One lament you'd never expect to hear about the local punk scene is that there's no sense of community. Punk, by its very nature, champions apathy, an I-could-give-a-shit belief system and do-it-yourself work ethic. But truth be told, punk's nihilistic front just ensures that you're not listening to music made by pussies.
If DIY gets you off the couch, great. But who couldn't use a little help promoting their snotty bands? Seven years ago, Micah Allan and Chris Lawson, with help from Bryan Sandell, started up azpunk.com to be the community forum punk has pretended it never needs. And not just to locals. For touring bands, AZPunk has been a valuable tool for linking up like-minded folks with its directories for bands, zines, record labels, venues, punk stores, and free classified ads.
Now AZPunk could use some help. "Our main huge expense is the dedicated server we need that can hold the amount of traffic the site gets on a daily basis," Allan says. We've got 31,000 registered members and 2,000 members that are active on the site all the time."
Allan thought about offering premium membership and raised the idea on azpunk.com's message board. "It wouldn't fly. You can't ask people to pay for what they've gotten for free," he says.
They've been staging two benefit concerts a month for the past three months, but Allan felt they needed something more novel than six bands at J-Heads on a Saturday night. That's when Tom Reardon of Pinky Tuscadero WKAF came up with this phenomenal idea for a local band fundraiser: Six bands, four members each, no two from the same band, assembled with less thought than that of the last eight lineups of Menudo, given a name that people on a message board suggested, and given two months to come up with a 30-minute set of original material and one cover.
"It's positive for the local community to kick everybody in the ass," Allan says. "Right now, the scene is stagnant, boring. There's too much cynicism. A lot of bands, my band (Family Secret) included, have been playing the same shows over and over. And the shrinking of available venues hasn't helped. Tempe and Scottsdale are not places you want to open a punk rock club now." Case in point — a recently scheduled punk expo at Shayna's was canceled by the city of Scottsdale on the night of the show because, well, just because. Damn punks!
Well, come December 8, punk's gonna have a new face — six new dirty ones, in fact. And while it's got punks of different stripes and tribes working together, it wouldn't be punk without a little animosity spread around. There'll be three judges on hand, à la American Idol, determining the winner at an upcoming show called "Thrash of the Titans," but for now, everyone seems to want to assume the Simon Cowell role.
Talking about the diligent work habits of his temporary band, Gunfuck, Allan smiles as he recounts the emerging squabbles with the other bands. "Everybody's nervous but keeping a poker face about it. Some people are talking shit. Bro-Loaf has been all over MySpace and AZPunk, talking smack."
So far, on the AZPunk message board, Bro-Loaf is leading the charge (or ballot stuffing) with 38 percent of the popular vote. In last place is Arizona Joe and the Methadone 3 with 2 percent, which translates to only two votes. That means even the Methadone 3 couldn't be jazzed enough to vote for themselves.
How about you? Here are six band profiles, taken from our specially prepared Thrash of the Titans questionnaire, to help you to make a determination:
Kenyatta (NunZilla), Jay (Greenhaven), Josh (13 Black), Micah (Family Secret)
Advantages: Micah Allan of AZPunk is in the band and stands to lose the most face if Gunfuck chokes.
Disadvantages: They cite beer as their major influence and chief songwriter, but can't agree on Tecate or Stella.
Their sound: Allan says they're going for that punkametalbillyfunkthrashdoom-core sound.
Titan band that troubles them the least: "The Fuckin Rabbits should be quite the shit-fest."
Sample song lyric: "We Gunfuck you up."
Biggest internal drama: Allan's real band told him, "Either bring home the championship or don't bother coming back."
Ben (Casket Life), Kevin (The Earps), John (Mystery Pissers), Berenice (Pop Gestapo)
Advantages: They have this sickening brand of positivism that involves using "bro" and "awesome" a lot.
Disadvantages: The recent San Diego fires forced Kevin to leave Phoenix to help evacuate his family, and he was on tour with the Earps for the entire month of November. So he's missed a ton of practices, including the one where he would've drunk the Bro-Loaf Kool-Aid. When told this was a charity event, he countered, "Aw, fuck man. This keeps getting worse."
Their sound: Ben: "The same sound yer mammy's vag makes when it's getting bonered by Bro-Loaf!"
Titan band that troubles them the least: "That Arizona Joe blow band and that boner-back Sunday are doomed from their stupid names alone," Kevin says. "A band with 'Fuck' in their name has never historically done well, either . . . Oh, how their mothers must be proud."
Sample lyric: "The Bro-Loaf crew is in full effect/We're drinkin' brews and pissin' down your neck!!"
Biggest internal drama: "No drama among bros. We are awesomer than awesome!" Berenice says.
THE NAUGHTY LITTLE SQUIRREL FUCKERS
Shawn (The Declaimed), Drea (My Doll), Tom (Pinky Tuscadero WKAF), Nick (Dephinger)
Advantages: "We have written songsabout nuts, deviled eggs, and puking on a dog. I think that's as punk rock as it gets," Drea says.
Disadvantages: They've rehearsed only eight times so far.
Their sound: "A cross between a nail being driven into the skull of any member of Gunfuck and a drunken squirrel doing karaoke wearing only a thong," Tom says.
Titan band that troubles them the least: "The Fuckin Rabbits. I dunno, maybe because the only thing talented about the band is the actual name? Just saying," Drea says.
Sample song lyric: "You fucking stole my glass eye" (from "Taintlicker Fuckbeast").
Biggest internal drama: "It's none of New Times' business. And besides, there's nothing for Stephen Lemons to eat here," Tom says.
THE FUCKIN RABBITS
Carl (The Meat Department), Steven (Heatstroke) Greg (Storm The Gates), Jason (NunZilla)
Advantages: Has the psych-out thing down pat. Even has a song that mentions "Bro-Loaf bro hos who get tattoos on their lower back."
Disadvantages: Guitarist Steven is a megalomaniac with a Marc Bolan fixation and says, "When we play, I am going to wear a shirt with my face on it and a huge freaking cardboard cutout of myself behind our band."
Their sound: "I really think our sound has been reflecting [Bolan's] earlier work with T. Rex, bongos and all," Steven says.
Titan band that troubles them the least: "Bro-Loaf is going to freaking blow. I mean, in all honesty, how in hell do you think they can get away with a name like that?"
Sample song lyric: "Our future hit song is a big slap in the face towards me about being a 'Quaker,'" Steven says. "It's called 'Pants Full of Oatmeal,' and you guys will probably crap your pants after hearing this."
Biggest internal drama: "Greg just shows up and says, 'Yeah, dude, that's cool,' so I boss him around like my Mormon ex-girlfriends. And Jason broke his fingers like two days ago, so I'm not even sure if he knows that he's not in our band. Ha!" Steven says.
ARIZONA JOE AND THE METHADONE 3
J.R. (Working Class Whore), Joey (BYOW?), Landon (Last Resistance), Eric (Pinky Tuscadero WKAF )
Advantages: No one knows what band Joey is really in, so the smack talk is harder to deliver.
Disadvantages: Has a rep for being lazy, which they reinforced by ignoring the questionnaire until the last minute.
Their sound: Landon: "We all have different backgrounds and have come up with some really interesting stuff." Uh-oh.
Titan band that troubles them the least: "I don't think Give Me Back My Sunday has practiced yet. Haha."
Sample song lyric: "This is another one of those secrets I can't disclose until the show."
Biggest internal drama: "We came together really easily and haven't had any major songwriting problems." Translation: The drummer writes songs, too!
GIVE ME BACK MY SUNDAY
Nickolas (ABIOTIX), Jesse (80*D), Zeb (Blanche Davidian), Geoff (Last Resistance)
Advantages: Didn't answer the questionnaire at all, creating the illusion they're going to bring the whole evening to a thud with their serious emo shit.
Disadvantages: Everyone keeps getting their name right.
Get the Music Newsletter
Keep your thumb on the local music scene each week with music news, trends, artist interviews and concert listings. We'll also send you special ticket offers and music deals.