As 2012 winds down, we're all reflecting. There were ups and downs in Phoenix all year. The Valley music community lost valued members, The Sound Strike (sort of) ended. Justin Bieber, not to be outdone, puked on stage in Glendale.
Here's our look back at the biggest Up on the Sun news stories in 2012.
Poor Justin. Things were going okay during his set at Jobing.com Arena in Glendale when all of the sudden he spewed chunks. He blamed it on some bad milk, but local art-rockers Man-Cat quickly got accused of poisoning the Biebs by "advocacy group" Association for Artistic Integrity.
"We have received damning evidence that local Phoenix-based radical audio-terrorist faction/'band' Man-Cat was directly involved in the attempted poisoning of Justin Bieber this past Saturday at Jobing.com arena," AAI said in an email to the New Times. "The truth lies in video footage we have compiled to inform the masses."
"Approximately one hour before the concert, the dangerous, audio terrorist faction known as Man-Cat was spotted at the scene of the crime," a mustache masked man says in the video. It's almost convincing -- until you remember that Man-Cat is behind the phony group, using the guise as a vehicle for clever, often ingenious, commentary on the state of pop music.
And so the Sound Strike's commercial boycott of Arizona (kinda, sorta) ends, not with a bang but with a (kinda, sorta) whimper. Rise Against, stalwart supporters of the boycott, ended their strike on Arizona by performing at Tempe Beach Park on September 28.
Sound Strike organizer Javier Gonzalez said the show represented a shift in Sound Strike's focus:
"There are two specific changes -- one, we're not going to badger anyone to not play there commercially, and two, we're going to actually try to get people down there in a more concerted effort. We're not going to do commercial shows, because there are bands that don't want to do any commercial shows, but we're not going to get in the way of them. We're going to get people down there -- if this means that someone has a creative way of doing something down there, we're open to it."
In an interview with Rise Against's Tim McIlrath, he further clarified the band's stance:
"It's not that we don't want to play Arizona. It's not that we don't have so many amazing fans in Arizona, because the first time we played Arizona was in the basement of the Nile Theater, and I remember that show. I remember thinking how cool it is that in this corner of America that we've never been to before, we have all these Rise Against fans here. It's been like that, it's been snowballing ever since...We thought a statement had been made, the point of it had come across and we felt like it was moving in the right direction. In terms of the four of us, we were uncomfortable with the passive nature of what we were doing. We felt like we could do more if we were in Arizona, but we also wanted to respect the boycott and respect The Sound Strike. We wanted to be a part of doing something that was about doing something, not a part of something that was about simply not doing anything. We wanted to return; the entire Sound Strike decided that they wanted to return as a new strategy."
While on tour in California in Agust, Sedona-based folk band decker.'s van flipped over.
"It sent us down the freeway like a missile," Brandon Decker explained. "The van jackknifed, rolled four or five times, and Kelly [Cole] was ejected."
Thankfully, the band members survived, though vocalist Kelly Cole was airlifted with serious injuries to a hospital in Fresno, California.
"We have staggering financial problems impending," Decker said at the time. "But we're not focusing on that. We're just grateful at the miracle that all five of us are going to be significantly better than it could have been."
The support of the musical community moved Decker.
"I really believe the outpouring of love has helped," Decker says. "We're just stoked to be alive."
Agit-rap crew Odd Future seems to get in trouble everywhere they go. Sometimes, they seem to get blamed for stuff even when they aren't in town.
In April, 2012, several media reports suggested eight different homes and a variety of residences, cars, and other property located in the Johnson Ranch neighborhood of Queen Creek was tagged on Saturday night by the vandals. The graffiti included swastikas, inverted crucifixes, the numbers "666," and phrases like "Heil Satan [sic]" or Wolf Gang. A few vehicles were also torched in the vicinity of the rest of the vandalism. Sources estimate the damage is into the thousands of dollars.
-Odd Future Fans Tag Queen Creek Homes and Property With Graffiti Inspired By the Band -Cowtown Skateboards in Tempe to Open Odd Future Pop-Up "Sweatshop" -Club Candids: Odd Future After Party at Rocky Point Cantina
Alright, so this is technically three stories wrapped into one, but it's all connected. (Like The Wire, see?)
At the very beginning of the year, long-running alt rock station X103.9 (formerly Edge 103.9) shifted format and rebranded itself MY 103.9. The tunes moved away from the alternative and punk choices normally heard toward an eclectic pop format. Then, things shifted up again, moving toward contemporary pop.
It wasn't long before a new alt station popped up, but not on the FM dial, where indie station KWSS 106.7 remains the only (non-Christian anyhow) alt station in Phoenix. No, KUKQ, sharing the call letters of the classic Phoenix rock station, launched online, spearheaded by former X103.9 punk king Craven Moorehead.
Meanwhile, back over at My 103.9, Dave Pratt -- the guy who took over the morning show duties on X 103.9 in July of 2011 and stuck with the station through the format change -- was phased out in June of 2012 in favor of MasterChef contestant Monti Carlo.
X103.9 To Become MY 103.9 Classic Rock -- UPDATED -KUKQ Returns to Phoenix (Via the Internet) -KUKQ Phoenix Launches Online; We Speak With Nancy Stevens, Craven Moorehead, and Jonathan L -KUKQ Phoenix Locks in Programming Schedule -Dave Pratt's Out, MasterChef Contestant Monti Carlo Is In at 103.9, Plus More Radio News
This year the Valley lost a number of musicians and DJs: Richie "Ressless Legz" Gimbel, Marco Holt of The Trumulants, Power 98.3 jock Chris Chavez, Zach Booher of pop-punk band While We're Up, and Mark Erickson of Colorstore.
-Local DJ Richie Gimbel (a.k.a. Ressless Legz) Passes Away -The Tremulants' Marco Holt Succumbs to Cancer -Chris Chavez of Power 98.3 Passes Away Over the Weekend Zach Booher of Pop-Punk Band While We're Up Killed in Car Accident -R.I.P. Mark Erickson of Colorstore, Roar, and Gospel Claws
Shawn Wolf is a pretty typical Insane Clown Posse fan. He lives in small town Cottonwood, AZ; he's got "juggalo" tatted across his belly; and somehow, he became a national figure when SPIN magazine spoke with him at ICP's annual Gathering of the Juggalos event.
SPIN stated Wolf had lost custody of his kids due to his fandom. The magazine's report wasn't exactly right, as we learned when we roadtripped down to Cottonwood and spoke with the articulate Juggalo.
The conversation, where Wolf details his criminal record, his love of ICP, and what exactly went down with Californian social worker, ended up on the cover of our weekly paper.
This one got weird quick.
We wrote a simple show preview of santocorrido singer José "El Pelón" Ávila's CD release party at La Casa de Mariachi. El Pelón plays a unique blend of music, encompassing both the mystical language of West African/Caribbean religion Santeria and narcocorridos, Latin ballads concerning the drug trade.
We made a joke -- a passing reference really -- about New Times foe Sheriff Joe Arpaio. El Pelón reacted poorly, stating that we got his show canceled because of the write up. It wouldn't have been such a big deal, except Univision, the Spanish-language broadcast news station picked up on the story, running the following segment:
El Pelón Ávila's presentation in Arizona has been canceled. The singer was planning on launching his new album at a nightclub in that state, but everything blew up when he gave an interview that implied that Joe Arpaio, the chief of police [sic], needed only visit any Hispanic nightclub in Arizona to arrest undocumented Mexicans.
On Friday, November 9, local DJ, activist, and former New Times Clubs Editor Austin Head was assaulted. Within days, the attack was designated a hate crime by Phoenix P.D.
"This was a random attack on Central & Osborne," Head said at the time. "I'm not positive on the time. Two men targeted us for appearing 'gay' and [yelled] homophobic slurs. I was on my bike and my friend was on foot. He was a bit behind, so I stopped and waited on the corner for him to catch up when they crossed the street yelling slurs. They then attacked us both as we tried to flee with my friend attempting to get on the handle bars. They pushed us off the bike then proceeded with punching. I was knocked unconscious and eventually taken to the hospital by ambulance."
As detailed in our Opening/Closing blog, the biggest news story of the year concerts Tempe-concert hall Clubhouse Music Venue/ The venue closed in March after it was caught up in a nightmarish whirlwind of criminal drama in the wake of the gang-related shooting that took place in its parking lot prior to a Nipsey Hussle concert.
In addition to perusing the perpetrators who wounded 18 people, Tempe Police also went after the Clubhouse and its owner Eugenia Ruven, in what many in the local music scene described as a "witch hunt." The 45-year-old was arrested on charges of allegedly having insufficient security during the now-infamous show.
In the span of less than two weeks, the Tempe concert hall went from being one the Valley's more prominent live venues to a vacant spot ready for its next tenant.
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-Shooting at Nipsey Hussle Concert in Tempe Last Night Injures 13 People. Suspects Still at Large -Breaking News: Clubhouse Music Venue Owner Arrested by Tempe Police -Breaking News: Clubhouse Music Venue Closes Down -Suspect in Clubhouse Music Venue Shooting Identified by Tempe Police Department -Second Suspect Arrested in Clubhouse Music Venue Shooting