Music News Returns

Looks like AZPunk's not dead after all.

The infamous local website was reborn last week with a completely new look after taking a year-long hiatus from the Internet. For those of you unfamiliar with AZPunk, it functioned as an information resource and meeting ground for P-Town's punk and hardcore community since being launched back in 2002 by founders Chris Lawson and Micah Elliot.

Besides serving as a place where local bands and musicians could post their upcoming gigs, AZPunk boasted a popular message board where members engaged in (often-times contentious) discussions about everything from the latest releases to the state of the local punk scene. They also routinely produced several compilations featuring  Valley punk bands, as well as sponsoring shows.

But running AZPunk was a costly and time-consuming enterprise for the , and in late 2007 the pair were running low on cash to keep things going. While a series of benefit shows at Jugheads and Stray Cat Bar and Grill in Tempe helped keep the site afloat, the pair decided last spring to take it down for the time being in order to update it and "make something better." (In the meantime, many AZPunkers, who needed their daily fixation of Web-board bitchings, put up a replacement site of sorts called AZP Withdrawal [sic]).

Over the past year, Lawson and Elliot gave the site a complete redesign, and the new AZPunk now features all the modern Interweb bells and whistles (like RSS feeds for instance) and better functionality. However, the pair haven't created a Web-board as of yet, but we're hoping they'll get around to that soon. After all, we're eager to read what the AZPunkers have to say (bring it on, yo).

New Times has had something of a love/hate relationship over the years with AZPunk, as some of the more vocal members have regularly taken issue with the bands and musicians who made our cover or were profiled in the music section. But just like quarrelling siblings, we loved them just the same, and are happy to see the site back up again.

Here's a message that was posted on the site on Monday that explains the situation:

We told you guys we'd be back, and what a difference a year makes, huh? As you may or may not have known, we needed a little break to rethink this whole AZPunk thing. The website we created in 2002 was way out of date in terms of design, content management, and not to mention basic web standards. So here we are, one year later, and we have a brand spankin' new AZPunk for you guys. We're starting this version off exactly the same way we did the last one; completely cleaned out. That means we need YOUR help to pack this website with as much Arizona punk rock info as you've got. Post shows! Submit bands and venues info! Help us keep this new version of in better shape than the last one.

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Benjamin Leatherman is a staff writer at Phoenix New Times. He covers local nightlife, music, culture, geekery, and fringe pursuits.