The 15 Biggest Rock Stars Who Live in Arizona

Maynard James Keenan: rock icon, raconteur, and proud resident of Jerome.
Maynard James Keenan: rock icon, raconteur, and proud resident of Jerome.
Jim Louvau

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 Linkin Park front man Chester Bennington. At one time, all of these aforementioned rock greats may have called Arizona their home, but have since left our state for new addresses.

With 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 for one reason or another.

There's the always entertaining Maynard James Keenan of Tool and Puscifer fame, of course, as well as Alice Cooper, Rob Halford, Nils Lofgren, and 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.

The rock ‘n’ rollers of Player (from left): Peter Beckett, Ronn Moss, JC Crowley, and John Friesen.EXPAND
The rock ‘n’ rollers of Player (from left): Peter Beckett, Ronn Moss, JC Crowley, and John Friesen.
RSO Records

John Friesen

The former drummer/percussionist for Player had made local headlines back in 2014 when burglars broke into John Friesen's North Phoenix home and made off with four gold records that he had earned for the band's 1977 single, "Baby Come Back." Friesen spent six years on the kit for the 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.

Jerry Riopelle

Just because it’s been several years since Jerry Riopelle performed one of his trademark New Year's 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.

Have guitar, will travel: Jason DeVore.
Have guitar, will travel: Jason DeVore.
Operation Records

Jason DeVore

When Mesa's Authority Zero isn't racking up the miles during another nationwide tour, 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, and at least another half-dozen joints for solo gigs in front of his legion of local fans.

Jim Adkins performs with Jimmy Eat World at the Marquee Theatre in Tempe in October 2014.EXPAND
Jim Adkins performs with Jimmy Eat World at the Marquee Theatre in Tempe in October 2014.
Melissa Fossum

Jim Adkins

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.

Cris Kirkwood (left) rocks out with the Meat Puppets in 2009.EXPAND
Cris Kirkwood (left) rocks out with the Meat Puppets in 2009.

Cris Kirkwood

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.

Arizona's newest rock stars, KONGOS.
Arizona's newest rock stars, KONGOS.
Epic Records

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KONGOS

This is admittedly a little bit of 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 became rock stars within the last few years. Back in 2014, the proverbial rocket was strapped to their collective asses after getting signed to Epic Records, and watching their song "Come With Me" and Lunatic, the 12-track album from which it originated, scorch Billboard's charts. The song was also used in television shows, movies, commercials, and even 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? KONGOS still list the Valley as their hometown on the band’s Facebook page (specifically stating “Phoenix by way of London and Johannesburg”) and reportedly are putting the finishing touches on their follow-up album, Egomaniac, which drops in June. 

Sacred Reich's original lineup (from left): Wiley Arnett, Jason Rainey, Greg Hall, and Phil Rind.EXPAND
Sacred Reich's original lineup (from left): Wiley Arnett, Jason Rainey, Greg Hall, and Phil Rind.
Pat Blashill

Wiley Arnett

Esteemed axeman Wiley Arnett started shredding six strings as a teenager and hasn’t stopped since. For most of the last three decades, the Scottsdale native has been a member of legendary thrash-metal act Sacred Reich, dating back to when he originally formed the band with Coronado High School classmates Phil Rind, Jason Rainey, and Greg Hall in 1985.

And believe it or not, the heavy-hitting and politically oriented metal band was notorious even in its infancy, as they were forbidden from playing at the school. Our 1997 story on Sacred Reich recounted the situation, which (more or less) gave Arnett and company their first taste of politics:

When Rind was a junior, Sacred Reich was barred from performing at Coronado. The principal suggested thrash metal would tarnish the school's image. Rind wrote searing letters of protest to all the local papers, enlisted two thirds of the student body to sign a petition, participated in a two-hour debate on KFYI radio, and spoke in front of the district's school board while his mother, a teacher at Coronado, cheered him on. "The bottom line is, they didn't let us play," Rind says. "But I learned a lesson. As the old saying goes, 'The price of democracy is eternal vigilance.'"

These days, Sacred Reich is still involved with politics to a degree, as they headlined a “Band for Bernie” benefit at The Rebel Lounge in February. And if you’d like to throw a hook’em horns or high five Arnett’s way, he co-owns Rehab Burger Therapy in Scottsdale.


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