Most Influential Arizona Punk Rock Records: #1 -- The Consumers, All My Friends Are Dead
When I initially pitched the idea of doing a list of 10 local records I found to be hugely influential, I had no idea where the road would lead or what I would find when I traveled it. The journey has been enlightening, fairly difficult, and, more than anything, it has been a huge gift to my own soul, and hopefully some of yours, to hear and read the stories of how these records came to exist. The bands have been great to work with and, for the most part, have seemed genuinely happy to share their stories. Without the help, though, of Dan Clark and Arthur Shane, this would have been much more difficult to undertake, so I would like to thank both of them from the bottom of my blackened heart.
Music, at least for me, is as much about discovery as it is creation. From the work of the Zany Guys to the Consumers, who I will profile in this final piece, there is still so much to discover, so much to be inspired by, and so much to celebrate. I know I've only scratched the surface on Arizona's incredible music scene and, more than anything, I look forward to the next batch of influential bands and records to write about as there is plenty out there from which to choose.
Arguably, the Consumers started it all when it comes to Arizona punk rock. This argument is moot, of course, because the pieces of this puzzle all fell into place almost 40 years ago and The Consumers are the only one of the first three Arizona punk bands (The Liars and The Exterminators were the other two) to have a record out there.
All My Friends Are Dead was recorded in 1977. In fact, I have seen the receipt from Livingston Audio Productions from December 3, 1977, to prove it, thanks to Paul Cutler, who played guitar and was one of the five members of the Consumers. For my money, they are both the first and the most influential of all Arizona punk rock bands. The record in question fucking rules, and their influence is apparent in all of the other nine bands in this series.
Cutler and fellow surviving member bassist Mikey Borens were joined by vocalist David Wiley (later of L.A. post-punk group Human Hands), guitarist Greg Jones, and drummer Jim Allen (eventually replaced by John "Johnny Precious" Vivier for live shows) on All My Friends Are Dead, which was not released until 18 years after it was recorded. For years, not much was known about the Consumers, and 37 years later, the details of the band are not always easy to come by.
Bassist Borens says, "I do remember how much everyone liked music and playing music and how were interested in so many things -- art, music, literature. That's what people should know. We listened to everything from glitter rock to krautrock to experimental and jazz rock. Sometimes I hear it in the music and sometimes not. Consumers music was a distillation of a lot of things. And the guys in the Consumers brought a lot of thought and energy to the band. When we played, we played for keeps."
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