The 15 Biggest Rock Stars Who Live in Arizona
Judas Priest frontman (and Paradise Valley resident) Rob Halford.
Stevie Nicks doesn't live here anymore. Neither does Megadeth frontman Dave Mustaine, Dokken's George Lynch, Kerry King of Slayer, former Metallica bassist Jason Newsted, nor Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame inductee Linda Ronstadt. At one time, all of these rock greats may have called Arizona their home, but have since left our state for new addresses. (Heck, even Chester Bennington of Linkin Park, who grew up in the Valley, reportedly sold his longtime pad in Gilbert recently and moved back to L.A.)
All that said, however, Arizona still boasts many recognizable rock stars as residents, whether they're of the homegrown variety or, just like a majority of our population, wound up moving here.
There's Alice Cooper, Brett Michaels, and Rob Halford, of course, not to mention many other famed vocalists, guitarists, and percussionists whose names are listed in both the annals of rock history and Arizona property records.
We've searched high and low for the many rockers who have Phoenix, Tucson, or other Arizona cities as their return address and compiled a list of those we could confirm that actually live here. (In other words, Paul McCartney doesn't count, even if there's a chance he might still own that ranch down in southern Arizona.)
Read on and rock on.
Just because its been a couple of years since Jerry Riopelle performed one of his hallmark New Years Eve gigs at the Celebrity Theatre, don't fret. It doesn't mean that he's ditched the Valley by any means. Nope, Riopelle still calls Scottsdale home, at least part of the year, one of many stops he's made along in his journey in the rock and pop world. During his 50-year-plus career, Riopelle has worked behind the scenes writing and producing songs for Capitol and A&M Records, as well as for the infamous Phil Spector, and seeing his songs covered by folks like Meatloaf, Kenny Loggins, and Herb Alpert. He later released his own material in the '70s and '80s, which got tons of airplay on KDKB and built up Riopelle's local popularity eons before he decided to move to Arizona in 2003.
When Mesa's Authority Zero isn't racking up the miles on its nationwide tours, they're usually back here in their stomping grounds of Arizona. And for lead vocalist and guitarist Jason DeVore, that doesn't mean plenty of vegging out in front of Netflix. Instead, he grabs his guitar and heads out to bars like Joe's Grotto, Tempe Tavern, Fibber Magee's in Chandler, and at least another half-dozen joints for solo gigs in front of his legion of local fans.
If this particular cat's name sounds familiar, it's probably because he made local headlines as of late. Last month, thieves broke into John Friesen's North Phoenix home and made off with four gold records that the former drummer/percussionist for Player had earned for the band's 1977 single, "Baby Come Back." Friesen spent six years on the kit for soft rock act during its glory years of the late '70s, which included opening for Eric Clapton, Heart, and Boz Scaggs, as well as seeing their aforementioned signature hit dethrone the Bee Gees from the top of the Billboard charts in January 1978.
Jim Adkins with Jimmy Eat World.
The man behind the microphone for local emo legends Jimmy Eat World not only has a residence in Phoenix but a snazzy one at that. According to the website for the Modern Phoenix Home Tour, the vocalist/guitarist and his wife Amy live in a stunning, single-story rambler-style ranch house from the 1950s that's filled with Midcentury Modern panache and loads of vintage style and fixtures. To paraphrase the late Kurt Cobain, teenage angst has paid off well.
The Facebook page for influential psychedelic punkers Meat Puppets lists the band's hometown as both Austin and Phoenix, which is emblematic of the fact that lead singer Curt Kirkwood resides in the Texas state capital while his brother Cris, the band's bassist, still hangs here in Arizona. And on the right day, you might just spot Cris at a few haunts around Tempe and Phoenix, like when he plays out with longtime girlfriend Ruth Wilson and nephew Elmo Kirkwood at different bars, or shows off his bizarrely colorful artwork at galleries or inside Carly's Bistro.
KONGOS: Phoenix's current "it" band.
This is admittedly a cheat, considering we're highlighting the entire band instead of a single musician, but we'd really be remiss in not including the Kongo brothers, especially considering they've truly become rock stars in 2014. Over the last six months, the proverbial rocket was strapped to their collective asses after getting signed to Epic Records, watching their song "Come With Me" scorch Billboard's alt-rock radio charts, and appearing on Jimmy Kimmel. It even was used by the WWE for the theme song of one of its pay-per-view smackdowns in May, which has go to count for something, right? At the moment, KONGOS lists Phoenix as it hometown, although given their meteoric rise to fame, we wouldn't be shocked if the band moved to L.A. or NYC in the near future.
Prog-rock icon Chris Squire (a.k.a. "Fish")
As founding member of groundbreaking prog-rock band Yes, Chris Squire's exploits on his bass guitar (both of the single- and triple-necked variety) have taken him around the globe countless times over the last four decades. He wound up in Phoenix in 2008, however, via family connections. According to an interview he did with local oldies station KOOL-FM, Squire's wife Scotland went into labor with their daughter Xilan several weeks early. The couple subsequently decided to fly to Arizona and have the child at Banner Desert Medical Center in Mesa due, in part, to his mother-in-law being a Valley resident.
And as cliche as it sounds, I'd like to raise another round.
We admit to getting a swell of hometown pride back in the mid-'90s whenever the theme for King of the Hill started playing on our TVs or the hit single "Banditos" got national airplay, since local Roger Clyne helped pen both of these songs during his stint with now-defunct Arizona band The Refreshments. The singer and guitarist, who lives in Tempe and now tours and performs with The Peacemakers, has always been a big supporter of his hometown, whether it's making shout-outs to his local music scene buddies in songs like "Down Together" or recording the Arizona Diamondbacks' victory theme that plays on the rare occasions that the team actually wins these days.
Gin Blossoms perform at Harold's Coral in Cave Creek.
Speaking of refugees from Tempe's jangle-pop heyday during the Clinton years, the Gin Blossoms were, in that era, one of the biggest bands to come out of the Valley. Fueled by the popularity of such catchy, Doug Hopkins-penned songs as "Hey Jealousy," "Found Out About You," and "Until I Fall Away" off the quadruple-platinum album, New Miserable Experience, the Blossoms were all over the radio and television airwaves around that time, including multiple appearances on Letterman and Leno, and spread "pure pop joy" to the post-grunge masses. The band's still around, performing at least one or two times a year locally when they aren't off on '90s nostalgia tours.
Nils Lofgren posing by a mural by Juan Andraus.
If you read this week's cover story on famed rock journeyman Nils Lofgren, you're no doubt aware of his status as a "musician's musician" and his illustrious 45-year career adding seasoning to the sounds of Bruce Springsteen and Neil Young, not to mention the fact he owns a sprawling ranch in Scottsdale. Contributor Jason P. Woodbury got a chance to not only visit Lofgren's place but also the 63-year-old's Nils Lofgren studio inside his converted eight-car garage that sounds like it would make any musician or music fan jealous:
The structure is adorned with a desert scene painted by local street artist Danny Campa...There are guitars and amps in every corner. The walls are lined with gig posters and photos: a Danny Clinch shot of late saxophonist Clarence "The Big Man" Clemons, Lofgren's longtime close friend and bandmate in Bruce Springsteen's E Street Band, and a photo of Lofgren hanging out on a boat with Springsteen.
Kind of puts your man-cave or practice space to shame.
Bret Michaels performs at the the Barrett-Jackson Opening Night Gala in January.
The vocalist, whose fierce glam metal wail made such Poison hits as "Talk to Dirty to Me" and "I Want Action" sound so deliciously debaucherous, is both big on Scottsdale (where he's lived for the past several years) and big on local philanthropy, including rocking out benefit concerts for the Boys & Girls Club, Phoenix Children's Hospital, and his own charity, the Life Rocks Foundation. He's also gigged at the opening night gala for this year's Barrett-Jackson auto auction and has been occasionally been spied at a few nightclubs around The 'Dale.
Max Cavalera, rock 'n' roll hellion and responsible dad.
The Brazilian-born metal icon and frontman of Soulfly used to be a major hellion. In both his recent memoir My Bloody Roots and a lengthy interview with New Times earlier this year, Max Cavalera recalled many effed up rock 'n' roll misadventures, including fighting with Lemmy Killmeister, puking on Eddie Vedder, urinating on one fan, or just "hopping around like a Tasmanian devil on stage." An ironic juxtaposition to all these wild times is that fact that Cavalera, as we documented in a 2003 cover story, is a pretty subdued homebody here in Phoenix who is active in his son's school life and a member of the PTA to boot.
Local hero Alice Cooper.
Despite spending much of his youth in his hometown of Detroit Rock City, the iconic shock rocker has been an Arizona boy for most of his life, starting off with his days at Cortez High School. It was there that Coop performed in a series of ever-changing bands with different friends during his formative years in the rock biz, first with The Earwigs, then The Spiders, and finally Nazz. In the late '60s, he decided to just call the act Alice Cooper, moved to L.A., and went on to worldwide fame and fortune. He eventually returned to the Valley and has become a local fixture, restaurateur, commercial pitchman, philanthropist, and occasional right-wing pundit.
Heavy metal icon (and proud Paradise Valley resident) Rob Halford.
Hang out around Paradise Valley long enough and you could possibly run into the Judas Priest singer knocking about or occasionally having a drink at a quiet pub in the vicinity. This metal godfather has been a permanent resident of the upscale town north of Camelback Mountain since the mid-1980s, back when his band was all over the charts with Defenders of the Faith and Turbo. He's enjoyed living here for the last 30 years and told us as much in 2008 when he described the Valley as "a beautiful place" that he loves coming home to when not out on tour with Judas Priest. "It's unique, it's special, and it means everything to me," Halford says.
Maynard James Keenan
If the overwhelmingly popular Tool frontman ever decided to run for mayor of Jerome, he'd probably win in a landslide, given that he's the most prominent resident in the small northern Arizona town that houses both his Merkin Vineyards and his Caduceus Cellars. It'd never happen, since MJK is pretty swamped with making wine, making music, or making babies to consider such a thing, although we admit that "Mayor Maynard" has a nice ring to it.
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