Steve Wiley

  • Blogs

    September 4, 2014

    Forty '90s Albums That Still Hold Up

    Steve Wiley is Up on the Sun's resident Record Store Geek. He shares stories of great music and wacky characters from his continuing 27 years in Valley record stores and the always zany music biz. At the end of July, I wrote about Five Reasons I Don't Write About New Music, the most important of ... More >>

  • Blogs

    August 21, 2014

    How Deep is Your Love: The Levels of Music Fandom

    Steve Wiley is Up on the Sun's resident Record Store Geek. Biweekly, he shares stories of great music and wacky characters from his continuing 27 years in Valley record stores and the always-zany music biz. I was hanging out at Revolver Records the other day, and Andy (friend, former hoodlum, an ... More >>

  • Blogs

    July 28, 2014

    5 Reasons I Don't Review New Music

    Steve Wiley is Up on the Sun's resident Record Store Geek. Biweekly, he shares stories of great music and whacky characters from his continuing 27 years in Valley record stores and the always-zany music biz. Generally when I tell people that I write about music, they assume I write reviews for ne ... More >>

  • Blogs

    June 20, 2014

    6 Songs That Evoke Movie Scenes

    Steve Wiley is Up on the Sun's resident Record Store Geek. Biweekly, he shares stories of great music and whacky characters from his continuing 27 years in Valley record stores and the always-zany music biz. When you are a music geek like I am, you are constantly aware of the music that's playin ... More >>

  • Blogs

    May 20, 2014

    The Eleven Greatest Record Store Performances, Part Two (The Top 5)

    Steve Wiley is Up on the Sun's resident Record Store Geek. Biweekly, he shares stories of great music and whacky characters from his continuing 27 years in Valley record stores and the always-zany music biz. Welcome back, my friends. When I last left you, I was discussing my favorite record sto ... More >>

  • Blogs

    May 16, 2014

    The Eleven Greatest Record Store Performances, Part One

    Steve Wiley is Up on the Sun's resident Record Store Geek. Biweekly, he shares stories of great music and whacky characters from his continuing 27 years in Valley record stores and the always-zany music biz. As you might expect, working in a record store is a pretty cool job. Sure, there ar ... More >>

  • Blogs

    April 19, 2014

    Record Store Day? More Like Record Store Life.

    Record Store Day is tomorrow. So I shouldn't have been surprised when my editor said, "Hey, maybe you can write something about Record Store Day." Makes sense. I do write under the moniker Record Store Geek. It's just that my editor has only asked me for one specific column in the entire two yea ... More >>

  • Blogs

    March 21, 2014

    A Father's Duty: Listening to Worn-out Classics

    A few weeks ago, I wrote a cheery little ditty entitled Five Things I Hate About Music. In case you somehow haven't read it (that was a joke, although I do seem to have a few deeply disturbed readers), one of the five was Obvious Songs. While expanding on said annoyance, I took to task local class ... More >>

  • Blogs

    March 7, 2014

    Record Store Geek: 16 Sweet Slices of Soul

    Chances are, if you met me -- I'm a tall, goofy-looking, middle-aged white guy with a Canadian accent (it's actually North Dakotan) -- you wouldn't think, "Hey, I should get some recommendations on fantastic soul albums from this cat." Of course, I'm stereotyping myself, and you would be, too. I un ... More >>

  • Blogs

    January 27, 2014

    Seven Music Lessons I'm Passing Down the Family Tree

    My oldest daughter arrived yesterday with my two grandsons, ages 1 and 3. That's right. I'm a music-blogging grandpa. If you've ever read any of my past rambling, you may remember that I'm still wrangling kids as well (five kids total, three in the house). That means I've got myself seven descend ... More >>

  • Blogs

    December 2, 2013

    Seven Things For Which I'm Musically Thankful

    I haven't had to work on Thanksgiving for a long time. But I had a column to write, with a Friday deadline, so work I must. I know it seems obvious (because it is obvious), but if I was going to be writing on Thanksgiving, I truly thought it would be wrong of me not to be thankful in my column. No ... More >>

  • Blogs

    November 11, 2013

    9 Guilty Pleasure Admissions of a Record Store Geek

    If you've read any of my prior ramblings, then you know that I explore the topic of musical credibility a lot. It's in my nature. Should you and I like what we like, regardless of critical stature, or should we concentrate on artists with a certain level of critical credibility? Here's the genera ... More >>

  • Blogs

    November 1, 2013

    11 Albums to Help You Explore The Blues

    I've spent the past few weeks debating the merits of Vinyl (seven reasons) versus CD (five reasons) for those of us that still collect music (my final verdict is that both have great qualities, but CD is still better). It's been a fun little debate, but it doesn't really matter how you listen. I ... More >>

  • Blogs

    October 25, 2013

    Somehow I Found Some '80s Albums That Still Sound Good

    A few months ago, I took 80's music to task in a little ditty called High School Music: A Reunion from Hell. Of course, I took some shit from some of my friends and classmates, so I promised them I'd try to look at the positive side to the eighties down the road. That moment has arrived. Like t ... More >>

  • Blogs

    October 18, 2013

    Seven Reasons Vinyl Really Is Better Than CDs

    Last week, I riled up the Mumfords with Five Reasons CDs are Better Than Vinyl. This week I'll try to get back in their good graces and give vinyl its due. I know what you're saying. "Pick a side, Geek" It might seem a little wishy-washy on the surface, but stay with me and I'll explain my logic ... More >>

  • Blogs

    October 11, 2013

    Five Reasons Why CDs Are Better Than Vinyl

    I'm feeling a little spunky this morning, so I figured I'd rile up some Mumfords. Mumfords? That's my latest name for hipsters. Outspoken, cooler-than-thou cats that are all over the latest music craze, regardless of whether it's truly in their heart or not. Most writers don't harass Mumfords, i ... More >>

  • Blogs

    September 27, 2013

    10 Female Artists That Helped Me Understand Women

    I can't believe the things I decide to write about. Women? Have I lost my mind? I know as much about women as I do about God--not jack. Yet I continue to study both. In fact, I suspect they are one and the same. Like most subjects in my studies, one of my primary teachers has been and continues ... More >>

  • Blogs

    September 13, 2013

    It Seems Tough to be a Rock Star These Days

    Over the years, I've wished I was a musician about a zillion times. I've stood and watched guys and girls play (mostly guys, mostly guitar), and wondered what it would be like to make an instrument talk... to connect with a crowd... to say something with lyrics. But lately, I'm not so sure. Maybe ... More >>

  • Blogs

    September 6, 2013

    Nine Rock Classics You Love... That I Never Want to Hear Again

    A few weeks ago, in a little ditty called Five Signs That You Might Be a Music Junkie, I mentioned that I never deliberately listen to the same song more than once a day. That's right, no "play it again, Sam" for this geek. (Note: That quote is from Casablanca you little shit; if you didn't know ... More >>

  • Blogs

    August 29, 2013

    Four Great Songs for Dispensing Parental Philosophy

    When you are a certified music junkie like I am, you tend to weave music in and out of life. It influences every area of your existence. Does that mean music is part of my parental philosophy? Of course. It's one of my greatest tools. In fact, I find that music can do a lot better job of gett ... More >>

  • Blogs

    August 22, 2013

    Five Statements Guaranteed To Annoy Music Elitists

    Some of my friends think I'm a music elitist. Totally untrue. After twenty-five years in record stores, and a lifetime of being a music junkie, I know more about music than the average bear. I cannot deny that. But an elitist? No way. I'm not even a decent critic. I can ramble poetic for ho ... More >>

  • Blogs

    August 16, 2013

    Mom's Rock 'n' Roll "Warning Book" Backfired

    My mom warned me about rock 'n' roll. She said it was a bad influence and a crazy lifestyle. Overflowing with sex, drugs, partying, and lots of other things God didn't dig. She said stay away at all costs. So I made a career out of it. No, really. Not only did I not heed my caring mother's warnin ... More >>

  • Blogs

    August 8, 2013

    Five Signs That You Might Be A Music Junkie

    A few weeks ago, I wrote that there is no such thing as background music in my world. I'm constantly aware of what's playing, for better or worse. When I posted the column on my Facebook page, I had two different people refer to the comment specifically. Knowing both of the responders (it was ... More >>

  • Blogs

    August 1, 2013

    The Best Decade in Rock and Roll History: 1967-1977

    I'm feeling a little guilty about last week's column, in which I took the crappy popular music of the '80s to task (High School Music: A Reunion from Hell). Why? It was negative, and generally I like to promote good music instead of baggin' on bad stuff. I've fed my family for almost thirty years ... More >>

  • Blogs

    July 25, 2013

    High School Music: A Reunion From Hell

    I just got back from my 30th high school reunion in Minot, North Dakota. It was great to see so many of my lifelong friends and classmates. Most of us have spread out across the country, and we all commented on how comfortable and familiar it was to be back together in our ever-expanding (oil boom ... More >>

  • Blogs

    July 18, 2013

    Great New Music Is Everywhere, But Why's It So Hard To Find?

    Finding new music is hard work these days. I'll bet when you read that you thought, "Here we go again... some old dude is going to bash on today's music." Wrong, Spanky. In my 48 years, I've never said "There's no good new music these days." In fact, after 26 years in the music biz, I think I'm q ... More >>

  • Blogs

    June 27, 2013

    Can't Grow Up on Rock Alone, Kid: Nine Swingin' Jazz Albums

    I know. You like to rock. If it doesn't kick ass, you don't need it. Or maybe you're listening to a different genre, like hip-hop, but it's still the same. You like that hard-driving, in-your-face kind of stuff. That wonderful, rebellious, youthful music that makes you want to take another shot and ... More >>

  • Blogs

    June 21, 2013

    Heartbroken, Son? Now You Can Really Enjoy the Music!

    When my kids were little, and I'd be playing and talking about music with them, they'd say, "Dad, what is this song about?" You can probably guess my answer. Because eight out of 10 songs (not an official stat) are about the same thing: Love. Of course, that one simple word cannot begin to explain ... More >>

  • Blogs

    June 13, 2013

    Music Parenting 101: The "Two Albums Before Bed" Rule

    As far as I'm concerned, people who don't ever listen to albums are music lightweights. By "albums", I don't mean actual vinyl records. I couldn't care less which configuration or delivery method you chose. I mean a specific group of songs in a certain order. As it is, I don't really care how yo ... More >>

  • Blogs

    June 6, 2013

    10 Rock and Roll Hall of Famers Who Never Topped Their First Album

    I was watching the 2013 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony the other day. I usually don't watch a lot of made-for-TV rock and roll stuff, mainly because they try to be everything to everybody, but I couldn't resist tuning in to watch the RRHOF rectify the biggest of many head-shaking omi ... More >>

  • Blogs

    May 30, 2013

    Steve Wiley: How Much Money Is Music Worth To You?

    How much is music worth to people? This isn't a new question for me. For the past 25 years I've fed my family by selling the stuff. And even though I haven't operated a brick-and-mortar record store for almost a year now, I'm still as curious about it, and as relatively uncertain, as always. Aft ... More >>

  • Blogs

    May 23, 2013

    Study Concludes: Kids Today Are Musically Spoiled Rotten

    When it comes to music, do kids today have it better or worse than the generations before them? I decided to do some research into the matter. By "research," I mean I asked my teenagers some questions, and then compared their answers to my opinions. Around here, we call that science. (What do yo ... More >>

  • Blogs

    July 2, 2012

    Top Phoenix Music Stories of the Week

    The news waits for no one -- at least that's what we read somewhere -- so it's perfectly understandable that our you the reader might have missed out on a musical tidbit, breaking news about your favorite venue, or one of our rants. So enjoy this digest-style sampling of some of our biggest stories ... More >>

  • Blogs

    June 26, 2012

    Hoodlums Music and Movies in Tempe To Close in August (Temporarily?)

    See also: Hoodlums Music Turns 13: Reflections From Owner Steve Wiley See also: Hoodlums to Host "Hoodstock" Festival to Benefit Tempe's Broadmor Elementary Sad news out of Tempe today: Hoodlums Music and Movies is going into "hibernation" on Wednesday, August 15. It's a curious term, hibernation ... More >>

  • Blogs

    November 10, 2011

    From Print: Blogs Teased in Our November 10 Issue

    ​This week, New Times ran a list in our print publication highlighting some of the most interesting posts published at Up On The Sun over the past week. Here are links to those posts. What did Hoodlums Music owner Steve Wiley have to say about owning a record store for 13 years? What Phoeni ... More >>

  • Blogs

    November 7, 2011

    What's Selling: Hoodlums Top 10 Selling Albums of the Week

    ​Want to know what new release discs and platters are moving across the Valley at local record stores? We've got you covered with another installment of What's Selling. It's been 13 years since neighborhood music store Hoodlums made their first sale. Last week we caught up with owner Steve W ... More >>

  • Blogs

    November 4, 2011

    Hoodlums Music Turns 13: Reflections From Owner Steve Wiley

    ​Birthday parties for 13-year-olds are usually pretty awkward (or maybe I'm thinking of my own, just-sorta-pubescent 13th birthday), but that doesn't seem to be the case with Hoodlums Music's 13th birthday bash this weekend. On Saturday, November 5, the local record store institution celebrate ... More >>

  • Blogs

    March 22, 2010

    How Can a Tiny Record Store Survive in 2010? Hoodlums Music Owner Talks Strategy With State Press

    Hoodlums was packed during a recent vinyl art show, just one of the many special events the store's owner hopes will keep it afloat.​Let's say you own a record store post-Napster. Now, let's say that record store burns down.I don't know about you, but I'm pretty sure I wouldn't consider re-opening ... More >>

  • Blogs

    February 2, 2010

    Local Record Store (Hoodlums) Fighting With Local Venue (Marquee) Over Ticket Prices

    The owner of Hoodlums music store in Tempe is taking on the Marquee Theatre over ticket prices. Ticket price stories tend to make my eyes glaze over pretty fast (I'm a critic, I don't pay!) but Arizona Republic freelancer Serene Dominic did an interesting little piece on the matter. The debate ... More >>

  • Calendar

    April 23, 2009
  • Blogs

    December 31, 2008

    Local Indie Record Store Owners Weigh In With Their Favorties of 2008

    It wasn't exactly a banner year for proprietors of the record-slinging shops. Album sales at in general were down 14 percent nationwide from 2007, and this obviously hit brick-and-mortar retailers where it counts. But while folks are increasingly more likely to boot-up CD Baby or iTunes to get t ... More >>

  • Culture

    December 11, 2008
  • Calendar

    October 9, 2008

    The Day the Music Died

    But only for nine months

  • Blogs

    October 7, 2008

    Kings Of Leon’s New Album And Leonard Cohen's Old Albums Are What's Selling Big-Time At Hoodlums New Store

    By Benjamin Leatherman Much like the mythical bird from which our ‘burg draws its name, popular record store Hoodlums has risen – quite literally – from the ashes. As Steve Jansen wrote in this week’s issue, the music emporium’s former location on the ASU campus was gutted by a tragic fir ... More >>

  • News

    August 10, 2000

    Family Affair

    Sale of Zia Enterprises ushers in a new era for 20-year-old record-store chain

  • Music

    September 3, 1998

    More Perfect Union

    Three key ex-Zia employees set up a new record store at Zia's old ASU location

  • News

    August 13, 1998
  • Music

    July 30, 1998

    Wayne's World

    Less than three months after the death of Brad Singer, Zia Enterprises endures the summer of its discontent

  • News

    May 21, 1998

    End of a Record Run

    The sudden demise of Zia founder Brad Singer shakes the local music community he helped to build