oh, and get this--the judges are Stone Gossard, Steve Winwood, Juliana Hatfield, Matthew Sweet and Jimmy Jam. In related news, Swatch (can it really still be in business?) is calling for developing-artist submissions for the bauble timepiece company's Music West Conference in May '96. Deadline is January 15. For info call Natacha at 1-604-684-9338.--David Holthouse